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Turkey & Greece

Hi All

Hope you are well.

Do you have any tips on packages that includes Turkey and Greece?

Will it be best to fly to Athens from Turkey or take a cruise ship? And if cruise ship - which shipping line as there seems to be so many and I am a bit scared of scammers. In the past we have used MSC and no issues :-)

The top 3 places I would like to see in Turkey is:
Istanbul, Ephesus & maybe Cappadocia (would you agree with this?)

And not sure what places will be best to see in Greece in just a couple of days in the country (depending on whether we fly or take a cruise).

In total we have 10 days (know this is short for two countries and that is why I want to know what are the highlights and just focus on that).

I did come across a few packages which does the below in 11 days:
Istanbul
Kusadasi via Izmir (fly);
Ephesus (Kusadasi);
Patmos Crete (Boat);
Heraklion Crete (Boat);
Santorini (Oia)(Boat);
Athens (Acropolis)(Boat);
Mykonos(Boat);
Pamukkale;
Cappadocia (Hot air balloon / Goreme National Park);
Istanbul (via Cappadocia);

Any other tips also welcome!!

Thanks All :-)

Posted by
5537 posts

Eleven days is barely enough time for either country. Chose one or the other or allow much more time. We loved our trips to both countries, several years apart. We have returned to Greece and will again.
Don’t do a cruise in Greece rather travel between islands by Greek ferries , stay on the islands and experience Greece.

Posted by
16743 posts

Flights between the two countries are somewhat limited, though you can fly from Istanbul or Izmir (maybe not daily) to Athens. I doubt you'll find many two-country package deals other than cruises. I also would encourage you to focus on just one country for this short a trip.

I don't see how the itinerary above fits those destinations into 11 days, even if Istanbul and Izmir are just airport transfers. It sounds like a lot of time on boats and buses.

Posted by
13896 posts

You absolutely cannot replicate on your own the pace of a guided tour without paying a ton for private guides and drivers. Skipping some of the places won't help you since on your own, you'll need way too much time getting from place to place.

How many days do you really have? Count nights on the ground and subtract 1. The day you land is usually a waste because of jetlag and time consumed getting through the airport and to your hotel. Unless you have a night flight. the day you leave doesn't count because you need to be at the airport 3 hours before the flight and it will probably take you an hour to get there from your hotel.

Posted by
4052 posts

A cruise is a great way to see the islands, but you need to spend 4 nights in Athens and another 4 in Istanbul.

Posted by
3 posts

Hello! In September 2019 my partner and I flew into Athens and made our way to Cappadoccia Turkey over a 3 week span of travel. We went to Mykonos by boat and spent 4 days there, it was beautiful and totally worth it! We went to Samos and spent a few days on the island before we took a boat to turkey, this boat took us directly to the port of Kusadasi where we started our Turkish getaway! Our friend who lives in Kusadasi was luckily our tour guide! we spent 3 days visiting all the historical sights and then headed to Izmir to take a flight to Istanbul and stayed 5 days we then took a flight to Cappadoccia and spent 3 days in this AMAZING part of the country. I highly recommend it! I would give the advice to do either Turkey or Greece because you will want to spend time really enjoying the places, it will be sad if you don't get to enjoy your 10 days because you are mostly on the go! good luck and have fun!

Posted by
22 posts

Hi All

Thank you so much for all the tips and feedback.
I think we have decided to just do Turkey.

So now I would please like your advise on whether you think its best to rent a car and travel by car or maybe by bus?
So we are still looking at 10 days in Turkey.

Istanbul - Troy - Kusadasi - Ephesus - Pamukkale - Cappadocia - Istanbul to fly back home

Thanks :-)

Posted by
13896 posts

Istanbul - Troy - Kusadasi - Ephesus - Pamukkale - Cappadocia - Istanbul to fly back home

Maybe fly to Izmir, rent a car to Cappadocia, then fly to Istanbul. Check driving times on google maps, then add a lot of cushion. The times are usually calculated at maximum speeds, no traffic and no pit stops or wrong turns.

Posted by
5017 posts

Maybe fly to Izmir, rent a car to Cappadocia, then fly to Istanbul.

That's more or less what I'm going to do next month: fly in to Istanbul, connect then fly onward to Izmir. Getting a car in Izmir and working our way south/southeast to Antalya, then flying to Cappadocia, then flying to Istanbul. We're spending 2 weeks doing that, and we will be on a pretty aggressive pace (though I think it's doable).

OP, post your question in the Turkey forum for more/better answers.

Posted by
96 posts

That seems like a good itinerary. All ports mentioned are worth visiting. Cruise is a great way but you can not get to some of these places by boat nor will you have the time to fly or drive for the day if you are on a cruise. However, it's too many place to see in such a short time. I suggest at least two days in each port. For instance, Cappadocia is amazing, but if you have a Hot air balloon ride booked, it may be cancelled any time if there is wind.

Posted by
4052 posts

We usually combine a land trip with a cruise.
Considering all the places that you want to visit, I would recommend that you take a cruise that visits many of the places you listed.

You probably won't find a cruise for 10 days that goes to all these places. You really need more time to do that.

Athens deserves about 3 days to see the main sites, including the Acropolis, New Acropolis Museum and the Archaeological Museum.
Istanbul deserves minimum of 4 days to see it all. Hagia Sophia, The Blue Mosque, Archaeological Museum, the Sultan's Palace, and much more.

Many of the islands like Santorini, you can do in a one day visit by a cruise ship. However, you can't see Crete in one day, but you can visit Knossos, the ancient Minoan ruins. Ephesus can be seen in one day on stop by cruise ship.
Mykonos probably deserves two days, but one day excursion to the Delos for ancient history.

Cappadocia is another matter. You can't see it from a cruise ship, you would need more days than you have to see it.

We like Celebrity, Royal Caribbean and Norwegian Cruise LIne. Princess and Holland American are other good main line cruise lines. Check out cruisecritic.com website for researching cruise lines. You need to compare what is available for best deal.

Posted by
5537 posts

FYI: Patmos is a Greek Island in the Dodeconese ,near Turkey, and is not on Crete.