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Turkey, Greece and Croatia in ~3 Weeks?

We have a credit from 2020 from Croatian Airlines. Originally, we had planned to go to Italy and Croatia in May 2020. We used our credits for Italy this past November, but we did not include Croatia at that time, since we felt we'd rather go there during warmer weather.

We had been thinking our next trip after that might be Turkey and Greece.

So, our credit with Croatian Air was extended another year, but now we have to use it to purchase tickets by this April. We are thinking about a trip in May of this year (fingers crossed and booking refundable as much as possible). We are wondering if trying to go to Turkey, Greece, and Croatia will be manageable in a three-week trip. We can't take longer, due to DH's work commitments and the challenge of finding care for our pets.

We are experienced travellers. Compared to some of the posters here, we are fairly fast travellers. We are in our 60s and didn't really start travelling until our 50s, so we know we may have a limited time to see the places we'd like to see. However, that doesn't mean we want to spend more time in transit than on the ground.

In Turkey, we'd like to visit Istanbul, Ephesus and Cappadocia. In Greece, we'd like to visit Athens and at least one island. In Croatia, our original plans included Dubrovnik, Split (overnight), an island (maybe Brac, with a day trip to the blue grotto), Zadar (overnight), Plitvice (overnight), and Zagreb. I realize this is probably too much for 3 weeks, especially since the distances in Turkey are greater than I'd originally thought.

To be honest, if I had to drop one country of the three, I'd drop Croatia. However, our credit is with Croatian Airlines (worth over $600), so it makes more financial sense at this point to drop one of the others. However, which one? Greece has been a lifelong dream, especially since I've always loved classics and mythology. But we WERE just in Rome recently. And I feel like Turkey may be more of a challenge to do as we get older and have less energy. And my brother, who used to spend months at a time travelling around Europe, says that Turkey was his favourite. Geographically, I think Greece makes more sense, but then we might never get to Turkey, as it's more of an outlier.


Posted by
211 posts

In 2018 I traveled Turkey..Croatia..Greece on about 17 days. It was doable..I would have spent more time in Croatia..Split..Hvar..Korcula..Dubrovnik. and then on to Athens and Mykonos. For I have been several times..we stayed in Istanbul to just enjoy a few days. Flew Turkush airlines..I would think in 3 weeks you could do all 3 realizing that you have 2 or 3 flights between the countries which will take time. Also depending on your pleasure in Greece you might or might not include an island
But yes..I would do it again with a timeline like yours.

Posted by
5431 posts

Been to all three, and our travel persona is pretty similar to yours. We typically move faster (often MUCH faster) than many here advise.

That said, I think this is too much for 3 weeks. Pick two.

You could easily spend 3 weeks just in Turkey and only scratch the surface (we did just shy of 3 weeks there, and it was obvious we were skipping huge swaths of great stuff that we had wished to see).

Croatia + Greece makes mores sense, except...on a map, Croatia looks right next door to Greece, but they are poorly connected. Logistically, Greece + Turkey make a better pairing.

I have a better idea: since Croatia needs to be part of this trip, how about Croatia and Slovenia? We did a 3 week trip to Slovenia and Croatia, also in May, and it was awesome. You will find plenty to keep you busy and happy in those two countries (consider adding short side-trips to Montenegro, maybe Bosnia and/or Serbia).

Turkey and Greece go together well (like turkey and cranberry sauce/sorry...). Turkey won't be any more difficult if you're a few years older (Turkey is easy, actually a lot easier than we expected, and we drove all over the western half of it....though I certainly do not suggest driving in Istanbul itself....elsewhere, a piece of cake). Save Turkey/Greece for another trip.

Posted by
133 posts

I agree with David - Croatia and Slovenia for your 3 weeks. We did that in fall 2013 as a road trip and loved it. Into Zagreb for 4 nights - rented car there. Off to Ljubjana, Lake Bled, over the Alps, Kobarid, Skocjan Caves & Piran. Back in Croatia to Rovinj, Plitvice, Zadar,, Hvar & Dubrovnik. Returned car in Dub, taxi to airport. We did a month in Greece & Turkey in 2019 - 3 weeks not enough even for speed demons (which we are not). With Croatia Air teamed with Lufthansa, their hub seems to be Frankfurt, not in Italy as it was for us. Probably easier for US flights.

Posted by
13429 posts

Did that plus Montenegro in August. Great trip. Spent 4 weeks though. By today's standards, easy borders then and still now.

Posted by
767 posts

Thanks so much for the responses. After considering them and looking into flights, we have decided to go in a somewhat different direction.

There are no direct flights between any of these countries and our home city. Once I started looking into where Croatia Air flies, and which of those have direct flights to/from our city, and which of those are places we have not yet been--we decided on........Ireland!

I know, right?

We found a great seat sale, and are going to spend 12 days in Croatia and a week in Ireland, not counting our time getting to/from Europe.

We are going to leave Greece and Turkey as a combined trip for another time, hopefully 2023.

Posted by
5343 posts

For a land trip, pick two, but consider taking a cruise that stops in Dubrovnik and Split in Croatia as well as some Greek Islands and stopping in Athens. My first cruise in 2010 included those places as well as Crete, Santorini, Mykonos, Ephesus (in Turkey) and more. It was a two week cruise out of Venice.

Istanbul is amazing, but you need at least 4-5 days there.

Posted by
767 posts

Ooh, thanks, diveloonie. I'll have a look.

geovagriffith, that sounds wonderful, but I wouldn't be comfortable going on a cruise in 2022, I think. Thanks for the suggestion, though.