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Greece and Turkey

We had a last minute plan to travel to Greece and Turkey with our 2 kids to celebrate our 10th year anniversary.
We are planning to travel during the 2nd/3rd week of May for 2 weeks (including air time to and fro).

We would like to cover the following places Istanbul, Cappadocia, Greece island hopping: Santorini for sure + another island, Athens.

Here are my questions to the forum and would love to hear expert tips from fellow travelers.
1) Is this a crazy schedule with kids? Is this doable in 2 weeks?
2) What is an efficient itinerary to cover all the interested places?
3) What is the best/recommended flight option to minimize layover while travelling from CA,US?
4) Is it too late too look for tickets? Is it recommended to postpone the trip to late August for cheaper tickets? What is a typical airfare cost to and fro either to Athens or Istanbul from CA during the time frame we are planning to travel.

5) how many days would be ideal for each places?

Thanks is advance for your valuable suggestions and helping us plan our trip in a short duration.

Posted by
16894 posts

I recommend choosing one country or the other for your two-week visit. The main reason for this is transportation time around the region. Three nights in each destination you named is about minimum. For an overview of how fast you can go, see Rick's Greek itinerary advice or the route of the Turkey guided tour. Then fill in the details with Lonely Planet guidebooks, at least for the regions not covered in Rick's books. If you rent a car in Turkey, or on the mainland of Greece, your family of four could have lots of freedom to see sites from the interior to the coast, which is just as lovely as the Greek coast. You can't take a rental car onto ferries or across borders.

When searching for trans-Atlantic airfares online, look at a "multi-city" intinerary, such as into Athens and out from Istanbul, or into Istanbul and out from Izmir, etc. Flying from Seattle, I prefer to make my connections within Europe (e.g., Amsterdam, Paris, or Frankfurt) so at least I'm on the right continent), rather than in the USA.

I would not recommend waiting until August as it will be hot, crowded, and expensive. You might want to think about just one of those countries for 2 weeks, especially depending on how old your kids are. I too prefer to do my layover on the European continent.

Posted by
813 posts

Do not wait until August. All of Europe pretty much has August off, so all the good places are definitely sold out now. It's going to be super crowded at the resorts and tourist areas and usually quite hot. Go ahead and book for May, it's more expensive to book last minute than of course booking a year in advance, but if it fits your schedule, you should absolutely go then. We stay at Grecotel hotels around Greece, it's a big chain with great family resorts with kindercare, great pools, buffets, and so on. The less hotel hopping you do, the better it will be for everyone, so pick 2-3 places (4 nights each) and enjoy the area more.

Posted by
1 posts

I actually travel from CA in mid of May 15 to Turkey and Greece for two weeks ( exact two week not include travel time) I take Alitalia airline and change flight in ROME, I suggest you fly to Athens first then back from Istanbul, I am kind of feel sorry now I will got to Istanbul first, I booked early the ticket only $900. My plan is three full days in Istanbul and fly to Goreme in the morning for three day two night, stay in the cave hotel and take the balloon ride, then fly to Izimir at the night from Keseri and rent a car drive to Pammukale, stay one night in Pammukale to enjoy the cotton castle sunset. From Izimir, I will fly the Santorini via Istanbul and Athens, it is a half day travel and three flight involved. I will stay three days in Santorini fly to Athens at the night, spend two full days in Athens.
The flight is Trukey can take Pegasus flight and from Turkey even to Greece, in Athens you can fly both Olympia and Agean.

Enjoy your time!

Posted by
2 posts

Thank you all for your valuable inputs.

Ruby, is there a reason, you prefer to do Athens first and then Istanbul. I have semi-booked my tickets and plan to do Istanbul first and then Athens.


Posted by
2143 posts

Arathi -- I have been to all these places and don't think it really matters whether you visit Athens or Istanbul first. I'd say pick one and book it. I think Ruby has a pretty good plan (except for the Izmir/Pammulke visit -- I'd skip that) but it involves lots of transportation, which could be hard with children ( you didn't mention their ages). You should make sure you can line up all of these Turkish & Greek flights before you make any non- cancellable reservations. You may need to add a third night in Cappadocia and catch an early morning flight from Kayseri to Istanbul>Athens>Santorini (if that's even possible in one day).

Or maybe you skip Cappadocia this trip, which would simplify things immensely. Then you have 4 nights in Istanbul, fly to Athens>Santorini for 3 nights, ferry to another island (Naxos?) for 3 nights, then ferry to Athens for your final nights. The ferry tickets would not have to be reserved until you arrive on the islands, so you would only have to book your Istanbul>Athens>Santorini flight in advance. Look through other posts on the Greece forum for recommendations about Santorini & Naxos.