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Combine RS Turkey plus RS Greece plus Greek Islands

We are considering doing back-to-back Rick Steves tours of Turkey and Greece next spring. Having traveled the distance, we would also like to get a taste of the Greek Islands.

Comments on trying to accomplish all of this?

Visit the islands before or after? While the tour of Turkey ends on its west coast, it may be risky to depend on local transportation to return to Athens in time for the Greek tour.

While it would be preferable to spend a week or weeks visiting multiple islands, we only have a few additional days free for this first visit. Perhaps we could fly from Athens to one of the islands, visit it for a day or two, take a ferry to another island to see the coastline from the water, and then fly back to Athens. I'm getting documents to help choose which islands and to learn about flights and inter-island transfers.

Thank you for your valued input.

Posted by
3425 posts

If u are going independent of a guided tour group then u must plan very carefully for the Greece portion especially the islands. Spring is sporadic and still mostly off season for the Greek isles. Ferry especially and even air is less freq during this time. It is summer season when all transport is regular.nso do your research carefully bef u schedule.

Posted by
13180 posts

I'm a little at sea. How much time would you have between the two tours? Which are you going to do first? There are ferries between the some Greek islands and the Turkish mainland, and maybe some Turkish islands too. For flights, go to the wiki page for an airport - every one has a table listing all the airlines and destinations. Then you can go to each airline to see fares and schedules.

The Turkey tour ends in Kusadasi, and you can take the tour bus in the morning to Izmir (or an earlier taxi). There are frequent flights to Istanbul and several flights a day from Istanbul to Athens. It should not be a problem to get to the Athens hotel in time for the late afternoon meeting.

There are major sights (and a lot of 2nd tier ones) in both Athens and Istanbul that the tours do not include, and there's very little free time in those cities during the tours. You will also have a better time if you have at least 2 nights in Europe before the first tour begins, to adjust to the time difference and catch up on sleep. You could do that on one of the Greek isles but not by island-hopping.

Posted by
5154 posts

Spring 2020 starts Mar 20 and ends June 20.

When you say your trip is in "the Spring" it quite literally covers one quarter of the year.

If you can narrow down when you are going, you improve the odds the advice/suggestions you get will be helpful

Posted by
151 posts

We did Greece on our own prior to our RS Turkey and they went well together. But it was a lot more work than clicking purchase on the RS web site. Limiting the experience is a good idea, too bad you don't have time to do more because it would be worth it. Anyway, unless visiting an island is way at the top of your priority list I'd suggest spending limited time in Athens which would be more efficient from a transportation connection standpoint as well as providing a more comprehensive cultural and historical perspective.

Posted by
2999 posts

Aegean Airlines flies between Athens and both Istanbul (beginning of Turkey tour) and Izmir (end of Turkey tour), so you might use those flights to connect between tours and then plan your travels to the islands from Athens as you were thinking. You might also contact the RS Tour Department and ask if they have any information about connecting the 2 tours.

Posted by
16344 posts

Yes, when time is short, flying makes sense. Ferries from Turkey only go to the closest, paired Greek island, such as from Kusadasi to Samos (Vathy port). From there, you have various Greek flight and ferry options (including a second port on the island). Athens is a long overnight ferry away, and so too may be some further islands and/or stops may be at odd hours. Each island chain tends to have a hub where you connect between long-distance and local ferries.

Posted by
61 posts

You can take a ferry from Kusadasi to Samos Island at 09:00. Then fly from Samos to Athens. Ferries are every day starting May 1 (using this year's schedule). In April the ferries are 4 times a week. Flights may also be more limited earlier in the season. Also, Greek Orthodox Easter is later in the month than our Easter. You'd have to look it up for 2020.

Fellow Greece traveler, we booked an early April RS 15 day tour of Greece and added a 7 day cruise on Celestyal Cruises. Begins in Athens and end in Athens =). First stop is in Istanbul and then comes down Turkey and stops at many islands. Price is reasonable and reviews were good - Check it out!

Posted by
3 posts

Thank you for the valued input. Research indicated that boats are infrequent and less reliable, and it is takes an enormous amount of time to travel by boat between Kusadasu and the Greek Islands in April. There are no direct flights. We chose to focus on Santorini, and to fly there from Athens. We are now seeking 4 nights accommodation for an active couple, what to see, and how to tour Santorini.

Posted by
61 posts

Your Greece tour will send you a RS Greece guidebook, in which Rick includes Santorini.

Posted by
4776 posts

Please add at least one more less touristed, cruise ship mobbed island. Look at Paros or Naxos.