We are going with Rick Steves to Greece next fall (2022) and are wondering how best to fit in a trip to Crete and Ephesus. Does anyone have any ideas?
Although I’ve not traveled to Crete, I did enjoy taking the RS Turkey and Greece tours back to back. For Ephesus - consider taking the one hour flight from Athens to Samos, followed by a 25 minute bus ride from Samos airport to the port, then boarding the 45 minute ferry to the port of Kusadasi. This nearby town is well worth a visit and a great place to overnight while touring Ephesus. Crete seems to be a quick flight from Athens. There is no fast way to travel between Ephesus and Crete. You may want to bookend your tour with visits to these islands - I.e. Ephesus via Kusadasi - Greece tour - Crete or simply lump them together. Have a phenomenal time.
Fly to either Chania or Heraklion on Crete. Ferries take quite a bit of time to get there.
Crete is an amazing place to visit . We stayed in Chania for two weeks and focused on exploring western Crete.
We also went to Heraklion one day to visit ancient Knossos.
How much time are you planning to devote to these side trips? Crete requires a minimum of 4 nights provided you are content to just spend time in one spot. A week is better two weeks will be about enough time to see one side of the island. The advice to fly to Crete is sound as its a very long ferry connection.
Chania has been suggested and I agree its really something special. Once you are in the old town you will find yourself stepping back into time.
Theotokopouluo Street https://www.flickr.com/photos/stanbr54/albums/72157632118491316
Ephesus is great too.
Ephesus and other historical sites within an hour of Ephesus are all wonderful to visit. I highly suggest 4 nights in Ephesus to see many of the sites. If you want a hotel recommendation, we loved the Hotel Stella in Ephesus. It is a small hotel, clean, nice breakfast, and gorgeous views of the port and the Aegean Sea (make sure to ask for this view). If you want a tour guide to take you to the historical sites, LMK and I can connect you with the person in Turkey who made those arrangements for us.
I recommend visiting Chania and the famous Samaria Gorge. But have in mind these tips: 1. Rent a car ( https://www.chaniacar.com/ ) to get to Samaria Gorge. It is much more convenient to get your rental car from Chania and after crossing Samaria Gorge to get the Ferry from Agia Roumeli to Sougia and then a bus back to your car at Omalos (Xyloskalo), - the place you parked the rental car at the entrance of the Samaria Gorge-. 2…We recommend going to the Gorge entrance (Xyloskalo ) as early as possible (6-7 A.M.). You will avoid the tourist crowds, especially in July – August, you will have plenty of time for taking photographs and you will have plenty of time at the various stops that are available through the Samaria Gorge. 3…Visit the website www.Samaria.gr to verify that it is open. Normally the Gorge is open from May till October, with some mild changes every year depending on the presence of water and snow inside the gorge that alternates its difficulty. 4…Samaria Gorge has a length of 16 kilometers. The length of the Gorge is 13 kilometers and there are another 3 kilometers after the 13 Km long hike which is a road that leads you to Agia Roumeli Village. Passing Samaria Gorge is a difficult task, and is advised that people with health problems, obese people, or pregnant women have to be extremely careful with this hiking. 5…You need to have protective clothing (hats, sunglasses/sunscreen e.t.c.) and be careful of your condition as it is easy for you to get disoriented or have a mild heatstroke. Although in the Samaria Gorge there is an organized footpath you have to be careful and concentrated in order to avoid any problems. (There is a medical station in the middle of Samaria Gorge’s path, right where the old Samaria Settlement was, and trained staff inside Samaria Gorge ready to assist you and also mules if you can’t walk further.) 6…We recommend you always carry a backpack through Samaria Gorge with all the essentials. Hikers always carry with them: Sunscreen, a hat, socks, some medicine for bees and wasps bites, some extra pairs of comfy clothing, dry food and fruits and water. There are natural sources throughout Samaria Gorge where you can drink water but carrying extra water in your backpack is surely a must as hydration is a major factor for having a good time. TIP 7…Important crucial element for your hiking is comfy anatomic hiking boots. It is recommended to avoid sporty shoes. We believe the excellent ankle protection of hiking boots are really paramount here.8… Because many of us are not well trained, we may be exhausted and have swollen muscles and feet. This may continue for a few days which means that you will not be fully active for the next few days. We recommend that you visit Samaria Gorge on the very last days of your holidays.
It looks like Ephesus is on the west coast of Turkey. Why would you only go to one city in Turkey and the rest of your trip in Greece?
If you are not worried about the cost, just search for plane tickets from your nearest airport, to Chania or Heraklion in Crete. On the way to Chania or Heraklion you will chance planes in Athens.
Or spend at least a night close enough to Piraeus and take an overnight ferry. I took an overnight ferry to Crete, on Minoan lines, in October 2018. I was only in Crete for 3 days and 2 nights. I would have been as happy if I has gone to western Greece and skipped Crete. 6 days in Crete might be enough time if you pick and choose what you want to see and what you want to acquiesce to skipping. I would have liked the gorge. I didn't make time for it. Don't pay attention to opinions that make it seem like you should only go to Crete if you spend 1-2 weeks or more seeing half or all of the island comprehensively.