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Does anyone ever do back-to-back Turkey then Greece "best of" tours?

We are signed up for the Best of Turkey tour in Sept. 2023. After that ends, we had planned to do some island-hopping and touring around Greece on our own. We are starting to wonder if it would make more sense to just sign up for the Best of Greece tour. We've been on a Best of Europe tour, so we feel good about knowing what to expect from a Rick Steves tour experience, in general. It's a good fit for our personalities and travel styles. But we are wondering if the benefits of having everything all lined up for us would be outweighed by tour burnout. Is that a thing? Would love any wisdom from this group as we decide what to do. Thanks!

Posted by
2450 posts

Hello Deborah, I have been on both these RS tours, both excellent, but in different years. I have also done back-to-back RS tours, including Turkey and Greece, but paired with other counties. For me, back-to-back tours have worked out well and not “gotten old”, of course others may have other experiences. I will share a couple of thoughts:
1. I would be sure to have a few free days between the tours, in one of the tour countries, or maybe someplace else, if time and travel logistics allow.
2. The RS Turkey tour spends very little time in Istanbul, which is a huge world-class city, with many outstanding sites and neighborhoods to explore. The tour time in Istanbul is also quite rushed. So, my strong suggestion would be to spend a few extra days in Istanbul, before, or maybe after, the Turkey tour.
3. It’s nice to add an island or two to your visit to Greece, if time and funds allow. I spent 3 nights each on Santorini and Naxos, both of which I enjoyed a lot, although much of Santorini is very touristy, largely due to cruise ships and passengers, which is not true on Naxos, which has a port for ferries only, not cruise ships. Crete sounds very, very interesting, but would require more time to explore, I think.
Whatever you decide to do, enjoy it all!

Posted by
134 posts

I was on the Greece tour in April. Two people joined us from the Turkey tour. Although they loved the Turkey tour they were completely exhausted! They said they probably would not do that again. It could be because they were both very active tours, and I don’t think they had much time at all between the them.

Posted by
4121 posts

I agree with the suggestion above to spend additional time in Istanbul. I actually did the Best of Istanbul and Best of Turkey back to back and loved the combination!

Although there is some overlap in Istanbul, the tours are very different. And for those things in common, it was hard to complain about a 2nd Bosphorus cruise or a second visit to the Hagia Sophia. Generally, the city sights were so different from the country sights, that they complemented each other well.

Posted by
31 posts

Thank you very much Larry, Anne, and CWsocial! I really appreciate your shared wisdom. As it turns out, all the RS Best of Greece late Fall tours are sold out except for the one that begins the very day our Turkey tour ends. Based on your comments, we realize that would be too rushed. Instead, we are going to make our way over to Athens via a couple island stops (probably Rhodes, Santorini, and Naxos) and then do the RS Greece itinerary but at our own pace. Thanks again for helping us weigh the factors and come up with a decision that's right for us!

Posted by
32 posts

Check back with us in May! We are doing the Best of Greece tour followed by the Best of Turkey tour this spring. They are both active tours, but we are seasoned RS travelers, so we think we will be okay. We did back to back-to-back RS tours last year and did fine, so that is our preferred way to travel now. Something good that came from Covid!

Posted by
217 posts

Touring Greece on your own is very easy. You might want to leave Turkey at Kusadasi, take the ferry to Samos and relax on that island for a day or two (IMHO, Pythagoria best plus near airport). Most island flights in any direction are from/to Athens. Pelopponese any easy drive from Athens airport. In 2018, we did 2+ weeks in Greece before the Turkey tour with an early day in Istanbul. Ferried to Samos and more time in Athens area before flight home.

Posted by
1071 posts

That’s a wise choice, Deborah. I did the Greece tour last year and I was exhausted! It was very active and out of curiosity, I looked at the activity level of both tours on the website -Greece is about 75% on the scale while Turkey is 100%! After the Greece tour, we spent 4 nights in Mykonos followed by another 4 nights in Santorini and we really needed the time to relax. I think doing the tour on your own will be fine and you can take your time. Hopefully, you’ll be able to find some local guides for the ancient sites as I think a knowledgeable guide will help enhance your experience.