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Ferries around Greek islands

My husband and I are planning a trip to Turkey and Greece for 2016. We thought to go first to Turkey and take the last week of our trip to visit some of the Greek Islands. We thought to take a ferry from Bodrum and visit Mykonos, Santorini and Crete, but I see the the ferries take very long from one place to the next, not to mention that there are so many Ferry companies that it is very difficult to choose from.

We were wondering if it would make sense to either take a ferry that travels at night so we can sleep while going to our destination, or if it will make more sense to fly...

And of course, we are always watching the news because both Turkey and Greece have their own problems... I am still a bit nervous about visiting Turkey.

Any suggestions/tips, etc will be greatly appreciated.

Posted by
1094 posts

If you can fly then do so. It's quick and relatively inexpensive. An overnight ferry may sound romantic but some trips depending on what island can be 9 hours!

I've never been to Turkey but have been numerous times to Greece. 2010 was one of the most tumultuous years in Greece with constant demonstrations, strikes, and even a riot or two. Never had a problem then nor have we had any problems since. It's safe and most Greeks are kind, considerate and polite. Learn a few Greek words and you'll make instant friends! Don't let the media who always sensationalize everything scare you. We are booked for Greece this October . . . Athens and two islands! We can't wait!

Posted by
3064 posts

From Bodrum you will need to go to Rhodes to catch the ferry to Santorini 3 days/week. There is no overnight ferry in this direction. It arrives at Santorini around midnight. Blue Star Ferries is very reliable. From Santorini you can go south to Crete in about 2.5 hours or north to Mykonos in about 3 hours. Hellenic Seaways is the company to use for these choices from Santorini. Ferry schedules: You'll have to wait until sometime early next spring to see what might be available to you in terms of ferry schedules.

If you sign up for the Aegean Airlines and Olympic Air email newsletters you will be notified a couple of months in advance of the flights involved when they offer their deeply-discounted airfares, but there are only a small handful of interisland flights. Most require a return to Athens for a plane change.

Don't worry about Turkey. It's a wonderful country with very hospitable people. You will be welcome.

Posted by
2041 posts

Both Turkey and Greece are wonderful destinations. I wouldn't worry at all about visiting Istanbul, Cappadocia, and the western coast of Turkey. We had a great time there two years ago.

You can definitely add some Greek islands to your Turkey trip. However, with just one week left in your vacation, starting from Bodrum, I don't think you could visit all three islands you mentioned .... Mykonos, Santorini and Crete. There's just too much travel time involved, especially since you may have to start with at least one night in Rhodes. At most, you might do two of them.

And there are lots of questions that will impact your choices ... such as what time of year are you planning to visit? Are you planning to fly home from Athens or Istanbul? Whichever you choose, you'd want to arrive there at least a day before your flight, which cuts into your island time even more.

As an option, there are many beautiful Greek islands along the Turkish coast that would not require overnight ferries or connecting flights in Athens. You could get to Rhodes from Bodrum (possibly going through Marmaris) and then visit nearby islands in the Dodecanese island group (Symi, Tilos ... perhaps Lipsi or Leros). Each has its own charms, but all are much less crowded and less expensive than the "big 3" islands you mentioned. For a really special experience, from Rhodes you could fly or ferry to the tiny island of Kastellorizo, which I think is one of the most beautiful Greek islands. Here's a link to tempt you.

Have fun planning!

Posted by
16893 posts

You're on the right track with the advice above, but I don't know why Lee is sending you to Rhodes to get to Santorini. The same Blue Star ferry departing Rhodes also stops at Kos, which is closer to Bodrum. (But if you're going to spend much time at one of them, then Rhodes is a more charming town than Kos.)

Posted by
3064 posts

Laura's correct. Taking the ferry to Santorini from Kos is a better idea. It eliminates 3.5 hours of travel time. This website will show you what's available on your travel date between Kos/Rhodes and Bodrum, but don't expect to see anything for 2016 for several months, sometime after the first of the year:

Take note that there is a nominal departure fee of €4 for "Port Fees".