We have never been to Greece, we're going to 10 days in Italy, 10 in Greece and 10 in Turkey. Any suggestions on Greek itinerary?
Will you be returning to Greece or Italy after Turkey?
I will be going to Italy for convention for 10 days, in August , then am trying to plan my trip. I thought I would go to Greece first, then to Turkey and fly home out of Istanbul. Unless anyone has a better suggestion.....
There are 5 Greek islands from which you can enter Turkey, Rhodes, Kos, Samos, Chios and Lesvos. The Greek ferry system being what it is, you first need to determine where in Turkey you want to start so you know which Greek island will be your last before you enter Turkey. If you're interested in Fethiye, Bodrum or Marmaris in the south you can get to these easiest from Rhodes, and you can get to Rhodes from several Greek islands, including Crete, Kos and Santorini, although not necessarily on a daily basis. That will depend on when you go. The ferry schedules for Greek island hopping can be found on www.gtp.gr and www.openseas.gr when they've been finalized. Ferries from Greece to Turkey can be found here: http://www.feribot.net/feribot/?lang=en.
A sample itinerary could be Athens>Santorni>Crete>Rhodes, then into Turkey at Bodrum. From Bodrum you would make your way north, stopping wherever your plans take you. I recommend stopping at Selcuk to see the ruins at Ephesus.
A different Itinerary would be Athens>Santorini>Paros>Mykonos>Samos, then into Turkey at Kusadasi, which is close to Ephesus.
Whick islands, since I have never been there would you recommend going to on way to getting to turkey? Yes the entance point I would want to be near Ephesus.
I know need a visa. If we entered into Turkey at one of these points, do you get the visa there?
Yes, you will get a 90-day visa upon entry at any of these entry "gates". The charge is USD $20 or 15 euro.
The entry gate nearest Ephesus is through Kudadasi, and the Greek island nearest Kusadasi is Samos.
We did 11 days in Greece and this was our itinerary:
Day 1: Arrive in Athens and fly to Mykonos
Day 1 - 3: Mykonos
Day 3: Ferry from Mykonos to Santorini
Day 3 - 7: Santorini (Oia)
Day 7: Fly back into Athens, rent a car and drive to Meteora to stay one night. Explore monasteries that night via car and then visited 3 of them the next day.
Day 8: Drive back to Athens
Day 11: Fly back into Philadelphia
Sounds tiresome, but I never felt overwhelmed. We're in our early 20s and had our 8-year old son with us as well.
Enjoy Greece - we loved it.
I would recommend Lee's Itinerary #2 because of time of year ... VERY hot in Rhodes.. and also, Longer distances to cover & Crete is such a big island!! With the other route, the ferries are daily, so if you wanted to vary it (i.e., stay a day longer in Paros, so cut the Mykonos stay shorter). And the last island Samos, will be less crowded -- relatively anyway -- during the August crush. A good budget hotel in Vathy (Samos town) is Hot. Pythagoras, about 200 yards LEft of dock as u get off ferry... a little beach right nearby too.
And here's a tip for the best Santorini experience; the isle is most crowded when a BUNCH of cruise ships dock. Here is a schedule for cruise dockings there, so u will know what days to avoid, if possible (or at least go to the beach instead of Fira town).
Most crowded when the cruise ships dock, yes, but there are so many people in Greece and especially on the islands in August anyway that the difference is really negligible.