After a two week tour of Turkey, would like to go to one of these islands to explore and enjoy the beach. We are a middle aged couple looking for quaint towns, beautiful nature. Not interested in night clubs, crowds or big cities. Advice appreciated.
If you're moving into Greece after Turkey it makes sense to go to Crete, which can be reached by sea from Rhodes, and Rhodes from Bodrum or Marmaris. If you need to return to Istanbul then just go to Rhodes or Cyprus.
In So. Crete I enjoyed Agia Galini and Matala. In NW Crete be sure to go to Chania. Western Crete is beautiful and much-less developed than Eastern Crete.
We were in Cyprus last summer. From Turkey, you can get ferries into Famagusta or fly into Ercan (this is the Northern part of the island that is controlled by Turkey). Famagusta is a neat old town that is worth visiting. You can then cross into Cyprus proper and visit Nicosia, Limassol and the beaches. You just need to be aware that a lot of the beaches in Cyprus are overrun with N European tourists coming on charter flights - this may also be true for Crete. Hence, you may not get the peace and quite you want at the beach. There are also some neat old churches that are worth visiting in the Trodos mountains. Lastly, getting around the southern part is easy with a rental car.