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Greece or Turkey

My wife and I are looking at going to Greece or Turkey in March. Last year in Italy we traveled on the Trains and Buses. Which country has a good transportation system for getting from one town to the next. Not really sure wich country to go to from what i have read and seen, we would really enjoy both. Any Suggestions?

Posted by
5297 posts

Greece can really be looked at as Mainland sights and then The Islands. In March, most of the Islands will still be shut down and it really is not beach weather anyway. That said, there is much to do on the mainland and the Peloponnese, with the option to fly to some of the main islands like Santorini or Crete. Transportation will mainly be by Bus, ferries will be on limited schedule, so flying to the islands would be best. Turkey will also be in low season, anymore, most people recommend flying from Istanbul to the sights in the south and east, otherwise you might be looking at overnight bus trips. In both countries Rail travel is limited to a few lines, not at all like Italy.

Posted by
2876 posts

Whether you choose Greece or Turkey - and both are great - you should consider renting a car. Neither country has very good rail or bus service. Both are more driveable than you might think, as long as you don't go into the large cities.

Posted by
2568 posts

Since you say you are just "looking at" this trip for March, my advice -- based on seven extensive trips to Greece since 1999 is -- stop looking at March, and instead think about at least late April or May. May-June is the ideal time for Greece -- rainy season over, things are open, ferry schedules more frequent, but (unlike Italy) the crowds do not arrive until nearly July.

Greece has an excellent mainland bus system, a ferry system between islands that is VERY reasonable ( because the govt. must subsidize it, to serve island citizens). I have traveled WIDELY without a car. And if you want a car in a large island, like Crete, you can rent economicallly for a few days off=season.

Which country you prefer really depends on your interest in history, cultures, food, etc. We can't decide this for you. I recommend for an OVERVIEW, looking at the excellent HK "Eyewitness" Guides.. for Greece there is "Eyewitness: The Greek Islands (incl. athens) and Eyewitness: The Greek Mainland. YOu can find them at most large public libraries. Do more homework and get back to us.

BTW, you will find Greece at least 1/3 cheaper than Italy, Turkey even more so ... but Greece, I feel has more resonance for Those of us in Western World. PLUS Turkey cruelly invaded and almost enslaved Greece for 600-900 years (depending on which area), so I'm not so favorablly inclined that way.

Posted by
1358 posts

Depends on your interests. Google both countries by searching for 'Greece sights' and 'Turkey sights'. Read all you can about each one and then decide.

Posted by
7 posts

My wife and I went to Greece (Milos and the mainland) in June and to southern Turkey in August. Both were really great with interesting history, great food, natural beauty, good snorkling and nice, helpful people. We used a combination of public transportation and rental cars. Easy to get around either way; the more rural, the better a car works. Turkey was definately cheaper and, being so big, has a lot more diversity. You can't go wrong either place.

Posted by
11450 posts

I think Janet made the best point, weather in March is not nice, and you miss out by not enjoying the beautiful coastline( no matter which one you choose) .

Posted by
116 posts

Turkey has an excellent transportation system for getting from one town to the next. By land, sea, or air you can get around safely, easily and cheaply in Turkey. The transportation systems are easy to negotiate, if you have questions there are many travel agents and local tourist information to point the way. I own most of the guidebooks and read them before I travel, but only take Lonely Planet Turkey and Rick Steves Istanbul with me. Their bus system is very modern and well run--as good as any in Europe. Within towns or to nearby cities the dolmuses are handy and efficient. They are small buses/large vans that whisk you from place to place. For long distances there are many good budget airlines, and where major towns meet the sea there are usually boats, ships, or ferries (but in March this will be limited). I haven't traveled the trains, but you can find out about them (and lots of other great advice) on this highly recommended website: http://www.turkeytravelplanner.com/

Posted by
990 posts

I agree that March is not the best time for travel to this region of the world, at least if you are interested in beaches. The Greek islands in particular would be a problem because many of the ferries either don't run in the off season or run at greatly reduced schedules. Cappadocia in Turkey would also be less enjoyable because it's still likely to be cold for hiking and a dawn hot air balloon ride might be really too chilly to enjoy.

If you are going to go in March, then Turkey would get my vote--since beaches and islands are probably a no-go, you will be spending more of your time in the cities. Istanbul is hands down a more interesting and varied city than Athens--and its signature tulips are in bloom! Also, Ankara is worth a visit any time of the year, with its superb Museum of Anatolian history and the Ataturk Memorial. And Ephesus is one of the best preserved Roman cities anywhere, and is frankly more enjoyable in March than in the sweltering, crowded summer months.

Turkey is much cheaper than Greece--probably about two thirds the cost on average. Both have good internal transportation--though Turkey has the edge on discount airlines. Busses are better generally than trains in both places, though there are a few routes where good trains exist.

Posted by
12 posts

I can't speak for Greece but the transport network in Turkey (especially the buses) is very developed. I took an overnight train from Istanbul to Ankara which was excellent. Much cheaper than a hotel and I had my own compartment. I took a bus from Ankara to Goreme, Cappadocia which was enjoyable.

There are hundreds of bus companies so the prices are kept down. The bus staff serves snacks and tea, soda, etc throughout the ride.

Of course the further you get east, then the more rural the country gets, so the buses aren't as frequent. Hope this helps.