We're trying to decide whether to combine a trip to Greece and Turkey or to plan two separate trips. We're planning for next spring (probably April), have 3-4 weeks, and like a fairly leisurely pace (2-3 nights at each site) exploring cities, smaller towns, and museums--especially archeological sites. If it's one or the other we'll probably travel to Greece first. Thanks for your thoughts!
Personally I would try to do both, especially if archaeological are big on your list. It is relatively easy to go to Turkey via some Greek islands (although I bet it could be more difficult around April). If possible, this would lend you many impressive sights along the western coast, be it small towns, ruins from many ages, and access deeper into Turkey, such as Cappadocia (which might require more time), or heading up to somewhere like Istanbul.
I will be heading to both countries later this month, and have seen that it is quite simple to link them up, and both countries have an immaculate amount to see and do.
It would depend on where you want to go and how you get there. Ferry travel is convenient but can be slow, especially if you're travelling from one country to another which might require an extra stop overnight to make the connection as the ferries into Turkey don't run often, especially in April. The ferry routes in and out of Turkey are limited to 5 port towns and Istanbul, and there are only a few Greek islands with direct connections to one or more of these towns. These islands are Lesvos, Chios, Samos, Kos and Rhodes. The corresponding Turkish port towns are Ayvalik, Cesme, Kusadasi, Bodrum, Marmaris and Fethiye.
Yu could also possibly take advantage of Aegean Airlines' promotional fares when they're released sometime around the end of the year you can fly very economically from Athens to one of the islands close to Turkey (last year the tickets were 10 euro plus taxes), catch the local ferry to one of those port towns and save a couple of days' travel time. You can also use this method in reverse to return to Athens if that's where you have to return for your flight home. Be advised that there are no island-to-island Aegean Airlines flights, they all return to Athens first for a plane change.
It will all depend somewhat on the route you take and the connections available from the Greek islands that are the departure points for Turkey. For example, you could plan a route that would take you to Samos, and catch the ferry across to Kusadasi for a visit to amazing Ephesus. This is a very popular route. Samos can be reached by ferry from Mykonos and Ikaria. Or you can take a ferry from Crete to Rhodes or Kos, then another ferry to Bodrum, Marmaris or Fethiye. It just depends on which Greek islands you intend to visit.
Here's a possible itinerary: Fly from Athens to Rhodes, take the ferry across to Fethiye, make your way north to Kusadasi by bus to see Ephesus and anything else in Turkey you're interested in, then catch a ferry to one of the Greek islands mentioned above to begin your island hopping back to Athens. That or fly back to Athens if you've finished your holiday.
I will say that trying to do all this in 3-4 weeks is rushing it. You really aren't giving yourselves enough time to enjoy what are two of the most interesting and fun countries to visit in Europe. If you can't come up with more time I stongly suggest you just stick to one country and save the other for another trip.
I would plan to visit each country on separate trips. I have planned trips where I selected too much to see in a limited time. I have planned trips where I allowed more time than I wanted for each stop and found those trips to be more enjoyable.
We all tend to plan too much because we never know how much time to allow for travel between sights, how much time to allow sleep, how much time to all for meals and all the other chores. Surprising how much more time it takes to do it than we planned for.
Thanks Steven, Lee, and Carl!
I think you're right about concentrating on just one country for now. Because of the distances between sites it could get expensive and time consuming to fly from one area to another to make an itinerary work. I'm leaning towards just concentrating on a plan for Greece in mid-to-late April (keeping in mind the dates for Greek Easter) and then Turkey on a future trip. We're considering easyCruise for an overview of some of the islands (Classical Greece) and a flight from Athens to Santorini as well. It's wonderful to have so many travel options but it takes awhile to sort through the info to make the best plan. I appreciate your advice.
Sharon, I also am planning a trip next summer. I'm going to France, but from there I want to go to Greece and Turkey . I've always done multiple countries in 4-6 weeks and have never had regrets, 2-3 niights in each place. Last time we went to easthern europe, loved Croatia and the dalmation coast. Someday I hope to go back and spend more time, but there's so much of the world to see, so here I go again planning on several countries. I always think, I might not get back to europe, health, money whatever, so I want to see all I can see.
Sharon-Go to both Greece and Turkey! My family of four (kids ages 10 and 17) went in June to both. We spent 2 nights in Athens, 1 on overnight ferry to Santorini, 2 nights in Oia there, 1 in Mykonos, and then 1 night in Selcuk/Ephesus and flew to Istanbul for 2 nights before flying home.
Yes, it was quick and I wish we'd had more time, but we didn't. For us, it was either go to Turkey for 3 nights or not at all. No way, being so close, could I pass up the chance to see Turkey. I am so glad we did. Remember, Rick always ended his trips in Turkey-there's a reason for that! We packed a lot in and loved it. We relaxed on ferries and islands, saw Ephesus and great sights in Istanbul. You have so much more time! While you might return someday to Turkey, you never know what life has in store for you. It's a beautiful country, the people are the friendliest anywhere, you get to experience a Muslim culture, and there's soo much history! For what it's worth, I vote for both!