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Zurich to Athens or Zurich to Istanbul

Hello - my husband and I are going to Switzerland and then hooking up on a small cruise ship (yet to be found) to tour the Greek Islands. We will be starting at either Athens or Istanbul. Is it possible or practical to take a train? Thank you.

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Ideally one would fly from Zurich to those locations. Zurich to Istanbul is a 44 hour journey with three changes. But if you're feeling adventurous and have the time, the train is an option.
These two sites will give you all the details: