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3 days in Izmir or Samos before flying to Athens?

We are booked on RS "Turkey in 13 Days Tour":
start: Mon, June 12, 2023
end: Sat, June 24, 2023 (ends after breakfast)

We sleep in Kusadasi on Friday night (June 23), and the tour ends after breakfast on June 24. The itinerary says
"You can hop a ferry to the Greek island of Samos (where you'll find easy plane/boat connections to other islands and Athens), or take the tour bus to nearby Izmir for quick flights to Athens or Istanbul and home."

Our flight home departs Athens on Tuesday, June 27, 2023 at 13:10

So we have the following spare time:
Saturday June 24 - free after breakfast 'goodbye'
Sunday June 25 - all day
Monday June 26 - all day, need to arrive in Athens that evening

We will have already spent some time in Athens on this trip, so we don't need more time in Athens. That means we should spend some time in either Izmir or Samos for the 3 days on our own (June 24-25-26) before arriving in Athens. We definitely want to fly to Athens in afternoon June 26, to ensure we catch our flight the next day.

Some possibilities are:
1. take the RS tour bus to Izmir, spend 3 days there and fly to Athens afternoon June 26
2. go to Samos, spend 3 days there and fly to Athens afternoon June 26

We want to fly to Athens. We don't want the added complexity and/or uncertainty of any ferry or boat ride from Samos to Athens (Piraeus). So that's a factor - better connections from Samos to Athens or from Izmir to Athens (do all flights from Izmir go through Istanbul?)

We haven't checked the availability of flights yet - wanted to get some guidance first.

Posted by
1287 posts

Assuming you will already have been to Ephesus, I would spend your final 3 days on Samos. ( I was in Izmir last year and was not wowed by Izmir. I can’t imagine spending 3 days there).

There are several direct 1-hour flights from Samos to Athens and many under $75 on June 26. From Izmir, there is one direct flight to Athens departing at 7:00am
To see what’s available. see

Posted by
13 posts

Yes we will have seen Ephesus.

I had read a bit about Samos, but not much about Izmir. Now I've found dozens of pages of things to do in Samos. It looks great! So that will be our plan - see Samos and then fly from there back to Athens.