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Athens to Istanbul

I have round trip air from SFO to Athens for a 10 day vacation. I'm hoping to spend a couple days in Athens and a few in Santorini. Do you think a quick trip by plane to Istanbul for about 3 days is doable?

Posted by
3681 posts

Is that 10 days on the ground? So day #1 is the day you arrive in Athens and day #11 is the day you fly back home? Are you counting days or nights? Typically 2 nights in a place equals 1 day due to the time needed to get there and get settled, then to leave there for the next place. No matter how you count it, it's not much time.

You can fly RT from Athens to Santorini. You can fly RT from Athens to Istanbul. You cannot fly directly between Santorini and Istanbul. You need a visa to go to Istanbul, and the currency is Turkish lira, not Euros. You can get the visa online.

If I remember right, you are going in September. What are you interested in seeing in Istanbul? There is so much to see there (check the RS itinerary), it would require some serious cutting to spend only 2 or 3 days there.

We were on a RS week tour of Istanbul in October. We spent an additional 4 weeks in Greece after that. If you really want to see or learn anything, I'd pick 2 places and stick with them.

One of them would be Athens and the other would be someplace that I really wanted to see or be. Three places in 10 days is just too much, I think.

Our 2 nights in Delphi with one day between for the museum and ruins was my favorite thing of the whole trip. It is a 2-3 hour bus trip each way, so the travel time isn't trivial, especially if you count waiting for the bus.

We spent 4 nights on Santorini. It is beautiful, and I guess it depends on what you go there for, but I wasn't all that impressed.

Posted by
33 posts

I was not aware of the need for a visa. Thanks! I am sticking to Greece for this trip. I'll definitely go to Delphi.

Posted by
16883 posts

The Turkish visa is not hard to get, but for a third destination in Greece on a short trip, Nafplion (buses about hourly from Bus Terminal A, which is closer to Pireus) or Delphi (buses about 4x/day from Bus Terminal B) offer some memorable sites and smaller-town atmosphere. Buses from Nafplion on to Mycenae or Epidavros run only about 3x/day (less on Sundays), so plan around their schedules.

Posted by
3696 posts

If you really want to go to Istanbul do not let the visa stop you. It simply means getting into a line at the airport in Istanbul, paying about $25 and getting a stamp. However, with only 10 days you are cutting it close... I love Nafplio and it is well worth the bus trip there, but I also love Istanbul. Most of the major sites are centrally located and you can see a lot in a few days... I paired Istanbul and Greece on a recent trip and only went to Athens and Nafplio.

Posted by
33 posts

Thanks for the tips. I really want to go to Istanbul but will have to save for next year maybe! I hear it is a magical city,