A combined travel package of Turkey & Greece makes a lot of sense, as not only are they located right next to each other with numerous flight & ferry connections, such a combination also offers a great opportunity to combine a wealth of cultural & historical sightseeing with some downtime relaxing on the beach, strolling through picturesque island villages and enjoying delicious cuisine.
The options to combine Turkey & Greece are limitless, as both offer so many great cities, towns, historical sites & islands to explore. If planned correctly, this can be one of the most memorable trips of your lifetime. In this post we’ve listed what we consider some of the “must see” areas in each of these beautiful countries and provided some different routes, transportation options and itinerary examples to help you figure out which Turkey and Greece travel package combination would suit you the best.
This guide will cover the following 7 main topics, to get you started in planning your Turkey Greece wish list:
- Turkey highlights
- Greece highlights
- Ferry connections (international & domestic)
- Flight connections (international & domestic)
- Example itineraries
- When is best to visit Turkey & Greece
- Hotel recommendations
Turkey is home to numerous cultures and besides it’s many historical sites it also offers some amazing natural beauties. For more in-depth information about its history and regions, visit this page (Turkey basics) or this page (Regions of Turkey). If this will be your first visit to Turkey, then we highly recommend at least 08-09 days so as to cover the major highlights of Istanbul, Cappadocia, Ephesus & Pamukkale.
Should you have more time available we also then recommend the beautiful Mediterranean seaside area of Antalya. If you have visited Turkey before and are wanting to do something different this time around, then some interesting options would be to do a gulet cruise along some stunning bays and seaside towns or combine Mt Nemrut, Sanliurfa, Harran & Mardin in the South East region or head up North East to the Black Sea region.
Whether you love historical sites, waterfalls & lakes, seaside towns & villages, hiking, skiing, sailing, etc, Turkey has something to offer for everyone.
Generally when people think of Greece, they tend to focus primarily on Athens and the two most popular islands of Mykonos & Santorini, however Greece is sooo much more than just these.
The mainland area has a treasure trove of quaint villages and historical sites to explore, such as Naphlion, Delphi, Olympia, Meteora to name just a few. There are numerous multi-day coach tours (from 02 to 07 days) that cover the most significant historical and cultural highlights of the mainland, or alternatively the option to hire a rental car and do a self-drive journey with freedom to stop and soak in the local flavor as you go along.
Crete is the largest island of Greece and well worth a visit. If you have only a few days then the main city of Heraklion is a must, with the nearby Palace of Knossos to explore. If you have a longer period of time then Heraklion & Chania would be a great option or consider a 07-day self-drive itinerary that covers numerous highlights, villages and seaside towns of Crete.
Other great favourites are the islands of Rhodes, Kos, Paros & Naxos. If you are really limited in time and just want a brief overview of some of the major islands, then consider a 04-night Greek Island Cruise which stops in Mykonos, Patmos, Santorini, Heraklion & Rhodes.
Turkey Greece Ferry Connections
Below is a list of the main ferry connections between Turkey & Greece. These operate on a daily basis during summer months (late April to mid October). During winter season there may only be 01-02 departures a week. In order to make this more fun we’ve created an infographic that you find in this post.
|Ayvalik||Lesvos (Mytillini)||1.5 hours|
NOTE:During peak summer months, there are also ferry connectioins from Marmaris to Symi.
Turkey Greece Airline Routes
You can pretty much connect from anywhere in Turkey to anywhere in Greece by flight – either by direct flight or in some cases via Istanbul or via Athens. The most popular / frequently used routes are as follows:
|Istanbul||Athens||numerous flights on a daily basis, year round|
|Istanbul||Mykonos||on a daily basis year round|
|Istanbul||Santorini (via Athens)||on a daily basis year round|
|Izmir||Mykonos||summer 4-5 times a week, winter 2-3 times a week|
|Izmir||Santorini (via Athens)||summer 4-5 times a week, winter 2-3 times a week|
Domestic Ferry & Flight Connections
Turkey: Here there are numerous airlines (such as Turkish Airlines, Pegasus, SunExpress, AtlasJet, OnurAir) that operate daily flight connections to all points within Turkey. There is also a high quality & reliable intercity bus network in Turkey, for those that would prefer to travel overland instead.
Greece: Aegean Air & Olympic Air are the main two carriers operating flights between Athens, Thessaloniki and the islands. Then most popular method of travel to & between the islands is of course by ferry, with most routes now operated by high speed vessels. Most routes operate year round, however during winter months (November to March) ferries connecting Mykonos-Santorini and Santorini-Heraklion do NOT operate, during winter months you would need to use flight via Athens if wanting to combine one or more of these islands.
Example Turkey Greece Itineraries
Here are a few examples of our most requested Turkey Greece combination travel packages. You are of course not limited to just these, as it is possible for us to customize an itinerary that would suit your travel month, duration & where you would most like to visit in each country.
- 08 days covering Istanbul, Santorini & Athens
- 10 days covering Istanbul, Mykonos, Santorini & Athens
- 10 days covering Athens, Santorini, Istanbul & Cappadocia
- 14 days covering Istanbul, Cappadocia, Ephesus, Pamukkale, Mykonos, Santorini & Athens
- 16 days covering same areas as the 14 day option with addition of Delphi & Meteora
When to visit Turkey & Greece
April through October are the best months for combining Turkey & Greece. July & August are the hottest months in both countries. July through September are peak season months in Greece. During winter months of November through March, you can expect cold, windy and rainy days. Snow in areas such as Istanbul and Cappadocia. Ferry connections in Greece become less frequent, with routes such as Mykonos-Santorini not operating during winter months (alternative to connect these two islands is then by flight via Athens).
Turkey : Try to avoid being in Istanbul over the two main national holidays in Turkey : Ramadan Bayrami (celebrating the end of the fasting period) & Kurban Bayrami (feast of the sacrifice). The reason for this is that a number of historical sights in Istanbul are closed over these dates (either for just the first 1-2 days of the national holiday or for the duration of the holiday). The dates for these change each area as they are based on a lunar calendar. For this current year, these two holidays will fall on 24-26 May 2020 and 31 July to 03 August 2020. Other than these two major national holidays, all museums and historical sights are pretty much open on a daily basis year round (Grand Bazaar closed every Sunday / Topkapi Palace closed every Tuesday).
Greece : The main national holidays to look out for are the following, as over these most museums, historical sights, stores & restaurants are closed. Greek Orthodox Easter Sunday 19 April 2020 (date differs from year to year) / Christmas period 25-26 December / New year Day 01 Jan.
Here is a list of the hotels we more frequently use for our clients. We, and you, are of course not limited to only these properties, as there are thousands more to choose from which we can use to make sure that you enjoy your stay and get a good nights sleep after a day out & about. It would be impossible to list all hotels throughout Turkey & Greece, so for general information purposes the list currently only covers the most requested areas and islands.
Located in the historical area:
Located in Goreme or Urgup:
Town or seaside locations:
the list goes on and on.
Town or cliff side, depending on if client wishes for the famous caldera-volcano sea view or not:
- El Greco Hotel
- The Majestic Hotel
- Rocabella Santorini
- Regina Mare
- Kokkinos Villas
- On the Rocks
and once again the list is too numerous to fully list in this short blog post.
NOTE: During peak summer months, hotel accommodation on the islands tends to sell out well in advance, limiting options to what might still be available – so if planning to travel in Greece during peak months of late June through September it is recommended to plan & book well in advance.
Frequently asked questions
How much time do I need for visiting Turkey & Greece ?
This depends very much on you personally, based on where you wish to visit in each country and how many days you have for your trip. On average, we recommend to stay at least 02 nights each in major areas like Istanbul, Cappadocia, Athens & any Greek Island. You can then extend your duration if you wish to add additional tours/excursions such as Delphi or Saronic Island cruise etc. If wish to also include parts of Mainland Greece then another 2-3-4 nights.
Most first time travellers to Turkey & Greece generally wish to cover the major highlights of Istanbul – Cappadocia – Pamukkale – Ephesus – Mykonos – Santorini – Athens, for this we recommend duration of 14 days / 13 nights. We have a number of route & duration options on our website, almost all of which can then be customized according to your specific needs & requirements.
Which route/itinerary is most suitable for elderly people?
The answer to this very much depends on your physically ability / any existing medical issues. If you have difficulty in walking for 2+ hours at a time, and/or if you have problems with walking over uneven surfaces, then areas like Cappadocia, Ephesus & Pamukkale might not be suitable for you due to the nature of the archaeological sites at each. If these are however on your must do list, alternative would be to consider private day tours (instead of regular group day tours) so that the guide can then take you along more at your own pace.
For Santorini Island, do keep in mind that hotels with the famous caldera-volcano view are 99% of the time located on the cliff edge, this means 100’s of stairs up & down each time you need to reach your room. So be sure to note any physical limitations / medical issues when making your request, so that your travel provider can take these into consideration when making suggestions and preparing your route.
Do I need a visa for Turkey / Do I need a visa for Greece?
Turkey : Please refer to the official online E-Visa website for Turkey ( evisa.gov.tr/en/apply/ ), as most nationalities can very easily obtain an online E-Visa for Turkey in just a few minutes.
Some restricted nationalities might be required to meet additional criteria to obtain an E-Visa for Turkey. For example Indian passport holders are required to also hold a ticket proving their intention to depart from Turkey + proof of hotel reservations + have in their passports a valid visa or valid residence permit from one of the Schengen Countries, USA, UK or Ireland.
Greece : Please refer to the following page which lists who does / who does not require Schengen Visa for entry to Greece (https://www.schengenvisainfo.com/who-needs-schengen-visa/) . Do please also be sure to double check BEFORE your travel with the nearest Greek Embassy or Consulate in your country of residence as visa rules & regulations can change at any time without prior notice.
**The visa information provided above is intended as a guideline only, we cannot be held responsible for being refused entry to any country. It is wise to always consult the nearest embassy / consulate in your country of residence for up to date information.
Should I consider combining Turkey & Greece with nearby countries such as Israel, Egypt or Jordan?
If you have the time available, then it would be a great idea to combine Turkey and Greece with another destination such as Israel, Egypt or Jordan. There are frequent daily flights connecting these 05 countries and by doing so would save you from having to fly out to the region again (on long haul flights) in the future. If you do not have time to cover everything in each country, we can customize a travel itinerary to suit your duration by including only the very major points in each.
Turkey & Greece Tours / Travel packages from India?
For those travelling from India, we understand that dietary requirements can sometimes be an issue – such as the need for vegetarian meals and/or India meals. Vegetarian meals are available throughout Turkey and Greece. Indian cuisine is available in certain cities/areas, such as Istanbul, Cappadocia, Athens and we can certainly point you in the right direction / assist accordingly. Other than this, travellers from India tend to very much enjoy their experience in both these countries.
International flights between India, Turkey & Greece can be arranged, so long as you let us know the airport in India that you wish to fly out from. Indian passport holders require a valid Schengen Visa for visiting Greece. Once you have a valid Schengen Visa in your passports you can then obtain E-Visa for Turkey online through the official Turkey E-Visa website.
What is the price range for a Turkey Greece Travel Packages for 2020?
Price can vary greatly depending on the following factors : duration of your trip / category of hotel accommodation / month of travel / number of areas visited in each country / etc. In Greece, the peak season months of July through September tend to have the highest price tag, especially when visiting incredibly popular islands such as Mykonos & Santorini.
Hotels are also not equal in quality and cost, for example a 3* hotel can range anywhere from 30Euro to 500Euro per night, depending on its location, quality and month of travel. Airfares can also range widely from date to date. To give you a very approximate “starting from point”, when using standard 3* hotels in low-medium season, you would be looking at package rate starting from around 1000Euro+ per person for an 08-day Istanbul, Santorni & Athens travel package versus 1650Euro+ per person for a 14-day option. Higher if considering 4* or 5* hotels and if your travel dates fall during peak season months.
Photo credits and sources
Thanks to photographers below who contribute to Unsplash with their magnificent photos:
The Blue Mosque, Istanbul Photo by Adli Wahid on Unsplash
Mykonos, Greece Photo by Alex Korolkoff on Unsplash
Pamukkale, Denizli Photo by Daniela Cuevas on Unsplash
Maiden Tower, Istanbul Photo by Meriç Dağlı on Unsplash
Cappadocia, Nevsehir Photo by Daniil Vnoutchkov on Unsplash
Delphi, Greece Photo by DiChatz on Unsplash
Celsus Library Photo by jennifer Martin on Unsplash
Meteora Photo by Vangelis Batsikostas on Unsplash
Istanbul Bazaar Photo by Wei Pan on Unsplash
Santorini Photo by Dan Wechter on Unsplash
Heraklion Photo by Yuliya Kosolapova on Unsplash
Crete Photo by Bayo Adegunloye on Unsplash