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9 Days Athens to Istanbul

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Hey! Thanks in advance for and help and advice!!

After 2 weeks in Spain, I'll be meeting my companion in Athens in late March. We'll have 10 days to make it to Istanbul, for our return flight home. This will be my first time in ANY of these places!

We pretty much have two options: Do Athens for a few days, then Santorini for a few, and then Istanbul. Finding information on traveling from Santorini to Istanbul (other than by air) is seemingly difficult. For me, the idea of getting around via ferry in between 2 major, historical and vivid cities, sounds delightful, however it sounds like we'll be on those ferries a lot.

The other option is renting a car while in Athens, and taking our time road tripping to Istanbul as we please. Is it an issue to rent a car in Greece, and return in Turkey? It doesn't seem like it on the interwebs, but I'm still curious. I still get my two awesome cities, and the coastline of Greece, mixed in with some of the other sites northbound, but will I be stuck in the car the whole time? We've also considered adding Mikonos, to give me some island flare.

Thoughts? Ideas? Wisdom!? I feel like option 1 doesn't require a car, option 2 definitely does but saves significantly on ferry costs.

Thanks again!!

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