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Turkey Greece experts!

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So just realized my trip to Turkey and Greece is 4 months away and I haven't booked anything but my airfare to Europe.!

Taking a second look at my itinerary, I am worried I am shorting myself days in places.

I really want to spend 5 full days in Istanbul. The rest, I'm not so sure.

I had wanted to do Crete - but with only 4 days for Crete and the logistical issues I am wondering if I should skip it? The BF wants to do Santorini for sure. Is two full days okay there? Can we see the best of Athens in one full, action packed day? (we are pretty active so no worries there). If we skip Crete, what would be a suggested alternative on the mainland or island? A little pool time is nice for the BF, but we aren't looking for days of lounging on the beach - more interested in getting a "taste" of Greece and like history, charm and variety.

As for Turkey - is Ephesus doable as a day trip from Istanbul? Or maybe just an overnight leaving our stuff in Istanbul. I was assuming Cappadoccia would need 3 FULL days (no travel days). Want enough time for a balloon ride too. Would it be criminal to skip Ephesus to spend more time elsewhere?

We have about 19.5 days total for the whole trip. Im okay with spending a little extra flying if it makes the trip more efficient but BF will not fly on a small plane so that option is out.

I love the tips, opinions and ideas from the forum so appreciate any feedback even if it is negative :) . Thank you in advacne.

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