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Around the Eastern Aegean, from Athens to Istanbul

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Fly into: Athens Fly out of: Istanbul
Total Duration: 12 days

Many travelers tend to bypass the islands of the Northeastern Aegean in favor of glitzy party places like Mykonos and Santorini. They don't know what they're missing. The seductive islands hugging the coast of Asia Minor capture the essence of Hellenic culture and history, as well as provide an easy gateway to Turkish destinations such as the ancient Roman city of Ephesus.

    This Trip's Top Experiences:

  • Natural Beauty
  • Archaeology
  • Food and Wine
  • Beaches
  • History
Days 1-2
Pierdelune/Shutterstock

1 Athens

A Classical Act

  • Explore the Acropolis, the great emblem of classical Greece which looms high over the city
  • Follow in the footsteps of Socrates and Plato with a stroll through the ancient Agora
  • Visit Greece's oldest private museum, the Benaki Museum, which showcases everything from ancient sculpture to pistols owned by Lord Byron
  • Museums
  • Archaeology
  • History
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Days 3-4
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Bibi Saint-Pol/wikipedia.org

2 Lesbos

Garden of the Empire

  • In the capital of Mytilini, wander through Ermou, the main bazaar street
  • Visit the birthplace of the poet Sappho, who was dubbed the "Tenth Muse" by Plato
  • See the exceptionally pretty fishing village of Skala Sikaminias, a miniature gem
  • Natural Beauty
  • Archaeology
  • Shopping
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Days 5-6
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cunfek/istockphoto

3 Chios

Homer's Hometown

  • In Chios town, explore the bazaar district as well as the old quarter, which was built by the Byzantines
  • The island's most important monastery is the 11th-century Nea Moni, almost hidden among olive groves
  • Explore Pirgi, the largest, and some would say maddest, of the mastic villages
  • Shopping
  • Archaeology
  • Natural Beauty
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Days 7-8
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4 Samos

Splendid Ruins

  • The Archaeological Museum holds the largest freestanding sculpture surviving from ancient Greece
  • Pythagorio is home to Heraion, one of the Seven Wonders of the Ancient World, and an underground aqueduct
  • The fishing village of Kokkari is one of the most appealing spots on the island
  • Archaeology
  • Natural Beauty
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Days 9-10
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europeexpert /Fodors.com member

5 Ephesus

Walk in the Footsteps of Alexander the Great

  • Explore some of the greatest Roman ruins in the world at Ephesus, where you can see the Library of Celsus and ruins of temples, houses, and shops
  • Many of the treasures from Ephesus ended up in the British Museum, but some can be seen at the nearby Ephesus Museum
  • Wander through Sirince, one of the wealthiest and prettiest villages in Turkey
  • Archaeology
  • Natural Beauty
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Days 11-12
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Maksym Gorpenyuk/Shutterstock

6 Istanbul

Crossroads of the Ancient World

  • See Aya Sofya, the greatest work of Byzantine architecture
  • The iconic Blue Mosque is covered in 20,000 shimmering tiles
  • Explore the sprawling Topkapi Palace, which is crammed with priceless treasures
  • Nightlife
  • Shopping
  • Architecture
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