Istanbul and Greek Isles

Apr 7th, 2014, 09:30 PM
Original Poster
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Istanbul and Greek Isles

I am planning a trip in early September with my fiancé. I am thinking of flying into Istanbul then some of the greek isles and then fly back from Athens, or I could do the same the other way around (fly into Athens, then the greek isles and fly out of Istanbul). We have more or less 12 days for the trip. I can definitely take a flight between greece and turkey if that would save time. Any suggestions as to which isles I should visit in between and how long I should stay in each? I really want to visit Mykonos and Santorini.....any other isles I can visit on the way?
jessmarroquin is offline  
Apr 8th, 2014, 03:57 AM
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Main ferry itineraries:

Turkey Greek Islands:
Ayvalik - Lesbos
Cesme - Chios
Kusadasi - Samos
Bodrum - Kos
Bodrum - Rhodos
Marmaris - Rhodos
Kas - Kastellorizo

Greek Islands - Piraeus/Athens:
Lesbos - Chios -Piraeus
Samos - Ikaria - Mykonos - Syros - Piraeus
Rhodos - Kos - Santorini - Piraeus
Rhodos - Karpathos - Santorini - Piraeus
Kastellorizo - Rhodos - Kos - Piraeus
Mykonos - Naxos - Santorini - Iraklio

Cheap domestic flights from Istanbul to Izmir (for Cesme and Kusadasi), Bodrum, Dalaman (for Marmaris) and Antalya (for Kas).
neckervd is offline  
Apr 8th, 2014, 05:46 AM
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I want to piggyback on this to thank neckervd for that really helpful summary. I'm just starting to think about Samos and Chios next year. Even though all my holidays to the Greek Islands by ferry have been via Piraeus/Rafina, I was only wondering this morning if these two were more easily accessible via Turkey. Can I take it that you can move freely now between the two countries? It didn't used to be the case?
Frances is offline  
Apr 8th, 2014, 05:52 AM
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When was it not possible?
clausar is offline  
Apr 8th, 2014, 06:33 AM
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It was not possible to move freely between Turkey and Greece 1908-1923 and 1941-1945.

Those days, the ferries listed by neckervd catered to illegal passengers or ran empty. -

Currently, there may be problems if you are a Pakistani, Afghan, Nigerian, Ethiopian, Somalian, Sudanese, Palestinian or Syrian refugee with no papers or are seeking political asylum
otherchelebi is online now  
Apr 8th, 2014, 06:34 AM
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very well said otcherchelebi !
clausar is offline  
Apr 8th, 2014, 07:28 AM
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Until around 1980, ferries between Greece and Turkey were cancelled at many occasions (Cyprus war, etc.).

If you are interested in the historic places of Ephesos, Didimae, Priene, Pamukkale/Hierapolis etc. or if you get a good/cheap flight to Izmir, it may be a good idea to reach Chios or Samos by ferry from Cesme resp. Kusadasi.
But be aware that the tickets for these local ferries are often as expensive as those from Piraeus to the Eastern Aegean Islands.

For flights from Europe to Izmir, check the usual low cost carriers and
neckervd is offline  
Apr 9th, 2014, 06:54 AM
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I seem to remember that when I first visited Greece in1971 travel by boat between the two could not be relied upon.
It seems from looking at the above ferry routes that there is no direct connection between Chios and Samos. Have I read this correctly?
Frances is offline  
Apr 9th, 2014, 07:05 AM
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OK I am not an expert but I have just planned a similar trip and what is going to work for us is to fly to Istanbul and spend 5 nights. As far as I know there are no ferries from Istanbul to any? / a major Greek island - you would have to go to another destination in Turkey. So we are flying (Agean Air) to Istanbul in the morning and then taking a late afternoon ferry to Naxos for another 6 nights. Ferry back to Athens, spend 2 ngihts, fly back to the States. You could do a similar itinerary but maybe substitute Mykonos or Santorini. I am very happy with our plan as it limits various transit factors that could waste time. I think you could choose to fly from Athens to Myk. or Sant. - only limited small planes to Naxos and besides, I think a ferry should be part of a Greek Isle trip.

I will say, that as close as Turkey and Greece are, going between the two or from Ist. to many of the Greek islands was not easy-peasy (probably best explained by historical factors as noted by other posters).But I'm excited now and pleased with the plans I have made!
suec1 is offline  
Apr 9th, 2014, 07:18 AM
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I would definitely recommend you to fly to Athens, see some Greek Islands, and fly from Rhodes to Istanbul. Its much easier.
PetrosB3 is offline  
Apr 9th, 2014, 07:28 AM
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Whoops I just noticed that I meant to say, we are flying from the States to Istanbul, then from Ist. to Ath. on Agean Air, then ferry to Naxos. I think in the past there have been a few flights a week from Ist. to Sant. but I don't know if that is still the case - usually you need to get to Athens first, then fly or ferry to an island. Have you looked at the website, Mattew Barrett's Greece? helpful for trip planning and also recommends some travel agencies. I usually do my own planning but maybe for an Ist / Greek isles trip, an agency might be helpful. They might even know more than the Fodorites!
suec1 is offline  
Apr 9th, 2014, 09:11 PM
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I haven't been to Samos or Lesbos from Turkey but I did ferry from Cesme to Chios. You can see Chios from Turkey so I was surprised at the cost of the ferry. I went to the tourist office in Cesme & they only provided info. on the car ferry which was very expensive compared to Greek Is. ferries. I then checked at the ferry terminal & found that there were several ferries incl. a passenger ferry that was far less expensive & faster.
Chania is offline  
Jul 1st, 2014, 10:06 AM
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PetrosB3, that is what I am planning to do. Just wondering to do Istanbul first and then relax or visit the islands first since my gf will be toting all kinds of gifts back!
Aboehmer is offline  
Jul 1st, 2014, 10:41 AM
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I posted "up thread" on April 9th and am now back from my trip. I am so glad we did Istanbul at the begining of the trip - it was very hectic so leaving there and going to relaxing Naxos was perfect. The flight from Istanbul to Athens was failry cheap and easy - then we went by ferry to Naxos.

A funny thing in Naxos, referring to comments up thread about relations between Turkey and Greece. The second day in Naxos we noticed a good sized battle ship in the bay in front of our hotel - huh? It just sat there for the next four days. So we asked at the front desk and were told that rumor had it that the Greece navy sat there listening to chatter from Turkey - I guess it's not so peaceful at this point either!
suec1 is offline  
Jul 1st, 2014, 11:15 AM
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suec1, Turkey and Greece are partners in NATO.

Turkey is also a candidate for membership in EU.

On the other hand there is a long running dispute between the two countries regarding the extent of sea shelf controled by either country in the Aegean. this is a tough situation because some of the Greeek islands are as close as one mile from the Turkish coast.

Until the Turkish application to EU, there was something like a cold war between the two countries exacerbated by the Cyprus issue, resulting in huge arms expenditures for both countries, way above what they should be spending.

Listening to chatter and even fighters flying over no-man's land are everyday occurrences in the Aegean. It is like a game. Many Greek islanders used to visit the Turkish mainland for shopping when nit was quite a bit cheaper and Greece had the funds. Now, with Turks having more money, you find the Greek islands and Northern Greece becoming favorite holiday spots for many Turks.

basically, there is very little difference between the peoples. The population of Turkey have similar ancestors as Greeks in addition to the more recent migrations to the area and the Mediterranean promotes similarities in life style, cuisine,
otherchelebi is online now  
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