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Italy/Croatia or Greece/Turkey? And travelling which direction?

Italy/Croatia or Greece/Turkey? And travelling which direction?

Old Nov 11th, 2009, 03:23 PM
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Italy/Croatia or Greece/Turkey? And travelling which direction?

We are planning a southern Europe trip in summer of 2010 and are deciding between southern Italy and Croatia, or Greece and Turkey. We only have 2 1/2 weeks so clearly we will be seeing just the highlights of these places. My question is: Any votes on this? We have been to Europe before and really tend to prefer small/medium towns to big cities and we love adventure and trying new things on our vacations. The second question is, since we will be flying open jaw, is one travel direction better than the other for either of these trips based on ferries/buses/flights? Thanks!
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Old Nov 11th, 2009, 05:35 PM
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Flying into Turkey will be your cheapest option. You could fly into Istanbul and out of Athens if you combined Turkey & Greece. There is plenty to do in just one of these countries for 2-1/2 weeks if you really wanted to explore instead of just seeing the highlights.

If you're flying from the US, there aren't any non-stop flights to Croatia, so you'll have to stop somewhere in Europe first, then onward from there. You might want to fly into Venice, head to Trieste and eventually wind up in Croatia, with a stop in coastal Slovenia along the way.

Happy planning!
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Old Nov 12th, 2009, 12:06 AM
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During the period of your travel devote a few days to Istanbul, Turkey. The city is located on two continents, Europe and Asia, divided by stunningly beautiful Bosphorus!

3-4 days is quite enough for Istanbul. If you wish I can make you an itinerary for your excursions in Istanbul:

The main attractions of Istanbul are located in the historic district of the city - in Sultanahmet. They are: the Blue Mosque, Saint Sophia Cathedral, Egyptian Bazaar and other sights. They are open approximately to 4-5 pm. You may visit all of these three places in one day, however you must distribute your time in advance to be anywhere in time.

On the second day you can go on tour along the Bosphorus. The Bosphorus tour is that the ship starts from the pier at Eminonu and floats along the Bosporus in one direction along Istanbul under the bridge (really beautiful) and then comes back. The tour takes about 2 hours. The remaining time you can dedicate to the Topkapi Palace and Hippodrome which are also located in Sultanahmet. Generally all Sultanahmet attractions are very close to each other and you can easily reach them on foot from many hotels.

On the third day go to the Taksim district where the most popular place is Istiklal Avenue. Tourists are fond of walking along this street. I strongly advise you to visit it. It has something from the streets of the ancient cities of Europe with an admixture of Asian culture. It is really very cool. At the end of this street the main Taksim attraction is - the Galata Tower. It will take you 3-4 hours for Taksim.

There are also such sights as the Basilica Cistern, the Dolmabahce Palace - I think you'll have enough time for them within 4 days.

During the fourth day you can go on a tour to the Princes' Islands for the whole day (go there preferably in summer), it usually takes the whole day, you can rest there, bathe, there is a very beautiful nature, even turtles on the beach.

As for searching hotels in Istanbul I can recommend you this company: http://www.turkeytps.com
They have quite a large selection of hotels in Istanbul at affordable prices. And the most important is that any booked on the site gets free transfer from the airport to the hotel as a gift.
The prices also include breakfast and all taxes.
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Old Nov 12th, 2009, 12:34 AM
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Either trip should work and it is hard to suggest one over the other. Hopefully you'll be able to do both at some point in the future.

If you choose Italy/Croatia, you could fly into Rome and head South by train traveling through the Amafi Coast, Calabria, and Puglia before ending up in Bari. From Bari, you can take a ferry to Dubrovnik, which is the Southern-most small city in Croatia. You can then travel up the coast to Split, stopping at some of the islands along the way (such as Korcula and Hvar). You could then fly out of Split or continue on to Zagreb and fly out of there if you have time.

As for Turkey/Greece, I suppose it really depends on the ferries (I am not very familiar with them). I would think that you might have to stick to Athens and the islands in the Agean Sea as too keep ferry times to a minimum. But, pwehaps someone else can propose an itineray that mixes Turkey and Greece.
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Old Nov 12th, 2009, 01:41 AM
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I don't think you can go wrong with either option and you've gotten good information from the previous posters. The thing that struck me from your question, though, was that you'd prefer to avoid big cities. As amazing as Istanbul is, it's a huge city of 15 million people. There were lots of tour busses last week when we were there (early November), and I imagine it's a lot worse in the summer. I've been to Croatia twice and I can tell you it's heaven on earth. The Dalmation coast is stunningly beautiful. I also agree with Debs that flying into Greece/Turkey is cheaper than Croatia.

I'm not sure it makes any difference as to the direction you do it in; it probably depends on schedules. We flew nonstop from Istanbul to NYC and it was 10.5 hours which was long. Flying into or out of Dubrovnik or Split, you'll have a change of planes assuming you're flying back to the US. Let us know what you decide and have fun planning!
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Old Nov 12th, 2009, 01:53 AM
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Just a warning on summer heat in Greece/Turkey! It can get very hot indeed there in July/August, with highs over 40C (104F), esp in Southern Turkey, which restricts the amount of touring you can (or want to) do. Temperatures will be more moderate in Italy/Croatia, with highs in the 30sC/90'sF.
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Old Nov 12th, 2009, 06:54 AM
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Thanks for all the advice so far! A few more things about our trip: We will be (hopefully) using frequent flier miles for our flight to and from the states, so price of the initial flight isn't really an issue. I am more concerned about flights/ferries to and from European cities being more practical or convenient in one direction or another. Also, we don't mind spending a little time in bigger cities as long as they have character and don't just look like a big city anywhere in the world. One final question: What about doing Greece alone, but with a quick trip down to Cairo and back?
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Old Nov 12th, 2009, 09:24 AM
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You could do the Greece Cairo thing, but only if you did a R-T from Athens .. there is not a link from elsewhere. But if, as you say, you have frequent-flier miles, you could probably manage that nicely. If your FF miles only apply to certain airlines, then look into Aegean Airlines... right now they are having "promotional prices" on destinations in Europe for €49 or so -- and maybe to Cairo too I hven't checked. OR there are other el cheapo European co's.

In that case, I'd advise landing in Athens, flying immediately to your farthest island (Crete? Rhodes?) then hopping back via ferries (if you can snag an overnight ferry, say from Rhodes to Santorini, even more efficient). But YOU have to decide which destinations in Greece appeal to you most ... and then come back to us for itinerary ideas.
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