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Itinerary for 21 days in Greece & Turkey (help needed!)

Itinerary for 21 days in Greece & Turkey (help needed!)

May 11th, 2014, 06:10 AM
  #1  
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Join Date: Feb 2014
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Itinerary for 21 days in Greece & Turkey (help needed!)

All -

Thanks in advance for your help with our itinerary! My wife and I are travelling to Turkey and Greece in July. We are adventurous and love doing things outdoors (ATVing, hiking, seeing sites, ruins, diving, etc). We are in our late 20s and early 30s and want to see a lot and don't mind rushing some of the time. We want to be budget conscious for the trip (i.e. we heard that Santorini is expensive so are limiting our time there).
1) Please critique our itinerary and recommend changes of more/less time in places and if you think we are missing any major areas near where we are going.
2) We are worried we are missing out on Ephesus, Turkey but could not to fit it in. Should we still go and replace it with one of our other choices?
3) We really want to do Crete and have tried to maximize our time there, we know 5 days isn't enough to see everything there, but is it at least enough to see to be worth it?
4) For Day 10, we are leaning toward Travel and Naxos, instead of more time in Santorini. Thoughts?
5) Let us know if we are rushing way too much in certain areas (we know it will be busy overall and are okay with that).

Day 1 Flight arrives late morning / Istanbul
Day 2 Fly to Cappadocia/ Cappadocia
Day 3 Cappadocia
Day 4 Cappadocia / Fly to Istanbul - Athens
Day 5 Athens
Day 6 (Peloponnese) Ancient Corinth - Corinth Canal - Epidavros - Nafplio
Day 7 (Peloponnese) Mycenae and Nafplio
Day 8 (Peloponnese) Nafplio - (stops along way?) - Olympia - Nafpaktos
Day 9 (Peloponnese) Delphi - Athens
Day 10 Athens / Ferry / Naxos??
Day 11 Naxos
Day 12 Naxos
Day 13 Santorini
Day 14 Santorini/Crete
Day 15 Crete
Day 16 Crete
Day 17 Crete
Day 18 Crete
Day 19 Crete/Fly to Istanbul
Day 20 Istanbul
Day 21 Istanbul
Day 22 Leave in early morning

Thank you for the help!!
I3igDmsu is offline  
May 11th, 2014, 08:02 AM
  #2  
 
Join Date: Oct 2013
Posts: 1,086
"want to see a lot and don't mind rushing some of the time"

That is a contradiction. Or are you trying to say that you want to see a lot some of the time and rush some of the time?

The common desire is most often expressed as 'to see as much as possible'. You have simply written a variant of that same thing. The problem is that most people and apparently including you, confuse the word 'much' with the word 'many'. They are not synonymous.

The way to see/do as 'much' as possible, is to spend time IN places, not BETWEEN places. In travel as in many things, less is more. Move less, see/do more. Your plan is therefore designed to see and do less, not more.

You count days and ignore travel time. Each time you move you lose at least half and often nearly all or all of a day. So when you show for example, 12 Naxos either you are there all day and move to Santorini on day 13 or you are not in Naxos all the 12th day and move to Santorini on that day. The same applies to every move you make.

Crete is clear, you will be there for only 4 full days, not 5 as you stated. You are going from Istanbul to Cappadocia for 1 full day and then back to Istanbul. Why bother?

You are flying into and out of Istanbul and yet plan to spend no time in Turkey except for 2 days at the end of your trip. Why fly into Istanbul, why not fly into Athens?

Your route sucks and you plan to move too often in my opinion.
dulciusexasperis is offline  
May 11th, 2014, 08:27 AM
  #3  
 
Join Date: Mar 2013
Posts: 5,964
Perfectly feasible (I suppose you found a flight from HER to IST).
A somewhat decent visit of Istanbul needs 3 days.
Cappadocia: if you visit only Goreme (very touristy), you can do it in 1 full day. Plan more time if you include Ilhara Valley and the places in between.
I suppose you are not interested in the other (endless) gems of Turkey.
Plan 2 full days for Athens.
Mycenae doesn't need a full day, even if you include Thyrins.

Gems between Nafplio and Olympia:
Mistras (Sparta)
Cruisader castle of Monemvasia (scenic position directly over the Sea)
Mani coast
Koroni, Methoni, Pylos
In the case you don't go so much towards the South, you may be interested in the temple of Bassae.
May be you check the Saint Lucas Monastery between Delphi and Athens.
Crete: all depends on the time at which you will fly out. As the catamaran from Santorini arrives in the evening, you may spend the first 2 nights around Heraklion and visit the Heraklion Museum and the palaces of Knossos and Malia. If your plane ti IST leaves in the morning, you will have to spend your last night at Heraklion too.
It's up to you to decide if you want to stay in another area for the 2 nights in between. Some of the best places around the Island are the palm fringed beach of Vai and the palace of Kato Zakros in the extreme East of the island and the Sougia - Samaria Gorge - Paleochora area in the extreme South West. The Palace of Phaistos, the excavations of Agia Triada and the beaches around Matala - Agia Galini may be visited in a long day trip from Heraklion.
neckervd is offline  
May 11th, 2014, 09:03 AM
  #4  
 
Join Date: Mar 2007
Posts: 9,317
Your itinerary makes for a difficult trip with lots of time and money spent on getting from place to place.

Are your flights booked? If not, do a multi - city. Fly into Athens and out of Istanbul. Try to figure some route without backtracking.

Cappadocia is one of the most interesting places I have been: exciting landscape, history, culture, food.
If hot air balloon flights run in July, that is one thing I would splurge on no matter what else I had to give up. I read somehwere that if you were ever going to do one, it should be in Cappadocia, so we did it and it was one of the biggest "wows" and beautiful memories I have had in travel.

You probably will not get to Cappadocia until late the first day, so no sight seeing then, and depending on departure time, may not have much time on the third day. You would need another day to include the balloon flight, even though they run very early. You could do the open air museum in the morning, the underground in the afternoon and a short hike before sunset, and that would be it. We stayed in Urgup, not at all touristy.

You need three full days to see much in Istanbul. It is an amazing and beautiful city with many things to see, warm friendly people and fantastic food.
Sassafrass is offline  
May 11th, 2014, 05:49 PM
  #5  
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Thanks I appreciate your the replies from those who were helpful. We did some more work tonight and adjusted our schedule:

Day 1 Late morning arrival / Istanbul for the day / Fly to Cappadocia (Leave 1p or 6p, arrive 2:30 or 7:30p)
Day 2 Cappadocia
Day 3 Cappadocia
Day 4 Fly to ATH (arrive 11:30a) / Athens
Day 5 Athens / Other??
Day 6 (Peloponnese) Ancient Corinth - Corinth Canal - Epidavros - Nafplio, Spend the night in Nafplio
Day 7 (Peloponnese) Mycenae and Nafplio, Spend the night in Nafplio
Day 8 (Peloponnese) Nafplio - Mistras - Olympia - Nafpaktos, Spend the night in Nafpaktos
Day 9 (Peloponnese) Delphi - Distomo (St Lucas Monastary) - Athens, Spend the night in Athens
Day 10 Fly to Crete (early, arrive at 9:30a) / Crete
Day 11 Crete
Day 12 Crete
Day 13 Crete
Day 14 Crete
Day 15 Ferry to Santorini (early / arrive at 10:30a) / Santorini
Day 16 Santorini / Ferry to Crete (leaves 3:30a, arrives 9:30a)
Day 17 OR Ferry to Crete (leaves 5p or 6p, arrives 6:30-7:30p) / Crete
Day 18 Crete
Day 19 Fly to Istanbul (arrive at 2p) / Istanbul
Day 20 Istanbul
Day 21 Istanbul
Day 22 Fly out early morning

Neckervd: I think all of the destinations that you mentioned that are between Nafplio and Olympia are a little too far south based on our route/timing. If you think they are worthwhile, would it be better to spend an extra day or so in the southern Peloponnese and visit some of these sites rather than an extra day in Crete?

Sassafrass: Our flights are booked to/from Istanbul unfortunately. Thanks for your thoughts on Cappadocia. Our updated schedule now has 2.5 days there. Hopefully this is enough?
I3igDmsu is offline  
May 11th, 2014, 08:23 PM
  #6  
 
Join Date: Mar 2007
Posts: 9,317
Ok, curious. Why would you be in Crete, go to Santorini, then back to Crete. Is it because it is easier to fly to Istanbul from Crete than from Santorini? If so, then go to Santorini first, then Crete, then Istanbul. You will save one day of travel so you can add the day to Istanbul, which you really need.
Sassafrass is offline  
May 11th, 2014, 08:39 PM
  #7  
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Good point. Yes, you're right. The flight to Istanbul (through Athens) is cheaper from Crete rather than Santorini. We are leaning toward your suggestion of Santorini then Crete or Crete then Santorini then to Istanbul.
I3igDmsu is offline  
May 13th, 2014, 12:35 AM
  #8  
 
Join Date: Feb 2013
Posts: 582
I'm not an expert of Greece, but I feel 3 days in Istanbul is WAY TOO LESS for your itinerary. I spent 4.5 days and I could barely scratch the surface.
ashwinb is offline  
May 16th, 2014, 06:56 PM
  #9  
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Ashwin - thanks for your comments. I think we are going to focus on the main sites [Aya Sofya, Blue Mosque, Basilica Cistern, Topkapi Palace (a day or more for these 4), Grand Bazaar (up to a day), Spice Bazaar, Old Town, hamams, cruise on Bosphorous (only if time)]. I think we can get it done in 3 days (we're hoping).
I3igDmsu is offline  
May 16th, 2014, 06:57 PM
  #10  
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Thanks everyone. We are close to our final itinerary, any last minute comments are appreciated!!

Day 1 11:40a Arrive / Istanbul for the day (possibly, depending on when flight gets in) / Fly to Cappadocia (Leave 1p or 6p, arrive 2:30 or 7:30p)
Day 2 Cappadocia
Day 3 Cappadocia
Day 4 Fly to ATH (leave 8a to arrive 11:30a) / Athens
Day 5 Athens / Other??
Day 6 (Peloponnese) Ancient Corinth - Corinth Canal - Epidavros - Nafplio Spend the night in Nafplio
Day 7 (Peloponnese) Mycenae and Nafplio Spend the night in Nafplio
Day 8 (Peloponnese) Olympia - Nafpaktos Spend the night in Nafpaktos
Day 9 (Peloponnese) Delphi - Distomo (St Lucas Monastary) - Hosios Louka (if time) - Athens Spend the night in Athens
Day 10 Fly to Crete (early, arrive at 9:30a) / Crete
Day 11 Crete
Day 12 Crete
Day 13 Crete
Day 14 Crete
Day 15 Crete
Day 16 Ferry to Santorini (early / arrive at 10:30a) / Santorini
Day 17 Santorini
Day 18 Santorini / Fly to Istanbul (11p, arrive 8:30a)
Day 19 Istanbul
Day 20 Istanbul
Day 21 Istanbul
Day 22 Fly out early morning
I3igDmsu is offline  
May 17th, 2014, 01:46 AM
  #11  
 
Join Date: Mar 2013
Posts: 5,964
Day 9: Ossios Lukas and Saint Luc is the same (once in Greek and once in English).
Day 10: do you really want to get up around 5am after a rather late arrival at Athens the day before?
Days 18/19: there will remain only 5 hrs for a sleep in a ATH airport hotel, less if you go elsewhere. It would be way easier to take an earlier flight, like Santorini dp 17.30 - IST ar 21.40 (random date July 13th).
neckervd is offline  

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