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Classic Trips: Athens to Istanbul

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Fly into: Athens Fly out of: Istanbul
Total Duration: 13 days

Take in the best of Greece and Turkey by following this classic route. Beginning at, well, the beginning—antiquity, that is—you'll explore Athens's classic monuments. From there, traverse the Greek Islands, with stops in picturesque Santorini and glitzy Rhodes, before heading for Turkey's mainland. Ancient ruins and stunning views abound in Antalya and Cappadoccia and lead to your final stop, Istanbul.

    This Trip's Top Experiences:

  • Archaeology
  • History
  • Natural Beauty
  • Museums
Days 1-2

1 Athens

A Classical Act

  • Explore the Acropolis, the great emblem of classical Greece that looms 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
  • Archaeology
  • Art and Culture
  • History
  • Architecture
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Days 3-4
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2 Santorini

Cliffs and the Caldera

  • Hike to the top of a cliff to see the flooded caldera, surrounded by cliffs rising 1,000 feet above the Aegean
  • Head to Ia, where you'll find the postcard-perfect, cubical white houses that make Santorini famous
  • See the ancient site of Akrotiri, nicknamed the Greek Pompeii
  • Natural Beauty
  • Beaches
  • Archaeology
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Days 5-7
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Valeria Titova/iStockphoto

3 Rhodes

Monuments and Butterflies

  • Explore the well-preserved, walled Old Town, which has monuments built by the Knights of St John
  • Take a 15-minute donkey ride up to the Acropolis of Lindos to see sweeping views
  • The magical Valley of Butterflies lives up to its name—you'll see thousands of them
  • Art and Culture
  • Nightlife
  • Shopping
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Days 8-9
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Turkey Ministry of Culture and Tourism

4 Antalya

A Sophisticated Harbor Town

  • Make the climb to Termessos, an ancient city known in antiquity as the Eagle's Nest
  • Take a walk through Perge, one of Turkey's best examples of a Roman city
  • The theater at Aspendos is one of the best preserved in the world, so take a seat and be transported to another time
  • Archaeology
  • History
  • Natural Beauty
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Days 10-11
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yversace/ member

5 Cappadocia

Cave Dwellers

  • See the unique volcanic structures in the village of Göreme
  • Spend the night in a cave hotel
  • Tour the early Christian cave churches and underground cities
  • Natural Beauty
  • Archaeology
  • History
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Days 12-13
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Maksym Gorpenyuk/Shutterstock

6 Istanbul

A Divided City

  • Most people agree that Aya Sofya is the greatest work of Byzantine architecture
  • The iconic Blue Mosque is covered in 20,000 shimmering tiles
  • The Kariye Museum is filled with glittering mosaics and frescoes
  • History
  • Shopping
  • Architecture
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