Backpacking Trip between Turkey & Greece
Replies: 13 - Last Post: Mar 2, 2013 11:55 PM Last Post By: sarikanarya
Nov 27, 2012 3:25 PM
Backpacking Trip between Turkey & GreeceHey,
I'm planning a trip to Eastern Europe. I want to fly into Turkey from the U.S. and then spend about a month traveling between Turkey and maybe a few of the Greek islands. I want to see the breathtaking historical sights, the beaches and just enjoy the activities that both of the countries have to offer. I don't care much for frills so hostels are fine for me. I know that the public transportation system in Turkey is very reliable, but I don't know much about transportation in Greece. What would be the best path to follow to see both of the countries if I was to start and finish in Istanbul? I am thinking a budget of $60 U.S. a day, but is that enough to last me the entire month? What are some places that I must see in Turkey and Europe and what would be the most enjoyable (and cost-effective) way to see them? Thanks a lot for the help!
Nov 27, 2012 10:39 PM
1One important detail you didn't tell us....when are you planning to come?I ask because the Greek islands out of season are pretty deserted and unappetising places to go.If you are coming from mid April onwards then okay.
There are many islands reachable by ferry from mainland Turkey but for someone on a tight budget be aware that ferry fares are not especially cheap and would start to seriously eat into your budget.You can also island hop using the ferries but again this takes your money and could also waste you some time waiting for connections.
Does the 60$ need to include accomodation and transport too?Don't forget on some days you will need to pay admission fee's to certain attractions and these vary from 8TL to 25TL.If you are travelling long distances between certain points on some days then bus fares could be 40-60TL-but of course other days could be free just walking around places.You would need to balance this out carefully.If you could increase your budget a little it would be safer for you.
I think you need to do some more research on what there is to see here in Turkey(you could use the whole month just here and not cover everything!)and pick out 5 or 6 places that particularly appeal to you and try to plan an itinery of c.14-16 days and then plan the rest for islands and/or mainland Greece.
Turkey is a larger country than most people realise and you need to build in travelling time as well as viewing time.Bus services are excellent here and cheap and if you make use of night buses,espcially for very long journies,this will save you a nights accomodation fee plus make use of otherwise 'deadtime'.
I'm sure a few days in Istanbul will be on your list and Cappadocia should be too but after that ...what interests you?Ephesus?Pamukkale?beaches?architecture?archeology?What?Hence I say to do some more research and put together a wish list and bring it back to the forum.
I cant help with the Greece questions but another forum member surely will.Also take a look at the trip review sticky at the top of the page and find the entry by forum member ElContador(no.81 or 82 I think).They visited both Greece and western Turkey back in September this year and wrote an extensive detailed review which may be of use to you.
Nov 28, 2012 3:31 AM
Nov 28, 2012 10:52 AM
Nov 29, 2012 12:52 AM
Nov 29, 2012 7:09 AM
5lol thanks Samuel, I have no doubt this will be an amazing experience.
I did a bit of research and put together a rough itinerary for the trip.
The plan is to fly into Instanbul and depart from Athens to head back to the United States. After getting to Istanbul I want to explore a bit of the Black Sea & Northeastern Anatolia (Ayvalik) and then work my way down the Agean Coast. Along the Agean Coast I want to see Ephesus, Troy, Aphrodisias and any places in between that are worth exploring if even only for a day. I've alloted 2 1/2 weeks for this leg.
Then the plan is to leave the Agean coast by ferry and explore a few of the Northeastern Agean isalnds, Crete, Santorini, Samos and any others that are not toruist traps and are good places to relax in the sun. Finally, I want to arrive in Athens via ferry (or whatever is cheapest)about 2 days before my flight back to the U.S. is set to depart.
My initial thought was that I didnt have enough places in mind, but then I factored in the travel times via bus/ferry and I think this works. Any advice or critiques about this tentative intinerary would be greatly appreciated :-).
Nov 29, 2012 10:13 AM
6Okay,so allow 3 or 4 days to explore mammoth Istanbul then....Black Sea...the most interesting section is the most eastern end around Trabzon and Rize so you would really need to fly there-or face a 20 hour bus ride!Perhaps drop that and save it for another trip when you can explore some of eastern Turkey at the same time.The western part of the B.S.coast is pleasant enough but nothing startling.I actually live along that part and love it but can understand why it would leave visitors a bit underwhelmed :)
From Istanbul head down onto the Gallipoli peninsula instead,and maybe go to Çanakkale,a pleasant little town with a couple of very interesting museums to view.The peninsula itself will be lovely in June.
Troy....so famous yet frankly this is a bit of a disappointment for many people.There is very little to see as the site has been worked over so many times,so it is just a few holes in the ground and a few bits of low walls,and the wooden horse of course.One needs to have pretty extensive knowledge of and interest in archeology to appreciate it.
Ayvalık is nice and just south of there Behramkale and Assos are beautiful and the ruins very interesting.
After that is Bergama,another important site before reaching Ephesus just south of Izmir.
Close by Ephesus is Selçuk a lovely traditional town to stay in and 15 minutes from there is pretty Sirince,a restored Greek village.
Also contained in this area are the sites of all 7 Churches of the Revalations which you may be interested in visiting(at least some of them maybe).
Not far from Izmir is the Çeşme peninsula which is lovely and has some very good beaches,pretty villages and excellent wind surfing conditions.
Going inland from Izmir there is Pamukkale where the huge white calcium travertines and thermal springs are located.Just behind the travertines are the extensive ruins of Hierapolis too.This is 3 hours from Izmir but worth an overnighter definately and whilst there you can take a day tour to Aphrodisias 90 minutes away.
Close to Selçuk is the resort and port of Kuşadası from where you can take a ferry to Samos island.But I would like to just backtrack a moment to Ayvalık and Çeşme.
You mentioned wanting to go to less touristy islands,well,from Ayvalık you can take a ferry over to Levos and from Çeşme over to Chios.Both of these are much less tourism developed and more authentic than those you have listed(more on that later).Ferries to each of these run daily during summer months and would be worth a day or two on each.
Samos Island is lovely.Samos Town is rather touristy as day trippers from Kuşadası doen't have time to go beyond the town but if you stay a couple of days you can explore some of the lesser tourism exposed villages on the western side.
Santorini is a picture postcard island...which is why every day at least two large cruise liners dock there discharging thousands of sight seer's to ruin the place :( This is addition to all the thousands of island hopping travellers and those who choose to stay there for their entire holiday.If one could remove 95% of the visitors then it would be a perfect spot to relax!
Hence I mentioned Lesvos,Chios and Samos previously as good choices for authenticity,natural unspoilt beauty and good beaches too.
There are ferries from Samos to Athens(Karlovasi to Piraeus)which take 12 hours but you can also often find pretty cheap flights too from Samos to Athens with Aegean Air which take a little over an hour.(time saved vs money saved).Of course it it too soon yet to check schedules for any transport as these won't be published until around late February early March.
Forum members Chris1953 and Hennopsrover both visited Assos and Bergama and posted up detailed reviews you may find interesting and the latters review is backed up with excellent photographs too.
These links may be some help too-
Nov 30, 2012 7:35 AM
Nov 30, 2012 9:26 AM
Dec 1, 2012 5:58 PM
9If you are on a tight budget, consider doing your trip in reverse - do Greece first. If you start in Greece and find that you can't manage on 60 dollars a day, you can always make for Turkey earlier and save money. Finish in Istanbul. Be aware that Istanbul is more expensive than the rest of turkey because there is so much to see and do. (Yes, you can buy a half-bread with doner for 1.50 TL but in spite of that life still costs more than the tourist resorts).
The two things in TUrkey that are really expensive are petrol and alcohol. Do not rent a car and be ready to not drink too much if you need to save money.
Touristy souvenirs cost less in less-touristy places than in Istanbul.
Dec 3, 2012 9:26 PM
10Sarikanarya gives some good advice.
I agree in skipping Trabzon and his advice of heading to Secluk which is close to Ephesus. Cannakale has historical significants to Aussies and Kiwi's due to our troops fighting there in WW1 with the herioc Turkish defense eventually forcing us to leave, but as an American maybe not so. It does have the Wooden Horse from the movie Troy on its foreshore. And can be relaxing watching the Container ships going up and down the Bosphorous.
The other must see I think is the Cappadocia area. It is seriously fantastic. Spend a minimum on 2 full days on thi area but I would recommend a 3rd day. But will be a long bus trip from the West Coast of Turkey.
I think you can do it for $60 a day but you will have to be conscious of reducing your costs everyday. The bigget risks to your budget is definitely the ferries in Greece when Island hopping.
Mar 2, 2013 9:50 PM
needed help to plan my trip to turkey in the month of august.
i have around 12-14 days in Turkey. my plan is as below ;
2 nights cappadocia then drive to antalya -2 nights in antalya then to kas 2 nights in kas then 2 nights in oludeniz and visit pammakule day trip drive to bodrum/kusadasi and fly from izmir to istanbul and stay 3 nights in istaanbul how does this plan sound???
my self drive car will be from cappadocia to izmir.
please any help to plan this trip.
Mar 2, 2013 11:48 PM
You'll get more responses if you start a new thread and ask your queston.
Basically your plan is fine except that a one-way car rental from Capedoccia to Izmir will be very expensive and isn't necessary - public buses will take you all the way very easily.
Mar 2, 2013 11:55 PM
13Welcome to the forum Nitesh!August is the hottest month here and also the very height of the tourist season so it will be busy where ever you go,I hope you realise this.
Antalya has some points of interest but with limited time I personally would skip it in favour of using that time along the coast in a smaller less frenetic place than a big city.
It takes roughly 8 hours to drive there from Cappadocia so if you are dead beat on arrival maybe just stay overnight there and move on next morning and head to Kaş and use at least on of these extra days there.It makes a great base for a lot of exploring.
From there move on to somewhere else around Fethiye other than Olu Deniz.The lagoon is stunningly beautiful but in August you won't see anything other than roasting red British package tourists laid like sardines for the length of the beach.
For a nicer more unspoilt place maybe stop at Patara or around Kabak instead.Both of these are relatively quieter and nicer spots.
It would be a very punishing day to drive from the coast to Pamukkale(4 hours),view and then drive back down to the coast(another 4 hours) all in one day so you need to stay overnight there really.
Bodrum in August...like Olu this will be utterly heaving with package tourists,not the best time to visit unless you are looking for a bit of hectic nightlife.If you do decide to include it then find somewhere to stay on the peninsula not in Bodrum Town centre itself.At least in one of the villages you'll have a beach and the sea if you want a swim.
Maybe skip this and use extra time around the Fethiye area or around Selçuk Ephesus or extra time for Istanbul.
Forget Kuşadası,this is a sprawling commercial tourist resort which also gets packed with passengers from the cruise ships which dock there.If you intend to visit Ephesus then stay in lovely Selçuk.Some hotels there have swimming pools and Pamucak beach is close by if you want another beach.
All the places I have suggested will be busy but less so than Bodrum,Kuşadası and Olu Deniz.
Fuel here is extremely expensive,currently 4.94 p/ltr for petrol and 4.31 for diesel so choose your mileage carefully.Also opt for a diesel car rather than petrol,not only is it cheaper to buy but it will be more economical to run too.
Hope this is a help to you :)
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