How to Plan a Trip to Turkey and Greece in 2024

By Carper | Updated Dec. 19, 2023

Turkey and Greece are neighboring countries. Their picturesque beaches, ancient ruins, and ancient civilizations have amazed their numerous visitors. And it is becoming a trendy choice to connect them in a single trip.

Additionally, various activities, such as taking a hot-air balloon ride to admire Cappadocia's landscape, witnessing a stunning sunset at Oia in Santorini, and getting lost in the captivating Ano Mera village in Mykonos, have made lifelong memories for an anniversary, a bucket-list trip, or a birthday.

However, planning a trip combining Turkey and Greece in a limited timeframe could be stressful. Continue reading for more essential journey-forming information to make the most of your time in Turkey and Greece.

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1. Top Things to Do in Turkey and Greece

Explore the treasures of Turkey and Greece with our handpicked selection of six must-do activities that you should not miss during your trip.

1) Enjoy a Sunset Cruise Through the Bosphorus Strait in Istanbul

Woman traveler on the Bosphorus in Istanbul, TurkeyTaking photos on the Bosphorus in Istanbul, Turkey

In addition to the typical land tours, make sure to take a cruise through the Bosphorus Strait that separates the continents of Europe and Asia. This would allow you to appreciate the local charm and experience the beautiful city of Istanbul and its surroundings at a leisurely pace. 

Picture yourself leisurely sipping a soft drink as you soak up the sunset scenery of the strait — a picture-postcard-perfect perspective on Istanbul.

2) Hop in a Hot-Air Balloon to Admire Cappadocia's Moon-Like Landscapes

woman watching colorful hot air balloons flying over the valley at Cappadocia, TurkeyWatching colorful hot air balloons flying over the valley at Cappadocia, Turkey

Cappadocia is famous for its extraordinary landscape, featuring hills that resemble honeycombs and rocks shaped like mushrooms. One of the most captivating ways to experience this natural wonder is by taking a hot-air balloon ride, especially late in the afternoon and at dusk.

The end of the aerial trip is a perfect moment for champagne to celebrate the breathtaking sunset scenery (and perhaps something in your life that the trip would mark). Savor the occasion and conclude this magical day in style.

3) Savor the Most Authentic Turkish Cuisine

Kahvalti, Traditional Turkish Breakfast, Turkey, food, cuisineKahvalti, Traditional Turkish Breakfast, Turkey

One of the easiest ways to explore a country's culture is through its food, and Turkish cuisine is renowned for its delicious and unique flavors.

By embarking on a food adventure guided by your knowledgeable local tour guide, you would have the opportunity to taste the hidden delicacies found in the streets and known only by the locals.

After indulging in the most authentic Turkish flavors, you would understand why Turkish cuisine has gained such worldwide fame.

4) Stroll Around the Acropolis of Athens

Athens, Greece - Monastiraki Square and AcropolisMonastiraki Square and Acropolis in Athens, Greece

The Acropolis stands as the most remarkable landmark in Athens, showing the ancient glory of Greek civilization and serving as a symbol of the ancient Greeks' spiritual outlook.

Accompanied by your private guide, you would be transported back in time as you stroll among the Propylaea and the Temple of Athena Nike. From the mountain peak, a panoramic view of the city would unfold before your eyes, allowing you to marvel at its beauty while delving into the fascinating stories shared by your guide.

5) Appreciate a Sunset at Oia in Santorini

Oia village in Santorini, Greece on a sunny dayOia village in Santorini, Greece

A picturesque sunset in the village of Oia is a sight worth capturing on camera and would be engraved into your memory.

As you walk toward the windmill in Oia village, the white-and-blue-roofed houses combined with the stunning coastline create a mesmerizing scene painted in shades of orange during sunset. 

To avoid the crowds and ensure an uninterrupted experience, we would take you to our reserved viewpoint an hour prior to sunset, guaranteeing an unobstructed view as you witness the sun slowly descending into the horizon, without being surrounded by crowds.

6) Taste a World-Renowned Wine in Santorini

Taste red wine in front of the Santorini sunset, GreeceTaste red wine in front of the Santorini sunset, Greece

Experience the rich wine heritage of the island and let the flavors transport you to a world of tradition and excellence.

Your private guide would lead you to explore the local vineyards, learn about the winemaking process, and indulge in the distinct flavors that have captivated wine lovers for centuries. 

To conclude your day, raise a glass and toast to the rich history and natural beauty of Santorini while enjoying its world-class wines.

2. Best Times to Visit Turkey and Greece

Young couple on the roof of the building in Santorini, GreeceSantorini, Greece

Generally speaking, the best times to visit Turkey and Greece are during late spring (late April to early June) and autumn (September to early November), while the weather is good for outdoor activities with pleasant temperatures averaging 23°C (73°F). 

These periods fall within the shoulder seasons, providing reasonable prices for accommodation and flights, fewer crowds, and the opportunity for exceptional travel experiences.

Late June to August is the summer season and also the high season for visiting Turkey and Greece. During this time, the weather is sunny and hot, averaging highs of 30°C (86°F), making it ideal for water activities and beaches. However, it is important to note that tourism hotspots would be crowded and prices may be higher due to the high demand.

Late November to March is considered to be the least favorable time to visit Turkey and Greece. The weather during this period is chillier with occasional rain and snow, with the daily high temperatures averaging about 10°C (50°F). 

Many island destinations in Greece and beach resorts in Turkey are closed during this time, resulting in fewer visitors. However, it could be the best time to explore ancient sites and museums without long queues and the discomfort of hot weather.

For budget travelers, this is also an excellent opportunity to plan a cost-effective trip. You could enjoy activities that include hammams and hot-air balloon rides in Turkey or indulge in wine tasting in Greece at discounted prices, often starting from 20% less. But during festivals, such as Christmas and New Year, Turkey and Greece can be more popular than the peak times. 

3. How Long to Spend in Turkey and Greece

Although it is easy to spend weeks or even months in these beautiful countries, 2 weeks would be enough for a first trip combining Turkey and Greece, spending 1 week in each.

1) In Turkey

Ephesus, izmir, Library of Celsus, TurkeyEphesus, Library of Celsus, Turkey
  • Istanbul: We recommend at least 3 days in Istanbul to visit historical heritage and modern sites as well as to savor some authentic Turkish cuisine. Don't miss out on a hammam (Turkish bath) that would soothe your body and mind.
  • Cappadocia: At least 2 days are needed to appreciate its beauty including taking a hot-air balloon ride, exploring the underground city, and visiting the Goreme Open-Air Museum.
  • Ephesus: 1 day is enough to explore this ancient port city, including the Temple of Artemis, which is recognized as one of the Seven Wonders of the Ancient World.
  • Pamukkale: You could spend 1 day fully exploring Pamukkale's main highlights, including the ruins of Hierapolis and Cleopatra's Pool. If a day trip is too tight for your timings, spending a night there would also be a good choice.

2) In Greece

enjoys the view to the cityscape of Athens, Greece, with Acropolis and Parthenon Temple during sunset timeEnjoy the view of the Acropolis and Parthenon Temple during sunset in Athens, Greece
  • Athens: A minimum of 2 days is needed to see the best of Athens, including the ancient citadel of Acropolis and the Temple of Hephaestus, and some handpicked cultural attractions to gather insights into one of the world's oldest cities.
  • Santorini: You would need at least 2 days to enjoy the beauty of Santorini. The whitewashed houses, a romantic sunset at Oia, and local wine tasting would definitely complete your trip.
  • Mykonos: 2 days would be appropriate to spend in Mykonos, which is known for its vibrant nightlife and party mode. Besides the beaches, it would be relaxing to stroll around and check out the culture and sights in town.

For a timeframe of less than 2 weeks, Ephesus may not be the most appealing option. You could consider staying one day less in Istanbul to create a tighter schedule and the chance to travel further.

If your vacation exceeds 2 weeks, it opens up more possibilities.

If you're more interested in Turkey, you could easily spend the extra days exploring Antalya (a famous beach resort area), Ankara (the capital of Turkey), and Trabzon (known for its stunning highland scenery).

If Greece is your main interest, consider visiting more of the Cyclades islands and mainland cities, such as Nafplio (the first capital of newly born Greece) or Delphi (thought by ancient Greeks to be the 'center of the world'). These destinations would add depth to your trip.

Below is our handpicked 2-week classic itinerary that includes the main highlights of Turkey and Greece, serving as inspiration for your trip.

  • Days 1–4: Istanbul, Turkey (Hagia Sophia, the Blue Mosque, the Grand Bazaar, Istiklal Avenue, and a Bosphorus sunset cruise)
  • Days 5–6: Cappadocia (Goreme Open-Air Museum, Derinkuyu underground city, and a hot-air balloon ride)
  • Day 7: Izmir (a day trip to Ephesus for ancient Roman ruins)
  • Days 8–9: Santorini, Greece (the blue-domed churches, the Monastery of Profitis Ilias, Santo Wines Winery, and Amoudi Bay)
  • Days 10–11: Mykonos (the village of Ano Mera, the Archaeological Museum of Mykonos, and ride horses on Megali Ammos Beach)
  • Days 12–14: Athens (Syntagma Square, the Acropolis, Athens Central Market, and enjoy a breathtaking sunset from the top of Mount Lycabettus)

4. Which Country Should I Visit First, Turkey or Greece?

Strait of Bosphorus, Istanbul, Turkey, Bosphorus cruiseStrait of Bosphorus, Istanbul, Turkey

To quote Percy Bysshe Shelley: "We are all Greeks. Our laws, our literature, our religion, our art have their roots in Greece."

Greece, the birthplace of many civilizations, has a rich cultural and historical heritage that extends to neighboring countries, such as Turkey.

Therefore, we highly recommend embarking on a journey from Turkey to Greece to gain a profound understanding of the integration and evolution of Asian and European cultures, from a shallower to a deeper level.

Additionally, after days of touring ancient ruins and historical heritages, you would no doubt love to conclude your trip with some relaxation on Greece's Aegean Sea beaches.

5. How Much Would It Cost for a Trip to Turkey and Greece?

enjoys the view over the town of Mykonos island, Cyclades, GreeceEnjoying the view over the town of Mykonos island, Cyclades, Greece

Typically, a private tour in Turkey and Greece would start at a cost of $450 per person per day based on a group of 2–4 people. This would include a private guide, private car, domestic transfers, a full-day itinerary, tickets for attractions, and 4-star hotels. International flights are not factored in.

However, this is only for reference since costs vary significantly depending on the time of year. For instance, during the peak season between July and August and festivals like Christmas, prices typically rise by 50% and you would experience more crowds.

It's recommended to book your flights and hotels 3–6 months prior to your journey to get the best deals. Reach out to us at Global Highlights and we will customize a hassle-free private tour to meet your budget.

6. Do I Need a Visa to Visit Turkey and Greece?

For a trip to Turkey, travelers from most countries need to obtain a visa, including the United States, the United Kingdom, Australia, and Canada. 

Applying for an e-visa through the official Turkey e-Visa website would only take a couple of minutes to fill out the application form. Once approved, the e-visa would be sent directly to you by email.

To visit Greece, only travelers from a few countries are required to obtain a visa. Citizens of countries like the United States, the United Kingdom, Australia, and Canada can visit visa-free.

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