Experience the history, traditions, flavours and beaches of Turkey and Greece on this well-balance tour

If you’re looking for world-famous ruins, postcard-perfect beaches, epic history and a healthy dose of mouth-watering cuisine, a Greek holiday is probably high on your list, but did you know all of these treasures can be found in Turkey too? You’d be missing out if you visited one and not the other, so we created the perfect two-week adventure for you. Glimpse Turkey and Greece’s glorious past on visits to Ephesus and the island of Delos. Compare Turkey’s version of beach life with that found on the Greek Islands. And debate which country serves up the tastiest cuisine. Balancing traditional towns with tourist hotspots, unique cultural experiences with bucket-list items, and free time with planned excursion, this trip to Turkey and Greece has all the makings of an unforgettable adventure.


Start
Istanbul, Turkey
Finish
Santorini, Greece
Destinations
Greece, Turkey
Style
Original
Code
ERSZC
Physical rating
Ages
Min 15
Group size
Min 1, Max 12

Why you'll love this trip

  • Taste local fruit wines in one of the best-preserved Greek Ottoman villages in the country. The small village of Sirince is picture perfect.

  • Get up close and personal with the fairy chimneys of Cappadocia on a valley walk that'll have you exploring rock-cut dwellings in Love Valley or the rose-coloured hues of Red Valley.

  • Discover the back streets and vibrant local markets of Istanbul, where East meets West.

  • Fall asleep on the Aegean Coast and wake up in Central Anatolia on the Mavi Konya, an overnight train from Izmir to Konya.

  • Uncover thousands of years of civilisation in Athens with a visit to the world-famous Acropolis and the ancient Agora.

  • Wander through the charming villages of Syros. When night falls, indulge in delicious seafood dinners in traditional tavernas as Rembetika music floats around you.

  • With its boutique culture, gorgeous beaches and thumping nightlife, the chic isle of Mykonos invites you to embrace your hedonistic side.

  • The sight of a Santorini sunset can turn even the most hardened of souls into a romantic. Walk along the volcanic rim of the island from Thira to Oia, passing through picturesque white villages that cling to plunging cliffs.

Is this trip right for you?

  • You will need to carry your bags on and off local trams and trains and ferries during this trip. Some of the Greek Islands are very hilly and mountainous, which means lots and lots of steps are an inherent feature of the landscape. You will have to be able to easily lift your luggage and carry it up and down stairs and inclines. Also, stone streets become very slippery when wet. 

  • This trip has two included flights in Turkey and internal luggage restrictions of 15 kg apply. If you are travelling for a longer period it is possible to store excess luggage in Istanbul.

  • The flight connection from Istanbul to Athens has a 23 kg checked in allowance and 8 kg hand baggage.

  • There is an overnight train on this trip, the train is twin share with comfortable beds and all linen is supplied.

  • We have had reports of travellers being pick pocketed on public transport in Athens. Please be careful with your valuables while travelling on the metro or the bus.

  • Transport in Greece is by way of  large ferries that transport hundreds of people, along with cars and trucks. There are no reserved seats and passengers are free to walk around the ferry freely. Luggage is stored in a designated area on the car deck and is not accessible while the ferry is moving.

  • Summer temperatures in Turkey and Greece can reach up to 40°C, which can be uncomfortable for those not used to the heat. On the other hand, early in the season (April) many businesses may still be closed and the weather is unpredictable, however you may have some of the major sights almost to yourself. Please consider the time of the year you wish to travel and your suitability to that season.

  • As accommodation on this trip is twin-share, single travellers will share a room with another traveller of the same gender. If you’d prefer not to share, a single room supplement is available at an additional charge. Please ask your travel consultant for more details. 

Itinerary

Welcome to Turkey. Meet your group at 1 pm at the hotel in Istanbul, the continent-straddling metropolis that the Greeks, Romans, Byzantines and Ottomans have all called home. Your group will head out with your leader to explore the Old City of Instanbul after the meeting. Visit the scene of many a chariot race in the ancient hippodrome, check out the Blue Mosque, take a walk past the wares of the Grand Bazaar and marvel at the jewel in Sinan the Great Ottoman Architect's crown, Suleymaniye Cami. If you're not too exhausted after all that, join your new friends for dinner and bask in the beauty of a real Turkish kebab, not the regrettable 2 am kind.
Accommodation
  • Hotel (1 night)
Included Activities
  • Istanbul - Old City Walking Tour (Half Day)
Optional Activities
  • Bosphorus Boat Cruise (Public Boat) - TRY25
  • Istanbul - Galata Tower - TRY18
  • Istanbul - Archaeology Museum - TRY20
  • Istanbul - Museum of Turkish and Islamic Arts - TRY25
  • Istanbul - Hagia Sophia - TRY40
  • Istanbul - Topkapi Palace - TRY65
Meals Included
There are no meals included on this day.
Special Information
If you can't arrange a flight that will have you arrive in time for today's welcome meeting, you may wish to arrive a day early so you're able to attend. We'll be happy to book additional accommodation for you (subject to availability). If you're going to be late, please inform the hotel reception. We'll be collecting your insurance details and next of kin information at this meeting, so please have these on hand.
How blue is the Aegean? Find out for yourself as you jump on a local train after breakfast and head to the airport. A one-hour flight takes you to Izmir, Turkey's third-largest city, and from there you'll transfer 1.5 hours to Kusadasi. This resort town lies on Turkey's western Aegean coast and is the perfect jump-off point for visiting the classical ruins at Ephesus. It's also a great spot to soak up the vibes along the seafront promenade, check out the local beaches or have a bit of a fun with the nightlife. Despite being a resort town, Kusadasi isn't all new hotels and marinas. It has a long history and some phenomenal traditional Aegean cuisine featuring fresh seafood and local olive oil.

Accommodation
  • Hotel (1 night)
Meals Included
  • Breakfast
Special Information
There are two airports in Istanbul, internal flights may be from either of these airports depending on carrier schedules. Internal flight will be operated by Turkish Airlines, Anadolu Jet, Pegasus Airlines or Sun Express.  Luggage restrictions of 15kg checked and 8kg hand luggage apply on most internal flights.
Lace up your sensible shoes and charge your camera. Today starts with a visit to Ephesus, one of the best-preserved classical cities in the Eastern Mediterranean and arguably the greatest Greco-Roman site in the world. Once the capital city of Roman Asia Minor, the city has a fascinating history that really comes alive with a local guide to enhance the experience. The ruins are in incredible shape, considering their age, and it’s not difficult to image them in their full glory 2000 years ago. This ancient city was extremely sophisticated with running water, public toilets, a renowned medical institute, a brothel and Roman baths. The theatre is well preserved and regularly hosts concerts, but it's the magnificent library that takes most people's breath away. From Ephesus, drive to Selcuk to feast on the popular gozleme (Turkish pancake) as it's made in front of you, then visit the Isa Bey Mosque, the Artemis Temple and the small village of Sirince to taste the local fruit wine.
Accommodation
  • Hotel (1 night)
Included Activities
  • Ephesus - guided archaeological site visit
  • Selcuk - Gozleme making demonstration and lunch
  • Selcuk - Isa Bey Camii
  • Selcuk - Artemis Temple Visit
  • Sirince - Wine Tasting
Optional Activities
  • Selcuk - Archaeological Museum - TRY15
  • Ephesus - Terrace Houses Entry - TRY25
  • Selcuk - Basilica of St John - TRY10
Meals Included
  • Breakfast
  • Lunch
It's all about you today. Whatever you want to do, do it. Within reason, y'know? Take a day tour to the famous Pamukkale World Heritage Site, Turkey's 'Cotton Castle' thermal pools that have  been used as a spa since the 2nd century BC. Though you won't be able to bathe in these pools, you can take a walk through them, visit the nearby ancient city of Hierapolis and take a dip in what used to be Celopatras’s old pool. Alternatively, you could take to the Aegean and explore the coastline on a gulet, a traditional wooden Turkish vessel. Swim in the crystal-clear waters of Soguksu Bay, Claros Island and Baradan Beach and enjoy lunch on deck. If you'd rather have a low-key day, there are plenty of beaches in town that have sunbeds, umbreallas and your name on it. Whatever you do, make sure you're ready to head back to Izmir by 6 pm as the Mavi Konya, an overnight train, will be waiting to transport your group through the night to the central Anatolian city of Konya.




Accommodation
  • Mavi Konya (1 night)
Meals Included
  • Breakfast
Special Information
Overnight travel this evening on the Mavi Konya. Sleeping couchettes are two berth and have excellent facilities including a washbasin, small fridge and plenty of luggage storage.  Fresh bedding is supplied but you are required to make your own bed. Western-style toilets are located in each carriage, but we recommend bringing additional toilet paper.  There is a dining car for breakfast in the morning and if you get hungry during the evening.  You can even enjoy a local beer over a game of backgammon. 
Wake up in Konya, a traditional Turkish city that's closely linked with the whirling dervish sect of Islam developed in the 13th century by Celaleddin Rumi, considered one of Islam's greatest Sufi mystics. Take an opportunity to visit the Mevlana Museum and stretch your legs in town before hitting the road for a three-hour journey to Cappadocia. Keep an eye out for the fairy chimneys, the hallmarks of Cappadocia's otherworldly landscape, as you drive across the Anatolian plains and stop en route at one of the underground cities that once provided a safe haven in times of war or persecution. Arrive in Goreme in the late afternoon and take a sunset valley walk before settling in for the evening. 
Accommodation
  • Hotel (1 night)
Included Activities
  • Goreme - Kaymakli Underground City
Meals Included
There are no meals included on this day.
Special Information
Notes: Without a doubt, one of the most amazing memories of this journey is a hot air balloon ride over the majestic landscape to see this otherworldly scene at sunrise. Those who are interested in this optional extra will have a truly awe-inspiring experience. The cost of this activity varies depending on what type of flight you choose. This activity can only be booked locally. Please speak to your trip leader on Day 1 to organise this.
This morning you have the option to take a hot air balloon flight, a once-in-a-lifetime experience during which the sun illuminates a skyline dotted with balloons. Even if you'd prefer not to take a flight, it's still worth waking up for this truly incredible sight. Your leader will take you for a walk through one of the nearby valleys, possibly the Valley of Love, which features fairy chimneys, deserted rock-cut homes and churches. Your leader will know a number of fantastic scenic routes and a good walk is by far the best way to experience this unique environment. In your free time today, maybe visit the UNESCO-listed Goreme Open Air Museum, a monastic complex composed of churches, rectories and dwellings cut into the soft cliff face. You could also hire a bicycle and ride to Avanos to check out the Red River, or relax in a Turkish bath. This evening, your leader will give you the option of sharing a meal with a local family in their own home, or alternatively you could grab a local testi kebab, an evening hookah in one of the cafes or a glass of the local wine while overlooking the valley. A perfect last night in Cappadocia, whatever you choose.


Accommodation
  • Hotel (1 night)
Included Activities
  • Goreme - Valley Walk in Capadoccia
Optional Activities
  • Goreme - Hot Air Balloon, Cappadocia Regular Flight - EUR175
  • Goreme - Open Air Museum - TRY30
  • Goreme - Whirling Dervishes - Sema Performance - EUR25
Meals Included
  • Breakfast
Wave goodbye to Cappadocia and transfer to the airport for a flight back to Istanbul. Expect to arrive between 1 and 4 pm, then grab your bags and jump on the metro as the group heads to the Sultanahmet District for the final evening of hte trip. Meet up with your travel buds in the evening and take a stroll across the Galata Bridge to one of the city's hippest neighbourhoods, a place of contradictions where tool-selling tradesman share space with chic cafes and galleries. This is the place to be seen. Try a local favourite, Balik Ekmek (fish sandwich), for dinner, then cleanse the palate with a baklava. Maybe check out a few of the bars, or simply enjoy a farewell cay (Turkish tea) overlooking the Bosphorous. 
Accommodation
  • Hotel (1 night)
Meals Included
  • Breakfast
This morning, transfer to Istanbul airport, bid farewell to your tour leader, and board a flight bound for Athens. The flight will be unaccompanied, but your leader will provide flight details and contact information before you board, and you will be met at the airport on arrival. After transferring to the hotel, the day is free until a group meeting at 6 pm. Settle in, freshen up and maybe take a walk around Athens’s ancient streets to get a feel for the city. After your evening meeting, head out for dinner with the group at a restaurant in the vibrant Psiri neighbourhood.
Accommodation
  • Hotel (1 night)
Optional Activities
  • Acropolis Pass for 5 Sites - EUR30
  • National Archaeological Museum - EUR10
  • Day Trip to the Saronic Islands - EUR85
  • Day Trip to Delphi - EUR60
  • Dora Stratou - EUR15
  • Lycabettus Hill - Free
  • Numismatic Museum - EUR6
  • Urban Adventures - Walking Athens - EUR55
  • Urban Adventures - Taste of Athens - EUR68
  • Urban Adventures - Markets, Ruins & Ancient Athens - EUR58
  • Urban Adventures - Bohemian Tales of the City - EUR70
  • Urban Adventures - Twilight Athens - EUR91
  • Urban Adventures - Total Athens - EUR169
Meals Included
  • Breakfast
Special Information
As this is a combination trip, your group leader and the composition of your group may change at this location. There will be a group meeting to discuss the next stage of your itinerary and you're welcome to attend, as this is a great chance to meet your new fellow travellers.
Today travel by metro to the port of Piraeus, then catch a relaxing scenic ferry to Syros (approximately 4 hours). In the heart of the Cyclades, Syros offers a rare opportunity to see the islands as the Greeks do. Also known as Syra, the island features typical whitewashed houses, farms, terraced fields and gorgeous sandy beaches. Upon arrival on one of the Aegean's most underrated islands, discover abandoned windmills, ancient ruins and charming villages on a network of stone-paved tracks that crisscross the island. Syros is also home to delicious sweets – take a wander through the main town of Ermoupolis, home to gorgeous neoclassical mansions and 19th-century tenement blocks, and try the hazelnut, almond or honey-filled wafers or the fruit-flavoured jelly from one of many one-room shops. You'll have plenty of time to explore tomorrow, so perhaps kick up your feet at a waterfront cafe and watch the setting sun turn the houses pink.
Accommodation
  • Hotel (1 night)
Included Activities
  • Loukoumia Workshop Visit
Meals Included
  • Breakfast
Take a walk through the fortress-like town of Ano Syros, which offers great views of the Aegean Sea. Wander the narrow alleyways, pass handmade-souvenir shops and keep an ear open for traditional Rembetiko music floating out of the family-run tavernas. Enjoy free time to further explore Syros at your own pace. Perhaps head to the various archaeological sites on the island, or you might prefer to simply hole up on a beach for the afternoon. Outside of Ermoupolis are many small tranquil coves, while the most popular beaches are on the southern side of the island. While some are sandy and others pebbly, all boast crystal clear waters for swimming in. In the evening, take taxis to a taverna in the a remotely located village in the rugged northern part of the island to sample delicious local specialities during an included meal, all while watching the sun set over the Aegean Sea.
Accommodation
  • Hotel (1 night)
Included Activities
  • Ano Syros Walk
  • Syros Sunset Dinner
Optional Activities
  • Archaeological Sites/Ruins - EUR5
Meals Included
  • Dinner
Today board a two-hour ferry to Mykonos, a beautiful island named in honour of Apollo's grandson. Mykonos is legendary both in ancient and modern times. Known in ancient Greek mythology as the battlefield where Zeus fought the Gigantes, today the island is best known for its decadence, style, and nightlife. Join your leader for a walk through the maze-like old town and be captivated by the quintessential Greek Isles vista of squat white houses brightly juxtaposed against the cerulean sea. Browse the chic galleries and boutiques, follow flower-lined paths past age-old churches and tiny restaurants to secluded, sandy beaches, and spend the afternoon soaking up the rays and splashing in the water. As the sun sets, join the group for a picnic dinner of local specialties. Your leader will know the ideal spot to sit back and enjoy an Aegean sunset.
Accommodation
  • Hotel (1 night)
Included Activities
  • Picnic in Mykonos
Meals Included
There are no meals included on this day.
This morning you will take a half-day trip out to the nearby island of Delos. One of the most important archaeological and mythological sites in the Greek Islands, a sacred area that was once the political and religious centre of the Aegean, Delos is considered to be the birthplace of Apollo and Artemis. A living museum, the wealthy built mansions in the town that developed around Apollo’s sanctuary, decorating them with luxurious frescoes, mosaics and statues. The island is overflowing with archaeological finds like the Terrace of the Lions and the Sacred Precinct, with many more still being uncovered. Later on today you might like to head to one of Mykonos' many beaches, which are some of the nicest in Europe. Take a short bus ride to the pumping Paradise or Super Paradise beach bars, or perhaps find a quieter spot to relax along the beautiful coastline. You could also check out the 19th-century House of Lena or the Aegean Maritime Museum in town. This evening you could make your way to the village of Ano Mera and seek out a tavern for a seafood dinner or perhaps wander down to Little Venice, where colourful balconies hang precariously over the sea.
Accommodation
  • Hotel (1 night)
Included Activities
  • Day Trip to the Island of Delos
  • Delos Archaeological Site
Optional Activities
  • Archaeological Sites/Ruins - EUR12
  • Aegean Maritime Museum - EUR4
  • House of Lena - EUR2
  • Day Trip to Village of Ano Mera - EUR4
  • Day Trip to Paradise Beach - EUR4
  • Day Trip to Super Paradise Beach - EUR10
Meals Included
  • Breakfast
Take a ferry and wind up this Greek adventure on the southern island of Santorini (approximately 3 hours). Renowned for its spectacular natural beauty, Santorini is one of Europe's tourist hotspots, the home of the iconic image of the Greek islands – whitewashed, blue-domed buildings clinging to the cliff face with sparkling water in the background. Discover the hilltop ruins of Ancient Thira and its fascinating Prehistoric Museum, as well as the archaeological site of Akrotiri, a Minoan Bronze Age settlement that gives an insight into how the people here lived before the eruption. Check out the range of restaurants and shops in the island's capital, interchangeably called Thira or Fira. If you have time while you're here, perhaps head to one of Santorini's volcanic beaches, such as Red Beach or the black beaches of Perissa, Vlhada, Perivolos or Agios Georgios. Be sure to try some of the island’s delicious food – the nutrient-filled volcanic soil makes the ingredients grown here full of flavour.
Accommodation
  • Hotel (1 night)
Optional Activities
  • Museum of Prehistoric Thira - EUR6
  • Volcano and Hot Springs (Half-Day Trip) - EUR25
Meals Included
  • Breakfast
Special Information
Please note that our accommodation is located in the village of Karterados. It is a walk of approximately 20 minutes into Santorini's main town of Thira, or alternatively there are frequent bus departures from the bus stop right beside the hotel.
In 1500 BC a volcanic eruption sank the centre of Santorini, forming one of the most significant geological formations on the planet – the awe-inspiring caldera. The spectacular natural beauty of this caldera is what makes Santorini such a special place. Today make an excursion along the crater rim, starting in Thira town and walking through little villages all the way to Oia, passing steep cliff faces and experiencing breathtaking views along the way. If you have time, you might also like to take a half-day trip to the island's volcano and hot springs in the centre of the lagoon. Or perhaps visit one of the island’s wineries – the vines here are cultivated in a very unusual way, with the plants being pruned to form a low basket shape that sits on top of the volcanic soil to protect the grapes from strong winds. On the last evening of your adventure, rub shoulders with friendly locals in packed pubs and cafes, sipping a cocktail as you witness a magnificent Santorini sunset.
Accommodation
  • Hotel (1 night)
Included Activities
  • Santorini Caldera Rim Hike
Meals Included
  • Breakfast
Special Information
Please note that the hike along the caldera usually takes approximately 3-4 hours / 12 km, and the surface varies between gravel and loose volcanic scree. There are multiple uphill and downhill sections, and there is little shade. Please speak to your leader for more details if you have any concerns. As an alternative to the hike you can take the bus to Oia instead, and meet up with the rest of the group there.
Today your Greek Islands adventure comes to an end. There are no activities planned and you are able to depart the accommodation at any time. You might want to extend your stay to see all Santorini has to offer. We are happy to book additional accommodation, subject to availability. Please enquire at the time of booking.
Meals Included
  • Breakfast

Meals

11 breakfasts, 1 lunch, 1 dinner

Transport

Private Bus, Public Bus, Overnight Train, Plane, Ferry

Accommodation

Hotel (13 nights), Overnight Train (1 night)

Included activities

  • Istanbul - Old City Walking Tour (Half Day)
  • Ephesus - guided archaeological site visit
  • Selcuk - Gozleme making demonstration and lunch
  • Selcuk - Isa Bey Camii
  • Selcuk - Artemis Temple Visit
  • Sirince - Wine Tasting
  • Goreme - Kaymakli Underground City
  • Goreme - Valley Walk in Capadoccia
  • Loukoumia Workshop Visit
  • Ano Syros Walk
  • Syros Sunset Dinner
  • Picnic in Mykonos
  • Day Trip to the Island of Delos
  • Delos Archaeological Site
  • Santorini Caldera Rim Hike

Dates & availability

Trip search is unavailable.

There are currently no scheduled departures on our Highlights of Turkey & the Greek Islands trip. If you are interested in other trips in the region visit one of the links below.

Prices may change, so secure your trip today!
Jump to a departure month

Important notes

SINGLE SUPPLEMENT
A single supplement is available on this trip please refer to your booking agent.

ITINERARY
Internal flights have a 15 kg luggage restriction.  Excess Luggage can be stored in the Istanbul starting point hotel.

The international connection between Istanbul and Athens has a 23 kg checked in luggage allowance and 8 kg hand luggage.

This trip has an overnight train included, the train is comfortable and reserved on a twin share basis, with comfortable beds, pillows and linen supplied, most people get a goods nights sleep on the train.

Essential trip information

Want an in-depth insight into this trip? Essential Trip Information provides a detailed itinerary, visa info, how to get to your hotel, what's included - pretty much everything you need to know about this adventure and more.

View Essential Trip Information

Reviews