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11 Days in Istanbul/Athens

post #1 of 10
Thread Starter 
For a graduation present I'm going to be spending some time split between Istanbul and Athens. I'll be arriving in Istanbul the afternoon of May 6th and flying out the morning of the 17th. I'm set on the touristy things to do in each city, but I'm looking for help with a day trip outside of the city for each location. One suggestion I've had, not for a just one day, was to go from Istanbul to Izmir and visit Ephesus then ferry/fly to Athens. The Princes' Islands were also suggested. One for Athens was to visit Corinth.

I'd like to hear how others would break down the time to be spent between the two cities. Right now I'm leaning toward spending the 6th-11th in Istanbul and 12th-16th in Athens. If I go to Izmir I'd most likely take one day from each city.
post #2 of 10

İzmir itself is nice, very much worth visiting for a day or two but Ephesus is far from from the city center, about an hour or so. Izmir has a great night life around the Kordon and Alsancak areas. I'm not sure about ferries to Athens from İzmir, you'd probably have to go from the town of Çeşme across to Chios (Sakız Adası) then onwards to Athens or alternatively fly directly with Pegasus.

 

There's not a lot to see on the Prince's Islands either other than Trotsky's old dilapidated house and the Orthodox Seminary. Although it is an excellent spot for a picnic but best avoided on weekends. It tends to be very crowded and the ferries over will only have standing room. An alternative day trip could perhaps be to Çanakkale to see the battlefields of Gallipoli.

 

I can recommend the Büyük Londra hotel in İstanbul, they offer rooms for 40 Euro per night in a great location. The hotel was built in the 1800s as well, so it has some character. The hotel restaurant also overlooks the Golden Horn.

 

 

 

If I may suggest so, perhaps going to Athens via Thessaloniki could be an alternative route. Thessaloniki is very similar to İzmir and only a short plane journey away from İstanbul with Turkish Airlines, from Tessaloniki to Athens there's a decent train service taking around 7 or so hours. There is a lot to see and do in Thessaloniki, which was an Ottoman city for hundreds of years before being (re)taken by the Greeks in 1912.

post #3 of 10
I was going to say thesoloniki, too. I love that town. also, I'd go to Philips tomb, which is an hour or 90 minutes away from thesoloniki. the food is great.

here's the deal, I'm a lot older than you and not a party guy, Istanbul is a real party city, so I can't help with that. if I were you

3 days in Athens - archeological museum, Cycladic museum, walk around town, acropolis, I'd have a meal at monostaki metro station square, one in the plaka, and one in a fancy greek place.

take a train to thesoloniki - one day in thesoloniki, one day at the ruins of pela and vergina, tomb of Philip.

train to Istanbul

3 days Istanbul, hit a bath, the bazaar, the spice bazaar, blue mosque, grand mosque, haga sofia, walk around town, archeological museum, spend an evening smoking a water pipe, take a ferry to the asia side, eat at a fish place on gulata bridge, have iskender kabab, go to a high end kabab resteraunt.

troy one day

you could play around with the other two days - depending on what you're interested in, I'd probably do some more ruins.

enjoy
post #4 of 10
My wife lived/stayed briefly in Thesoloniki 30 years ago and still talks fondly of it.
post #5 of 10
Quote:
Originally Posted by Cary Grant View Post

My wife lived/stayed briefly in Thesoloniki 30 years ago and still talks fondly of it.
fantastic food
post #6 of 10
Thread Starter 
Thanks for the suggestions. I appreciate the feedback, and whatever I do I'll work my way toward Athens so I can fly back from there to Istanbul before I leave. Thessaloniki is actually somewhere I'd looked into last summer when I'd originally wanted to take a trip like this. Globetrotter, I'm not much of a party guy when I'm out travelling either. I figure I can do that anywhere, so there's no need to feel like garbage and waste the next day. I'm interested in anything historical: particularly churches. When I get to a city I prefer to take at least half a day to just wander without an agenda.
post #7 of 10
Quote:
Originally Posted by tullytra View Post

Thanks for the suggestions. I appreciate the feedback, and whatever I do I'll work my way toward Athens so I can fly back from there to Istanbul before I leave. Thessaloniki is actually somewhere I'd looked into last summer when I'd originally wanted to take a trip like this. Globetrotter, I'm not much of a party guy when I'm out travelling either. I figure I can do that anywhere, so there's no need to feel like garbage and waste the next day. I'm interested in anything historical: particularly churches. When I get to a city I prefer to take at least half a day to just wander without an agenda.

in that case you are going to love those cities. enjoy
post #8 of 10

The only thing I would add about Istanbul is to check out the Basilica Cistern across the street from the Sofia. I stumbled upon it (easy to miss) and it was one of the cooler things I saw that day. 

 

lefty

post #9 of 10
This might have a few tips. Ran across it in the Wordpress Reader...
http://harindabama.com/
post #10 of 10
Check out Rick Steves' books... I find his advice to be invaluable.
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