Classic Turkey & Greek Islands tour

Classic Turkey & Greek Islands tour

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tourhub | Encounters Travel | Classic Turkey & Greek Islands tour | 175
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14 Days
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$3385

$3292

Classic Turkey & Greek Islands tour

14 Days Starting in Athens, Greece and ending in Istanbul, Türkiye

Visiting: Athens, Fira, Mykonos, Samos, Kuşadası, Pamukkale, Konya, Cappadocia, Ankara, İstanbul

Tour operator:

Encounters Travel

Tour code:

175

Guide Type:

Fully Guided

Group size:

1 - 20

Physical rating:

Low

Age range:

8-95

Special diets catered:

Please advise requests

Tour operated in:
English
Activities:

Sightseeing, Walking

From:
$3385
$3292 (USD) The Big ADVENTURE Sale: -$93
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Tour Overview

This tour combines ancient Athens and visits to Greece's beautiful Aegean islands with some of Turkey's most impressive and important highlights. Among others, you'll see the extensive Roman ruins at Ephesus, Pamukkale's calcium travertines, underground cities and surreal landscapes in Cappadocia and the bustling city of Istanbul. We start in Athens with plenty of time to visit the famous ancient sites like the Acropolis and Parthenon, before heading out to the picturesque island of Santorini for plenty of sun, sea and sand. We island hop to Mykonos and Samos for more beach time before arriving at Kusadasi in Turkey. We'll visit the nearby roman ruins at Ephesus before heading inland to enjoy the rejuvenating thermal waters and limestone Travertines at Pamukkale and Heirapolis. We continue east to spend time in the fairytale landscape that is Cappadocia and venture underground to explore the fascinating underground cities. From here we head back to Istanbul, via the capital Ankara, and spent our final days visiting the famous sites like Topkapi Palace, the Blue Mosque, and the Aya Sofya.

Highlights

  • Greek islands of Santorini

  • Mykonos & Samos

  • Extensive Roman ruins at Ephesus

  • Pamukkale calcium travertines

  • Hieropolis

  • Cappadocia landscape & underground cities

  • Istanbul

Itinerary

Expand All
Day 1 : Arrive In Athens: Transfer To Hotel
Location: Athens
Accommodation: Hotel
Meals Included: No Meals

We'll greet you on your arrival at Athens airport and transfer you to your hotel. The rest of the day is free for you to settle in and start exploring this ancient city before you meet up with your tour leader and fellow travelling companions this evening. Extra nights in the Athens hotel are available before the tour starts if you'd like to spend more time here.

Day 2 : Athens: Half Day Acropolis Tour
Location: Athens
Accommodation: Hotel
Meals Included: Breakfast,

We include a half day tour this morning to visit the ancient Acropolis which sits on top of a rocky hill overlooking the city, providing great views. You'll see the temple of Olympian Zeus and Hadrian's Arch, which formed a symbolic entrance to the city. You'll also tour the Temple of Nike, the most famous of Greek relics, the Parthenon, and see the original home of the marble sculptures removed by Lord Elgin that are now held in the British Museum in London. At the Acropolis you'll also visit the impressive museum, the towering entrance of Propylaea and the Temple of the Athene Nike. You'll also stop at the Panathenaikon (Kallimarmaro) Stadium and learn about the first Olympic Games of the modern era which were held here in 1896. The rest of the day is free for you to explore Athens yourselves; whether you'd like to concentrate on more history, see the modern centre or find a cafe in a square to relax is up to you.

Day 3 : Ferry From Athens To Santorini: Free Time
Location: Fira
Accommodation: Hotel
Meals Included: Breakfast,

We'll leave Athens this morning and take to the sea for the fast ferry crossing to the volcanic island of Santorini (approx. 5 hours). The present shape of the island was formed after a huge volcanic eruption around 3,600 years ago at the time of the height of the Minoan civilisation. Subsequent caldera collapses have left a large central lagoon with high cliffs surrounding it on three sides. The land then slopes down to some lovely beaches, formed of different coloured sand and pebbles, including the Black Beach White Beach and Red Beach. The weather here is consistently good through the summer months and you can spend your free time here relaxing on the beaches or perhaps exploring the picturesque capital, Fira.

Day 4 : Santorini: Free Time & Optional Tours
Location: Fira
Accommodation: Hotel
Meals Included: Breakfast,

Your day is free to spend on Santorini today. You could relax on the beach, or take an optional boat trip into the volcanic lagoon to see the surrounding crater walls. You can also visit the active volcano, take a relaxing and therapeutic mud bath, and swim in the warm waters.

Day 5 : Ferry From Santorini To Mykonos
Location: Mykonos
Accommodation: Hotel
Meals Included: Breakfast,

You head to sea again today and take the ferry from Santorini to Mykonos (approx. 3 hours), another of the Cyclades group of Greek islands. Mykonos is one of the most popular Greek islands, and for good reason. Mythology suggests that the island was formed by the bodies of petrified giants, killed by Hercules. Today it is a cosmopolitan island that attracts tourists from Greece and around Europe who come to enjoy the great weather, historic towns and whitewashed and colourful buildings, busy shopping streets, great cafes and restaurants, and a thriving night-time clubbing scene. Known as the 'Island of the Winds', Mykonos also is a great place for watersports with some excellent windsurfing and surfing beaches. Also popular are sailing trips and diving or snorkelling. Your time is free here to take advantage of whatever aspects of the islands attractions most suit you. Your tour leader will assist with any arrangements you may like to make.

Day 6 : Mykonos: Free Day & Local Options
Location: Mykonos
Accommodation Name: Ferry - reclining seats
Meals Included: Breakfast

Your day is free to relax or explore Mykonos today, again with the assistance of your tour leader. You could chill on the beach or visit some of the small villages on the island which can feel like a large open-air museum. Worth seeing are the rows of windmills built above Chora by the Venetians in the 16th century; 'Little Venice' - the most picturesque and colourful quarter of the capital Chora; the Neolithic site at Ftelia in the north of the island; several interesting museums and churches, and of course the famous beaches. Late this evening we transfer to the ferry port to catch the overnight ferry to Samos (approx. 5-7 hours).

Day 7 : Samos To Kusadasi
Location: Samos, Kuşadası
Accommodation: Hotel
Meals Included: Dinner,

You arrive in the Greek island of Samos early this morning. Samos is the southernmost island of the Aegean and sits just off the Turkish coast. Later in the day we will transfer you via ferry to Kusadasi on the Turkish coast. Depending on the ferry schedules, you'll have time to explore the towns of Samos or Kusadasi during the day. You'll be welcomed in Turkey by our team there and meet your professional Turkish tour guide who will accompany you for the rest of the trip.

Day 8 : Kusadasi: Ephesus Roman Ruins Tour
Location: Kuşadası
Accommodation: Hotel
Meals Included: Breakfast, Dinner,

After breakfast we drive to the Roman site of Ephesus. The city at one time housed 250,000 people and is regarded as one of the best preserved ancient cities in the Mediterranean. We visit the Temple of Artemis, and explore the ancient marble streets of this ruined Roman city. This afternoon we visit the fruit wine growing village of Sirince and learn about the history of carpet weaving in Turkey.

Day 9 : Drive To Pamukkale And Hierapolis
Location: Pamukkale
Accommodation: Hotel
Meals Included: Breakfast, Dinner,

You can see a display of locally handcrafted leather goods this morning before we travel east to Pamukkale, site of the famous white calcium terraces known as Travertines. Pamukkale translates as 'cotton castles' and the naturally occurring geology here has created cloud like formations unlike anywhere else. We then head to the adjacent ancient city of Hierapolis where you can enjoy a dip in the hot thermal pools lodged amongst ancient columns left by the Romans who used the pools for their therapeutic powers.

Day 10 : Drive The Silk Road To Konya
Location: Konya
Accommodation: Hotel
Meals Included: Breakfast, Dinner,

Travel back in time today as we follow the ancient Silk Road towards Konya. We learn more about the history of this important trade route with a stop at the Sultanhani Caravanserai before arriving in Konya where we include a visit to the Mevlana museum - the former home of the original Mevlevi Whirling Dervishes.

Day 11 : Cappadocia: Full Day Tour
Location: Cappadocia
Accommodation: Hotel
Meals Included: Breakfast, Dinner,

Today we set out to explore the beautiful and surreal landscape of Cappadocia. Unlike anywhere else on earth, this bizarre setting creates a fairytale view full of improbable rock formations and underground villages. Often described as the jewel of Turkey we have a full tour here to explore the Goreme Valley Open Air Museum, the fairy chimneys, and we'll also explore an underground city full of subterranean churches, living areas, schools and shops used by Christians to avoid persecution over a thousand years ago.

Day 12 : Cappadocia: Drive To Ankara Before Returning To Istanbul
Location: Ankara, İstanbul
Accommodation: Hotel
Meals Included: Breakfast,

We leave early this morning for the drive to Ankara, Turkey's modern day capital city. We visit Anitkabir - mausoleum of the famed Mustafa Kemal Ataturk before returning to Istanbul by road. This is a long day's drive, and we can arrange an upgrade to an internal flight from Kayseri in Cappadocia if you prefer (please ask for current times & prices).

Day 13 : Istanbul: Old City Tour
Location: İstanbul
Accommodation: Hotel
Meals Included: Breakfast,

Today's tour of the old city of Istanbul provides an introduction to the history and some of the most important sites in this fascinating city. Straddling two continents Istanbul (or Constantinople as it was previously known) played an integral role in the development of both the Byzantine and Ottoman Empires. We'll visit the 17th century Blue Mosque, the Aya Sofya museum and explore the former residence of the Ottoman Sultans at Topkapi Palace before ending at the famous Hippodrome.

Day 14 : Istanbul: Departure Transfer To The Airport
Location: İstanbul
Accommodation:
Meals Included: Breakfast,

Your time is free today for some last minute sightseeing and shopping in Istanbul before we transfer you to the airport for your flight home. Optional tours are available locally to see more of Istanbul, and we can also add extra nights in the Istanbul hotel if you'd like to spend more time exploring the city.

What's Included

    • All accommodation as stated in the itinerary
    • All transport in AC minibus/coach in Turkey and Athens
    • Greek island ferry crossings as per itinerary
    • Port-hotel transfers on Greek islands
    • 24-hour airport arrival transfe

What's Not Included

    • International Flights (available on request)
    • Visa fees
    • Travel Insurance (compulsory, available on request)
    • Single room supplements (chargeable if a same-sex room share is not available)
    • Meals not indicated in the itinerary
    • Entrance fees in Athens (allow approx. EUR 17 for the Acropolis and Acropolis Museum)
    • Greece hotel residence tax (see tour notes)
    • Drinks, snacks, and other personal expenses (e.g. laundry)

More Info

This tour combines ancient Athens and visits to Greece's beautiful Aegean islands with some of Turkey's most impressive and important highlights. Among others, you'll see the extensive Roman ruins at Ephesus, Pamukkale's calcium travertines, underground cities and surreal landscapes in Cappadocia and the bustling city of Istanbul. We start in Athens with plenty of time to visit the famous ancient sites like the Acropolis and Parthenon, before heading out to the picturesque island of Santorini for plenty of sun, sea and sand. We island hop to Mykonos and Samos for more beach time before arriving at Kusadasi in Turkey. We'll visit the nearby roman ruins at Ephesus before heading inland to enjoy the rejuvenating thermal waters and limestone Travertines at Pamukkale and Heirapolis. We continue east to spend time in the fairytale landscape that is Cappadocia and venture underground to explore the fascinating underground cities. From here we head back to Istanbul, via the capital Ankara, and spent our final days visiting the famous sites like Topkapi Palace, the Blue Mosque, and the Aya Sofya.

Mode of Transport

A/C minibus
Local ferries

Accommodation

4 to 5-star hotels
Overnight ferry

Check out our Q&As

  • Are vaccinations required for this tour?

    You should ensure you are fully insured for medical emergencies including emergency evacuation and repatriation. UK travellers visiting European Union countries including Greece should also carry the European Health Insurance Card (EHIC) as it entitles travellers to reduced cost, sometimes free, medical treatment in most European countries. Recommended vaccinations and other health protection measures vary according to the country you are visiting and where you are travelling from. We recommend you contact your GP/medical practitioner or a travel clinic for current information on vaccinations needed for your destination. You should ensure that you are up to date with vaccines and boosters recommended for your normal life at home, including for example, vaccines required for occupational risk of exposure, lifestyle risks and underlying medical conditions. In addition, additional courses or boosters normally recommended for Turkey are Hepatitis A and Tetanus. No additional courses or boosters are generally recommended for Greece. More information is available here: Turkey, Greece Malaria map - there is low risk malaria in some south eastern regions of Turkey, not visited on our tours. Malaria map - there is low to no risk of malaria in Greece, none in tourist areas. Yellow fever certificates are not required for either country.

  • Are the local guides on the tour English speaking?

    In Greece we provide a professional tour guide for the tour in Athens, and a tour leader to accompany throughout the whole tour until you board the ferry for Turkey in Samos. In Turkey we provide a fully trained, local English-speaking guide to accompany you all the way from Kusadasi to the end of the tour in Istanbul. They will escort you on all of the sightseeing tours. At Encounters Travel we try to use local guides and reps as much as possible. We feel this gives you the best experience of the country and the sites you are seeing.

  • Do you require a visa for this holiday?

    Visa arrangements are the responsibility of the traveller, and requirements are subject to change by the local authorities. Most foreign nationals require a visa to enter Turkey, and need to obtain it in advance online through http://www.evisa.gov.tr. Applicants just need to log on to the following link, provide the requested information, (after the application is approved) make online payment and download their e-Visa. More information is available here http://www.mfa.gov.tr/visa-information-for-foreigners.en.mfa From the 2nd March 2020 all UK nationals will not need to obtain a visa for Turkey (for visits of up to 90 days in each 180 day period). This will also apply to citizens of the Schengen area countries Austria, Belgium, the Netherlands, Spain and Poland. Some foreign nationals require a visa to enter Greece, though many do not (including UK, EUR, US, CA, AU, NZ, SA).

  • What is the tipping policy?

    Tipping is common practice in Turkey and Greece, as a sign of appreciation for services provided. Your tour price includes a kitty contribution to various tips that your tour guide/leader will make along the way to ensure the smooth running of your tour. This does not cover your tour guide, driver(s) or transfer staff though. Turkey tour guide & Greece tour leader: If you feel that your tour guide and tour leaders in Turkey and Greece have worked hard and been of good assistance to you, then they will certainly appreciate a tip at the end of your time with them. How much you tip is subject to your satisfaction with their service and your personal budget. You should not feel pressured to tip any particular amount. As a guideline, we can suggest that for good service, approximately GBP 2-4 / USD 3-6 / EUR 3-5 per day would be appropriate. Drivers: You may have a range of private drivers on your trip. For those you see for at least several days and who are more involved with the group, a tip of around EUR 1-2 per person per day is generally appropriate.

  • What currencies are required for this tour?

    The Turkish lira was re-valued at the end of 2004 to become the ‘New Turkish Lira’. The word ‘New’ has now been dropped, and we are back to ‘Turkish Lira’ again (TRY). It is normally cheaper to convert money to Turkish Lira in Turkey than at home. Using an ATM or a credit card will often get you the best possible exchange rates; the post and telephone office (PTT) and banks offer very reasonable rates, too. Try to use ATM machines that are attached to banks while they are open, so that if your card is swallowed you can go into the bank and get it released back to you. It is difficult for us to specify the money that you will spend per day, however, as a general rule USD 20-50 per day can provide you with additional meals, tipping, snacks & drinks. Should you wish to purchase many souvenirs or other luxuries, of which there is a diverse range, you will have to budget for these. A mixture of cash and credit cards are the best forms of currency. Credit cards are accepted in most restaurants, bars and pubs. MasterCard and Visa are most welcomed; American Express cards work at some ATMs and AmEx offices. Credit cards are also useful for cash advances, which allow you to withdraw Lira instantly from associated banks and ATMs throughout Turkey. Cash cards and ATM’s are widespread in most of Turkey including in Istanbul, Canakkale, Selcuk, Marmaris, Pamukkale, Fethiye, Kas, Cappadocia, and Ankara.

  • Is travel insurance compulsory?

    Yes! Travel insurance is compulsory on all of our tours and needs to cover personal accident & liability, medical expenses and repatriation, travel delay & abandonment. We also strongly recommend that you take out cover against cancellation and lost/stolen baggage. Personal medical insurance does not normally provide sufficient cover and is generally not suitable for travel on our tours. You will not be able to join your tour if you have not provided us with details of your insurance or if you arrive without cover in place (no refunds will be due in this event).

  • What happens if I need to change my holiday date once I’ve booked?

    You are always able to change your travel date. However, some charges may apply depending on how long before your departure you make the change. Our flexible booking conditions and reduced charges will apply if you are changing date because of a Covid-19 reason or because your government is advising against travel to your destination. Please check our detailed booking conditions for full details.

  • When is my balance payment due?

    For all tours departing in 2020 and 2021, balance due dates are reduced to 28 days. For 2022 departures onwards they will revert back to our standard conditions (60 days).

  • Do you operate a “single share” option and how does it work?

    On most of our group tours, solo travellers may choose to form a temporary 'tour bubble' and share a room with another traveller of the same sex in the group. If a room share is not available then a single room supplement may be payable, with the costs for these kept as low as possible. We have also removed compulsory single supplements from many of our tours, and are reducing the cost by 50% on s

  • How long can I keep my booking as a 'Credit on File'?

    New bookings need to be made within 1 year of your original departure date, with travel started within 2 years of your original departure date.

  • Can I transfer my booking to someone else?

    Yes, if you don't want to, or can't travel, you can transfer your booking and existing payments to other family members or friends. We are waiving our normal fees for doing this for all departures up to the end of 2022. This applies to bookings you may have moved to a Credit on File as well as those setup on a particular date. Note - not all payments may be transferrable.

Reviews from Travellers on this Tour

Coachman16  

Best of Italy and Greece review

October 2019

We just returned from our Oct 6 - Oct 20 Encounter Tours Best of Italy and Greece. What a FANTASTIC experience! Every aspect of the trip was exceptional. The hotels were all as advertised, 4 Star and centrally located. The transportation was always on time, in a nice vehicle and with a pleasant driver. The food at each breakfast was plentiful, full of choices and very tasty. All tours were “Skip the Line” so we never had to wait. The groups were very small and the tour guides were very polite, knowledgeable and spoke excellent English (our language). We were allowed to make trip modifications at very nominal cost. For example, our trips to Florence and Venice were on a fast train instead of a bus. We flew to Greece from Venice rather than take the ferry. Chevy was always available. I had a few questions and he responded within a few hours and answered our questions perfectly. We will definitely consider working with Encounter Tours and Chevy again. We expected a glitch or two over the 2 weeks, but experienced a 100% perfect experience. Thanks for everything and memories we will never forget.

Captain_Philly  

8 day/7 night Taste of the Balkans Tour

May 2018

Overall I would recommend this tour. I first saw an ad for Encounters on the internet about a year ago and liked the variety of tours they offered as well as their reasonable prices. The idea of hitting 4 Balkan countries in one trip was appealing (along with the very reasonable price), so I booked it. The pros: I got to see A LOT... starting from Athens and moving up through Meteora, Tirana, Kotor, Budva, Dubrovnik, and finally Split. We did city tours, ancient ruins, the Parthenon, monasteries, forts, museums, excellent food and wine all along the way! The price was very good. Some hotels were better than others (Splendido in Kotor was awesome), but overall for the price I paid, it was more than worth it just for the hotels and transport for 7 days, let alone the guides. Speaking of the guides, Gorgi and Besmir were fantastic!! They were such great company, kept things running, offered great advice, and became my friends. Once the other 8 people or so went home, I enjoyed hanging out with them on the beach in Split on my last day just like old friends. The cons: Encounters is a large agency and subcontracts the guides/drivers in different countries, so you never know what you're gonna get - at least I can say that Gorgi and Besmir were awesome! Also, the group format can be rough because it's hard to get 10-15 people to agree on anything. Some folks in our group were definitely disappointed that due to a bad route plan we had to skip a fishing village or something. Also, some miscommunication on departure times caused some stress. The border crossings can be tricky because some Balkan cultures do not like or recognize others...so if that's the case you may have to wait and hour or two and be hassled (apparently Greece and Albania do not particular recognize Macedonian passports because they think it's not a real country). Lastly, while it was great seeing so much, it was very rushed... early departures in the morning followed by hours and hours in the van, border crossings, quick tours, hotel checkins, and a little free time each night. The title "Taste of the Balkans" is exactly that, a taste. Now that I know that I absolutely LOVE Montenegro and Croatia, I will return to those two places for a week each instead of spending one day here one day there. Again, overall it was a good experience and good for first timers to the region so you can see what you like the best and return there.

David N. Beasley Jr.  

Recommended Trip

January 2018

Had a worry free amazing experience from tbr time we booked the trip till we arrived back home. Definitely recommend using them.

Dates & Availability

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Jun 05, 2024 - Jun 18, 2024
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Book with Confidence

  • Transfer as credit to Future Tours

    Encounters Travel allows you to transfer existing payments to a future tour to avoid cancellation fees if you can't travel and inform encounters travel, 60 days before departure.

  • Low Deposit

    Encounters Travel requires a minimum deposit of 150 GBP per person or the full booking value, whichever is less, with the final balance not due until 60 days before departure.

  • Cancellation Policy

    We don't charge a cancellation fee, here is a summary of encounters travel charges.

    Up to 61 days before tour starts: Forfeit 100% of deposit.

    At 60 days before tour starts: Forfeit 35% of booking price.

    At 41 days before tour starts: Forfeit 70% of booking price.

    At 27 days before tour starts: Forfeit 90% of booking price.

    At 14 days before tour starts: Forfeit 100% of booking price.

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