Why you need to travel from Athens to Istanbul

View of the Galata tower, photo from Anna, found on Unsplash.com

Athens is an amazing city, so many things to do, global history attractions to see and unique Islands. Why you need to travel from Athens to Istanbul though? There are a lot of reasons why you need to travel from Athens to Istanbul and will be focusing on giving you a clear view why you should combine those trips together.

To begin with Athens is very close to Istanbul that makes it very easy to access and pretty much on budget, your total trip cost will be significant lower than visiting any other European country but you will get a glance of the middle east. Visiting European countries is pretty awesome but truth is that we are all like pretty much the same with a few differences, Turkey though is so close but yet so different with any other European countries and cities.

Specifically Istanbul which is also one of the most popular cities in Turkey and pretty big on population, more than 15 million residents are in Istanbul which is pretty funny since all Greece is 15 million people. Istanbul has a unique location and the city itself is so vibrant, romantic and with so many different things to do and see. One of the most important things to see in Istanbul are listed below:

  • Hagia Sophia Museum
  • Galata tower
  • Blue Mosque
  • Topkapi and Dolmabahce Palace
  • Basilica Cistern
  • Ortakoy Mosque
Hagia Sophia in Istanbul, photo by Fatih, found on Unsplash.com

When you should go from Athens to Istanbul in order to utilize your trip? You should try to combine this trip on the Summer, why? Because you would be able to see both cities in the perfect weather, if you want to avoid the high season you can plan your trip around the beginning of May or September, both months are amazing in terms of weather. On May the weather in Greece is on average 25 to 16 Degrees Celsius which is 77 to 61 Fahrenheit and on September on average is 28 to 20 Degrees Celsius which is 82 to 68 Fahrenheit.

What would be the fastest way to travel from Athens to Istanbul? The best or the fastest way to travel from Athens to Istanbul in Turkey would be by plane. How much it will cost? It will cost around $100 which is around 90 euros to fly from Athens to Istanbul and it will take you around 1 hour and 50 minutes to get there, alternative ways to get there would be by car or by boat if you are visiting an Island like Kos.

If you would like to travel from Athens to Istanbul by car it is going to be a great road trip and it is around 670 miles which is 1078 kilometers, would make it a unique trip if you also stop on your way there to the 2nd biggest city of Greece which is Thessaloniki, it has great food and very good nightlife, you can spend there a few days and then head to Istanbul.

How many days you should spend overall in Athens and in Istanbul? Both cities have a lot of things to see and do so I would recommend spending at least 4-5 days in each city, if you are also visiting Athens in the summer I would suggest going as well to the Islands for a few days. So overall spend your first 2 days in Athens doing the must things like Acropolis, Acropolis museum stroll around get to know the city and then go pick your favorite Island for 3 days.

On your way back you can book your ticket to Istanbul, to be honest Istanbul is a very big city so you have to prioritize wisely to do everything in 4-5 days. Definitely go to see the things that I mentioned above but also stroll around, explore the alleys, negotiate on Grand Bazaar, spend a romantic sunset overlooking the Bosporus and the bridges, walk alongside the shore in Arnavutkoy neighborhood and drink a cocktail in Alexandra cocktail bar overlooking the Bosporus.

Why is you should do Athens to Istanbul and not the other way around? To be honest both work but landing first to Athens and then going to Istanbul will give you much more flexibility in terms of the destinations. Istanbul Ataturk airport has much more direct and connecting flights so you would be able to save some money there but also give you more options in terms of departure times.

Photo of Acropolis by Febiyan, found on Unsplash.com

Would you be able to go from Athens to Istanbul with train? Unfortunately there is not train that goes from Athens to Istanbul or the other way around so your options are the ones that we described above, getting there with a car or a bus or plane(fastest) or even by boat. In order to get by boat there you have to entry in a different city first and then go to Istanbul, If I’m not mistaken you should be able to go with a boat from Kos to Turkey shore close to Bodrum.

Bodrum is the Mykonos of Turkey so a lot of parties are taking place there, if you can spend 3 weeks overall that would be a great trip to combine, spend 1 and a half week in Athens and to any Island close to Turkey and then continue from there. You can visit Bodrum and Cesme and then head up to Istanbul, it is a great combination because you will see two very different cultures that have so many things that are same though, same words, some of the food is very similar to Greek dishes and the other way around.

Overall if you do the trip from Athens to Istanbul you won’t be let down, it is such a great combination and you will get to experience two different worlds and cultures, taste different kind of dishes, get a quick glance of two different religions and all that without travelling from one part of the world to another. If you liked the posted share the love and let me know if you have any questions regarding your trip, spend more than 10 months in Turkey and in Istanbul and would be able to share with you more tips on your trip there. Safe travels!

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