Greece & Turkey: East Med Dreaming
Greece and Turkey are incredible tourist destinations with a history and culture that attracts millions of people every year. These two Mediterranean neighbors share a great deal, and their proximity means that travelling there and combining itineraries is a doddle, especially for experienced destination experts such as Athens Express. So if you´re looking to see both countries in one go, its probably best to prepare your itinerary with care, plan for unforeseen eventualities and keep tabs on what´s going on. Whether you´re after some R&R or simply want to take in the countless historical sights while chomping down on delicacies like kebab and Greek salad, these two countries will leave your taste buds in ecstasy and an insta feed with more pictures than you can shake a selfie stick at.
Turkey’s charm extends all the way up and down its west coast, in places like Ephesus, Cesme, Bodrum, Antalya, Smirna and Kusadasi. And while there are plenty more to see as you go inwards, it is the Roman and Greek legacy on the west coast that attracts more people (sorry Constantinople), comparatively.
Ephesus is a prime example of that, as its ancient sights include the remains of the Temple of Artemis-one of the 7 wonders of the ancient world, the library of Celsus and the ancient city, in decay, in a Pompei-style setting.
Cesme on the other hand has a fine medieval castle and is famed for its sea and sun product, with a great marina for yacht owners, fantastic beaches for kids and young adults to play around in. But there are plenty of historical sights around it, with Idri village bearing strong signs of Bronze Age settlements.
Smirna-the once cosmopolitan city of Asia Minor is still a busy place. It’s the 3rd largest city in Turkey and still retains some of its old-world charm, mainly the clock tower and the ancient Greco-Roman old city. There are heaps of other attractions, like the wildlife park, waterpark and a lively city center and bazaar.
If you want some of the same, head to Bodrum. This is the home of the first mausoleum, dedicated to the satrap Mausolus, built in 353 BCE. Its also home to a significant chunk of Greco-Roman stuff, namely a perfectly kept theater and the charming castle of St. Peter, built in the 15th century.
Greece isn’t short on antiquities, either. Or culture, history, or delectable food. A visit to any of the Cycladic islands should convince you.
Take Mykonos for instance. Despite it being a world-famous party hub it’s also right next to the sacred island of Delos-an open air museum that is off limits to overnight stays and is essentially an archaeological site.
Santorini no doubt has appeared in your Instagram feed at sone point or another, and you’d be surprised to know that apart from awesome sunsets, cute sugar-cubed houses and beaches, its also home to one of the most interesting archaeological sites in the Mediterranean. After the volcano erupted centuries ago the lava buried the settlement underneath it, like Pompeii. You can visit and walk amongst the debris of what was once a thriving civilization.
And then there is Paros, the all-star island that has something for everyone. Amazing beaches, activities for kids and adults, a vibrant nightlife and tons of charm are some of the trump cards. And despite a notable absence of ancient stuff, you’ll be swarmed with enough Byzantine churches to fill a scrapbook.
Greece & Turkey: East Med Dreaming
This summer, in this corner of the world, you’ll be hard pressed to find a better set of circumstances to placate every whimsy and every taste, whether its young or old.