Dude i just did Turkey last Nov for abt 17days fm istanbul n tour ard turkey by bus n stuff. If u really wanna noe abt my itinerary give me ur email addy n i'l fwd u my itinerary. Btw can fwd u my link too for e photos i took durin e trip.
These two countries are unbelievably rich in history, and it would really add to your experience if you started reading some of these stories (Greek legends), if you aren't already familiar with them. Many of these Greek stories actually took place in places in Turkey. Such as Troy.
I believe there are actually more Greek ruins in Turkey than in Greek itself. And it's such a wonderful pleasure to be able to take your time and go exploring one of these ruins.
I have been to Athens twice - both work related trips and took some time off to see the places around Athens.
- Acropolis. Plan to go there on a Sunday. Entrance is free. Other days, you will have to pay 12 Euros. BTW, the best views of Acropolis are from the hill opposite. Its called the Philippopou hill. You should go there at night when the Acropolis is lit up. Wonderful sight.
- Olympic stadium
- Parliament. You can take photos of the Guards and also shoot some candid shots as there's always a good crowd around that place.
- Academy and National University.
- Plaka - for some souvenier shopping and taking candid photos - always a big crowd there and interesting taverns etc.
You can do the important sights in Athens within a day.
A bit away from Athens
- Cape Sounion. This is where the temple of Poseidon is. Wonderful place to watch the sunset. Really spectacular. Don't miss it.
Further away from Athens
Epidavros : famous for its amphitheatre. super sound effects.
Napflion : Fortress of Palamidi and Bourtzi fort (the latter is in the sea)
Havind said all this, Greece is all about islands. You should definetely plan to go to Santorini (even though the Greeks say its not really the best island...) - great photo ops there. Not sure of the other islands.
Do some research on the Greek mythical Gods and Goddesses. It will make your trip enjoyable.
Ditto on Asterixsg's suggestion of the Temple of Poseidon at Cape Sunion. Breathtaking venue at the cliffedge.
Other suggested places in Greece (mainland):
Delphi - It was the site of the Oracle at the Temple of Apollo. And I still think photos are unable to capture the experience of being there in person. The whole atmosphere of the venue allows you to appreciate how the ancient greeks could have believed in the divine nature of the place.
Olympia - The Original Home of the Olympic Games. Even today, the Olympic flame is first lit here before the torch is carried on its long journey to wherever the Olympic games is held. It is mostly in ruins now, though. But it's large enough to explore and get a good idea of how the place used to house athletes.
Suggested places in Turkey:
Istanbul - The capital is filled with enough sights to last a week. You definitely need a guidebook for this. Highlights include The Blue Mosque, Topkapi Palace, Aya Sofya, the Grand Bazaar market, the Bosphorus river (take a ferry cruise). The train station (yes, the train station!) offers performances of the whirling dervishes a few times a week. Check travel forums for timings. Or just book your tickets in advance at the train station itself. Whirling Dervishes The Blue Mosque Spices in the Grand Bazaar
Ephesus - Awesome ruins of an ancient Roman city...including an amazing 25,000 seat amphitheatre and the facade of the famous Library of Celsus. Stay as late as you possibly can, when all the tour groups have left. Then you can really experience the ruins for itself. Library of Celsus
Bergama (Pergamum) - More ruins. Loads of them. Don't miss the view from the amphitheatre at the Acropolis. Daredevil at the Acropolis
Pamukkale - White limestone pools. It has become extremely touristy though. More ruins of the ancient city of Hierapolis perched above the limestone pools. Interesting to scramble around, explore some of the ancient tombs and temples. Limestone Cliffs at Pammukale
Chimaera - This place is amazing. I will never forget the mythical wonder of this place. It emits mysterious flames from the very ground itself. Although the flames can be extinguished, they will automatically re-ignite again on their own. The ancient greeks used to believe the Chimaera fire-breathing monster was responsible for the flames. Visit it in the dark. It's not very easy to find though (you actually have to climb up a dirt track through a forest in the dark). An alternative is to arrange for the local pensions to bring you there. A couple of hours before dawn is the best, as you can watch the sunrise from the top of the hill, and then explore some of the ruins in the surrounding area once the sun is up. I definitely recommend making your way there on your own or at most in a small group. The place is most awesome when appreciated in peace. Flames of Chimaera
Cappadocia - Extra-terrestrial landscapes. This place deserves a week of its own. At least. Pack some food and water and go hiking through the landscape. You might stumble upon hidden churches carved from the very rocks. It's also said to be one of the best places in the world to ride a hot air balloon at dawn. I don't doubt it. Cappadocia Exploring in Cappadocia Hot-air ballooning
One correction. I meant that the Parthenon temple on the Acropolis is lit up at night. Acropolis is a hill
If you have a VCD/DVD of Yanni performing Live at the Acropolis, do check it out. It was in the amphitheatre with the Parthenon as the backdrop. nice :thumbsup:
Not really an itinerary, just sharing a bit of info -
I spent about 10 days in Greece last year around April. Visited Athens, Mykonos, and Santorini. I preferred the islands to Athens, although the places suggested earlier are good. If you're flying between the islands, try to go for Aegean Airlines instead of Olympic Air. Aegean is cheaper and the service is better.
Bring sunglasses and a hat. The sun can be blinding at times, especially with all the whitewashed buildings.
In Santorini, try to make your way to Oia for the sunset at least once, it's breathtaking. Go early (about 6pm) to get a good photo spot. The place will be filled with fellow travellers and photographers. Dress warm though, as it gets very cold once the sun dips (around 8pm). If you drive, you might want to rent a car instead of relying on the infrequent public buses, or be prepared to walk a lot. Look out for the donkey dung, it's everywhere. Good, non-expensive, authentic food can be found at Nikolas' Restaurant. It's where the locals go.
In Mykonos, there are the rustic windmills and nice walks along the coast. If you are keen on a good hilltop view, try to stay in one of the windmillhouses. During our stay on Mykonos, we did a daytrip to the island of Delos. According to Greek myth it's the sacred birthplace of Athena and Artemis. Really cool, mystical place filled with interesting statues. Try to take one of the guided walks. The guides are pretty good and you learn a lot about Greek history.
In Greece, some of the older hotels and guesthouses use the old type of electric sockets, so bring the appropriate adaptor for your chargers etc.
Most folks speak and can understand English, and some of the older folk are quite friendly and may strike up a casual conversation. My partner and I met an elderly man on a ferry on our way to Santorini, and he ended up showing us around during our stay there.
Some phrases are helpful to get by...
Yassou/ yassas - Hello, and goodbye
Parakaloh - Please, excuse me
Efharisto - Thank you
Mykonos - Eleni Studio , 35 Euros for a double bedroom. It's basic, and within walking distance to the sights.
Santorini - Millhouses Hotel at Firostefani, 60 Euros for a doublebedroom suite, with kitchenette. I'm in two minds about recommending this place. It's comfortable, with a great view of the sea, but the 'service' is varied. We had a lot of problems trying to get them to confirm our reservation, and getting directions to the place. If you check reviews, you'll see mixed responses.
Santorini has no shortage of good places to stay. If you want to visit Oia often to shoot the sunset, and don't mind paying, best to get a room near there. If you're on a budget, stay at a hostel or cheaper guesthouse, and walk along the cliffs where the villas are all located. It's possible to knock on doors and request permission to take pictures from people's balconies and stairs. I was there in low season, when most of the houses were not occupied or being renovated. Some people left their gates open, and I could wander into verandahs and onto rooftops. Some of my photos were taken from these. Just stay out of the ones marked 'private property'.