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Turkey vs Greece: Where Should Your Next Vacation Be?

Are you choosing between Turkey and Greece for your next vacation? Both countries offer rich cultural histories, stunning landscapes, and unique experiences. Here’s a detailed comparison to help you decide where your next adventure should be.

1. General Cost of Travel

  • Turkey: 8/10. Turkey is generally affordable, with reasonably priced accommodations, food, and transportation. Istanbul and coastal resort areas can be more expensive, but budget options are widely available. However, Turkey has very high inflation (up to 70-80% in 2024), and prices rise not only in local currency (Turkish lira, TL) but also in hard currencies (dollar, euro). Turkey is not a budget destination anymore; prices are higher than in Montenegro or Croatia but still cheaper than France or Italy. It’s crucial to research and avoid touristy areas where you’ll be overcharged.
  • Greece: 7/10. Greece can be more expensive than Turkey, particularly in popular tourist destinations like Athens, Santorini, and Mykonos. However, there are many budget-friendly options, especially on the mainland and less-touristy islands.

2. Must-See Spots and Cultural Life

  • Turkey: 9/10. Turkey boasts must-see spots like the ancient city of Ephesus, the fairy-tale landscapes of Cappadocia, and the bustling metropolis of Istanbul. The Aegean coast is magnificent, and cultural life is vibrant, with a mix of ancient history and modern influences.
  • Greece: 9/10. Greece offers iconic attractions such as the Acropolis in Athens, the historic island of Crete, and the stunning beaches of the Cyclades. The cultural life is rich, with ancient ruins, traditional music, and lively festivals.

3. Eating and Drinking

  • Turkey: 8.2/10. Turkish cuisine is renowned for its rich flavors and variety, featuring dishes like kebabs, mezes, baklava, and Turkish tea. The food scene is diverse, offering both traditional and contemporary dining experiences. For example, the Michelin guide recommends 75 restaurants in Istanbul.
  • Greece: 8.4/10. Greek cuisine is celebrated for its fresh ingredients and Mediterranean flavors, with dishes like moussaka, souvlaki, and tzatziki. Greek wines and ouzo complement the dining experience, which ranges from tavernas to upscale restaurants. The Michelin guide recommends 31 restaurants in Athens.

4. Unique Experiences

  • Turkey: 9/10. Turkey offers unique experiences such as hot air ballooning over Cappadocia, exploring the ancient cities of Troy and Ephesus, and soaking in the thermal waters of Pamukkale. The blend of diverse landscapes and historical sites provides endless adventure opportunities.
  • Greece: 8/10. Greece provides countless unique experiences, including sailing the Greek islands, hiking the Samaria Gorge in Crete, and visiting the monasteries of Meteora. The country’s rich mythology and stunning natural beauty offer many unique adventures.
Museums in Greece

5. Nature and Its Diversity

  • Turkey: 8.5/10. Turkey’s natural beauty is diverse, from the Mediterranean and Aegean coasts to the mountains of the eastern regions. National parks, beaches, and unique geological formations like those in Cappadocia offer a wide range of natural attractions.
  • Greece: 7.5/10. Greece boasts beautiful landscapes, including pristine beaches, rugged mountains, and lush valleys. The country’s numerous islands each offer unique natural settings, making it a paradise for nature lovers.

6. How Well Locals Speak English

  • Turkey: 6/10. English is widely spoken in tourist areas and major cities in Turkey, particularly among younger people and those in the tourism industry. In rural areas, English proficiency may be more limited.
  • Greece: 8/10. English is commonly spoken in Greece, especially in tourist areas and among the younger population. Communication is generally easier for English-speaking travelers compared to Turkey.

7. Overtourism Score

  • Turkey: 7/10. Turkey’s popular destinations like Istanbul and Cappadocia can get crowded, especially during peak seasons. However, many parts of the country remain relatively undiscovered (such as the Karadeniz region and the southeastern cities like Mardin, Diyarbakir, and Sanliurfa), offering a more authentic experience.
  • Greece: 6/10. Greece experiences significant overtourism, particularly in hotspots like Santorini and Mykonos. However, there are many lesser-known islands and mainland areas that offer a more tranquil experience.
Overtourism in Greece is a big problem

8. Weather and Best Travel Months

  • Turkey: 9/10. Turkey has a varied climate, with the best times to visit being spring (March to May) and fall (September to November). These seasons offer pleasant weather and fewer crowds.
  • Greece: 9/10. Greece enjoys a Mediterranean climate, with the best travel months being from April to October. Summers can be hot, but the coastal areas and islands provide a refreshing escape.

Both in Turkey and Greece, it is recommended to travel off-season or during shoulder seasons, as summers can get incredibly hot and it’s peak season with high prices.

9. Public Transportation and Accessibility

  • Turkey: 8/10. Turkey has a good public transportation system, particularly in major cities like Istanbul with its extensive metro, tram, and bus networks. Long-distance buses and domestic flights make travel across the country convenient.
  • Greece: 7/10. Greece’s public transportation is efficient in cities like Athens, with good metro and bus services. However, travel between islands typically requires ferries, which can be less convenient and time-consuming compared to Turkey’s domestic flights.
Kadikoy, Istanbul

10. Recommended Length of Stay

  • Turkey: 9/10. You could spend a year in Istanbul and still not discover everything it has to offer. Even a three-month road trip around the country would only scratch the surface, so you need a lot of time to explore everything Turkey has to offer.
  • Greece: 9/10. Similar to Turkey, exploring Greece’s rich cultural heritage, stunning islands, and beautiful landscapes at a leisurely pace requires a lot of time.

Conclusion with Overall Scores

Both Turkey and Greece offer incredible travel experiences, and they have close overall scores, making the decision even more dependent on personal preferences. If you seek a blend of ancient and modern cultures, diverse landscapes, and rich culinary traditions, Turkey (Score: 81.7) is a fantastic choice. On the other hand, if you prefer iconic historical sites, beautiful islands, and a deep connection to ancient mythology, Greece (Score: 78.9) is an excellent option. Whichever you choose, you’re in for an unforgettable vacation.

 

These Countries Are the Best for Tourism. Travelhacks’ rating

  1. 🇯🇵 Japan — 88
  2. 🇪🇸 Spain — 84.5
  3. 🇺🇸 United States — 84
  4. 🇦🇺 Australia — 83.7
  5. 🇦🇷 Argentina — 83
  6. 🇳🇿 New Zealand — 82.8
  7. 🇬🇪 Georgia — 82.5
  8. 🇹🇭 Thailand — 82
  9. 🇹🇷 Turkey — 81.7
  10. 🇵🇹 Portugal — 81
  11. 🇫🇷 France — 80.7
  12. 🇰🇬 Kyrgyzstan — 80.6
  13. 🇿🇦 South Africa — 80.5
  14. 🇰🇷 South Korea — 80.5
  15. 🇧🇷 Brazil — 80
  16. 🇷🇺 Russia — 79.5
  17. 🇨🇳 China — 79.2
  18. 🇮🇹 Italy — 79.1
  19. 🇬🇷 Greece — 78.9
  20. 🇦🇲 Armenia — 78
  21. 🇺🇿 Uzbekistan — 77.5
  22. 🇳🇦 Namibia — 76.5
  23. 🇵🇱 Poland — 76
  24. 🇷🇴 Romania — 75.8
  25. 🇪🇬 Egypt — 72.7
  26. 🇲🇦 Morocco — 72.3
  27. 🇭🇺 Hungary — 72
  28. 🇸🇰 Slovakia — 70.5

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