Greece vs. Turkey — best Mediterranean destination for travellers

Cinque Terre Manarola, Italy

Turkey and Greece are both Mediterranean countries with gorgeous coastlines and warm sunny weather. While Greece is more popular as a tourist destination, Turkey is currently attracting a lot of attention. More and more people are discovering the hidden beauty of Turkey and wondering why they even considered Greece! There’s no comparison in terms of ancient history, but if you’re looking for a bargain, then Turkey is best. Despite the many similarities between Greece and Turkey, each offers unique experiences for travelers.

Key Takeaways

  • Greece is famous for its stunning beaches, clear blue waters, and picturesque islands, making it a top choice for beach lovers.
  • Turkey offers a rich blend of Ottoman and Byzantine heritage, with numerous historical sites and museums that attract history enthusiasts.
  • Greek cuisine is renowned for its fresh ingredients and traditional dishes, while Turkish food is celebrated for its rich flavors and diverse culinary traditions.
  • Athens and Istanbul are cultural hubs with vibrant nightlife, modern amenities, and bustling markets, each offering a unique urban experience.
  • Turkey is generally more affordable than Greece, offering better value for accommodation, dining, and transportation.

Greece vs Turkey for Beaches and Islands

When it comes to beaches and islands, both Greece and Turkey offer stunning options for travelers. Greece is known for its picturesque beaches and crystal-clear waters, especially on the islands like Mykonos, Crete, and Zakynthos. Turkey also has beautiful beaches, particularly along the Turquoise Coast and in Bodrum, making it a close competitor.

Historical Sites: Greece vs Turkey

Ancient Greek Ruins

Greece is renowned for its iconic ruins such as the Acropolis, the Parthenon, and ancient Olympia. These sites offer a glimpse into the grandeur of ancient Greek civilization. However, it's fascinating to note that plenty of classical Greek theatres and temples still exist in modern Turkey as well.

Ottoman and Byzantine Heritage in Turkey

Turkey boasts a rich tapestry of historical sites from the Ottoman and Byzantine eras. The Topkapi Palace in Istanbul and the ancient city of Ephesus are prime examples. These sites provide a unique blend of architectural styles and historical significance, making Turkey a treasure trove for history enthusiasts.

Museums and Cultural Sites

Both countries are home to numerous museums and cultural sites that showcase their rich histories. In Greece, the National Archaeological Museum in Athens is a must-visit, while Turkey's Hagia Sophia Museum offers a captivating journey through time. Each museum houses hundreds of small artifacts that tell the stories of their respective civilizations.

Greece vs Turkey for Food Lovers

Traditional Greek Cuisine

Greek cuisine is renowned for its light and healthy dishes, often featuring fresh, local ingredients. Staples include olives, olive oil, feta cheese, and a variety of salads. Traditional dishes like moussaka and souvlaki are must-tries for any food lover visiting Greece. Greek food is typically lighter and healthier, making it a great option for those looking to enjoy delicious meals without feeling too heavy.

Turkish Delicacies

Turkish cuisine, on the other hand, is known for its hearty and filling dishes. Doner kebab, a meat-based dish cooked on a skewer, is a popular choice among locals and tourists alike. Turkey also offers a variety of mouthwatering desserts, such as baklava, made from layers of phyllo pastry. The use of fresh, local ingredients ensures that every meal is a delightful experience.

Street Food Experiences

Both Greece and Turkey offer vibrant street food scenes. In Greece, you can enjoy gyros, a popular street food made from meat cooked on a vertical rotisserie, served with pita bread and various toppings. In Turkey, street food options include simit, a circular bread encrusted with sesame seeds, and lahmacun, a thin, crispy flatbread topped with minced meat and vegetables. Exploring the street food in both countries is a must for any food enthusiast.

The Turkish and the Greeks know how to eat in style, with both countries offering mouthwatering desserts and Mediterranean delicacies. Due to the close proximity of the regions, there is a lot of overlap in traditional cuisine, but also country-specific novelties.

Big Cities: Greece vs Turkey

Athens and Istanbul are two of the most iconic cities in the Mediterranean. Athens, the capital of Greece, is renowned for its ancient landmarks like the Acropolis and Parthenon, blending seamlessly with modern urban life. Istanbul, the largest city in Turkey, straddles the Bosporus Strait, the boundary between Europe and Asia. It is considered the country's economic, cultural, and historic heart.

Both cities offer a vibrant nightlife and modern amenities. Athens boasts a plethora of rooftop bars with stunning views of ancient ruins, while Istanbul's nightlife is a mix of traditional Turkish music venues and contemporary clubs. Both cities are well-kept and clean, providing a safe and enjoyable experience for tourists.

Shopping in Athens and Istanbul is a unique experience. Athens offers a mix of high-end boutiques and local artisan shops, especially in neighborhoods like Plaka and Monastiraki. Istanbul is famous for its bustling bazaars, such as the Grand Bazaar and Spice Bazaar, where you can find everything from spices to handmade carpets.

Whether you prefer the ancient charm of Athens or the Eastern appeal of Istanbul, both cities offer a rich tapestry of experiences that cater to all types of travelers.

Cost Comparison: Greece vs Turkey

Accommodation Costs

When it comes to accommodation, Greece tends to be more expensive than Turkey. On average, tourists can expect to pay around $44 per night for a hotel in Greece, whereas in Turkey, the average cost is approximately $13 per night. This significant difference makes Turkey a more budget-friendly option for travelers looking for affordable lodging.

Dining and Entertainment

Dining out and entertainment also come at a higher price in Greece compared to Turkey. In Greece, meals can cost around $13 per day, while in Turkey, you can enjoy delicious local cuisine for as little as $2.16 per day. Entertainment and tourist activities are also more affordable in Turkey, making it an attractive destination for budget-conscious travelers.

Transportation Expenses

Transportation costs are another area where Turkey has the upper hand. Public transportation and taxis are generally cheaper in Turkey than in Greece. For instance, a typical day of transportation in Turkey might cost around $10, including activities, while in Greece, the same could cost upwards of $47. This makes getting around and exploring more economical in Turkey.

Overall, Turkey offers a more budget-friendly travel experience compared to Greece, especially in terms of accommodation, dining, and transportation costs. However, both destinations have their unique charms and attractions that can make either choice worthwhile depending on your travel preferences and budget.

Natural Landscapes in Greece and Turkey

Mountain Ranges and Hiking Trails

Greece and Turkey both offer stunning mountain ranges and hiking trails that cater to all levels of adventurers. In Greece, the Meteora and Samaria Gorge are must-visit spots for hikers. Turkey, on the other hand, boasts the Kaçkar Mountains and the famous Lycian Way trail, which provide breathtaking views and challenging paths.

National Parks and Wildlife

Both countries are home to numerous national parks that protect their unique flora and fauna. Greece's national parks, such as the Vikos–Aoös National Park, offer a glimpse into the country's rich biodiversity. Turkey's national parks, including the Lake Eğirdir and the Patara Beach, are equally impressive and provide opportunities for wildlife spotting and nature walks.

Scenic Views and Photography Spots

When it comes to scenic views, Greece and Turkey are a photographer's dream. Greece's Blue Caves of Zakynthos and Melissani Lake Cave are perfect for capturing stunning natural beauty. Turkey's Cappadocia, with its unique rock formations and hot air balloon rides, offers unparalleled photo opportunities.

Whether you're looking for beach days or heart-pounding adventures, both Greece and Turkey have landscapes that cater to every taste. From the lush green hills of Turkey to the turquoise oceans of Greece, the natural scenery in both countries is truly breathtaking.

Greece vs Turkey for Family Travel

When it comes to family travel, both Greece and Turkey offer unique experiences that cater to all ages. Greece is often thought of as being more relaxed and laid-back than Turkey. This can be great if you’re looking for a place to unwind on your vacation. The slower pace can also be ideal for families with young children who need a little extra time to adjust to their new surroundings. However, Greece can also be quite crowded during peak tourist season – especially the beaches – so be prepared for large crowds if you’re visiting during summer.

Kid-Friendly Attractions

Greece is a fabulous destination to travel with kids. Idyllic islands, blue and white villages, friendly people, ancient ruins, and sweet summer vibes make it a perfect family getaway. On the other hand, Turkey offers a mix of historical sites and modern attractions that can keep children entertained for days. From the fairy chimneys of Cappadocia to the bustling bazaars of Istanbul, there’s no shortage of kid-friendly attractions.

Family Resorts and Hotels

Both countries boast a variety of family-friendly accommodations. In Greece, you’ll find numerous resorts that cater specifically to families, offering amenities like kids’ clubs, pools, and family rooms. Turkey also has a wide range of family resorts, many of which are all-inclusive, providing a hassle-free experience for parents. Whether you choose Greece or Turkey, you’ll find plenty of options to suit your family’s needs.

Safety and Convenience

Safety is a top priority for families traveling with children. Both Greece and Turkey are generally safe destinations, but it’s always wise to take standard precautions. Greece’s laid-back atmosphere can be particularly convenient for families, allowing for a more relaxed travel experience. Turkey, with its well-developed infrastructure and numerous family-friendly amenities, also offers a convenient and enjoyable experience for family travel.

Ultimately, it depends on your family’s preferences and travel style. Greece may be the better choice if you’re looking for a relaxed beachy vacation where you can take things at your own pace. If you’re looking for a more active and exciting trip, Turkey could be your family’s perfect destination.

Public Transportation: Greece vs Turkey

Turkey has a well-developed public transportation system, with options including buses, trains, and ferries. Greece also has an excellent public transportation network, with buses and trains being the most common options. Both countries offer affordable public transportation, making it an excellent opportunity for travelers on a budget. However, Turkey’s public transportation system is more extensive and efficient than Greece’s, making it the better choice for those looking for an easy and convenient way to travel.

It’s easy to get around Turkey and Greece, as both countries offer reliable public transport. As a smaller country, it will be easier to see more of Greece in a shorter amount of time. The Greek bus system can reach even the smallest of villages in the country, as well as inner-city transport. There are taxis available, too, and they are typically cheaper than the rest of Europe. Ferries and hydrofoils (small boats) offer public transportation from the mainland to the smaller islands. Athens provides a comprehensive metro system, while Turkey’s well-established public transport system also includes underground and surface metro trains, as well as overground trams.

In Greece, popular routes include travel between Athens and the islands such as Mykonos and Santorini. Ferries are a common mode of transport for these routes. In Turkey, popular routes include travel between Istanbul and other major cities like Ankara and Izmir. Trains and buses are frequently used for these routes. For first-time travelers, trying not to overschedule is key, as both countries offer a variety of transport options that can make travel seamless and enjoyable.

Luxury Travel: Greece vs Turkey

When it comes to 5-star hotels, both Greece and Turkey offer a plethora of options. Greece is renowned for its luxurious accommodations, ranging from romantic hideaways to family favourites. Turkey, on the other hand, also boasts a fantastic selection of 5-star hotels, although there are slightly fewer options overall.

In Greece, you can indulge in exclusive experiences such as private yacht tours around the islands or staying in a cliffside villa with breathtaking views. Turkey offers unique experiences like hot-air balloon rides over Cappadocia and private tours of ancient ruins.

Both countries excel in spa and wellness retreats. Greece offers a variety of wellness resorts that focus on holistic treatments and natural therapies. Turkey is famous for its traditional hammams and luxurious spa services, providing a unique blend of relaxation and cultural immersion.

From romantic hideaways to family favourites, this collection of all-inclusive hotels and resorts in Greece and Turkey offer luxury and fantastic value.

Cultural Experiences in Greece and Turkey

Festivals and Events

Both Greece and Turkey boast a rich tapestry of festivals and events that reflect their unique cultural identities. In Greece, you can experience the vibrant celebrations of Carnival (Apokries), the solemnity of Easter, and the artistic flair of the Athens Epidaurus Festival. Turkey, on the other hand, offers the mesmerizing Whirling Dervishes ceremonies, the colorful Tulip Festival in Istanbul, and the historic Camel Wrestling Festival. These events provide a deep dive into the traditions and communal spirit of each nation.

Local Traditions and Customs

Greece and Turkey have distinct cultural practices shaped by their historical backgrounds. In Greece, you might encounter the tradition of breaking plates at celebrations, a symbol of joy and abundance. In Turkey, the practice of offering Turkish tea to guests is a sign of hospitality and friendship. Both countries have unique customs that travelers should be aware of to fully appreciate and respect the local culture.

Art and Music Scenes

The art and music scenes in Greece and Turkey are vibrant and diverse. Greece is renowned for its contributions to classical arts, with numerous theaters and galleries showcasing ancient and contemporary works. The music scene is equally rich, with traditional bouzouki music and modern genres thriving. Turkey's art scene is a blend of Ottoman and contemporary influences, with bustling art districts in Istanbul and a growing number of modern art galleries. Turkish music ranges from the mystical sounds of Sufi music to the energetic beats of Turkish pop.

Both countries offer a unique blend of historical and modern cultural experiences, making them fascinating destinations for any traveler.

Outdoor Adventures: Greece vs Turkey

Water Sports and Diving

Greece and Turkey both offer a wide range of exciting outdoor activities for memories that will last a lifetime. Each of the countries has long, beautiful coastlines, meaning that several fun seaside activities can be enjoyed. Travelers can choose to rent sailboats, take sailing classes, or even pay for a skipper to charter the turquoise bays. Sea kayaking, surfing, and scuba diving are also popular in both Turkey and Greece, as is windsurfing. For the adventurous, there is also rafting, skydiving, and paragliding.

Hiking and Trekking

Both Greece and Turkey are potential destinations for your next hiking adventure. Greece offers a more varied landscape, with mountains, forests, and coastline all within close proximity. Turkey, on the other hand, boasts a longer hiking season and more challenging terrain. Ultimately, the best destination for you will depend on your personal preferences.

Adventure Tours and Activities

Whether you’re looking for a sunny beach vacation or an action-packed city break, Greece and Turkey are great options. But how do you decide if Turkey or Greece is right for you? Here’s an overview of Greece Vs. Turkey to help you make up your mind.

Pack your bags and get ready for a journey through stunning landscapes, ancient ruins, sandy beaches, and more! In this blog post, we’ll pit Greece against Turkey to help you decide which country reigns supreme as the ultimate vacation destination.

Conclusion

Both Greece and Turkey offer travelers an unforgettable Mediterranean experience, each with its own unique charm and attractions. Greece, with its ancient ruins, picturesque islands, and rich cultural heritage, is perfect for those seeking a blend of history and relaxation. On the other hand, Turkey provides a diverse mix of landscapes, from stunning coastlines to majestic mountains, along with a rich tapestry of history and culture at a more affordable price. Whether you choose the sun-soaked beaches of Greece or the vibrant cities and natural wonders of Turkey, you are guaranteed an amazing journey. Ultimately, the best destination depends on your personal preferences and budget. Happy travels!

Frequently Asked Questions

Is Turkey or Greece a better travel destination?

Both Turkey and Greece offer unique travel experiences, so the choice depends on your preferences. Turkey boasts a diverse mix of history, culture, and natural beauty, while Greece is renowned for its ancient ruins, picturesque islands, and delicious cuisine.

What are the top attractions in Turkey and Greece?

In Turkey, top attractions include the Hagia Sophia, Cappadocia, and Pamukkale. In Greece, must-see sites include the Acropolis, Santorini, and Mykonos.

Which country is more affordable for travelers, Greece or Turkey?

Turkey is generally more affordable than Greece, offering cheaper accommodation, food, and transportation options.

Are the beaches better in Greece or Turkey?

Both countries have stunning beaches. Greece is famous for its picturesque islands and clear blue waters, while Turkey offers a mix of sandy beaches and unique coastal landscapes.

Which country has better historical sites, Greece or Turkey?

Greece is renowned for its ancient Greek ruins, while Turkey offers a rich mix of Ottoman, Byzantine, and ancient Roman sites.

Is it easier to travel around Greece or Turkey?

Both countries have well-developed transportation systems, but Turkey's larger size means longer travel times between destinations. Greece's extensive ferry network makes island-hopping convenient.

What are the culinary highlights of Greece and Turkey?

Greek cuisine is known for dishes like moussaka, souvlaki, and baklava. Turkish cuisine features kebabs, mezes, and delightfully sweet treats like Turkish delight and baklava.

Which country is better for family travel, Greece or Turkey?

Both countries are family-friendly, offering kid-friendly attractions, family resorts, and a generally safe environment. The choice depends on your family's interests and travel preferences.


Curtis Duggan

Curtis Duggan

Curtis is a serial tech entrepreneur, content creator and the host of the Remotely Serious podcast on the future of remote work and digital nomadism.

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