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Thread: Turkey and Greece honeymoon recommendations

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    Elite Member Daphne's Avatar
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    Default Turkey and Greece honeymoon recommendations

    I'm getting married in October, and my fiance and I are taking a three-week honeymoon to Turkey and Greece. I know there are many travelers on the board, and even a few posters who live in Greece, so I'd love your recommendations. We've booked our flights to and from Istanbul; now we're filling in the details. Here our the places we are visiting:

    Bodrum, Turkey (the first few days of our honeymoon to unwind)
    Rhodes
    Crete
    Santorini
    Istanbul (the last part of our trip)

    I welcome any and all information! Thanks.

  2. #2
    fgg
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    Elite Member fgg's Avatar
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    santorini is one of the most beautiful places on earth, imo. super jealous over here!
    can't post pics because my computer's broken and i'm stupid

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    I envy you. We spent our honeymoon in Greece (approximately 3 weeks). It was a loooooong time ago. I would so love to go to Turkey.

    We went to Athens, Crete, Santorini, and Paros. I can't imagine going to Greece and not going to Athens, even though it's hot, crowded, and was fairly polluted at the time, if only to go to the Acropolis and the Agora.

    I really loved Crete...we drove around and stayed in a few different towns. I think Agia Gallini (?) was my favorite, but I can't quite recall. You can feel the ancient, is the only way to describe it.

    We loved Santorini, too, of course. We stayed in Oia, which is more beautiful and remote than Fira. I think it might be the most beautiful place in the world.

    We did enjoy Paros as well. It's more of a 'typical' Cyclades island.

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    fgg
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    ^i did athens, mykonos, paros and santorini but santorini was my favorite.
    can't post pics because my computer's broken and i'm stupid

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    Elite Member sputnik's Avatar
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    i did all the places on your list during an 8 week backpacking trip about 12 years ago. it was incredible. can't recommend anything in terms of hotels because i was a poor student and stayed in the grottiest, cheapest places imaginable.
    i think my least favourite was probably bodrum although it's worth it for the ephesus archaeological site. the rest is your kind of typical touristy beach resort with lots of tourists but if you pick a more secluded hotel it should be ok.

    istambul is incredible. you could spend weeks there and never be done seeing it. definitely do the typical stuff (topkapi palace, hagia sofia, the blue mosque, etc.) but also go to the basilica cistern, the other ottoman palaces (such as dolmabahce - like an ottoman versailles, kitschy but awesome), take a boat out on the bosphorus and definitely go to the asian side of the city, very beautiful and totally different feel.
    I'm open to everything. When you start to criticise the times you live in, your time is over. - Karl Lagerfeld

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    Elite Member louiswinthorpe111's Avatar
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    Santorini is awesome. Was only there 1 day on a cruise, and spent most of the day walking around, taking it all in.
    RELIGION: Treat it like it's your genitalia. Don't show it off in public, and don't shove it down your children's throats.

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    Elite Member sputnik's Avatar
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    ^^
    yeah it's gorgeous. the archaeological sites are amazing and so is swimming in that really volcanic bit on one end with all the rocks. other than that you just have to walk around. you'll really work your calf muscles walking up and down from the little villages by the sea and up to the main road. it is steeeep.
    I'm open to everything. When you start to criticise the times you live in, your time is over. - Karl Lagerfeld

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    Elite Member yanna's Avatar
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    It is a pity you are skipping Athens but the islands you have chosen are totally gorgeous so it's ok

    I will get back to you with a much more detailed post cause work is killing me right now.

    squeee, congrats on getting married! When is the honeymoon scheduled for? Right after the wedding?
    What if Superman is psychotic and everyone can see that he's Clark Kent but they just play along not to set him off?

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    Elite Member Daphne's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by yanna View Post
    It is a pity you are skipping Athens but the islands you have chosen are totally gorgeous so it's ok

    I will get back to you with a much more detailed post cause work is killing me right now.

    squeee, congrats on getting married! When is the honeymoon scheduled for? Right after the wedding?
    I look forward your more detailed response, Yanna! We are getting married Saturday, October 6th and leaving for our honeymoon on Monday, the 8th.

    We're really sad about the prospect of missing Athens. We aren't completely ruling it out at this point, but we'll make a final decision the closer we get to leaving (since we have to change flights in Athens anyway on the way back to Istanbul). It just depends on what's happening.

    Sput--We're doing Bodrum mainly so we can go to Ephesus. We'll unwind for a day or two upon arrival and then visit Ephesus.

    BBDSP--We're staying in Oia! The photos of it in our travel books are just beautiful.

    The posts have been so great. You've all made me even more excited about this trip! My fiance and I can't wait to go. We're so looking forward to relaxing and sightseeing.

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    Elite Member DeadDwarf's Avatar
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    I am sure you will have an amazing honeymoon no matter which places you end up visiting- it will all be beautiful. Congrats on getting married in October and make sure you post pictures so we can live vicariously through you!

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    Elite Member yanna's Avatar
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    Ok here's a more detailed post. Don't hesitate to post again and ask for more info as you will be ironing out the details and send me a private message if I miss the thread somehow. Plenty of time til October to do this!

    Weather in October is bound to be around 15-20 degrees Celsius in Rhodes and Crete. Doesn't rain that often but it is possible. In Santorini it will be a little lower and rainier. However, you might be lucky to enjoy weather good enough for swimming even in October so do pack swimsuits.

    My recommendation would be to spend much longer in Crete than in the other islands since it is huge and there is so much to see there. Dunno what kind of flexibility you have there if you have booked hotels already but I would recommend a full week and to rent a car and explore as much of the island as possible. October is not tourist season but it is still a very lively island and the food is out of this world. Am I remembering well that you are a vegetarian? If you will both need to dine vegetarian that is always an option and there are many great vegetable dishes and appetisers which can even be modified if you explain it. You may get sad looks though and people might be like "Yes, but what about this sausage, don't wanna try this sausage?" We love our meat.

    Don't miss the Samaria gorge, absolutely worth a hike. I used to spend all my summers in Crete since I am one fourth Cretan so I am a bit biased but it is totally worth it. Another thing not to miss is Fragkokastelo:



    it's a lovely beach next to a castle. Unfortunately you will not be there in season to see the ghost army of Drosoulites

    You should also visit Matala, home of hippies during the 60s and scene of many instances of near drowning for me as a kid in the 80s. You guys are almost lucky weather will not be good enough for swimming when you're there, lol.

    The town of Chania is amazing and so is Rethymnon. The only place I would discourage you from visiting is the English ghetto in Hersonissos (don't hurt me if you've just booked hotels there) to be honest I have never been but in October it's bound to be a ghost town anyway.

    If you are willing to give more details about the places you will be staying in Crete and how many days I could perhaps help more with an itinerary.

    On to Rhodes:

    Good old Rhodes... I was born there so I have lots of pictures aged about 2 in stylish 70s clothes in the old town and in Lindos which both still look pretty much the same all these years later. The Rhodes old town is really something to behold, I visited again as an adult last summer and it completely blew me away. Rhodes is a large island and there are bound to be plenty of things to do in October. There is a huge Italian influence so it is a bit like a two for one, getting a feel of old Italy along with Greece Look for bars in the old town if you like cocktails last summer we had some of the best and cheapest cocktails ever in Rhodes. There was this Apple Mojito which will always be the gold standard for Mojitos for me, never to be replicated *sniffle* I only wish I could remember the name of the bar. The town of Lindos is also worth a look. There will be lots of climbing involved there so be prepared for a tiring day. I think that 3-4 days are enough to get a good feel of Rhodes.

    There is a restaurant I have been hearing raves about (and managed to miss when I visited and ended up eating across the street from it in the most disgusting tourist trap ever...) If you get a chance, do try eating out in Tamam from what I hear from friends and locals it is totally worth the hype.

    And Santorini:

    Oia has some of the most amazing vistas in the world and it's ridiculously romantic. Here are some pics:





    And as you can see in the next pic, the sunset is extremely popular. It was packed with people when I saw it and some people even clapped which was just ridiculous. In October you will have it more to yourselves and since you'll be staying in Oia anyway you won't miss the sunset:



    I have been to Oia and to Fira and both were nice in their own way. I think 3-4 days is decent time to spend in Santorini overall. Totally worth visiting the very unique beaches and do try the local wine, it is amazing. My issue with Santorini was that it was kinda overpriced (though you only go on your honeymoon once and it should not be such a huge issue in the off-season) and also that it was difficult to find good and authentic food. I would suggest asking at your hotel and generally not just walking into any restaurant and eating there because you might be disappointed. Do try the local tomato balls if you find a good restaurant, they are a local delicacy and totally yummy.

    Heh, I could go on and on but I think this about covers it Again, I would be glad to help with anything more specific about your planning.

    editted to add: yay, that was post 6000 for me
    What if Superman is psychotic and everyone can see that he's Clark Kent but they just play along not to set him off?

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    Elite Member Daphne's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by DeadDwarf View Post
    I am sure you will have an amazing honeymoon no matter which places you end up visiting- it will all be beautiful. Congrats on getting married in October and make sure you post pictures so we can live vicariously through you!
    Thanks DeadDwarf! If I'm feeling brave, I'll post pics in After Hours. Someone will have to vouch for me first though

    Quote Originally Posted by yanna View Post
    Ok here's a more detailed post.

    editted to add: yay, that was post 6000 for me
    Yanna, thank you so much for this epic 6000th post! It was so informative (and funny!). We haven't booked anything but our flights to and from Istanbul yet, so we're still flexible. My fiance created an itinerary based on the travel books he has read (I'm trying to catch up since I've been spending more time with the wedding planning). His proposed itinerary has us in Bodrum 3 days, Rhodes 4 days, Crete 5 days, Santorini 3 days, and Istanbul 5 days. Since Santorini is near the end of our trip, my fiance was concerned about the possibility of hotels/restaurants closing for the season, which is why we're tentatively only doing three days there. Do you think that will be an issue?

    We're definitely planning on renting a car in Crete. I'm nervous about this, as I'm nervous about renting a car in Bodrum, just because we've never driven ourselves on international vacations. My fiance grew up in Boston and currently battles DC traffic, so he's not worried. What's the driving like on Crete?

    Neither my fiance or I are vegetarians. What can I say--we love meat. We're looking forward to lots of delicious Mediterranean food, including lamb (my favorite). Speaking of food and drink, If I find that place with your magical apple mojito in Rhodes, I'll post it.

    As we start picking hotels and activities, I will either post here or PM you to get your opinion. Thanks so much for helping me!

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    Elite Member yanna's Avatar
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    Haha, need to keep better track of my post-its, I wonder who is the vegetarian I mixed you up with. In this case you will get the full Greek cuisine experience! Cretans do the best lamb on the planet (biased). You must try slow-cooked lamb, it is heavenly.

    Since Santorini is near the end of our trip, my fiance was concerned about the possibility of hotels/restaurants closing for the season, which is why we're tentatively only doing three days there. Do you think that will be an issue?
    My brother's girlfriend used to work in a hotel in Santorini and from what I remember they closed on the 31st of October. You might have less options than in high season but Santorini is extremely popular and there are definitely even hotels that stay open all year round. You should not have a problem.

    Your husband's itinerary sounds great in terms of the time you will spend in each place. And as much as it pains me it probably would be best not to try and squeeze Athens in there. It's ok, you can come another time, Athens has been around for thousands of years, it won't go anywhere. Also, I hear Istanbul is amazing (sadly, haven't made it there yet but I have a colleague who visits practically every 2-3 months, she's fallen madly in love with the place) so 5 days are probably well worth it.

    I don't know about driving in Turkey but driving in Greece is doable. What I would recommend is to invest in a GPS. It will seem like a stupid expense but it will save you so much hassle because I have to tell you that Greek road signs are meant for psychics. Getting lost is pretty much a given but a GPS would really get your mind off this headache. There are maps, of course and if you're good with navigating on them they may be enough.

    Driving style in Greece is a bit aggressive. You will need to be quite aware of what is going on around you even if you have the right of way some jerk might ignore that. However, that is mainly a problem in cities and since you probably won't do much driving in urban areas in Crete it should not be a problem. Roads are narrow but fairly good and you just might have to go to the right a bit sometimes to let the crazy locals pass. If you need to ask for directions people are very friendly and speak at least rudimentary English and/or German.

    Another thing regarding driving, if you can't drive a stick you might need to know in advance that there is an automatic rental car available. I would recommend communicating with a rental company before the trip, you may also get a very good deal if you reserve the car in advance.

    That's about it off the top of my head. I hope I didn't scare you with the driving thing, it is like that in most Mediterranean countries, I'm afraid. You really should get a car for Crete, it will be a fantastic experience.

    And of course I will be glad to help with other questions, activities etc.
    What if Superman is psychotic and everyone can see that he's Clark Kent but they just play along not to set him off?

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    Elite Member Daphne's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by yanna View Post
    That's about it off the top of my head. I hope I didn't scare you with the driving thing, it is like that in most Mediterranean countries, I'm afraid. You really should get a car for Crete, it will be a fantastic experience.

    And of course I will be glad to help with other questions, activities etc.
    You haven't scared us away! My fiance grew up in Boston and we live outside of DC, so we're used to bad city traffic. We will make sure in advance like you suggested that an automatic car is available since my fiance can't drive a manual.

    Here are the hotels we're thinking of booking based on the travel agent's recommendations and TripAdvisor. Do you happen to know anything about these or their locations? Again, thank you so much!

    Rhodes (4.5 days): Lindos Blu

    Crete: (4 days): Saint Nicolas Bay Resort Hotel & Villas (in Agios Nikolaos). We were thinking this one because it's close to both the beach and the sites we wanted to see. We were hoping to get to Chania for a day as well if possible. Any info you could give on Crete is much appreciated since it's such a large island and there's so much to do.

    Santorini: (2.5 days): Katikies Hotel (Oia)

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    It's been so long since I went to Crete and my information is probably outdated, but FWIW...

    Agios Nikolaos was pretty touristy. It seemed like it was a stop on some of the package tours for people from the UK, which took away some of the charm for me. We liked Agios Galini better, and enjoyed going to the beach at Matala (yes, it's an old hippie haven).

    Here are some memorable places for me. These are all well known destinations on Crete, so nothing you can't get out of guidebook--but these are some of the places that for me turned out to be 'worth it:'

    The windmills on the Lasithi plateau
    The Samaria gorge
    Knossos (Minoan palace site near Heraklion)
    Matala (though we stayed in Agio Galini)

    And just generally driving around. We never got to Chania, though I would have liked to. I think staying on 2 different parts of the island, such as Agios Nikolaos and Chania, as you're considering, is a good idea.

    We also drove through a beautiful town called Spili in the center of Crete and I wish we had stayed.

    Crete is just a beautiful, relaxing place and you will enjoy it.

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