Two beautiful destinations, two breathtaking coastlines, one hard decision. Greece vs. Turkey, which one should you choose?
A lot of time, money, and effort goes into planning a vacation, so being disappointed in the decision you make is not an option. Luckily, in this case, whether you choose Greece or Turkey you’ll be as happy as a sailboat gliding through smooth waters.
Exploring ancient Greece architecture, or the Old City of Istanbul is a memorable experience, but why not take the adventure up a level by seeing these countries from a different point of view.
Both Greece and Turkey are rich in divine architecture, culture, history, and authentic cuisine, but the only similarities these countries have are geographical placement and the glistening stretch of clear blue seas.
Here’s what you need to know before choosing between these two destinations.
Rightfully so, Greece is probably the world’s most popular and attractive sailing destination. Who can resist a never-ending list of islands to explore? Starting from the renowned Ionian Islands to the ancient ruins found on the island of Crete.
Let’s face it, in terms of site seeing and gorgeous landscapes, anytime is a great time to go sailing in Greece. But generally speaking, if you’re looking to enjoy the warm summer salty breeze blowing through your hair while you island-hop, stick to the Ionian region in July and August.
However, if you prefer to avoid the big summer crowds and would rather focus on exploring more than the Ionian region, you have nothing to lose because some of the best sailing conditions in the Greek Islands occur in the fall.
Will it be smooth sailing? Well, that depends on where and when you want to visit the Greek Islands. Although the majority of people prefer to visit Greece in the summertime, this might not be the most ideal if you’re looking to spend your vacation sailing.
While places like Greece, Turkey, and Croatia are usually a good choice for beginner-level sailing, you’ll have to keep in mind that you’ll encounter wind known as ‘Meltemi’, a windsurfers dream, but a sailors nightmare. This wind that blows from the northwest tends to be frequent from June through September, with the end of July and the beginning of August being especially windy. Hence, during the summer it is best to avoid the Cyclades, Dodecanese, and Saronic Gulf.
When islands make up approximately 20% of Greece, it’s hard to pick out just a few. However, several areas stand out more than others.
If you’ve ever seen a postcard of the Greek Islands it likely was one of the Ionian Islands. They are made up of the six archipelagoes: Corfu, Zakynthos, Paxi, Lefkada, Kefalonia, and Ithaki, all with a good combination of water and land activities, making it a great spot to spend the day trekking through nature or kicking back on the golden sands.
Rhodes and Kos, which both lean toward the Turkish border, are the most well-known of this cluster of islands. With the offer of sightseeing, relaxation, history, adventure, and gastronomic delights found on these islands you have the chance to match the island personality to your own, helping you make only the most memorable moments.
Mykonos, Santorini, and Milos, need we say more? If almost every movie filmed in Greece hasn’t persuaded you to sail through these islands, maybe the hidden bays, whitewashed labyrinthine architecture, and dramatic limestone cliffs will win you over.
If you’ve heard the rumors you probably know that Mykonos, Paros, Ios, and Santorini are the epitome of nightlife experience. But when the sun rises, Koufonisia, Donousa, Schinousa, Keros, Irakleia are the places to go for rest and relaxation.
If Greece sounds like the ideal place for you, you’ll want to check out The ultimate guide to Sailing the Greek Islands. Costs of sailing in Greece
Sailing in Greece comes at a price, but really who can put a price tag on the everlasting memories made from a Greek island-hopping experience. How much can you expect to spend exactly? Well, this all depends on the time of year, the area you’ll want to focus on exploring, and how you’ll be traveling the seas. Find your perfect boat and exact costs here.
As for the Greece delicacies, this price will depend on whether you opt for the waterfront restaurant for every meal, or prefer to try out some local in-city restaurants for the majority of the trip. Broadly speaking, you’re probably looking to spend approximately anywhere between 20-55 EUR daily. Which compared to other EU standards, is pretty reasonable for a food budget while on vacation.
When it comes to sailing, the Turkish riviera, or Turquoise Coast, is probably not the first place that comes to mind. The good thing about this is that you’ll have the opportunity to discover untouched sandy beaches and spectacular views.
Although Turkey has a fairly long yachting season that lasts from mid-April to early November, the best time to enjoy the sights and sounds that Turkey has to offer is from early May to late September. This timeframe will give you a chance to bask in the golden Mediterranean sun.
Given that sailing conditions in the south of Turkey are more optimal during the summer, many people find that area to be ideal for sailing, as this region is found to be far calmer and less crowded. This means you’ll have the chance to enjoy beautiful coves and waterfront restaurants in peace.
It's necessary to keep in mind that during the summer sailing season, sailing conditions in Turkey vary from north to south, with Marmaris serving as the borderline. In July and August, everything above this border, such as Bodrum, should expect severe winds from the north, aka. Meltemi. This breeze becomes gentler as you go along the Turkish coast in a southerly and south-easterly direction.
If there’s any place to charter a Gulet, it’s the place that it originated from. As you sail through Turkey’s turquoise waters you’ll notice its picturesque scenery is much greener compared to Greece. Making it a dream come true for those who feel most themselves while in nature.
Bodrum, located on Turkey's warm Aegean coast, is one of the country's most significant sailing destinations. Visit the ancient city of Halicarnassus, Bodrum Amphitheatre, and the medieval Bodrum Castle to get a history lesson or two. Then travel along the Bodrum Peninsula's shoreline to explore a variety of calm beaches and fascinating local communities.
Marmaris Bay is considered the most beautiful bay in Turkey. You can find Marmaris where the Mediterranean Sea and the Aegean Sea meet, and where lush green forests meet beautiful blue waters. While you’re here, you’ll want to sail north to the notorious Cleopatra Island to experience white-sand beaches.
Fethiye, with its charming natural waterfront, emerald green forests, and fascinating history will have you asking yourself, ‘Where do I start my voyage?”. We’d say start with a taste of island life at Şövalye island and make your way down to Blue Lagoon in Ölüdeniz and flutter over to the Butterfly Valley, home to roughly 100 species of butterflies.
Sailing off the coast of Turkey has an added benefit: starting this year, you'll be able to enjoy the best of both worlds. If you begin your journey in the North, you can sail to the Greek Island of Kos. Whereas if you begin in the South, you can travel to Rodos.
Many have yet to discover the beauty of sailing through Turkey, which benefits you when it comes to the cost of traveling by sea. Many factors can shape how much you’ll be spending, but overall you can expect to experience more in Turkey for the same budget you’d have in the most popular sailing destinations. If you’re looking to get more bang out of your buck, Turkey is the destination for you.
If you thought eating in Greece comes at a good price, we’re happy to let you know that you’ll get the chance to experience gastronomic delights in Turkey for even less money than in Greece. For the most part food-wise, up to 20 EUR is more than enough for an average budget.
Now that you know what both countries have to offer, in the end, it all comes down to what floats your boat. Happy sailing!
Comment where you’re going to next, Turkey or Greece?
Marin @Danielis - November 21, 2017.
Marin @Danielis - May 19, 2017.
Marin @Danielis - February 16, 2017.
Marin @Danielis - July 25, 2017.
Marin @Danielis - November 07, 2017.