Greece vs. Turkey

Deciding between Greece and Turkey for your next vacation might seem like a tall order. After all, both countries offer a rich tapestry of history, diverse landscapes, and heartwarming hospitality. Greece, the cradle of Western civilization, tempts with ancient ruins and sun-kissed islands. Turkey, straddling Europe and Asia, enchants with its unique blend of cultures, colorful bazaars, and stunning architecture. So, how to choose between these two captivating destinations?
Greece vs. Turkey

Table of Contents

In this comparison, you’ll find the essential aspects of both Greece and Turkey, focusing on aspects like history, culture, attractions, beaches, food, and more. This will help you decide which one fits your travel preferences better. Ready to embark on this exciting journey? Read on!

History & Culture

Choosing between Greece and Turkey becomes challenging when you delve into their rich histories and vibrant cultures. Both countries have a historical depth that few other places can match.

In Greece, history echoes at every turn. It’s the birthplace of democracy and philosophy. Walking around, you’ll feel like you’ve stepped into a time machine, with remnants of ancient civilizations reminding you of a time when Greek culture was the epitome of intellectual and artistic achievement.

Meanwhile, Turkey stands as a testament to the empires that once ruled here. It’s a fascinating blend of Eastern and Western cultures, thanks to its unique position straddling two continents. From the Byzantine era to the Ottoman Empire, each period has left an indelible mark on Turkey’s culture and architecture.

In terms of culture, Greece and Turkey share several similarities, influenced by their geographical proximity and shared history. However, each retains a distinct identity. Greek culture is characterized by its deep-rooted traditions, lively music, and local festivals, while Turkish culture is a rich tapestry woven from Eastern, Western, and Central Asian influences.

The language in both countries is unique. Greek, with its distinct alphabet, is an independent branch of the Indo-European languages. Turkish, on the other hand, belongs to the Turkic languages family and features Latin script.

In summary, Greece offers a window into the ancient world, where Western civilization was born, while Turkey serves as a bridge between East and West, with its unique fusion of cultures. Both are rich in history and culture, promising a rewarding journey for anyone interested in humanity’s shared past.

Attractions & Activities

Let’s dive into the fascinating attractions and activities you can experience in Greece and Turkey. Both countries boast a multitude of activities that cater to a variety of interests, but each offers a unique set of experiences that make it stand out.

In Greece, your journey can start with the iconic Parthenon on the Acropolis hill in Athens. This stunning temple, dedicated to the goddess Athena, is a symbol of ancient Greek civilization.

Not far away, you can explore the Ancient Agora, the heart of classical Athens, where Socrates and Plato once walked. If history is your thing, a visit to the archaeological site of Delphi, considered the center of the world in Greek mythology, is a must.

Turkey is no less impressive when it comes to attractions. The historic areas of Istanbul, a UNESCO World Heritage site, are a feast for the eyes. Here, you can marvel at the magnificent Hagia Sophia with its breathtaking domes, or the opulent Topkapi Palace, which offers a peek into the lavish lifestyle of the Ottoman sultans.

Further afield, the fairy-tale-like landscape of Cappadocia, with its unique rock formations and underground cities, promises an unforgettable adventure.

When it comes to activities, Greece offers plenty of options for outdoor enthusiasts. Hiking the Samaria Gorge on the island of Crete, or climbing Mount Olympus, home of the ancient Greek gods, are just two examples. For a more laid-back experience, you can take a wine tour in the Peloponnese region, known for its excellent local wines.

Turkey, on the other hand, offers a diverse range of activities, from hot air ballooning over the surreal landscapes of Cappadocia, to exploring the ancient city of Ephesus, one of the best-preserved Roman cities in the Mediterranean. For a truly unique experience, you can take a traditional Turkish bath, known as a “hamam”, for a refreshing and invigorating cleanse.

In conclusion, both Greece and Turkey offer a wealth of attractions and activities that cater to different interests. Whether you’re a history buff, an outdoor adventurer, or a culture enthusiast, you’ll find something to suit your tastes in both countries.


When it comes to sun, sand, and sea, Greece and Turkey have plenty to offer. Both countries boast some of the most beautiful beaches in the world, each with its unique charm.

In Greece, the beaches are as diverse as they are beautiful. You have the famous Navagio Beach on Zakynthos Island, also known as “Shipwreck Beach”, with its dramatic cliffs and crystal-clear waters. On the island of Mykonos, you can enjoy the golden sands of Ornos Beach, which is about 3 kilometers (roughly 2 miles) from Mykonos town.

Turkey’s beaches are equally enticing. Patara Beach in Antalya is one of the longest sandy beaches in the country, stretching over 18 kilometers (approximately 11 miles). Then there’s Kaputas Beach, nestled between Kas and Kalkan, offering a small but beautiful sandy cove framed by towering cliffs.

Both countries offer a variety of water activities like snorkeling, diving, and sailing. Whether you’re an avid water sports enthusiast or prefer to relax on the sand, both Greece and Turkey offer a beach experience that’s hard to beat.

In summary, both Greece and Turkey are blessed with stunning coastlines and beautiful beaches. Whether you prefer secluded coves or bustling beach resorts, you’ll find a beach that fits your preference in both countries.

Eating, Drinking & Nightlife

When it comes to eating, drinking, and enjoying the nightlife, both Greece and Turkey have a lot to offer. These countries are famed for their vibrant food scenes, lively bars, and nightclubs.

Starting with Greek cuisine, it’s a celebration of fresh, simple ingredients. You’ll enjoy dishes like moussaka, a layered eggplant and meat dish, or souvlaki, skewers of marinated meat grilled to perfection.

Greek salads, packed with ripe tomatoes, cucumbers, and creamy feta cheese, are a must-try. And don’t forget to try some baklava for dessert, a sweet pastry made of layers of filo filled with chopped nuts and sweetened with honey.

When you’re in Turkey, you can’t miss out on trying some traditional dishes. Doner kebabs, which are roasted meat served in a warm bread with fresh vegetables, are a street food staple. You should also try manti, Turkish dumplings typically filled with lamb or beef. And for dessert, try some Turkish delight or a piece of sweet, syrupy künefe.

When it comes to drinking, Greece is known for its wines and ouzo, an anise-flavored liqueur. Wine tasting tours are popular, particularly on the island of Santorini, known for its unique volcanic wines.

In contrast, Turkey is famous for its tea and coffee. Turkish tea is served in small, tulip-shaped glasses and is a major part of Turkish hospitality. Turkish coffee is also a must-try, served thick and strong and often accompanied by a piece of Turkish delight.

As for nightlife, Athens, Mykonos, and Thessaloniki are the hotspots in Greece. Whether you’re into stylish rooftop bars, lively nightclubs or traditional bouzoukia clubs where you can listen to Greek music, you’ll find something that suits you.

In Turkey, Istanbul’s nightlife is diverse and vibrant, with a mix of modern nightclubs, traditional taverns, and rooftop bars. Bodrum and Antalya are also known for their lively nightlife scene, particularly during the summer months.

In conclusion, whether you’re a foodie, a wine lover, or a partygoer, both Greece and Turkey have something to offer you. Each country has its unique culinary delights, drinks, and nightlife experiences that will surely make your trip unforgettable.


Shopping in Greece and Turkey is a delightful experience. Both countries offer a variety of goods, from traditional crafts to luxury brands, ensuring you’ll find something to bring back home.

In Greece, Athens’ Plaka district is perfect for souvenir shopping. Here, you’ll find everything from handmade leather sandals to traditional Greek products like olive oil and honey. If you’re looking for high-end brands, head to the Kolonaki district.

Turkey, particularly Istanbul, is a shopper’s paradise. The Grand Bazaar is a must-visit. It’s one of the largest and oldest covered markets in the world, offering a wide range of goods, including Turkish carpets, ceramics, and spices. For luxury shopping, Nişantaşı district offers a wide range of international and Turkish brands.

Whether you’re hunting for the perfect souvenir or looking to treat yourself, both Greece and Turkey offer a unique shopping experience. Each country has its own unique goods and bustling markets that will surely make your shopping experience a memorable one.


Finding the perfect place to lay your head down at night is a key part of any holiday. In Greece and Turkey, you’re spoilt for choice with an array of accommodations to fit all preferences.

Greek accommodations typically provide breathtaking views, whether you’re on the mainland or one of the islands. Picture yourself waking up to a view of the Aegean Sea from a cliffside villa in Santorini, or experiencing authentic Greek life in a traditional guesthouse in the heart of Athens.

Contrastingly, Turkey offers a unique mix of the old and the new. Istanbul is filled with luxury hotels located close to the city’s historic sites, while Cappadocia offers a one-of-a-kind opportunity to stay in a cave hotel, carved from the region’s unique geological formations.

When it comes to luxury, both countries offer high-end resorts with world-class amenities. However, if budget is a concern, you’ll also find a wide range of affordable options, from budget hotels to hostels and guesthouses.

In conclusion, whether you’re looking for luxury, budget, or something in between, both Greece and Turkey offer a wide range of options to ensure you have a comfortable stay.

Family-Friendliness & Children’s Activities

Thinking about a family trip? Both Greece and Turkey are filled with family-friendly activities that are sure to delight travelers of all ages.

In Greece, you’ll find plenty of child-friendly activities, especially on the islands. Consider taking the kids to one of the many sandy beaches for a day of fun in the sun. There’s also an array of educational sites and museums that bring ancient Greek mythology to life.

Turkey also offers a myriad of family-friendly experiences. In Istanbul, children will love visiting the Istanbul Toy Museum or taking a fun-filled cruise along the Bosphorus. The fairy chimneys and underground cities of Cappadocia also make for a fascinating family exploration.

For outdoor activities, both countries excel. Whether it’s water sports in the Greek Islands or exploring the magical landscapes of Turkey, there’s plenty to keep the whole family entertained.

In conclusion, whether your family loves history, nature, or simply enjoying new experiences together, both Greece and Turkey are excellent choices for a memorable family vacation.

Getting There & Getting Around

Getting to and around Greece and Turkey is fairly straightforward, with numerous options available depending on your itinerary and preferences.

Flights from the US to Greece typically land in Athens, the capital. The flight duration is about 10 hours, covering approximately 6,500 miles or 10,460 kilometers. From Athens, domestic flights, ferries, and trains can take you to other parts of the country.

Similarly, flights from the US to Turkey usually land in Istanbul. The direct flight duration is around 11 hours, covering about 5,660 miles or 9,100 kilometers. Once in Turkey, domestic flights are a quick and convenient way to travel around the country.

Getting around in Greece largely depends on your destination. In the islands, ferries are the most common mode of transportation, while in mainland cities like Athens, public buses and the metro are reliable and efficient.

In Turkey, the transportation infrastructure is well-developed, with an extensive bus network and well-connected domestic flights. Istanbul also boasts a comprehensive public transportation system, including trams, buses, and ferries.

In summary, both Greece and Turkey have well-connected transport networks, making it easy for you to explore all the wonderful experiences they have to offer.


When planning a trip, the weather is a key factor to consider. So, let’s take a look at what you can expect in Greece and Turkey.

In Greece, you can enjoy long, hot summers with temperatures often reaching 86°F (30°C), perfect for soaking up the sun on the stunning Greek beaches. The winters, on the other hand, are mild, especially in the southern regions, with temperatures rarely falling below 50°F (10°C).

Turkey, on the other hand, experiences a more diverse climate due to its vast geographical size. In the coastal regions, you’ll find a Mediterranean climate with hot summers where temperatures can soar to 95°F (35°C) and mild winters around 50°F (10°C). Inland, though, the climate can be more extreme with hotter summers and colder winters.

Spring and autumn are pleasant times to visit both countries. Greece tends to have milder weather with temperatures hovering around 68°F (20°C) while Turkey can see temperatures ranging from 60°F to 75°F (15°C to 24°C).

In summary, whether you’re a fan of hot summers, mild winters, or prefer the more temperate spring and autumn seasons, you’ll find a season that suits your preferences in both Greece and Turkey.


Safety is another essential aspect to consider when choosing a destination. So let’s compare the safety in Greece and Turkey.

Greece is generally considered very safe for tourists. Petty theft can occur in busy tourist areas and cities, but if you’re aware of your belongings and take normal precautions, you should have a hassle-free visit.

Turkey is also largely safe for tourists. However, it’s always wise to stay informed about the political situation, as certain regions near the Syrian border are advised against due to ongoing conflicts.

When it comes to health, both countries have good healthcare facilities, especially in larger cities. It’s always recommended to have travel insurance to cover any unforeseen medical costs.

In terms of natural disasters, both countries are prone to earthquakes. However, these are usually minor and rarely disrupt travel plans.

In conclusion, with a little bit of awareness and the necessary precautions, you can enjoy a safe trip whether you choose Greece or Turkey.


Now, let’s talk about costs. How does Greece stack up against Turkey when it comes to your travel budget?

In general, Greece can be a bit more expensive than Turkey. For instance, a mid-range meal in Greece can cost you around €20 (about $24) whereas, in Turkey, a similar meal might only set you back ₺50 (roughly $6).

Accommodation costs vary greatly depending on where you stay, but generally, you’ll find that your money goes a bit further in Turkey. A night in a 3-star hotel might cost around €50 ($60) in Greece and ₺200 ($24) in Turkey.

Public transportation is quite affordable in both countries, but again, Turkey comes out ahead with lower costs.

In summary, while both Greece and Turkey offer value for money depending on your travel style and budget, Turkey tends to be more affordable overall.

Which Is Better – Greece or Turkey?

In the realm of history and culture, both Greece and Turkey stand tall. If you’re a history enthusiast, Greece’s ancient ruins, mythology, and influence on Western civilization might be captivating. However, if a fusion of cultures and eras intrigues you, Turkey’s unique blend of Eastern and Western influences could be a more exotic choice.

Considering attractions and activities, your preferences will guide your choice. Greece, with its iconic landmarks like the Parthenon and picturesque islands, can be a dream for sightseers and leisure seekers. But if adventure stirs your spirit, Turkey’s diverse landscapes, from the rock formations of Cappadocia to the snowy peaks of Mount Ararat, await your exploration.

If you’re a beach lover, both countries offer stunning coastlines. The azure waters and sun-soaked beaches of Greece, particularly in the islands of Mykonos and Santorini, are hard to resist. But the turquoise coast of Turkey is equally enchanting, offering a variety of water sports for thrill-seekers.

When it comes to food, drink, and nightlife, both countries have unique offerings. If you enjoy Mediterranean cuisine with a variety of seafood, Greece’s gastronomic delights will satisfy your palate. But if you have a taste for dishes with more spices and flavors, Turkey’s diverse and rich culinary tradition might appeal more.

As for nightlife, both countries have vibrant scenes, but your choice may depend on whether you prefer Greece’s island parties or Istanbul’s bustling night scene.

Concerning family-friendliness and children’s activities, both countries go the extra mile. The Greek people are known for their warmth and hospitality towards families, and the country offers a myriad of child-friendly attractions. However, Turkey also prides itself on its hospitality and offers a range of activities that can keep the little ones engaged.

Lastly, in terms of cost, Greece is generally more expensive than Turkey. Thus, if budget is a significant factor for you, Turkey might be a more pocket-friendly option without compromising on the quality of your vacation experience.

In conclusion, both Greece and Turkey are exceptional destinations, each with its unique charm and offerings. Your choice ultimately hinges on what you value most in your travel experience. Whether it’s Greece’s historical allure or Turkey’s cultural fusion, the Mediterranean’s sun-soaked beaches or diverse landscapes, delectable seafood or flavorful kebabs, lively island parties or bustling city nightlife, your preferences will guide your choice between these two captivating countries.