CatieFunkTravels Rodes Rhodes Greece Greek Islands

TRAVEL: 8 Tips for Traveling to the Greek Islands from Turkey

When you look at a map, the islands just off the Aegean coastline look like they belong to Turkey. But they are actually part of the Greek islands. Travelers in Turkey can access the EU with a quick ferry ride.

Once belonging to the same ancient empires and rulers, the Greek islands have a messy mix of overlapping Greek and Turkish history. While you could say that the citizens living in either country are entirely native, you will find that most Greeks and Turks in the southwest of Turkey have a jumbled heritage of Greek and Turkish ancestors.

Today, the Greek laid-back Islanders and relaxed warm Turkish people of Izmir have a comfortable relationship that politicians could learn a thing or two about.

Alongside the history, travelers like to visit the Greek Islands for the ease of island life. Big cities like Rome and London also come with traffic and crowds of people. While we saw a few people from the ferry, tourist lines were never a problem on the Greek Islands.

When traveling to the gorgeously sunny areas of the Aegean and Mediterranean Seas, the Greek Islands of Chios (click here to listen to our podcast about Chios), Lesvos, and Rhodos, are the perfect international day trips from the Turkish coast.

CatieFunkTravels Lesvos Island Greece Greek Islands
Lesvos, Greece – Greek Islands

But before you go, here are 8 tips for traveling to the Greek Islands from Turkey:

  1. Check your visa requirements! Rules still apply for entering the EU. Some islands have daily visa pass, but make sure your nationality can purchase them.
  2. Traveling to the island is best in the summer: May to September. The island comes to life with other travelers, and all the shops are ready to greet you. But if you are like us and want a more relaxed, getaway, consider coming in the off-months: October- April.
  3. Chios and Lesvos are relatively protected from the masses of cruise lines and craziness that comes with the hordes of tourists being dumped onto the island all at once. Rhodos, however, is another story. For a more enjoyable experience, consider checking out this island during the off-season or the edges of the summer season.
  4. Booking your ferry tickets online is easy. From the several websites I have used, I suggest www.marmarisferry.com provided the most diverse selection of routes and online payment.
    • Chios’ daily departures in both on and off-season. Tickets are a flat one-way fee of 20 Euros (40 Euros round trip).
    • Lesvos’ schedule is irregular in the off-season but picks up around the summer months. Tickets are a flat one-way fee of 25 Euros (50 Euros round trip).
    • Rhodos charges 30 Euro extra per roundtrip (40 Euros for same day round trip) if you arrive and depart on different days.CatieFunkTravels Lesvos Greece Greek Islands

      Catie FunkTravels Chios Greece Greek Islands
      Chios, Greece – Greek Islands
  5.  Rental cars are easy and cheap to rent for your desired amount of time. Even if you have a car, you will find that renting a car for a day or 2 will be cheaper than paying for your car ferry fee and the extra required international insurance on the island. Only if you plan to stay for longer than four days should you consider taking your vehicle.
  6. While I thought it was just a Spanish tradition, Greeks also honor a similar afternoon siesta from 1-3 PM. Most shops besides restaurants and cafes will take a break mid-day for lunch and rest. At 3 PM the shops reopen for shoppers until 6 PM or if in a shopping district, 8-9 PM. Also, if you want to travel around the island, make sure to see the big city when you first arrive.
  7. On Sundays, most non-food shops close, and the shopping areas become a ghost town. Thankfully, most shops near the water stay open for locals and the random tourists waiting for their ferry boats back to Turkey. If you are looking to grab some European products to take back to Turkey, Lidl and other supermarkets have a large, affordable selection of goods. However, they close on Sundays.
  8. While the refugee crisis has potentially affected some of the Greek Islands, we never saw any disruptive events or services during our visits. Besides the occasional beggar near the port areas, which is common in most cities, we saw none in the other regions of Greece.

CatieFunkTravels Lesvos Greek Islands Greece

CatieFunkTravels Rhodes Rodes Island Greece Greek Islands
Rhodes, Greece – Greek Islands

I hope you enjoyed these 8 tips for traveling to the Greek Islands from Turkey.  Have you traveled to the island? What tips do you have from your travels to the islands?

Now to you:

What Greek Islands have you traveled too?

What did you love about your travels there?

What are your tips for traveling to the Greek Islands?

 

Read more information about other islands we have visited: (coming soon!)

Chios

Lesvos

Rhodos

 

 

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WRITING: Cyprus Guide featured on Nomadasauras

NOMADasaurus featured my article titled Beginner’s Guide To Backpacking In Cyprus. The article covers the highlights of our time in Cyprus and what cities and sites you should see.  The article covers sites in and near Paphos and the navigating the divided capital of Nicosia. There is an in-depth guide for the country info and all the where to stay, eat, and when to go!

NOMADasaurus is Australia’s biggest adventure travel blog.  Travel writers and photographers Alesha Bradford and Jarryd Salem aim “to inspire people to seek out new adventures and meaningful travel experiences.”

Here is the start of the article:

Cyprus wins major historical points. By legend, this 9,250 km island is the birthplace of the ancient Greek goddess of love Aphrodite. However, the modern enmity between its Greek and Turkish inhabitants rivals ancient Greek mythology with its continued reconciliation efforts today.

In 1974, Turkey invaded Cyprus twice and after the 2nd invasion, both parties established the ceasefire which is known as the Green Line.

Both sides effectively partitioned the United Nations troops patrolled this “Green Line” dividing the two parts: the northern third inhabited by Turkish Cypriots and the southern two-thirds by Greek Cypriots.

Both Turkish and Greek people were moved hastily to their matching nationality’s side and until 2008, the border remained closed due to the Turkish occupation of the north side of the island.

Neither the United States nor any country, other than Turkey, recognizes the “Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus”.

Sprinkled with castles, churches, monasteries, mosaics, white-sand beaches along the blue seas, Cyprus is also a land for romantics.

 

My own account of our 4-day itinerary for Cyprus is one of our top hits on this website. Enjoy reading a more personal account or listen to our podcast episode instead.
2017CatieFunkTravelsBrasovRomaniaEurope

WRITING: Guide to Braşov, Romania featured on Destinations Magazine

Destinations Magazine featured my article titled Guide to Braşov, Romania. The article covers the highlights of Braşov, the nearby city of Bran and Dracula’s Castle, and, of course, all the where to stay, eat, when to go! I still can’t believe we made it to Dracula’s Castle! Just FYI, Romania is totally overlooked!

Destinations Magazine is a “digital travel resource that debuts the best in the written word, photography and video, catering to the adventurous at heart.” They aim “to inspire people to seek out new adventures and meaningful travel experiences.”
 Here is the start of the article:

Sitting in the centre of Romania’s Transylvania region, the medieval town of Braşov is encircled by the Carpathian Mountains, an area synonymous with Bram Stoker’s Dracula.

This walled city has a colourful history, having been the prize of many wars fought over the centuries. Even with its small-town feel in the middle of the mountains, restaurants and activities are plentiful. The town’s 250,000 residents celebrate their diversity and welcome visitors warmly. Braşov offers much to explore within, and around, the city.

Continue reading here

 

Transylvania: A Guide to Braşov, Romania

 

Thank you, Destinations Magazine for the feature!

See my other published works in my portfolio.

Catie FunkTravels Christmas Markets Europe

WRITING: European Christmas Market Tour Article featured in Lale Magazine

I wrote an article featured in Lale Magazine titled European Christmas Market Tour. The article covers our Christmas Market Tour starting in Basel, Switzerland and ending in Prague, the Czech Republic with our route taking us through Strasbourg, France and several places in Germany. My favorite market would be our short time in Basel, but check out the rest to see which one you would prefer!

Lale Magazine is an expat magazine produced by the IWI, International Women of Istanbul. The bi-monthly magazine is shipped to over 600 private home, as well as all advertisers and sponsors. The readers are comprised mostly of Turkish nationals married to foreigners, but also foreigners living in Istanbul. It is full of helpful information about local schools, exhibits for art and workshops, and experiences with IWI groups. There aren’t a lot of English print magazines in Turkey, so this is a fun magazine to have available!

 

Continue reading here… or scroll down (flip to page 42).

FunkTravels Lale Magazine European Christmas Markets

FunkTravels Lale Magazine European Christmas Markets

FunkTravels Lale Magazine European Christmas Markets

 

You can also view the article via the link below. Flip to page 42.

 

Thank you, Lale Magazine for the feature. I am honored to be working with you as a writer.

 

See my past work published in the Lale Magazine:

For more pictures and my other accounts of European Markets, read more via the links below:

Now to you:

Did you enjoy the article?

What market would you like to visit?

 

2016CatieFunkTravelsChristmasMarketsEurope Strasbourg France

TRAVEL: 5 Ws for Exploring the European Christmas Markets – Your Questions Answered

European Christmas makes my heart happy, and I am sure everyone else who has ever experienced them before. (Exception for those who don’t like cold weather at all).  Last year we spent our Christmas holidays in Germany and took a little European Christmas Markets tour through Switzerland and France as well. We are no strangers to the ways of market exploration.

2016CatieFunkTravelsChristmasMarketsEurope Germany

So, here are the 5 Ws, the Who, What, When, Where and Why, of exploring the European Christmas Market.

Who should go to the markets?

If you love all things wintery and Christmas (or love a good spiced hot wine), then the markets are for you! Of course, the locals get the most of out their town’s Christmas Market, but because the Christmas markets and villages are all slightly different in how they decorate, visitors find their way to visit a few different markets in other cities and countries if possible!

You should expect there to be one main market area with wooden houses set up just for the month of December. If visiting a larger city, several smaller markets will be set up around popular neighborhoods. The markets will have a festive atmosphere and music, lots of visitors walking around and enjoying the food and wine, and several shops to buy goodies and souvenirs.

What ….

…. should you eat?

The food is one of the best parts of Christmas markets. Try one of the many flavors of sausages and pastries. Most importantly sample the mulled wine or Gulwhein. When you order your first wine at the markets, a deposit is made for the ceramic mugs. When another mug of wine is ordered, the last mug is exchanged for a new one, and you pay only for the refill. When you are ready to leave, return the mug to any vendor that sells wine, and they will refund your deposit.

2016CatieFunkTravelsChristmasMarketsEurope Germany

2016CatieFunkTravelsChristmasMarketsEurope Prague

 

… should you buy?

Every year each market has the new custom made mugs used for serving hot drinks. Instead of returning your mug for its 2 euro deposit, start a small collection of Christmas market mugs! If you are lucky, you can find mugs from previous years. Other than food, we found a small delicate wooden ornament with a detailed snowy village as a tiny, easy to pack souvenir.

 

2016CatieFunkTravelsChristmasMarketsEurope Germany

… else should you do?

Our sole purpose of these visits was to see different Christmas markets in Europe. It made deciding what to do and how to spend our time easy. However, every city has their historical museums, churches, and other touristy activities if you tire of wine and food. Take time to explore outside the Christmas atmosphere to learn more about the culture and city.

… should you bring?

Cash! Most markets work off of Euros, and it is interchangeable in most EU countries. In Germany, they much prefer to take cash and don’t always offer a payment option for cards!

Dress warmly. The temps can be chilling around that time of year even if the sun is out in full force. Make sure to check the temperatures and dress warmly. We were so thankful that friends of ours brought little hand warmers to share with us!

When should you go?

Most markets start the first week of advent, and some as early as November 26. Perhaps they are trying to catch some of the Americans on their Thanksgiving breaks, but you will never see me complaining about that! Some markets end before Christmas day while other take a break on the 24th -26th and reopen again for New Year travelers. Each town has a website for the markets giving more details about when they start and finish.  

Otherwise, go early in the day to avoid the afternoon and evening crowds! It gets very busy!

2016CatieFunkTravelsChristmasMarketsEurope Basel Switzerland

Where should you stay?

Hotels in the town center come with a high price. Consider using a private rental such as Airbnb instead. The rental usually comes with all you need and often a kitchen for those who enjoy cooking and coffee in the morning.

Everyone has their own favorite Christmas Markets, and you will have no issues finding scores of suggestions about what markets to visit. Our first markets took us to Basel in Switzerland (listen here), Strasbourg in France (listen here), and several in Germany (listen here).

 

Now it’s your turn: 

Have you been to the Christmas Markets? If so, which ones?

What did you love about them?

What suggestions would you add?

 

Like it? Pin it!

 

FunkTravels-5-tips-for-exploring-the-European-Christmas-Markets