With Greece’s Dodecanese Islands in such close proximity to Turkey’s southwestern coastline it’s no wonder that many choose to see a little of both countries. The 12 mountainous islands lie in a crescent shape along the Aegean sea and while some host ancient ruins and traditional villages, others boast black volcanic sand beaches, transparent waters and extensive olive orchards. Meanwhile Turkey’s Aegean and Mediterranean Coastlines are abundant with pretty pebble beaches, historical sites and quaint villages which sit between steep valleys and sheer cliff faces. The most popular way to cross is on the Rhodes to Fethiye Ferry, a 90-minute scenic trip connecting two of the region’s favorite holiday destinations.
Rhodes is the largest of the Dodecanese Islands and also the most frequently visited, with a booming tourist infrastructure. The new town hosts a wide variety of local restaurants, quirky cafes and lively bars, here you can see fine examples of neoclassical and Italian architecture dating back to the times when the Venetians ruled the Island. The Post Office, National Theatre and Evangelismos church are all reminiscent of the Italian era.
Inside the grand Old Town walls, you can also find many interesting sights like the Hospital of the Knights, the Palace of the Grand Masters and the Palace of the Castellan, as well as many Byzantine churches, Arab architecture and Ottoman mosques. The Old Town was once the capital of the Island and is now one Europe’s best preserved ancient settlements.
Around the island of Rhodes there are countless pristine beaches, one of the most popular is Faliraki Beach. Known for it’s golden sand, this 4-kilometre-wide beach lies just a short bus ride from Rhodes town. Surrounded by lush hills, the stunning cove it’s ideal for all kinds of watersports and extreme sports and is coincidently the same location that the movie ‘The Guns of Navarone’ was filmed. Other great beaches in the region are Ladiko beach, in the Afandou region, 20 kilometers from the town of Rhodes. This beach is ideal for those who prefer peace and quiet, the secluded bay has only basic facilities and receives fewer visitors.
Of course, one of the main reasons for visiting Rhodes is for the rich history and archeological sites. Legends say that the Island was dedicated to the God, Helios who drew it from below the water and made the island lush and fruitful. Historians say that the island was first inhabited by Carian settlers and later by Phoenicians, Minoans, Achaeans, Dorians, Persians and finally the Knights of Rhodes who made the island into a prosperous trading port. Nowadays some of the top historical sites include: the Ancient town of Kamiros, Lalaysos and The Acropolis of Rhodes.
In the middle of the Turquoise Coast, in southwestern Turkey, is the busy port town of Fethiye, home to a Hellenistic castle, Lycian cliff tombs and a vibrant old town. Fethiye is also a main departure point for Blue Cruises and the starting/finishing point for Turkey’s first long distance hiking trail, the 540-kilometre-long Lycian Way. The town is situated on a picturesque bay, between thickly forested valleys at the foot of the Taurus mountain range. Blessed with a typical Mediterranean climate, Fethiye is a popular vacation spot for both national and international tourists.
Within the town center is a charming old town, with covered cobblestone streets, lined with individually owned shops, craft stalls, souvenir stores and spice markets, plus a few high street brands. The old town boasts a vibrant nightlife, quirky bars have long lists of colourful cocktails. In the summer clubs stay open until the early hours of the morning.
Fethiye marina is a quieter locations, hotels and guesthouses in this area offer superb views over the glistening bay and a promenade runs alongside the water, next to a small park and seaside restaurants.
The area around Fethiye is also worth exploring, within 15 kilometres of the town centre is the famous Ghost Town of Kayakoy and the Blue Lagoon at Oludeniz, known for its rich azure blue water and abundant sealife. Mount Babadag, which looms over the bay, is the ideal launching point for paragliders who you can watch as they float down to the smooth and sandy beach.
Across the Aegean Sea
While Rhodes to Fethiye and vice versa, is a popular crossing point there are plenty more routes to nearby Greek islands from locations along Turkey’s dazzling coastline. Kusadasi is a major tourist resort on the Aegean coast, with links to island of Samos, the town is a launching pad for exploring some of Turkey’s top historical attractions such as Ephesus, Pamukkale and Hierapolis, as well as the traditional villages of Selcuk and Sirince. Meanwhile on the Mediterranean Sea the busy port town of Kas is connected to the Mais Island and Bodrum is just a short journey away from Kos. There are many options for your Greece to Turkey vacation. Check online for Ferry Tickets prices and times.
You can visit multiple Greek islands on the same trip with an island hopping Greek holiday.