Looking to travel from Greece to Turkey? Instead of hopping on a plane, take the ferry! While it's not possible to get a ferry from the larger Greek cities it is possible from five major islands (Samos, Kos, Rhodes, Lesbos, and Chios). Ferry travel is an easy and scenic way to get to Turkey from Greece.
Some ferries run only during the summer tourist season, while others have a drastically reduced schedule in the winter season. You can find general information on ferries from Aegean Speed Lines. Many tourists make ferry reservations on the run, stopping in a port city, going to the port or to a travel agent and booking a ferry trip. Aegean allows you to book online if you find that necessary in the heart of tourist season.
Popular Ferry Routes
Depending on which islands in Greece you plan to visit, you can visit many different cities on the Turkish mainland from the beachy Bodrum to the historic Fethiye.
Samos to Kusadasi
Samos is only a mile away from Turkey and is a great starting point to explore the city of Kusadasi. Samos is also the birthplace of Pythagoras (the creator of the Pythagorean theorem) and home to stunning beaches, seaside towns, and beautiful scenery. Ferry rides to Kusadasi take around an hour and 15 minutes depending on where in Samos you are departing from.
Kusadasi is ideal for those who like visiting ancient sites. The popular resort town is close to extraordinary sights like Ephesus, Pamukkale, and Aphrodisias. Kusadasi is also a popular port for cruise ships.
Kos to Bodrum
Kos is also known for its beautiful beaches as well as an abundance of nightclubs and bars in the larger towns. Three different ferry companies make the sailing from Kos to Bodrum and in a given week there are around 21 ferries departing. The journey takes around 45 minutes. Bodrum is a modern resort town built on the ruins of Halicarnassus in 1402. It features a 15th-century Crusader Castle (which now houses the Museum of Underwater Archaeology), an airport, lots of shopping, including a colorful market and a very lively nightlife.
Rhodes to Fethiye
If you want to visit the Greek island of Rhodes, Fethiye is a natural next destination. Rhodes is the largest of the Dodecanese islands and is the archipelago's cultural capital. The site of the Colossus of Rhodes—one of the seven wonders of the ancient world—and several UNESCO World Heritage sites make Rhodes one of the most popular European vacation destinations. Fethiye is a port city best known for its beaches and yachting. History buffs will enjoy the ruins of ancient Telmessos that are scattered throughout the city. Ferries run mostly in the summer, from mid-June through August with 14 sailings each week and the journey takes an hour and 30 minutes.
Rhodes to Marmaris
Another option from Rhodes, Marmaris is an hour away by catamaran and two hours by normal ferry. It's an attractive tourist destination with architectural charm. The little port, fine beaches, and the medieval castle are the main attractions here. The Marmaris tourist season opens in April and ends in the middle of October.
Chios to Cesme
Chios is a smaller Greek island with gorgeous beaches (of course) and quite a few Medieval towns and Byzantine monasteries. Cesme is popular for its clear waters and dive sites. This route brings you to a pleasant town with good beaches and good restaurants along the waterfront and along the main street. The journey takes between 20 and 30 minutes depending on which ferry operator you chose. Plus, Cesme is 53 miles (85 kilometers) from Izmir, Turkey's third-largest city.
Lesbos to Ayvalik
The isle of Lesbos is covered in historic churches, old monasteries, ruins, and greenery. In fact, Lesbos has one of the world's only petrified forests. Ayvalik is an ancient city just across the bay. The area also makes some excellent olive oil. Ferries are more popular with Turkish tourists and those folks who like seaside resorts, but if you have a car you might think of visiting some nearby Turkish archaeological sites. Within a short driving distance away from Ayvalik are some pretty well-known ancient sites: Assos and Troy are to the north, while Pergamon is to the east. The trip between Lesbos and Ayvalik takes around an hour and 30 minutes.