The easiest way to travel between Greece and Turkey is on a ferry from a Greek island to the Turkish mainland (or vice-versa).
Ferries (motorboats and hydrofoils) depart from at least 6 Greek islands to 10 ports in Turkey.
The busiest, most convenient Turkish ports are Bodrum, Marmaris, Kuşadası and Çeşme; those in Greece are Rhodes, Kos, Samos and Chios. (For ferries from these Greek Islands to other Greek Islands, see my domestic Greek ferries page.)
To voyage between Turkey and Santorini (Thira), you take ferries linking Bodrum and Kos, and the Blue Star Line ferries between Kos and Santorini, or ferries from Marmaris, Fethiye or Bodrum to Rhodes, then a ferry to Santorini. More…
The most uncertain and expensive ferry (for what you get) is and always has been the one between Lesvos (Mytileni) and Ayvalık.
A good travel agency that can provide information on sailings and fares, and make reservations for you, is Anker Travel. But before contacting them, see if you can find the informationhere. If not, Anker can help with ferries among the Greek islands, ferries between Turkey, Greece and Italy, and travel services in Greece (hotels, tours, rental cars, etc.).
Below is a summary of frequencies and fares (port taxes included). First fare is one-way/single, second fare is round-trip/return, as €20/25.
|Chios–Çeşme||Daily – Car Ferry||35-40 min||€20/25|
|Chios–Çeşme||Daily – High-speed||20 min||€25/30|
|Kos–Bodrum||Daily – Car Ferry||60 min||€17/30|
|Kos–Bodrum||Daily – High-speed||45 min||€17/30|
|Kos–Turgutreis||Daily – High-speed||20 min||€22/38|
|Lesvos–Ayvalık||Daily May-Oct.||80 min||€15/25|
|Rhodes–Bodrum||Mon & Sat||140 min||€42/84|
|Rhodes–Fethiye||Seasonal – High-speed||90min||€50/75|
Make your reservation at least one day in advance of the voyage. You may have to submit your passport overnight for registration, whether you embark from Greece or from Turkey.
|Library of Celsus, Ephesus.|
You can often get a same-day round-trip ticket for little more than the standard one-way fare, meaning that you can make the voyage over in the morning, see the sights in the port, then return to your original port in the evening. An open-date round-trip ticket, meaning that you can make the return voyage at some date of your choosing in the future, will be more expensive, but it’s usually less expensive than two one-way fares.
Off-season (November–April), service is less frequent. In winter there may be only one boat a week, or a boat may leave if there are enough passengers to make it worthwhile, or there may be no service at all.
The most reliable off-season service is Bodrum-Kos;second-most reliable is Marmaris-Rhodes.
Before depending upon a boat in winter, confirm departure dates and times carefully, in advance, and remember that bad weather can cause cancellation of winter voyages. (Weather is not usually a problem in summer).
—by Tom Brosnahan