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Turkey-Greek Islands Ferries Start Up Again After 2-Year Break

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Turkey’s ferry service to the Greek Islands has resumed. Credit: Ilya Plekhanov, CC BY-SA 4.0

Ferry services between Turkey and the Greek Islands are resuming after being paused for two years during the Covid-19 pandemic, it was announced earlier in the week.

The ferry service will reinvigorate sea tourism between the two countries, said Yusuf Ozturk, the chairman of the Chamber of Shipping in Izmir, Turkey.

He said that the ferries will carry nearly 1 million passengers a year between both coasts.

“During these two years, our ferry members had very difficult times. Finally, we got the result we expected. The tradesmen in the Greek islands are looking forward to Turkish tourists.

“Both countries will make maximum use of this re-established maritime route. In a period when cruise tourism in the Mediterranean is also active, there will be a great revival in sea tourism in the 2022 tourism season with the decision to start sailing with our ferries, and commercial and private yachts.”

Greece lifted its restrictions on sea borders on Monday and ferry services have made swift plans to take advantage of the open passages. Health and safety measures for riding the services will be announced in the coming week.

Visiting Greece’s Islands in the Aegean Sea

The easiest way to travel between Greece and Turkey is on a ferry from a Greek island to the Turkish mainland (or vice-versa). High speed catamaran ferries depart from Rhodes, Kos, Samos, Chios and Kastelorizo to Marmaris, Bodrum, Fethiye, Cesme, Kusadasi and Kas.

Here are some of the main ferry routes between the Greek islands and Turkey that operated before the pandemic.

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.

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. 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, and lots of shopping, including a colorful market, and a hopping 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. 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; the journey takes an hour and 30 minutes.

Rhodes to Marmaris

Another option from Rhodes, Marmaris is an hour away by high speed 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 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.


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