13 days in The Balkans Itinerary

13 days in The Balkans Itinerary

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Route & dates

13 days in The Balkans Itinerary

Start: Washington DC, United States
+3
Train + Foot + Fly + Subway:  15 h 15 min
1
Athens, Greece
— 1 night
Fly:  3 h 15 min
2
Fira, Greece
— 2 nights
Fly:  8 h 30 min
3
Antalya, Turkey
— 1 night
Drive:  1 h 15 min
4
Manavgat, Turkey
— 1 night
Bus:  6 h 45 min
5
Goreme, Turkey
— 2 nights
Taxi + Fly:  2 h 45 min
6
Istanbul, Turkey
— 3 nights
Fly + Bus:  13 h 15 min
End: Washington DC, United States

1
night
Athens, Greece

Athens ©
One of the world's most ancient cities, Athens remains Europe's undisputed historical and cultural capital.
Kick off your visit on the 5th (Sun): take in the architecture and atmosphere at Church of Kapnikarea and then explore the ancient world of Acropolis of Athens. Get ready for a full day of sightseeing on the 6th (Mon): get engrossed in the history at Acropolis Museum, stop by Plaka, and then admire the masterpieces at National Archaeological Museum.

To find other places to visit, ratings, reviews, and other tourist information, you can read our Athens trip builder website.

Washington DC, USA to Athens is an approximately 15.5-hour combination of train and flight. You can also fly; or do a combination of train and flight. The time zone difference when traveling from Washington DC to Athens is 7 hours. Expect somewhat warmer evenings in Athens when traveling from Washington DC in April, with lows around 55°F. Finish your sightseeing early on the 6th (Mon) to allow enough time to travel to Fira.

Things to do in Athens

Museums Historic Sites Neighborhoods
Highlights from your plan
Acropolis of Athens ©
Acropolis of Athens
Acropolis Museum ©
Acropolis Museum
National Archaeological Museum ©
National Archaeological Museum

2
nights
Fira, Greece

Fira ©
Fira, the busy capital of Santorini, sits on the very edge of a volcanic caldera.
Start off your visit on the 7th (Tue): take in the dramatic natural features at Skaros Rock, tour the pleasant surroundings at Ekklisia Theoskepasti hiking trail, then see the interesting displays at Wine Museum Koutsogiannopoulos, and finally explore the ancient world of Akrotiri. On the 8th (Wed), you'll have a packed day of sightseeing: examine the collection at Museum of Prehistoric Thira, then pause for some serene contemplation at Panagia Theoskepasti Chapel, then learn about winemaking at Santo Winery, and finally enjoy the sand and surf at Perissa Black Sand Beach.

To find traveler tips, reviews, where to stay, and tourist information, go to the Fira route planner.

You can fly from Athens to Fira in 3.5 hours. Other options are to ride a ferry; or do a combination of flight, taxi, and ferry. In April in Fira, expect temperatures between 68°F during the day and 56°F at night. Cap off your sightseeing on the 8th (Wed) early enough to travel to Antalya.

Things to do in Fira

Parks Outdoors Museums

Side Trips

Imerovigli, Perissa Black Sand Beach, Ekklisia Theoskepasti hiking trail, Akrotiri, Santo Winery
Highlights from your plan
Ekklisia Theoskepasti hiking trail ©
Ekklisia Theoskepasti hiking trail
Perissa Black Sand Beach ©
Perissa Black Sand Beach
Wine Museum Koutsogiannopoulos ©
Wine Museum Koutsogiannopoulos

1
night
Antalya, Turkey

Antalya ©
Offering both sandy beaches packed with modern amenities and a historical town center filled with Roman ruins and Ottoman mosques, Antalya serves as one of the country's major tourist destinations.
Kick off your visit on the 9th (Thu): take in the waterfront activity at Old City Marina and then visit Kaleici. Get ready for a full day of sightseeing on the 10th (Fri): take in the dramatic scenery at Kursunlu Waterfalls, then admire the sheer force of Lower Duden Waterfalls, then explore the ancient world of Hadrian's Gate, and finally see the interesting displays at Antalya Muzesi.

To find photos, ratings, traveler tips, and tourist information, you can read our Antalya route planner.

Traveling by flight from Fira to Antalya takes 8.5 hours. Alternatively, you can do a combination of flight, ferry, and bus; or do a combination of ferry and car. The time zone difference when traveling from Fira to Antalya is 1 hour. In April, daytime highs in Antalya are 72°F, while nighttime lows are 52°F. Finish your sightseeing early on the 10th (Fri) so you can drive to Manavgat.

Things to do in Antalya

Parks Neighborhoods Museums
Highlights from your plan
Kaleici ©
Kaleici
Antalya Muzesi ©
Antalya Muzesi
Hadrian's Gate
Hadrian's Gate

1
night
Manavgat, Turkey

Manavgat ©
Nestled between the Taurus Mountains and the sun-kissed beaches of the Mediterranean coastline, Manavgat serves as a regional center of tourism, offering easy access to a long stretch of sandy beaches.
On the 11th (Sat), delve into the distant past at Ancient Theater and then admire the landmark architecture of Temple of Apollo.

For reviews, other places to visit, where to stay, and tourist information, you can read our Manavgat trip itinerary builder app.

Drive from Antalya to Manavgat in 1.5 hours. Alternatively, you can take a bus. In April in Manavgat, expect temperatures between 72°F during the day and 52°F at night. Finish up your sightseeing early on the 11th (Sat) so you can catch the bus to Goreme.

Things to do in Manavgat

Historic Sites
Highlights from your plan
Ancient Theater ©
Ancient Theater
Temple of Apollo ©
Temple of Apollo

2
nights
Goreme, Turkey

Goreme ©
Famed for its landscape of unusually shaped stone formations and churches cut into the natural rocks, Goreme sits in the central part of the country, an area originally settled during Roman times.
On the 12th (Sun), see Off-Road Tours, explore the striking landscape at Love Valley, then admire the verdant scenery at Gulludere Vadisi, and finally Head underground at Uchisar Castle. On the next day, appreciate the extensive heritage of Güvercinlik Vadisi (Pigeon Valley), explore the striking landscape at Fairy Chimneys, then tour the pleasant surroundings at Goreme National Park, and finally head outdoors with Royal Balloon.

To find photos, where to stay, traveler tips, and more tourist information, use the Goreme online road trip planner.

You can take a bus from Manavgat to Goreme in 7 hours. Other options are to drive; or do a combination of bus and flight. Traveling from Manavgat in April, things will get slightly colder in Goreme: highs are around 66°F and lows about 40°F. Finish up your sightseeing early on the 13th (Mon) so you can travel to Istanbul.

Things to do in Goreme

Parks Nature Historic Sites

Side Trip

Uchisar Castle
Highlights from your plan
Uchisar Castle ©
Uchisar Castle
Goreme National Park ©
Goreme National Park
Güvercinlik Vadisi (Pigeon Valley) ©
Güvercinlik Vadisi (Pigeon Valley)

3
nights
Istanbul, Turkey

Istanbul ©
A physical and cultural bridge between Europe and Asia, the transcontinental city of Istanbul serves as a living reminder of the Roman, Byzantine, and Ottoman empires.
Deepen your sense of the past at sights like Hagia Sophia Museum / Church (Ayasofya) and Suleymaniye Cami . Satisfy your inner culture vulture at Sultan Ahmed Mosque and Basilica Cistern. Next up on the itinerary: explore the world behind art at Kariye Museum (The Chora Church), take an in-depth tour of Istanbul Arkeoloji Muzesi, enjoy breathtaking views from Galata Tower, and steep yourself in history at Historic Areas of Istanbul.

For ratings, reviews, photos, and more tourist information, go to the Istanbul itinerary site.

Traveling by combination of taxi and flight from Goreme to Istanbul takes 3 hours. Alternatively, you can do a combination of flight and shuttle; or drive. Traveling from Goreme in April, expect somewhat warmer with lows of 46°F in Istanbul. Finish your sightseeing early on the 16th (Thu) so you can travel back home.

Things to do in Istanbul

Museums Historic Sites
Highlights from your plan
Basilica Cistern ©
Basilica Cistern
Hagia Sophia Museum ©
Hagia Sophia Museum
Sultan Ahmed Mosque ©
Sultan Ahmed Mosque

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