15 days in The Balkans Itinerary

15 days in The Balkans Itinerary

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Route & dates

15 days in The Balkans Itinerary

Start: San Diego, United States
Fly:  17 h 30 min
1
Istanbul, Turkey
— 3 nights
Fly:  3 h 45 min
2
Selcuk, Turkey
— 2 nights
Fly:  4 h 30 min
3
Athens, Greece
— 4 nights
Subway + Fly:  2 h 45 min
4
Heraklion, Greece
— 2 nights
Fly:  5 h
5
Corfu Town, Greece
— 2 nights
Fly:  16 h 30 min
End: San Diego, United States

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.
Get a sense of the local culture at Hagia Sophia Museum / Church (Ayasofya) and Topkapi Palace. Get some historical perspective at Sultan Ahmed Mosque and Sultanahmet District. The adventure continues: contemplate the long history of Basilica Cistern, take in the spiritual surroundings of Suleymaniye Cami , delve into the distant past at Valens Aqueduct, and admire the masterpieces at Kariye Museum (The Chora Church).

For photos, reviews, traveler tips, and tourist information, refer to the Istanbul trip planning tool .

San Diego, USA to Istanbul is an approximately 17.5-hour flight. Traveling from San Diego to Istanbul, you'll lose 11 hours due to the time zone difference. While traveling from San Diego, expect slightly colder days and about the same nights in Istanbul, ranging from highs of 72°F to lows of 72°F. Wrap up your sightseeing on the 5th (Sat) to allow time to travel to Selcuk.

Things to do in Istanbul

Historic Sites Museums Neighborhoods
Find places to stay Sep 2 — 5:
Highlights from your plan
Sultan Ahmed Mosque ©
Sultan Ahmed Mosque
Hagia Sophia Museum / Church (Ayasofya) ©
Basilica Cistern ©
Basilica Cistern

2
nights
Selcuk, Turkey

Selcuk ©
An ideal base camp for exploring the Aegean coastline, Selcuk draws big tourist crowds due to its proximity to the ancient city of Ephesus.
Start off your visit on the 6th (Sun): delve into the distant past at Ephesus Terrace Houses, then explore the ancient world of Ancient City of Ephesus, and then delve into the distant past at Efes Antik Kenti Tiyatrosu. On your second day here, explore the ancient world of Bibliotheque de Celsus, take in the architecture and atmosphere at Meryemana (The Virgin Mary's House), and then delve into the distant past at Curetes Street.

To see reviews, photos, maps, and other tourist information, you can read our Selcuk road trip planner.

You can fly from Istanbul to Selcuk in 4 hours. Alternatively, you can do a combination of shuttle and flight; or drive. Expect a bit warmer weather when traveling from Istanbul in September: highs in Selcuk hover around 87°F, while lows dip to 62°F. Wrap up your sightseeing on the 7th (Mon) early enough to travel to Athens.

Things to do in Selcuk

Historic Sites
Find places to stay Sep 5 — 7:
Highlights from your plan
Ancient City of Ephesus ©
Ancient City of Ephesus
Bibliotheque de Celsus ©
Bibliotheque de Celsus
Efes Antik Kenti Tiyatrosu ©
Efes Antik Kenti Tiyatrosu

4
nights
Athens, Greece

Athens ©
One of the world's most ancient cities, Athens remains Europe's undisputed historical and cultural capital.
Get a sense of the local culture at Acropolis of Athens and Plaka. Get some historical perspective at Archaeological Site Mycenae and Erechtheion. Take a break from Athens with a short trip to Moni Osiou Patapiou in Loutraki, about 1h 25 min away. There's lots more to do: take an in-depth tour of Acropolis Museum, explore the world behind art at Benaki Museum, pause for some serene contemplation at Church of Kapnikarea, and appreciate the history behind Temple of Olympian Zeus.

For reviews and tourist information, you can read our Athens trip planner .

You can fly from Selcuk to Athens in 4.5 hours. Alternatively, you can ride a ferry; or drive. You'll gain 1 hour traveling from Selcuk to Athens due to the time zone difference. Traveling from Selcuk in September, you can expect nighttime temperatures to be a bit warmer in Athens, with lows of 69°F. Cap off your sightseeing on the 11th (Fri) early enough to travel to Heraklion.

Things to do in Athens

Historic Sites Museums Neighborhoods

Side Trips

Archaeological Site Mycenae, Moni Osiou Patapiou
Find places to stay Sep 7 — 11:
Highlights from your plan
Acropolis of Athens ©
Acropolis of Athens
Archaeological Site Mycenae ©
Archaeological Site Mycenae
Acropolis Museum ©
Acropolis Museum

2
nights
Heraklion, Greece

Heraklion ©
Crete's largest city, Heraklion remains best known for its proximity to a sprawling Bronze Age archaeological site, once the center of a vanished Minoan civilization.
Kick off your visit on the 12th (Sat): pause for some serene contemplation at Church of Saint Titus, then contemplate the long history of The Palace of Knossos, and then learn about winemaking at Winery Stilianou. On the next day, take an in-depth tour of Ιστορικό Μουσείο Κρήτης - Historical Museum of Crete, then get a new perspective on nature at The Natural History Museum of Crete, and then take an in-depth tour of Heraklion Archaeological Museum.

Inspirock's itinerary builder makes planning a Heraklion trip simple and quick.

Traveling by combination of subway and flight from Athens to Heraklion takes 3 hours. Alternatively, you can ride a ferry; or take a bus. In September in Heraklion, expect temperatures between 82°F during the day and 69°F at night. Finish your sightseeing early on the 13th (Sun) so you can travel to Corfu Town.

Things to do in Heraklion

Museums Historic Sites Wineries

Side Trips

Winery Stilianou, The Palace of Knossos
Find places to stay Sep 11 — 13:
Highlights from your plan
Winery Stilianou ©
Winery Stilianou
The Palace of Knossos ©
The Palace of Knossos
Heraklion Archaeological Museum ©
Heraklion Archaeological Museum

2
nights
Corfu Town, Greece

Corfu Town ©
Often called "Kastropolis" because of its majestic Venetian castle, Corfu Town once featured such extensive fortifications that a force of over 20,000 soldiers defended them.
Kick off your visit on the 14th (Mon): delve into the distant past at Old Fortress Corfu, explore the historical opulence of New Fortress, and then admire the striking features of Corfu Museum of Asian Art. Here are some ideas for day two: see the interesting displays at Casa Parlante, then pause for some serene contemplation at Church of Saint Ioannis the Precursor, then contemplate in the serene atmosphere at Church of Saint Spiridon, and finally explore the historical opulence of Mon Repos Palace.

To see more things to do, photos, reviews, and tourist information, you can read our Corfu Town tour itinerary maker website .

Traveling by combination of bus and flight from Heraklion to Corfu Town takes 5 hours. Alternatively, you can do a combination of shuttle and flight; or do a combination of ferry and car. In September, daytime highs in Corfu Town are 82°F, while nighttime lows are 65°F. Finish your sightseeing early on the 15th (Tue) so you can travel back home.

Things to do in Corfu Town

Historic Sites Museums
Find places to stay Sep 13 — 15:
Highlights from your plan
Old Fortress Corfu ©
Old Fortress Corfu
Corfu Museum of Asian Art ©
Corfu Museum of Asian Art
Mon Repos Palace ©
Mon Repos Palace

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