Turkey and Greece are both Mediterranean countries with amazing weather, beautiful beaches, and mouthwatering cuisine. At first glance, these two countries look very similar, but when you look at them a little deeper, you notice how different they are at the same time! Each one of them got a unique culture, food, and history. Do you want to travel to either Turkey or Greece but can’t choose which one is the right choice for you? Keep reading then, as, in this post, we’ll discuss Turkey vs. Greece: Which one is a better destination?
Greece: Greece’s national language is Greek which has a unique writing font and the words won’t sound that familiar, no matter which other European languages you speak. All Greek students learn English after grade 3rd which means if you find anyone younger than 40 years old, they would speak at least basic English. If you’re in the tourism industry tho, don’t worry as everyone in this industry speaks enough English to suffice your needs.
Turkey: Turkey’s official language is Turkish, and its font is similar to English. English is mostly spoken in Touristic places like some parts of Istanbul, Antalya, and Bodrum. But other than those parts, most people don’t speak English at all, but they try their best to communicate with you which makes it interesting sometimes.
Winner: Greece ranks 22nd on “English Proficiency Index” while Turkey is ranked 79th, so the official winner in the language is Greece, but the good thing about Turkey is their writing font which is like English, so, once you learn a few Turkish words, it’s not that hard!
Greece: Greek cuisine is completely Mediterranean with olive oil, f wheat, and wine being the non-separable triad of it. A lot of meat gets used too. If you’ve been to a Greek Taverna before and loved it, just wait until you visit a real Greek Taverna in Greece! The tastes are mind-blowing! Imagine eating the original Greek Salad, Roast Lamb, and Gyros at a local Greek restaurant! Heavenly, right?
Turkey: Thanks to its’ Social media famous chefs like “Salt Bae” and “CZN Burak”, Turkish cuisine has just started becoming more popular around the world. But the main dish every Turk is proud of would be Turkish Donair. Almost all dishes in Turkey have something to do with meat which is why Turkey is one of the best destinations in the world for meat-lovers.
Winner: Both countries have Mediterranean-style cuisine, full of olive oil, bread, cheese, and meat. If you’re a meat-lover, Turkey is the winner, but if you are more of a vegetarian or vegan, Greek cuisine is the way to go!
Greece: Greece takes credit for Frappe (a combination of coffee, milk, ice, and sugar). Greek people are also wine drinkers with high tolerance. With a great alcoholic drink like Ouzo, Metaxa, and tsipouro, alcoholic beverages can’t go wrong in Greece.
Turkey: The uniquely strong and rich Turkish coffee is one of the most popular coffee brewing methods in the world. But Turkish Ottoman-style Sherbets are everyone’s darlings as well! Turkish sherbets have a lot of varieties, with the most favorite one being Lohusa şerbeti. On the other hand, Turkey has no shortage of Alcoholic beverages. You probably had a shot of rakı before, haven’t you?
Winner: If you are more of an alcoholic drinks fan, Greece has more options while Turkey is great if you are a coffee drinker or simply like to try delicious, yet unknown drinks like salep.
Greece: Tourists in Greece usually like to visit Athens if they’re interested in the old and new side of Greece. A lot of people are obsessed with Santorini Island (You’ve definitely seen it on Instagram) and Mykonos island for their stunning Mediterranean beaches.
Turkey: Turkey’s most visited city is Istanbul, which happens to be Turkey’s largest city, and one of the world’s most populated cities. But there are tons of other popular cities such as Antalya and Bodrum for their breathtaking world-class beaches, Cappadocia for its views and hot-air balloons, and Gaziantep for food-lovers.
Winner: Both Greece and Turkey would satisfy your destination needs. Turkey receives more visitors than Greece in general, if you’re interested in more of a Western-style destination, Greece is the winner while Turkey is a magical country for those who like to see what happens when West and East meet!
Cost of Travel
Greece: Greece is a part of the EU zone and uses Euro € as its currency which is not that affordable. Depending on where you go, Greece can be one of the cheapest countries to travel to in Europe. Although it’s possible to splurge on high-end hotels and fancy dinners, you can still travel through Greece on a budget.
$44 for accommodation and $13 for meals is what a budget trip in Greece would cost.
Turkey: Turkey’s currency, Lira ₺ makes Turkey one of the most affordable countries in the world for travelers.
On a small budget trip, travelers can expect to pay an average of $10 per day for usual activities and an estimated $15 for hotels in Turkey.
Winner: Turkey is the absolute winner in this section as Greece can’t even get close to Turkey’s affordability.
History and Culture
Greece: Greece is known as the base of today’s Western civilization. With countless historical places like Acropolis, philosophers like Plato and Aristotle, and Greek mythology places like Mount Olympus. The history of Greece goes back to the 11th century BC.
Greek people are very proud of who they are and speak of their heritage with great passion. They are united by their traditions, religion, language, music, food, and wine. All of these form the backdrop of Modern Greek culture and Greece’s cultural identity.
Turkey: Turkey is proud of its 4,000 years of history. But the Turkish history is mostly Eastern up to a point and then it becomes a mixture of the West and the East. Even though this country has a unique, interesting history, not a lot of people travel to Turkey for its history.
Turkey may be the only country that contains every extreme of Eastern and Western culture. A series of radical reforms changed Turkey deeply enough to make it one of the most Westernized majority-Muslim nations.
Winner: If you like to see how the Western civilization came to life, Greece is the country to visit, whereas if you like visiting an amazing mixture of the West and the East, Turkey would be the winner.
Greece: Greece has a modern infrastructure complete with airports, railways, and paved roads and highways.
Driving in Athens can be challenging at first but once you get out of the city you should be fine as long as you pay attention to your surrounding. The roads are pretty good and there is very little of the US Interstate-Autobahn kind of highway driving that makes driving boring.
Regarding public transport, the Greek bus system can reach even the smallest of villages in the country, as well as inner-city transport.
Turkey: As an emerging market, Turkey has a competitive commercial infrastructure.
Driving in Turkey is not easy thou, not because of the road conditions, but because of the drivers. Most tourists would agree that you shouldn’t drive in Turkey unless you have to.
On the other hand, Turkey offers excellent public transport in major cities, including buses, trams, minibusses, and taxis. All Turkish cities offer local buses which are super cheap and reliable too.
Winner: If you’re traveling by air, Turkey, if traveling by car, Greece, and if relying on public transport, both are great.
Greece: According to Numbeo, the Safety of walking alone during daylight in Greece is 77.56 (Very safe) and the Safety of walking alone during the night is 53.24 (moderate).
Turkey: According to Numbeo, the Safety of walking alone during daylight in Turkey is 76.08 (Very safe) and the Safety of walking alone during the night is 51.40 (moderate).