Head 2 Head: Greek Islands vs. Turkey

Co-operative Travel Head 2 Head helps you solve the burning travel questions that holidaymakers want answered. We give you information on where to visit, what to see, and what to do for your holiday, offering insights that only decades spent seeing the world can bring.

This time we’ll be comparing visiting Turkey with a holiday to the Greek Islands, putting them head-to-head and crowing an overall winner.

Let’s dive in!

Where are they?

A holiday in Turkey will take a 4-hour flight from London. It is located in both Europe and Asia, bordered by 8 wildly different countries. These influences give Turkey a varied, multicultural, and thoroughly exotic feel.

Visiting the Greek Islands will take between 3-4 hours direct, depending on which you choose. An island like Corfu is closer to western Greece and therefore closer to the UK than one of the more southern islands like Santorini or Rhodes.

In summary: The Greek Islands tip the scales in this round if you are looking for a shorter flight, but Turkey’s location is unique and very tempting.



The Greek Islands holiday season lasts from May to October, and the weather between these months is generally warm and pleasant.

Turkey’s season lasts a little longer, from April to November, but Co-operative Travel actually offer holidays all year round.

In summary: Summer holidays in Turkey are generally hotter than the Greek Islands but are still blissfully pleasant, so we’re giving this round to Turkey.



While Turkey might not be the first destination to come to mind when you think of nightlife, it’s actually a great place for a cheap holiday with a world-renowned nightlife. Marmaris Bar Street in Marmaris and Taksim Square in Istanbul are two spots with a lively nightlife, and it has been joked that in Bodrum there are more discos than beds!

The Greek Islands are famed for their nightlife for a good reason: the partying never ends! Mykonos Town in Mykonos, Fira in Santorini, Rhodes Old Town in Rhodes, and Kavos in Corfu are all known for their unbeatable nightlife.

In summary: We have to give this one to the Greek Islands, because the nightlife really is as good as its reputation.


City/short breaks

The Greek Islands are a few hours’ flight away, but a short break of 3 or 4 nights can still offer a fantastic and relaxing time away.

The most common city break in Turkey is to the astonishing city of Istanbul, which is perfect for history lovers and a trendy night out.

In summary: It’s a close one, because ideally you would want to stay for longer in both countries. However, Turkey is our winner here, because of how tantalising a short stay in Istanbul can be!



Antalya, Bodrum, and Dalaman in Turkey all offer glorious Blue Flag beaches, but it really has to be Blue Lagoon in Oludeniz that takes the beach crown here. You’ll find it on the edge of a beautiful protected national park, and it is arguably one of the most gorgeous strips of sand in the world.

The Greek Islands are tough competitors in this category, with Crete, Mykonos, Naxos, Rhodes, Ios, Milos, and Paros all having amazing beaches straight off of a perfect postcard.

In summary: We found this SO DIFFICULT to choose, but we’re going to have to choose Turkey, just for Blue Lagoon.


For couples

The Greek Islands feel almost purpose-built for romance. Santorini is a breath-taking volcanic island filled with perfect views. Rhodes has a sensational coastline stretching for over 100 miles as well as an incredible sense of history. Crete is wonderful for a couples holiday spent lazing on the beach.

Turkey has plenty of options for adults-only All Inclusive holidays, where you can enjoy nature walks, majestic waterfalls, stunning beaches, and shopping at the bazaars.

In summary: We would struggle to think of a more beautiful summer holiday destination for a couple than the Greek Islands, so they win this round.



During an island-hopping holiday, the Greek Islands are like attractions themselves! You can spend one day enjoying the beach and a romantic day in Rhodes, and then after flying out the next day you can watch the world’s most gorgeous sunset in Santorini.

Many of Turkey’s best-loved attractions are historic monuments and ancient ruins, such as the Roman Theatre of Aspendos, the craggy valleys of Cappadocia, and the Byzantine Aya Sofya Museum.

In summary: This is another close one! We’re giving this round to the Greek Islands, because of their sheer variety and the natural beauty of each destination.



There are great cheap holidays to be found in both Turkey and the Greek Islands, and most reasonable holiday budgets should cover a visit to either destination. The difference lies in the value and the exchange rate.

In summary: Turkey wins here. If you pay the same price for an All Inclusive holiday to Turkey as you would for a holiday to one or more of the Greek Islands, you’re likely to afford a better hotel with a higher star rating and more facilities in Turkey.

How they stack up:


Our users said: In a Facebook poll, 83% of our followers said that they would rather visit the Greek Islands, while 17% preferred Turkey.

Our Winner:

While these are two well-matched destinations, we’re awarding this Head 2 Head to … the Greek Islands. With their outstanding beaches, delicious cuisine, spectacular nightlife, and beautiful weather, we’re in love with Skiathos, Corfu, Santorini, and the others! And they’re perfect for any visitor, whether you’re with a partner, friends, or family.

Turkey is better for those on a budget, and anyone excited by a more exotic holiday location, with its spellbinding bazaars, beautiful mosques, and fragrant foods, should consider Turkey for their next trip away.

Do you agree?

What do you think?

Let us know in the comments!


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