I’ve stayed extensively in both countries: Greece for 2 months and Turkey for 8, so I know a fair bit about what a stay in either Turkey or Greece entails.

On the surface, I think people would say these countries are very different. People will point to religious differences and past historical rivalries. That said, Turkey isn’t as Islamic as some people make it seem, and the historical disputes don’t seem to be as important to people in either country as you might expect. Most Turks and Greeks that I’ve met seem to have a favourable opinion of one another. 

However, if you’re trying to pick between the two places, there still are some important cultural, geographic, and cost of living differences. Keep reading to learn about each one.

Greece or Turkey
Greece or Turkey

What Is The Difference Between Greece and Turkey?

Let’s start with the things that make these countries different. In general, I would say that the main differences come from things like lifestyle and cost of living.

Cost of Living

Most people would automatically answer that Turkey has a much cheaper cost of living. In Istanbul and some of the prized coastal areas, I don’t believe this is true any longer.

The main differences lie in where you choose to divide your money, and what kind of value you get.

Housing Costs

In the past, Turkey generally offered a more affordable range of options compared to Greece, making it an attractive destination for digital nomads on a budget. Cities like Istanbul and Antalya have seen housing prices skyrocket in recent years, including apartments and shared living spaces. While the prices can vary depending on the location and size of the property, it is still possible to find something that fits your budget if you’re willing to compromise on quality.

Greece, on the other hand, tends to have higher housing costs across the board, especially in popular tourist destinations such as Santorini or Mykonos. The demand for accommodation in these areas drives up prices, which may pose a challenge for digital nomads seeking affordable long-term stays. However, in other parts of Greece, particularly in smaller towns or off-the-beaten-path locations, there are opportunities to find more reasonably priced accommodations. 

At this moment in time, I think Istanbul and Athens are almost equal in terms of rental prices, which is shocking considering how much the Turkish economy has deteriorated. Not to mention, I find apartments in Istanbul are quite a bit smaller than in Greece. I think you generally get better value for your money on housing in Greece.

Food Costs

When it comes to food costs, both Turkey and Greece offer a range of options to suit various budgets. Turkish cuisine provides an array of affordable and delicious street food, local eateries, and markets where digital nomads can find budget-friendly meals. Dining out in Turkey can be quite affordable, especially if you opt for local Lokantas, which offer home-cooked meals at reasonable prices. 

Similarly, Greece offers a diverse culinary scene with a mix of budget-friendly and upscale options. While dining in popular tourist areas can be more expensive, venturing into local family-owned restaurants can provide more affordable and authentic dining experiences. Plus, street food like Gyros and Falafel wraps are pretty cheap too. And if you cook for yourself, which is more possible in Greece than in Turkey due to the higher kitchen quality in these places, then you’ll save money too.

Cultural Background

Greece is often known as the birthplace of Western civilization, It boasts a remarkable ancient heritage that dates back thousands of years. From the mythical stories of Greek gods and goddesses to the iconic temples and archaeological sites, Greece is a treasure trove for history enthusiasts. That said, those ancient Greek ruins exist in Turkey too, particularly in Western Anatolia. And many find that the culture is similar in these two places.

My personal alternative historical opinion is that if Turks and Islam never came to the region, Turkey and Greece would be very similar if not the same country today.

That’s not how things are in reality though, and currently, Turkey has a diverse cultural heritage shaped by its strategic location between Europe and Asia. With influences from the Byzantine, Roman, and Ottoman Empires, Turkey’s cultural identity is often said to reflect a blend of Eastern and Western elements. I actually wouldn’t describe it as a marriage of East and West, but rather its own unique thing.

Language and Communication

Greek is the official language in Greece, and while English is widely spoken in tourist areas and major cities, it may be less prevalent in more rural regions. Learning a few basic Greek phrases can enhance your experience and help you connect with the locals in those areas. However, this is mostly not necessary. 

Turkish is the official language in Turkey, and while rudimentary English is generally spoken right next to tourist sights, communication may be impossible in remote or less-touristy regions. A basic understanding of Turkish phrases can go a long way in navigating daily interactions.

Geography and Landscapes

With iconic Greek islands, pristine beaches, and crystal-clear waters, Greece is renowned for its breathtaking coastline and picturesque landscapes. From the white-washed houses of Santorini to the stunning beaches of Mykonos, the Greek islands offer a paradise for beach lovers and sun seekers.

Turkey might not offer the same number of islands, but with its vast and diverse geography, you have the chance to see scenery that you wouldn’t in Greece. From the otherworldly landscapes of Cappadocia and Pamukkale to the idyllic beaches along the Aegean and Mediterranean Seas, Turkey presents a captivating mix of mountains, coastlines, and unique geological formations.

What do Turkey And Greece Have In Common?

While Greece and Turkey possess distinct characteristics that make each country unique, I’ve already mentioned that they have more in common than not.

Mediterranean Climate

Both Turkey’s and Greece’s summers are characterized by long, warm summers and mild winters, creating an inviting atmosphere for outdoor activities, beach exploration, and cultural excursions. This climate lends itself to a vibrant outdoor lifestyle and the chance to bask in the warmth of the sun year-round.

Warm Hospitality

Greeks are renowned for their warm hospitality, genuine friendliness, and culture that values close-knit communities and social connections. Visitors to Greece can expect to be welcomed with open arms and experience the warmth of Greek hospitality.

Similarly, Turkish people are famous for their generous hospitality and welcoming nature. Whether you’re staying in a traditional guesthouse, exploring local markets, or enjoying a meal at a local eatery, the Turkish culture of hospitality will make you feel at home. If you try to pay for something, like a meal, they will try to give themselves a chance to spend money on you, for instance, by insisting on buying drinks after the meal.

Rich Culinary Traditions

Greek cuisine is celebrated for its fresh ingredients, flavorful herbs, and distinct Mediterranean flavours. From the classic Greek salad and moussaka to the mouthwatering souvlaki and baklava, food enthusiasts will delight in the vibrant and wholesome Greek culinary offerings. Not to mention, the food here is usually of excellent quality, so everything tastes that much fresher.

Turkish cuisine is equally renowned, showcasing a rich tapestry of flavours influenced by various regions and historical influences. I think that Turkish cuisine is generally more diverse/ From savoury kebabs and mezes to the ridiculously sweet Turkish delight, the diverse and delicious food scene in Turkey is a true delight for the taste buds.

Historical Significance

Both Greece and Turkey have played significant roles in shaping the history of the Mediterranean region. Greece’s ancient civilizations and their contributions to philosophy, arts, and democracy have had a profound impact on Western civilization.

Meanwhile, Turkey’s historical significance is deeply intertwined with the rise and fall of various empires, such as the Byzantine, Roman, and Ottoman Empires. The cultural heritage of Turkey is a testament to its pivotal role in history, with architectural marvels and ancient ruins dotting its landscape.

Historical and Cultural Sites

As the birthplace of democracy, and perhaps, Western civilization, Greece is adorned with UNESCO World Heritage Sites and archaeological wonders. From the Acropolis in Athens to the ancient ruins of Olympia and Delphi, history buffs will be enthralled by the well-preserved remnants of Greece’s glorious past.

Turkey’s historical sites offer a fascinating glimpse into its rich and diverse history, including some of the same history that marks Greece. From the grandeur of Istanbul’s Hagia Sophia and Topkapi Palace to the ancient city of Ephesus and the fairy-tale chimneys of Cappadocia, Turkey showcases a mosaic of architectural marvels and cultural landmarks.

Pros and Cons of Staying in Turkey

4 Pros of Staying in Turkey:

  1. Rich Cultural and Historical Heritage: Turkey is a country with a rich cultural and historical tapestry. From Istanbul’s architectural marvels to the natural wonders of Cappadocia and the ancient ruins in Ephesus, Turkey offers abundant opportunities for exploration and immersion in history and culture.
  2. Diverse Cuisine: Turkish cuisine is celebrated for its variety and flavour profiles. From street food to traditional dishes, Turkish food caters to every palate. With influences from Ottoman, Mediterranean, and Middle Eastern cuisines, digital nomads can indulge in a diverse range of delicious and affordable dining options.
  3. Warm Hospitality: Turkish locals are known for their warm hospitality and welcoming nature. Once you establish connections, locals often go out of their way to make you feel included and offer assistance, making it easier to adapt to a new environment and feel at home.
  4. Unique Cultural Experience: Turkey’s blend of Eastern and Western cultures creates a unique cultural experience for digital nomads. From its architectural wonders and music to its arts, crafts, and cultural traditions, Turkey offers a fascinating and enriching experience for those seeking a deeper understanding of different cultures.

5 Cons of Staying in Turkey:

  1. Language Barrier: English proficiency in Turkey is relatively low compared to some other countries, making daily tasks and social interactions more challenging for digital nomads. Learning basic Turkish phrases can help, but it may require more effort to achieve deeper communication.
  2. Internet Connectivity: While Turkey is working on improving its digital infrastructure, reliable and fast internet access can sometimes be a challenge, especially in more remote areas. Digital nomads relying on consistent internet connectivity for work may need to ensure their accommodation has reliable access or consider alternative arrangements like co-working spaces.
  3. Limited Modern Amenities: While Turkey has a rich cultural heritage, it may not offer the same variety of modern amenities that some digital nomads are accustomed to. The availability of co-working spaces, for example, may be limited in certain cities or areas, requiring careful planning and research.
  4. Potential Scams and Inflated Prices: Like many tourist destinations, certain areas in Turkey may have scammers targeting unsuspecting tourists. It’s important to be vigilant and cautious. Additionally, foreigners may sometimes face inflated prices or be charged more than locals for certain goods or services, requiring negotiation skills and awareness of local pricing.
  5. Lack of Digital Nomad Visa: Currently, Turkey does not offer a specialized visa for digital nomads. Acquiring a long-term residence in Turkey involves navigating legal procedures that can be complex and may require professional assistance. Planning for a long-term stay in Turkey may require additional considerations and preparations.

Pros and Cons of Staying in Greece

5 Pros of staying in Greece as a digital nomad:

  1. Rich cultural heritage: Greece offers a wealth of cultural and historical sites to explore, providing a unique and immersive experience.
  2. Beautiful natural scenery: From stunning beaches to picturesque islands and breathtaking landscapes, Greece’s natural beauty is a constant source of inspiration and relaxation.
  3. Lower cost of living: Compared to many Western countries, Greece offers a more affordable cost of living, allowing digital nomads to enjoy a comfortable lifestyle on a moderate budget.
  4. Delicious cuisine: Greek cuisine is renowned worldwide for its flavorful dishes, offering a diverse range of culinary delights to indulge in.
  5. Warm climate: Greece enjoys a pleasant Mediterranean climate, with long, sunny summers and mild winters, creating an ideal environment for outdoor activities and relaxation.

5 Cons of staying in Greece as a digital nomad:

  1. Language barrier: While English is widely spoken in tourist areas, there may still be some language barriers, particularly in more rural or remote areas.
  2. Internet reliability: While Greece has been working on improving its digital infrastructure, some remote areas may still have less reliable or slower internet connections.
  3. Seasonal crowds: During the peak tourist season, popular destinations in Greece can become crowded, leading to longer wait times, higher prices, and a more bustling environment.
  4. Limited coworking spaces: While Greece does have coworking spaces, the availability and variety may be more limited compared to other popular digital nomad destinations.
  5. Economic challenges: Greece has faced economic challenges in recent years, which can impact various aspects of daily life and may require some adaptability in terms of financial management and planning.

3 Reasons Why Turkey is Better Than Greece

When it comes to choosing between Turkey and Greece as a digital nomad destination, Turkey offers several advantages that make it a compelling choice. From its vibrant cities to its diverse landscapes and affordable cost of living, Turkey has much to offer digital nomads seeking a unique and enriching experience. Here are some reasons why Turkey may be a better fit for digital nomads:

  1. Affordable food: Turkey is known for its affordability, making it an attractive option for digital nomads on a budget. The cost of living is generally lower compared to many European countries. And you can find world-class food at a fraction of the price you might pay in Greece or elsewhere. This allows you to stretch your budget further and enjoy a comfortable lifestyle without breaking the bank.
  2. Well-developed Infrastructure: Turkey boasts a well-developed infrastructure, particularly in major cities like Istanbul, Izmir, and Ankara. Commuting within and between cities is a breeze with highly-developed public transit and intercity bus networks. The presence of coworking spaces, cafes with reliable Wi-Fi, and other digital nomad-friendly amenities in large cities further enhance the productivity and convenience of working remotely in Turkey.
  3. Diverse Cultural Experiences: Turkey’s unique position as a bridge between Europe and Asia offers digital nomads the opportunity to immerse themselves in a vibrant blend of cultures. From the historical sites of Istanbul to the natural wonders of Cappadocia and the pristine beaches of the Mediterranean and Aegean coasts, Turkey offers a wealth of experiences that cater to various interests and preferences.

4 Reasons Why Greece is Better Than Turkey

While Turkey has its merits as a digital nomad destination, Greece also offers its own distinct advantages that make it an appealing choice. From its idyllic islands to its rich history and warm hospitality, Greece provides a captivating setting for digital nomads seeking inspiration and a relaxed lifestyle. Here are some reasons why Greece may be a better fit for digital nomads:

  1. Island Paradise: Greece is famous for its stunning islands, each with its own unique charm and beauty. From the iconic Santorini with its picturesque cliffside villages to the party atmosphere of Mykonos and the tranquillity of Crete, Greek islands offer a serene and breathtaking backdrop for digital nomads to live and work.
  2. Relaxed Lifestyle: Greece is renowned for its laid-back and relaxed lifestyle, which can be highly appealing to digital nomads seeking a slower pace of life. The emphasis on enjoying leisurely meals, savouring moments of relaxation, and embracing the “work-to-live” mentality creates an atmosphere conducive to creativity and well-being.
  3. Rich History and Culture: Greece is steeped in history and culture, making it an ideal destination for digital nomads with a passion for heritage and exploration. From the iconic ancient ruins of Athens, such as the Acropolis and the Parthenon, to the archaeological sites of Delphi and Olympia, Greece offers a wealth of historical landmarks and cultural treasures waiting to be discovered.
  4. Warm Hospitality: Greek hospitality is legendary, with locals known for their warmth, friendliness, and genuine care for visitors. Digital nomads in Greece can expect to be welcomed with open arms, creating a sense of belonging and fostering connections with the local community. Furthermore, I saw a lot fewer scams here than I did in Turkey.

Ultimately, the choice between Turkey and Greece as a digital nomad destination depends on individual preferences, lifestyle priorities, and the type of experience one seeks. Both countries offer unique opportunities for remote work, exploration, and personal growth, ensuring that digital nomads can find their ideal setting in either Turkey or Greece.

Final Verdict: Should I Visit Turkey or Greece?

Having delved into the diverse offerings of Turkey and Greece, I must say that both countries hold immense appeal for digital nomads. Turkey entices with its affordability, well-developed infrastructure, and vibrant digital nomad community. The captivating blend of cultures, historical wonders, and diverse landscapes creates an enriching experience that is hard to resist.

Why not visit both? They’re right next to each other. There is even a ferry between them.

On the other hand, Greece casts a spell with its idyllic islands, relaxed lifestyle, rich history, and warm hospitality. The serene island paradises and the opportunity to immerse oneself in ancient ruins and Greek traditions create a unique and inspiring environment for digital nomads.

While both Turkey and Greece have their distinct advantages, my final verdict leans towards Greece. The allure of the Greek islands, the relaxed pace of life, and the rich cultural heritage make it a captivating choice for digital nomads seeking inspiration, tranquillity, and a deep connection with history.

That being said, the decision ultimately rests on your personal preferences and priorities. I spent much more time in Turkey than I have in Greece because I find that Turkey has a specific appeal to me. However, I think that Greece has a more general appeal, and the intensity of cities like Istanbul might be too much for some. Most people would be able to tolerate a short stay in Turkey and a long stay in Greece, but I did the opposite.

If you want more information about being a digital nomad in Greece or a digital nomad in Turkey, I cover everything you need to know in the linked articles.

Frequently Asked Questions

Which is Hotter? Greece or Turkey?

Both Greece and Turkey experience hot summers due to their Mediterranean climates. However, it’s difficult to determine which country is consistently hotter as it can vary depending on the specific region. Coastal areas in both countries tend to have similar temperatures, while inland regions may have slightly higher temperatures in Turkey. At the end of the day, both Greece and Turkey offer warm and sunny climates during the summer months.

Is Greece cheaper than Turkey?

The cost of living can vary depending on the specific location within each country. Generally, Greece offers a lower cost of living compared to many Western countries, making it a relatively affordable destination. Similarly, Turkey also provides a lower cost of living, particularly outside major cities like Istanbul. Both countries offer opportunities to enjoy a high quality of life on a moderate budget, but it’s important to consider factors such as accommodation, transportation, and dining options when comparing costs. The cost of living in Athens is generally more expensive than the cost of living in Istanbul for instance.

Which Part of Turkey is Like Greece?

The Aegean region of Turkey, particularly the western coast, shares many similarities with Greece in terms of its stunning coastal landscapes, ancient ruins, and cultural influences. Cities such as Izmir, Bodrum, and Antalya offer a coastal lifestyle reminiscent of Greece, with beautiful beaches, vibrant seaside towns, and a relaxed atmosphere. These regions in Turkey provide an experience that blends elements of Greek and Turkish cultures, making them popular destinations for travellers seeking a Greek-like experience.

Is Greek and Turkish Food the Same?

Greek and Turkish cuisines share certain similarities due to their historical and cultural connections. Both cuisines feature fresh ingredients, grilled meats, flavorful herbs, and a variety of regional specialties. However, they also have distinct dishes and flavours that reflect their unique culinary traditions. Greek cuisine often highlights ingredients like feta cheese, olives, and olive oil, while Turkish cuisine is known for its kebabs, baklava, and Turkish tea. While there may be some overlap, each cuisine offers its own delicious and distinct culinary experience.

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