My boyfriend and I are planning a trip to Istanbul and Greece in September (mid-late September). We'd like a mix of urban/cultural and beach/relaxing, which is why I thought Istanbul and one of the Greek Islands would be ideal. But there is SO much information out there about Greek Islands, I'm getting really overwhelmed and haven't made any progress.
We're planning to do 3-4 nights in Istanbul and 3-4 nights in Greece.
First of all, I want somewhere that will be fairly convenient and not outrageously expensive to get to from Istanbul. Second, somewhere that will be easy to get back to a major city so we can fly back to the States (I would rather not fly back to Istanbul just to return to the US, but I guess it might be necessary).
Third, we want really gorgeous beaches, prefer smooth (not pebbly/rocky) sand, would love access to some coves/private beach type places where you can pay a boat to take you there for an afternoon.
I love the look of Santorini (the cliffs with white houses) but I'm not sure if it also has good beaches? Would like some guidance on this issue. What about spending 2 nights on Santorini and 2 nights on a different island with better beaches? How easy/expensive is it to "island-hop"?
Our hotel budget is about $150/night- will we be able to get a decent place with breakfast for that amount?
Nightlife would also be a plus.