My husband and I are going to Turkey for a work-related meeting (Izmir) next May. We thought we'd make a 15th anniversary trip out of it by adding time on the sides for Istanbul, an as-yet-undetermined Greek island, and Athens (flying into Istanbul and out of Athens). We thought 3-4 days in Istanbul, followed by the meeting (5 days), which includes a day trip to Ephesus, and then a boat to a Greek island. What we want out of an island is a small cottage or villa with a pool, very private. We envision getting produce, bread, etc. to make simple meals at home to share every night al fresco, and generally 'vegging out' and living like the (maybe retired) locals!
So, after this, we have Athens. I am concerned that Athens is going to disrupt the chill vibe we hope to establish on the islands, but that may just be something we have to deal with. My major question (other than soliciting opinions on an island that will be sparsely populated and allow total seclusion in beauty--not a Mykonos, for example), is how much time should we set aside for Athens? Of course we want to see the Parthenon and the museum close by. But I don't want to get history-ed/museum-ed out, so to speak. We have a lot planned in Istanbul including the spice market, Haggia-Sophia, Blue Mosque, Sufi exhibition (is that what you call it?), etc. Somehow I'm having trouble getting excited about Athens, given that we'll get our history in Istanbul and Ephesus, our luxury/resort-type thing in Izmir, and our 'live like the locals' on the islands. Thanks for all opinions!