Ferry to run from Izmir to Athens from this summer
From June 2 this summer, people will be able to use the new ferryboat scheduled to run from the district of Cesme in the western province of Turkey’s Izmir and the Greek town of Lavrion on the coast near Athens.
The aim for the new ferry service is to reduce the dense traffic that builds up along the border gates whilst also helping to develop the relations between the two countries, Turkey and Greece.
What is the purpose of the ferry service?
The Chairman of the ferry service located in Istanbul, Bulent Ipek, believes that the service has the potential to develop both social and commercial relationships between Greece and Turkey, as the ferries should provide transportation for people and also make it easier for vehicles carrying cargo – this ensure the costs are reduced for companies that need to transport their products. Ipek said: “The line will not only boost the region’s economy, but it will also provide significant convenience for expatriates as well as tourists.”
Why is there a need for a ferry here?
Initially, the Cesme-Lavrion route was chosen because it is the closest destinations between Greece and mainland Turkey, with the journey taking approximately seven hours. Ipek was quick to add that it was down to the determination and will of the Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan and the Greek Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras, who have both pushed along this much needed service.
Other ferry services between Turkey and Greece
Currently there are a number of regular hydrofoil and ferry services that run between Dodecanese in the Greek islands and Turkey’s North Aegean coast. The popular resort and expat favourite of Bodrum is a hotspot for destinations to many Greek islands including Leros, Rhodes, Kos, Kalymnos and Patmos.
There is already a daily ferry service that runs between Chios and Cesme known in Turkey as Sakiz Adashi, and daily services from Ayvalik situated in the western Bahkesir province through to Lesbos islands, which takes one and a half hours to complete. This service is referred to as Midilli in Turkish.
Extras offered by the new ferry route
There have been years of negotiations to create the new daily ferry route to connect Turkey and mainland Greece. There will also be a connecting bus service that will run in conjunction with the ferry and be offered to passengers free of charge. Currently, there are just a few ferries that have linked up with Turkey and the Greek islands, and thanks to this new link travel will be far easier with more options for those wishing to travel through southeast Europe.
Editor of the European Rail Timetable, Chris Woodcock said that this new service would be “a very welcome development” and that “It will be particularly useful for Interrail or Eurail ticket holders planning to include both Greece and Turkey in their itinerary.”