The Hunt for a Ship
You would think that with all of the ferries going to and from islands all over the Aegean Sea that it would be easy to find a ship to transport a motorcycle from Greece to Turkey. You would be wrong. Even before we rode our first mile on this trip we had been hunting all over the internet in search of a confirmation that there are ferries that transport vehicles between Greece and Turkey. Although there were a few potential ships, we never could find definitive proof that such a ferry existed. There were a number of passenger only ships (though not as many as you might think) but none that took cars or motorbikes across the boarder.
As we were on our trip, we expected we would surely find an answer to our problem. On arrival in Ancona, Italy, at the ferry port, again we could find no one that could confirm a vehicle ferry from Greece to Turkey. On arriving in Patras in Greece, a huge ferry terminal, still no luck. We figured that was OK because on our island hopping to Santorini, Crete, and Rhodes, surely there would be a ferry office that could tell us. Nope. The best we could get was a maybe that there might be or once was a ferry that goes between Rhodes and Marmaris that might be able to fit something in the back. Wait, what?!? Maybe fit something in the back? This isn’t carry-on luggage after all. Alas, that was the best we could hope for. Unfortunately it only ran once a week.
On arriving in Rhodes at 5 am after an exceedingly delayed trip from Crete to Rhodes, we found out that, as close to a sure thing as we could get, there was a ferry that in fact could take a couple cars and a couple motorbikes at the back of a passenger ferry. It was leaving the next day and we had to reserve a spot or take our chance. Even on reserving our spot we were informed that it was no guarantee the bile would be able to be put on the ship, it depended on how much room they had when we arrived. And this was the ship that only goes once a week!
Well, much to our relief, when we arrived we found in fact the ship did have room for us after all, but there wasn’t much more room. Once the 2 cars were loaded, ours and another bike were able to barely fit on the ferry. Too this day, this is the only ferry that takes vehicles from Greece to Turkey! If you know of other ferries that do this, leave a comment below and we’ll update this article.
Greece vs. Turkey
I can only assume that the reason for so few vehicle ferries from Greece to Turkey is either (a) no one wants to take their car form Greece to Turkey on a ship, or (b) there are still hard feelings between Turkey and Greece for the thousands of years of discord and war that saw the Greek islands transferred to or won by Turkey, then back to Greece, then Turkey, then Greece…you get the idea. There is no love lost between the people of these countries for reasons that are impossible to understand (much like in the Balkans). My suspicion is that there are so few car ferries lies with reason b.
So if you want to take your bike from Greece to Turkey by sea, our recommendation is to get yourself to Rhodes and book the trip to Marmaris. The Dodekanisos Express has the ability to take 2 cars and a motorcycle or two from Rodos to Marmaris. Once on the ship it’s a pretty easy and enjoyable ride with wonderful scenery. A little less than an hour and your not only in a different country, but a different continent…welcome to Asia! On arriving to the port, I recall being amazed by the countryside. It was all green with big pine trees clinging to the shoreline. I felt like I was docking in Skagway Alaska, not Marmaris, Turkey. It was a beautiful beginning to our trip through magical Turkey.