First choice for the travel was a Europe trip to Paris, Swiss, Italy. However, I had roughly 10 days for the travel and the Europe trip didn't look a good fit for that duration. Next options for this 10 day trip were Russia and Greece. Russia was interesting at this time particularly for White Nights of Saint Petersburg. However, it could not beat the lure of Santorini and we decided to finalize on Greece-Turkey trip.
At high level, the itinerary was like this. The site Inspirock.com has been tremendous help in planning the itinerary. If you are planning a multi-city trip (or even a small trip I guess), this site can be really handy. [I don't get any commission from inspirock if you click on the link - I am just a happy customer :)]
Following are the hotels I used at each location and some quick tips based on my travel experience -
AthensHotel: Athens Cypria Hotel - My review - Decent hotel, excellent location
I personally prefer hotels at central locations in the city. You may end up paying a little extra but overall you can stroll around the main attraction any time of the day and save precious time by reducing your commute across the city. Athens Cypria was at perfect location in Athens with quite a few attractions nearby. Hop-On-Hop-Off is a good way to view the city.
SantoriniBlue Waves Hotel - My Review - Decent hotel, location not bad
Santorini was the highlight of Greece trip. It has superb locations. Fira is the central point in Santorini. You can go to different places of Santorini from here using public transport (local buses). Another way is to hire an ATV or a scooter. While it can be fun to ride scooter/ATV, it can get really hot in the afternoon so we hired it only for one day. Rest of the the days, buses were good enough.
Athens - Night stopover
From Mykonos, we took a flight to Athens, spent a night at hotel Mare Nostrum and took a flight to Istanbul next day morning. This hotel in Athens was probably the lowest point of the trip. The hotel is advertised as a hotel just 5 km away from airport, it turned out to be more than 20 km away, in a secluded area. Due to its location, not many cab drivers will agree to go to this hotel. I normally look at reviews before booking the hotel but this being just a night stopover, I didn't check much. More than the distance, waste of time is bigger problem. We slept hardly 4-5 hours due to the distance and hassle with finding the cab.
Istanbul was an awesome experience. 3 days are just not good enough for this place. It's unfortunate that this place is not one of the safest places to travel anymore.
In fact, I was at this place at right time (or wrong time!) - just about a week before my stay, there was an attack at Ataturk airport of Istanbul and exactly one week after my travel, there was millitary coup in Turkey.
Due to excellent location of my hotel, I didn't have to use hop-on-hop-off at Istanbul. Most of the main attractions - Sultanahmet Square, Hagia Sophia, Blue Mosque, Topkapi Palace, Suleymaniye mosque, Spice Bazaar, Grand Bazaar etc. were nearby or just few stops away by tram. You must not miss traditional Turkish food and Turkish delights.
This is definitely a place that I would like to visit again someday.