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7 days in Turkey - itinerary help please!

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Hi all,

My husband and I are planning a trip for Turkey in early September. Unfortunately, we only have a week off from work but want to make the most of it! We are experienced international travelers, tend to pack a lot in to our itineraries and love to explore as much as possible -- even if it makes for some long days! Prefer to tour things on our own - not via large grps or tour guides - but would consider organized tours if it makes the most sense for specific sites/day trips. I know we will barely scratch the surface of Turkey on this trip, but would love your help & suggestions as we work out our plans.

We are booking our flts this week and plan to fly in/out of Istanbul. Our very tentative itinerary includes:
Fri 8/30 - depart Chicago at 3p
Sat 8/31 - arrive in Istanbul around 5p, get settled at our hotel (still tbd) and walk around a bit that evening just to grab dinner
Sun + Mon 9/1-2 - full days touring the sights of Istanbul
Tues 9/3 - either another full day in Istanbul OR day trip via air to Izmir to Selcuk/Ephesus
Wed 9/4 - fly to Goreme / Capadoccia in the afternoon (either from Selcuk or IST)
Thurs 9/5 - explore Capadoccia (we love to hike, sounds like there are lots of opportunities for that here!)
Fri 9/6 - hot air balloon ride, more exploring in the area?
Sat 9/7 - fly back to IST in the AM to allow for plenty of time to catch our evening flight back to Chicago

A few specific questions....
1. I've read mixed things about making Ephesus a day trip. Some say its doable if you're ok with a long day, others say its not enough or enjoyable. Thoughts?
2. If a day trip is doable, any suggestions on tour companies to help us arrange the day tri logistics & tour?
3. It seems like a lot of people rent cars for their time in Cappadocia. Is the area fairly easy to navigate? Any tips for driving/renting a car there?
4. We have some hotels in mind for Istanbul, but all recs welcome for Goreme

Thanks in advance for your help!!

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