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Please help with our itinerary in Turkey

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Hello, I am hoping for some advice on our upcoming trip to Turkey in May 2012
We fly from Canada to Helsinki, then the train to Russia for 10 days and then fly from Moscow to Kayseri on May 7th. We will spend three nights in Goreme.

From there we want to rent a car (I think) and drive south. We have 9 more nights on the coast before flying to Istanbul for our final 3 nights. A total of 15 nights in Turkey.

We will end up Selcuk and fly out of Izmir to Istanbul on the 19th. I dont want to book the entire trip, hoping to just see where we end up along the way.

One thing I was thinking of was to do an overnight boat trip from Fethiye. Will it be warm enough do you think? Do they even operate in May?

Our interests are, ruins, some museums but after Russia may be a bit museumed out, and some beach time. We love the history of the area and want to explore that but also want some down time after what I imagine will be a hectic busy time in Russia.

Any must sees that may not be in the guide books or advice is most welcome. Thanks in advance.

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    Went in August couple years ago. Rented car and did Istanbul and a cross country tour.

    We stayed in Goreme, did the Open Air Museum, and a evening dance and singing show at local hall. I liked Goreme, small and interesting. Our hotel had a top floor open air breakfast room that looked out oever the 'chimneys'. Nice

    From there we drove to Konya. On the way we stopped in the Ilhara valley and hiked to some cave churches. It is an easy hike, and afterwards there is a nice place to eat which has a platform over the small creek, covered in carpets that is nice. A nice oasis of greenery and coolness.

    From there we did a small detour to a town (couple of houses) that had an undergound 'shelter'. Interesting, there are a few in this area.

    Konya was OK, it is a more conservative city, but we were just passing through.

    Next day we arrived in Antalya. Our first day we stayed in western end, hotel with pool. We were meeting friends in the city, so we spent time in their neighbourhood (very hospitable people the Turks BTW). We saw a bit of the city, and on second day, after moving to the Sheraton hotel, went to their private Konyaaltı Beach area.

    Beaches are large stoned, but water was nice. We did not see a lot of the city, what we did see was a bit too built up, commercialized. There is an Old Town, we never made it.

    Heading west very scenic. The road can be very twisty, mountainous and slow, but some of the views over Med...Along the way, we saw sign for Olympos and headed off main road. Some interesting things along drive, there was a small village of "hippy" stylings, a place to spend a bit more time. Sadly, with 4 kids, we checked our schedule and did not make to to the ocean.

    We ended up in Kas. This was my favorite town on Med. Small fishing village, our hotel was right on water. Our room had no windows, just a wide open space overlooking the sea, and an open air restaurant at sea's edge. The town is small and walkable, some good shopping and paces to eat (Italian for the kids). Next day, via the hotel, we did a Lycean ruins boat cruise. It had 3/4 sopts for ocean swimming, glass bottom for seeing Lycean amphoras, steps into sea,etc.. Included a good lunch at an island restaurant. Kas is my place to go back. Swimming, at our hotel, was not a beach but stairs and dibing board over ocean.

    Just west of Kas was our 'secret beach'. You can't miss it, it has tose fabuous turquoise cloloured waters you hear about. Long steps down to ocean, once again pebbly beach. Tour buses stop to take pictures.

    We stopped in Fethiye for lunch and shopping. Nice town and would have liked to stay there. We ended our day in Marmaris, at a hotel couple of blocks from harbour. This is a busy place, the harbour area is full of restaurants and boats offering cruises. We wanted a more authnetic meal and headed away from the sea. Another place I would have liked to spend a bit more time in.

    Next day we left the ocean and headed to Ephesus, spending a couple of hours there. Parking is a bit tricky. We parked at thge bottom of the hill, and decided that the best route was top of hill down. So...we hooked up with a guy offering 'free' ride to top, but..had to stop at his rug factory. So we went, saw them, had them try to sell us some, we passed on it and then the shuttle continued to top. At top, there is a shop selling guides, so we bought a couple, entered and walked down. Really interesting, the terrace house are worht the extra cost. On the right will be a small amphitheatre with interesting acoustics, the library,etc..We did not make it to the large amphitheatre. It was August, it was hot, there were no trees....At bottom, back to car.

    From there, we skipped Izmir, and headed back towards Istanbul, with an overnite in Bursa (capital of towels!). Next day, the ferry that brought us back to downtown Istanbul.

    I don't have my notes with me, so I hope this gives you a bit of an idea. I really enjoyed the coastline. Driving in Turkey is on good roads, we only had a few occasions where it becasue a bit rougher. Some of the moutian roads have no guardrails, and diesel/gas is expensive.

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    ...'we skipped Izmir' - I wish we had but we spent a night
    there b/4 flying to Istanbul. What a chaotic city! The
    airport is fine but we were exchausted from navigating
    the city traffic and the crowds - we were there in Ramadan
    so the hustle and bustle had an added urgency.

    Can't give advice re the gulet trips but don't miss the
    museum outside of Antalya - wonderfully presented antiquities.
    Also, the Old Town is lovely to wander through. And as Michel
    said, don't miss going through the terrace houses in Ephesus
    - they are wondrous.

    So much to enjoy in Turkey - it would take years to really
    appreciate the country.

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    You may want to read my trip report; click on my name to find it. We reversed your itinerary, starting our drive in Izmir and ending in Kayseri, spending 9 days on the road.

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    Hi Michael Imini and Michael_Paris, thanks so much for all your info. i have read your trip report Michael and am reading it again. Good advice from all. Hanabi thanks for that link. I will work on my itinerary on there, it looks great.

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    Here's another perspective and an alternate route:

    - reduce Goreme to 2 nights.
    - drive to Kizkalesi/Silifke/Tasucu through Nevsehir, Aksaray and Mersin. almost all divided highway and motorway (110-120 speed limits +10%) Dinner at Kizkalesi.
    - 2 nights in the area, visiting Olba, heaven and hell sink holes, adam rocks, castle, etc.
    - Drive to Anamur, visiting Aydincik port mosaic en-route.
    - 1 night at Anamur.
    - drive to Side, visiting Anemurium on the way and swimming from the city ruins and having a picnic lunch.
    - Either stay at Side to rest and swim on sandy beach or continue to Antalya for the old town and museum (1-2 nights)
    - Drive coastal route to Ucagiz, past Demre, visiting Phaeselis and Myra on the way. Stay at Ucagiz to take boat or kayak over sunken city and visit kalekoy (Michel's post and report) 1-2 nights.
    - Drive to Fethiye. Spoil yourself and stay at Ecesaray Hotel on the marina. A one or two day cruise will be enyoyable in this season.
    - Drive to Selcuk for one more night, visiting Herakleia (Kapikiri village on lake Bafa) on the way.
    - Visit Ephesus, museum, basilica, etc. and then return car at Izmir airport and fly back to istanbul.

    A somewhat tiring but fun-filled and adventurous trip.
    I hope you will be up to it.

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