How long in Istanbul? and how is Izmir?

Jan 5th, 2009, 04:48 PM
Original Poster
Join Date: Jun 2007
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How long in Istanbul? and how is Izmir?

I am thinking of going to Turkey in April or May and stay in Istanbul for about 10 days and then go to Paris. Is 10 days enough in Istanbul for someone who hasn't been?
I definitely want to see all the monumnets, palaces and mosques and make several trips to the Grande Bazaar.

My other question: Is Izmir quite different from Istanbul? From what I have read about it, it has great historic monuments and that is about it. Am I wrong?

I appreciate any feedback on Turkey.

Goldiea is offline  
Jan 5th, 2009, 05:01 PM
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Turkey is one of my favorite places, but most of the Turkey "talk" is done over on the Europe board. So you would probably be wise to post there.

Good luck!
Grcxx3 is offline  
Jan 5th, 2009, 06:35 PM
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Izmir is OK, but Ephesus is fascinating - 1 or 2 days depending on how much you like antiquities, and Kusadasi (sp?) is nice. Istanbul is wonderful, 10 days would be barely enough for me.
Momliz is offline  
Jan 6th, 2009, 12:52 PM
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I found Izmir to be rather industrial and not very interesting, most useful as a base for Ephesus which I loved.

As for Istanbul, I guess the length of time you should spend depends on your preferred pace. Personally 10 days in only Istabul seems like a long time, 5 days seems more like it.

If you want to spend more time in Turkey, consider the coast. Lots of fascinating historical sites set in gorgeous scenery.
Femi is offline  
Jan 6th, 2009, 01:27 PM
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I'm with Femi - believe 10/days is too long in IST. Granted there are many sights, but those most often visited and some extras can easily be covered in 5/days.

Also, as Femi mentions, Izmir itself is very commercial, but is where the flights land and from where you can then visit Ephesus. Nearby is Kusadasi where many choose of overnight vs Izmir.

And, I too likes the time we spent on the Med in Antalya with many great sights nearby.

However, do remember that Turkey is a very big country and even if visiting only these three areas, flights would be necessary. Not that one can't drive, but they're long drives and eat up 2-3/days of drive time only.

As mentioned above, probably more replies will be found on the Europe board.
sandi is offline  
Jan 6th, 2009, 02:29 PM
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Kusadasi is fabulous, but the highlight of my Turkey trip was Cappadocia. In case you are interested here is a link to a few of my favorite Turkey pics, including both Kusadasi and Cappadocia. If you visit Cappadocia please consider the hot air balloon ride, it's positively magical.
P_M is online now  
Jan 6th, 2009, 04:26 PM
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I second go to Cappadocia! It's a fabulous place to see. Stay in the cave hotels. 5 days should be enough in Istanbul. We liked the market in Izmir, but I think you could find that in Istanbul. Ephesus is definitely worth seeing. Turkey is one of our favorite places!
pattyroth is offline  
Jan 8th, 2009, 04:29 AM
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I agree with the other posters -- while I totally loved Istanbul, I wouldn't spend 10 days there because there is so much else to see!

Definitely Ephesus -- the experience of walking down the marble street and imagining the ancient city is amazing.

I also loved Cappadocia, especially the cave churches, but second the warning that the travel is harder than it looks like on the map, and it is best to do some of the travel by plane.
ann_nyc is offline  
Feb 10th, 2010, 12:42 AM
Join Date: Feb 2010
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I loved Izmir too, but I had friends with the locals, so it was just fascinating when you know where locals eat and have fun. Nightlife and shopping malls are good but also is city is packed with churches, but not widely known.
Beer is good, food is good, people are friendly. You can try go to OhannesBurger(as a bonus, they make the best burgers I have ever had) and ask the owner about where you can go. He is very helpful, and can give you hints about town. It is in Bornova, Izmir. Also, you can base in izmir and visit Odemis, Bozdag,Birgi and Tire. They are not eidely known but fascinating places! Have fun
dennise_a is offline  
Feb 10th, 2010, 04:56 AM
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You have some very good feedback from previous travelers.
Check some of the other current threads on istanbul, ephesus and turkey, where you will find more information, from restaurants to sites.

- Consider two nights for Cappadocia trip and a guide or a tour there.

- Consider one night (at selcuk) for Ephesus trip, to include other must see sites in the environs. Suggest rental car and only a guide for the Ephesus antique city hired at the upper gate.

- Please buy a map of Turkey which preferably shows the airports and the antique sites.

- Come back to the Forum for more detailed information once you have selected your pints of interest and approximate itinerary.

Planning is a large proportion of the fun.
otherchelebi is offline  
Feb 10th, 2010, 01:57 PM
Join Date: Dec 2009
Posts: 445

For a total of 10 days, I agree with the other posters that you'd do well to break up your time. Five or six days in Istanbul should be good for what you want to do. We were in Turkey last fall for 15 days; roughly 6 in IST, 4 in Cappadocia, 2 nights at Ephesus and 3 driving down to the Mediterranean coast.

It depends on the type of monuments/history you're interested in, but in addition to IST, Cappadocia was the highlight of our trip. otherchelebi is right; prowl around this forum and read trip reports to help you get a feel for it. I (under my former user name, ellencmog) and others have posted trip reports which should help you plan.

Let us know how your planning goes and ask away!

ellen75005 is offline  
Feb 15th, 2010, 09:29 AM
Join Date: Nov 2006
Posts: 518
Dear Goldiea,
I am also planning a Turkey Trip for 11 days starting 23rd April 10. I have chalked out my itinerary with the help of expert fellow fodorites. Especially Otherchelebi and Ellen have loads of knowledge and experience. It will surely pay to listen to their advice. I am sure even before I actually go there.
If it helps, my itinerary is as follows...
Istanbul- 4 nights
fly to Kayesari by Pegasus air
Goreme Cave Hotel- 2 nights
Overnight bus to Denzli... Pamukkale 1/2 day.. Bus to Selcuk.
Selcuk- 4 nights ( 1 Ephesus, 1 Didiema, Priene etc + Sirince, 1 Kusadasi)
Flight from Izmir-Istanbul
Istanbul- 1 night
Fly out of Istanbul...

All the best...
Paragkash is offline  
Feb 15th, 2010, 09:54 AM
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Location: Vancouver
Posts: 3,595
The bazaar in Izmir is quite an experience and well-worth
a detour. It's not as pretty or 'cute' as the Grand Bazaar
but filled with things needed and used by regular folk.
For instance, there's an alley with shops that cater to
boy children's circumcision day - amazing satin and gold
trim and feathers, oh my. We stayed in a small hotel on
a winding pedestrian alley and it was a real slice of life.
Open fronted shops selling religious tracts with young men
talking religion; street peddlers selling anything and
everything. Food stalls that took exotic to a new level.

There's a long waterfront promenade that ends in a large
ferry terminal - in late afternoon it's the place to be;
simit sellers, groups of gypsies; and dogs, dogs, dogs.

We thought Izmir was a large, gritty port city; glad we
saw it but we won't return. Istanbul - in a heart beat.
immimi is offline  
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