10 Days in Turkey - What Would You Do?

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Jul 21st, 2009, 04:52 PM
  #1
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10 Days in Turkey - What Would You Do?

My husband and I are experienced travelers, but we're planning our first trip to Turkey in late October/early November. We enjoy renting a car and being on our own, but we're not adverse to a city tour. We're not soak in the sun/beach people; we'd rather visit cities and historical sites. We'd love to hear suggestions about how to make the most out of 8 - 10 days from those of you who know Turkey!
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Jul 21st, 2009, 05:14 PM
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Istanbul = Cappadocia - Ephesus. Fly between Istanbul and Cappadocia. Fly between Cappadocia and Izmir. Fly between Izmir and Istanbul. There are low fares available through Pegasus Airlines and Onur Air. You might want to rent a car in Cappadocia and Ephesus. Click on my name to find my trip report. We used 9 days to travel from Izmir to Cappadocia, so that would not do for your limit of 10 days when a minimum of three days are needed for Istanbul. But the trip report might still give you some ideas.
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Jul 21st, 2009, 05:53 PM
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I agree with Mike. Also Pamukale, Troy and Gallipoli. There is the awesome Hittite museum in Ankara. And also Ataturk's mauoseleum which gives insight on this extraordinary man.
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Jul 22nd, 2009, 02:43 PM
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A little different take. I'd see Istanbul, Ephesus & Cappadocia.
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Jul 23rd, 2009, 06:51 AM
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Because Cappadocia might be getting cold in late October-early November, I would start there in the hope that even in a 10 day window earlier might be better than later.
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Jul 23rd, 2009, 05:57 PM
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Thanks, everyone, for your replies. We're starting to narrow our options. Michael, by "cold", are you talking about winter coat/bone chilling cold, or sweater and jacket cold? We'd actually prefer cool/cold to hot, so it might not be a deterrent.
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Jul 23rd, 2009, 07:28 PM
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Judge for yourself.

http://www.cappadocia.travel/weather
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Jul 24th, 2009, 04:11 AM
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Ellencmog;
Weather in Cappadocia is unpredictable especially nowadays. Like last 8 years I never seen ( almost ) a drop of rain and this year I have seen more than I have experienced last 8 years even in July..... October and November day times usually are very nice & mils and good weather for walking, hiking, touring. For sure evening gets chilly and later october maybe feeling cold. Day and night temperature differences are high here.

generally speaking pleasent weather but I also agree with first to visit Cappadocia as going down south or west will be warmer for sure.

Happy travelling,

Murat
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Jul 26th, 2009, 12:26 PM
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It looks like flights from Istanbul to Kayseri are as expensive as those from NY to Istanbul. Is it less expensive to purchase them when we arrive in Turkey?
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Jul 26th, 2009, 01:02 PM
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Disregard my last post. I've found reasonable fares on THY from Istanbul to Nevsehir at which point we will rent a car.
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Jul 26th, 2009, 01:19 PM
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We visited in late-October and the temps were quite nippy. IST is on same latitude as NYC, so it wasn't unexpected. Along the Aegean and Antalya, it was way too cold for the beach and even the gulets were no longer going out. Izmir, Antalya, Cappadocia, Antalya and Ankara had mild daytime temps but were cold at night (Antalya a bit warmer as farthest south).

The road system is good, signs are in English, but hope not to get stuck behind a farm vehicle... slow, slow and passing can be dangerous. We saw two accidents. Just allow yourselves sufficient time, have a good map, exact directions, or even a GPS. And, a mobile phone in case of emergency.
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Jul 26th, 2009, 01:43 PM
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It looks like flights from Istanbul to Kayseri are as expensive as those from NY to Istanbul.

Have you looked into Onur Air and Pegasus Air? These are the airlines we used to go from Istanbul to Izmir and Kayseri to Istanbul. The fares were low with similar rules as those for other low-cost airlines--non-refundable and non-exchangeable.
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Jul 26th, 2009, 01:51 PM
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We had 8 days this past February and chose to split our time between Istanbul and Selcuk (near Ephasus). We really wanted to see Cappadocia but the weather was just too frigid during that time of year. We felt that our trip flowed very nicely. Istanbul is amazing and deserves at least 3 days. From Selcuk we visited Ephasus and then did a daytrip to Didim, Priene and Miletus. We flew from IST to Izmir and back.

Tracy
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Aug 15th, 2009, 02:01 PM
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Thank you all for your comments and advice. We've decided to spend 15 days in Turkey and concentrate on three main areas; Istanbul, Cappadocia and the Aegean coast (from Ephesus north). Here's our itinerary so far:

10/23 Arrive Istanbul, night at Faros Hotel, Sultanahmet http://www.faroshotelistanbul.com/
10/24 Fly to Nevsehir (Cappadocia)
10/24 – 10/28 Meleklerevi Cave Hotel, Urgup
http://www.meleklerevi.com.tr/
10/28 Fly from Nevsehir to Izmir
10/28 – 10/31 Ephesus, rent a car and make our way up the Aegean coast
11/1 – 11/6 Istanbul, Faros Hotel

I'm still working on the Aegean coast. I'm leaning toward staying in Selcuk for a couple of nights, but that's as far as I've gotten. Tracy - or others - do you have any hotel recommendations in Selcuk?

I spent hours investigating hotels in Istanbul. Faros got rave reviews on every site I looked at. Does anyone know it?

We're going to use public transportation in Istanbul as much as we can (eg., the subway and tram from the airport into town and we'd like to take a car ferry back into Istanbul from the Aegean coast and take the ferry up the Bosphorus, etc). We'll probably do a couple of organized tours in Cappadocia but we'll be on our own most of the time.

We're so excited and looking forward to absorbing as much as we can in two weeks!
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Aug 16th, 2009, 02:07 AM
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Hi Ellencmog,

here are some suggestions and tips regarding your 3 (or possibly more) days after Ephesus:

- consider the possibility of driving South from Ephesus, dropping the rental car at Antalya and flying back to Istanbul from there. The weather will definitely be nicer, and there are far more antique sites you may enjoy visiting in that direction.
- although a longer drive, this will also provide you with more varied scenery and less congested traffic.
- You may not actually need even two full days in Selcuk. Unless you are planning to become Ephesus scholars, 3-4 hours in Ephesus, one hour Selcuk museum, one hour St. John's, one hour at Virgin Mary's retreat, breakfast or lunch at Sirince village, dinner at the restaurant of Bella Hotel, one hour walking around if you hit market day, are enough for Selcuk.
- Check the 'small hotels of Turkey' site on the web for hotels at Selcuk and other locations. We have used it many times and were satisfied with their recommendations.
- If you want to stick to your original plan, you can stay at Foca, (choose between old and new Foca), Cunda island, Ayvalik, Assos, Behramkale, and Iznik (Nicea). If you need one, I can prepare a driving itinerary for you. A pleasant motel near Assos is Lila, which we found on the small hotels site and stayed two month's ago. Assos port is also lovely, but the hotels may not be as pleasant.
- On the way to Cunda or Assos, you can visit antique Pergamom, from Assos to Nicea or Istanbul, you can visit Troy (les exciting than Ephesus or Pergamom)
- If you have time for Nicea, the town where the initial ecumenical councils took place, has Byzantine sites, tile kilns and city walls, as well as a singular life style.
- If you are driving back to Istanbul, negotiate to leave the car at a point easily accessible from one of the main routes into the city, otherwise, driving in Istanbul will cause you a lot of headache.
- Whichever way you go from Selcuk, you do not have to make reservations, although you should have the names, and telephone numbers of alternative lodging with you. This will give you flexibility and make yor trip much more fun. You should not have any problems with finding vacancies because of the season.
- If you go towards the South from Selcuk, you have Prienne, Miletus, Didyme, Herakleia, and then, Kayakoy, Oludeniz, various antique sites like Tlos towards Kalkan, Kas, incredibly beautiful cenery, Olympos, Phaeselis, Perge, Aspendos and Side.
- all of the above with less possibility of precipitation and temperatures of 14-26 C.

The fact that you enjoy driving like my wife and I, gives you a great deal of flexibility and possibility of an excellent holyday. Much more than those wo stick to prepaid tours.

We have done all the regions mentioned above either in the Spring or the time you are planning in the Fall.
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Aug 20th, 2009, 01:54 AM
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otherchelebi,

Thanks so much for your detailed response; it's made me rethink that part of the trip. Going to Antalya makes a lot of sense. I think that's why I was having trouble with that part of the itinerary; I just couldn't get my arms around it. Thanks, too, for the advice on Ehpesus; sounds like one overnight will be plenty. If we leave Selcuk on the 29th and plan to fly to Istanbul from Antalya on November 1, will three days be enough to make that drive?
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Aug 20th, 2009, 04:36 AM
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ellencmog, I just saw your question on Selcuk. Sorry for the delayed response! We stayed at the Hotel Bella and were very pleased. Our room was small, but the hotel was going through some renovations when we were there (Feb) and the larger room we originally requested wasn't quite finished yet. Still, it was very charming. There is a very nice patio on the top floor with a huge fireplace and lots of Turkish pillows everywhere. This is where we had breakfast each morning, and we often had tea up there in the evenings as well. The hotel is close to everything in Selcuk.

Good luck!
Tracy
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Aug 20th, 2009, 04:57 AM
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Istanbul, Cappadocia, Kas, Ephesus = City, Country, Beach, History.
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Aug 20th, 2009, 02:19 PM
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Ellencmog,

three days is enough. You will not have time to settle and absorb everything you see and experience, but you can force friends and family members to watch the photos and a large map of your travels when you get back, thus internalizing your time in the area better.
If you leave at a reasonable time 29th morning, you can visit Prienne, Miletus and Herakleia (eating a late lunch there, overlooking lake Bafa, and on the ruins of the ancient city), and make it to Gokova, Koycegiz, or Gocek that evening, depending on how tired you are or how well you have timed your trip. The next day, you may want to bypass Fethiye and Oludeniz, because it is an extra 40 odd kilometers each way, and instead visit sites like Tlos, and Leton continueing to OLympos or Cirali or Kemer or better still Goynuk or Beldibi between Kemer and Antalya. (maybe see Phaeselis in the process also.

If you have an evening flight, the next day can easily cover Perge, Aspendos and Side, with maybe even a swim at Side before returning to Antalya airport.

Motorways have 120k and all others 90k speed limit unless otherwise specified. Almost all radar or patrol cars are on 90K roads. There is no fine for upto 10% above speed limit, and then the fines go up between 10-20, 20-30, and more than 30% above speed limit.

A word of caution : expect the worst from everyone on the road and/or entering the road, be they other motorists, tractor or pedestrians. Check your rear view carefully continuously. Also make sure you specify an automatic shift, otherwise you are more likely to get a manual. Avis may have the best service, because the franchise belongs to a very large Turkish group which also manufactures Ford and Fiat in Turkey. (Ford focus drives reasonably well, if you cannot get a VW Passat or Opel Vectra or Renault Laguna) Do not get a Hyundai. The civic does not have good road clearance. Toyota Corolla is also a good choice.

Good luck
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Aug 20th, 2009, 03:44 PM
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More good information - thanks so much to all of you. I've heard that driving in Turkey can be "interesting", but I can't imagine that it's any worse than in Albania. Albanian drivers are crazy and the condition of the roads, especially in the north, leaves a lot to be desired. We had a Passat in Albania and liked it a lot. We were also stopped by the Albanian traffic police (twice). Luckily Albanians love Americans...

I've got a lot of homework to do!
Ellen
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