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14 day Turkey itinerary - please critique!

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Aug 18th, 2012, 02:02 PM
  #1
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14 day Turkey itinerary - please critique!

Hello, my husband and I are planning our upcoming 2 week honeymoon to Turkey and would love some feedback on our itinerary and answers to some random questions below. We're in our mid-30's and early 40's and I would characterize ourselves as independent travelers who don't mind splurging when it's worth it. My husband is most interested in history and seeing sights; I am slightly less interested in ruins and really want to enjoy a few days of solid R&R, eat incredible food, and absorb local culture. We plan to rent a car for the Izmir-Antalya part of our trip.

9/22 – Arrive Istanbul
9/23 – Istanbul
9/24 – Istanbul
9/25 – Early morning flight to Kayseri, Cappadocia
9/26 – Cappadocia
9/27 – 8:30pm flight Kayseri-Izmir, overnight in Selcuk
9/28 – Tour Ephesus in AM, then Aphrodisas in PM, overnight in Pamukkale
9/29 – Hierapolis, drive to Kas in late afternoon
9/30 – Kas
10/1 – Kas
10/2 – Kas
10/3 – Drive to Cirali, hike to Chimaera, overnight in Cirali
10/4 – Drive to Antalya, afternoon flight to Istanbul
10/5 – Istanbul
10/6 – Depart Istanbul

Questions:
In Cappadocia, should we arrange for a few daily tours or will be okay guiding ourselves? Would we need a rental car if self-guided? I don't love the big tourist bus tours but do believe that interpretation of sights by experts can be valuable.

Is the plan for 9/28 way too aggressive? We're planning to take in Ephesus and Aphrodisias and drive to Pamukkale all in one day.

How are the road conditions and drive from Pamukkale to Kas (my estimate is this will take ~5 hours)? The current plan is to drive to Kas after a day of hanging out in the sun and swimming in the pools; if the road is really treacherous, we may re-think this.

Recommendations for boat tours and operators out of Kas? Also, I've seen photos of people sea kayaking by underwater ruins - any ideas on where this is and how far from Kas?

Lodging recommendations for Cappadocia, Selcuk, Pamukkale, or Cirali? Our main criteria are cleanliness with en-suite bathroom and in safe area. We're planning to splurge on a villa rental in Kas.

I'm one of those people who loses it after they reach a certain point of hunger. Are there snack bars/food stands/restaurants in Aphrodisias, on the road to Pamukkale, and on the road to Kas (especially after 9pm)?

Thank you in advance!
mrs_simonson is offline  
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Aug 18th, 2012, 02:39 PM
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9/28, it is ambitious if you dawdle over every piece of stone or marble at the ruins or stop to pt the feral cats at ephesus.

Ephesus can be done in two hours easily including the terrace Houses. another two and a half hours to reach Aphrodisias will give you enough time at that site to even make it to a fabulous sunset over the travertines of pamukkale if you start of early enough in the day.

9/29 i would not spend too long at the pools at pamukkale since what you will miss as you get close to kas, (i.e. patara) will be more interesting than the fake Cleopatras you may encounter at heliopolis.

the road is not treacherous but some parts are curvy and there may be repairs to slow you.

The best place to get the excursion boats and kayaks for the kekova Bay is Ucagiz, about 35-40 minutes drive from Kas.
Any small private boats you can find there will be cheaper than getting one at Kas since it will involve much less cruising and less petrol.

check my trip report,
http://www.fodors.com/community/fodo...lykians.cfm?39

you will find roadside cafes and restaurants on your route and most gas stations will have something available, but it may be difficult to find them after dark. i suggest that you keep a supply of simple cheese crackers and cookies (Turkish crackers and cookies, especially the ETI brand are excellent) in the car as well as some walnuts, hazelnuts, etc.
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Aug 18th, 2012, 02:51 PM
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well-maintained, two-lane, good hwy from Pam to Kas(h)..I drove it the other way..isolated road, I didn't notice any food stops..I doubt whether anything will be available at night.

One day in Cap is hardly enough IME..at least stay overnight at The Esbelli Evi cave inn...fab. You would be better off with renting a car...it's easy to drive around Cap and you woldn't be limiting your time as you would by bus.

Yes, it is ambitious to do Eph, Aph and Pam the same day...but since you're staying overnight in Pam and doing it the next morning, that willl be comfortable. With a car, if you are game for a little (not a lot) splurge, stay at the Kismet view hotel in Kus(h)-a-desu (Kusadasi)...see my pics. It's a short ride to Eph the next morning...it overlooks Kush harbor.

It's your honeymoon..slow it down...and enjoy.

Pic below will show most places you will be seeing.

Stu
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Aug 18th, 2012, 02:57 PM
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https://picasaweb.google.com/stuartt...cenesOfTurkey#

Good luck and Congrats on the marriage, MRS. Simonson.
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Aug 18th, 2012, 02:59 PM
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Stu, your pictures disappeared in thin air.

But the roads have improved since you were there and the roadside food potential went beyond subsistence levels.

Eph and Aph is almost all motorway with 120k speed limit.

Simonsons, make sure you have a KGS card for the tolls, which you will use only between Selcuk and Aydin. So just buy the card for 7-10TL, add not more than another 7-10TL credit and ........
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Aug 18th, 2012, 04:12 PM
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Look again, OC...what do you know about Turkey, anyway..just becuse you were born there and lived there all your life! Frankly, I still think you write from Bakersfield as an armchair expert.

Aduchamp tells me he had to direct you wherever you took him in Istanbul...sheeesh!!

Stu, your "friend%^^%$&*^*^#@**"
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Aug 18th, 2012, 04:33 PM
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kja
 
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> 9/28 – Tour Ephesus in AM, then Aphrodisas in PM, overnight in Pamukkale ... Is the plan for 9/28 way too aggressive?

I have absolute confidence that it can be done, given that otherchelebi says so and Stu agrees. But for what little it's worth, it would not have worked for me. I spent about 4 hours at Ephesus, and I thought the Ephesus Museum in Selcuk well worth at least one hour (not included in my 4 hours on site). I spent about 3 hours at Aphrodisias.

> In Cappadocia, should we arrange for a few daily tours or will be okay guiding ourselves?

Visiting Cappadocia on one's own is quite easy. If you want to take a hot air balloon ride, you should probably book in advance.

> How are the road conditions and drive from Pamukkale to Kas (my estimate is this will take ~5 hours)? The current plan is to drive to Kas after a day of hanging out in the sun and swimming in the pools;

I drove these roads in reserve in May. As other and Stu say, curvy and some likely stretches under repair, but not not particularly treacherous (though some drivers took turns way too fast and out of their lanes, so I would urge defensive driving). I drove during the day and don't know how the lighting of these roads would be after dark.

Enjoy your honeymoon!
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Aug 18th, 2012, 06:11 PM
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Actually Other's knowledge of Turkey improved once he got out of prison. Now, he can actually see what the streets look like.

Unlike Stu, I know Other lives in Istanbul but I think his wife and apartment are rented just to impress people.

When he comes to NYC, I am going to present a lavish dinner of peanut butter and jelly sandwiches, cheeses out of the can, and for dessert I'm going to give him a srick and a marshallow, turn on the oven and tell him to make s'mores.

What does he know any way?
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Aug 18th, 2012, 08:14 PM
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Thank you for the replies! I especially appreciate the tip about heading to Kekova for boat tours and will look into the Kismet View Hotel in Kusadasi.

Tower, we are actually spending almost 3 full days in Cap - arriving 8am on day 1, full day 2 and leaving 8:30pm on day 3.

Based on what you all have said, I think we'll stick with the current itinerary for now. We'll think longer and harder about how important it is for us to linger at the ruins sites and consider trying to get out of Hierapolis earlier so as to be driving the bulk of the time to Kas in daylight. OC, I definitely don't want to miss Patara Beach, but we don't mind backtracking on one of our Kas days to visit.

Thanks again.
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Aug 18th, 2012, 10:21 PM
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kja
 
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> I especially appreciate the tip about heading to Kekova for boat tours

I think the tip was to head to the town of Ucagiz for the boat tours of Kekova Bay.
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Aug 21st, 2012, 08:00 AM
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Congratulations on your marriage;
If you did not include add an early morning hot air balloon flight while in Cappadocia and to maximise your time at least take a day guided tour to places you would need transportation.
Kas & Kalkan and Kekova will be dreamy for sure.
Happy travels,
Murat
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Aug 22nd, 2012, 09:21 AM
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Thanks for the clarification, kja. Doh!

Any opinions on using Kalkan versus Kas as home base for a few days on the coast? I am re-considering a villa rental and possibly looking at staying in town instead. Kalkan seems to be the better "town" to stay in.

Does anyone know if there are 12 Island or Butterfly tours from Kalkan or Kas or only from Gocek or Fethiye? Or are there comparable boat tours from Kalkan/Kas (some boating, a few hours of beach time or village exploration time)?
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Aug 22nd, 2012, 10:15 AM
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I regret that my post and previous trip reports have had a reverse reaction from Mrs_Simonson. yes, some people do prefer kalkan to kas. Kalkan has more tourists, more Brits, fewer trees, a wide open brilliant blue bay. You can get fish and chips and English breakfasts there with onions, mushrooms, chips and bacon and of'course some turkish meals geared to the visitors' palate. This should be preferable for her rather than kas where strange bohemian stuggling artists loaf around, spend hours over a bottle of beer or wine, and the sea view is often blocked by trees, and the sea is not wide open but has many islands and peninsulas cluttering the horizon.

There is also a good boutique hotel called Villa Mahal at kalkan, which has 45 steps to the sea where you can swim in pristine waters from platforms on rocks. However, this hotel is not in town.
One can get daily boat tours on the bay and to some tiny bays and islands.

This post was intended for other readers and not for the OP.
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