3 Days...Izmir to Bodrum or Pamukkale?

Old Sep 10th, 2010, 10:49 PM
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3 Days...Izmir to Bodrum or Pamukkale?

I am headed to Istanbul for 7 day Rick Steves Tour..Sept 25-Oct 2nd. Then have three and a half days following the tour before return flight from Istanbul on Oct.6th at noon.

I thought the four of us would fly Istanbul to Izmir and stay in Selcuk for three or four nights and do day trips...Effesus, Sirince,Selcuk, Izmir or coast near Kusadasi. How long is the bus to Pamukkale...can we go there and back to Selcuk in one day ? What is the closest airport...should I fly out of Bodrum?

Maybe it would make more sense to fly into Izmir, do Effusus, Selcuk, Sirince and then on to Bodrum and fly out of there? How would you spend the three plus days? We want to relax the pace a bit after Istanbul...chat with the locals...drink some wine. I think Effesus will give us our fill of ruins, so looking for some variety.

Final question...should we return to Istanbul the night before our flight, or do we dare try to catch a connection on the morning of that flight from Izmir or Bodrum. I have no idea of the security lines or reliability of the airlines.

Thanks so much to anyone who has advice!!!
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Old Sep 11th, 2010, 04:59 AM
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You should definitely rent a car at izmir airport for the flexibility.

The driving distance to pamukkale is 2.5-3 hours by car and 3.5 by bus. But you would have to get a minibus dolmus after the bus to take you up the mountain. You would also miss Aphrodisias if you take the bus.

Some ideas for the region:

: Herakleia on lake Bafa is my favorite. Nice hikes 2-20 kilometers to troglodite drawings and a monastery. Reasonable B&Bs.

: Seferihisar, a laid back resort with another small antique town nearby

: Alacati, an upscale local resort with excellent restaurants

: Birgi, a significant Roman and Seljuki town with a very interesting 18th century mansion.

: Sardis, partially restored by Harvard University, is well worth a pleasant trip (can be combined with Birgi)

Selcuk, Sirince and Alacati has excellent regional wild greens for salads and sauteeing. Alacati has good but expensive fish. Sardis area (Salihli) has special meatballs.
Herakleia has good fried eggplant and olives. Denizli is a fundamentalist bastion with alcohol available only at some tourist locations. (i refuse to go there since 2004 when the fundamentalist municipality started cancelling liqueur licenses.)

If you are flying THY, you should have no problem with the connections, and will be able to check your luggage in in Izmir and have a much simpler transfer at IST airport. the distance between the domestic and international terminals is only a maximum of 10-15 minutes through a covered moving walkway.

If you are flying other airlines like Pegasus or Atlas, make sure that they fly to IST and not to SAW. And also allow a longer transfer time (at least an additional hour) because you'll have to retrieve your luggage, go through the security checks and queue up for check-in. In which case, you may prefer to have a final night in istanbul and enjoy one last beautiful dinner at Mia Mensa at Kurucesme on the Bosphorus.
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Old Sep 11th, 2010, 08:57 AM
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Dear otherchelebi,
Thank you so much for your well fleshed out response. Did you notice that today is Sept 11th? Always evokes such an emotional response in the media in the US...and this year even more so.

OK, so you did not mention Bodrum, so I presume you think I should go in and out of Izmir. I have found some of the places you mention...others will take more searching.AS a first time visitor to the country, I am just trying to decide if Pamukkale is too far out of the loop for this trip. Or if a first time visitor should really see that and Ephesus and Selcuk and Sirince. Given that we are first timers...what is must see with three days? I will fold in lesser sights which are nearby.

You comments about car and air travel and Mia Mensa are much appreciated.
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Old Sep 11th, 2010, 10:37 AM
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travlplanr, it's a pleasure to assist.

regarding 9/11, people's memories are unfortunately or fortunately rather short in relation to tragedies and catastrophies. Evil deeds by people hurt more than the terrible deeds by our planet (floods, hurricanes, earthquakes)
yet we continue living and giving life to progeny. Another mystery which will never be solved.

Today, my soccer team lost also and possibly the Turkish national team will be beaten by Serbia. Two more evil deeds or catastrophes, however you look at them.

Coming to your questions:

- Izmir airport is to the South of izmir and timewise the same distance from selcuk as it is from izmir. The first 40-50k to selcuk is all motorway and then another 10-15k of highway. So you never need to go into Izmir city which is a difficult city to navigate.

Bafa lake and Herakleia are on the way to bodrum, so you can combine both on a day trip.

You can combine either Bodrum or herakleia with Miletus, Didyma and Prienne also on a single day.

Ephesus and Aphrodisias are on a par, with Ephesus more excavated and having the excellent terrace houses which should not be missed.

The travertines of Pamukkale are interesting but not a must see. I would prefer the Bodrum - Herakleia combination for local color, nature and popular resort with a nice museum.

With only 3-4 days, i would probably not go to Alacati and Seferihisar, which can also be combined as a day trip.

All above daytrips could be from a Selcuk base. possibly Bella hotel, which has excellent food but small rooms.

If you are lucky enough to be there on a Saturday, you will enjoy the weekly Selcuk street market, which is excellent for local color.

Sirince is an overtouristy small village with not so good fruit wines but some decent boutique hotels.

Check the "small hotels of Turkey" site for good recommendations.

Kusadasi is only 20k or so from selcuk, and if you feel like it there are some nice beaches on the way to Kusadasi town which is unfortunately a concrete jungle.

Visit Ephesus early in the morning before the cruise ships have had time to discharge their phalanxes for that day's crusade.

Try Doluca DLC or KAV wines with your meals. The Merlots and the Bogazkere or some combinations are quite good and more reasonably priced. For white wines, Narince grapes or the cheaper Kavaklidere-Cankaya are good. Generally local wines are not that good, except in Bozcaada and Cappadocia.
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Old Sep 12th, 2010, 09:12 PM
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otherchelebi,
Thanks again for the specifics. I so appreciate the insider advice.
If you ever visit Philadelphia, I will return the favor. Meanwhile, may your soccer teams prevail!
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