4-5 days outside Istanbul???

Jul 29th, 2005, 06:15 PM
  #1  
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4-5 days outside Istanbul???

Related to my query earlier today, we are looking for some ideas for an itinerary of 4-5 days length from Istanbul We are planning to rent a car in Istanbul and would like to see something of the "real" Turkey, not very touristed resorts. We might wish to include Ephesus but it is not necessary (some of us have been in the past). Which direction should we take..any Istanbulis out there care to advise me?? Are there any lovely spots within an 8 hour drive of the city in which we can base ourselves and do day trips? Possibly Fos? Thanks so much!
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Jul 30th, 2005, 05:32 AM
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ttt
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Jul 30th, 2005, 07:38 AM
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We've stayed in Izmir, Turkey, a city of about 3 million that's a 9-hour bus ride (probably shorter by car) from Istanbul and is very near Ephasus. It doesn't get a lot of American tourists -- mostly French and Germans from what we could observe. Most Americans tend to stay in Selcuk or Kusadasi to the south of Izmir.

I was been stared at like I was Julia Roberts walking down the street -- and treated with a friendliness that I've never experienced anywhere except for there. We stayed at the Aksan Hotel, a 4-star hotel for about $50 a night. From there, we hired Tildem, a guide who drove us to Ephasus and Mary's house, and had a wonderful time. I highly recommend it.

We were treated extremely well, and one night had a lovely time having dinner on the waterfront, where the waiters don't speak hardly any English, but made us feel very welcome. At our restaurant one night, they had to dig out and dust off an English menu, and I'm sure it took some figuring out for them to decide what we had just ordered. The waiter only knew one foreign word -- "Auf Widersehen" ("Goodbye" in German) so he said that every time he brought us a course. It was so hilarious.

When we took out our Turkish phrasebook, they helped us with pronunciation and were so pleased that we were even trying to speak a little Turkish. Then we walked around town and bought some of the most beautiful Turkish ceramic bowls, with handblown decorations. That was one of unforgetable night, that's for sure.

Happy travels,

Jules
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Jul 30th, 2005, 08:47 AM
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Don't know distance or travel time but Antalya is absolutely a great place. We flew there from Istanbul and then rented a car there and drove from there back to Izmir, staying in various cities on the way north. This might be something you can explore.Antalya is a seaside resort but has ancient beginnings and the Sheraton is a superb place on the water. It was a real treat.
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Jul 30th, 2005, 09:14 AM
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I know few Turkish cities, but can say that Konya is pleasant, well placed for touring, and with a museum and the tomb to mark a saint who introduced the idea of getting into touch with God by dancing in circles: he founded the whirling dervishes. There is a quiet city centre, a good and small museum of Greek and Roman statues, and a good small hotel next to the museum.

Ben Haines, London
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Aug 3rd, 2005, 06:30 AM
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Thanks, all. I think Antalya is much too distant in driving time for our time frame, although I remember loving the city when I was there 30 years ago!! I will check out Konya although it may also be too far. We were looking for info on small places in the general vicinity of Izmir....such as Foca (see my other post on this). Izmir itself sounds good, although we wanted to spend some time in less urban areas after our visit to Istanbul. Maybe Izmir area, Ephesus, and where else? Keep the ideas coming, thanks again!
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Aug 4th, 2005, 10:23 PM
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Dear ekscruncy,

I don't know if you read my post where I suggested you an alternative 5 day itinerary under the screen name (Turkeytravelexpert). Fodors found that screenname incompatible with the subscriber's agreement and cancelled my posts. If you haven't read it I can send it again.

With all good wishes.
 
Aug 5th, 2005, 01:49 AM
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Another vote for Cappadocia !
You can fly from ýstanbul to kayseri than an extra hour drive to the hearth of Cappadocia. You wont only be amazed with the extraordinary landscape you will also enjoy the diverse activities and its mystical atmosphere.
here are some ideas :
Stay in a Luxury Cave Hotel
Take at least a day guided tour
Hike and walk in the endless valleys to name some out ove Valley, Red Valley, White Valley and Pigeon Valley.
Follow the steps of christian pilgrims and see few excellent examples of over 900 churches spread in the area.
Hot Air Ballooning in the early morning when only birds and farmers are awake.
Follow some of the routes of famous Silk Road visit some caravenserai's of Seljukians. Even go and watc a Whirling Derwishes Show in one of them ( Caravanserai dates back 1249 )
Horse Back Ride, visit underground settlements and villages under tableto mountains, admire famous volcano Mt. Erciyes from different angles and finally white water rafting.........

You will definatelly will come back again for longer.

Happy Travelling,
Murat
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Aug 5th, 2005, 02:12 AM
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Hello Cengiz & Murat,

I have a different option for ekscrunchy.

Day 1: Ist-Bursa. Pick up the car from Istanbul. Take the ferry from Yenikapi to Yalova and drive to Bursa. Visit Ulucami, Green Mosque, Green Mausoleum, Grand Bazaar, Silk Market & Cacoon Han before check in. I recommend them to stay in Çekirge district where there are beautiful Thermal Hotels. Çelik Palas or Kervansaray hotel can be a good choice.

Day 2: Thermal bath in the morning, enjoy the cool mountain forest climate up in Mt Olympos in Mysia (Uludag)

Day 3: Drive from Bursa to Ankara. Visit Gordion en route. Upon arriving in Ankara, visit Mausoleum of Atatürk before checking into the hotel.

Day 4: Day's excursion to Hittite capital Hattusas or Konya to visit Mevlana Celaleddin Rumi Museum and other Seljuk period monuments.

Day 5: Visit Anatolian Civilizations Museum first and then drive to Beypazari to see a living rural late Ottoman town. Drive back to Ankara in the afternoon. Drop the rented car here and catch the evening plane to Istanbul.

With all good wishes.
 
Aug 10th, 2005, 02:36 PM
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Thanks, all. I have been to Cappadocia many years ago so we will not be returning there, nor will we go to Ankara. We would like to rent a car in Istanbul, and pick one or two places to stay ourside the city in 4-5 days. We are not interested in too many museums or archeological sites, as we prefer to have a very relaxing time perhaps on a village on the coast. That is why I asked earlier about Fos/Foca....and the area closer to Ephesus. While the itineraries suggested by Mural and Asia Minor are fascinating, this is way too much driving for us to do. Remember that I spent 6 weeks in Turkey and did see many of the better know tourist attractions..I should also say that several of the people in our small group of friends are food professionals, so eating good local specialities is at the top of our list of things to do!!
Also, can anyone recommend a commpany that can provide a small van and driver in case we decide not to rent our own cars? (We would probably need to rent two cars so a van might be more economical anad free us from having to drive ourselves.) Thanks so much!
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Aug 10th, 2005, 07:01 PM
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When we were in Turkey in 2000 we booked small tours and hotels with Gate 1 travel for Cappadocia and Ephesus. It included transportation and hotels. The vans were 15 seater mercedes vans. You may want to try them.
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Aug 10th, 2005, 10:56 PM
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Dear Excrunchy,

Since you have explained what you were really looking for, here is some more tips for you.(Mind you, do not forget this favor as we Turks have been keeping some of these secret heavens for us not for the tourists) I hope these will meet your expectations. If you are still not satisfied, I still have some more in my treasure trove.

1. Gökçeada
2. Bozcaada
3. Behramkale (Assos)
4. Adatepe
5. Polonezköy
6. Agva

With all good wishes.
 
Aug 10th, 2005, 11:38 PM
  #13  
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Dear Ekscrunchy,

I forgot to answer one of the things you have asked. You can contact Mr. Cem Metin [email protected] for the minivan rental with a driver. I am sure he will help.

With all good wishes.
 
Aug 11th, 2005, 05:30 AM
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Asia Minor, that is very helpful. Now, if you hve the time, could you tell me a little more about the places you list, such as the island of Bozcaada? These might be more like places we are looking for. To clarify further, we do not want to stay in any package-tour-type hotels, but rather hotels that are charming with character where upscale Turkish travelers might stay. We could perhaps visit two places, staying overnight, and take day trips from there, maybe to Ephesus if it is not more than 2 hours drive each way. On the coast would be great, in fairly unspoiled places would be ideal. I will get in touch with Mr. Metim to inquire about van rental with driver. I think there will be about 8 people in our group so it might make more sense than renting two cars and driving in a country we are not familiar with. Again, many thanks for your help, and to everyone who posted comments here.
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Aug 11th, 2005, 05:33 AM
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And Asia, I will not forget the favor....just let me know when you are New York City-bound!!!
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Aug 11th, 2005, 06:03 AM
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Dear Ekscruncy,

Let me do my homework and prepare the information you want. (I was meaning to appoint this homework to you but after reading your next post I decided to do it myself to deserve a pint of beer in New York with you.-By the way, I have been there once for a week and have no desire of going there again as it is not my type of place- Sorry for my bluntness)

Anyway, I will prepare the information and post it.

With all good wishes.

 
Aug 11th, 2005, 06:55 AM
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Dear Ekscrunchy,

For Gökçeada, I can say it is a typical Aegean Turkish island with a few Greek population and a mixture of Turco-Greek culture. For more information and to choose a place to stay visit http://www.gokceada.com/english/index.html

However, since you are interested in the local Aegean food and wine then Bozcaada can be your second destination. More or less with the same culture and history with Gökçeada. Visit http://www.bozcaada.info/where.html and http://www.bozcaadatenedos.com/Tenedos_Eng/index.htm

If you do not want to stay on two separate islands just choose one of them so that you will have a good reason to come back to Turkey again to the one you omitted.

My third suggestion is Adatepe village. Unfortunately, there is not so much written document in English, but even for Turks it is not a widely known place. However, since you are all gastronomers, it is a “must see” holy pilgrimage site for you as you will be seeing and tasting the history of oliveoil which has shaped the local culture around the Aegean coast of Turkey for over 3000 years. For limited English info on the village and the oliveoil museum visit http://www.adatepe.com/eng/default.htm

If you still wish to go to Ephesus, it is still 4-5 hours away from Adatepe, you can do it as a day’s excursion or if you think it is too much as a one night stay tour. No matter what kind of decision you make, try not to miss Cumhuriyet Lokantasý (Restaurant) in town centre of Edremit (unfortunately I cannot find its address and phone number right now, but I will give it to you if I find their card) where you can treat yourselves and satisfy your palatel pleasure. It is a local restaurant without any tourists and when I gave an ambush at lunchtime with 12 British travellers whom I was guiding, poor owner had to scatter us to different tables with empty seats and it was one of the most memorable moments of the 12 day tour when each of us had our meals at different tables with different Turkish local hosts instead of sitting at the same table.

Should you wish to hear more, I will keep on writing. However, do your homework first, shape your itinerary, decide where and hoe long to stay and then I will dress up your itinerary with some more tips.

With all good wishes.





 
Aug 11th, 2005, 07:01 AM
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Propertravel

You mentioned something about white-water rafting in Cappadoccia - Where do you go? Also, do you know anything about wine tasting there? We are definitely interested in the hikes and the outdoor adventures Cappadoccia has to offer!
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Aug 11th, 2005, 07:14 AM
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Asia Minor, that is wonderful. As you say, I must now do my homework. I will check out the web sites you posted. Also, there is a Turkish Govt tourism office here in NYC which may be of help. And maybe I can help you to enjoy my hometown better on your next visit! Ok, I will post further after I have had a chance to look into your interesting possibilities but I know you are on the right track for us. Until next time! Oh, one more thing....what is your take on Foca?
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Aug 11th, 2005, 08:08 AM
  #20  
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Dear Ekscrunchy,

Foça ? Another gem on the crown. It was going to be in your homework assignment (chapter 2) but you revealed all the secret.

P.S. I found the card of Cumhuriyet Lokantasi in Edremit. But it does not contain the address but only the phone number: 0266-373 10 76. However, if you drive into Edremit town centre from the main highway just ask anybody. They will show you the place. I still remember the taste of mousakka cooked with the local oliveoil (not the Greek one. The Turkish mousaka is much more different) I had there some two years ago...


With all good wishes.
 

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