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7 days in Turkey - itinerary help please!

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Jun 17th, 2013, 09:22 PM
  #1
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7 days in Turkey - itinerary help please!

Hi all,

My husband and I are planning a trip for Turkey in early September. Unfortunately, we only have a week off from work but want to make the most of it! We are experienced international travelers, tend to pack a lot in to our itineraries and love to explore as much as possible -- even if it makes for some long days! Prefer to tour things on our own - not via large grps or tour guides - but would consider organized tours if it makes the most sense for specific sites/day trips. I know we will barely scratch the surface of Turkey on this trip, but would love your help & suggestions as we work out our plans.

We are booking our flts this week and plan to fly in/out of Istanbul. Our very tentative itinerary includes:
Fri 8/30 - depart Chicago at 3p
Sat 8/31 - arrive in Istanbul around 5p, get settled at our hotel (still tbd) and walk around a bit that evening just to grab dinner
Sun + Mon 9/1-2 - full days touring the sights of Istanbul
Tues 9/3 - either another full day in Istanbul OR day trip via air to Izmir to Selcuk/Ephesus
Wed 9/4 - fly to Goreme / Capadoccia in the afternoon (either from Selcuk or IST)
Thurs 9/5 - explore Capadoccia (we love to hike, sounds like there are lots of opportunities for that here!)
Fri 9/6 - hot air balloon ride, more exploring in the area?
Sat 9/7 - fly back to IST in the AM to allow for plenty of time to catch our evening flight back to Chicago

A few specific questions....
1. I've read mixed things about making Ephesus a day trip. Some say its doable if you're ok with a long day, others say its not enough or enjoyable. Thoughts?
2. If a day trip is doable, any suggestions on tour companies to help us arrange the day tri logistics & tour?
3. It seems like a lot of people rent cars for their time in Cappadocia. Is the area fairly easy to navigate? Any tips for driving/renting a car there?
4. We have some hotels in mind for Istanbul, but all recs welcome for Goreme

Thanks in advance for your help!!
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Jun 17th, 2013, 09:47 PM
  #2
Hez
 
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Are you sure traveling to Turkey is wise right now? http://travel.state.gov/travel/cis_p...a/pa_5990.html
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Jun 17th, 2013, 11:38 PM
  #3
 
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Traveling to Turkey is not a foolhardy adventure. Very few tourists staing in the touristic old town realized that there war anything going on even in Istanbul the last three weeks when protests and police brutality were in full swing.

We have a less than democratic government which will probably stay in power for quite some time but that does not affect the tourist except for allowing the visitor some more possibilities of political and sociological observation.

This is one of the best countries for hiking.

Your research is good. Cappadocia is both easy to drive and has very good hiking. Please read at least some of the trip reports of previous travelers to the area.

For future reference, best hiking would be at the Lycian Way on the Mediterranean in May and early June and on the Black Sea coast in JUly, August till mid September. There are also shorter but interesting hikes at Kaz Mountains on Northern Aegean and the Phrygian Valley in Eastern Aegean.

For the real adventurer/history buff, there was a lady who replicated the route of the famous Ottoman traveler Evliya Celebi on horse back in the Aegean.

Your itinerary looks good.

A day trip to Selcuk and Ephesus is absolutely doable as long as you do not have mobility or health issues and take melatonin to recover fast from jet lag each night before trying to go to sleep at a reasonable hour.
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Jun 18th, 2013, 06:46 AM
  #4
 
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I think you ae trying to do too much. I'm still writing my trip report on this forum---3 weeks in wesern Turkey---. We had 5 full days and 2 part days in Istanbul and still could have done lots more. We loved Cappadoccia but you can get away without a car. We had one and it sat for 1 and a half days unused. You can hire private driver and tour through your hotel for further away areas or go on one of the green or red tours through tour company. Cars are not cheap and gas/benzene/deisel is around $10 US a gallon. The hotels offer to drive you to places free. You pay for transfer to and from airport which is hour and half maybe bit less away. Save Ephesus/ Selcuk for another time. Remember flying takes up quite a bit of your day getting to airport and through security. Book your hotel in Cappadocia soon as very popular. Also domestic flights get more expensive closer to the date. Book directly with airlines not through expedia etc.
Read trip reports on Fodors and Trip Advisor forums. Go to trip advisor to the forum specifically for Cappadocia. Read the hotel reviews. There is ton of info and lots of people asking same question of what to do with 7 days.
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Jul 2nd, 2013, 10:02 AM
  #5
 
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Hello Kate
If you still catch this information than I would suggest you great company for Ephesus tour. We did have trip with them Istanbul-Cappadocia- Cannakale-Troy- ephesus- sirince village and i have to say we were delighted ! Very new transport, affordable prices including nice meal and incredible guide with excellent english. Please read trip advisor link about them
http://www.tripadvisor.com/Attractio...ean_Coast.html or drop them line to info at ephesustoursbest dot com
they are very professional we highly recommend them.
Have a good trip Kate
Samanta and Adrew
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Jul 2nd, 2013, 05:06 PM
  #6
kja
 
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Seems I jumping in late (I was away when you posted), but FWIW, here are my two cents:

I agree that you really aren't leaving much time for Istanbul. You may be willing to burn the candle at both ends, but many places close, so your sightseeing on any given day is limited. And coming from Chicago, you will probably face some jet lag at the start of your trip. If you do pursue this plan, be sure to plan your priorities in light of closing times, as some place will probably be closed on one of the days you are there (e.g., I think the Aya Sofia was closed on Mondays when I visited).

I visited Ephesus, but not as a day trip. I really enjoyed Selcuk and was glad to have 2 nights there so I could visit Ephesus and a number of other sites in town. Whether you visit it as a day trip or not, I strongly recommend that you include the Terrace Houses (which incur and extra charge) and I would recommend a guide for at least that part of your time on site.

Two days in Goreme is also a very short time. I would recommend that you reserve your hot air balloon for your first day in the area so that you have the option of flying the next day if weather precludes a flight on your first day. And yes, you will have time after your flight to continue your explorations: You'll probably be back to your hotel by 10 a.m. or so. I thought it easy to navigate in the area, but I had a good GPS system with me (my TomTom). As WhistlerNorth says, fuel is expensive. Whether a car makes sense for you depends on what you want to see and experience. If you want to go to any of the sites that are a bit out of Goreme (the Ihlara or Soganli valleys, the underground cities), you'll probably need to either rent a car or join a tour. For sites closer to Goreme (Pasabag, the Zelve and Goreme outdoor museums, hiking the local valleys, etc), you might want to check with your hotel about options for pick up or drop off, or even select a hotel based on whether those are services they offer.

Here's a radical idea for your consideration: You might want to skip Istanbul on this trip. I say that even though I adored Istanbul! But it would be easier to return to Istanbul than to return to Ephesus or Cappadocia, and you are cutting your time in each of these wonderful areas so close to the bone! Just a thought....

Hope that helps!
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Jul 3rd, 2013, 02:23 PM
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We went 3 years ago for 8 days..7 of us... ( School vacation schedule)We saw everything..
This agency arrange everything..bc we were on a tight schedule.. Pick ups drop offs guides. Plane connections..great hotells .. Including a very nice cave hotel in cappidocia..It was great..
I suggest you let them arrange everything...and it was very inexpensive
.1100$ pp dollars..FOR EVERYTHING ...
except plane fare from New York..we flew on Turkish airlines.. And they were fantastic..like old stye flying with great customer service and on board amenities..
This is the agency
magnificent [email protected]
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Jul 3rd, 2013, 02:24 PM
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Part 2.
We told them where we wanted to go and they arranged everything..
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Jul 3rd, 2013, 02:28 PM
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Part 3
If youwant I can find the itinerary and send it o you... But we went to the majors spots..and ad time to shop in Istanbul..but we needed a coordinated plan.. Which they arranged to perfection...
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Jul 5th, 2013, 04:28 AM
  #10
 
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Seems pretty good, if you dont mind traveling on overnight buses, do look at them,they save loads of time and money,and you are dropped right in the middle of the town, I find getting to airports quite a hassle and waste of time.
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Jul 5th, 2013, 09:16 AM
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We were recently in [just] Istanbul for 6 days, and our son and DIL were in Capadoccia first for 2 days. We are also "fast travelers". I'd say the minimum you need in Istanbul is 3-3 1/2 days and that's packing it in. Just the main sights - Topkapi, Blue Mosque, Hagia Sophia, Suleimaniya, Basilica Cistern (not to be missed), Grand Bazaar, Spice Market, Galata Bridge/Tower, a walk up Istiklal Street (just to see something of "modern" Istanbul as opposed to the concentration of historical sights, mosques and bazaars), Chora Church if you have time, will take that long.
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Jul 5th, 2013, 09:38 AM
  #12
 
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I concur with sf7307. We spent 7 nights in Istanbul and 3 nights in Goreme to see the Capadoccia area. Both felt about right for hitting the most popular tourists sites but we could have easily spent another week in Istanbul (we never even made it to the Asian side).

I would say five full days on the ground in Istanbul and two full days on the ground in Capadoccia is an absolute minimum. Sorry, you don't have a few more weeks but you can always return another time, no?
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Jul 5th, 2013, 09:42 AM
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As to driving in Capadoccia: Yes it's very easy. You're in the country and the roads mostly empty and are in excellent condition. There are OCCASIONALLY some tight spaces/turns in the middle of some of the old villages (which were laid out LONG before autos were invented) but even that is quite doable with patience.
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Aug 9th, 2014, 09:51 AM
  #14
 
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kbg3511 on Aug 9, 14 at 12:42pm
I recommend calling .
[email protected]
Nihat Yolageldit
Magnificent Travel Agency
Istanbul, Turkey
We used them to plan all our in country travel..they were great and inexpensive
Arranged all hotels, flights, pick ups, tours of all the venues, with guides..
We used In a small mini van that sometimes had other independents ..we were 7 people. We told him where we wanted to go, hotels, etc..( they can do hotels for you ). They arranged eveything..they were on time, reliable..we arranged our own international flights on air turkey.. And they were great too. Customer service and flight was great...
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