Another Turkey Itinerary Request

Jul 19th, 2011, 05:33 PM
  #1  
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Another Turkey Itinerary Request

Hello Fodorites,
On somewhat spur of the moment I cashed in a bunch of Delta miles and bought a ticket to Turkey in the first week of September, and am doing some research now to come up with an itinerary. Here's a first stab at things... I would really welcome any suggestions. Thank you!

Sat Sep 3 - arrive IST ~10 AM. Hotel TBD. early afternoon istanbul exploration. Thinking probably some bazaars as they are closed sundays.

Sun Sep 4 - AM flight to Izmir, on to Selcuk and Ephesus.

Mon Sep 5 - around Selcuk

Tue Sep 6 - early AM flight to Kayseri or Neveshir. On to Goreme.

Wed Sep 7 - hiking. would like to get to ihlara valley for hiking as well.

Th Sep 8 - underground cities and other sites

Fri sep 9 - early AM flight to Istanbul - Istanbul

Sat Sep 10 - possible day trip to Bursa or on the Bosphorous or istanbul

Sun Sep 11 - Istanbul - maybe 1/2 day trip to Princes Islands

Mon Sep 12 - depart for NYC on noon flight

Question: how timely are domestic flights? I'm looking into trying to stay with Turkish air but their tickets are sometimes double those of the other carriers. Onur and Sunexpress have timings I want [from bulucuk.com] for Izmir but overall less frequent if something were to go wrong and I might be stuck at airport... Also, is it easier to get from Sultanhamet to IST or to SAW?

Any adjustments to the schedule you would make? Reason for earlier short stay in Istanbul is due to flights from Izmir to Kayseri being more frequent on Tuesday or Thursday.

thanks again for suggestions and comments!
sjk1976 is offline  
Jul 19th, 2011, 05:57 PM
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You'll need a car or a guide with transportation for Cappadocia.
Michael is offline  
Jul 19th, 2011, 06:04 PM
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it is much closer and cheaper from sultanahmet to Ataturk.

i'll be interested in hearing other's experiences with intra-Turkey carriers as we plans some December connections.

in June, we had a flight from SAW to Kayesri on Pegasus which was cancelled a week or so before scheduled departure (which happens on occasion with all carriers) and we rebooked on Turkish Airways, which has amazed me in 6 flights with how on time it is. Their tickets do seem higher but you're also going to spend more money and time on transportation to SAW.
bellfam is offline  
Jul 19th, 2011, 06:08 PM
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Onur Air flies from Ataturk to Izmir.
Michael is offline  
Jul 19th, 2011, 06:10 PM
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i was hoping in Cappadocia to get by with a strategic taxi ride or a possible day tour. I am being a little lazy by asking for a driver recommendation instead of doing my own legwork [sorry!]. So if fodorites would be so kind...
sjk1976 is offline  
Jul 19th, 2011, 06:23 PM
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I flew Pegesus from SAW to Kayseri. Have only compliments for both Pegesus & SAW. The planes were new 737's. Honestly they put Delta's fleet to shame! SAW is inconveniently located for Sultanahmet, but is exceptionally well laid out. The best part was RT tickets were only $70.

I notice you're not spending any time in Istanbul, except for your first day. Is there a reason for this?
aimeekm is offline  
Jul 19th, 2011, 06:51 PM
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the last three days are in istanbul. leaving it are options - in case i run out of stuff
sjk1976 is offline  
Jul 19th, 2011, 07:03 PM
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Best way to get from Izmir airport to Selcuk is by train. You have to go from the International Terminal to the Domestic Terminal (once in the Domestic Terminal, turn right and go downstairs to the train ticket office and train station).

Here's the train schedule:

http://www.turkeytravelplanner.com/g...cuk_train.html

It's not that easy to go via bus, since the bus doesn't stop at the Izmir airport, so you have to taxi into town first to the "otogar" (bus stop), then catch a random bus to Selcuk.

Best to visit Ephesus early in the morning - too hot otherwise. Take a taxi up to the Upper Gate and walk DOWNHILL through Ephesus to the Lower Gate, then you can catch a bus from the Lower Gate back to Selcuk. There is no bus going to the Upper Gate, so you will still have to pay for a taxi ride back to Selcuk if you go in the reverse direction. Take water and an umbrella.
easytraveler is offline  
Jul 19th, 2011, 07:28 PM
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Thanks easytraveler, will do. Sounds like that may be something I do on day 2 in Selcuk. How long do you suggest spending at Ephesus. Since I plan to book an early AM flight to Kayseri for the following day, I had planned to spend that night in Izmir.
sjk1976 is offline  
Jul 19th, 2011, 07:28 PM
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We stayed at the charming Hotel Kelebek in Goreme and they arranged wonderful day trips with groups of 4-6 to hike Ilhara valley and visit the underground cities. The guides were excellent and customized the day trips to our interests. In Selcuk, our host at Hotel Bella picked us up after our visit to Ephesus and drove us up to Meryama. We rented a car at Izmir airport and drove to Selcuk. Then spent a day exploring Pamukale, Hieropolis, and Aphrosdiasis on our own w/ no problem.
larluk is offline  
Jul 19th, 2011, 07:36 PM
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Thanks larluk. Kelebek is one of the hotels on my list. Did you stay in a "cave" room? I was looking at their fairy chimeny option, not just for budget but also for "ambiance"...
sjk1976 is offline  
Jul 19th, 2011, 08:25 PM
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Of your last 2 1/2 days you have day trips planned. I'd really suggest exploring Istanbul during that time. There is so much to see. I spent 5 full days there, plus a couple halves and barely scratched the surface. Trust me, you won't run out of stuff!

Kelebeck is amazing. I was in a Jr. Suite cave room, and it was fantastic. I agree the fairy chimney rooms look especially atmospheric. I was tempted by them, but I was there in the winter so the heaterless aspect wouldn't work. You really cannot go wrong with any room at Kelebeck I don't think.
aimeekm is offline  
Jul 19th, 2011, 08:48 PM
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Hi sjk:

Going to Ephesus the next morning is a good decision.

How long to spend at Ephesus depends on your interests. I'm the kind that will stop at every building, read every sign, reference my guidebook, took numerous pictures, etc. So, I'd say plan a minimum of half a day at Ephesus. Wear comfortable shoes. Nice of the Greeks and Romans to be able to afford marble to pave their streets, but it can get a bit slippery in small spots because of the frequency of use and the marble gets worn smooth.

If you're interested, the afternoon of your arrival, after you have checked into your hotel in Selcuk, you can take a bus to Kusadasi and go lie on the beach or engage in some other water activity.

http://www.kusadasi.biz/info/guide/beaches

There are plenty of buses and the ride is only 20 minutes. At the Selcuk bus station, there are at least half a dozen bus companies, each with its own small office. Varan and Kamil Koc are the two that i remember, but Turkey has a fantastic bus system and if there is another bus, like a minibus, from a local company and it's good, you can take that bus. Make sure you know how to get back to Selcuk! (I was with a friend and each of us thought the other was keeping track - not good!)

Selcuk is a small compact town whereas Kusadasi is a fair-sized resort city. Unless you are going to take a siesta in your hotel after arrival, there's really not that much to explore in Selcuk (the big old fort up at the top of the hill is closed until 2012). There's also the Ephesus Museum which I personally think isn't worth it after a visit to Ephesus itself.

Selcuk is also full of tourist trap restaurants. I'll try to find the name of the small restaurant where the prices were reasonable and it served really good food to boot.
easytraveler is offline  
Jul 19th, 2011, 10:26 PM
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The Ephesus museum contains sculptures from the Ephesus site which have to be protected. It is worth a visit.
Michael is offline  
Jul 20th, 2011, 06:27 AM
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>>i was hoping in Cappadocia to get by with a strategic taxi ride or a possible day tour.<<

You can easily hire a car and driver and/or a guide from the various travel agencies in Gorome. I suspect you can do the same in the other cities in Cappadocia if you're not staying in Gorome.
Axel2DP is offline  
Jul 20th, 2011, 09:09 AM
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Another recommendation for Kelebek. On your arrival day in Cappadocia, I would just walk around Goreme--to the open air museum and on the various hiking trails.
Kelebek arranged for a driver for me for a full-day excursion that included a stop at an underground city and a few other sites, but the highlight was that he dropped me off at one end of Ilhara so I could walk and then he picked me up at the end. Worth every penny. So you could see a lot on your second day if you go this route.
yorkshire is offline  
Jul 20th, 2011, 06:33 PM
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Thank you all. Yorkshire do you recall about how much your car and driver were? What you suggest sounds exactly like something I would like to try.

Easytraveler thanks for the suggestion of the beach but I'm usually too wound up in a new place wanting to look under every Rick to actualy find peace on a beach. Is it possible to maybe go to sirince or maybe a smaller seaside town close by where I could go for a couple of hours? Big and touristy doesn't sound too appealing. And, unfortunately Kelebek only has hugely expensive suites Rigt now so I went with a much smaller pension that also came highly recommended. Will have to check back and see if something opens up.

And I'm taking all the suggestions here and planning a whole lot to do in Istanbul itself. I'm somewhat hung up on Bursa - gotta figure out what caught and held my interest either in guidebook or a trip report. Mayer will look at leaving cappadocia one night earlier an taking a full day in Istanbul instead... So much to do and so little time!
sjk1976 is offline  
Jul 20th, 2011, 08:54 PM
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Oh no ... don't cut Cappadocia short! I spent 2 1/2 days there, and I really felt like I needed one more. But I haven't been to the other cities you're visiting, so I also can't suggest cutting one of those either.

Driving is really easy in Cappadocia. I would suggest renting a car, as that will give you the most freedom.
aimeekm is offline  
Jul 20th, 2011, 09:12 PM
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I tried to stay away from your threads here and on TA as you seemed to have sufficient information from different perspectives to make up your own mind (apparently a difficult endeavor).

however, your obsession with Bursa forces me to pitch in.

Bursa is a large industrial city. It has:
- two 500 year old mosques which moslems like to visit
- a mountain resort which has self-grill and picnic sites in the summer and reasonably good skiing in the winter.
- some good natural hot water springs and baths
- a former and now only touristic silk production
- one "authentic" old Ottoman village good for breakfasts with home made rasberry juice.
- good peaches in season but the best ones having been sold to Istanbul.
- the reputation of being the home of Iskender kebap, but the ones in Istnbul having better quality and taste now.

It takes anywhere from two and a half to three hours to get there and as much to get back.

Even with 30 days to visit Turkey, i cannot see anyone being interested in Bursa.

For the same amount of traveling Iznik is a better proposition if one has longer than five days in Istanbul and wishes to experience antiquity and local small town culture combinations. (sea my report)

You would spend the same amount of time and slightly more money even for taking a day trip to Ephesus!!! taking Atlas Jet with free shuttle.
otherchelebi is offline  
Jul 21st, 2011, 04:35 PM
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Thank you all for the info. Othercelebi thank you for the information on bursa but next time you are compelled to respond to a post or question that I have please edit the commentary of your opinion regarding my decision-making ability. Such snide comments, whether this is what you intended or not, seem contrary to the spirit if these forums. Thanks.
sjk1976 is offline  

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