Cappadocia - book tour or go independent

Jun 27th, 2014, 12:32 PM
  #1  
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Cappadocia - book tour or go independent

Cappadocia

Hi, we plan to be in Istanbul for a week in September and then go to Cappadocia for about three nights. Should we wait and have our hotel plan a short tour trip to Cappadocia and book a hotel for us?

Or shall we plan this short trip to Cappadocia by ourselves?
If so, should we book air flight. Which airline? Or bus?
We really don't want to rent a car.

I always plan our trips and we are independent travellers.
After one day with a tour guide, we want to slow down and go at our own pace.

Is there a classic trip itinerary to Cappadocia? Is three nights okay?

Thank you!
Traveliite is offline  
Jun 27th, 2014, 01:10 PM
  #2  
 
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I believe the bus trip would be pretty long to Cappadocia. We decided to fly and I was pleased with that decision.

I would imagine your hotel could make arrangements. We used the company at www.cappadociatours.com and were very pleased. I believe they also go by Euphrates tours. There are many other companies as well.

Cappadocia Tours made all of our arrangements for us and we chose to stay in a hotel I believe their family runs. However, I am sure you could opt to stay elsewhere. We did, however, enjoy their hotel. They seem to be a company that could book as little or as much for you as you prefer.

If you do a search on this site, I think you will find other tour companies other posters were happy with.

Enjoy Istanbul and Cappadocia. We thought they were both terrific.
KTtravel is offline  
Jun 27th, 2014, 01:12 PM
  #3  
 
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Oh, forgot to answer that three nights would be fine. However, given that you just have three nights I would strongly suggest flying rather than having a very long bus ride.
KTtravel is offline  
Jun 27th, 2014, 01:21 PM
  #4  
 
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Fly!
Do flights and hotel yourself.
Let the hotel you choose in Cappadocia arrange shuttle pick up from the airport and let them get a car and driver to take you to various sites. Use a local guide at underground city and places like that once you are there.

It is one of the easiest places to tour that you can imagine. Driving is also easy.

It is an exciting and interesting place, geographically, historically and culturally. The local people are warm and friendly.
Sassafrass is offline  
Jun 27th, 2014, 05:06 PM
  #5  
kja
 
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I also think that flying makes more sense than the bus. You might even want to consider flying straight to Cappadocia upon your arrival in Turkey so that you can avoid an extra hotel. (I'm assuming that you'll need to be in Istanbul at least one night before your departure, and of course, that assumption could be wrong!) Here's some info about your options:
http://www.turkeytravelplanner.com/g...ist_cappa.html

As Sassafrass said, consider your options for hotels that offer shuttle service to/from the airport.

Once in Cappadocia, you can arrange several different tours. Or discuss your options in advance via email with your hotel.

I know you said you don't want to rent a car; just thought I'd agree that it is easy to drive in the area. (And if you do drive, there are very few places for which you would need to join a tour.)

Depending on what you want to see and experience, three mights might be fine or might be too little. FWIW, I think 3 full days (whether that's 2 nights or 4) would suit most people well. (I actually had a bit more than that and was glad I did.)

Its a fascinating part of the world -- enjoy!
kja is offline  
Jun 27th, 2014, 05:31 PM
  #6  
 
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I would have your hotel arrange for a guide and car/driver.
While Cappadocia may not be difficult driving, many of the sites are hidden away caves that are difficult to locate. A
good guide will be familiar with the location and legends about each cave. For the underground city, you probably could just do with a bus tour-the bus tour will have its own guide at the site. Wonderful country!
wanttogo is offline  
Jun 27th, 2014, 06:41 PM
  #7  
 
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We did it ourselves with a rental car and had a blast. If you're decent with a map and not afraid to ask directions, it's quite easy to navigate. We went in early October and had many places pretty much to ourselves.

We based ourselves in Goreme. 3 full days is fine for getting a good solid taste of the area.
astein12 is offline  
Jun 27th, 2014, 08:53 PM
  #8  
 
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Look into Pegasus Air to fly to Cappadocia. Pegasus is very cheap but they do leave from the Sabitha Gotchen Airport on the Asian side. There is a bus once an hour from Taksim Square.

When I did this in 2011, I flew Pagasus and my hotel in Goreme, The Fairy Chimney Inn (booked myself). I highly recommend this small hotel which is a "cave" hotel. It is run by a German man who is, I believe, married to a Turk (but I could have gotten that wrong). In any event they speak English.

I did the main suggested day tours during the day. I believe the hotel arranged all the day tours. I did not do the balloon but you might want to. The problem with balloons for me is they cost a pile of money and I went in one once before (in Colorado) and just did not feel the need to do it. Lots do.

From the Fairy Chimney Inn I could see the balloons flying every morning. By the way, the balloon tours require you to get up at 4:00am to do it--another negative for me. I am on a holiday and you expect me to, what, get up in the middle of the night?

The breakfasts at the Fairy Chimney Inn were excellent.

I am returning to Istanbul on a second home exchange in a week and will be doing side trips to Ephesus and Gallipoli this year. I do have a blog and this link will lead you to some of my stuff on Turkey:

http://altecockertravels.weebly.com/...ange-ever.html

There is more if you are interested. Just look on the site.

For trip planning in Turkey, I am a big fan of Tom Brosnahan's turkeytravelplanner.com. You will find everything you need to know there. PS, before someone admonishes me, I don't personally know Tom or have financial interest in his site. He is someone who, having lived in Turkey, really knows the country.

I have a centrally located apartment this time. The apartment all the way on the Asian side had some advantages, but not if you really wanted to explore the main tourist places in Istanbul.

The roads in Turkey can be very rough--and the drivers crazy. I just got hotel transfers from the airport and relied on day tours to see everything. I notice the person who rented a car. That is another way to do it. It's a choice. They only disadvantage of day tours is the shopping stuff, so the guide can make some money. You do not have to purchase anything, of course.
lauren_s_kahn is offline  
Jun 28th, 2014, 12:44 AM
  #9  
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Thank you everyone for your guidance and insight to our mini-trip to Cappadocia.
We will book an air flight.

We have booked:
. 7 nights at the Grand Peninsula in Istanbul
. 3 nights at The Hidden Cave in Gerome, It's right in town. The hotel gets good reviews.
. 2 more nights somewhere
. and the last 3 nights back at the Grand Peninsula in Istanbul

Not sure where to go with the 2 nights somewhere, though.

Thanks again!
Traveliite is offline  
Jun 28th, 2014, 01:00 AM
  #10  
kja
 
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"3 nights .. in Gerome, It's right in town"

Great! There's a lot you can do by foot from Goreme, if that's something you are willing to consider. I spent one full day for a hot-air balloon ride and then a long hike; no need for a car or a tour on THAT day ... IF you are up for a LONG (but not strenuous) walk....

"Not sure where to go with the 2 nights somewhere, though"

You have a lot of options! What ideas have tickled your fancy so far? Which guidebooks are you using to make your plans? (I ask because some offer better coverage of particular areas than others.) Have you read any of our trip reports or our planning threads (which might be even more useful, since they will give you insight into what we chose to skip)?

If we are to help you with your remaining time, I thing it would be helpful to know not just where you will spend your NIGHTS, but where you will spend DAYS. Example: Two nights can mean ONE day ONLY (just the day in between) or it can mean close to THREE days (the days on either side, in addition to the day in between). So please, give us more information!

And we absolutely need to know something about your interests: Ruins? Beaches? Quiet seaside towns? Busy centers of commerce? Places with historical significance? Or ....
kja is offline  
Jun 28th, 2014, 11:04 PM
  #11  
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Kja, thank you for your comments.
Here is the a thread on our round the world trip.
It's mind boggling but the fun is in the trip planning.

http://www.fodors.com/community/euro...-itinerary.cfm

I research places through the internet, mainly Fodors, Tripadvisor, booking . com, wikitravel, guidebooks in libraries, Lonely Planet thorntree, Rick Steves, Rough Guide.

Wondering if it is worthwhile to add in Ephesus to those two days

We are slow travelers and travel on a budget.
Traveliite is offline  
Jun 28th, 2014, 11:53 PM
  #12  
kja
 
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Ephesus is spectacular and well worthy of a visit IMO. If you go, pay the extra for the Terrace Houses and also try to visit the museum, which is in Selcuk. Ephesus is one place where you might want to pay for a good guide -- and I don't normally recommend guides!

If I haven't already said so, do consider trying to consolidate your time in Istanbul so you only stay there once, presumably at the END of your time in Turkey. There's no reason for yet another change of hotels....
kja is offline  
Jun 29th, 2014, 02:32 AM
  #13  
 
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3 days is the right amount of time for Cappadocia. Although you dont seem to like driving, it infact is the best way to see Cappadocia. I did the "Green Toru" to the Ihlara Valley, it was great, but I wish we had spent more time t the Selime monastery or in the villages on the way, the landscape's brilliant, so going independent is the best way to go about it.
Places close to Goreme do not require a tour, it's best to go against the tours infact, do the Goreme museum in the afternoon,while most people/tours visit it in the morning.
So get a car with a driver if you dont want to drive, but do at the most 1 tour. Soganli Valley is something one should explore.
I spent about 4 days in Cappadocia : ashwinbahulkar.wordpress.com/my-travels-2/turkey/4-days-in-cappadocia/
The places you should look for are Zelve, Pasabagi, Cavusin(for sunset), Uchisar(for sunset), a small hike in the Rose Redy valley, the town of Avanos(it's riverside walks).
ashwinb is offline  
Jun 29th, 2014, 02:58 AM
  #14  
kja
 
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"The places you should look for are..."

While I agree that ashwinb is pointing you to some great options, I'm not sure I agree with the list ashwinb offers. You might want to include seeing at least one han (aka kervansaray) and at least one of the underground cities in your time in this area. You might want to visit one of the prehistoric sites in the area. And with only three days, you might want to choose EITHER the Ihlara Valley OR the Soganli Valley (not both), unless they are truly high priorities for you.
kja is offline  
Jun 29th, 2014, 06:25 AM
  #15  
 
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Sounds like things are shaping up pretty well for. My thoughts: Pegasus air is the way to go. Pay the extra money ($20?) to get the most comfortable seats. Even though it's only about a 1 hr flight, even the "best" seats are tighter than the worst seats on US domestic flights. I disagree with assessment of roads - they are pretty good in the Cappodochia area and have virtually no traffic as the area is so sparsely populated. At least consider a car rental. Another option is to have hotel arrange a private taxi with an English speaking driver for you - they are very inexpensive (about $50 for four hours of touring).
bardo1 is offline  
Jun 29th, 2014, 06:28 AM
  #16  
 
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To be clear, the cheap taxi/driver rates are in Cappodochia and other rural areas. In Istanbul, taxis are just as expensive as any other major European city.
bardo1 is offline  
Jun 29th, 2014, 09:13 AM
  #17  
 
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Ephesus is indeed spectacular, one of the most beautiful and interesting archeological sites you will see anywhere.

Check and compare flights from Istanbul to Cappadocia carefully because from one airport they might be cheaper, but taxi might be more and times might not be as good. It also depends on where you are landing in Cappadocia.

Roads around Cappadocia are fine, but having a driver is also good, so if you do not wish to drive, it will not be a problem. I hate driving and DH was too tired to feel safe driving in a new place.

When we used a driver from the hotel, he worked with a couple of people the same day. He picked us up and dropped us at the underground city and gave a time to meet him. He did another run while we were there. Then he picked us up and took us to one of the valleys while he picked up the other group, etc. We then had him take us to the restaurant we has chosen for dinner. So he was not with us and waiting every minute, but was available all day, getting us where we wanted to be and we were the only people in the taxi each time. It was $50.00 for the day that way.
Sassafrass is offline  
Jun 29th, 2014, 07:18 PM
  #18  
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Thank you for the comments on Ephesus.

Since we are slow travellers, we have decided to return to Istanbul adter our trip to Cappadocia.

The Hidden Cave Hotel has some group tours of which we will take a minimum of one day.

The hotel mentions a Turkish Night of folk dances, belly dancer, traditional Turkish Wedding ceremony, fire dance and whirling dervish. So our day and night will be full.

We appreciate all your comments above.
Traveliite is offline  
Jul 6th, 2014, 04:53 PM
  #19  
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We will plan to fly Istanbul to Cappacodocia.

What airport in Istanbul to fly to Cappacodocia?
We are staying in Gerome.

The comments above recommend Pegasus airline.

Thank you!
Traveliite is offline  
Jul 6th, 2014, 05:12 PM
  #20  
 
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Pegasus flies from Sabitha Gochen on the Asian side. There is a bus from Taksim Square to the airport once an hour.
lauren_s_kahn is offline  

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