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cappadocia to coast by car? or skip cappadocia?

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Jan 31st, 2013, 01:44 AM
  #1
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cappadocia to coast by car? or skip cappadocia?

Hello,
I have been poring through all the posts and reports on Turkey to better plan our upcoming trip. They have been SO helpful.
Some questions remain.

Background: Family of four, two teens, trip is in late March.
We are booked for 6 days in Istanbul to start (apartment in Sultanahmet)

Thinking of flying to Cappadocia (Goreme) from Istanbul and staying 4 days - hiking etc. We might drive as cost of flights for four people does add up - even with discount airlines. I am not sure we can afford balloon rides. Wow they are expensive for 4 people....and will 4 days in a cave room be too much? (Vineyard or Taskonak)

This leaves us 6 days. THinking of renting a car and driving to the coast. But where and which route?

Ideally we would like to end in a sunny warm spot with some cultural interest, good walking, good food, perhaps wildlife. (I know it's not beach weather yet but just to sit out in sunshine would be lovely before heading back to Canada). Not in a big concrete beach resort. Looked at Cirali but that might be too far off track given our time, and perhaps not as warm as other spots. We like to spend more time in one place rather than rushing around to several.

Our flight home is late afternoon from Istanbul. Debating driving that day from somewhere further up the coast. Having said that I don't think we really want to see Pammukkale and on the fence about Ephesus. Would love to see it if nearby.

Appreciate any tips. It is such a huge country it is hard to narrow down. I am even considering dropping Cappadocia if this would provide a more leisurely coastal trip - starting out of Istanbul and only using a car. Is this a bad idea? Just seems like we are travelling huge distances within one country. I have travelled a lot in Southwestern USA (Bryce Canyon, Grand Canyon, etc) and not sure Cappadocia will be that significantly different for the time and cost involved in getting there. Clearly the churches and museums there will be amazing, I am referring to the hiking and natural landscape. I know once there I will enjoy but also worried about weather at that time.

Sorry for so many questions!
Thank-you!
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Jan 31st, 2013, 01:59 AM
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I suggest that you stay 3 nights at Cappadocia and then drive down through Nigde or Aksaray (Aksaray route may be faster) through Pozanti, Tarsus and Mersin to Erdemli or to Kizkalesi- Narlikuyu.

The route and the area is full of wonderful nature and historic ruins. Very little built up, and cheaper than most standard resorts.

After a few days you can continue to Anamur or Side for a few more days, return the car at Antalya airport and fly to Istanbul.

We have done this route three times in the last five years and loved it, discovering new places to see and enjoy every time.

Our last visit has a trip report here, called "From Denver to Virtuous" (virtuous is the direct English translation of Erdemli as an adjective)

In the report, you will find some hotel advice also and an idea of driving times and distances.
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Jan 31st, 2013, 02:06 AM
  #3
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Thank-you! I will look into this today! Would you suggest driving to Capadoccia from Istanbul? It sounds like it may not be as scenic as the drive to the coast.
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Jan 31st, 2013, 03:16 AM
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Driving from Istanbul to Cappadocia will waste whole day.

Although you will not have to enter Ankara, even the ring road around is not too short.

When you reach the ring road you will have two options, to go towards Konya till Aksaray and take the Nevsehir exit or go towards Samsun, then Kirikkale to Goreme. I have not done the second alternative since 1995 but I am told that it is longer.

On the first alternative, it will be about 5 hours to Ankara and another 3 hours or so after that. And you are right, the scenery is not too exciting although still better than many areas we drove in the United States because of high mountains and mixture of arid areas with lush forests.

March is always lovely because of nature waking up.

By the way, I recommend a larger car, possibly a Ford Focus or a Renault Megan or a Corolla. Avis may have a special deal on the Fords because the company with the Avis franchise in Turkey also is a shareholder of the Turkish Ford car and truck production facilities.

I did not comment on the response you got from Sarikanarya on Trip Adviser because she is a friend and could be upset. She has never traveled the area I recommend to you, however her recommendation would have been solid also if the time was a couple of months later.

I do not know what my wife eser celebiler managed to salvage from web shots and put on flicker or whether there are any photos of the areas you will visit, but you are welcome to visit her site.
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Jan 31st, 2013, 05:18 PM
  #5
kja
 
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The good news is that you should have a great trip no matter which you choose! You might find some useful information in my trip report - just check on my name to find it. And whatever else you do, listen to otherchelebi!
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Jan 31st, 2013, 08:47 PM
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It takes two days to drive from Cappadocia to the coast (it probably could be done on a very long day). We rented a car for 9 days starting in Izmir and saw Ephesus, Aphrodisias, Pamukkale (Hieropolis) and Cappadocia, and then flew back to Istanbul from Kayseri. Your 6 left over days are enough for going to the coast and then flying back to Istanbul.

BTW, the cost of fuel for the car was equal to the total rental cost--something to keep in mind when thinking that airfare might be too expensive for four.

Click on my name to find the trip report.
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Jan 31st, 2013, 09:07 PM
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I think the landscape of Cappadocia will be unlike any you have seen before - truly amazing.

We found flights for around $100.00 RT from Istanbul to Cappadocia - don't know what one-way would be, but considering the cost of your entire trip per day, I would not want to spend a whole day in the car if I didn't have to.

I would say to cut the stay in Cappadocia to three nights
(2 full days or 2&1/2, depending on your arrival time) if that would help to cut your costs enough for you to do the hot air balloon flight. It would be so great for your kids. Just do the shorter flight. It is often a little longer than they say it will be.

Have a look at hotel Isbelli Evi in Urgup. They have one nice suite with two bedrooms, sitting room and little kitchen. The price was good, I thought and they serve an excellent full breakfast.
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Jan 31st, 2013, 11:12 PM
  #8
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Thanks everyone. I think we will bite the bullet and go to Cappadocia. It may mean packing warmer clothes for that section of the trip but we will figure it out. I don't think cutting the time willl cut costs as we will still need to pay for accommodation elsewhere. I will poll the kids and see if the balloon ride is something they REALLY want and then we will make choices between that and other activities. It seems the prices are comparable to North America and I think the views will be stunning.

More research to do on the coast. I will check out your trip reports. Think I already did a couple of months ago but my memory needs a reboot!
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Feb 1st, 2013, 12:49 AM
  #9
kja
 
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> It may mean packing warmer clothes for that section of the trip

Really? I wouldn't think it would take any more than just the layering items one would normally take just in case one runs into unexpectedly cold weather. Granted, I visited in May/June, but what are you expecting that you wouldn't expect if you didn't visit Cappadocia?

> the balloon ride ...

Yes, the views are stunning, and yes, the rides are expensive! I feel very fortunate to have been able to take one of the 2-hour rides, but I saw where the hour-long balloons landed, and I think those who chose the shorter flight on that particular day would have had a very scenic and memorable journey. Of course, there is no guarantee of what any particular balloon will cover on any particular day - that depends on the wind and currents and other stuff. But that's true regardless of the ride's length.

My take; If you can afford a 2-hour balloon, consider it. But a 1-hour ride is a VERY worthy (and more affordable) alternative, particularly if the option is to skip it entirely!
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Feb 1st, 2013, 08:30 AM
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If you are very ecologically minded you will not take a balloon ride. Our local unofficial guide claimed that the local eagle population has been declining because it is disturbed by the balloons.
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Feb 1st, 2013, 05:54 PM
  #11
kja
 
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> If you are very ecologically minded you will not take a balloon ride. Our local unofficial guide claimed that the local eagle population has been declining because it is disturbed by the balloons.

Oh, I'm SO glad I didn't know that before I took my ride!
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Feb 7th, 2013, 01:37 PM
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First to answer Michael; your unofficial!! guide must have tried to impress you one way or another with his Knowledge but thats not the case! So Kja do not feel bad about....

Kpiepen; I am glad you decided on Cappadocia, I am sure you will all love & enjoy. Ballooning, probably the best in the world choosing the right operator...

From Cappadocia to Antalya is 545 KM and little over 7 hours drive with short stops. You can also visit Konya on the way.

Avoiding big resorts and giant resort hotels you can either overnight at ld city and continue to Cirali & Olympos for beach part would fulfill your wishes. Mind you March, you may get god weather and even swim but be prepared for some rain here and there as well. And yes for Cappadocia especially for even,ng another layer will be comfortable and necessary.

Flight issue: If booked in time some airlines has rates like 40 Usd per person per ticket one way Istanbul - Kayseri thats nearly 12 hours bus ride costs.

Have a great time in Turkey,

Murat
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Feb 7th, 2013, 01:53 PM
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You will be so glad you did not skip Cappadocia. Although some of the canyons/rocks may look similar, the "fairy chimneys" are unique, and the cultural aspect makes it mind blowing. The kids will love the underground cities.
We skipped the balloon and did not think twice, but only your family can decide how important it is to you. The early wake-up call was enough to dissuade us, but I thought seeing the rock formations up close on foot was plenty great!
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Feb 7th, 2013, 03:22 PM
  #14
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thanks again. we are booked at Vineyard Cave in a family room - deciding on 3 or 4 night stay -and will likely fly with Atlas Istanbul to Kayseri. They have good prices.

Still working through the Goreme to coast section. There seems to be a VERY high charge for dropping off a rental car on the coast. I don't know how we get around it but it really affects our budget. any tips?
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Feb 7th, 2013, 03:48 PM
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your unofficial!! guide must have tried to impress you one way or another with his Knowledge but thats not the case!

I doubt it, although he may have been misinformed, nor were we seeking information about balloon rides. Asserting the opposite certainly does not prove anything.
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Feb 8th, 2013, 10:44 AM
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The info about the loss of the bird population lead me to do some research. When birds, especially nesting birds and birds that are eating, are startled, they instinctively start up and fly a ways from the nest. They eat less food and eggs may be damaged. The movement does it as well as sound. So if the balloons go close to nesting grounds, they may be a problem. The same is true of model airplanes, kites, helicopters, hang gliders, etc., etc., Huge areas around airports are affected.

One article I read specifically mentions balloons during nesting time, but not Cappodocia. So, if actual studies have been done there, the "Unofficial" guide may be correct or he may be guessing in this particular case.
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Feb 13th, 2013, 07:16 PM
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We did a trip to Turkey in May. We spent four nights in Cappadocia and then drove south. Our first stop was Side and we should have just stayed there. It was such a great town.

If you do go there, try to find a hotel in 'old Side'. There are ruins within walking distance of the hotels, We didn't use the car the entire time we were there, everything was walking distance.

The Side Museum was great too. Just outside of Side are some wonderful ruins called Perge that you would drive to, and a huge site that is very interesting. We loved Turkey!!
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Feb 14th, 2013, 01:14 AM
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I am glad you decided on Cappadocia. We did love our balloon ride there and an hour ride seemed quite sufficient. It was a splurge, to be sure, but something I will never forget. However, the scenery was quite similar to what you can see from the ground so, if it stretches your budget too much, it can be skipped.

Have a great trip!
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Feb 20th, 2013, 01:29 AM
  #19
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THanks again. Just checking back. We are finding the coastal sections the hardest to plan. I wanted to give my kids a few "non-tourist" days at a resort but so many are not fully open(waterslides closed etc) until April and we are there the last week of March. I just don't want to pay a lot of money to sit around a cold pool! I have not read great reviews of any of the all inclusives in the area so reluctant to commit to one....

From Goreme we decided to drive straight to SIDE. I spent a lot of time looking at the longer route through Tarsus, Mersin etc but it was just too much driving for us and I struggled to find a nice place to stay.
We might do a night at the Beachside hotel in Side and then continue up the coast a bit, likely spending a few nights at Cirali, at the Nerissa Hotel and do some hiking/relaxing by the pool if the weather is good. They Olympus looked ok but food reviews were poor and we love our food!

If we do a day trip to Kas or Kalkan would that be a good way to check out the coast without driving too much? We have to factor in looping back to Antalya to fly home since flights from Dalaman don't go to Ataturk where our flight home leaves the same day. We will have
done a long drive from Cappadocia and then have 6 days at our disposal. We want to spend our last week in a leisurely but interesting way.

thanks. And I will ask about the eagles when I am in Cappadocia. That would upset me to think we would be disturbing them
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Feb 20th, 2013, 04:35 AM
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Do you mean the Beach House Hotel at Side? - http://www.beachhouse-hotel.com/index.php
I stayed a few nights there a couple of years ago, very nice hotel in the old town. I'd stay there for 2 nights and then the remaining nights at Çıralı.
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