Ephesus or Turquoise coast?

Old Nov 29th, 2012, 02:04 AM
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Ephesus or Turquoise coast?

Hi all,
I am planning a 10 day family trip to Turkey beginning of May 2013 (kids 12, 14 and 16 by then) with the following outline:

3 nights in Istanbul (2 full days of sight-seeing)

4 nights in Cappadocia (3 full days of hiking and sight-seeing)

3 nights on Turquoise coast OR 3 nights (2 full days) to explore Ephesus and Pamukkale

We will be flying to Turkey from Paris, probably with Pegasus (only low cost I have found to/from Paris). We will try to fly into one city and out of another to save time and money.

I had initially planned Istanbul – Cappadocia – Izmir, but I am starting to ask myself if we should skip Ephesus in favor of the Turquoise coast?

Do you have any suggestions on how to put together the logistics of going from Cappadocia to the coast, and what town would be nice for a family stay (not too invaded by tourists)?

We like active vacations with lots of outdoors, historical or natural sights, not too much big city (hence two days only in Istanbul) and are also looking for a good mix to get a general feel for the country.

Thanks in advance for any suggestions
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Old Nov 29th, 2012, 05:06 AM
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Hi grendel!

I shall be following this thread closely because we have a similar dilemma, although our trip will be a bit longer (15 days).

We are not also big on cities, so 3 nights in Istanbul is enough for us. And we have the same interests as you have - outdoors (beaches) and natural sights. But I am stumped with the travel logistics.

Istanbul - Cappadocia - Izmir (Ephesus & Pamukkale) - Turquoise Coast - Antalya - Istanbul

Maybe too many places for only 15 days but I don't know which to take out.
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Old Nov 29th, 2012, 05:55 AM
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Ha-ha, Joyc and grendel,
I have the same problem, and I’ve been going back-and-forth a lot on this – our trip will be 14-15 days, and like you, we are not big city people, but I know Istanbul is not to be missed, so we plan 3 full days there.

We love history, the outdoors and the shore, but not necessarily the beach. My latest plan is 4 nights/3 full days Istanbul, 1 night/1 afternoon Ephesus (crossed off Pamukkale because a 1-night stop is enough for us, don’t want to have 2 of them), 4 nights/3 days Cappadocia and 5 nights/4 days on the coast. The problem is logistics and mainly the flight between Cappadocia and the coast.

So I will be following this post, and see what others recommend. Of course, a direct flight would be the best
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Old Nov 29th, 2012, 06:40 AM
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Hi JoyC and xyz99,

Looks like we want the same kind of trip! Where are you flying in from, and what time of the year?

We are going the first two weeks in May (10 - 11 nights) so not counting on beach time. I will also plan some kind of sight/ruin/hike/church etc for each day that is not a pure traveling day since I know my crowd - "cute town" will not cut it, but "cute town with xxx to visit/do/look at" and everyone is happy.

Also, have you looked into transportation between the different destinations? I am thinking domestic flight between Istanbul and Cappadocia (Kayseri airport ), but maybe rent a car in Cappadocia to go to the coast. And if logistics and time allow for it, drive from the coast to Ephesus and fly home from Izmir.
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Old Nov 29th, 2012, 06:46 AM
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Ok, so I would probably need more days for that, hence my initial problem - coast or Ephesus.

Need I add that we would like to keep costs down (at the price of some comfort I am aware)?
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Old Nov 29th, 2012, 08:20 AM
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grendel,
For a while I was debating if to see Ephesus or the coast…I was told that while not quite comparable, there are some nice ruins on the coast, that could, at a certain level replace Ephesus. Given our love for nice coast vistas and nature, I was opting for the coast. In the end, I think we will try to squeeze both in.

From my research, the drive from Cappadocia to Antalya is long (8-10 hrs) and not too scenic. So without much time to spare, try to look into flying. I don’t think there are any direct flights, though…but I’m not sure. Driving between Ephesus and Fethiye on the coast is about 3 hrs.

Regarding keeping the cost down, I read that 1-way drop off fee for the rental is high in Turkey. I have no idea yet what “high” means…but you might want to look into it. We are going the first 2 weeks of Oct, flying from the US East Coast.
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Old Nov 29th, 2012, 09:37 AM
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Hi grendel and xyz99!!

Wow!!...its nice to have company about the same dilemmas.

We are thinking of going mid-June, flying from the Mid-West, USA. I hope the water will be warm by then.

Thinking of flying from IST to Izmir, stay overnight to see Ephesus, drive to Pamukkale (maybe stay overnight), then drive to the Turquoise Coast (Fethiye, Oludeniz) & stay 4 nights, then to Antalya for a couple of nights before flying to Cappadocia for a stay of 3 nights and then overnight in Istanbul before our flight home.

It looks a bit rush with 2 overnights and long stretch of driving but I really, really don't want to cut anything out. Perhaps I can shorten our stay in the coast but we, especially me, are water people, and have spent many summers in the French Riviera and other Mediterranean coastal towns.

So looking forward to this trip!!
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Old Nov 29th, 2012, 09:50 AM
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I will join you all in planning a Turkish trip. Debating whether to go to Capadoccia at all. The idea of a cave hotel is a big turn off, did it in Santorini and did not care for it at all.
Turquoise Coast is a must as is Ephesus, and at least a week in Istanbul..Where to stay on Turquoise Coast is up in the air. Will follow along and share what we decide.
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Old Nov 29th, 2012, 09:59 AM
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This is a nice problem to have. When I took a two week trip to Turkey, I flew on Atlas Jets from Istanbul to Izmir and then took the train to Selcuk and spent 2-1/2 days there and toured Ephesus, the museum, Mary's House, St. John's Basilica and other sites. I also did an organized day trip of Priene, Miletius and Didyma which several companies organize.
I 've done day trips to Turkey from Rhodes and Chios.

The point is that it's all good. Do you want to see ruins on the west coast or the Turquoise coast>? There are good beaches on both. You can do day trips to Rhodes, Chios, Kos, etc.
I've gone three times now and will probably go to the Turquoise Coast next year, but I could easily do Bergama and Canakale or many other sights on the west coast.
There is no right or wrong answer. I would try to see every travel show on Turkey that I could find and read the Blue Guide for Turkey which is excellent and then make a choice.
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Old Nov 29th, 2012, 04:45 PM
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HappyTrvlr - One does not need to stay in a cave hotel to enjoy the wonders of Cappadocia.
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Old Nov 30th, 2012, 02:24 PM
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Hi kja, nice to see you on this thread!
I really enjoyed your trip report from Turkey.

I saw you drove from Cappadocia to Antalya via Beysehir. Is that something you would recommend, and if so, do you remember how long it took you?
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Old Nov 30th, 2012, 07:47 PM
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Thanks, grendel! I'm glad you enjoyed my trip report.

I'm not sure whether I would recommend the route through Beyşehir or not - it really depends on your interests. I checked out several routes for driving from Cappadocia to Antalya and concluded that I personally would not feel comfortable driving all the way in a single day, particularly as I was traveling alone. I chose the route through Beyşehir in large part because I wanted to see Esrefoglu Camii - the old mosque there -- and it seemed to me that Beyşehir would be a reasonable stopping point. I also considered a route that someone – I believe it was Otherchelebi -- laid out in some detail on TripAdvisor that involved heading south to the coast from Cappadocia and then heading west along the coast. It looked like that route would have also held a number of points of interest, and it included a recommendation for a hotel en route.

Beyşehir itself did not strike me as a particularly desirable destination. I was very glad to see Esrefoglu Camii. It isn't particularly well-preserved, but it had some lovely features. And I found the views of the lake and surrounding hills from my room and from the top-story restaurant of my hotel pleasant. But the hotel itself was in the middle of a dense and not very scenic section of the city. To be honest, I had imagined a rather quiet lakeside town; I hadn't realized that Beyşehir is a busy city --completely my fault for not doing better research.

I'm quite certain that my driving times won’t help you much because I didn't drive straight through. I started from Güzelyurt; tried to get a photograph of the Ihlara Valley from the top of the thank-goodness-I-didn’t-try-it-staircase, only to find that the road north of Ihlara was closed; drove around for a while trying (unsuccessfully) to find Aşıklı Höyük (if you're interested, check my trip report for information from Croesus on how to find it); stopped at Agzikarahan and Sultanhani; and then got ridiculously lost near Konya trying to find Çatalhöyük (which I did find eventually, and am very glad I did); before reaching Beyşehir just before sunset. In general, I think it should be possible to drive from the Cappadocia area to Beysehir in a half-day or so, leaving plenty of time for a few brief stops. The next day, instead of taking the newer multi-lane highway south to near the coast, I decided to take the "old" mountain road through Derebucak; as a result, I added 2 or 3 hours to my journey. And once I reached the major east-west road near the coast, I stopped at Aspendos and Perge before reaching Antalya.

I have no regrets about the choices I made for those 2 days - I saw some very interesting things and some absolutely stunning scenery. But I'm not sure that you or anyone else would feel the same way.

Hope that helps!

BTW, when planning my trip, I used 3 options for mapping my routes: viamichelin, mappy, and TomTom. They differed much more in their time estimates than had been my experience elsewhere. As a rule, I found that whichever route was longest was most consistent with my experience.
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Old Nov 30th, 2012, 11:04 PM
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Thank you Kja for taking the time to answer with so much detail and information!

Last night I found the thread where you are planning your trip, and it is so full of information from so many experienced travelers with itinerary suggestions and everything. An incredible source for anyone who is planning to go to Turkey.

Our family trip will of course be very different from your solo adventure. But in a not too distant future I would love to make a similar road trip, so I will save that information preciously.

For our upcoming trip I am not sure about going to the coast for only two days. Not that we wouldn't enjoy it, but that extra domestic flight really adds to our budget. Also flying home from Antalya is surprisingly expensive compared to the other airports (Istanbul and Izmir ).

For JoyC and xyz99, who will have more days and will travel in the summer, it looks like Kas could be a nice alternative for a family vacation with lots of organized activities (scuba diving, trekking etc). For us, with only two days in May, it might not be as interesting?

I am even considering cutting down to only Istanbul and Cappadocia, with a possible daytrip from Istanbul. I know lots of people do Ephesus as a daytrip, and I guess that could be a solution if I can find really cheap tickets on a domestic flight. Otherwise, does anyone have any other suggestion on what could be a nice daytrip from Istanbul?
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Old Nov 30th, 2012, 11:50 PM
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Well this is embarrassing, flying home from Antalya sure LOOKS like it is a lot more expensive until you hit the "change currency" button....
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Old Dec 1st, 2012, 03:20 PM
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I'm glad you found my response and my planning thread useful - I am always impressed at the number of people who share their knowledge and experience through this board and with the quality of the information one can obtain here. I know my trip was greatly enhanced by their input.

Which places to visit and how to divide your time really depends on your interests. I would find only 3 days in Istanbul extremely frustrating, as there is so very much to see there. But that's me. Ephesus and Pamukkale are stunning and very special. The Turquoise Coast has many interesting ruins and various options for getting out onto or into the water. There are a number of places along the coast that can serve as a reasonable base for exploring for a few days; it's "just" a matter of choosing which options best suit your family's needs.

As someone who travels solo, I really can't offer advice to those of you who travel with children. I can say that I think you will find Turkey delightful and that I have every reason to believe that you and your family will be treated with great hospitality.
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Old Dec 2nd, 2012, 12:00 PM
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Grndel, kja's trip report and advice are very useful.

I also wrote a response to xyz99 a few minutes ago.

Please check my "fumbling family......." trip reports here on Fodors (I think they are on the Lounge )

our photographs are on webshots : under esercelebiler . just google that and you will find most of our albums. Eser, my wife also has some slide presentations and a video on youtube on a few historic sites and one part of an interesting concert within the Grand Bazaar in Istanbul.
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Old Dec 2nd, 2012, 03:08 PM
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(Thanks, other! And welcome home.)
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Old Dec 5th, 2012, 01:45 PM
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Thank you otherchelebi!
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