Help with planning a trip to Turkey

Old Oct 21st, 2012, 11:49 PM
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Help with planning a trip to Turkey

A couple of years ago I posted a similar request on this forum, regarding a possible 22-23 day trip to Turkey in April 2011. Unfortunately, we did not get to do that trip, but we are now planning 26 days in Turkey from 13th May 2013.

We have a general idea of what we would like to see and do but would like to get some feedback on our proposed itinerary. The draft itinerary follows, I'll ask some specific questions below.

Days 1 -6: Istanbul. Our flight will arrive 6:15 am and we are thinking of renting an apartment from the previous night so we can get immediate access.

Day 7-9: Cappadocia. Fly from Istanbul. Possibly rent car for 2 days.

Day 10: Fly to Izmir if direct flights available - pick up rental car at airport - stay night at Salihili

Days 11-12: Denizli

Days 13-16 Bodrum

Days 17-18 Kusadasi

Days 19-21: Somewhere on coast - Cesme? Foca?

Days 22-23: Bergama

Days 24-25: Bursa - drop off car

Day 26: Istanbul, by ferry

Day 27 Cab to airport & fly out

Our interests are fairly general and we certainly want to see historical sights but we also appreciate cultural aspects and scenery. While we are quite happy to do some longer drives to get from one region to another we don't want to spend every day in the car. This is why we have slotted in a couple of longer stays on the Aegean coast. In particular we would be interested in a couple of days at a resort style location/hotel to give us some relaxing time part way through. Any recommendations?

We are Australian and have an interest in the Gallipoli battle locations and memorials and in our first itinerary we planned to drive there but we are now thinking of taking an all day guided tour from Istanbul while we are there. Can anyone recommend an operator?

We would appreciate any recommendations for apartments in Istanbul. I think we would like to be in Sultanahmet. We were quite interested in this one:
http://www.vrbo.com/190876 - has anyone stayed there and can comment?

Also would be very happy to have recommendations for cave hotels in Cappadocia.

I have been having great difficulty working out if there are direct flights from Cappadocia to Izmir as airline websites don't yet go out that far and maybe some carriers only run flights in summer. If anyone knows about this I would appreciate your thoughts. We don't really want to fly back to Istanbul then change planes to get to Izmir.

If the flights don't work out, is it worthwhile to drive from Cappadoccia to Denizli? Google says it would be more than 11 hours but that could be an option if there were worthwhile places to stop along the way. I know Konya is on the tourist trail but the guidebooks don't seem to have much else along this route.

Thanks in advance for help you can provide. Greg
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Old Oct 22nd, 2012, 04:18 AM
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we were in turkey a year ago april and it was my favorite trip ever and we travel extensively. even though i taught history for 35 years, i am not a historical site person. we tend to just wander avoiding tourists as much as possible. have no language skills but a smile and many thank yous get you a long way.

stayed SUNSET CAVE HOTEL in goreme for 40E a night and found it clean and the hosts very informative. took our only tours of our trip since the sites are very far apart. this is an area of turkey that should not be missed - nothing in the world is similar.

spent a week in north cyprus. rented a car and wandered the mountain and fishing villages. a great relaxing week with great food and a lot of english because the brits are back.

my favorite part of the trip was a 4 day trip to the black sea region near rize/trabzon. an area of many tea plantations and mountains - you would think that you were in switzerland. met only 2 people who spoke english but survived with no problems. once people found out that we were americans we became rock stars. all of the tourists that we came in contact with were turks, not american or european.

spent a week in istanbul in an apartment in a residential area, away from tourists. spent 1+ days doing the obligatory tourist things and then wandered local neighborhoods getting lost even though we knew about where we were. get out of european istanbul quickly and explore the asian side. found a turkish bath for the locals and it was great. avoid those near the grand bazar - $$$ and for tourists. the people were so friendly on the asian side - invited into 2 shops for chai with not pressure to buy, we just sat there enjoying each other's company.

LOVED TURKEY!!!!!
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Old Oct 22nd, 2012, 04:24 AM
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would NOT rent a car in cap. as i mentioned too far between sights to enjoy. tours were inexpensive. didn't take a ballon flight, heard both good and bad about experiences - depends on who flight is with and the weather. also quite expensive.

also much much more inexpensive to fly out of asian airport instead of european. flights with pegasus air were at least half the price of turkish air.
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Old Oct 22nd, 2012, 07:27 AM
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You might want to take a look at my trip report; click on my name to find it. I would drive between Cappadocia and the coast, but then I'm prejudiced since this is what I did.
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Old Oct 22nd, 2012, 04:06 PM
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> Day 7-9: Cappadocia. Fly from Istanbul. Possibly rent car for 2 days.

I was very glad I had a car. There's a LOT to see spread over quite an area. Having a car gave me the freedom to see what I wanted to see at my own pace.

> If the flights don't work out, is it worthwhile to drive from Cappadoccia to Denizli?

Part of your route would be different than mine, but I will say that I found the scenery in each area absolutely stunning and very memorable. And the wildflowers should be in glorious bloom when you are there.

You might find some helpful information in my trip report, which you can find by clicking on my name.

I'm sure you'll enjoy your time in Turkey!
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Old Oct 23rd, 2012, 01:44 AM
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Thanks for your comments, I'll take them into account as we put our plan together.

kja & Michael I will certainly refer to your Trip Reports - I am currently working my way through the Turkey listings on Fodors.

If anyone else feels they can add information regarding some of my questions I'd love to hear from you.

Anyone from Australia who has maybe done the Gallipoli day trip from Istanbul?
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Old Oct 23rd, 2012, 07:42 AM
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hi GregY2 - - i can highly recommend http://www.taskonak.net/. i stayed there last month and it was really a great experience. The owners are Yilmaz (Turk) and Angela (Australian). very gracious people. beautiful views, rooms, hospitality.. and the best breakfast you could imagine. you can also read my recent trip report. Enjoy your trip!
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Old Oct 25th, 2012, 10:29 PM
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Thanks Callalilli2 for the hotel recommendation - looks good.

I'll also check out your trip report.
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Old Oct 25th, 2012, 11:19 PM
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ttt
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Old Oct 27th, 2012, 11:21 PM
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Anyone else care to comment for me?
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Old Dec 28th, 2012, 04:49 PM
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Our planning has progressed somewhat in the last couple of months and we have largely firmed up our itinerary, as well as made reservations for Istanbul & Cappadocia.

The next step is to allocate our time along the Aegean coast. Our draft itinerary follows - we'd welcome comments on those parts that are not yet confirmed. Also suggestions for visits apart from the headline dstinations.

Days 1 - 5: Istanbul.
We have booked an apartment in the Sultanahmet Suites - includes airport pick up.
http://www.sultanahmetsuites.com/english/

Days 6 - 8: Cappadocia.
Fly from Istanbul - have booked the Taskonak Hotel in Goreme.
http://www.taskonak.net/.
We have arranged airport pick up & drop off via the hotel but may still rent a car for one or both of our days in Cappadocia.

Day 9: Salihli
Fly to Izmir from Kayseri, probably with Pegasus which has a morning flight. We will pick up a rental car at Izmir and drive to Salilhli where we are considering the Hotel Lidya Sardes.
http://en.lidyatermalotel.com/index/

Days 10-11: Denizli
No hotel choice yet.

Days 12-15: Bodrum
Not booked yet but we are probably going to try Hotel El Vino.
http://www.elvinobodrum.com/defaulten.asp

Days 16 - 17 Selçuk
Nothing booked. Our plan is to take all day coming from Bodrum, then allocate a full day for Ephesus & Selçuk town.

Days 18-19 Cesme, Foça
Nothing booked.
We'd like to spend some time along this part of the coast ending up at Bergama but haven't decided where to stay. Suggestions welcome.

Days 20-21: Bergama
Plan to arrive late and allocate all the next day to Pergamon

Days 22: Assos
Nothing booked

Days 23: Eceabat
Nothing booked
Leave Assos early, drive to Cannakale to take ferry, and spend day visiting WW1 sites.

Day 24 - 26: Istanbul,
Drive to airport to drop off car and take public transport to Istanbul. Nothing booked yet - plan to spend 3 nights in Beyoglu.

Day 26: Fly out 15:10

Looking forward to the usual helpful contibutions.

Happy New Year to all - Greg
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Old Dec 28th, 2012, 08:12 PM
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You are going to have a wonderful journey!

Are you open to adding another day in Cappadocia? It depends on what you want to see and experience, but I would have found only 2 days too limiting for my interests.
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Old Dec 29th, 2012, 12:04 PM
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Hi kja, I'm sure that we could use an extra day in Cappadocia but I suspect we could say the same about most of our other destinations. Our flights ar booked and limit our number of days - we've already dropped Bursa/Iznik to give us a less frenzied trip.

Do you have any thoughts on how to alloacte time/what to see between Ephesus & Pergamon?
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Old Dec 29th, 2012, 09:45 PM
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Can't help you with that one, Greg! I drove straight from Selcuk to Bergama. The places I considered in between were the same ones you are considering - Cesme and Foca. Both sounded like very pleasant places to unwind a bit.
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Old Dec 30th, 2012, 04:44 AM
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- Suggest drive via Bozdag and visit Birgi on route to or from Salihli or from Salihli to Denizli.

- Sun Express flies between kayseri and Izmir.

- Cesme is more of a resort area. Foca will be a low profile small town. neither have much in terms of antiquity or architecture. Cesme has better and more expensive hotelsm especially Ilica and alacati areas. Foca will have smaller, cheaper hotels and you need to pick carefully.

- Stay at Assos port rather than Behramkale vllage. Nazlihan and Kervansaray are the better hotels. You may need to check for heating and against musty smell in rooms.

- You will have time to visit Troy en route from assos to Canakkale. If not, you can actually do the drive to Canakkale, ferry (30 minutes only) and WW1 sites and still get to Istanbul on one day. Otherwise, you may wish to stay at Gelibolu or tekirdag rather than at Eceabat because Eseabat hotels may be full due to Anzac anniversaries which fall around that time of the year.

Have a look at my trip reports on Assos (A trip in....) and partially on Sardis, Bozdag, Birgi (Fumbling Family.....) through my profile. They may both be on Fodors Lounge.
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Old Dec 30th, 2012, 02:26 PM
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Thanks otherchelebi,

We are planning to drive to Denizli from Salihli via Bozdag based on your suggestion in your response to my original posting on Turkey.

The problem with Sun Express is that they do not yet have flights on thir website for May 2013 but we should be OK with Pagasus who have a morning flight on the day we want to transfer. That should give us plenty of time to pick up our car and to drive to Salihli, visiting Sardis the same day.

Thanks for the suggestions re Cesme & Foca. Do you think that our plan to spend a couple of nights in that general area is a good one? Or maybe it would be better to ask - if you had 2 nights between Selcuk & Bergama where wouold you stay & what would you do?

Thanks also for the suggestions re Assos - I'll take a look at those hotels.

We did think of skipping Assos and driving direct to Cannakale but thought a break of journey may be better. If we did cut out a stop in this part of the trip we could add another day to Istanbul at the end - I don't think we'll have any trouble occupying ourselves there!

I'll take a look at your trip reports before we make any definite decisions. Thanks again for providing comment, you are obviously very knowledgeable about Turkey.
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Old Mar 28th, 2013, 12:16 PM
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I do not kknow will you get my message, but You were asking about Gallipolli. My husband is from Australia and we went to Canakkale I would say we cried long hours with our guide...the whole history become alive again. I would say big thanks to our guide. He made our trip in Turkey unforgettable. If you would like to have excellent guide with 25 year experience see the link about him in tripadvisor http://www.tripadvisor.co.uk/Attract...ean_Coast.html . Egin Ince is hes name. He will help you to organize your itinerary as well, he did that for us. Check the guys contact details on the link, he was worth every penny and he was suggested by our friends. we did with him Cappadocia and Ephesus and we went to many places - small villages were normally tourists do not visit. He can You suggest the best travel plan, hes knowledge was just endless. I hope i am not to late to give you some help. Have a good trip.
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Old Jun 16th, 2013, 07:44 PM
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Just back to say that we have now completed our 4 week trip to Turkey and really enjoyed it.

Thanks to all who gave advice here, and in other Fodors posts; the collective advice from Fodor's posters was very helpful.

I plan to begin posting a trip report later today so, if you'd like to see how we got on, check it out.
Greg
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Old Jun 18th, 2013, 06:07 PM
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Did you get any feeling that the political situation in Turkey might make visiting there more difficult in the next few months? I hope not, but I am certainly interested in the opinions of those who have been there - or who live there. DD and friend had hoped to go in early October. Now friend is worried. Thanks~
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Old Jun 19th, 2013, 01:26 PM
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I have started my trip report and will refer to the Istanbul situation in the final posting.

We were 5 days in Sultanahmet at the beginning and 2 days in Beyoglu at the end. Our final 2 days were after the initial over reaction by the ploice and the second tear gas etc episode. We had some concern comi9ng back to Istanbul but there was no problem for us - even if the peak of the disturbance had happened while we were there I doubt it would have affected us other than we would have avoided the Taksim Square end of Istiklal Caddesi.

As long as your accommodation is not right in the area where things are happening I suspect that you would be OK.

Having said that, who knows if the problem will continue & spread - you just have to keep an eye on the news.
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