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Trevia May 8th, 2010 08:02 AM

How/Where to travel from Istanbul to Turkish coast
I will be in Istanbul for a 10 day cultural tour in September. After that my daughter will be joining me. She and I would spend a few more days in Istanbul and then would like to spend about 5 days on the coast. There are so many different areas and it's been hard to sort them out.

I prefer non-package-tour type places, with charm, walkable, but also need recommendations on how to get there. Does driving make sense from Istanbul? Or flying into perhaps Dalman? Your advice is appreciated.

HappyTrvlr May 8th, 2010 10:13 AM


colduphere May 8th, 2010 11:28 AM

This is our situation as well.

HappyTrvlr May 8th, 2010 11:45 AM

ALso our situation. Suggestions?

partypoet May 8th, 2010 11:53 AM

Rent a car or hire a driver and go down to the Kas/Kalkan coast. The water is purple, it is filled with grottoes and secluded beaches. Nature is at its most beautiful here.

Trevia May 8th, 2010 11:57 AM

Thanks, party poet, for your suggestions. Have you used a car and driver and, if so, how or where did you arrange that. What about driving from Istanbul - how is the traffic, the roads, etc. Thanks very much.

otherchelebi May 8th, 2010 12:32 PM

I was not going to respond because i feel that i have been hogging the turkey forums. But can't help but give some suggestions:

1. Fly to Izmir airport. rent car. stay at kismet hotel, fantasia or similar at Kusadasi. beach time plus Ephesus and many other interesting historic sites. Negative point: too many cruise ships, and Kusadasi city is a concrete jungle.

2. fly to Izmir, rent car. drive to Cesme/Ilica or Alacati. Fewer foreign tourists. Nice beaches, good restaurants. Budget and upscale both. Negative: not much in terms of antiquity.

3. fly to dalaman, rent car, drive to Datca Peninsula to stay at Bozburun, Hayit Buku, Palamut Buku or Datca town. Not touristy, very beautiful scenery, beaches and climate. Some driving required but roads are good. Negative: only Cnidos for antiquity, no bars and clubs to speak of.

4. fly to Antalya, rent car, drive to Beldibi (40 kilometers from airport) or Cirali (80 kilometers from airport) Both have very interesting antique sites within driving range and hikes, safaris, etc. Nice water but pebbly beaches. beautiful high pine forested mountains. If beldibi, you may catch a concert an opera, or a dance show at Aspendos antique theatre (check for dates, etc. on the web)

5. Fly to Dalaman, rent car. Drive to fethiye/olu deniz. nice area for beach, antiquity, paragliding, short cruises, nice town market, but rather touristy.

6. Pick rental car in Istanbul. take early ferry to Yalova, drive to Iznik (Nicea) for quick tour. Continue through Bursa and Balikesir to Cunda island off Ayvalik (by causeway). Lovely non-touristy area, Ayvalik budget to medium priced; Cunda island medium to upscale. Nice beache, nice scenery. Antique city of Pergamom well worth visiting. Kaz mountains for terrific hikes.

7. Pick car in Istanbul, take early ferry to Bandirma, drive through Canakkale to Troy antique city for visit, continue to Behramkale (on hill) and down to Assos port to stay, or go 20kilometers further to stay at Lila Motel at Kucukkuyu. Colder water but extremely refreshing. beaches pebbly but nice. Lila motel is terrific value. assos port is very interesting. Behramkale and the amphitheatre are lovely.

You can combine this alternative with Pergamom, and the Kaz mountains for hiking are actually closer than they are from Ayvalik.

Going back to Istanbul, you can do Nicea on the way.

if you were going end June/early July, we have an international Philosophy conference at assos (where Aristotle ran a Philosophy school) with usually a performance near midnight, at the ancient amphitheatre. (Last year it was a violin concert plus a British classics scholar singing ancient Greek songs under the moonlight)

If anyone is interested, let me know. the conference is free, but you need to register.

otherchelebi May 8th, 2010 12:45 PM

About driving:

I usually recommend one of the large international companies, where you have a better chance of getting a newer and/or better maintained car and one which has automatic shift.
I usually get ford Focus, Renault Laguna or Megan, Opel Vectra, Insignia or Astra; and not hyundai, kia or Fiats.

You only need your regular drivers license and not an international one, despite what some government web sites say.

Must of the roads are good. Lots of divided highways. Not very heavy traffic in the country.

Istanbul has very heavy traffic, but getting to the early ferry means you will not face the traffic.

Do not drive much from dusk to dawn as there may be tractors, motorbikes on the roads with insufficient tail lights.

Defensive driving, meaning not expecting anyone including pedestrians to follow the traffic rules, is recommended.

Upto 10% above the speed limits is fine. Otherwise there are lots of radar.

Fuel is possibly the most expensive in the world.

However, driving in the Turkish is so rewarding because of the very frequent scenic and or historic sites, which you would miss if using other means of transport, that the fuel cost becomes insignificant.

HappyTrvlr May 8th, 2010 01:05 PM

Otherchelabi..I'm so happy to have your suggestions!

Trevia May 8th, 2010 01:16 PM

Wonderful, detailed suggestions. I really appreciate the time you put into this, and will start looking into this. I had not thought of taking a ferry from Istanbul but that sounds intriguing.

colduphere May 8th, 2010 01:47 PM

Me too, thanks.

BeniciaChris May 8th, 2010 03:05 PM

We rented a car in Istanbul-took the ferry to Yalova (Had a timeshare there but don't reccomend) The town I LOVED on the drive to Kusadasi was Assos. There is nothing there but a small fishing village. We stayed in a room there for 2 nights overlooking the tiny harbor with a balcony. It was pure relaxation. I suggest staying 2 nights as the road is quite windy .The Kismet was a wonderful place to stay in Kusadasi-I think was stayed there 2 nights also so we could see Ephesis.
Next time I would love to go further south. Chris

poutine May 8th, 2010 03:18 PM

I also have Turkey as a possibility for a family trip next April. I am wondering how warm the water in the southern coastal areas would be at that time of year. Anyone know?

Thanks to all those who responded.

otherchelebi May 8th, 2010 09:52 PM

Poutine, the sea water will be the warmest in September.

Antakya-Iskenderun-Mersin-Silifke possibly 26-28 degrees
Anamur-Alanya-Side-Antalya-Beldigi-Goynuk-Kemer-Tekirova-Cirali-Olympos 25-27 degrees.
Kas-kalkan-Patara-Fethiye-Marmaris-Datca-Dalyan 25-26 degrees
Bodrum-Kusadasi 23-25 degrees
Cesme-Ilica-Alacati 21-25 degrees (alacati may be even cooler)
Ayvalik-Edremit-Kucukkuyu-Assos 20-23 degrees

October will still be warm. Just one or two degrees lower than above.

otherchelebi May 8th, 2010 10:01 PM

Trevia, Colduphere, Happytrvir,

thanks for responding.

The ferry from istanbul is 80 minutes to Yalova and 135 to bandirma.

Schedules are on with easy interactive map. (just click on the two ports Yenikapi for istanbul and where you are going.

the Yalova ferry allows you to stay in car if you wish and also gives you assigned or unassigned seating on deck.

the bandirma ferry is a double decker which will not allow you to stay in vehicle. It has a business class seating also which is not really any better than regular.

They both have not so cheap beverages and sandwiches on board.

You should get tickets on-line or ask your Istanbul hotel desk to get them by telephone, or get it yourself by telephone (i think they have an English option) 0212 444 4436

When you get to the entrance to the landing, you can slide the credit card you used on the telephone through the automatic ticket machine just before the ticket booths, get your tickets, a quick trunk security check and line up for entrance.

otherchelebi May 8th, 2010 10:12 PM

Poutine, i just saw that you asked the water warmth for April.

I am afraid, it will be quite colder than above. The warmest areas on the Southern coast can be about 20 degrees. The rest will be 15-19. Swimming at Ayvalik/Assos area would be impossible for me. My wife can handle this, but i cannot. ((she is a very warm person. it is just that her skin must be tough :)

Trevia May 9th, 2010 07:51 AM

Otherchelebi, Your information is invaluable. Thank you so much. I may be in touch with specific questions later.

sirazt May 9th, 2010 12:21 PM


I believe that program is wonderful for you and your daughter. All the areas are on the Aegean Costs. I think, it is very fantastic. You can talk with they for this tour.

Day 1: Istanbul. Arrive in Istanbul at any time.

Day 2: Gallipoli, Canakkale. Travel to the Gallipoli peninsula to visit the important WWI site and learn about the tragic history of this place. Afterwards, we make our way to the town of Canakkale - a great place to watch the locals promenade by the harbour in the evening. Overnight in Canakkale.

Day 3: Troy, Ayvalik. Visit the ruins of Troy and marvel at the story behind this great site. Explore the charming town of Ayvalik, or just sit back in one of the seaside cafes. Take an optional local boat cruise for a relaxing afternoon of swimming in the turquoise waters, for which Turkey is named. Overnight in Ayvalik.

Day 4: Ephesus. Stroll around Ephesus, which may just be the best preserved example of a Roman city in the world. Afterwards, check out the remains of the Temple of Artemis - one of the Seven Wonders of the World. Overnight in Kusadasi.

Day 5: Selcuk, Pamukkale. Explore the old city of Selçuk. This relaxed town is a great spot to perch at a local cafe and watch Turkish life go by. Afterwards, head up to the hilltop Basilica of St John or check out the small, but beautiful, Ephesus Museum. Overnight in Kusadasi.

Day 6: Pamukkale. Discover the white cliffs of Pamukkale and the adjacent ruins of Hierapolis. Transfer to Denizli Airport for flight to Istanbul. Overnight in Istanbul.

Day 7: Istanbul. This morning, we will catch public transport to our hotel. Afterwards, enjoy a walking tour to discover more of this fascinating city. This afternoon you may want to explore the Tokapi Palace, Hagia Sophia, Blue Mosque or perhaps head to the Grand Bazaar for some last minute shopping.

Day 8: Istanbul. Transfer to airport for your flight home

Services Including
* 4 or 5-stars selected hotels sharing double occupancy in standard double room on bed and breakfast basis
* Professional, English speaking, state licensed guides for the guided tours included
* Economy one way air tickets from Denizli to Istanbul
* Arrival and departure transfers in Istanbul and the other places
* Tour transportation with A/C van
* All entrance fees as per the itinerary
* All service fees and local taxes

otherchelebi May 9th, 2010 12:52 PM

The above seems to be a tour operator who forgot to add his address. :) He Joined today and sent adverts on cruise forums and now this.

sirazt May 9th, 2010 01:38 PM

You are right. i can be tour operator for you. :) But Please attention for my messages. I did not recommend any operator, i recommended only person (Mr.Semih). I did two different trip in Turkey. The first trip in package tour with a travel agency three years ago. The second is only cruise trip with Celcebrity Solstice. I booked excursion trip from Mr.Semih and it is unforgettable tour for me. I have got an experience for Turkey and i am sharing that with the others travelers.

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