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Italy or Turkey -- which would be the better trip?

Italy or Turkey -- which would be the better trip?

Feb 13th, 2011, 07:43 PM
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Join Date: Feb 2011
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Italy or Turkey -- which would be the better trip?

my husband and i are trying to plan a two-week trip for early to mid-may of this year, and we've narrowed it down to italy or turkey. any opinions on which would be the best (and least expensive) place for a two-week vacation?

flights to italy are much cheaper from san francisco (where we live) - about $800 vs. $1200 for turkey. but then i can't tell from looking online which place would be more budget-friendly once we got there (or if it's a wash). we're a little worried about the vastness of turkey and thinking that flying from region to region would quickly add up. any suggestions or advice? thanks!
katiemalia92 is offline  
Feb 13th, 2011, 09:14 PM
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At the risk of stating the obvious, they really are chalk and cheese, so it really depends upon which appeals to you the most. As you say, distances are greater in Turkey so if you go there I would suggest that you pick a particular area and concentrate on that. I assume you will fly into Istanbul (a fantastic city) so perhaps you could have a week there and week further south (e.g. around Izmir or Marmaris/Fethiye), flying between the two.

Certainly Turkey was much cheaper than Italy when I was there but that was a long time ago and I understand that prices have moved considerably. If you check a guidebook like Lonely Planet or Fodors you should get a feel for the price of food, accommodation and transport.
dreamon is offline  
Feb 14th, 2011, 01:42 AM
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If you perhaps scrap the notion of seeing all of either country in a fortnight, then Turkey's vastness may matter a lot less?

We had three vacations there in the mid-90s, and I'm so glad we did. The first was a short city-break to Istanbul - and the last a fortnight along the southern coast.

But by far the best was spent on what's often called the Turquoise Coast - when we booked flights, a first night's hotel - and then wandered at will for three weeks of late May and early June, in a locally-made Fiat we'd hired... going from large resorts to tiny villages.

In those days we had our pick of accomodation almost everywhere, and could juggle simple places with fancier ones - looking them up in the guidebooks as we arrived each night - although the smartest weren't particular cheap even then...

The things we saw, gorgeous coastlines and ruined cities that we had almost to ourselves, were just fabulous, even if the few photos from some of the archaeological sites here (look for those dated 1995) do them little justice....

Since then we've fallen for Italy's easier charms, and eventually moved here in 2003 - but that was an amazing time, one that I'd hate to have missed along the way!

A_Brit_In_Ischia is offline  
Feb 14th, 2011, 01:54 AM
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Turkey is definitely less expensive than Italy.

As to best...what is your criteria? I prefer Italy to Turkey but it depends on what you're looking for in a vacation. These two countries are completely different.

In two weeks you can only see a portion of either Turkey or Italy.
adrienne is offline  
Feb 14th, 2011, 03:32 AM
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Been to both Italy has greater beauty and charm can be done

cheaply and well go a lot about about once a year.

Just set up a wonderful cost-effective 2 week trip flying to

Rome then Amalfi Orvieto Florence Venice by Intercity Train

from 5 euro per hour very cheap... usually just hop on

Secured great cheap lodging on www.otel.com and

www.betterbidding.com picked up 4 stars or better everyewhere

from under $100/nt like Sheraton Roma $69 Hotwire and

www.hoteldelfino.it amalfi for $60/nt www.otel.com for me

So Italy safer beautiful can be done cheaply...

With all the unrest in the middle east currently especially.

www.insuremytrip.com always wise for me regardless...

I do love Turkey also though just a llittle iffy for me now.

review www.travel.state.gov consualr advisories to be sure

you are up for the greater risks...Happy Deciding,
qwovadis is offline  
Feb 14th, 2011, 03:34 AM
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www.hoteldelfino.com sorry link dyslexic...
qwovadis is offline  
Feb 14th, 2011, 05:12 AM
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Hello Katie, I agree with all of the above except for the travel advisories. Turkey is as safe or safer than most European countries, unless you have an itch to visit the Iraqi or Iranian border cities.

The two countries are two different worlds. Two things they have in common are:
- good food, and
- lots of Roman ruins.

in fact turkey has more Roman and Greek antique towns than Italy and Greece combined, plus some exciting Neolithic, and Hittite cities as well as new Christian underground cities and quite a few georgian and Byzantine monasteries, in addition to the Ottoman silk road inns, mosques and turkish baths.

Turkey has more sandy beaches than Italy and its South is greener, especially in some interesting coves and bays. There are high mountains, canyons, all water sports and white water rafting and paragliding, etc, some over sunken antique cities.

On the other hand, except for a few museums in istanbul there is no Renaissance or later art, paintings, sculpture, etc.
There are some miniatures and the famous Iznik tiles.

Italy is my favorite Western European country.
Istanbul is my favorite metropolis in the world due to its vibrancy and the never sleeping population.
Many Italian cities are reasonably easy to walk. istanbul is just too large and too wide spread (15 million or so), and it has the Bosphorus which is truely terrific.

The medieval cities that we visited in tuscany we still remember very fondly, but also as being rather depressive. Rome we remember as possibly the most romantic city. Portofino and the Amalfi coast are like dreams, if you like small.

If you like vast forests and mountains and the turqoise sea of the Easten Med, then you should pick Turkey.

Whatever you decide, there are many of us who will try to help you to make your trip a big success.
otherchelebi is offline  
Feb 14th, 2011, 07:51 AM
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Our stay in Turkey was a little longer, but you might find some ideas in our trip report; just click on my name to find it.
Michael is offline  
Feb 14th, 2011, 09:48 AM
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thanks for all the good tips...i do realize that they're very different countries, but i know everyone has an opinion on the places they love best, which are always helpful to hear! i feel as if italy would be the easier trip - more familiar food, language, etc., and turkey would be the more foreign/exotic trip. my husband has been to most of northern italy, so if we chose italy, we would probably concentrate on rome, florence, the amalfi coast, and maybe even sicily. i'm hoping it wouldn't be too overrun with tourists in early may, but i think any time of the year is high season for italy! as for turkey, i know very little about it other than the fact that everyone seems to love istanbul and the turquoise coast. we're in our late 30s, so i feel like now might be the time to do more adventursome travel...it seems like we could do italy in our 80s and it would be a snap! but they both sound lovely and warm and romantic, and i know we would have a brilliant time in either spot...that's why it's so hard to pick one!
katiemalia92 is offline  
Feb 14th, 2011, 09:59 AM
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I can only confirm otherchelebi's point of view. And I can assure you that if you go to Turkey in your '30, you'll be going back till you're over 80.
Oh, and pricewise, turkey is a lot cheaper.
baldrick is offline  
Feb 14th, 2011, 10:21 AM
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I'll agree. I was in Turkey for 2 weeks and am reminded often of all the things I need to go back and see.

Cheaper too.
Michel_Paris is offline  
Feb 14th, 2011, 11:19 AM
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Of course Italy is amazing but it is MUCH more expensive. Now you can certainly do luxury in Turkey, but especially in terms of lodging and food, Italy is one of the most expensive places I have visited.
May is very likely to be quite crowded in Italy (for places like Rome, etc., anyway), and I think fairly bustling in Istanbul, but more quiet shoulder season in Cappadocia.
Turkey is actually quite easy, and with 2 weeks you might find it a little easier to plan a great introductory trip to the highlights of Istanbul-Ephesus-Cappadocia versus the plethora of options in Italy. Though you should always learn polite phrases for any country, I found it especially useful to learn Turkish numbers.
The good news is you really can't go wrong!
yorkshire is offline  
Feb 16th, 2011, 08:15 AM
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so would people say that istanbul, ephesus, and cappadocia would be the three must-see places for a two-week trip? or are there other can't-miss spots? turkey is a long flight from san francisco, so i may never make it back again in my lifetime (on my meager travel budget!)
katiemalia92 is offline  
Feb 16th, 2011, 09:07 AM
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Though I don't really believe in must-sees, I do make a few exceptions and Cappadocia is one of them. Aside from Istanbul and Cappadocia, you should choose the rest based on your interests. It is a huge country with many worthy attractions, these are just the most popular, but for good reason. (I have not been to Epehsus.) I will say that for two weeks, three places is a good plan. And with Ephesus you get a bit of the coast. Istanbul deserves a week, and Cappadocia at least three days (but I could have spent more time there for sure). There is a website called Turkey Travel Planner that should help a lot.
yorkshire is offline  
Feb 16th, 2011, 11:44 AM
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that's really helpful...thanks yorkshire!
katiemalia92 is offline  
Feb 16th, 2011, 11:59 AM
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I love trying to direct visitors away from the typical tourist haunts to more exotic and interesting area.

May is a good time to visit most parts of the country, because the weather will be clement for walikg, hiking, climbing ruins, trekking through canyons and kayaking over sunken antique cities.

As Yorkshire wisely writes, three bases is a good idea if you have arental car at two of them, except Istanbul.
Neither antique sites, nor beautiful nature, nor azure beaches are within easy traveling distance of each other.

In all honesty, most antique cities resemble each other
the first few times you visit them. So i will not advise that you do the Lykian way and Ephesus and Pamukkale, exhausting yourself and starting to have nightmares of being forever lost in ruined cities.

You will also not need seven days of Istanbul on your first visit. 4-5 days is enopugh to get a whiff of the history, the architecture, the nature, the people and the night life. Most of the posters here will guarantee that you will wish to come back again in anycase. (Depending on the season and some specials, you can get here for as little as $800 from LA , Chicago or Toronto on a direct THY flight.

Please have a look at my trip reports on Fodors Lounge and Fodors Europe forums, through my profile, and let me know if you are interested in something similar to any of those for your third area.

For Cappadocia, you will find Aduchamp, Colduphere, Ellen, and many other recnt travelers to give you excellent ideas and recommendations.

For Istanbul, i recommend one day of major sites,one day of minor sites, one day of Bosphorus and Asian shore with a few art museums thrown in and one day visiting the areas where the real people and also where ghosts of former centuries live and take walks of discovery.

And each evening and night, eat and drink at a different district of the city where difference types of locals eat and drink.
otherchelebi is offline  

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