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Looking for advice on how to break up a week in Istanbul and Ephesus

Looking for advice on how to break up a week in Istanbul and Ephesus

Old Jan 22nd, 2012, 10:39 AM
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Looking for advice on how to break up a week in Istanbul and Ephesus

I just booked tickets to Istanbul for the first week of April. We will have 7 days full days there (8 nights) and I'm trying to figure out the logistics of breaking up our time between Istanbul and Ephesus.

Option 1- Spend the first few days in Istanbul, fly mid week to Izmir (Ephesus) for 2 nights (or 3?), and then return to Istanbul for 3 nights.

Option 2- Fly direct to Izmir upon landing in Istanbul at 5pm. This would have us arriving in Izmir at the earliest around 8-9pm. If so, what to do here? Stay in a hotel near the airport that night, or somehow get to Selcuk? With this option we would probably stay 3 nights in the area due to late arrival.

Option 3-Spend the first night near the airport in Istanbul (looks like we can stay at a nearby Sheraton on good cash + SPG Points rate) and fly next morning to Ephesus. The only reason I mention this is that I see the relatively late arrival time (by the time we'd arrive at our hotel in the city) as essentially a "lost" day anyway with not much more than dinner/sleep happening.

So, thoughts? Advice?

Thanks!
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Old Jan 22nd, 2012, 10:54 AM
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We went to Turkey in May and stayed in Istanbul, Cappedocia and Ephesus. We flew home from Izmir.
My thought is that it is probably better to reduce the time you spend going from the Istanbul airport to the hotel and then from the hotel back to the airport. Try to see if you can get ride to Selcuk when you arrive--that way you can just get up in the morning and go!
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Old Jan 22nd, 2012, 12:27 PM
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Except for the airport I'd try to avoid Izmir - it's a huge,
crowded, unattractive city. IMHO.
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Old Jan 22nd, 2012, 04:11 PM
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Hmm...still not certain what to do.
From what I've read, hotel options near the airport in Izmir are not great.
It looks like Selcuk is an hour+ away and I'm not even sure how we'd get there at that time of night. Anyone know?
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Old Jan 23rd, 2012, 03:55 AM
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If you fly to Izmir with Atlas or Onur air, they provide free shuttle to Selcuk for all their flights from istanbul.

Otherwise, a taxi would be prohibitive and a rental cat, the better choice.

The distance to izmir is less than that to selcuk but it is in the wrong direction.
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Old Jan 23rd, 2012, 06:21 AM
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Really good to know about the shuttle bus option.

As of right now, I'm leaning toward Option #1, especially if we decide to rent a car for the Ephesus portion. I don't want to rent a car and drive in Turkey for the first time at late at night after being up for more than 24 hours. Plus, arriving after a 13 hour flight, waiting 2 hours for another, then taking a shuttle bus for another hour or two is sounding less and less appealing.
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Old Jan 23rd, 2012, 07:02 AM
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I like Option 1 as well, although it might be kind of awkward leaving Istanbul as soon as you are getting your land legs, getting a feel for the place, recovering from jet lag, etc. But at least you will have a taste of it so you have something to look forward to when you fly back. If your Ephesus is the main attraction, you could just try to time it so you can fly in and spend a day at Ephesus and fly back to Istanbul - maybe a couple of nights, tops. That might give you more time to experience Istanbul without feeling rushed.
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Old Jan 23rd, 2012, 11:55 AM
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I would advise Option 1 if your age is above 50. or if you think Woyzeck's suggestion is acceptable. That is, a day trip is quite a good idea for just Ephesus, Selcuk museum, the basilica and even Mary's retreat. Do it on a Saturday and you have the good weekly street market in Selcuk also.

Otherwise, the shuttle is a good idea and it really takes just ONE HOUR to Selcuk. You could even leave part of your luggage at the airport to pick when you fly back from Izmir.

You're right about the driving after so many hours although I've done it a number of times in Chicago, Orlando, Denver and Washington DC., even when it was my first time there.

Actually, the route to Selcuk from Izmir airport is much easier than any route I have driven from any airport in Europe, North America and most other airports in Turkey.
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Old Jan 23rd, 2012, 12:01 PM
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I like option 1. Though I had a slightly longer trip, I split my time in Istanbul and found it worked well. I did a lot of sightseeing the first leg in Istanbul, and then when I returned I felt more comfortable and just enjoyed exploring various neighborhoods.
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Old Jan 23rd, 2012, 05:44 PM
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Just another thought--We stayed at the Hotel Bella in Selcuk. It was very reasonably priced--small rooms but the terrace was beautiful. They serve a very nice dinner as well as the breakfast. The staff is friendly and helpful. They would even arrange for you to get the shuttle to the hotel. They drove us to the Ephesus site and picked us up when we were done.
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Old Jan 24th, 2012, 07:09 AM
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otherchelebi- No, we are in our early 40's, LOL. But I know myself, and I don't sleep on planes and don't do so well after being up for 24+ hours.

Last year we went to Tokyo for a week and broke it up with 2 days in Kyoto in the middle. It worked well. I've done the same with Paris/Lyon.

We won't be able to be in Selcuk on a Saturday, regardless of what we do when we arrive. Are there any other weekly markets in the area?

Question about renting a car for Selcuk:
If we try to arrive early in Selcuk mid week, with 2 nights there, how advantageous will it be to have a car for the area vs. taking a shuttle from Izmir to Selcuk and not having a car? I don't know the distances to things in the area yet, or the public transportation options. I think I may need to be armed with some good info to convince my husband of the "need" to rent a car. ;-)
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Old Jan 24th, 2012, 07:59 AM
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We stayed in Selcuk and borrowed bicycles from our hotel and rode out to Ephesus - a very pleasant 2.5 km ride. You may only need transport to and from the airport. If you'd like to do more sightseeing in the area beyond Efes, a car might be more beneficial.
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Old Jan 27th, 2012, 09:15 AM
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Kristina, I'll be curious as to what you decide. I'm trying to make a similar decision (though with more time in Turkey). I was hoping to go straight through to Selcuk, but with the flight coming into Istanbul around 5pm it doesn't seem feasible. Right now I'm trying to figure out if it would make sense to stay overnight near the airport, in someplace with dinner options like Yeşilköy, and then take a morning flight out.
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Old Jan 27th, 2012, 09:13 PM
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PegS- Right now I am leaning toward 3 nights in Istanbul (2 full days), then 2 nights in Selcuk (realistically, 1.5 days there), then 3 nights back in Istanbul. Going to Selcuk on the first night after arrival sounds more and more like an exercise in punishment to me.

I am considering staying in a hotel in Sultanahmet for the first part and then on returning to Istanbul, an apartment in Cihangir.
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Old Jan 27th, 2012, 11:35 PM
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Kristina--
I like your new plan.

I'm still exploring transport without a car from Izmir to Selcuk, although I don't need to get back to Istanbul.
Here's the train schedule as of Jan 2012:
http://www.selcukephesus.com/trains.html

I am staying two nights in Ephesus. Everyone says the hotel owners can get you around, and I think I'm going to rely on their help to tell me how to get the bus from there to our next destination (Bodrum).
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Old Jan 27th, 2012, 11:40 PM
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Oops--two nights in Selcuk, I meant.
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Old Jan 28th, 2012, 10:53 AM
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'm wondering How well the iPhone and iPad work in Istanbul? Sorry to be coat tailing on your question.
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Old Jan 28th, 2012, 08:42 PM
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Thanks Kristina. So much to think about!
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