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Mid-April 2012: WHERE to spend 3-4 days w/ car after Selcuk/Ephesus area?

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Mar 31st, 2012, 11:49 AM
  #1
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Mid-April 2012: WHERE to spend 3-4 days w/ car after Selcuk/Ephesus area?

After 5 nights in Istanbul, we fly to Izmir and pick up a rental car for a week, with drop-off at Izmir airport.

We arrive in Izmir around noon on Tuesday, April 17. We depart from Izmir at 1 PM on Tuesday April 24 -- destination Istanbul, then a connecting flight to Amsterdam .

We have a booking for 4 nights at Hotel Bella in Selcuk. We can amend or cancel that reservation until a few days prior to our scheduled arrival date.

While at the Hotel Bella, we will probably divide our time as follows: Selcuk, Sirince (Day 1) Ephesus (Day 2) Pamukkale, Hierapolis, Laodicea (Day 3) Didym, Prienne, Miletus (Day 4)

(I'm thinking 3 nights may be enough, to liberate more time for areas further to the south. Perhaps we could visit Didym etc while en route to our next hotel)

I'm hoping to get advice on where we should spend our time after Selcuk.

All the accounts I've read about the Antalya region make it sound delightful -- but all the accounts seem to be from warm-weather months.

I realize it is not really beach weather but I do like the sea. Even temperatures of 16-18 C (normal April temperature = 20-21 C) would be satisfactory, it there's sun.

I'd like to see some historic sites. I like just relaxing on a hotel terrace or over a nice lunch. I like to walk. One constraint is my spouse's heart condition: vigourous hikes and hill-climbing are not entirely practicable, unless I do them alone.

If we had 4 nights (perhaps 2 + 2 or 3 +1) to allocate, where should we base ourselves? Antalya/ Cirali? Fethiye? Kas?

(For the night of April 23, we would have to be somewhere within 2-3 hours' drive of Izmir airport)

Or is this simlpy the WRONG season to take a trip along the coast? If so, can someone suggest a completely different strategy? We're open to all suggestions. Thanks.
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Mar 31st, 2012, 12:36 PM
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I spent about a week several years ago in Kusadasi, having arrived from Naxos by ferry and liked it very much. Big enough and small enough for my taste in towns. Good place to stroll. We took a day trip from there by taxi to Ephesus. Sorry, don't recall the name of the accommodation but there are a number listed on Trip Advisor.
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Mar 31st, 2012, 12:55 PM
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I hope to visit Kusadasi when we're based in Selcuk: it must be quite close.

We were thinking of going a bit further south after Selcuk -- where it should be warmer. (I see the forecast for next week in Bodrum and Antalya is about 21-22 C, which is quite OK.)

I also realize that if we were to head to the Antalya region, we should see Pamukkale on the way, not as a day-trip from Selcuk.
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Mar 31st, 2012, 01:56 PM
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Ted, I spent 2 full days/1 night in Sirince and felt it was worth the time there. It's a very relaxing and pretty place, very steep hairpin bends (and no railings on the sides) ascending to the pretty little town/village at the top. If theres traffic on the way up as there was when I went, be prepared to do lots of hill balancing, especially if your car is a gear-shift. I did the drive back down at 3.30am in a fog on my way to Izmir airport and it was nerve wracking but fun executing those bends. Even had to change my shirt when at the bottom and before the long drive to Izmir for all the perspiration, lol.
I was there in late October so the olive groves, vineyards and fruit trees in Sirince still had a late harvest to wander/hike through which I enjoyed, but not sure what you will see in April. Lots of good local eating and drinking to be found there too.

Are you sure that you will be able to cover all those other destinations within day trips ? I could be wrong, but seemed to think that some of them (like Pammukale) seemed further away.

Half a day (9.00am - about 1.00pm) was ample time for me to cover Ephesus, leaving me the afternoon to go to a beach 5 Kms away. Its not a great beach, but is very wide, clean and long and is....a beach if you really want one.

Kusadasi is about 20kms from Selcuk so quite doable as a day trip. I didn't go there but others I know did and liked it sufficiently to spend more than a day there. It is a port town with more things going on, but is a popular cruise ship stop as well.

Don't miss the Ephesus museum located in Selcuk. It is small(ish) but filled with treasures nicely displayed.

For all the carpet pushing throughout my 3 weeks in Turkey, I ended up buying 2 antique ones in Selcuk.

There is a lot of scenic driving in the direction of 'Mary's House', and that site itself is a beautiful diversion for an hour.

The church of St. John is little more than a large ruin, looming above you in Selcuk. However I found it interesting with the assistance of a guide.

I did the same istanbul/Izmir route as you, but after dropping off the car at Izmir airport at 6.30am, took a flight to Kayseri and Cappadocia. Don't know if you're already going there, but if not, you may want to consider a few of these extra days there. Its fantastic ! Stay in a cave hotel, or a hotel offering cave rooms. The scenery and towns around there (Nevsehir, Urgup, Goreme, and others) are wonderful.
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Mar 31st, 2012, 03:42 PM
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Mathieu:

Everything you tell me about Sirince, Selcuk, Ephesus and Kusadasi confirms my impressions.

I suspect we will see Pamukkale en route to the Antalya region or we will not see it at all. It is probably too far for a relaxed day-trip, as you noted. Viamichelin seems to think we can average only about 40 mph/ 60 kmh on Turkish roads.

We're pretty well committed to remain along the coast for the entire week. That is, our flights to and from Izmir are already booked.

I wanted to avoid racing around the country. Moreover, I was afraid Cappadocia might be too cold in April to be enjoyable.

On reflection, I might have done things differently. I'm sorry now that we won't see Cappadocia.
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Mar 31st, 2012, 06:12 PM
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Beyond Kusadasi is a nationa park by on a peninsula which is quite nice.

http://www.flickr.com/photos/mksfca/...57623057771012

Aphrodisias is on the way to Pammukale.

http://www.flickr.com/photos/mksfca/...57623057771012
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Mar 31st, 2012, 07:05 PM
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The shots of Aphrodisias are fascinating!
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Apr 1st, 2012, 03:20 AM
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With a week in that region, I'd say 3 nights in Selçuk (for Ephesus, Selçuk town, Şirince), then drive south visiting Priene, Miletus and Didyma before spending a couple of nights at Lake Bafa (from where you could visit Euromos, Iasos and maybe Labranda) and then drive on up to Pamukkale (via Stratonikeia, Lagina and Aphrodisias) and spend a couple of nights there.

Something like that, it would be a pleasant circuit with a maximum of about 4-5 hours driving in any one day (i.e. the longest would be from Bafa to Pamukkale). Maybe spend your last night in Selçuk for easy access to Izmir airport (if so, maybe check out Nysa on the way back from Pamukkale).

Sorry if this sounds like a full-on ruins tour, but they're mostly in lovely positions in the countryside. Maybe just pick the ones that might interest you.
We've got all those sites listed with photos at the Megalithic Portal - http://www.megalithic.co.uk/article.php?sid=16883
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Apr 1st, 2012, 05:04 AM
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One question to Croesus:
If we get away from the beaches and the heavily frequented tourist sites, will we have language problems?
We are multilingual but we speak not a word of Turkish. (I'm a bit freaked out -- uncharacteristically so -- about the language gap.)
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Apr 1st, 2012, 05:41 AM
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One other concern I should flag: I've just looked into hotels and pensions around Lake Bafa. They seem a bit simple for my taste.

I like solid comfort (and good food) and ideally a bit of style. We don't insist on luxury.

I think we might have to cut back on our sight-seeing, if the price is staying in remote and possibly spartan accommodation and skimping on the gastronomic side.

Is it possible to have it all?
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Apr 1st, 2012, 08:01 AM
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I hear what you're saying, Tegdale. Turkey isn't like France. However, if you look at, say, the Agora or Selene's at Bafa - I think you'll find the food will be pretty good (local fish and organic village vegetables, honey from the hives down the road, etc.), but I guess the accommodation might be a little spartan for your taste. And then again, although I've haven't stayed at either, I think the Bella at Selçuk is only a tad higher in standard (if that). I don't think you'll be "slumming" it. Maybe email them to ask how thick their mattresses are? (That's often the biggest gripe from North Americans).

I don't think you should worry too much about the language barrier, the Turks are some of the most welcoming and hospitable people I've ever come across and will go out of their way to help you out. Take a phrase book and they'll quite probably find the page you want in it quicker than you can (from my experience).

OK, you might not get the "bit of style" that you're looking for but I think that the positives far outweigh the apparent negatives. And you might be a little outside your comfort zone - well it is Turkey, after all.
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Apr 1st, 2012, 12:02 PM
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Way below are some finished and unfinished trip reorts on the region, and photographs.

We just came back from our tiny Summer house in Nicea, and can write until I am called to watch the final episodes of "Revenge"

I wrote a longer version and the electricity went off and lost it all, so will have to summarize :

You can do everything in and immediate environs of Selcuk in one full day or at most one and a half days.

Check with owner of Nazhan hotel, just below Bella for the availability of their new larger new rooms. (Cemil akyurek, owner, speaks English, now retired, was a board member of a company with me many years ago.)

From selcuk, you can drive through kusadasi, Soke to Priene and then to Doganbey, Dilek lagoon and Karina, to finally get to Didyma for the evening. There, you can find decent lodging either at Didim or a bit further at Altinkum.

next day, the road will take you through Miletus to Bafa and the side road will lead to Herakleia (Kapikiri village) where you will pass by the olive orchard of my friend of 40 years from Atlanta, Lawrence. Interesting geological structures, very scenic village on ruins and decent restaurants with good view of monastery on tiny island. Do not eat mullet. (how about eels?)

Continue till Gocek if you can the same day or lodge at Akyaka/Gokova. Both locations will have good lodging.

Next day visit Tlos, Patara and Kalkan on your way to Kas.

From Kas, you can take the fabulous Kekova boat tour and possibly kayak over sunken ruins in 16-18 C seas with hopefully 25-27 in the shade air temp.

You will see photos of other places to visit and read of them below.

You can drop car at Dalaman airport to fly back and maybe even have the time to visit Phaeselis and push off all the way to Antalya.

Good luck. Send me another PM and i will give you telephone you can call if you have problems.



http://www.fodors.com/community/euro...-phrygia.cfm?8

http://www.fodors.com/community/fodo...ut-fear.cfm?14


http://www.fodors.com/community/euro...and-back.cfm?0

http://www.fodors.com/community/fodo...lykians.cfm?39

http://travel.webshots.com/album/578798538VEOMIK

http://travel.webshots.com/album/578740185vRZRyr

http://travel.webshots.com/album/578816688RFqCoE

http://travel.webshots.com/album/578805076nuXMRF
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Apr 1st, 2012, 01:19 PM
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That kayaking over sunken ruins in Kas sounds amazing. I'd be in for that. Especially if I could also dive in for a closer inspection now and then, when the sun was too hot.

Thx Otherchelebi.
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Apr 1st, 2012, 01:45 PM
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I rented a car in Kusadasi for several days at the end of a group tour. Drove up to Bergama (Perganum), visited Asklepion, drove down through Golmarmara and checked out the tumulus mounds, stopped at Sardis, on to Aphrodisias before dark. I was one of five people at the hotel in June.

Visited Aphrodisias, then drove to Pamukkale, trekked up to the sacred pool, visited the necropolis, drove to Denizli and turned in my car.

Then I took an overnight bus (really nice) to Ankara, visited the citadel and museum, took a bus to Hattusas. Visited Hattusas and Alacahoyuk the following day, took a bus back to Ankara, then took the overnight train to Istanbul, spent another day then flew home.

I'd already been to Antalya and done a 5 day cruise of the coast, so was looking for something different.

I'd highly recommend Aphrodisias, a very nice site, and I was amazed by Sardis. I loved the museum in Ankara, and I really enjoyed Hattusas and Alacahoyuk.

Maybe you can visit Aphrodisias, Pamukkale, then head down to the coast. You can always save Ankara, Cappadocia, and Hattusas for your next visit
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Apr 1st, 2012, 04:19 PM
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Thanks to all for the input.

I think we are locked into our car rental plans, incl. returning car at Izmir airport. Also our flight Izmir- Istanbul is booked and paid for.

If I'd been doing the planning myself, I would have worked out the itinerary, then made the bookings. I delegated to someone who does not have much experience in these things. Live and learn.

Here is the current state of our plans:

1. We have just received an invitation to visit (but not, I think, to stay with) friends who will be at their seaside house at Gocek on the weekend of the Independence holiday. We DO want to see them -- and they have a boat, which would be a real treat for us if the weather cooperates.

2. After we visit the Selcuk area and Ephesus, we have the choice to do Priene, Didyma, Miletus (Lake Bafa) etc as a daytrip OR to see them en route to points further south.

3. The main decision we now need to take, I think, is whether to make this a purely "coastal" holiday or whether to make time for Pamukkale, Aphrodisias, etc.

Aphrodisias looks exceptionally beautiful and I was quite looking forward to seeing it and the other nearby sites. Pamukkale looks visually intriguing but not a "must see at all costs".

Fodorites: Drop the Pamukkale portion of the trip -- or retain it?

On some of the other items:

I will check into otherchelebi's advice about alternative accommodation in Selcuk.

Mowmow, I think Ankara and Cappadocia are not possible on this trip. I want to keep it as simple and unhurried as possible.

I'm not sure I've assimilated all the material posted above. I certainly need to digest those trip reports and other links. So I may come back with more thoughts and questions (and will send a PM to OC)
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Apr 1st, 2012, 04:32 PM
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I should also have commented that it was very kind of otherchelebi to reproduce his original advice after it disappeared in the power "outage".

I appreciate the effort that all of you have made and the interest that all of you have taken. But otherchelebi was especially generous.
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Apr 1st, 2012, 05:24 PM
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Drop the Pamukkale portion of the trip -- or retain it?
I have a hard time deciding that also. We are going to the more or less the same places in May and as of now Pamukkale is in. I flip flop quite a bit on that one. It looks really beautiful in the picture and yes I know it has deteriorated and has become commercialized but a good soak in hot spring still sounds good to me. Maybe I'll start a new topic on my undecided itinerary.
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Apr 1st, 2012, 05:36 PM
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Aphrodisias is spectacular and was very uncrowded when we visited. Pammukkale is a bit of a bust. The pools are much less extensive, full or blue than you might expect from the tourist brochures, and the scruffy town reflects the drop in the tourist trade. Click on my name and take a look at my trip report from May 2010. I thought Kas was a charming town, well worth a couple of days for relaxing. Antalya is a much larger city with a picturesque old town (very tourist oriented) and a wonderful local museum. Might be a bit of a haul back to Izmir, though. I found the driving in Turkey very easy, with excellent roads.
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Apr 1st, 2012, 06:24 PM
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Yes, go to Gocek and visit your friends. It's a gorgeous place, and the weather should be nice.

You could visit Miletus, Priene, Didyma then divert over to Aphrodisias, spend the night. Visit Aphrodisias and Pamukkale the next day then drive down to Gocek.
Or, Miletus, Priene, Didyma, then on to Gocek. Pamukkale, Aphrodisias on the way back to Izmir. If short on time, skip Priene and then Pamukkale.

You don't need to spend so much time in Selcuk, Sirince, and Ephesus is a half day visit unless you are extremely into archeology. Lots of it is rubble, but the "library" is so outstanding, and the mosaic sidewalks so unique and beautiful it's worth it to try and imagine how beautiful this city used to be.

Skip Kusadasi unless your hotel is there. OK little city, but there are better places to spend your precious time. Gocek, Aphrodisias, and Pamukkale are better places.

We ended our coast cruise at Marmaris, got everybody on the bus, and visited Miletus (saw the theater) Didyma (Apollo temple) and made it to Kusadasi to the hotel in time for afternoon tea and popcorn. We could easily have visited Priene and gone on to Izmir if in a car. Gocek is a little farther, so that would be a long day, but doable, especially if you can share the driving, and you get an early start.

The speed limit is 70kmh in Turkey and they don't seem to often drive over it, although people go faster on the freeways. Just be careful and on the lookout, nobody stops at the Dur signs and there are animals and carts and tractors on the roads.

You won't have any problem with the language. A lot of younger Turkish people speak English, and charades always works. Have a guidebook with some basic phrases and you'll be fine. You'll feel very safe and everybody will be kind.
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Apr 2nd, 2012, 01:01 AM
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One recommendation : Traveling in April means you do not need to reserve hotel rooms in advance. You can easily find vacancies and be flexible. This will add to the pleasure you will get from your trip. Play it as you go along, stay longer at certain places, bypass others you do not like so much. See a market stop- the car and wander around. See a brown sign pointing to an antique site not in your program, take the bite and drive there to discover some place wonderful.

One update on speed limits "

Highway speed limits are 90km + 10% margin
Divided highways are 110km + 10%
Passing through towns or specially marked parts 70km or even 50km

Motorways 120km + 10% but usually no radar or speed checks and can go higher (drove 180-200km/hr between Gaziantep and Urfa ten days ago)

highways and especially divided highways have frequent radar, sometimes one after another with just 5-10km between them. (there were four one after another between Tarsus and Pozanti in the South, some years ago)

The radar is usually an unmarked car parked facing you on the shoulder or the median, sometimes with a door open or the trunk up. Good idea to slow down to speed limit whenever you see this car facing you on your side of the road. they call and send phographic info to the guys who will stop and fine you after a few bends on the highway.

Radar is usually within 3-10 kilometers on either side of a township (not a smaller village)

Our friends, the British Trip Advisor DEs Attagul and Dudisimo also live in Gocek (not on the seaside)

If you do decide to drive to denizli/pamukkale, consider stopping at one of many factory shops to look at bathrobes and towels which are extremely good and extremely cheap. Check especially for "Chakra" brand which has a great combination of cotton and bamboo fibers, resulting in a very light, soft and absorbent bathrobe.
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