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planning 2 weeks trip to Turkey help please

planning 2 weeks trip to Turkey help please

Jul 2nd, 2019, 09:41 AM
Original Poster
Join Date: Mar 2015
Posts: 13
planning 2 weeks trip to Turkey help please


I am going to turkey at the end of July with family of 4, daughters 16 and 19 and partner.

So far the plan is :

flight to Istanbul 4 nights

flight Cappadocia 5 nights in Goreme

Pamukkale 1 night

Alacati 5 nights (my partner loves windsurfing) flight out from Izmir

I was planning to hire a car in Cappadocia to give us flexibility to reach sights before the crowds and do some walking. Any thoughts? better to hire a guide instead ? we like walking and getting away from the crowds if possible.

What is the best way to travel from Cappadocia to Pamukkale? How is the drive if we hire the car?

Any suggestions most welcomed. Thanks for your time

moma is offline  
Jul 2nd, 2019, 10:36 AM
Join Date: Mar 2007
Posts: 3,007
We did a lot of hiking out of Goreme without a car, some hikes we hoofed to right out of town (at least two or three can be reached this way), some can be accessed with taxi or bus one-way. One of our best days ever was when we had our hotel arrange a driver so we could walk the Ihlara Valley one-way. The driver made stops before and after (underground city, a must, as was Selime monastery--both are extraordinary). You don't need a guide for the hikes, though we did get a bit turned around on the red/rose valley one (not uncommon for us).
yorkshire is offline  
Jul 2nd, 2019, 11:22 AM
Join Date: Jul 2009
Posts: 4,668
There are no direct flights from Nevsehir or Kayseri (Cappadocia) I did not check schedules but you may waste a whole day at airports and flying for that trip with transfers in Istanbul.

Renting a car makes sense if you plan to keep it ai Alacati also and return it to Izmir airport when you depart. Goreme- Pamukkale is not an exciting drive if you do not visit Catalhoyuk and/or Manazan caves.
You can also see some sink holes in the desert. Hasan Dag is a great view at beginning of your trip.

Otherwise, you can take a bus. Check to see if any direct buses are available. Changing buses en route would also waste time.

Being four makes car rental a good choice anyway.
otherchelebi is offline  
Jul 2nd, 2019, 04:19 PM
Join Date: Dec 2006
Posts: 21,364
Are you sure that 4 nights will let you see what you want in Istanbul? That strikes me as very little. I felt a bit rushed with 6 nights.

Conversely, 5 nights in Goreme strikes me as a LOT. I had 4 nights in the area, 2 in Goreme and 2 in Güzelyurt; there was no reason to move other than personal preference.

Of course, it depends on what you want to see and experience!

You might find some useful information in my old trip report:
Some Observations on a Fantastic Journey through Western Turkey
kja is offline  
Jul 2nd, 2019, 05:59 PM
Join Date: Sep 2003
Posts: 2,023
Hard to say - we had 4 nights in Istanbul and 4 nights in Cappadocia (Goreme). In both places this was not enough, but if I had an extra day I think I would add it to Istanbul. So much to see there. We did not have a car in Cappadocia and walked a lot and used buses; also we took a day tour to Ihlara Valley, but having your own car might be a good idea.

We flew (in 2013) from Izmir to Cappadocia, can you do the same in reverse? As I remember, flights were not available every day, but if you fit your schedule to theirs, it would save some long hours of driving.

From Alacati make sure to do a day trip to Selcuk for the Library of Celsus. Turkey is amazing, have a great trip!
xyz99 is offline  
Jul 3rd, 2019, 01:45 AM
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Agree with Kja about time in Istanbul and Cappadocia. We had 3 nights (two days) in Cappadocia. That was plenty, but four nights would have been perfect. We definitely needed more in Istanbul. We hired a car and driver in Cappadocia. It was great for us, especially for dropping off at one point and picking up at another, but you might enjoy a car. Stay in a cave hotel.
Sassafrass is online now  
Jul 3rd, 2019, 02:21 AM
Join Date: Feb 2019
Posts: 32
I think 4 days is enough in Istanbul as long as you have everything organized. We had 6 days in Cappadocia and it was just enough. We had a different tour every day. Although we drove there and had a car, we still booked the tours since we didn't know where to go and what to see. And trust me it's better that way. We drove to Pamukkale and it seemed like a long ride, about 8 hours. We spent two days there, well, a day and a half and it was also enough.
katepcoss is offline  
Jul 3rd, 2019, 09:06 AM
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Join Date: Mar 2015
Posts: 13
Thanks for all your replies and advice. I understand comment of short time in Istanbul, but need to compromise with family Hard to make everyone happy. Any suggestions on how is best use our time in Istanbul? We will have 3 full days and then time till the flight to Kayseri at 19.55 the last day.

I will look again into flying from Cappadocia to Izmir and rent a car to visit Pamukkale. I know there are not direct flights, but it might be a better option. The drive sounds very long and not very exciting. With little time it might be a better option to fly.

Not sure if it worth hiring a car in Cappadocia or better to go for a guide with a car. Will look into costs too.

Thanks again for all your help
moma is offline  
Jul 3rd, 2019, 04:29 PM
Join Date: Dec 2006
Posts: 21,364
If you have to shortchange something -- and with your time frame, you will! -- then shortchanging Istanbul actually makes sense, as it's the easiest of the places you are tyring to visit to reach and so the easiest to include in a subsequent trip. As for how to make the best use of your time, hit the guidebooks, decide on your priorities, check their opening hours, and then plan a route that maximizes your chances of seeing the things that are most important to you. Of course, none of us can say what those places will be.

I'm glad I had a car while in Cappadocia. I didn't feel the need for a guide or a tour anywhere in Cappadocia except the underground city I visited and for that, I would highly recommend a guide. You can hire one on site. Your hotel should have a good map for the hiking trails and a description of some recommended circuits, and a good guidebook (perhaps the Moon Guide or the Rough Guide) will provide plenty of information.

Hope that helps!
kja is offline  
Jul 4th, 2019, 04:42 AM
Join Date: Sep 2003
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We had the same amount of time in Istanbul, and this is what we did:
Day 1 - we hoped to have time for a Bosphorus cruise, but our flight was late and we hit a lot of traffic heading into the city. We just walk around, had dinner and went to bed early
Day 2 - Topkapi (get there when it opens, it gets very crowded), Hagia Sophia, Blue Mosque, Sultanahmet Park and Basilica Cistern
Day 3 - Grand Bazaar & Spice Market, Yeni Cami, Suleymaniye Mosque and Rustem Pasa
Day 4 - Dolmabahce Palace and Mosque, Chora Church, Galata Tower & Bridge

I wish we had more time to see more and also explore the Asia side, but we always think that big cities with airports are more easily added to future trips. There is a direct flight Kayseri to Izmir in the summer, check out Pegasus airline, that's what we used.
Hope this helps.
xyz99 is offline  
Jul 7th, 2019, 02:54 AM
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Join Date: Mar 2015
Posts: 13
Thanks again for all your valuable suggestions.

I am looking into flying Kayseri to Izmir to visit Pamukkale and I have 2 options:

1. leave day before from Goreme: direct flight Kayseri to Izmir, at 20.55-21.55 sleep in Izmir, hire a car and drive to Pamukkale in the morning, overnight and drive back the following day
2. Fly following day flight Kayseri to Izmir, via Istanbul (2 hr transit), 7.45 - 12.40 hire a car and make way to Pamukkale , sleep there and drive back following day.
Will I have enough time to get to Pamukkale and visit sight? Thinking of going straight to site by car, hopefully by 5pm. I understand is less busy after 4 pm. is it easy to park near entrance? Does it give enough time?Apologies for stupid question, I understand is a personal preference, just wanted to understand how realistic the second option is. It only make sense if we have a good change to making it to Pamukkale for sun set and have time to visit it.Thanks again for your time.
moma is offline  
Jul 7th, 2019, 10:01 AM
Join Date: Dec 2006
Posts: 21,364
I think it depends on what you want to see and do. FWIW, I spent about 5 hours visiting Hieropolis and Pamukkule, and I -- personally -- wouldn't go all that way for Pamulkkule and skip Hieropolis. YMMV.
kja is offline  
Jul 7th, 2019, 12:39 PM
Join Date: Feb 2016
Posts: 10
We just returned on June13 after 2 weeks in Turkey. Ever bit of the trip was fantastic. You will love Turkey. My best suggestion is to hire a private guide in Istanbul. There is so much history there. We hired a guide thruGuide Istanbul Tours. We decided on having a guide for the first two days. Day one was walking in the old historic part of the city. The second day our guide had a van and driver. Then we headed farther into the city. We had the next 3 days to explore on our own. A private guide is rather expensive, but worth every penny. Don't miss the Chora Church. Again hire a guide right there at the church there are amazing mosaics. That guide was about $20. Also a don't miss is a balloon ride in Cappadocia. Again pricey but truly amazing! But you have to make your reservation NOW.

celestexeter is offline  
Jul 7th, 2019, 12:42 PM
Join Date: Jul 2009
Posts: 4,668
If Pamukkale is a must and your alternatives mean missing Hieropolis, Aphrodisias and possibly Ephesus, Priene, you may still consider an overnight bus from Cappadocia, renting car in Pamukkale
returning it to Izmir airport at time of flying back.

Mind you, Izmir airport is South of Izmir and brings you close to Ephesus and Pamukkale, so you may consider hotel at or close to the airport or at Selcuk, hiring your car at arrival in Izmir airport when you fly from Cappadocia in your first alternative above.

Either way, bus alternative gains you a full day. Check reports on buses. They are usually very comfortable and quite safe because they have to follow very strict traffic rules. Women sit together or alone. They usually have free water and stop a few times for stretching your legs meals, snacks or other needs

planning 2 weeks trip to Turkey help please-41cab736-443e-4554-b5e6-b1c6645edc09.jpg
otherchelebi is offline  
Jul 7th, 2019, 11:02 PM
Join Date: Mar 2003
Posts: 20,829
We rented a car from Izmir to Kayseri visiting Ephesus, Aphrodisias, Hieropolis, and of course Cappadocia I wrote a trip report: Trip Report: Turkey, May 2008but the reference to the photo albums are no longer valid. So here are the new ones:

You'll have to look at the photos in reverse order if possible, since your trip would start in Kayseri.
Michael is online now  
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