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Please critique my 4 week itinerary for Turkey

Please critique my 4 week itinerary for Turkey

Old Apr 15th, 2008, 10:18 PM
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Please critique my 4 week itinerary for Turkey

We are a couple heading into Turkey for our 4 week holiday in the month of September (It will be the time of Ramadan, but I understand that should not affect things much as long as we respect religious and cultural sensitivities).

We do not plan to hire a car and intend using public transport supplemented with day trips/tours wherever practical and appropriate.

This is the overall itinerary I have come up with so far. (Please pardon the spelling errors, haven’t figured out how to get the Turkish alphabets )

Sat, Sep 6 : Arrive into Istanbul

Sun, Sep 7 : Istanbul – Hippodrome, Aya Sofya, etc. Evening at Cemberlitas Hamam

Mon, Sep 8 : Istanbul – Bosphurus Cruise

Tue, Sep 9 : Istanbul – Grand Bazaar, etc. Evening bus to Canakkale

Wed, Sep 10 : Canakkale – Troy-Assos-Canakkale (will try and organize a day tour for this from Canakkale

Thu, Sep 11 : Canakkale – Bergama (via Ayvalik)

Fri, Sep 12 : Bergama – Selcuk (via Izmir). Should have time for an excursion to Sirince once we reach Selcuk

Sat, Sep 13 : Selcuk – Ephesus and other sights around – Selcuk

Sun, Sep 14 : Selcuk-Bodrum

Mon, Sep 15 : Bodrum – Pamukkale

Tue, Sep 16 : Pamukkale – Fethiye (leaving sometime in the afternoon)

Wed, Sep 17 : Fethiye – Oludeniz – Fethiye (can hopefully do tandem paragliding)

For the next four days I have two options, depending on whether I do the blue cruise or travel overland :

Option 1 : Thu, Sept 18-Sun Sep 21 : Blue Cruise ending in Olympos

Option 2 : Thu, Sept 18 : 12 Island Day Cruise
Fri, Sept 19 : Fethiye – Kas
Sat, Sept 20 : Kas-Kekova sea kayaking
Sun, Sept 21 : Kas – Olympos

Mon, Sept 22 : Olympos – Antalya

Tue, Sept 23 : Antalya – Cappadocia (flight to Kayseri)

Wed, Sept 24 : Goreme, Zelve (will do early morning balloon flight on one of the days while we are here)

Thu, Sept 25 – Sat, Sept 27 : 3 day tour to Nemrut Dagi

Sun, Sept 28 : Ihlara Valley

Mon, Sept 29 : Underground cities, Avanos, Uchisar, etc

Tue, Sept 30 : Kayseri-Istanbul (flight)

Wed, Oct 1 : EXTRA DAY

Thu, Oct 2 : EXTRA DAY

Fri, Oct 3 : Istanbul

Sat, Oct 4 : Depart for home

So my key queries are :

1. Firstly of course anything majorly wrong with the above ?
2. Help me decide between Blue Cruise vs over land and if cruise which would be a good company to do a cabin charter ? We prefer to have A/C and wish to avoid "party boats"
3. How best to spend the two extra days ? After trawling sites and guidebooks have come up with the following 3 categories :

History & Culture Options (will I be too "ruined out" to appreciate any of these or are any of them a "not to be missed" ?)

Day trip from Pamukkale to Aphrodisias
Day trip covering Priene/Miletus/Didyna
Day trip from Istanbul to Edirne
Overnight trip from Istanbul to Bursa and Iznik
Side trip from Antalya to Side, Aspendos and Perge
Two day trip including Ankara and either Safranbolu or Hattusas
Two day trip including Konya and Egirdir

Chill Out/Activity Options

A nice place on the Aegean Sea (Foca/Alacati…?)
Excursion from Antalya for white water rafting (have done rafting before in New Zealand)


Third choice is to simply extend time in Istanbul, Cappadocia or around Fethiye

Apologies for the length but hope all the resident experts can help me fill the gaps so that I can start on the bookings

Thank you all very much

dyscover is offline  
Old Apr 16th, 2008, 01:02 PM
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Dear Dyscover,

It seems that you have done a lot of planning for your Turkey trip.
As a resident expert who has done these sites agaain and again for over 34 years here are my suggestions:


Overall, a well planned and carefully timed itinerary. However, there are certain drawbacks as certain places are quite difficult to access by means of public transport. If you don't mind hiring a car at some stages of your trip you would be more comfortable and independent in reaching certain places or alternatively you may take day tours where necessary as you have already considered.

1. Sep.12- Will you be visiting Asclepion and Acropol in Bergama or are you just spending the night there? These two places are worth visiting.

2. Sep. 14- It makes much more sense to go to Pamukkale from Selcuk. (If you hire a car in Selcuk, visiting Aphrodisias en route will be much easier as you will be spending a lot of time using public transport.You may drop the car in Bodrum) After all, Aphrodisias is definetely as impressive as Ephesus and it has always been a must-see place in my list.

3. Sep.15- Pamukkale-Bodrum

4. Sep.16- Bodrum-Fethiye

(I changed the itinerary like this because if you insist on not renting a car and using public transport there are more frequent buses running between Pamukkale (Denizli)-Bodrum and Bodrum-Fethiye when compared with buses running between Pamukkale (Denizli)-Fethiye. It is all up to you to decide.

5. As for Blue Cruise and Land Cruise option, I would definitely choose the Blue Cruise as it is a unique experience. If you take the Blue Cruise, you will be visiting some of the places which are on your land cruise list anyway.

You will find these websites useful for finding gulet tours.







As for History & Culture Options these cannot be missed.

a. Overnight trip from Istanbul to Bursa and Iznik (You will find much better and authentic hamams in Bursa which have natural spa waters. My recommendation is the 13th century hamam within the Kervansaray Hotel. Also do not miss to visit the historic Silk Market (Caccon Han)in Bursa.

b. Side trip from Antalya to Side, Aspendos and Perge.

c. A side trip to Konya from Cappadocia may be an interesting one as the Mausoleum of Rumi is worth visiting especially during the month of Ramadan. It will definitely be a different experience. If you think it is too far, you may go to Hacibektas from Cappadocia for a similar visit.

As for a chillout place, spending a few lazy days under the September sun will be a good option. Foca (Eski Foça-Old Foça), Dalyan, Göcek or Kas may be ideal places.

Please feel free to write if you have further queries.

Enjoy your stay in Turkey. It will definitely be an unforgettable one.

Old Apr 16th, 2008, 02:31 PM
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You have been given excellent advice from Anatoliancruiser and you will indeed have a wonderful time in Turkey.

We spent over a month in Turkey last summer and visited many of the same places so you may want to look at our website:


I would forget Bodrum and spend more time in Selcuk. Do stay overnight n Pamukkale and see Aphrodisias on the way.

We spent months in ruins this year in Greece, Italy , Turkey and more & never got "ruined out".

DO the gulet, but I would hire a small private boat as 4 days with the wrong people is too long. We were there in heat wave, but AC not needed...and I am heat sensitive.

I would put extra days into Cappadocia and Selcuk areas...stay at night places and take time to enjoy the spectacular Turkish hospitality which is the best in the world.

We took the midnight express over night train from Cappadocia to Istanbul and enjoyed that experience....like new and probably much cheaper than flight.

The buses in Turkey are great and a good way to meet locals.Make sure that they do not leave you in the middle of the road in the middle of nowhere in Bergama!! ( It happened to us and we had a small child with us with trucks zooming by).

Bergama is kind of yucky, but the ruins are cool. Look to our site as to which guide to get in Troy, he is the BEST.

I would just book the blue cruise once there and most things. We were there in high season with no trouble any where booking day before arrival, each hotel/pension can book the next, everything is connected in Turkey.See boat and boat owner before booking, we did it through our hotel in Fethiye.

Have fun!

WTnow is offline  
Old Apr 17th, 2008, 09:33 AM
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Can I just say AnatolianCruiser that I was hoping that my post would catch your eye and I'm so glad that it did !

To answer your question am planning on visiting the Asclepsion etc in Bergama, so its not just an overnight stop.

I appreciate your reworking of the itinerary re Selcuk-Pamukkale, it does make more sense that way. Unfortunately will still be with public transport but maybe I can organise something for the day to take us via Aphrodisias.

WTNow, I did check out your website, in fact first came across it while researching for our trip to Spain last year so am glad to have an opportunity to thank you first hand for then and now.

Will absorb all the good info and rework accordingly, and then will be back with more queries never fear !!

Thanks once again for helping me with what I know is going to be the trip of a lifetime.

dyscover is offline  
Old Apr 17th, 2008, 11:13 AM
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I second the idea of relaxing in Foca. Charming town with wonderful architecture.

We loved the small Focantique Hotel.
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Old Apr 17th, 2008, 11:32 AM
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I really liked Kas last August. We stayed one night and 2 days. Took boat tour tha included Lycean ruins, swimming multipel locations, lunch. I could easily have spent more time there. We stayed at Kas Otel, great place with rooms overlooking Mer, so close you cna hear waves crash.

I think you'll like hiking in the Ilhara valley. We went to see into two churches along the path...saw several others, and had a nice lunch at the restaurant with seating over the stream, under shade trees.
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Old Apr 17th, 2008, 11:44 AM
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Your itinerary looks well planned. However, you are doing yourself an injustice not seeing Turkey past the western coast. I lived in Turkey for two years. And I feel even a trip inland to Ankara or Konya would be advised. I could even recommend Trabzon or anywhere in the ‘real’Turkey.
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Old Apr 18th, 2008, 01:11 AM
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A great and well thought out trip..however as you wish to aviod the party boats..then why are you going to Olympos...personally you might be better off staying in Cirali instead of Olympos..same beach but totally different atmosphere..

Logically speaking everything is located closer to Cirali than Olympos..the beach ( is in Cirali ) the flames of the Chimaera 4km on the noth end of the village ( is in Cirali )and the ruins of the anceint site of Olympos is on the beach 500m towards the south end of the bay..

Olympos is know for its treehouses and backpaker / student scene whereas Cirali is more for the mature traveller and families..

If you want to party go to Olympos if you dont then go to Cirali..

As for Sept and a cruise things should be quieting down and most students ( that usually take these 3-4 day cruises ) are back at school..so you might find a boat that is comfortable with a nice group of people...

Travelling either by sea or by land...both have advantages and dissadvantages..if by sea you miss the historical areas inland..vice versa..other areas only accessed by boats..

have a great time..

PS..have you read the trip report from Millie64..

Trip report Instanbul, Cappadocia, Cirali, Selcuk

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Old Apr 18th, 2008, 01:25 AM
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also wanted to add...Many people have had both good and bad experiences on all blue voyages. Please research the topic before embarking on such and adventure. To each their own.

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Old Jul 5th, 2011, 05:53 AM
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You'll need almost an entire day for Ephesus. Also consider taking a taxi to the Upper Gate (there are no buses running there) and walking DOWNHILL to the Lower Gate, where you can then catch a local bus back to Selcuk. Otherwise, you will have to walk uphill all the way to the Upper Gate and catch a taxi anyway back to Selcuk or hike all the way back downhill again to go to the Lower Gate to catch the local bus for Selcuk.

If you get a really good guide, then Priene/Miletus/Didyna is a fabulous trip.

Pamukkale may not be worth a trip, as it may be dry and no where near the beauty of the tourist brochures.

You may be aware of this already, but, more than any of the other sites on the western coast, it's best to arrange for a tour of Pergamom/Bergama beforehand.

Sounds like a fabulous trip! You'll have a great time! The Turks are among the friendliest people on earth - and try their freshly made "pizza".
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Old Jul 5th, 2011, 07:08 AM
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This post was from three years ago and started again by some advertiser.
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Old Jul 5th, 2011, 07:39 AM
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All the more reason for readers to have more up-to-date information.
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Old Jul 5th, 2011, 07:52 AM
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This is why I think posts should be locked, rendered read-only, after a year or two. Why feed the advertisers and spammers?
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