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Turkey Driving Itinerary in 8/9 Days?

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Jun 1st, 2012, 08:23 AM
  #1
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Turkey Driving Itinerary in 8/9 Days?

My wife and I are just starting to plan our fall trip. Due to some other commitments, it's going to be later than usual (late-Oct/early-Nov). We're considering Turkey at the moment.

We're likely going to fly out on a Saturday (arrive Sunday AM) and fly back mid-day on the following Monday, so we'll have 8 nights (7 full days, 2 1/2 days).

My initial plan would be to rent a car (we like to drive and explore along the way) in Istanbul and drive to Ankara for a couple of nights. Then on to Cappadocia for a few nights. Then back towards Istanbul, stopping somewhere (WHERE?) for a couple more nights, then back to Istanbul.

We're seasoned travellers and big on the outdoors (love to hike and explore).

Does this sound reasonable? Any other ideas?
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Jun 1st, 2012, 12:29 PM
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Just for starters:

- I do not recommend driving in Istanbul because parking is very difficult and traffic horrendous at certain locatuions and certain times. whereas public transport and taxis are cheap and plentiful and also, you will be doing a great deal of walking for the sights even if you have a car and you will hopefully also use the ferries on the Bosphorus.

2. Driving from istanbul to Ankara is all on motorway, bu can have heavy traffic first hundred miles, especially if some road works are in process. The route from ankara to Cappadocia is also mostly good quality divided highway through Aksaray, however, I will suggest a different route.

3. If you wish to visit scenic areas on the way to Ankara, the best value in terms of ease of access and scenery on a cloud free day (or a hauntingly cloudy day) is Abant lake, after you get through the Bolu tunnel.

4. Taking a longer route, you can take the Akyazilar-Mudurnu exit from the motorway and get to Abant through Goynuk and Mudurnu with their old wooden houses, take a side road to reach the interesting Sunnet lake in the process and maybe call it a day and stay at Abant for a terrific breakfast, possibly at the lodge on the lake.

5. ankara may be worth it for the Museum of Ancient Civilizations. Otherwise, it will mean at least two hours of unnecessary driving to enter and leave. Consider that carefully.

6. If you take the Samsun exit from the Ankara ring road after the motorway, you can get to Bogazkale for the Hittite city of Hattusas and the reasonably nearby Alacahoyuk. These are well worth a visit, especially the eerie atmosphere of the ancient temples at Yazilikaya. You may wish to spend the night at Bogazkale where there are some so-so locations to lodge.
You will then take the Kirikkae route to cappadocia.

7. you can extend the Bogazkale trip to Amasya but that may be cutting Cappadocia or Istanbul too short and I do not advise it.

The weather may be rather cold from Bolu onwards, especially at night. Possibly reaching freezing. There will also be some precipitation and high possibility of fog.

this means that you should splurge and get a better car.

Make sure you get a car with an OGS toll device or a KGS card. The card only costs 10TL now and you can buy some credit for it just before the first bridge over the Bosphorus before you cross. Some rental agencies may charge you 50TL for a card, which is atrocious.

-Speed limnits are 120 k on motorway, 110 on divided highway and 90 on single lane highways. You are allowed up to 10% above the speed limits before the radar kicks in.
Inhabited zones will have posted speed limits 50, 60 or 70.
Most of the time you have to guess when you are allowed to get back up to the highway speed.

- There are no route number signs on the roads but reasonable number of city and town signs some with distances.

- Brown signs mean a historic or scenic location.
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Jun 1st, 2012, 12:39 PM
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otherchelebi -

Thank you for the information re: driving in Turkey. My husband and I will be driving from Antalya to Fethiye to visit for several days and then driving from Fethiye to Selcuk. Will we need a rental car with an OGS toll device or a KGS card? How are the road conditions using Route 400 to 550 to 330 to 525to 550? Will this be a "scenic" route or should we use a different routing?

Thank you!
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Jun 1st, 2012, 12:58 PM
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Otherchelebi,

Thanks so much for the information... digesting it now and will probably be back with a few questions...

Alan
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Jun 1st, 2012, 02:25 PM
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macinpv, you will not need an OGS or a KGS since there are no toll roads between antalya and fethiye.

I do not know the route numbers because they never appear on the roads although we must have driven those routes more than ten times.

take the coastal road from antalya to fethiye but not the narrow hilly one from Xanthos to fethiye which is nice but much longer.

from Fethiye, the route by-passing Mugla to its west and through Yatagan, Milas, Bafa and Soke is longer but more scenic. This will give you a chance to visit Herakleia/Kapikiri also (about 10-12 kilometres on side road from Bafa town on your right)

The road conditions are excellent (see Tedgale's recent report although it covers only part of the route)

Roll down your windows, and take some good whiffs of the pine smell some 20 kilos after Antalya at Beldibi and Goynuk just for me.
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Jun 4th, 2012, 01:23 PM
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otherchelebi -

Thank you for the information on driving conditions. Yes, we are interested in the coastal route from AYT to Fethiye. Google maps indicates it is nearly 6 hours but we expect the scenery to be well worth the drive. I will roll down the windows and take many whifs for you.

Thanks again.
macinpv
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Jun 5th, 2012, 06:48 AM
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Along this same topic - would one recommend renting a car in Cappadocia? We will be there 3 days and in general like to drive and explore and have the independence of going/coming as we like instead or relying on public transportation (though oddly live right outside NYC and deal with commuting on trains every day). We will be flying into/out of Kayseri and would rent a car there if we decide to rent a car at all.

Is driving relatively easy in this area? Would you recommend having a car in this area or it not, any suggestions/recommendations for getting to various sites?
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Jun 5th, 2012, 08:15 AM
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I am biased in favor of having wheels, so it is a foregone conclusion that I will say, "yes, having a car in cappadocia gives you a great deal of flexibility and the chance to explore on your own rather than follow instructions."

if you are flying in to kayseri early in the morning, you may consider driving off immediately to Bogazkale for the Hittite capital, hattusas and the temple area called Yazilikaya. You can, then make it back to Cappadocia in the evening. (Possibly about 5 hours driving altogether)
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Jun 5th, 2012, 09:20 AM
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We enjoyed having a car in Cappadocia -- there are so many beautiful places to go, and the car allows you to stop where and when you want to.

In our 5 weeks with a rental car in Turkey last October, we were based in Kas but took several side trips. One trip took us to Cappadocia and back (a long 9 hours each way), with an overnight stop in Side on the way back; a great trip, though there's a long inland section (around Konya) that is really desolate. we also drove from Izmir (where we picked up and dropped off the car) to Kas and back, staying both ways in Selcuk to visit Ephesus. The coast road was winding at times but in very good condition, as were almost all the roads we traveled on.

If you have a GPS, you might think about downloading a Turkey map and bringing the GPS with you. Ours was pretty helpful, though it did try to send us astray on the way to Cappadocia.
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Jun 7th, 2012, 06:23 AM
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Thanks all... we're planning on renting a car as well... love the flexibility and rates seem reasonable.
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Jun 7th, 2012, 06:40 PM
  #11
kja
 
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I was very glad to have a car during my recent trip to Turkey - it gave me a great deal more freedom than I would otherwise have had. The roads on which I drove were generally quite good (although I encountered a few rough patches where road repairs were under way or incomplete).

If you do rent a car, I encourage you to drive defensively, not only because of the actions of other drivers, but also because you might round a corner or crest a hill to find a herd of goats or sheep or whatever crossing the road. Seriously! (Have your camera ready for when that does happen.)
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Apr 15th, 2013, 07:00 PM
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otherchelebi &/or anybody else who might have advice:

Is it crazy for us to drive from Istanbul to Cappadocia?
Or should we just fly from Istanbul to Kayseri and rent a car when we arrive?

(We drove in Sicily two years ago, and despite many warnings, we had no problems at all. Did not drive in Palermo, of course, and we do not plan to drive in Istanbul.)
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Apr 15th, 2013, 08:23 PM
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There are cheap flights between Kayseri and Istanbul. I see no reason to drive the distance unless you have some things that you want to see in between. We flew to Izmir and then drove to Çapadocia via Ephesus, Aphrodisias, Pamukkale (sp?) and Konya for nine days, and then flew back to Istanbul from Kayseri. I wrote a trip report; click on my name to find it.
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Apr 15th, 2013, 08:58 PM
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Thank you for responding, Michael. I know that the flights are cheap; I've already got a cancellable reservation for a flight. But I was thinking that we'd get to see more of the countryside if we were to drive. We only have 9 days total in Turkey, and we're only going to Istanbul and Cappadocia. I will definitely look at your trip report.

Is renting a car in Cappadocia for a few days a good idea? We don't like going on tours or having guides, so I'm afraid if we don't rent a car, we will have difficulty accessing the sights on our own.
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Apr 15th, 2013, 09:34 PM
  #15
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> But I was thinking that we'd get to see more of the countryside if we were to drive. We only have 9 days total in Turkey, and we're only going to Istanbul and Cappadocia

Yes, you would see more of the countryside, but I think it's at least a 9 hour drive, not counting breaks, and with only 9 days (or is it really 7 days?) in Turkey, I'm not sure that would be the best use of your time. Your choice, of course.

> Is renting a car in Cappadocia for a few days a good idea?

I was very glad to have a car while in Cappaodicia. It made visiting some sites of interest much easier than it would otherwise have been.

You might find some useful information in my trip report - just click on my name to find it.
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Apr 15th, 2013, 10:02 PM
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Thanks, kja. I think that's what we'll do: rent in Cappadocia. (It's really 9 days total, btw. We arrive in Istanbul from Rome on the 7th and return to Rome late on the 16th.)
I will read your tr now!
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Apr 16th, 2013, 01:08 AM
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LucieV,

Parts of the drive from istanbul to Cappadocia are scenic and you could enjoy it by adding an overnight stay at a town like Safranbolu.

However, I would not do it both ways.

If you do not mind the additional expense and taking a day off Cappadocia or Istanbul, here is an option :

- Leave Cappadocia early and drive to Bogazkale to visit the Hittite capital Hattusas and Yazilikaya, then Alacahoyuk.
- Continue to stay overnight at a restored Ottoman house at Kastamonu. Or stay at the mountain resort of Ilgaz.
- Drive to Istanbul through Gerede and Bolu.

These are interesting and scenic drives.
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Apr 16th, 2013, 05:22 PM
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Thank you so much, otherchelebi! Your detailed advice is very helpful & I am going to give serious consideration to the driving-one-way-only idea as well as your specific recommendations.
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Apr 19th, 2013, 11:52 AM
  #19
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We enjoyed the drive to and from Istanbul. We ended up spending a night in Bolu on our way to Goreme, stopping at the salt lake on the way.

On the way back, we drove north to Hattusa, spent the night there, and then spent another night in Ankara.

While flying is certainly quicker, we enjoyed seeing the countryside and some stops in smaller towns along the way.
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Apr 19th, 2013, 02:11 PM
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astein, thank you for your feedback.
Two questions:
1. How does driving in Turkey compare to other places? [e.g., we drove around Sicily countryside 18 months ago, no problems at all; but we won't drive in England (or anywhere with right-hand drivers) ever again!]
2. How much time did you take for the drive?
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