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Turkey/Greece travelers: Please help me with my itinerary

Turkey/Greece travelers: Please help me with my itinerary

Jun 3rd, 2005, 09:29 AM
  #1  
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Turkey/Greece travelers: Please help me with my itinerary

We will arrive Istanbul around 10:30 AM September 14th(Wednesday) . Currently we are scheduled in and out of Istanbul(JFK--Atlanta), but I am giving serious thought to changing the return to Athens, and adding 1 more day. That would give us 12 full days and the partial arrival day.(I don't count the departure day)

Hereare my current thoughts about an itinerary:

5 nights Istanbul
1 or 2 nights to travel to and see the ruins in Ephesus
some beach or island time
2 nights Athens

My questions:
What are the best towns to stay in to tour Ephesus?
What method of transport should we use to go from Istanbul-Ephesus, Ephesus to a beach, then on to Athens?
We would like to relax for a few days at a beach resort, and we aren't sure whether to consider a Turkish location(Bodrum?) or a Turkish or Greek Island. I would guess that would be partially determined by locations that have easy transport to Athens. Suggestions?

We love seeing big cities--touring museums, mosques, churches, palaces, and markets. We also loved our 1/2 day visit to Pompeii, and considered it a highlight of our Italy trip.
We know that the beginning and end of this trip will be busy and intense, so we'd like a few days down time to play in the ocean(is mid-September too late?)and just relax.

I know this is long, but I also know that posters like to have enough info to make recommendations.
One more question--should we plan on renting a car for Ephesus area, or using public transport?
Thanks in advance, Barb
Barb_in_Ga is offline  
Jun 3rd, 2005, 12:10 PM
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Hi Barb_in_Ga

After Istanbul you may fly to Izmir then rent a car for your next town (Kusadasi)
If you stay in Kusadasi 2 nights you can visit Ephesus then you may drive to Bodrum OR stay in Kusadasi (one of the nice hotel like KISMET) for your relax.

Sinan Akdeniz
sinan is offline  
Jun 3rd, 2005, 06:15 PM
  #3  
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Sinan--thanks for your reply about flying to Izmir. Should we book flights ahead of time from the US, or do it once we are in Istanbul?

Where should we depart for Greece?
Barb_in_Ga is offline  
Jun 3rd, 2005, 06:35 PM
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Barb,
I wonder why you want to go to Greece. Everything you want is accessible in Turkey, and ending in Athens is, in my mind, not particularly appealing. If you want beach and ruins, stay on the Turkish Coast and explore different regions. I stayed in Kalkan a number of years ago, and that area has many things to offer: beach, resort, ruins, all within a short distance of each other. I would stick to your original plan, but explore more of Turkey. I didn't get to Bodrum, but I also would give Sinan's recommendations serious consideration.

I'll be happy to share my itinerary (2001) with you, if you want more ideas.
progol is online now  
Jun 3rd, 2005, 06:55 PM
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We went from Kusadasi to Izmir to Istanbul (the opposite of your plan), but here's what I would recommend.

Fly into Istanbul -- see it for 4 nights, not 5.

Fly to Izmir -- Stay in Izmir for 2 nights at the Hotel Aksan, ask them to book a tour for you on the day in between your two nights (private tour about $100 including driver and lunch, tour group $35-$50) and if Tildem is available, I'd recommend her).

Fly to Athens, spend 3 nights there.

That gives you 10 nights with a little freedom to see other things including maybe a day at the beach or something although September gets a little sketchy for beach weather. You might want to day trip out of Athens if you have a 4th or 5th night there.

When we went in 2003, we flew to Athens from Rome, spent two nights, took a night ferry (with cabin) to Samos Island, spent a day/night there (rented a car and saw Pythagorias and other towns/churches, etc.), then took the short ferry ride to Kusadasi. We left immediately by bus to Izmir (about 2 hours north of Kusadasi, less tourisy than Kusadasi or Selcuk.

We stayed in Izmir, where I was stared at on the street like I was Julia Roberts and treated with a kindness and welcoming nature that I've never seen before. It was by far the most impressive city to me in all I saw from London to Istanbul -- in the sense that there are not many English speakers, but everyone is so wonderful and it's all so different from the West -- it was absolutely fascinating.

We took a 9-hour bus ride from Izmir to Istanbul...while we met some new people, we did lose some time.

Athens is worth seeing, and you do get the sense that you are "way out there" compared to the rest of Western Europe. I strongly suggest seeing it, as there are incredible sites to see, the people are very nice, and you'll have a comparison of Greeks to Turks. Who, by the way, reportedly despise each other at least as a political distinction -- and I found it absolutely confounding as to why since they are both FANTASTIC people.

Happy travels.

Jules
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Jun 3rd, 2005, 07:52 PM
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Okay, I haven't been to Athens, but I will be there this month on a cruise day. But, I have been to Turkey and Ephesus and I have to put in my 2 cents. 3 to 4 days for Istanbul sounds about right. Take a plane to Izmir and arrange a day tour to Ephesus. You must have a guide to really appreciate how wonderful this place is! Then have your guide transport you to Kushadasi and pick up a cabin on a Turkish gulet for 3 or 4 days. Its a amazingly wonderful way to see spectacular scenery, ancient ruins and veg out in the Aagean or Mediterranean all at the same time! You may have to get to Antalya or go back to Istanbul or Izmir, but you should be able to catch a flight to Athens and spend a day or 2 there. I've heard its very intense and you can fly home from there
zwho is offline  
Jun 3rd, 2005, 08:30 PM
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I love the sound of doing a gulet tour, but my husband is concerned that he won't "fit" in the bunks of a boat. He is 6'7" (2 meters) tall, about 260 pounds, and it's usually the case that bunks don't have open-ended sleeping but are closed at head and foot. He gets claustrophobic(I can't blame him) and for that reason, we have also chosen not to tour Cappadoccia, even though it sounds fascinating! He can't imagine bending double to go into the caves and underground dwellings. That's OK, as Sinan and others have so kindly listed, there are lots of things to see, and we have to assume that this is just a first visit to Turkey. I really would like to tour Athens for a couple of days before flying back home to Atlanta--to see the major sights, as I am unlikely to schedule a longer visit there at least for now.
Barb_in_Ga is offline  
Jun 4th, 2005, 11:32 AM
  #8  
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I'm still looking for input from other posters on which city in Turkey I should plan to leave for Athens. While I know I will have barely "scratched the surface" of Turkey, I would like to include at least 2-3 days in Athens. Also, which airlines serve Ist-Izmir and which fly to Athens? Is it best to get the airline tix before leaving US, or get them once in Istanbul? Thanks, Barb
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Jun 5th, 2005, 02:13 AM
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Hi Barb,

I had a friend who is 2,12 mt. long and had no trouble enjoying Cappadocia. Worst case you can skip the underground city thats all.
There are gulets with master cabin your husband can sleep horizontal or vertical ;-) no problem.

If you go to Ephesus your other alternative is Sirince Village to stay. I definatelly recommend a guide for Ephesus tour. Do not miss the Museum in Selcuk, many tours are skipping this very important venue so you be aware of.

Turkish Airlines are flying frequently between izmir and istanbul or from Antalya. There are 3 more dometic flight by other private companies ie. Atlas Jet, Onur Air and Fly Air. I know Atlas flies from izmir too. To go to Athens : Only flight from istanbul, THY has daily two flights and flight is an hour.
Alternatively you can go to Cesme while in izmir region and take a ferry to Chios 25 min you are in greece and connect yourself to Athens.

Have fun in Turkey and or in Greece and do not skipp Cappadocia
Murat
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Jun 5th, 2005, 06:46 AM
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It is hard to see everything in 12 days. Last time we went, we flew into Istanbul and out thu Athens. But...we had a month and were spending time in the Greek Islands. I might be tempted to cut Istanbul down to four nights. I would then go to Cappadocia. Then to the med. coast and Ephesus. Not sure that you will have time to go to Greece so you may just want to spend your time on the coast and fly back to IST to catch the plane home.
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