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Turkey Intinerary-Input Request April/May 2010

Turkey Intinerary-Input Request April/May 2010

Jul 24th, 2009, 07:33 AM
  #1  
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Turkey Intinerary-Input Request April/May 2010

I've spent some time reviewing the wonderful comments and suggestions on this site for things to do, places to stay etc in Turkey. I would welcome comments and ideas on the itinerary in progress located below:

25 April: arrive IST fly to Izmir (having trouble finding smaller airlines booking this far in advance). Rent car. Overnight Izmir. Drive to Bergama see Acropolis & Asklepion (time permitting)

26 April: Visit Sardis & sites in Selcuk. Overnight Selcuk for next three nights. (Hotel Bella)
27 April: Priene, Miletus, Didyma.
28 April: Ephesus.
29 April: Pamukkale, Hierapolis. Overnight area. Where to stay-suggestions?
30 April: Visit Aphrodisis on way to Bodrum for one night. Visit St. Peter's Castle time permitting.
1 May-3 May: travel next three days on coast. Haven't decided on where to go/stay or what to do. Welcome recommedations. Area around Fethiye looks appealing. Maybe do some hiking for a break from historical sites-thoughts?
4 May: Fly Antalya to IST
4 May-9 May: IST. Stay Empress Zoe. 9 May-home.

I am stuck on what to do between Bodrum and Antalya. This doesn't appear to be a drive that would wipe us out in three days, but am I mistaken?

It's our first trip to Turkey. We see this as a way to begin to sample all of the wonderful things we have heard about the country. Unfortunately, we will miss Cappadocia this time around. We thought it would too much to do three regions in two weeks.
adventuredays is offline  
Jul 24th, 2009, 07:39 AM
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With two weeks, I would go to Cappadocia. You might be interested in my trip report. Click on my name to find it.
Michael is offline  
Jul 24th, 2009, 09:26 AM
  #3  
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Michael:

That was an amazing trip report. Thank you for suggesting I look it up. I am in two minds about Cappadocia. I know that we would really enjoy visiting the area, seeing the wild beauty and strange man-made sites, but I hestitate to try to cram too much into a relatively short amount of time. I also see Cappadocia as more of an outdoor/adventure destination. Was this your impression?

Thanks again!
Lisa
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Jul 24th, 2009, 10:32 AM
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I would not consider Cappadocia an outdoor/adventure destination anymore than other non-urban areas in Europe. It is less of an "adventure" than Maramures or Bukovina in Romania in that there is a greater choice of amenities in Cappadocia.
Michael is offline  
Jul 24th, 2009, 11:50 AM
  #5  
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Thanks again-you are good at this. May I ask why you elected not to fly to Cappadocia? With only two weeks, I don't think we would have a choice but to fly. I'm off to begin my research of the Cappadocia option. Thanks again.
adventuredays is offline  
Jul 24th, 2009, 08:51 PM
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We wanted to see Hieropolis and Aphrodisias and we like seeing the countryside in-between. Splitting up the rental also increases the cost--the longer the rental, the lower the per day cost, although with the high gas prices in Turkey, driving is more expensive than flying if you can get a cheap fare.
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Jul 28th, 2009, 06:42 AM
  #7  
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Hi Michael:

We have committed to visiting Cappadocia. Thank you for the suggestion. Now my challenge will be to find a flight that would work for us and which doesn't require a big trek back to Izmir!

Many thanks,
adventuredays is offline  
Jul 28th, 2009, 07:52 AM
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Having been to Pammukale and Cappadocia I would suggets you miss out Pammukale I wasnt impressed but Cappadocia was amazing and fascinating. We went from Antalya area and it took us 1 day to travel there and 1 day back so only had 1 day in the area which was not enough but have friends who have stayed longer and still want to go back and see more. The Turks are good at putting packages together to see Cappadocia and theyre very good value for money and they pack a lot into their trips so prepare to be exhausted but satisfied. Ive been many times to the Fethiye region and its a good centre to see some beautiful areas like Olu Deniz, Kas, Kalkan and many more. I could go on forever about this particular area its so beautiful and the reason many Brits have settled there. If you go on the Turkish Airlines website they do very good deals on domestic flights, We had a super flight from Antalya to Istanbul return for about 70 GBP. Theres also another company called Pegasus who do cheap domestic flights not sure where they go but worth checking their website. When in Turkey you must haggle over the prices of trips, goods in shops and even with the hotels that way you can get very good deals and accommodation. Ive lived in Turkey for 7 years its a beautiful country try to avoid the main tourist areas they can be very expensive and remember its a very big country ive seen so little of it in the time ive been here if you catch the bug you will be coming back for he next 5 years. Take the usual precautions in tourist areas but away from them you will be amazed at how welcoming and hospitable the Turkish people are. Enjoy your trip!
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Jul 29th, 2009, 10:32 AM
  #9  
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Thanks for your input Reets. Would you really suggest giving Pammukale a miss, even if it means missing Hierapolis? I've read some wonderful things about that site, and the photos look amazing!

As for tours in Cappadocia, we were planning to rent a car and tour around on our own. It seems many people take advantage of tour companies and I wonder if that is b/c they are hesitant to rent a car or if you really do gain a lot from having a guide, particularly here.

As for accomodation in the area, we are looking at two places in Urgup: Yunak Evleri and Esbelli Evi. Both are well received on Trip Advisor, but Esbelli seems to have guests positively raving about their experience as guests. Any thoughts?

New Itinerary:
-Arrive Istanbul-fly immediately to Izmir.
-Redeem points-recuperate at Izmir Hilton.
-Three nights Selcuk-visit area.(Sardis, St. John's Basilica, Meryemana, Miletus, Didyma, Priene, Ephesus, and Aphrodisias en route to Pammukale.
-One night Pammukale
-Visit Hierapolis. Travel back to Izmir for morning flight to Kayseri
-Three nights in Urgup
-Five nights in Istanbul. Empress Zoe hotel.

Can't wait!!!
adventuredays is offline  
Aug 9th, 2009, 12:00 PM
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Hi adventuredays, your new itinerary is much more doable, although I may have some small suggestions :

- Sardis is to the East of Izmir, and the traffic around Izmir is horrendous. You may consider giving it a miss.

- You were mentioning some nature hikes and the small village of Sirince close to Selcuk is lovely for hikes and meals.

- For Selcuk lodging, check Nisanyan's web site, 'small hotels of Turkey'. Nazhan is simple, cute but with small rooms. Bella is supposed to offer good breakfast and meals (Nazhan breakfast was also excellent) and we have not stayed at Sirince hotels.

- You may be able to add Heraklia to your trip to Didyma and environs and I strongly recommend it along with the olive oil fried aubergine at one of the restaurants with a good view of the lake and the small castle (monastry). They also have guides for short and long interesting hikes at the village.

- I am prejudiced against hieropolis because of some nasty experience at a hotel many years ago and the current islamic fundamentalist municipality of Denizli. As a consequence, i recommend that you do not stay there but see both hieropolis and aphrodisias on a day trip and come back to your hotel in Selcuk, if you must visit the place.
otherchelebi is online now  
Aug 11th, 2009, 11:48 AM
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Thank you for your suggestions otherchelebi!

I have been reading a lot on Sirince and we do plan to visit what sounds like a wonderful village. We've also booked to stay at Bella.

I have not heard anything about Islamic fundamentalist in Denizli but have read a few postings regarding the aggressive pushing of lodgings in Pammukale. I hadn't considering visiting the area from Selcuk, mainly because I wanted to see Aphrodisias and Hieropolis. I thought this might be a bit much for a day trip. What are your thoughts? Is it possible to do both in a long day out? Do you have any idea how long the road journey from Selcuk to either of those sites would take? Is the road there a major and therefore fast?

Also, regarding the traffic in Izmir, I assume the airport is some distance from the city. Perhaps we should leave immediately or is travel through the city a necessity when traveling south?

Thank you again for your input. I'm learning more and more each day.
adventuredays is offline  
Aug 11th, 2009, 12:50 PM
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I think that to give Aphrodisias and Hieropolis its full due an overnight in Hieropolis is necessary, unless you are willing to drive back to Selçuk in the dark.
Michael is offline  
Aug 11th, 2009, 02:36 PM
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Hi Lisa,

Izmir airport is about 25k and 30-50 minutes South of Izmir.
I hate to say this, but if you are going to rent a car immediately at Izmir airport, it makes much more sense to go directly to Selcuk. Airport to Selcuk is 45 minutes on a motor way, with a speed limit of 120k+10% speed limit except for the final 12k. (All other highways, two lane or more are 90 K +10%.

Finding your way to the Izmir Hilton will be very difficult, and getting away from Izmir the next morning almost as difficult. If I were driving, after maybe ten or more trips, I would still be apprehensive. Also the neighborhood around Izmir Hilton is nothing to rave about.

An option is to redeem points at Istanbul Hilton and take an early flight to Izmir.

the road from Selcuk to hieropolis is about 90 minutes, again quite a bit on motorway. aphrodisias (Geyre)is about 40 k each way from the intersection between Denizli and Selcuk on a two lane highway. So, basically you are looking for a drive of about two and a half hours each way. With about twelve hours of sunlight at end of April, this will give you about 5-6 hours of antiquity exploration in addition to time for meals, fuelling, tea, coffee, etc. Unless you are bona fide archeology buffs, I would say this is quite enough for the sites. and the drive will not tiring.
Planning it this way will give you the flexibility to not go that day if the weather gets very rainy, under which you would enjoy neither the drive nor the muddy walk at aphrodisias. Ephesus and other Selcuk sites can be negotiated easier under rain.

Is it my prejudice speaking? My wife frequently says,"how is it that you win every argument." LOL.

One last note: if you are a cat lover and If you have time to stop at a major supermarket (not in Selcuk, but in Kusadasi or Denizli), please buy one or more cheap 1-2 kilo bags of dry catfood, and feed the cats of Ephesus and St. John's Basilica, along with some fresh water in an indentation on the marble if there has been no rain recently. (when we drive around the countryside in Turkey we also carry dog food in addition to the cat food)

Hopefully, I will be around to answer other questions.

Ahmet

PS: all alcoholic beverage service at restaurants in the city proper of Denizli was banned by the municipality. If the citizens of denizli wish to have a beer or a glass of wine with their meals, they either go to Hieropolis area and pay tourist rates, or go near the slaughterhouse and the leather district, where the restaurants which serve alcohol were required to move, to have their meals with the stink of the location. And, Turkey is a secular state.
otherchelebi is online now  
Aug 11th, 2009, 02:43 PM
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One other note:

Prienne, Miletus, Didyme are not on the way to Pamukkale (they are South of selcuk) but may be combined with Herakleia which I had mentioned before as another day trip out of Selcuk, if you opt for four nights in Selcuk.

I think we will get you planning your second trip to turkey before you even do the first one.lol

and here's a blog in a completely different region with my wife's photography:
www.eserahmetcelebilerblackseatrip1.blogspot.com (also 2,3, and 4)
otherchelebi is online now  
Aug 12th, 2009, 10:40 AM
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Dear otherchelebi:

Thank you so very much for your detailed description of what might await should we decide to follow through on points redemption through the Hilton. I think our preference may be to fly immediately to Izmir after our international flight, traveling directly to Selcuk upon arrival and extending our stay at Bella. While your suggestion to overnight in Istanbul sounds appealing, I think I would prefer to leave our first impressions of Istanbul for our return. I am not a fan of traveling back and forth to airports. It sounds like you aren't either!

We still have to contend with a room booking in Pammukale. Michael, can you recommend a place? I've tried to connect with the Melrose Allgau but have had no luck. It got very nice reviews on Tripadvisor.com.

I've also taken note of the advise to bring along cat/dog food and to visit Heraklia. I haven't heard about that place before but after visiting all of the sites of antiquity, a monastry might be very nice.

Thank you both for all of your assistance-you've been wonderful!
adventuredays is offline  
Aug 12th, 2009, 12:21 PM
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I can't recommend a place. If you read my trip report, you'll discover that we stayed at something that was very basic with very little appeal except its pools if one likes that sort of thing. You could check Fodor's or LP for recommendations.
Michael is offline  
Aug 13th, 2009, 07:31 AM
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As I just posted somewhere else in this forum when someone else asked about Turkey, I just returned from several weeks and I visited Kas, Assos, Bozcaada and the Prince's Islands as well as Cappadocia (and of course Istanbul.) I don't think you should miss Cappadocia. It's one of the finest places I've seen for interesting landscape. I hiked with www.walkingmehmet.com/ and the guy who runs it is amazing. You'll come away with a wealth of information. The places I visited on my Turkey trip for the most part are less visited parts including Assos and Bozcaada. They are usually not on every tourist's mind but well worth it. I've been posting about portions of my trip on my blog with more to come. So you can check that out for ideas.
Jeanine
www.jthetravelauthority.com
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Aug 13th, 2009, 04:23 PM
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Ahmet, I compliment you on your suggestion about the cat food. My heart breaks when I see stray domestic animals, even if feral, and I saw lots of cats at Ephesus.

I stayed at the Izmir Hilton last month. I had hired a car and driver to go to Ephesus, Meryamana, etc, so I had no inconvenience about the location, but on the weekend the area was very inactive, and it was just as well I was only there over one night. The hotel is nothing to write home about and it needs a re-do, but if you can stay there by using points, then it's worth it. On a weekend, the airport was about a half-hour drive from the hotel. I flew to Turkey from JFK on Delta, and in the Istanbul airport, I changed to a Turkish Airlines flight to Izmir.
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Aug 14th, 2009, 07:04 AM
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We will also be flying Delta from JFK w/ a connecting flight to Izmir! We haven't purchased flights within Turkey yet as Turkish Airlines is the only vendor currently posting schedules and allowing online sales.

We decided to cancel our Hilton booking and extended our stay at Hotel Bella. Thankfully, being a manic advance planner, they had the room available for an additional evening.

We hope to find an early morning flight out of Izmir to Kayseri. Thus far, all flight options out on a Saturday seem to require a flight and change-over in Istanbul.

I will also visit jcreaturetravel and Mrs. otherchelebi's sites for ideas and inspiration.

I must admit, the more I read about staying in the Pammukale area, the less appealing it sounds. I must get over my reluctance to overnight there as I am more than a bit curious about Hierapolis.

One more quick question, with a 5am flight out of Izmir, is there a hotel very close to the airport that would do after a long day touring the terraces at Pammukale and Hierapolis? I suppose we can return to Selcuk, space availability permitting, but it would be great to be as close to the airport as possible given how early I hope to get on our way to Cappadocia!
adventuredays is offline  
Aug 14th, 2009, 07:11 AM
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My recollection is that one reason we chose to drive to Cappadocia from Selçuk is that flights between Izmir and Kayseri were not frequent or very convenient, and I figured that spending a night on the road between Pammukale and Cappadocia was no worse than spending the night in Izmir. But of course that adds up to two nights, since another one was spent in Pammukale.
Michael is offline  

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