Turkey Travel Plans....need help!

Old Jan 2nd, 2014, 08:13 AM
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Turkey Travel Plans....need help!

Well, we have purchasd our airfare, now we need to start planning.

We are planning to fly into Instabul for a three week stay in Turkey. Thought we would spend a few days in Istanbul recouperating from our flight, then off ot Cappadocia for three nights. First question, where is the best place to stay to see the sights in Cappadocia and sould we take a tour or hire a guide for a day? After this, we are planning on flying to Izmir. Can anyone recommond a area to stay while visiting Ephesus, and once again do we need to take a tour or can we do it ourselves. After spending two nights near Ephesus, we would like to spend a week or so on or near the Mediterranean. Could someone recommend a place that we would be able to fly from Izmir. I have looked at some spots but it seems you cannot fly from Izmir (example Bodrum). Would we best head for Antayla and find somewhrere there, and if so, can someone recommend a town or village on the water that perhaps we could drive to after renting a care at the airport in Antayla.

The other thing, as we are travelling from Canada, would we be better off hiring a travel agency in Turkey to do all of our internal flights and transfers, or is it possible to do it ourselves online using Sun Express and Turkish Airlines. After looking at Sun Express, it seems they only fly from Cappadocia to Izmir a few times a week and we would have to be very careful planning our arrivals and departures in order to still have 3 days in Cappadocia.

Any help would be greatly appreciated. As we don't speak Turkish, will we have any trouble in the aforemented sites I mentioned that we want to visit?

Many thanks in advance for any help!
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Old Jan 2nd, 2014, 08:37 AM
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General questions about what to see in Cappadocia and elsewhere are probably best answered by guidebooks. I think that most foreign tourists do not speak Turkish, so a concern about not speaking the language is unwarranted, at least in the major tourist areas.
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Old Jan 2nd, 2014, 09:32 AM
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Hi Barbara, great that you will have 3 weeks to see Turkey. We visited Istanbul and Ephesus on a cruise a few years back and I pre-booked a tour guide to show us the attractions in Istanbul (the ship did an overnight there) and then he met us in Ephesus and toured the sights there (House of Blessed Virgin Mary, Terrace Houses, Museum, a Mosque, and Ephesus. I contacted our guide, Kagan Kosagan, prior to our cruise and told him what we wanted to see. He coordinated an amazing itinerary for us, both in Istanbul and Ephesus. I organized a private tour with 15 of our fellow cruisemates and everyone said that they were the best tours they ever took. Kagan coordinated all the sights for us, purchased our admission tickets so we didn't have to wait in long lines, and skirted around the tour busses so that we got to see everything on our wish list. Our 3 days spent w/ Kagan were amazing. He also does tours of Cappadocia and elsewhere. I think that you would be very happy w/ having Kagan plan an itinerary for you. He has a great sense of humor, speaks excellent English and aims to please! His wife, Lale, is also a licensed tour guide and he has other guides on his staff. Do contact him and see what he suggests.

http://www.privatetoursinturkey.com/index.html

We became good friends while planning our 3 days with him and I have recommended Kagan to many others who also were pleased with his services. We still keep in touch. Good luck.
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Old Jan 2nd, 2014, 09:54 AM
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We spent a month in Turkey this past fall. You can read our TR here
http://www.fodors.com/community/euro...ern-turkey.cfm. We booked all our hotels & internal air ourselves -- very easy to do online. Be sure to check Peagus Air for internal flights. Word to wise in IST do not book from the airport on the Asian side. It is VERY far from downtown IST and took us over an hour to get there and cost way more than the other airport.

To see Ephesus you can stay in Selcuk - its just a few minutes drive (taxi or your hotel can take you there. We saw it on our own with a guidebook. You could certainly have a guide if you wanted to.

We had a car so I can't advise where you can fly to for your time on the coast. We loved the area around Kas. Have a great trip.
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Old Jan 2nd, 2014, 12:33 PM
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Michael, thanks for your response, we have several guide books including Cappadocia. I guess what I am asking is if we don't have a car, can we see the all the sights on foot or if not, should we be taking a tour? Where would be the best area to stay to see everything?
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Old Jan 2nd, 2014, 12:43 PM
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Your hotel probably has connection to at least one guide service with transportation.
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Old Jan 2nd, 2014, 01:35 PM
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If you do Ephesus first after Istanbul and fly to Cappadocia from Izmir, you can then fly none stop to Antalya from Cappadocia (Kayseri or Nevsehir). Otherwise there are no direct flights from Izmir to any resort areas.

Which resort area you would enjoy depends on the month and your preferences regarding beaches, lodging quality and prices, all inclusive or not, night life, humidity, temperatures, sea temperatures, nearby historic and/or natural sights, whether you will have a rental car, kind of food you prefer, etc.

In addition to Yestravels trip report there are quite a few others here on Fodor's which will give you all the information and guidance you will need, including quite a few from Canadian travelers.
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Old Jan 2nd, 2014, 02:22 PM
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Easy to do everything yourself.
It is easier to get around in Turkey than you might think. It is a beautiful, very friendly country.
English is spoken everywhere there are tourists.
You can certainly see Istanbul on your own. Fabulous food!
Easiest, I think, to fly to Cappadocia.
We did Ephesus on our own, but had done tons of reading about it. You might enjoy a tour and there are lots of guides right at the site.

Based on recs by other Fodorites, we stayed at hotel Esbelli Evi in Urgup (Cappadocia). It was wonderful. Service was the best of any hotel I have ever stayed at anywhere. They signed us up for airport shuttle pick up. They got a car and driver for us for sightseeing - at much less than we had found on our own. After a very late arrival, we said we were hungry and they brought a fabulous dinner to our room. For this area, you actually do not even have to plan ahead, except for a hot air balloon flight, which, BTW, I highly recommend. You will need a car or a car and driver to take you places. Roads were very good, so you could easily drive yourself there. At the underground city, etc. you get a guide at the site. That whole area is visually amazing and the people are lovely! Hot air balloon flight was a highlight of all our travels and worth every penny!
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Old Jan 2nd, 2014, 02:58 PM
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Luv2travel15....."Hi and Tks for your reply........I love to travel too!
We will definitely look into the guide you mentioned.........if we don't rent a car would the guide have one to take us around? Do you remember what kind of money we are talking to hire a guide per day?
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Old Jan 2nd, 2014, 03:05 PM
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Yestravel, Tks for your quick response. S
Selcuk sounds good, this is the information we are looking for. I looked up Kas on the Internet and it looks very nice. We could rent a car from Antayla and drive there. We would be going about mid October so may encounter rain, so.............are there any sights to see besides the beach? We have driven all over Europe, would we have any trouble driving there as we don't speak the language?
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Old Jan 2nd, 2014, 03:14 PM
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Otherchelebi, Tks so much for the info..........after reading your comments, I checked SunExpress airlines and the internet shows flights from Izmir to Antayla on the date we may travel! that being Oct 14. We mapped our trip using this info, could the schedule on the Internet be wrong.

As mentioned we will probably be in the Antayla area Mid October and would like to rent a apt/condo or small villa. Restaurants, some shops would be nice, but not necessarily looking for nightlife........we just want to chill as we figure we will be quite harried after our travels where we don't speak the language! Have you been there at that time of year?
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Old Jan 2nd, 2014, 03:23 PM
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Sassafrass, good to hear you managed a lot on your own, it's very encouraging. How did you get from Cappadocia to Ephesus? I will also look into the hotel you suggested and the driver and car from that hotel!
We recently took a helicopter ride over the
Grand Canyon, USA.....maybe a balloon ride will be next.......how pricy is it?
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Old Jan 2nd, 2014, 03:24 PM
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I wouldn't worry about the language, we had no trouble even in the off the beaten track places. Roads in general are excellent as long as you stick to the main road. We were also there about the same time frame and had very warm, sunny weather, not a cloud in the sky. again I suggest you look at some Trip reports and the guide books you have to get an idea of what there is to do. we had no trouble entertaining ourselves for five days in Kas and it surrounds. Some things you would need to hire a guide to get around without a car. There are tour guides all over the town and as mentioned above, your hotel would also be able to recommend some.
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Old Jan 2nd, 2014, 04:32 PM
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I managed fine on my own, although I had a car. From what I could see, tours were easily arranged locally and didn't seem very expensive, but I can't guarantee that. Western Turkey is definitely amenable to exploration by public transportation, though it will (of course) be a bit less efficient than having a car. You might look for MinnBeef's planning thread -- I'm pretty sure he travelled by public transportation. Guidebooks like The Rough Guide and Lonely Planet are IME the ones that are most likely to give you good info on locally available buses and day tours.

Depending on what you want to see and experience, you might consider spending 4 days in Cappadocia. I was glad to end my trip in Istanbul, where I thought 6 days barely sufficient. If you check my trip report, you'll see that I moved around a lot -- far more than would be necessary (just because that's my preference); I thought Selcuk a good base for Ephesus and both Kas and Antalya good bases for the Turquoise Coast. It really depends on what you want to see, though.

It's a great place - enjoy!
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Old Jan 3rd, 2014, 01:19 AM
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Hi there - great you have a nice few weeks to spend in Turkey… its big, and there is so much history

For Cappadocia, its pretty vast, so having a guide for one or half day to get more details on the history can be helpful. I would not book for more than that. When I was there years ago, we took a guide for one day and I learned a lot more than I would have if I did it myself. At that time I stayed at a place called the Assos Hotel. Its not so central, but very charming.. depending on budget, there are taxis to get around easily.

There is an incredibly cute village called Sirince, that sits high on a hill that is relatively close to Ephesus.. we stayed there a couple of years ago. I would recommend to rent a car in this area - roads/highways are good and well marked - and driving from Izmir to Bodrum is very easy if you decide to do this. Sirince was one of the places people flocked to when the world was allegedly ending, so I am not sure if this effected prices now..or, closer to Ephesus is Selcuk.. There are recorded tours you can buy at Ephesus so a guide may not be necessary unless you want to go deeper into what is offered.

There are also a lot of buses from Izmir to Bodrum you could consider if you don't want to drive.

Antalya is nice, and I suggest a stay there in the older part of the city, Kaleici.

You can do it yourself pretty easily in Turkey, so no need for a tour guide to organize everything for you. Also, Turkish hotels tend to be very helpful so do not be afraid to ask them for suggestions. Don't worry about not speaking Turkish… in the places you will go, there will be enough people speaking English, you will get by.

You have a great plan started -enjoy!
Pam
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Old Jan 3rd, 2014, 05:27 AM
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Barbara, wow you have received lots of great info here! You have the start of a plan now......

Yes, Kagan would arrange for a car for you and he also will do walking tours if you don't need a vehicle. I am unsure what he would charge for rates as they may have changed since we booked him several years ago. Email him for rates. I do remember that when I was comparing tour guides for the itinerary we wanted he had the best rates at that time.

Good luck. Turkey is a beautiful country and I would love to return some day. As noted, the people are very friendly and helpful.
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Old Jan 3rd, 2014, 06:42 AM
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BarbaraAllison,
Antalya is quite a large city and not the place to chill out.
However, there are quite a few resort area nearby that fit your description.

Cosider :

Beldibi
Side
Goynuk
Belek
Kemer
Camyuva
Cirali

Cirali is the most laid back and simplest.
Belek is the most upscale with up to 7 star scrumptious resorts and good golf courses.

Kemer may have the most apartments.

Side has the best beaches plus terrific ruins right next to the resort.

Everyone in these areas and in Antalya proper will speak English.

We have visited Antalya and its environs more than five times in October and love it then even though the days are not that long. The sea temperatutes are around 78-80 and the daytime air temperature is not much more than that. You may still need a large cardigan at night.

Please have a look at my trip report called "From Denver to Virtuous"
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Old Jan 3rd, 2014, 09:27 AM
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Cirali is a good idea - I actually spent my honeymoon at Olympus Lodge years ago… I can't speak for it now, but it still seems to rate well on trip advisor.
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Old Jan 3rd, 2014, 01:03 PM
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KJA, Tks for info, from all the helpful replies we are now looking at the Kas area. Would you know how long it would take to drive there from Antayla? I was thinking of flying into Antayla as it seems easy to get there from Izmir. If anyone can suggest another airport closer to Kas, please mention.
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Old Jan 3rd, 2014, 01:51 PM
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I believe its about 3 hours from Antalya to Kas, but check google maps and mappy.com and michelin.com and assume the longest estimate is closest to correct. I liked Kas a lot! Consider dining on the swordfish kabobs at the Restoran Mercan (which I believe I learned about from another Fodorite, tower) - wonderful!
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