Which itinerary would you pick?

Nov 19th, 2012, 12:59 PM
  #1  
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Which itinerary would you pick?

More back-and-forth for our trip of 2 weeks in Oct…what would be a better itinerary for a first trip?
Option #1:
Land in Istanbul, fly to Izmir, transfer to Selcuk – 2 nights there
Rent car, drive to Pamukkale via Afrodisias – night in Pamukkale (or around)
Drive to Feithiye – 4 nights/3 full days there
Fly to Cappadocia – 4 night/3 full days there
Fly to Istanbul – 4 night/3 full days there

Option #2:
Land in Istanbul, fly to Dalaman, transfer to Feithiye – 3 nights/2 full days there
Drive to a 2nd base on the coast, maybe around Antalya – 3 nights/2 full days there
Fly to Cappadocia – 4 night/3 full days there
Fly to Istanbul – 4 night/3 full days there

I like #2 because it is more relaxed, but we would miss Ephesus and Aphrodisias – is there anything on the south coast that we can replace them with?
Also, option #2 would leave us an extra day, that we can add to any of the destinations. What do you think?
xyz99 is offline  
Nov 28th, 2012, 09:22 AM
  #2  
 
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number 2. We just did a driving trip of Turkey in May.
We flew to Cappadocia, drove down to Konya onto Side (which we LOVED)

we also drove to Pammukkale, and Aphrodesia (stayed in a dive near Aphrodesia but worth it in the end as we were the first ones on the sight in the morning).
Drove to Kas
then to Selchuk to see Ephesus.
I would have spent more time in Side and skipped Kas.
We had a couple of weeks, but to do again I would
Fly from Cappadocia to the Side area /or Fethiye and skip that drive.

The driving in Turkey was easy, great highways but we did too much driving in my opinion. I would have rather just staying in one spot longer and enjoyed Turkey.
live42day is offline  
Nov 28th, 2012, 09:34 AM
  #3  
 
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I'd go with Option 2 - but I think that you're spending too much time in Cappadocia, 2 nights is more than enough to see the rocks - there's nothing else to do there. Hopefully you can sign up for a hot air balloon ride in Cappadocia, that was fun. Also 4 nights in Istanbul is a bit much, I'd shave it to 2 or max. 3, there are people following you in the streets to buy stuff and they'll drive you crazy, I couldn't wait to get out of there. What I would include, if you have time, is that you take a ferry to Rhodes and spend a couple of nights there. Rhodes is my favorite greek island - get an apt. and rent a jeep for a couple of days, you'll have a blast.
Sandramiani is offline  
Nov 28th, 2012, 10:01 AM
  #4  
 
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Oh, I loved Cappadocia and my three days were hardly enough. I plan on going back. It was certainly more than a pile of rocks to me.

Also, I love cities, and Istanbul certainly felt like a multi-layered, complex city. I don't think I could get tired of it even after multiple lengthy trips.
PegS is offline  
Nov 28th, 2012, 11:25 AM
  #5  
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Thank you – this is what I was thinking, too. The only thing I want to change is the order, so we do not end the trip in Istanbul. That would be too hectic…We will try to do the Istanbul part first, then move to Cappadocia, then the coast. I saw flights from Antalya (via Istanbul) to Newark, so that is a good option for us.

My other dilemma is if to try to fit in Ephesus in, I go back and forth with this, and can’t decide. If we do, it will be at the expense of 1 night in Istanbul (if we can fly in the morning and see the main sites in the afternoon), or the expense of 1 night in Istanbul and another night somewhere else (if we need to spend one night in Ephesus or nearby.)
Not sure if it’s worth it…what do you think? It was fairly easy to give up Pamukkale, but Ephesus is a different story. Looking forward for your opinion.

Peg, I think we will keep 3 days in Cappadocia – between all the “rocks”, balloon ride, Ilhara valley and other valleys, I think it’s enough to see and keep us enchanted. Also, 3 full days seems barely enough for Istanbul, although I agree Sandramiani, all the people following and the pressure to buy will be overwhelming. Thant’s the main reason I want to see Istanbul first…and relax after that.
xyz99 is offline  
Nov 28th, 2012, 07:27 PM
  #6  
kja
 
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> I think we will keep 3 days in Cappadocia – between all the “rocks”, balloon ride, Ilhara valley and other valleys, I think it’s enough to see and keep us enchanted.

The area certainly kept me enchanted for my 3+ days in the area! If you have time, try to fit in at least one of the underground cities. And if you are interested, there are several architecturally notable hans in the area, and also several prehistoric sites.

> 3 full days seems barely enough for Istanbul, although I agree Sandramiani, all the people following and the pressure to buy will be overwhelming. Thant’s the main reason I want to see Istanbul first…and relax after that.

As you already know, I thought 5 full days insufficient to even scratch the surface of Istanbul. But to speak to the concerns mentioned in this thread:

I wasn't followed by people or unduly pressured to buy anything while in Istanbul. Of course, many salespeople tried to get my attention; I just smiled, said "no thank you," and moved on - and that worked quite well. The merchants in the Grand Bazaar were a bit more insistent than I encountered elsewhere, but in a friendly way - they just kept trying to engage me in conversation. It was at most mildly irritating, and perhaps mostly because I felt rude for not being more responsive.

I generally prefer to visit the biggest city on my itinerary last because I will, by then, be a bit accustomed to the language and customs, and so will find it somewhat less disorienting than if I visit it first. But to each his/her own!
kja is offline  
Nov 28th, 2012, 09:46 PM
  #7  
 
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Do not miss Ephesus, you can fly in the morning from Istanbul and fly back in the evening You will not find anything so wonderful enywhere else in the world. As for people following you??? Just say no thank you with a smile and they will leave you alone. By the way, they do not " follow" you or chase you as they do in Parish and Rome. Turkish people are very polite try to be the same. We live here so i know. Why do you want to spend 4 days in Fethiye? Bodrum and Izmir are more popular and lively and lots to see. Istanbul is magic, you will want to come back again and again, you can spend a year here and not see and experience all. So is Cappadocia but three days is plenty. Have a lovely time, you will enjoy every minute you spend in Turkey!!!
Alorzija is offline  
Nov 29th, 2012, 09:13 AM
  #8  
 
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Definitely don't skip Ephesus. I did it as a day trip from Istanbul. I would not cut a day from Istanbul but rather, from your Turquoise Coast/Fethiye allocation. I enjoyed the Turquoise Coast. I stayed in Fethiye and also visited Kayakoy, Oludeniz Beach, and Saklikent Gorge. My fourth day I sailed to Rhodes which was actually a disspointent. Three days would have plenty. Go to Ephesus.
MinnBeef is offline  
Nov 29th, 2012, 10:44 AM
  #9  
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Thank you. We will definitely not skip Ephesus then, and I really like the idea of a day trip. MinnBeef, did you fly there and back on your own, or used a tour from Istanbul?
Alorzija, kja, thanks for reassuring me about the people. I know that at least in the more touristic areas of Istanbul the pressure to buy is higher, but I am happy to hear that a ‘thank you’ is enough.

We are thinking of Fethiye (or maybe Fethiye and Cirali) as bases to explore the coast. We are not beach people, but love water views and scenic hikes/strolls. Also, we want to see Patara, the Saklikent gorge, maybe take a boat ride one day, and generally enjoy the turquoise water and explore the area. We are actually looking for a base that is not too “lively” (a small town or bigger village, with a few small hotels and restaurants), so I don’t think Bodrum would be a good choice for us.

Kja, absolutely! We will visit at least an underground city, and your note about “several architecturally notable hans in the area, and also several prehistoric sites” made me curious. Need to research more about this area. Thanks again.
xyz99 is offline  
Nov 29th, 2012, 11:45 AM
  #10  
 
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My hubby and I were in Turkey last month. We really enjoyed Istanbul, but LOVED the Cappadocia area. We stayed in a cave room at the Kelebek in Goreme for 3 nights. The hotel and location was fabulous. We took 2 full day tours that included hikes in valleys, underground cities (soooo interesting), ancient sites and cave cities. Our hot air balloon ride over Love Valley was the highlight of our trip. It was worth every cent.

Ephesus was well worth the trip. Do not miss the Terrace Houses. The whole area is seeped in history. I had not felt the awe since I visited the pyramids in Egypt many years ago.

You will love Turkey. People are friendly and helpful. Sellers can be stopped with a polite "No thanks" and walking on. Food is delicious and inexpensive. Have fun.
BarbAnn is offline  
Nov 29th, 2012, 01:33 PM
  #11  
 
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I'd go with #2.
michaelq is offline  
Nov 29th, 2012, 03:02 PM
  #12  
 
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We stayed at Kelebek hotel too and booked our balloon through them. Loved that hotel so much!!! Another vote for not missing Ephesus. The only place I found 'sellers' a problem was in Istanbul.
live42day is offline  
Nov 29th, 2012, 03:22 PM
  #13  
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Kelebek hotel really looks wonderful! Thanks for the recommendation. Did you have a rental car, or took tours?
BarbAnn, regarding the day trip to Ephesus – did you fly there and back on your own? Or took a tour from Istanbul? If on your own, did you rent a car in Izmir? If tour, which tour company? Were you happy with them? Would you recommend them?

<< I had not felt the awe since I visited the pyramids in Egypt many years ago. >> Wow, that says something! How can I even think of skipping it after reading this???
xyz99 is offline  
Nov 30th, 2012, 07:35 AM
  #14  
 
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We did Istanbul and Cappadocia on our own. We then flew to Rome to catch a cruise ship. One of the ports was Kusadasi where we took an all day private tour, through Ephesus Deluxe. However, a friend of mine visited Istanbul last summer and did a day trip to Ephesus. The flights and private tour of Ephesus were arranged by a tour company in Istanbul prior to her arrival.

I loved Ephesus Deluxe. While they seem to emphasize tours from the ports, you could contact them about a tour from the Izmir airport. They are easy to work with, lunch is included and the cost is very reasonable.

I booked my own flights round trip to Cappadocia. Turkish Airlines was easy to book online, prices are great, they serve food & beverages for free and flights left on time. The also fly to Izmir.

I wanted to add, that in Cappadocia and Ephesus we had tour guides. I would not have enjoyed it as much if I had not had a tour guide. The tour guides explained the history, how it was built, why it was built and answered all sorts of questions. I saw many people without guides trying to follow and listen to our tour guides.
BarbAnn is offline  
Nov 30th, 2012, 07:25 PM
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xyz99-

I did a daytrip tour from Istanbul with AboutEphesus. I was very happy with my itinerary (Ephesus ruins, Ephesus Museum. House of the Virgin Mary, Temple of Artemis runis, and I added in St. John's Basilica). The only part I wasn't happy with was my guide-Selcuk. He was great in the morning but then lost interest in my tour after lunch when I didn't buy a carpet at the obligatory lunch/carpet stop. Ask for someone other than him and I think you'll be fine.

I loved hiking the Saklikent Gorge. One of my trip highlights. See if they'll let you hike in your tennis shoes rather than renting the uncomfortable plastic shoes. Yes, your tennis will be wet for hours, but with walking in those plastic shoes, the backs of my feet were cut up for weeks. You'll love Saklikent. And make sure to visit the Lycian ruins at nearby Tlos, as well as those in the hills above Fethiye.
MinnBeef is offline  
Nov 30th, 2012, 07:28 PM
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PS-not sure of your age, fitness level, etc. Know that hiking Saklikent is not an easy hike. Once you get past the rapids (up to my waist in early September, although I'm a short guy), you are still walking in water anywhere from 6 inches to 1 foot high the entire way. Also, you will sometimes be climbing over slippery rocks, through narrow crevices, etc. Just hang onto your camera and take it easy so as not to slip, sprain an ankle or wrist, etc. But like I said, it was a trip highlight for me and provided you have moderate fitness levels, I would highly recommend it. I probably only walked it 3-5 kilometeres (as far as the waterfall)and back, so you can certainly turn back around at any time you want.
MinnBeef is offline  
Dec 1st, 2012, 09:26 AM
  #17  
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BarbAnn,
I am still wondering if we should visit Ephesus as a day trip from Istanbul, or maybe...fly to Izmir, rent a car, visit Ephesus, spend the night in Selcuk, then continue the drive to the coast.
The only airline that seems to fly to Antalya, Dalaman and Kayseri is Turkish Airlines, and they have flights every day (via Istanbul), so at least I am not concerned anymore about not being able to get from one to another. The only decision now is if to end the trip in Cappadocia or the coast. I know, good problem to have
I am not sure yet if we will opt for a car rental (for flexibility) or a car + driver in Cappadocia. We are not big fans of tour groups, but the private car + driver might end up being too expensive…we’ll see.

MinnBeef,
I remember reading about your experience with your guide in Ephesus in a different post. Too bad…If we decide to do it on our own, do we really need a guide?
We are going in Oct, how cold is the water in Saklikent might at that time of the year? We are in our mid 40s, reasonably fit, but I’m not sure about hiking in water waist deep. What do you to about dry clothes after? Where do you change? We might turn around before we hit the deep water, is that still worth doing?
xyz99 is offline  
Dec 1st, 2012, 03:09 PM
  #18  
kja
 
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> Ephesus …If we decide to do it on our own, do we really need a guide?

For most of the site, no, but for terrace houses, I would strongly recommend working with a guide (and I rarely believe that guides are necessary). And yes, the terrace houses are, IMO, a must-see.
kja is offline  
Dec 1st, 2012, 05:48 PM
  #19  
 
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xy99

No, no the waist high water is only at the very beginning. Once through that, you are in no more than 1 foot water at times, and most of the time, in just a few inches. You're basically in a creek bed the entire way, but once past the rapids, it's just a few inches high. I am about your age also, so if you're reasonably fit, you'll have no problem. DO Saklikent!

I do think an Ephesus guide makes the ruins come much more to life. Without one, I think you'll have a hard time knowing what it is you're seeing. If you do Ephesus as a day trip from Istanbul, I'd invest in a tour like I did, as you'll get picked up and drpped back to the airport, and you'll have a guide for the day. Unless you're interested in seeing a carpet demo, just ask to have that part excluded from your itinerary and that should eliminate the problem I had.
MinnBeef is offline  
Dec 2nd, 2012, 11:53 AM
  #20  
 
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Hello xyz,
I am back from various trips and even some traveling. - and can respond to clear some of the smoke :

This will not be in any order :

- flying Atlas or Onur Air from Istanbul to Ephesus on a day trip, you get free shuttle to Selcuk and back to the airport.
You can then arrange for a guide in Selcuk for all the sites in Selcuk or just take a taxi to the hill entrance of Ephesus and hire a guide at the entrance for a reasonable fee, taking a minibus or taxi back to Selcuk. The museum, the basilica, etc. are all within Selcuk. You can also get separate transportation or short tour to VM's retreat if you wish and have time. I recommend that you eat at the restaurant of Hotel Bella.

The area between Antalya and Fethiye gives you the Lycian Way, and a large number of historic sites, some of which are terrific even though they have not been excavated and restored as much as Ephesus.

Doing Istanbul to Nevsehir or Kayseri then to Antalya and returning from Dalaman airport will give you the whole Lycian Way with both magnificent natural beauty and great historic sites. Make sure you plan well because you will not have time for all.

You have some very good info and recommendations on Cappadocia.

I suggest that you check some of my trip reports which I hope will amuse you even if they do not inform you as much as you may wish. Their names may not always reflect the areas visited so you may spend a bit of time to get to the crux, but specifically check the "Fumbling Family......" reports.

- If you fly to Izmir and continue to Antalya for your flight back to Istanbul, one advantage will be the possibility to visit Pamukkale, Aphrodisia, or Herakleia at lake Bafa. The disadvantage will be about 7 -8 hours of additional driving.

In either case, do Cappadocia first before it starts getting colder there and the frequency of flights between Cappadocia and Antalya or Izmir drops.

-Take bathing suits for fethiye, Olu Deniz, Kekova, Patara, secluded beaches en-route, phaeselis, Olympos.
- Do not rent a Fiat because they are usually very under-powered. I liked the Fiesta or Focus. Automatics are harder to find.

Please do not hesitate to ask more questions.
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