We are thinking of the RS Turkey tour next September. It ends in Kusadasi - what have previous tour members done after? Should we go on to Samos or other suggestions?
We went to Samos, Mykonos, Santorini. Then also by ferry to Pireus and Athens. Flying home from there.
We did the same thing. Took a boat to Santorini, Mykonos , and then flew to Athens. We added a week to the end our RS trip and enjoyed Greece very much.
Forgot to mention that our RS trip ended in Samos (1 night there) - it was several years ago and I don't know if the RS trips still end in Samos. (looks like they now end in Kusadasi...... but it is a nice ferry boat ride to Samos)
My suggestion is, if you are flying in and out of Istanbul, why don't you go back to Istanbul and spend time there. I went on the RS 7 day tour of Istanbul in September of this year and it was wonderful. There are tons of things to see and do in Istanbul and the few days you have there is not enough time. As it was, we did not see everything or do all the things we wanted to do. It is a very interesting city and you will not be bored. It really is worthwhile to stay there for the extra days you want to stay in Turkey.
I understand you want to see more of Turkey, but Istanbul is an amazing city and worth taking the time to see. I would go back to Istanbul for another week if I could. But whatever you decide, you will enjoy your time in Turkey. Have a great trip.
At the end of our Sept. RS tour we had booked a week at a beach resort on Samos; lovely island - much greener
than the Cycladian islands we'd been to but also much quieter.
Something to consider if you are planning a stay there is the closing down of touristic places and the very
strong winds that scour the beaches. The island really starts to hunker down for winter.
In hindsight we should have gone back to Istanbul for further exploration of that fabulous city.
I took that Turkey Tour and was really impressed by everything about Turkey and its people. I spent two days in Istanbul before the tour began, two days there on the tour, and then returned to Istanbul for 5 more days after the tour was over. I still would go back to Istanbul when time allows.
I have not taken the RS tour, but have traveled in that part of Turkey. If you're into ancient history and have a rental car, another option is to travel along the coast. The ruins near Bergama (Pergamom and adjacent sites) to the north of Izmir are very nice. There are also several nice ruins to the south (Priene, Miletus, and Didyma) that you could see as one long day trip. There are plenty of other sites and areas of scattered around. I suggest you pick up a copy of the Lonely Planet guide if you decide to explore in this way. It's got every small town and place of interest in it, although not with much detail.
No matter what you decide, I hope you have fun.
The itinerary in Istanbul is very rushed. There is little or no time to wander in the bazaars and there are several very impressive sights that aren't included. I spent several days in Istanbul before the tour (I got back very early this morning). Most of the folks on my tour either spent at least 2 days in Istanbul before the tour or returned to spend 2-4 days there afterward.
We took the Best of Turkey May '13 and it was wonderful! One of my favorite RS tours very diverse and lots of different wonderful experiences!
After the tour we took a bus to the beach town of Bodrum. The bus in Turkey is really rather nice with a stewart and complimentary beverages and snacks. It was a pleasant ride and went quickly. We stayed at the
Hotel El Vino Hotel which was a great choice. Enjoyed their rooftop restaurant several nights!
We arrived in Istanbul 2 days early. I agree with the other posts, you need a few more days on your own in Istanbul either before or after the tour.
Bodrum was a nice compliment to the tour and would recommend it.
We are considering this tour next year......I'm thinking of arriving in Istanbul 3 days earlier than start of tour and following it up by heading to Bodrum then ferry to Kos and from there ferry to Rhodes and may fly from there to Athens then Santorini and fly back to Athens and home .......probably adding about 10 additional days. We were in Greece, Athens, Crete, and planned ferry to Santorini in September several years back and remember the Scirocco winds hitting Crete the day before our ferry trip to Santorini....only way to get there was to fly to Athens and then back however many flights were booked already....so I am not big on relying on ferries at that time of year.
Our Turkey tour ended in Bodrum. We took a ferry to Rhodes, via Kos, and spent a week there before flying to Athens to join the Greece tour. Rhodes has a wonderful Old Town and it was a perfect place to decompress between tours. We stayed at a tiny, rather quirky B&B that we loved. Would be happy to share the name and details if you're considering Rhodes.