Istanbul then on to Bodrum or Fethiye? Transportation??

My husband and I will be traveling to Turkey in May of this year. We plan on staying 4-5 days in Istanbul then would like to stay 3 days in either Bodrum or Fethiye. We can't decide between the 2 cities, but are even more concerned with how were are going to get there, and then how we will get around. Also, we would like to take a day trip to see the ruins at Ephesus. After spending time in the city, we would like some time to relax by the sea and take it easy. Any suggestions would be helpful, especially links for bus and flight information. Many thanks!

Posted by David
Bellevue, WA, USA
740 posts

fly from istanbul to izmir then train to selcuk is very easy to see ephesus. overnight bus is about 7-8 hrs. you should overnight in selcuk because it has some good stuff to see in addition to ephesus. from selcuk bus to bodrum is about 4 hours but can be longer (the road condition is bad). i think 2 days in bodrum is enough. if you have extra time you should consider adding pamukkale (the cotton castle), in my opinion it's better than bodrum. fethiye is further out, so yo may not have enough time to cover it, so I'd add pamukkale before fethiye

Posted by Lee
Oregon
1638 posts

If all you have is 3 days left after Istanbul the only way you can fit Ephesus in is to take a morning flight from Istanbul to Izmir, hire a taxi and drive to Ephesus for the day, then catch the next bus from Selcuk to Bodrum, IF there is one leaving in the afternoon. By the time you reach Bodrum you will have spent a full day of your 3 days getting there, which leaves you with 2 to explore the south coast. Flying on to Bodrum or Fethiye is an option only if you're willing to fly back to IST for the connecting flight. I don't think there are any direct flights from Izmir. But where do you go from there? Back to IST for the flight home or onward to Greece? I think you have some serious itinerary issues to deal with.

Posted by Heather
Raleigh, USA
40 posts

David, we would LOVE to see Pamukkale, but are afraid that we won't have time. How would we get there? Train or bus? Lee, I see what you are saying, that's why I'm here asking for your help!!!!!
I understand that if we spend a day and night in Selcuk, that would only leave 2 days in Bodrum. I'm not opposed to flying from Bodrum back to IST to catch the flight home, but I am allowing for an extra day of travel to get back there before we have to catch that flight. Maybe our itinerary would help: day 1 - arrive IST late afternoon days 2-6 - spend in IST (5 full days) day 7 (a Sunday) - fly to Izmir early, see Ephesus, spend night in Selcuk (this poses a question - will we be able to see the ruins on a Sunday or should we cut IST short a day and leave on Saturday?) day 8 - take early bus to Bodrum, arrive early/mid afternoon (I assume busses run rather regularly on Sunday if we have to take that option?) days 9-10 - spend in Bodrum day 11 - fly back to IST, spend night there day 12 - fly home What are your thoughts now??

Posted by Lee
Oregon
1638 posts

As long as you can make the bus connection to Bodrum when you need it, I guess it works. As another option you could take a ferry from Kusadasi, which is very close to Ephesus, across to the Greek island of Samos for a couple of days, then ferry back, get to Izmir and fly back to IST from there. You might be able to spend more quality time enjoying your surroundings instead of in transit. Truthfully, it seems like too much effort for so little gained.

Posted by Ryan
Calgary, Alberta, Canada
41 posts

Perhaps you should consider pairing back your days in Istanbul so you have some more time checking out the rest of the sights. From Istanbul, I would fly to Izmir and then rent a car to get to Selcuk (Ephesus)-totally doable and WORTH it!! That way you can drive out to Pamukkale (check out Aphrodisias on the way there). Then drive out to the coast. I didn't go to Bodrum, but I went to Fethiye. It was pretty lovely, but way more developped than I would have liked. At times I thought there were more Brits than Turks! Good luck with your planning- I'm sure you'll have a great time no matter what you decide to do.

Posted by David
Bellevue, WA, USA
740 posts

pamukkale is about 4hr by bus to selcuk. there is a big red bus company called pamukkale you can use them. i think you can do IST in 3-4 days (a little bit rush but ok) and 2 days in Bodrum then you can squeeze in pamukkale. i'd spend an overnight because the ruin on top of the hill is very big and you can easily spend a day just ot explore it. there is a swimming pool in the mid of the ruin you want to check it out. it's a little pricy about 10+ euro but unlimited time for the day. it's hot mineral bubbling water with roman stone columns at the bottom of the pool you can swim around, amazing!

Posted by Heather
Raleigh, USA
40 posts

Thank you for your insight. We have decided to skip Bodrum and go to Pamukkale instead. It seems to offer more to our liking than Bodrum. Thanks again for helping out!!