I thought by now we would have had our plans made for our trip, but nooooo. We want to go to Turkey: IStanbul, then Ephesus, Pamuakkale and see some of the beautiful coast. Then either from there or back to Istanbul to go to Italy where we want to see Rome, Florence and Venice hopefully by train. We have about a week in each country. We are trying to figure out what coastal town would be pretty, not overrun with tourists and accessible - both budget-wise and geographically. We will not have a rental car so we need to be able to travel otherwise. And in Italy we want to know if we can get off the train in some smaller town between cities and sightsee perhaps even spend a night before we continue our trip without being penalized or having to pay more. Thanks for your help
So, this is a two week trip( you said a week in each country, and you are going to two countries)and you want to visit 6 named cities, and perhaps stop overnight in some small towns enroute in Italy??
It sounds a bit rushed. Does this two weeks include your day of arrival from an international flight?
Some posters swear by Easycruise, perhaps you should look on their website and see if they have something that would hit most of your choices, and then add on one or two destinations after. I understand these are not typical cruises. You could perhaps do Turkey and Greece( hey you didn't mention it( or did you , I have never heard of Pamukkale) but Greece is wonderufl, and end up in Rome and then maybe a few days there and a few days in Venice,,??
Most Selcuk pensions will pick you up at the Izmir Airport--there unfortunately is no public transportation between the Izmir Airport and the Ephesus area (supposedly taxi drivers have prevented it!) But since the pensions will pick you up at the airport, it's no problem.
To get to Pamukkale by public transportation you need to bus to Denizli, then change to Pamukkale. Lots of backpacker pensions and tour bus hotels there--take your pick. Then you'd need to backtrack to Denizli and take the bus to Kusadasi. Turkish coaches are large, modern, and very comfortable, but there are a number of national coach companies, and their websites are mainly in Turkish. You could just show up at the local otogar (bus station) and take whichever bus looks best and most convenient. But you'd be better off going to a travel agent in Istanbul and arranging the bus tickets in advance. There are loads of them in the Sultanahmet area or in Taksim Square.
Regarding the Turkey half of your trip: I would skip Pamukkale--it's a long way from anywhere and you will spend hours bussing there via Denizli. Don't get me wrong--it's a site worth seeing, but only if you have a much longer trip in Turkey so that the travel time invested will be worth it. The easiest way to do Istanbul, Ephesus, and the Turquoise coast is to fly via one of the discount airlines in Turkey--Onur Air, Pegasus, or Atlasair. You can fly between Istanbul and Izmir for about 40-50 dollars. I would stay in Selcuk rather than Izmir--Izmir has no cheap hotels, Selcuk has lots of charming cheap places --25-50 dollars or so. Most of them will pick you up at the Izmir Airport and also shuttle you to the site at Ephesus.
Best place to fly to on the Turquoise Coast is Antalya. From there, minibusses run along the coast road. Pensions in the walled old city of Antalya run about 50-75 dollars a night.
There aren't any discount airlines that fly between Turkey and Italy.
Thanks for all your advice. Pamukkale is a must for us for personal reasons, so off we go. (And we've cruised lots, so no cruising this year, but a good idea anyway). What we are thinking now is to get to Ephesus, Pamukkale and Kasudasi to ferry to Samos to fly out from there.
Good suggestion about flying to Izmir to stay in Selcuk and having them shuttle us to Ephesus. My questions now - Is there public transportation from the airport at Izmir to get to Selcuk to see Ephesus and then on to Pamukkale and back to Kasudasi. Is this possible to do on our own or do we need a travel agent to arrange this for us?
Thanks, Mark. We need to know our plans are made in advance and since we'll be traveling at the height of the summer season and with a child, we want to have tickets and reservations before we leave the states. Can you recommend a travel agent we can talk to or website to go to?
Sorry, but I don't know any Stateside travel agents that book Turkish discount airlines. Onur Air definitely runs the Istanbul-Izmir route, and others possibly as well. Call around and see if any agents can help you. You could try booking yourself on the Onur site, which now has an English language option. There are three flights a day, so you can decide when is most convenient.
Busses cannot be booked in advance online that I am aware of. Check the main Turkish bus companies (Varan, Boss, Kamil Koc, Pamukkale)for times and routes served. Again, it is unlikely that a US travel agent can help you. Luckily, busses are seldom full, so you can be comfortable waiting till you are in Turkey to get your bus tickets.
Take public transportation... a bus out of Izmir to Selcuk and many other stops along the way. There are many hotels in Selcuk. I travelled from Selcuk to Pumuakkale. It took a very lond day to get their and back. It was worth it for me!! Turkey should be your single focus on this trip. Then plan Italy!!