(Revised) Working Itinerary for Turkey

Based on further research and your comments I've revised my original itinerary. Here's the latest I've come up with for 14-16 days:

Istanbul 5 nights—then, fly to Izmir via Turkish Air

Bus to Selcuk—(2 nights):

• Ephesus
• Priene
• Miletus
• Didyma

4-5 hour bus to Fethiye—2 nights (day trip to Olu Deniz)

Bus to Cirali—2 nights

Bus to Antalya—2 nights

Bus to Goreme—3 nights—visit Cappodocia

Fly to Istanbul from Kayseri—1 night or to Ankara to take night train—then return flight from Istanbul.

Lots of distance to cover--does this seem reasonable? Other suggestions or options?

Posted by JER
Seattle, USA
981 posts

Your itinerary looks very reasonable time-wise. 3 days in Antalya is a lot, though--and I love Antalya! Perhaps you should think about renting a car so that you can do some day-tripping along the Mediterranean coast from there. Phaselis, Myra, Demre, and Cirali on the west are all within easy reach of Antalya by car.

Posted by Sharon
Atlanta
2663 posts

Thanks JER! I consider you to be an expert on Turkey travel so I appreciate your comments! Do you think 2 nights in Selcuk is enough--should we consider deleting one night from Antalya and adding it to Selcuk?

Posted by Rick
Chicago, IL, USA
468 posts

It looks like a very doable itinerary. One suggestion: Instead of starting in Istanbul, end your trip in Istanbul. Personally, I always prefer to be in the city that I'm flying out of, the night before. This way, I'm not relying upon a connecting flight to make my flight home. The downside is that you won't get into Goreme until some time in the evening and you'll be realy wonky from lack of sleep.

Posted by JER
Seattle, USA
981 posts

I think two nights in Selcuk is probably fine. Most of one day you will spend at Ephesus, perhaps with the St John's basilica ruins and the tomb of the seven sleepers too. The other day you can day trip to Sirince or to Miletus, Didyma, etc.

The Mediterranean coastline is fantastically scenic and not to be missed if possible. I'd keep three days for that, using Antalya as a base. You can rent a car pretty reasonably from a local car hire place in Antalya, no reason to go with a pricier international chain rental place as long as you plan to return it back in Antalya.

Posted by Sharon
Atlanta
2663 posts

I've revised my original itinerary based on your suggestions--here's the latest. I'm wondering about the time spent on the coast--too much?--I'd like to cut 1-3 days if possible without making the trip too hectic.

Posted by JER
Seattle, USA
981 posts

If you wanted to cut, you could daytrip to Cirali from Antalya. Or vice versa, depending on your preferences. Antalya has an old walled section of the city with several charming pensions, an excellent museum, and the option of short harbor cruises. Cirali is laid back, non-touristy, and has some romantic Byzantine ruins along its pebbly beach. There are some nice places to stay there, too. I've stayed in both places, and think either would work as a base, but Antalya is probably better if you are thinking about other day trips (i.e. Demre, Myra, etc.)

Posted by Helene
Brentwood, ca, USA
115 posts

Hi,
What do you think of driving from Selcuk to Cappodocia taking the scenic coastal route with car instead of bus? Is that douable?

Posted by Sharon
Atlanta
2663 posts

Hi Helene,
That's an excellent question! I was considering renting a car between Fethiye and Antalya or wondering if it's best to just rent a car in Antalya and travel out from there.

Posted by JER
Seattle, USA
981 posts

On driving: Selcuk to Cappadocia is a long, long, long drive via the coast. Well worth doing--for the record, we've done exactly that drive--but over quite a few days. You would be best off renting a car in Izmir. The critical question is what the drop-off fee would be for leaving the car someplace other than where you picked it up. Most international companies charge a hefty fee to do this. A travel agent based in Izmir could steer you to a Turkish car hire place with offices in Cappadocia as well. When we did this route, we got a quote with no drop charge at all.

Renting a car in Fethiye and going to Ankara gives the maximum degree of flexibility along the coast and lets you see places that would not be worth going to if you had to go by bus or dolmus. For example, Patara is a gorgeous golden sand beach, a rarity on the Mediterranean coast. But going there by public transit is awkward because you have to fit your visit to the timing of the busses or dolmuses. By car, you arrive when you want and leave when you want. Likewise, Myra has impressive cliffside Lycian tombs. But by dolmus from Antalya, it's a long-winded hassle to get there. By car, it's a snap.

Also, as you are traveling along the coastal road, there are drop-dead gorgeous views where you can stop and admire (and take photos) from pullouts if you are in a car--in a bus, you grab your camera only to miss as the bus goes by.

I'd highly recommend a car for the coastal route, again watching out for drop charges in any quote you get.

Posted by Sharon
Atlanta
2663 posts

Thanks so much JER--you've given us lots of excellent suggestions!

Posted by Helene
Brentwood, ca, USA
115 posts

I'm having hard time finding car compay that will rent car from Selchek to Cappodocia. Any suggestions?
Again Sharon, now that your back would love to have any suggestions and hear about your fabulous trip.
Thanks,
helene

Posted by Sharon
Atlanta
2663 posts

Hi Helene,
We also had difficulty trying to figure out the best way to organize the trip between Selcuk and Cappodocia. Instead of renting a car, we opted to take the Kamal Koc Bus from Selcuk to Antalya (a 7 hour trip leaving at 10:00 in the morning and arriving in Antalya at 5:00 p.m.) It was a beautiful ride through mountain terrain. We enjoyed the bus trip--the bus had wireless internet service!

When we arrived in Antalya we took a dolmus to Cirali. Cirali (on the coast) is not an easy area to get to. Having a car to get there would be a nice option.

After a 2 night stay in Cirali we took an overnight bus from Antalya to Goreme in Cappodocia. We did fine without a car but only went to one coastal town.
We did not stay in Antalya as we initially planned and after spending 4 nighs in Cappodocia we flew back to Istanbul from Nevsehir rather than Kayseri.

Part of the adventure for us was planning how to get from one destination to another without a car! The staff at our various hotels helped us in make our bus reservations--they were great!