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side trip from istanbul

We will be in Istanbul March 2 - 10. We would like to do one side trip to either Ephesus or Cappadocia. I have looked at intra-Turkey flights and they seem reasonable. Would either of these cities be doable in 2 days, with one overnight? Would I need to rent a car once we arrive? I am open to all ideas. Thanks,

Posted by
11292 posts

For general information about Turkey, it's hard to beat I can't comment on Capadocia, as I haven't been there. But Ephesus is easy to do in 2 days with an overnight. 1. Book a flight from IST to ADB (Izmir) on Atlas Jet, not because it's better than the other airlines, but because they have a free shuttle from the airport to Selçuk. Do book early, as the price goes up closer to the travel date. 2. Book a hotel in Selçuk. We stayed at Hotel Canberra and highly recommend it; it's not fancy, but the staff was wonderfully helpful, and having the included breakfast and optional dinner on the roof was great. If you're staying more than 24 hours, they'll even do laundry (handy, as Istanbul doesn't have coin-op laundries that we could find). 3. The hotel will arrange a taxi to take you from the hotel to the upper Ephesus entrance, and pick you up from the lower entrance (not free, but inexpensive, and well worth it for the convenience). We got the audioguides, which we found worthwhile. Don't miss the Terraced Houses (extra admission charge). 4. The rest of the time, you can see other sights in the area, or just enjoy the vibe of Selçuk. We had read that it was just a place to sleep, and were pleasantly surprised by how nice and relaxing it was. No need to rent a car for this trip.

Posted by
281 posts

Sue, Both are doable with 2 days and one night. It would be better to have an extra night in Cappadocia so I would recommend Ephesus. You can choose a hotel and they will be able to send a shuttle to the airport to pick you up for a reasonable rate. They will probably work with a tour company that can take you to Ephesus and you might consider Pamukkale for the second day. One night does not allow much time as it will be at least noon by the time you check in to your hotel and you will be leaving on a late flight the
second day. I went to both areas in October and enoyed them both.

Posted by
338 posts

I'll echo some of what's already been said. I typically recommend Cappadocia over just about anywhere else in Turkey. However, with only two days Ephesus is a much better option. The flight and overall travel time will be much less flying to Izmir then driving to Selcuk compared to flying to Nevsehir then driving to one of the villages in Cappadocia. Furthermore, the sites in Selcuk are much closer to each other compared to Cappadocia. You should be able to get a bus, hotel shuttle, or tour company to get you from Izmir to Selcuk without renting a car. However, I have rented and driven from Izmir before and it is an easy drive. A rental is nice if you want to see some of the surrounding sites (e.g. Sirince, grotto of seven sleepers, Mary house, Priene). The key sites (Epehesus, Temple of Artemis, local museum, Basilica of St. John, etc.) are close and can been seen in one full day. Ephesus is about 1.5 to 2 miles down the road, so you'll either have to walk or arrange transportation (check with your hotel for options) to get to that site. Have fun!

Posted by
6879 posts

If you want a very easy, quick-to-get-to day trip from Istanbul, hop a ferry to the Princes Islands. There are several and within 2 hours or so ferry ride - it was the most relaxing short trip I could have imagined. These islands have no cars - only horse buggies and bikes.

Posted by
20 posts

We spent two weeks in Istanbul this past November. We took a one day trip to Ephesus, and LOVED it! We took an early morning flight out of Istanbul, and a later evening flight back, and felt like we had plenty of time at Ephesus itself, and even had time left for a relaxing stroll and dinner in the small town of Selcuk before catching the transfer bus back to the airport. It was a long day, but very much worth it.