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Travel to Turkey - Not with Tour

I am at the beginning stages of planning a tour of Turkey. It will be my first time there, although I have traveled extensively in Europe, I would love to hear how others have traveled on their own, perhaps with local tour guides. How did you get from town to town? Driver?

Posted by
803 posts

i used bus for the most part and it's great. for very long distance you should also consider flying. i didn't use any local guide, just follow guide books, local recommendations, etc.

Posted by
338 posts

You do not need a tour guide. I've traveled all over Turkey with guide books, research and an OK map. I do have a couple of caveats - some tourist sites are better with a guide (hired on site). The underground cities in Cappadocia come to mind as well as Anavarza and Karatepe near Adana. Also, make sure you ask locals for suggestions. Shop keepers (especially after a purchase) and hotel staff can suggest favorite things to see or do in an area. Depending on what you want to see, your budget, and the number of days you're staying, consider either flying to major cities and renting a car to get around or doing a one-way rental. Turkey is so dense with historic sites and interesting places that a car will give you the most flexability. Most cars are manual transmission, so be sure to reserve an automatic if you need one. My recommendation for the top three areas to see for a first time visitor is Istanbul, the western and southern coast, and Cappadocia. Good luck.

Posted by
3009 posts

Hi Betsy, For planning our trip to Turkey we used the Lonely Planet Guidebook, Rick Steves' Istanbul Guide, Trip Advisor forums, and a website called Turkey Travel Planner by Tom Brosnahan. For transportation we: * Flew from Istanbul to Izmir for visiting Selcuk and Ephesus. * Took a bus from Selcuk to Antalya and then a van (dolmus) to Cirali. * An overnight bus from Antalya to Goreme for Cappadocia. * A flight from Nesehir back to Istanbul. The only place we hired a private driver was in Cappadocia for the underground Cities, etc. as Rob suggested. Also to tour the caves and churches in the area. We hired the for 2 days @ $80. per day.

Posted by
112 posts

I traveled to Turkey by myself and it was a breeze, I really felt at home there. I flew to Istanbul and spent several days there on my own except for a tour of the palace. I took a quick flight to Goreme where I hiked all over the area, again by myself. I did take a guided tour of the area for a day and it was a lot of fun. Well worth visiting. It was one of my better international trips.

Posted by
272 posts

I was in Turkey in September. Exceeded all expections. We traveled on our own. I found that bus was one of the best forms of transport between cities. They are much nicer than what my opinion of bus travel would be.....arranged almost more like an airplane with TV screens in the headrest sometime, on all there was an attendant that would wheel down the aisle with a cart of snacks and drinks. We did do an overnight train from Ankara to Istanbul and that was good. We traveled to Goreme, Ankara, Istanbul, Ephesus, Pamukkale and Fethiye. All was by public transport (plane, train, bus) and no drivers. It was very easy and I would definitely do it again.

Posted by
17 posts

I must say, after traveling all over Europe, The Turks were friendliest people we've ever met. We loved our trip, with out a tour. We flew between Ephesus, Cappadocia and Istanbul. We found very reasonable flights on a Turkish airline on-line. Rented a car in Urgup which was well worth it. Feel free to PM me if yuo have any questions. the turnip

Posted by
1204 posts

We are going to Turkey on our own in September. Although we can't give you our experiences yet we can tell you how we arrived at our plans. We used RS Istanbul and Fodor's Turkey and also have a map. We also used this website as well as Fodors, Virtualtourist, Tripadvisor, and We decided to stay 7 nights in Istanbul, fly to Kayseri then take a van to Goreme for 4 nights. We're renting a car there to tour the area on our own. Will overnight bus to Antalya where we'll spend 2 nights. On the 2nd day we'll get a rental car to visit historical sites (Side, Aspendos) and the next day drive down the coast to Cirali (2nights) and Patara (1 night). Then on to Pamukkale for a night and Selcuk for 3 nights before dropping off the car in Izmir and returning to Istanbul and then home. We decided to rent a car for those 8 days so we can easily visit the sites that are off the main roads and which would otherwise take too long to get to by bus. We think we'll be able to see more in our short amount of time. We're having a great time going over our plans and research and hope you will too!