I want to visit my son who will be living near Adana, Turkey. I will have 3 weeks vacation and am interested in sites that are close to Adana. I plan to fly from the East coast to Istanbul, stay there a few days and then fly to Adana to visit him. When I leave, I will fly back to Istanbul and then fly to Tel Aviv to visit Israel (maybe Petra in Jordan) for a few days before flying back to the states. I would love to visit Ephesus, Cappadocia, and other sites but don't know if they are close to where he will be. Any advice would be appreciated. I am not going for about 18 months so have plenty of time to plan the trip. Also, when is the best time to visit Turkey and Israel, I am ruling out summer because of heat and tourists. I am wondering if March would be a good time to go to both places. I will be flying Turkish Airways as I have friends who speak highly of them, also they are the only one that connects from Istanbul to Tel Aviv. I try to not fly US airlines on international trips, I have found that the foreign carriers offer much better service.
Turkish Air was wonderful when I flew them in 2011 (both domestic and trans-Atlantic). Atlas Jet from Istanbul to Izmir was also fine.
From Adana, you would take buses or fly to get to Ephesus (closest airport is Izmir) or Cappadocia (closest airports are Kayseri and Nevsehir). The train system in Turkey is minimal, but buses run everywhere. Flights on your routes will likely involve changing in Ankara or Istanbul, so they may not save much time or hassle over buses.
For lots of Turkey advice, look at Turkey Travel Planner: http://turkeytravelplanner.com/
I have lots of ideas for siteseeing around Adana and some general advice.
I suggest that you pick up a copy of the Lonely Planet guide for Turkey since it will have a brief description of just about anything you might want to see. Also plan to rent a car since it will really free up your ability to travel. Be sure to request automatic transmission in advance if that's important to you.
It's a good idea to avoid Adana in the summer. It becomes quite hot. March should work fine, but late April/May will be a bit warmer especially if you want to spend any time at the beach. You will not have to fight with tourists for sites around Adana. You will probably have many of them to yourself.
I suspect that you're planning to stay in Incirlik, but let me know if you need a hotel recommendation.
I've listed some ideas below. Many of these can be grouped with nearby sites into long single day trips (e.g. Unzuncaburc and Kizkalesi). If I think of more, I'll post them too.
- In Adana itself see the Sabanci Mosque and surrounding park. There is also a small history museum nearby. The historic downtown is also nice.
- Antakya near the Syrian border has a nice museum and market.
- Anavarza has a spectacular Byzantine-era castle.
- Hierapolis-Castabale has ruins of a former city in a nice setting.
- Karatepe has really interesting Hittite ruins.
- Kozan has a spectacular Armenian castle.
- Silifke has some interesting sites (castle, temple ruins, etc.)
- Uzuncaburc is a top recommendation for its necropolis, tower, temple and other ruins.
- Kizkalesi has a neat pair of castles and a nice beach.
- Yilankale is a nice Armenian castle a short drive to the east.
- Cappadocia is about a 3 hour drive to the north over the mountains. You can do this in long-single day trips, but it will be easiest if you allow 3 or maybe 4 days. I can recommend some sites here.
- Mt. Nemrut would be a haul, but is an interesting site to the east. This would be a multi-day trip.
- Alanya is a nice beach town to the west. This would also be a long multi-day trip.
- Ephesus and other nearby sites are best served by flying into Izmir. There are interesting sites and towns along the coast in both directions from Izmir and to the south of Selcuk. I can recommend sites based on your interests.