Hello all, my husband and I are debating about the Best of Turkey in 13 days tour, but it looks like a lot of bus time. For anyone who has done this tour, did you think it was worth all the bus time and did you feel like you were on the bus all day? We also are considering signing up for the Istanbul in 7 days tour and just scheduling a stop or two after that on our own. Thanks for any opinions!
We took this tour in 2011 - at that time it was an overnight train to Ankara - ( so not sure about that leg of the journey ) for the remainder the short answer is No, the bus time did not seem like we were on a bus all day - I wondered the same thing prior to signing up - at no time did the bus travel seem excessive, nor did we get the 'numb bum" of overland travel - the time was well spent , chatting with new friends, reliving "experiences" and the occasional snooze. The 13 days in Turkey was a terrific overview and we are looking forward to returning.
If you decide on the tour, take the hot air balloon ride ( extra cost ) it is amazing!
My wife and I did the tour last October and enjoyed it very much. We would definitely recommend the tour. The bus time is necessary to cover the area between a variety of sights that we found very interesting. The drive time was broken up in a variety of ways. Some of the "today we will visit..." itinerary sights were stopping points on the longer drive days, so we were off the bus walking around the sight for a period of time. Another time was a lunch stop at an outdoor restaurant in the mountains and some of us took the time to tour a cave that was just up the hill.
This was our 5th RS tour, and they all have had some 5 - 7 hour bus days thrown in, but were rarely more than 2 hours at one stretch before a break of some kind was planned.
If you do Istanbul for 7 days and schedule a stop or two, you are unlikely to go to Cappadocia or Antalya, both of which we very much enjoyed! (The balloon ride in Cappadocia was expensive, but one of our favorite "extras." If you have never done a hot air balloon, do not miss it. The guide will pre-arrange with the best company in the area.) We arrived 2 days early to Istanbul and worked through the jet lag by visiting the sights that are included in the 7 day Istanbul tour, but not on the Best of Turkey tour. For us, it really worked out great, since we did not feel like we missed the "must see" places.
Sorry for the long answer, but we were very happy to have experienced so much more of Turkey than just Istanbul and Ephesus ( which is all a lot of folks do.) I would not let the "bus time" hold you back from seeing more of this fascinating country! I must say, we also had a great travel group, so a lot of socializing happened on the bus as well! And our guide, Aysegul Unlu, was the best!
Thanks Paula! What time of year did you go? What was the weather like? We are considering March - I don't like hot weather and get rather grumpy if temps are too high:)
Thanks Ron! We really like the idea of seeing more of the country. We usually travel independently but thought for Turkey we might like to try one of the tours. I appreciate your feedback! What was the weather like in October when you went?
It was great with daytime highs in the upper 60's to mid 70's and only 1/2 day of light rain ( our last day in fact.). Cappadocia was cooler as it was at a higher elevation and we were glad we "layered" for the early morning balloon ride.
That's my kind of touring weather! Thanks for the update - I sent the link to my husband to consider in more depth:)
I was on the same tour as Ron. He's spot on with everything. In addition, the bus is big enough and the group small enough that it's easy to move around and there was a lot of socializing on the bus rides. I also encourage you to plan to spend several days in Istanbul before the tour. It's a very good idea to have some time to get over the jetlag and longhaul flight and Istanbul has lots and lots to see. The 2 days in Istanbul are pretty rushed. You may also want to return at the end of the tour (easy flight from Izmir) for more time there.
My guess, based on weather here in Israel, which is warmer and drier, is that early April will be cool (high temps 50s to 60s) and somewhat rainy. If you can wait, late April and May are more likely to be pleasant with few, if any, hot days.
I just returned from Turkey. I did not take a RS tour but we did go to Istanbul, Bursa, Izmir/Ephesus, Kayseri/Cappadocia, and back to Istanbul in 10 days. Turkey is a large country and if you are going to visit Istanbul, Ephesus, and Cappadocia, which were my favorites, you will have to travel. On a RS tour bus is probably not a bad way to go. You will most likely be with a fun group and I agree that Turkey is more doable with a tour group. You are going to be on a bus a lot so if it's not your idea of fun you should choose another destination.
We went in early Sept ( the date was actually 9/10/11 ) it was HOT getting up to between 35-40 degrees most days. Many remarked that it was unusual for that time of year, if you want it cooler as recommended maybe later into October would guarantee better temperature.