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First trip Istanbul and Cappadocia - Is Rhodes worth a trip?

Hi all, I am finally travelling! This will be my first overseas trip since 2020 and I will going to Turkey. I will be in Istanbul for work and plan to extend my trip before my work meetings for about a week to explore other parts of Turkey.

Here’s my plan! My friend is very keen to visit a Greek island in the Mediterranean Sea during our trip as this will be her first visit to Turkey and she has never been to Greece. During our research, we found out that Rhodes may be possible. However, we are not too sure if it is worth to squeeze a trip to Rhodes for a few days or if we should explore more of Turkey. We are not that interested to visit Pamukkale and I had been to Kudasasi and Ephesus very briefly for one day.. Welcome any feedback or recommendations for coastal places in Turkey (to potentially replace a trip to Rhodes). Thanks!!!

Itinerary for first 2 weeks of May 2022
Day 1: Fly into Istanbul and take domestic flights to Cappadocia. Arrive Cappaadocia at noontime.
Day 2: Cappadocia Day 2 - Hot air balloon ride and green tour.
Day 3: Cappadocia Day 3 - Rent a driver and explore more spots, and maybe Turkish night tour.
Day 4: Cappadocia Day 4. Take evening overnight bus to Fethiye 10-12 hours ride).
Day 5: Arrive in Fethiye and take morning ferry to Rhodes. Rhodes Day 1.
Day 6: Rhodes Day 2.
Day 7: Rhodes Day 3. Late afternoon ferry to Fethiye.
Day 8: Fethiye to Dalaman Airport. Domestic flight to Istanbul
Day 9-Day 15: Istanbul (4 days of work, 3 days free and easy)

Any advice and tips greatly appreciated! 😊

Posted by
6788 posts

What time of year?

I haven't been to Rhodes so can't offer any opinions on its worthiness as a destination.

But before suffering through an overnight bus trip (yeesh, no thanks...), I'd look at flying: I believe you could fly from Kayseri to Dalaman (via Antalya) for pretty cheap most days throughout the year...looks like under 3 hours and under a hundred bucks. Then catch the ferry from nearby Fethiye to Rhodes. You would have to pay me a lot more than that to do a 12 hour overnight bus trip across half of Turkey...

Domestic flights within Turkey are generally insanely cheap (buy well in advance).

Remember: Time is your most valuable (and your most constrained) resource during your vacation. For most of us, it's easier to find more money than to find more time.

Posted by
78 posts

Hi David, thanks for the tip about flying from Cappadocia to Dalaman. My trip will be for the first 2 weeks of May. The water may be too cold for island/beach activities. Any coastal areas / islands in Turkey that you may recommend? Thanks!

Posted by
1467 posts

Yes, Rhodes is well worth visiting. I was there three years ago and was so impressed with the history of Rhodes Town that I’m returning with friends in June to see it again.
You might fly from Cappadocia’s Nevsehir Airport to Dalaman Airport if you’re looking for an alternative to the 12-hour bus ride. You can check flight prices at Skyscanner.com.
Have a great Trip!

Posted by
78 posts

Hi all, thanks for your help! I just checked and there are no direct flights from Kayser/Nevşehir to Dalaman airport. Unfortunately, all the flights have to go through Istanbul airport. In the end, the time saving may not be much.

Any recommendations for how many days we should spend on Rhodes?

Posted by
1467 posts

I would say 3-4 nights staying at a place inside the walls of the old town of Rhodes gives you plenty of time to thoroughly explore the attractions inside the 13th-century walls. With 1 more night you could take a daytrip to the historic town of Lindos which has its own acropolis with a Greek temple from 300 BC capping the town of white hillside homes. You can also spend time at Lindos beautiful beach. Lindos can be reached in 90 minutes by bus from Rhodes Town.

Posted by
78 posts

Hi, thanks!

Do you have any experience renting a car and driving around on Rhodes? I am wondering if it would be safe for me to drive as I am driving on a different side now (from Turkish drivers).

Posted by
2144 posts

Wendy, if you’re not already committed to Rhodes, I’d like to propose an alternative.

There’s lots to see on the Turkish coast. So instead of a bus to Fethiye (which is not a particularly attractive city) take a bus or fly or drive from Kayseri to Antalya.

I’ve not stayed in Antalya but you might need a night or two if you’ve taken the bus. We flew from Kayseri to Antalya via Istanbul, which sounds extravagant but was easy and quick and relatively inexpensive.

Rent a car in Antalya and drive north to Kas, a lovely harbor town. Stay 2 nights, which will give you a full day to take a short day trip ferry to the gorgeous Greek island of Kastelorizo. This lovely little island has cafes lining the harbor, a Lycian tomb carved into a cliff, and boats that (on a sunny day) can take you to an amazing Blue Cave— more striking than the famous one on Capri. It will give you a wonderful taste of Greece.

Now drive up the coast a little ways to the tiny town of Patara. Stay here a few nights at Akay Pension, where you’ll find the kindest owners & best food in Turkey. The town adjoins the archeological site of ancient Patara, which you can explore on the way to the beach — a long (11 miles?) stretch of golden sand.

From Patara you can make a day trip to Saklikent Gorge if you want an adventure.

Then drive north to Dalyan, near the Dalaman airport. Stay at Kilim Hotel, right by the river with amazing views of another Lycian tomb carved into a cliff. Dalyan has a sea turtle nesting beach and a sea turtle hospital. And you can take a river cruise, ending in a mud bath if you’d like! Dalyan is a lovely place. It and Kas are both favorite vacation spots of British tourists.

If you have time, drive up to Bodrum — and with even more time you might grab a gulet cruise for a day or two.

This Turkish coastline is nicknamed the Turqoise Coast, and is absolutely gorgeous. Google all these places I’ve mentioned and I think you’ll agree … since you’re there, you may as well take advantage of it!

Edited to say: I just looked back at your post and it seems you have only 5 or 6 days for this part of your trip? I’d skip that last day In Cappadocia in order to fly to Antalya so you can head north without delay. Two nights each in Kas, Patara & Dalyan, then fly back to Istanbul from Dalaman airport.

Posted by
1467 posts

You could rent a car at Rhodes port if arriving by ferry.
Rentalcars.com lists car rentals through SurPrice Car Rentals. In Greece, as in Turkey
driving is on the right side. It may be easier for you with a car that has an automatic transmission.
Have a great Trip!

Posted by
78 posts

Hi Charlene and Kenzo! Thanks for all your help!
I see many recommendations for Kas! I am very interested to spend a few days in Kas. I can try to head down to Kas from Cappadocia (Goreme). As I do not have many days, I am looking into the more expensive option of engaging a driver who can bring us from Goreme to Antalya or even Kas in one day. Do you have any drivers/companies to recommend? I am hoping that the cost will not be too expensive (maybe about 200 euros)?

Here's the updated itinerary! Still quite tight but hoping to have some time to visit the Turquoise coast.

Day 1: Fly into Istanbul and take domestic flights to Cappadocia. Arrive Goreme by noontime.
Day 2: Cappadocia Day 2 - Hot air balloon ride and green tour.
Day 3: Cappadocia Day 3 - Rent a driver and explore more spots, and maybe Turkish night tour.
Day 4: Cappadocia Day 4 - Explore more spots and try 4-wheel tour.
Day 5: Cappadocia/Goreme -> Antalya/Kas
Day 6: Kas - Day trip to Kastelorizo (Castellorizo, Megisti, Meis)
Day 7: Kas - Day tour - sea kayaking Kekova tour
Day 8: Kas - Paragliding in the morning. Afternoon - Head to Dalaman Airport for domestic flight to Istanbul.
Day 9-Day 15: Istanbul (4 days of work, 3 days free and easy)

Thanks!

Posted by
11354 posts

I am glad to see your itinerary has worked for you. We enjoyed Fethiye. Spent two days on Rhodes on another trip and it was OK.