My husband and I want visit Istanbul, Ephesis, Kusadasi Izmir and Bodrum. Then over to Rhodes, Santorini, Naxos, Athens and back to Istanbul in mid Sept to early Oct. We have 18 days. What is the best mode of transportation to each of these places. No large tour groups!
Question: Is there a special reason why you are going back to Istanbul?
That sounds like an awful amount of travel in a relativley short period of time--not much time to enjoy any of the places, lots of time spent on the move--nine places, after first stop in Istanbul, in 18 days.
I agree that you should fly open jaws ("multi city"), into Istanbul and out of Athens, to save both time and money. To find these flights, use the "multi city" option on http://www.kayak.com/flights or http://matrix.itasoftware.com/
For most of you destinations, you'll have to fly; furthermore some of your flights will require connections. So, I agree that with only 18 days, you should cut down your number of destinations.
Some details of getting around Turkey are on the invaluable Turkey Travel Planner: http://www.turkeytravelplanner.com/trans/index.html
We already have a round trip flight to Istanbul that we have to use. We were thinking of staying in Bodrum a few days and taking day trips (Ephesis, Kusadasi, Izmir). The problem is getting to Rhodes or Santorini.
"The problem is getting to Rhodes or Santorini."
Yes it is. While Greece and Turkey are adjacent, they don't have good links between the smaller cities/islands.
To investigate flights, try Skyscanner: http://www.skyscanner.com/.
Getting to Rhodes from Turkey is easy. We took the ferry from Fethiye to Rhodes and then returned to Turkey by ferry to Marmaris but we could also have gone to Bodrum. The real problem would be getting to Santorini and Naxos and returning to Turkey. We did not check the ferry schedule between these locations. It might be a problem as you are going between island groups and/or between countries. Flying might also be a problem as you might have to fly to Athens to fly into Santorini or Naxos. You can easily ferry between the two, but getting there and returning to/from Turkey might be an issue.
Hopefully someone with more experience can give you more information.
Sara, one problem with your plan is that it takes about 3 hours to get from Bodrum to Ephesus, and 4 hours to Izmir. So I would not think it is feasible to stay in Bodrum and day trip to these places.
Here's another way you could arrange this: From Istanbul (3 nights), fly to Izmir, and from Izmir take a bus to Selcuk (2 nights), near Ephesus. After visiting Ephesus, take a bus to Bodrum (2 nights). Ferry to Rhodes if possible from Bodrum, or bus to Marmaris and ferry to Rhodes (2 nights). Ferry to Santorini (3 nights) (caution: ferries from Santorini to Rhodes may only run M-W-F). Ferry to Naxos (3 nights), then ferry to Athens (2 nights), then fly to Istanbul (1 night). Check skyscanner.com for flights. And for Greek ferries, check http://www.gtp.gr/
Marmaris Rhodes , Bodrum Kos, Datca Symi, Fethiye Rhodes Ferry Boat if want go santoni or another greece island call Turkish ferry or send message