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Troy - Please help work this out


The airline cancelled my flight with last minute notice and now I am having to re-plan my entire trip right before having to leave - could someone help by commenting on getting to Troy and around?

I'm leaving Istanbul - I was supposed to fly out early in the day to Canakkale, pick up a car, and then easily drive to Troy, and onto the next destination in one day. Now that flight is gone and my options are:

  • self- drive and ferry through Eceabet
  • self-drive and ferry through Bandirma
  • possible helicopter day trip or transfer to Canakkale (and pick up car there)
  • late night flight to Canakkale - arrive at 1 am in Canakkale and overnight there

The last option is not great because I lose a day waiting around for the late night flight.

Self-drive takes so long - 5 hours just to fit in Troy although I very much want to go.

I'm starting in Istanbul, doing a self-drive trip that involves Pergamon, Ephesus, Pammukale and other areas (hopefully some nice village) - this will take 2-3 days I hope and then I will transfer by plane to the Cappadocia area before returning to Istanbul.

Any help would be super - there must be a better way to get to Troy, but I do not want to do a group tour.

With thanks!

Posted by
3287 posts

Do yourself a favor and skip Troy, especially because it would take so much of your time to get there. It might just be the most disappointing visit I've ever made in 30 years of foreign travel. This is from one who is heavily into ancient history and archaeological sites. All the levels look pretty much the same; remnants of rough walls made from rocks. There is the (tacky) modern addition of a Trojan Horse. (No joke!)

Posted by
1078 posts

Agree with the above-it's a waste of time to go there. It was part of the tour we took last year, and really was a wasted day to walk through the site which is nothing but several mounds of dirt and a visitors center with a "Trojan Horse" you can climb into.

Posted by
31 posts

I've read many posters comments and this seems to be the consensus but after studying Homer for so long and having Troy on my mind I've wanted very much to go. But trying to work out this leg of the trip has delayed everything else. If Troy were more accessible (e.g. an hour long morning flight rather than a three or four hour flight arriving after midnight) I would go for certain.

You both have similar comments - do you have any suggestions as to how I might start and carry out my trip, if I begin in e.g. Pergamon instead of Troy, and end in either the Mediterranean or Cappadocia before heading back to Istanbul?

I've another post here looking for intinerary advice - I'll have 7 or 8 nights to spare (Istanbul is already covered so is not included in that time). At first I wanted to cover the ruins in the west (e.g. Ephesus, etc.) and then head to Demre, Patara, Myra, Faralya and the beaches, Olympus etc. before going to Cappodocia, and then back to Istanbul. But once I saw the distances I realized this wouldn't work. I'm thinking I should ask your advice since you both are experienced (and I detect an interest in history etc.).

On a first and perhaps only visit to Turkey, what would be your must sees in this time period, and would you chose the Mediteranean or Cappadocia? My fascination with Nicholas led me to read about the Mediterranean, while my interest in landscapes and scenery (photography) led me to Cappadocia (which seems wildly popular).

I'm looking for something authentic and am not into the grandiose resort-type experiences one finds everywhere.

Any further comments would be great!

Many thanks!

Posted by
3287 posts

You probably haven't considered Ankara - - we wouldn't have, except that it was part of our tour - - ; but the Museum of Anatolian Civilizations there is absolutely outstanding. Among other things, it has 8000 year old artifacts, including frescos, from from Catalhoyuk and a reconstruction of a typical house. If it can fit into your itinerary, I highly recommend it.

Posted by
31 posts

I've heard of this museum - it receives great accolades - but I'm trying to avoid large centres (except Istanbul) - something scenic and a little quieter would be super. The city does look amazing though - I've seen photos which show a great skyline.

Posted by
60 posts

Why don't you approach this from the other way around?Start with a day or two in Istanbul to get over your jetlag and then fly to either Kayseri or Nevşehir for Cappadocia.
You can pick up a hire car there and drive down to Antalya and along the south coast.Or you can take an overnight bus to Antalya and pick up the hire car there.
You can cover Cappadocia's main must see's in 2 days if well planned.You can cover a few sites around Olympos,Demre,Kas and Fethiye in 3 days again if well planned.
From Fethiye head up to Pamukkale(4 hours drive),if you have time fit in Aphrodisias on the way to Selçuk Ephesus(3 hour drive plus say,3 hours for the site).
From there drive to Bergama(2½ hours)probably stay overnight there or go onto to Assos Behramkale for the night,(45 minutes further along)and then continue up to Troy c.4 hours north the next day.
As you aren't interested in Çanakkale you can then drive from there to Bandırma(3 hours) to take the ferry over to Istanbul Yeni Kapı for the last 2-3 days there.
You may be able to return the car at the ferry terminal if you ask them.

Doing this route would probably work out better logistically for you than trying to see Troy first.
I must agree that Troy didn't ring my bells either but others I know who have visited have enjoyed it.Each to their own.

Posted by
31 posts

Thank you for this thoughtful plan - I had thought of this (many tours are organized this way) but hand't thought all the way through it as I preferred to keep Troy up front - it seems as though it is spectacularly underwhelming where Cappadocia, being the opposite, seemed like it would be a great end to the trip overall. So I keep trying to do Troy 1st - I've mapped up an itinerary and posted it here placing Troy at the beginning - would you be able to take a look at that? Also do you know what time the Bandirma ferry leaves to go back to Istanbul? Perhaps the time is more favourable than the 7 am departure from the city outward.

How rushed do you think this itinerary in your message would be?

Thanks again!

Posted by
31 posts

Some news - it works to fly into Balkiser airport and this saves time if going to Troy.

This would mean flying out to Balkiser, driving just under two hours to Troy, and then onto lodging in either Ayvalik or Assos. In the morning I would drive on to Pergamon, and then continue. Would this work out alright?

  • does Balkiser have a car rental, and automatics?
  • can someone confirm that Balkiser is 1:47 hours from Troy (and not 2:47 hours)?

This would cut down the driving a lot - it would have been nice to fly into Canakkale or even Chios as those are closer to Troy, but this may also work. Any comments?

I've tried Turkish air for this flight and Pegasus - are there any other reputable, safe and comfortable airlines that are recommended for domestic flights in the area?

Posted by
60 posts

Hmm,this is a possibility I guess.Pegasus have flights from SAW airport to Balıkesir at 06.00,08.00 and 18.45 taking 70 minutes.One point here(lets deal with the problems first!)SAW airport is w-a-y over on the far side of the Asian side of Istanbul so you need to allow c.2 hours to get there.The 06.00 one you'd get there quicker as the roads are still quiet but for the other two flights you'd start hitting heavy traffic,so do bear this in mind.I know getting up at silly o' clock for a 05.00 check in isn't funny and you'd be tired for then driving afterwards.So think about this carefully.

Now then to drive from the airport.Most of the major car hire companies have offices at the airport or close by.Auto shift are available here but are thin on the ground so perhaps look into that asap.
Rather than drive to Troy via Edremit it would be quicker to go cross country via Çan and Yenice to Çanakkale.This would cut out that big coastal corner.So you'd drive on the D230 as far as the turn off for (clearly marked) Çan on the D555.
At Çan you'd then join the D210 marked for Çanakkale.This will take you c.3 hours total.
Going the coastal route,it is c.90 minutes to Edremit and then another c.3 hours to just south of Çanakkale where Troy is located.

So yes,this is doable in principal but frankly you aren't going to make huge savings timewise.1 hour check in plus 70 minutes flight plus 3 hours drive.....just over 5 hours.The only plus is that those flights are dirt cheap so you make a saving there :) At least now you can make a decision what to do.

You asked earlier about your itinery and if it was doable /busy etc.I think you already know this is a pretty full on itinery,and I think there is going to be a point where you feel "ohh enough!".I do understand you are coming long haul,may not return and want to make the most of those expensive flight tickets but...there is a real danger here of turning this into a military march.
I know you have days set aside for Istanbul but this seems to leave you with c.7-8 days to see an awful lot of very spread out places.
Perhaps sit down and draw up a list of absolute priorities for YOU personally.Let's take Istanbul as a given and Troy too as this is very important to you.Now add to that 3 more places,just 3 and then lets see what they are and how they can be fitted in.

One other point...when are you planning on doing this trip?

Posted by
31 posts

What a wonderful reply - can it always be like this? Thanks for all the useful tips and the directions especially. Here is some information:

  • all flights (domestic) within Turkey are originating at SG airport - I sure wish I could fly from Ataturk but no matter what airline or destination I tried, I couldn't find a domestic flight leaving from there - if someone knows of a flight to the area around Troy that leaves from Ataturk please let me know.

  • I'm confused about the directions - when I type in Balikesir Edremit airport, the map shows a driving distance to Troy of 1:47 hours - I hope there is no confusion about the flight location - if I don't type in "airport" and I just type in Balikesir, google maps takes me somewhere else and the distance is 2:47, a lot longer.

  • for a trip length 1:47 from Balikesir Edremit airport to Troy/Troia - the directions are to take the D550 to the E87, go through Edremit, Akcay, Ayvacik, and Ezine to Troy. Going to Canakkale would take me well past Troy. I'm not sure why I would go to Canakkale if I'm flying into Balikesir - could you clarify?

Here are my top two (Troy, Cappadocia) - and the third area - Aegean/West (Pergamon, Ephesus, Pammukale and the little areas in between like Selcuk, Sirince - I would be very happy to get to Alacati too). Here's what I'm thinking now that I've read your message:

  • Istanbul - arrive into Turkey early am, acclimatize, sightsee, Bosphorous Cruise - ON IST
  • next day - plans in Istanbul but no sightseeing unfortunately - ON IST

  • arrive Balikesir airport next day and pick up car by 9:30 am

  • drive to Troy - plan for 2 hours, non-stop, arrive 11:30 am

  • stay 1 ½ hours Troy - leave approx. 1 pm - pass through Assos, then Aykalik en route to next stop

  • arrive Aykalik, Cunda Island, or other small town/village to overnight (any suggestions for somewhere extra nice, and quiet with traditional Turkish village feel, scenery and some quiet)? - ON near Pergamon

  • next day - drive approx. one hour to Pergamon ruins, see Asklepion etc.

  • continue on to Pammukale and Heiropolis - proceed to overnight Selcuk or Sirince - **ON near Ephesus

  • next day visit Ephesus and the sites nearby, spent time in village - ON near Ephesus

  • morning drive to Alacati and spend time in the town/village - transfer to Izmir airport, drop off car, and fly to Nevsehir or Kayseri - time in Cappadocia for late afternoon tour, dinner ON Cappadocia*

  • full day sightseeing Cappadocia - ON Cappadocia

  • full day Cappadocia sightseeing - ON Cappadocia - transfer late in day by air to Istanbul - ** ON Istanbul**

  • next day spent day in Istanbul sightseeing - ON Istanbul

  • another day in Istanbul sightseeing - ON Istanbul

This gives:

  • 2 nights Istanbul at start (but only one day sightseeing)
  • 3 nights around W. Turkey (includes one night en route to Pergamon, and two closer to Ephesus)
  • 2 nights Cappadocia (will fly in and out of Cappodia to save time)
  • 3 nights Istanbul (allows two full days and evenings sightseeing)

Return home on international flight.

I'm hoping that I'll be able to see some of the beautiful towns and villages in the area too.

Could you please look at this new itinerary idea and see if it works?

Thank you again for your help.

Posted by
60 posts

Firstly the flight routes.Those to the northern Aegean area are short runs and so handled only from SAW airport.The higher cost(taxes) of aircraft operating from Istanbul Ataturk would make these very short –hop flights prohibitively expensive,hence they leave only from the cheaper SAW.
Secondly the route from Balıkesir airport.You have two options as I said;one coastal or one going northwest.You can’t do a central route…because it is a stonking big mountain range!But the latter route is shorter than the coastal one.Troy is only c.20-25 minutes south of Çanakkale so it really isn’t a big deal for you and still quicker than going via Edremit>Assos etc.,.I gave you an estimate of 3 hours but that depends on how confident you are in a car,you may do it quicker(Turkish driver style!).
You didn’t mention when you are coming but I assume imminently and so do remember that it is dark now by you need to be wary of leaving driving until after dark;don’t do it any more than you need to.And when doing so be aware of unlit vehicles,bikes,tractors and various animals who may well wander on to the roads.(here is Turkey LOL)
So after seeing Troy yes,you should be able to get down to Assos comfortably and rest up.The village is actually called Behramkale and I cannot recommend this slice of Heaven highly enough.Utterly sweet.This will put you 45-50 minutes from Bergama the next morning.
The two extensive sites there will take you c.5 hours to cover so you could either stay there or move on to Ayvalık,another very nice place.You mention Cunda which is a wonderful hidden secret but unfortunately you really don’t have the time to mess around going too far off track.As it is you are going to be spending far too long behind a wheel for my taste.Be content with lovely Ayvalık :)
It would be very difficult to leave Bergama and go to Pamukkale as this is a c.5 hour drive,hence stay in Ayvalık and set off next day to Selçuk instead.You can make this a base for a couple of days using a day for Ephesus and around the town and then another day trip by car to Aphrodisias and Pamukkale.A long but doable day.As to Şirince…meh,cute houses but a bit too touristy and Disney like.Selçuk is the real deal.If you really have an hour to spare after seeing all that Selçuk has to offer then okay fine go to Şirince too.Don't miss the superb Ephesus Museum in Selçuk.
Sorry to say that you really need to skip Alaçatı too ,like Cunda it is just a bit too far off your already very tight route.Perhaps you may have time to make a flying visit depending on flight times to Kayseri but if it comes to a choice between Alaçatı or extra time in Cappadocia then choose the extra time there,it is just so unique.

Using Selçuk as your base means you can then hand back the car at nearby Izmir airport and fly from there direct to Kayseri with either Sunexpress or Pegasus airlines.Do try to work your days to allow for this otherwise you’ll need to go via Istanbul which can be expensive and involve long connection times too.
Have you thought about where to stay in Cappadocia?Göreme is centrally located for all parts fo the region,some say it is a bit touristy…yes,I guess it is a bit but…there is a very good reason for that;it is one of the most visually stunning villages and is set up for 12 month tourism with very good infrastructure.
I guess you could pick up another hire car at the airport which would give you freedom to stay in any village,so you could look at Urgüp,Mustafapaşa,Uçhisar all of which are very nice but rather quieter than Göreme.
Your time around the northern Aegean area is a bit of a scramble as you probably realise but after that the rest is fine.Where you have the choice do try to fly mid evenings to use otherwise’dead time’and keep daylight hours as free as possible.
I know initially you said you may never get back to Turkey but I think once you’ve had a small taste then like Arni…’ll be back!

Posted by
31 posts

Hi sarikanarya -

Just reading your post reply again as it is so full of helpful information and I notice your estimate of 5 hours Pergamon to Pammukale. Do you see any options for dropping the car off after Pergamon (at an airport) and flying to the Pammukale area to pick up another vehicle for three days there and around Ephesus?

Another idea, what about driving to Izmir and dropping the car after Pergamon (how far is it to drive Pergamon to Izmir and is this doable after Troy)? From Izmir, I could hopefully reach out to Ephesus one day, and on another Pammakule and Aphrodisias?

Or dropping the car in Bergama and flying from somewhere very nearby, to the Pammukale airport (if there is one nearby)?

What I would really like is to stay in Alacati - would this work as a base with a little extra driving?

How do most people visit Pammukale anyways since it is so far off the beaten path?

Also I''m getting 3 hour drive from Ephesus to Izmir, and also 50 min. drive from Ephesus to Izmir. Which is the correct drive time?

The Balikesir flight route is not the greatest option - however, it would land me in Troy ½ to a full day earlier than the Canakkale option so this is making it tough to make the choice - I appreciate your emails though and look forward to them as you are helping not only with my plans but also with my learning about Turkey and the various areas of the western part of the nation.

Thank you again for helping out!

Posted by
60 posts

5 hours is a reasonable estimate assuming there are no hold ups like traffic or road works.But your nearest airport after Bergama would be Balıkesir(with very limited flights and only to Istanbul)or Izmir.From Bergama you are only 90 minutes from Izmir so why go all the way back to Balıkesir?-a retro move :)
If you return the car at Izmir (which yes, is possible)how would you get to Alaçatı or Selçuk Ephesus?Why not just hang on to the car and hand it back before you go to Cappadocia.

From Bergama it will take you c.2½ hours to drive to Alaçatı where you could stay overnight,take a look around the village next morning and then leave c.noon-ish and drive to Selçuk Ephesus and visit the site in the afternoon..
There you can stay 2 nights using one of the days to visit Pamukkale.
BTW,most people visit there either as day trips from Selçuk by bus,train or car or they stop off there on the way to or from Selçuk and Cappadocia using the overnight bus.
From Alaçatı it isn't a long drive as you don't need to enter Izmir city centre.take the E881 as far as the Buca intersection and the follow the signs for Ephesus on the E87 direct into Selçuk.This will take you c.2 hours or very slightly more.From Buca intersection it is 45 minutes to Selçuk that's all.

There is an airport in Denizli,Çardak Airport but this is outside the city,90 minutes from Pamukkale and ,like Balıkesir airport handles only limited flights just to and from Istanbul.This is true for most of the smaller regional airports here;that they work on a radius route from either Istanbul or Ankara.Small regional to small regional direct flights are negligible I'm afraid.
So I'd stick to the coast route and then see Pamukkale as a day visit from Selçuk.

You know what?I hate my posts to you as all I seem to say is no,no,no,no to all your idea's.I worry this is dimming your enthusiasm!That isn't my intention trust me, but I am trying to be realistic in what is doable and practical and what would leave you with a frantic and unsatisfying visit.Like others I'd have said drop Troy but have worked in it because I understand this is important for you ,as is Alaçatı (despite that it will be rather end of season-ish there).So apologies for the no,no,no's but this is the reality check haa haa haa.
You are not going to be able to lose all the one nighters either because you have large distances between places plus need to factor in viewing time remember.But at least I've given you 2 nights in Selçuk :)

Where did you get 3 hours for Izmir to Ephesus??It is only 60 minıutes into the city heart!It is however 3 hours from Selçuk to Pamukkale,so you need to be off bright and early that morning.

Although it is probably sacrelige to say so I guess you could knock a day off Istanbul to free up time for the Aegean or knock a day off Cappadocia......But ultimately you really need to accept that to see the things which are very important to you means having to sacrifice some others and that however you do this section is going to mean a fair amount of time behind a wheel.

Also ,just to back track,take another look at the very first itinery I suggested-the one with Troy at the end.Logisitically this worked out very well as you know and if Troy is important to you then you should have no fear of being disappointed in the site.I'm sure you've seen enough photographs online to know this is not a complete site like say,Ephesus, and so are prepared for this.When I gave you that I wrote it thinking that if this was my trip that's how I'd do it,(but I aren't recommending it just for that reason!) but because the logistics offer the most relaxed option in the time available.

Posted by
31 posts

Hi again - you are kind to reply in such detail so no worries about no-no-nos" - I haven't been left with that impression by your emails anyways.

The good news is I've been able to add two nights to my trip : ) And I spotted some accommodations.

How does this look? I've tried to incorporate your suggestions:

DAY 1 - leave Istanbul, fly to Balikesir and arrive late afternoon, pick up car - drive to Assos to overnight (1 night)
DAY 2 - in am, check out Temple Athena and main road, drive to Troy for site tour, back in car around 1 pm and drive through Ayvalik to get to Pergamon, Asklepion, then head to Selcuk/Sirince from there - overnight (3 nights)
DAY 3 - from this "base" on the 1st full day see Pammukale and the Hieropolis, Aphrodisias
DAY 4 - on the 2nd full day from this base, taken in Epheus and surrounding sites
DAY 5 - up this day and take the coastal drive to Alacati and spend the day - overnight here (1 night)
DAY 6 - up to transfer to Cappodocia via Izmir- sightseeing, etc. (2 nights)
DAY 7 - full day Cappadocia - up early to see balloons then sightseeing
DAY 8 - early sunrise balloon ride then check out and visit villages then to airport and overnight Istanbul (3 nights)
DAY 9 - Istanbul sightseeing and overnight again Istanbul
DAY 10 - another full day sightseeing in Istanbul - overnight again
DAY 11 - up in the morning, transfer to airport home

There are a lot of different stops to overnight but this should cut the driving down. What do you think?

Also do you recommend two nights in Selcuk/Sirence and two in Alacati?

Or do you think it would be better to do 3 S/S and 1 in Alacati before going to Izmir airport.

For Cappadocia, where do you think extra time is better spent? I'm wondering how early I should fly out of Cappodocia to get to Istanbul. Your advice would be super.


As an option - I could drive straight from Ephesus to Alacati and spend two nights near Ephesus in Sirince/Selcuk, and then another two in Alacati - the way it's set up above, I'm in Sirince/Selcuk for three nights, Alacati one.

Selcuk - on Selcuk check out the town - there and in Sirince if time permits (5 hours, whew!) - overnight here
- in am up

Posted by
31 posts

Just another note - does the above itinerary work much better than staying the whole time in Alacati?

Thank you again!

Posted by
31 posts

Also I'll keep the car in Pergamon and return it only before flying onto Kayseri from Izmir.

Does it matter if Alacati is placed before the Ephesus visit (as in your note above) or if it is place just before I travel to Izmir to catch the plane that goes to Kayseri and Cappodocia?

Thanks again!

Posted by
60 posts

I am very pleased to read you’ve found some extra time,that’ll be good for you.
Just looking through your itinery now…
Day 1 is okay,pity to break up daytime hours with transit but unavoidable I know.You should reach Assos mostly in daylight maybe just the final 45 minutes in the dark.
Day 2….ah you plan to hire a helicopter today I see :) This is not doable.Okay ,allow a quick half an hour at Assos.Although knowing you want unspoilt villages I think Behramkale will keep hold of you for longer!Then a couple of hours drive up to Troy,visit the site…I’d be surprised to see you out of there much before 14.00,likely nearer to 15.00.You have busted your buns to fit Troy in to your itinery!Do you really only want to spend an hour there after all this???You then have a 4 hour run down to Bergama,arriving too late to visit the site.The Çanakkale to Izmir road is very busy so these times could be longer,do bear that in mind.You may be lucky and do the journies a bit quicker than these ,if so that’s a bonus ;o)

So stay the night at Bergama and visit next morning.Make it a (VERY) quick visit,maybe just a couple of hours in the most interesting sections and try to be on the road by noon-ish.You can then call in at Ayvalık just to see it and maybe have a late lunch there.Then continue down to Selçuk for the night.Ayvalık to Selçuk will take around 2 hours total.
So you’d then be at day 4.On that day visit Ephesus,the museum and any points of interest around town you have time to see before dark.
Day 5 for Pamukkale
Day 6 drive to Alaçatı and Çeşme for the day then return to the airport and return the car before flying to Kayseri.DO TRY TO GET AN EVENING FLIGHT. You cannot afford to waste daytime in transit,use early evening ‘deadtime’! I know the Ist.-Balıkesir is unavoidable but from Izmir there are evening flights.
After that day 7 and onwards are okay.
From both Nevşehir and Kayseri there are early evening flights into both Istanbul airports.See above comment about using ‘deadtime’ :)
I still don’t know when you are planning this trip and so I am sending you a private message with some additional questions,the answers to which I appreciate you may not wish to post on the open forum.