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Turkey 2020

Good day

We are planning a trip to Turkey for 2020 and I was just wondering about the following:

We want to visit Cappadocia but I am not sure how to work it into our itinerary, what would you suggest and would you rather leave one of the below places out:

Istanbul
Canakkale,
Izmar,
Kusadasi,
Bodrum.

How long will you spend in each place to see the main attractions?

We were thinking of renting a car and driving from Istanbul to the places listed above and then leave the car in Bodrum and flying back to Istanbul to fly back to our country.
So I was thinking of maybe spending a few days in Istanbul then fly to Cappadocia for 2 days and then flying back to Istanbul to get the rental car and start with the driving to Canakkale which is not that far to drive?

Then what area would you suggest we stay in Istanbul, we want to be close to the main attractions.
Thanks!!

Posted by
13891 posts

You haven't given enough information to answer your questions well. How long is your trip? What month of the year? What are your interests? To have 2 full days in Cappadocia means 3 nights there and using about 1/2 day to get there and another 1/2 day to go to ???

Posted by
22 posts

Hi - we will probably go for about 9 / 10 days. We were thinking of end April / mid May. We like seeing ruins and historic stuff (also sea).
Will you then recommend flying to Cappadocia midday and doing the hot air balloon the next morning, spending the night and flying back to Istanbul the following day? So in total 2 nights.

Posted by
680 posts

I loved my balloon ride over Cappodocia. However, it wouldn't be worth it in my opinion if it included 2 commercial airline flights in 3 days. If were me, I would chose 2 of the destinations on your list and leave the rest for another trip.
Have a great time!

Posted by
1802 posts

There’s always a chance that bad weather will ground your hot air balloon flight. So if you’re going all the way to Cappadocia specifically for that flight, you should probably allow a minimum of 3 nights there. So you may want to skip it this trip?

An alternative itinerary might be 3-4 nights in Istanbul, fly to Izmir, rent car, visit Ephesus, drive to Bodrum or Dalyan, then fly back to Istanbul and home.

Posted by
5017 posts

I'm currently planning a trip to Turkey for march 2020. We will have 2 weeks (actually 13 full days, not including travel in and out). I'm planning 3 (maybe 4) nights in Cappadocia. We fly into Istanbul, then we are going to fly onward to Izmir, and start our trip there. I plan to rent a car in Izmir and work our way south and east, in an arc more or less along the coast (though hitting the inland sites along the way). We will drop the car in Antalya, and then fly to Cappadocia. After 3 (maybe 4) nights there in Cappadocia, we will fly to Istanbul for 4 nights at the end of the trip, before flying home.

It quickly became clear to me that there are simply too many places to stop and see. We won't be able to get to them all, and that's OK, we will have to return.

Of the places on your list, I'd give Bodrum a pass. I'd also question the relative appeal of Canakkale (we are going to push on from Istanbul to Izmir by air upon arrival, assuming that day we will be too tired to do much sightseeing, so we will skip Canakkale; our trip will begin the following day in Izmir).

I am concerned that there are many places along the coast that are suffering from overtourism, like Spain's Costa del Sol (aka the Costa del Tourismo). I'm sure Bodrum would have be ideal 25 years ago (like much of this coast which is now so popular); I'm not so sure about it now (I'm sure there are plenty of other places along the coast that are equally over-touristed, not just Bodrum). Since we are going in March, I'm hoping and expecting that at least in these sun-and-sea holiday spots, we will be there ahead of the busy season (fingers crossed). Alas, it seems that the busy season in Cappadocia runs from 1 January to 31 December, so there's no escaping the crowds there.

Posted by
22 posts

Hi David

Thanks for the info. How long do you think one should spend in Antalya?

I see that there are day trips from Izmir to Ephesus so then we can skip going to Kusadasi.
We can then fly from Izmir to Antalya (its a bit of a drive 407km).
Spend a few days there and then fly to Cappadocia en then Istanbul.
So then it would be 4 places we see both country in sea :-)

Posted by
22 posts

Hi Charlene

Thanks for the reply. Turkey has so much to offer that we want to try work in as much as possible.
Are there a lot of things to do in Cappadocia making it worth while of going there for 3 days?

Thanks,

Posted by
1802 posts

Natasha - there is plenty to do if you stay in Cappadocia for 3 nights (which is actually just 2 full days). We did our trip in the opposite direction from yours, flying from Istanbul to Kayseri, where a shuttle from our hotel (the Kelebek) met us and brought us to Goreme. It was a great hotel with a pool and spectacular views of the fairy chimneys in Goreme. We arranged our hot air balloon flight through them, with Butterfly Balloons. After the balloon flight they took us to a nearby farm for an “organic breakfast”. We spent the rest of that day at the Open Air Museum, with more than 30 churches carved from the soft rock. The next day we took a tour through the surrounding area, again arranged through the hotel.

Then we flew to Antalya but did not stay there. We left immediately on a bus to Patara, a tiny seaside town with an amazing beach, some great ruins and one of our all time favorite hotels, Akay Pension. Not luxurious like the Kelebek, but this basic little (very inexpensive) hotel had the kindest owner we ever met. They cooked a meal every night for hotel guests; at breakfast they’d tell you the menu & ask if you wanted to eat with them. It was absolutely the best food we had in Turkey. From Patara we made day trips to Saklikent Gorge and the sunken city of Kekova. We did not have a car — used the frequent buses.

From Patara we went north to Dalyan, a lovely little touristy town — lots of Brits here. Our hotel, the Kilim, was lovely and had a private dock out back with great views of the Lycian tombs carved into the cliffs across the river. We took a fun river cruise one day ending at the mud baths. At Itzuzu beach in Dalyan they have a sea turtle hospital which we found fascinating.

From Dalyan we went to Datca, another pretty little town. Our goal here was to see the ruins at Knidos. From Datca we took a bus to Marmaris and then a ferry to Rhodes, Greece. I think if you could drive from Ephesus down the coast, as David plans, rather than flying to Antalya, you would really enjoy visiting these little places along the way. We were there in early September 2013 and saw no crowds anywhere.

Posted by
41 posts

The neighbourhood that contains the largest number of "must see" locations is Sultanamet. Read postings about this part of Istanbul. Buy the RS book about Turkey. Two full days, three if possible, are minimum needed. Everything is within walking distance. Lots of hotels are located here. Because of so much to see, it has become a touristic centre. That also makes it easy for non-Turkish speakers to enjoy.
For airflight caution, be in Istanbul the day before departure.
Does Cannakale attract you for Troy or Gallipoli or both? I would not rent a car, There are many one or two day bus or private car excursions from Istanbul.
Because of your short time of 11 days, fly as much as possible. You mentioned one 407 mile distance; but those are not Interstate highways. That distance could be 8-12 hours of driving. Consider dropping one or two places in order to spend time enjoying places and people rather than the interior of vehicles. Your time is more valuable than sitting in a car.

If you had 21 days or longer, my comments would be different.
An excellent source of information is Youtube. Watch 10-20 hours of videos covering the places you mentioned and you will have the basis to make well-informed decisions. And read all the postings on this RS Turkey list for the last two or more years. Invest time now in order to maximize the benefit of every hour in Turkey.
Have a wonderful trip! Harvey