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Turkey in October

Me and my wife are planning to go to Turkey in the beginning of October. We are planning to visit the following cities in the sequence they are listed :

Istanbul - 3 days (4 nights)
Konya - 1 day (1 night)
Cappadocia- 2 days (3 nights)
Ephesus - 2 days (staying 1 night in Izmir and 2 nights in Ephesus)

We are both retired. We don't want to rush. I have the following questions:
1. Is the sequence of cities appropriate?
2. Have we allocated enough time for each city. (I understand time depends on what we want to see)
3. What's the best means of travelling between these cities?
4. Where and how to buy the tickets for museums, transportation etc. online?
5. Is beginning of October a good time to visit these cities?
6. Do we need tourist visa?
7. Good reasonably priced hotels in these cities?

Any additional information will be greatly appreciated.
Thank You

Posted by
12360 posts

I will answer the easy one. You can get the visa on line for about $25.

Posted by
6712 posts

Istanbul is a megacity (13 million or more, very dense) - you can't do it justice in 3 days, especially if that is your entry point to Turkey. You will be jetlagged when you get in so the first day (or maybe more) will be a haze. I would give it at least 5 days if not more. I don't think you have enough days for all you want to do, even in a rushed way. If you're retired, is there any way you can make your trip more like two weeks (14 full days)? I recommend getting the Lonely Planet book for planning purposes, unless Rick Steves has one. His Istanbul book is good.

Posted by
21190 posts

..... Good reasonably priced hotels in these cities?..... Start with good guide books. However, most probably will be out of date because of the pandemic and you might not know who survived. Start hitting booking services and web sites. You might have to revert to the prior internet days when you hit the local TI for housing information on arrival.

Best means of travel between cities in Turkey will probably be bus. I would not worry about those tickets in advance. Buy them when you need them.

Good luck, you have planned an ambitious trip but it should be fun. What you miss this time you can save for the next visit.

Posted by
12360 posts

Turkey never did a hard lock down and has received a lot of tourists, so i suspect most hotels have survived. I generally use all of the booking services (Hotels.com, etc) to locate what is out there and the general cost. Then if the cost is about the same I book direct with the hotel. If they are closed, I doubt they will be taking reservations. I actually checked on some hotels in Istanbul about 30 days ago and was pleasantly surprised with the prices. Where I have stayed in the past and where I am thinking about staying in May is Sura Hagia Sophia Hotel. Great location, beautiful location and well priced.

And your route can be done by flights. That would be my choice. Otherwise you are talking 5 to 8 hour drive times.

Posted by
7466 posts

Looking at a map leads me to believe a more efficient routing would be:

Istanbul- Cappadocia ( fly)

Cappadocia- Konya ( bus)

Konya- Ephesus ( fly)

You do realize you have 3 days that are devoted to major moves and will restrict in a significant way, doing any major 'tourist stuff' on those days.

If you "do not want to rush", more days would be advisable

Posted by
416 posts

I think you need a few more days for Istanbul. There is a lot to see there.
I have a trip to Turkey in 2 weeks and I found that booking directly with the hotel got me the best rates/rooms and even a "free" airport transfer. I checked booking.com for photos, reviews and availability and then checked the hotel actual website.
I am staying at the Darussaade for this trip for 11 nights and the rate was quite reasonable.
Other hotels I can recommend are Sari Konak, Aren Suites and the Divalis (if stairs are not an issue), but there are many more hotels to choose from that would meet your needs/budget.
You can get an evisa online and I believe the price has increased to $50.00.

I plan to buy tickets to the museums etc. as needed once I am in Istanbul. This is my third visit so I am somewhat familiar with how things work, and also want to wait and see what the covid protocols are when/if I go.

Have fun planning.

Posted by
2 posts

Iam leaving Oct 2 for Istanbul also. Iam staying at the Vogue Hotel and then flying to Cappadocia.

Posted by
56 posts

Hi SelectiveJeff,
I spent three weeks free spiriting around Turkey this past November on a solo jaunt. I spent my first 3 days in Istanbul, flew to Cappadocia, flew to Antalya, decided to nix my Izmir/Ephesus plan as they had just had the earthquake and pivoted to Pammukale/dDenizli by bus then flew back to Istanbul for my last 4 days. I think you might be a little light on the days for Istanbul specially if you’re working through jet lag.
I booked my intra-Turkey flights just a day or two ahead of departure as I love serendipitous travel. I think my most expensive flight was 30 dollars. When looking for flights to Cappadocia check both Nevsehir and Kayseri airports. I stayed at Stone House Cave Hotel in Goreme which was right in town and walking distance to the open air museum. I booked direct. They arranged R/T airport shuttle service, the full day “Green” tour and a hot air ballon ride easy peasy for a great rate. I had a huge room with a view and nice breakfast for about $45/night. Eat at the Pumpkin Goreme restaurant.
What puts Konya on your travel itinerary? Is it the whirling dervishes and studying up on Rumi? Yeah that was on my bucket list too. I was able to satisfy that wish right in Istanbul by going to Hodjapasha . I really enjoyed it and it didn’t gobble up travel time. For a one night stand, Konya adds a lot of travel time on a bus and plane to your itinerary that might be better served elsewhere. By the way, buses are very nice there with plush seats, in seat entertainment and even a bus attendant that brings you drinks and snacks.

In Istanbul, I stayed at Hotel Amira right in the shadow of the Blue Mosque and would highly recommend it. Their breakfast was outstanding and included a local woman making gozleme to order on a traditional flat iron grill. I think was referred by another person on this forum to them. My intent was to stay on the Asian side when I returned to Istanbul for my last few nights but had such a wonderful experience at Hotel Amira, I came back to them. I’m glad I did. They upgraded me to a suite with private balcony overlooking the Sea of Marmara. at no charge. Then when they realized I had just had my birthday a few days prior (from my passport at check in, I assume) the staff sent up a glass of wine, strawberries with chocolate fondue, nuts and a hand written note wishing me a happy birthday. All of that for less than $100/night.

You can buy several different museum passes depending on areas of Turkey/length of stay but I skipped buying one. I didn’t encounter any lines when I was there. I did buy the Istanbul card for public transit and loaded it with money whenever I needed to. It’s super easy and convenient to use. (Same with the Antalya transit card). CityMapper is a great app to navigate in Istanbul with. Elsewhere, I would recommend the Moovit app to negotiate public transit with. Google maps is totally lame there for public transit. Also consider downloading WhatsApp for texting and phone calling there. You’ll find everyone uses it for phone calls there instead of their cell coverage because of cost.

Finally, I would really recommend the YouTube channel “Bery Istanbul Tips” for great information. If you like to play in the kitchen like I do, “Refika’s Kitchen” is another winner.
If you need a “return to the USA” Covid test, they can be had easily and conveniently for around $35 arranged and taken at your hotel with quick turn around time.

Have a wonderful trip and enjoy! Drink the tea, smoke the hookah and listen to the call to prayer. Best wishes, ObjectivelyLori.