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Suggestions for "authentic" Turkey between Istanbul-Izmir

Portland, Oregon
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Suggestions for "authentic" Turkey between Istanbul-Izmir

Hello!

I know, the dreaded "authentic" label, but I'm basically just curious if anyone has a suggestion of a town/city that receives few foreigners and ideally might not even be in a guidebook! I have a few extra days in my preliminary itinerary so I'm hoping to find something intriguing.

Some background: Beginning of this July, traveling with my boyfriend on public transportation on a fairly limited budget, but we don't mind roughing it at all!

Ideally, it would be somewhat accessible along this route below, but suggestions to my itinerary as of now would also be very appreciated. Not too set on much-I'd really just like to get some sense of Turkey! Not so sure about Bozcaada, but thought an island might be fun and somewhat different. Thank you so much!

Day 1-Flight

Day 2-4, Istanbul

Day 5-Canakkale (Troy)

Day 6-7, Bozcaada

Day 8-9, Assos

Day 10-Bergama

Day 11, Selcuk

Day 12-Ephesus

Day 13-Some combo of Priene, Miletus, Didyma

Edited: 10 April 2011, 04:23
Kayakoy, Turkey
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1. Re: Suggestions for "authentic" Turkey between Istanbul-Izmir

Hello,

two quite nice places are Ayvalik and Foca on the coast, they have some tourism but it won't be crowded. Turkey is so beautiful that most places on the Aegean and Mediterranean do have people visiting.

I have not been on Bozcaada yet myself, but I have heard from several it is worth a visit.

Hope this helps, good luck!

Istanbul
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2. Re: Suggestions for "authentic" Turkey between Istanbul-Izmir

Hi ingallslake,

Welcome to Turkey. You have a great travel plan. My only suggestion is a side trip to Alacati and Cesme at the cesme Peninsula west of Izmir. Both Alacati and Cesme are very close to each other, mostly visited by locals, and they both are wonderful little towns. Alacati is world famous for wind surfing. There are regular dolmush services to Cesme from Izmir. Besides, from Cesme you can take the ferry and make a day trip to Greek island Chios. Here's more on Alacati and Cesme: "turkeytravelplanner.com/go/…alacati.html".

good luck,

enigma...

Sydney, Australia
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3. Re: Suggestions for "authentic" Turkey between Istanbul-Izmir

Hi, from Istanbul on land to Troy is apx. 6+ hrs inc. the Dardanelles crossing. Although Troy is one of the most important archaeological sites in the world, it is far from impressive unless you have some special interest in ancient history or have read The Iliad but even so there sin't much to picture here.

Instead of Troy what you can do is, take a ferry from Yenikapi (Istanbul) across the MarMAra Sea to Bursa. From here on you can visit; Cumalikizik, Iznik, Bursa which are all very close to each other.

Cumalikizik is as authentic as you can get, a charming village which has preserved it's architecture, culture & daily way of life since the early days of the Ottoman Empire.

Iznik is a small town famous for it's tiles which decorate many of the imperial mosques of Istanbul including the Blue Mosque www.iznik.com. Historically Iznik (Nicea) is home to 2 ecumenical councils in early Christianity of which the 4th century St. Sophia Cathedral still stands.

Bursa is a beautiful city with a lot to do & see; visit Uludag, Silk Bazaar, Ulu Cami, Yesil Turbe. Bursa is also famous for its natural hot springs where the water has therapuetic & healing powers. I would suggest Cekirge hamami (Osmangazi) from 14th century. If you stay 1 night in Bursa you will be able to see the above at a relaxed pace without too many tourists around.

Day 1 - Flight

Day 2- Istanbul

Day 3 Istanbul

Day 4 Istanbul

Day 5 Fast ferry from Yenikapi to Mudanya 1½ (Bursa) . From here on you can choose to visit Iznik, Bursa, Cumalizik

Day 6 From Bursa to Canakkale or Assos

I would suggest staying at Gokceada rather than Bozcada

Mudanya Bursa : 14 miles

Bursa Iznik : 45 miles

Bursa Cumalikizik : 8 miles

Bursa Canakkale : 186 miles

Bursa Assos : 227miles

istanbul
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4. Re: Suggestions for "authentic" Turkey between Istanbul-Izmir

re above post, No need to go all the way to Bursa and then backtrack to iznik. take the yalova rather than the Mudanya ferry, then the dolmus minibus (hourly) to iznik is only 40 kilometers. You may wish to stay in iznik, because there is almost no tourism, lots of sights to visit and great lake views, especially sunsets and a nice wednesday market.

Then, there is dolmus every 20 minutes to Bursa from iznik plus Narlica municipality buses. You can then follow Turk_Aussi's guidelines.

Cumalikizik is an overrated, somewhat restored old Ottoman village which has decent breakfast and brunch at some old houses converted to cafes-restaurants and also terrific freshly made raspberry juice. Dolmus will not be frequent there.

i agree about Troy that it is not worth the visit but Assos and Pergamon are good.

Alacati is inundated with upscale Turkish tourists and the hotels and restaurants which cater for them. Nice food, quaint boutique hotels but way over-priced. Cesme is more for those who not only cannot afford Alacati but probably would not know what to do there if they found themselves there by mistake. Lots of families and children and crowded. In between, there is "Ilica", both locationally and in terms of budget and clientelle. still crowded, but more with the younger set, except for the larger five star hotels.

However, you'll have enough of local towns with Iznik and Pergamon, both of which are great.

Colonial Heights, VA
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5. Re: Suggestions for "authentic" Turkey between Istanbul-Izmir

Hi there,

You have a good itinerary. As mentioned above, you can take the ferry from Istanbul to either destinations. What I recommend you is a half-day visit to Bergama to see some ancient settlements, and then bound for Foca for the rest of the day & night. Make sure that you stay in "Old Foca" rather than "New Foca".

You have to have one stop in Izmir. As far as I remember, there is no direct tpt line to Selcuk. By the way, when layovered, you can change your destination to the west to Cesme and visit Greek Island, Kios. You also can head to Selcuk through Cesme. If you don't want to stop by Cesme, you might adjust your itinerary as below:

Day 11: Ephesus+Selcuk

Day 12: Kusadası (20-30 minutes to Selcuk)

Day 13: Combo as planned.

Enjor your vacation. Dial 155 or 156 similar to 911, just in case.

istanbul
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6. Re: Suggestions for "authentic" Turkey between Istanbul-Izmir

Just one more to thing to add:

By the time you get close to the end of your itinerary you will have seen enough ruins but a scenic old operational village built on some ruins with a nice lake view and a potential hike to a neolithic or earlier age cave in the mountains behind can be bore interesting than priene, miletus and Didyma all three of which are at separate locations and would take too long to reach.

So, I recommend herakleia on lake Bafa, or Kapikiri village. It is some kilometers from the main highway between Kusadasi or Soke and Milas or Bodrum, off a side road at the village of Bafa and signposted. I do not know how frequent the dolmus is to Kapikiri, but there is a cafe at the corner, possibly owned by someone called Abdullah. He will know, and you can wait for the dolmus there.

Portland, Oregon
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7. Re: Suggestions for "authentic" Turkey between Istanbul-Izmir

Thank you SO much everyone for your suggestions! While we are doing the coast "crawl," I really want to avoid resorts and the like. I was pondering going to Bursa and the environs, so I'm so glad to hear it's recommended-and Kapikir sounds great! I'm also glad I have confirmation from everyone that Troy is not worth it so I can convince my travel partner!

Turk_Aussie, is there a reason you suggest Gokceada over Bozcaada? I'm not even that sure we need to visit an island, but if it would be worth the time, I'm all for it!

Also, does anyone have a lead for how to get from Bursa to Assos? Sounds like I should just skip Canakkale altogether. I'm sure it's very straightforward, given that Bursa is a big city, but I'm having trouble finding anything in guidebooks. Bursa to Ayvacik, I'm assuming, but how? Just a bus?

Finally, does anyone have any thoughts on Tire? It was recommended to me by someone but I'm not sure how tourist-ridden it may be (the less the merrier, of course).

Thanks so much again for all your thoughts!

Colonial Heights, VA
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8. Re: Suggestions for "authentic" Turkey between Istanbul-Izmir

Tire is a small town famous with deli, esp. with " Tire kabob and spicy meatballs". If you wanna get to know country life&people, good opportunity on your way to Selcuk. But, if I were you, I would stop by "Sirince" instead of Tire, sip some locally produced fruit wines ranging from raspberry and apricot to sour cherry, strawberry, and mulberry. Enjoy :)

FYI:

virtualtourist.com/travel/Middle_East/Turkey…

Sydney, Australia
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9. Re: Suggestions for "authentic" Turkey between Istanbul-Izmir

You can find buses from Bursa to Canakkale throughout the day. As for Assos maybe not so frequent but you can go to Canakkale & catch a bus heading south which will drop you off at Ayvacik. If you do stay in Bursa ask your hotel reception for assistance & prebook your ticket for the next day.

Gokceada (Imbros) & Bozcaada have been inhabited mostly by ethnic Greeks throughout history & although now the Greek community have become the minority (only by numbers, by law they are equal citizens) they have left a deep mark in the architecture, culture, daily life, cuisine & just about everything else on the islands. Since 1960's with the migration of Turks from the mainland to the islands, Gokceada & Bozcada have become a unique synthesis of Greek - Turkish lifestyle, food & culture, leisure & adventure, old & new.

Gokceada is apx. 8 times the size of Bozcada & is the most western tip of Turkey. I would choose Gokceada over Bozacada bc it has more to offer; traditional villages, churches mosques, fine restarurants, sandy beaches, olive trees 300 years old... it also has one of the cleanest seas, ideal for both swimming & diving. Although I haven't been to Bozcada if you do visit Gokceada I can suggest tasting the local wine with a meal where Greek appetizers share the table with traditional Turkish dishes, try home made coffee at a coffee house, if you are into windsurfing you must visit Kefalos beach, try the best natural thyme honey in the world here, buy of bottle of wine from Barba Yorgo in Tepekoy, stay at Kale Motel in Kalekoy.

an article in a Turkish paper: Gokceada

www.hurriyetdailynews.com/n.php…

Ottawa
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10. Re: Suggestions for "authentic" Turkey between Istanbul-Izmir

How set is your partner on seeing Troy? It was my husband’s one non-negotiable site in Troy and in the end was the highlight of his trip. He went in knowing what to expect – just the skeletons of a site – but being able to stand on the walls of Troy was enough for him. I also enjoyed Troy; we had the site almost to ourselves except for the squirrels. (Oddly, Troy was the only place in Turkey I saw squirrels.) However, I personally wouldn’t have made the effort if we hadn’t had a rental car. We based ourselves at Assos – which I loved, but would avoid on a weekend if possible – and Troy was just a little over an hour’s drive away. If your partner is set on Troy and you don’t have any interest in Gallipoli, you might check out the possibility of a tour from Assos. I met a friendly dolmuş driver who sometimes gave private tours, but unfortunately don’t have any contact information. These people might be able to help, though there web site seems terribly out of date: http://www.assos.de/1assos/index-1.html.

I adored Bergama (the owner of the Odyssey Guesthouse there had oodles of information on bus connections posted), was pleasantly surprised by Selçuk (not at all the tourist driven town I was expecting with an excellent Saturday market), and heartily recommend Kapikiri. We only stopped for a few hours on a day trip – it was too unrelentingly rural for my husband – but I would have loved to have stayed longer. We drove from Assos to Bergama by way of the Kozak Valley, a secluded valley studded with small villages and Mediterranean pines. I don’t imagine there is much local transport to the Kozak Valley – we picked up two old ladies who flagged us down and drove them, and the mushrooms they had been picking, back to Bergama. If you do decide to stay at the Odyssey (I loved it, but it’s very basic), you could contact Ersin (http://www.odysseyguesthouse.com/Welcome.html) to see if he knows of any transport to the valley.

Have a great trip!