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Travel strategy for Turkey?

TX
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Travel strategy for Turkey?

Hello,

This may not be the best forum for this question, but I am looking for baseline advice for a travel strategy. We have six weeks next May and June and would like to see some of Turkey and Greece. When we have traveled in other countries (such as France), we basically chose about 7 or 8 base locations and then took day trips (via car) to see the wonderful landscapes, architecture, and historical sites. This way we didn't change locations too often (which is tiring!), staying at least 4 days or more in each spot.

So here are my questions for the experts:

1. Is this a good strategy for traveling in Turkey?

2. Since we want to see some of Greece as well, the same question applies there. So if you're experienced with both countries, I would love to hear thoughts on that.

3. Also, do you think we should split the time equally between the two countries? (I know, this is a Turkey forum, but thoughts on this are welcome).

Just for some context, we love to experience new culture and see amazing historical locations, but we also enjoy the slower pace associated with visiting small towns and the countryside.

Thanks for any help!

Chicago
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1. Re: Travel strategy for Turkey?

Many visitors explore both Turkey & Greece on the same trip! You can reach Istanbul/Athens via flights between each country or you can hop on a ferry from either country to visit the other. In Turkey, flights are cheap and save a lot of time flying from point A to point B. In Greece, you can take the ferry island to island or to Athens.

What I would do is have you read a good guide book for both Turkey and for Greece, which will help you choose places to visit in each country. I used Lonely Planet and I read a lot about both countries. When I arrived to each country, I left Lonely Planet at home and brought DK Eyewitness for sights & places I decided to visit.

If you split your time evenly between Turkey & Greece, you'll spend more money in Greece because Euro is the currency there while the Turkish Lira is used in Turkey and Americans get a better exchange rate with the lira relative to the euro.

Mount Dora, Florida
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2. Re: Travel strategy for Turkey?

My husband and I also prefer to select several base locations and do day trips. I do not like to pack up my suitcase every morning. Six weeks is a very generous amount of time, and you should be able to enjoy many very different experiences in Turkey. On the list of things I would recommend would be Istanbul. Most people suggest a minimum of 5-6 days. We have been there for hundreds of days and still have many things we need to do and see. I would also visit a Black Sea resort; although it will probably still be too cold to enjoy the water.

After leaving Istanbul I would fly to Izmir and then take the shuttle to Selcuk. From here you can visit Ephesus and Pammukale. You need to plan on about four days for this experience. Enigma made this trip last year and he has a wonderful trip report which you should read before making this trip. Here is the URL tripadvisor.com/ShowTopic-g293974-i368-k5874…

If flights are available I would fly from Izmir to Cappadocia. This magnificent geological wonderland has enough diverse activities to keep you busy for a week. You really cannot even grasp the scope of everything in less than four days, and if you add on a couple of extra days you can do a long hike through one of the valleys, or select a horseback ride or a wagon to slowly absorb the scenery. This event can be exceptionally unique if you add a balloon ride at sunrise.

From Cappadocia I would go to Antalya. There are an enormous number of ruins in this area, along with lovely beaches and a fantastic little museum. You could certainly spend five days here and not become bored.

From Antalya I would go west along the coast. It is a splendid drive. You could stop at Cirali for a few days. Then you could move your base to Kas. You can take a very short ferry boat trip to a very tiny Greek island, which might get your passport ready for bigger expeditions in Greek later on in your vacation. You can arrange for a gulet cruise if this activity appeals to you. There are many interesting things you can explore in the general area of Kas. I would then move to Fethiye, actually I would base myself in Kaya Village because it is quaint and quiet and very close to some beautiful beaches. If you are still in the mood for more water you could make a final stop in Turkey at Bodrum.

Somewhere along this route there will be the opportunity to take a ferry to some of the larger Greek Islands, or you can return to Istanbul and fly to Athens.

Obviously, I would spend four of my weeks in Turkey and two in Greece. Turkey just is much larger with some very unique features you will not see anywhere else.

I also agree with Globe 2 when she points out that you will get more from your investment in Turkey where the USD is in a very favorable position to the TL, not something the USD enjoys against the Euro.

Vancouver, Canada
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3. Re: Travel strategy for Turkey?

Great advice from BR.

For a number of reasons ( very defnitely including the cost) would spend much more time in Turkey. Much more interesting, easy to get around in and way better bang for your buck.

I too think that Fethiye is great. Lots to see and do around there. I'd spend easily a week around there.

Take a trip out to Gemiler Island for amazing ruins.

Take a trip up to the ghost town of Kayakoy. Stunning.

One one of our stops there we stayed in HIsaronu.....a little inland at the Green Forest Hotel. A great little spot.

http://www.greenforestotel.net/eng/

It's fairly likely that you will leave southwestern Turkey to get over to Greece...likely to Rhodes. If you do, spend a day or 2 on Rhodes and then take a short ferry over to the stunning little island of Symi.

Edited: 28 September 2013, 10:10
TX
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4. Re: Travel strategy for Turkey?

Wow...thanks so much for the advice. I've been reading guidebooks on Turkey and Greece, and must admit I feel more overwhelmed by how much there is to see and do in these locations than I did when planning trips to Italy and France.

I have a couple more questions before I begin to put together a basic plan.

For weather and crowds, should we be planning to go to Turkey before Greece or should it be the other way around? Are there locations in Turkey that we should try to see earlier in the trip to avoid too much heat? We will arrive on May 13 and return home June 24th.

Should we plan to rent a car in Turkey? Or are busses and planes the best way to go?

Going with the ideas presented here, if we end our Turkey portion of the trip in the Southwest, would it be easy to get to Santorini? And then we could continue on to the rest of Greece.

Thanks for the help!

Vancouver, Canada
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5. Re: Travel strategy for Turkey?

Travel in July / August in Greece and Turkey is when it is really hot. May and June are fine.....warm but fine.

Getting to Santorini from soutwestern Turkey is complicated. You would need to get to a Dodocanese transport hub....that would be Rhodes. And then take a ferry to Santorini. Don't think there are any direct ferries....you would have to make some stops.

No need for a car in Turkey. Internal flights are cheap and coach travel is usually by Mercedes bus. LOcal travel is by dolmus.

Cirali / Antalya
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6. Re: Travel strategy for Turkey?

As Turkey is such a large area before I can offer any real help I think you have to tell me where about you are planning to visit...

have a look at the Turkey travel Planner web site for helpful ideas..

turkeytravelplanner.com/itin/…index.html

You certainly cannot see all of Turkey within the time frames of 2 -3 weeks but a glimspes of the wonderful areas.

You might want to consider 2 ways to travel. As for the amount of days it is up to you. One can easily spend 10 days just exploring the Antalya coastal areas ( Lycian coastline ) with the vast amount of historical and rural villages with lovely beaches..The entire coastline of Antalya ranging from the city of Antalya to Fethiye is a wonderful way to spend a vacation. And some with spendid beaches and historical areas. Here are some great places to visit south west from Antalya - Phaselis, Cirali, Myra, Kekova, Kas, Kalkan, Xanthos, Patara, Telmessos, Fethiye, Oludeniz, and Kayakoy.

A couple of places along the way from Antalya I recommend are Cirali, Kas, Ucagiz ( Kalekoy ), Patara and Kaya Koyu near Fethiye.

Çıralı is an agricultural village in the southwest of Turkey in Antalya Province. It is close to ancient ruins of Olympos and Chimaera permanent gas vents.

If you want to see a place were time has stood still in Turkey and experience what Turkey used to be like about 15 to 20 yrs ago before the influx of all-inclusive and package holidays of the last decade, then Cirali is the place for this..

Cirali is a great little village, nice clean beach and a mix of sand and pebbles, ruins of Olympos and the flames of "Chimaera" the world''s oldest and best-known natural "eternal flame".

No mass tourism or 5 star hotels. Just nice family own hotels and pansiyons. Small shops, quiet bars, restaurants, and no discos. It is more of a place for nature lovers and chilling out. It can be too quiet for some if you are looking for more in the way of and actiive nightlife..

Cirali is centrally located between Antalya and Kas and you can travel farily easily to visit nearby historical areas.

In Cirali there are ..boat trips, snorkelling, long walks, day trips to nearby Kemer or Kumluca to visit local markets, biking, and of course relaxation...not to mention the historical ruins to explore..plenty to keep ones self busy for a week or two.

Also nearby to Çıralı is the Ulupınar region, which is rich in rivers and creeks. Cirali / Çıralı is one of the last unspoilt natural areas along the Antalya coastline.

Kaş is a small fishing, yachting and tourist town, and a district of Antalya Province of Turkey, 168km west of the city of Antalya. As a tourist town it is relatively unspoiled.

Patara (Lycian: Pttara), later renamed Arsinoe was a flourishing maritime and commercial city on the south-west coast of Lycia on the Mediterranean coast of Turkey near the modern small town of Gelemiş, in Antalya Province. It is the birth place of St. Nicholas, who lived most of his life in the nearby town of Myra (Demre).

Kaleköy (literally "Castle's village" in Turkish; ancient Lycian: Simena), is a village of the Kaş district in the Antalya Province of Turkey, located between Kaş and Kale, on the Mediterranean coast. Kaleköy faces the island of Kekova, and can be reached only by sea.

The village lies amidst a Lycian necropolis, which is partially sunken underwater. Kaleköy is overlooked by a Byzantine castle, built in the Middle Ages to fight the pirates which nested in Kekova. The castle contains a small theatre.

Kaya Koyu is an old Greek settlement 13km from the city centre. Kaya or Karmylassos was home to a sizeable Greek community until the population exchange treaty signed in 1923 between Turkey and Greece.

You can see my photos and the historicals sights in and around Antalya plus other places in Turkey at these pages;

The Turkey Travel planner has some good suggestions

www.turkeytravelplanner.com/

Bus travel for long haul

http://www.varan.com.tr

http://www.ulusoy.com.tr

http://www.metroturizm.com.tr

http://www.kamilkoc.com.tr/

www.pamukkale.com.tr/

www.guneyakdeniz.com/

http://www.suhaturizm.com.tr/index.asp

www.nevsehirlilerseyahat.com.tr/

for shorter distances Turkey has vast system of inter city coaches. ...There are minibuses called dolmus, and you can find out the bus times at the otogar ( bus stations )

Domestic airline carriers in Turkey

http://www.onurair.com.tr/default_eng.aspx

http://www.thy.com/

www.atlasjet.com/AtlasjetWeb/atlasjet.kk…

http://www.flypgs.com/en/default.aspx

www.anadolujet.com/

www.sunexpress.com/tr

you could try these sites for finding flights

www.aerobilet.com/

www.skyscanner.net

Where ever you decide to go have a super trip. It will be one trip of a lifetime.

You can see my photos and the historicals sights in and around Antalya plus other places in Turkey at these pages;

http://www.flickr.com/photos/canmom/sets

hope this helps a bit to get you started in planning

Istanbul
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7. Re: Travel strategy for Turkey?

chargedmr2, ıf you ever visit Antalya, you should not miss the absolutely wonderful Adrasan (Cavus-koy). You should spend a couple of nights there. Here is a good website: "www.cavus-koy.com". And here is its location: "http://goo.gl/maps/eKQ51". Adrasan has a number of great hotels, B & B's and pensions for all budgets. Have a look: "tripadvisor.com/Hotels-g1057714-Adrasan_Turk…". This is where the Turqoise coast meets the mountains and forms a fantastic natural bay. ı highly recommend this location.

good luck,

enigma...

Istanbul
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8. Re: Travel strategy for Turkey?

You can correct the first link as "http://www.cavus-bay.com/".

enigma...

TX
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9. Re: Travel strategy for Turkey?

Thanks again for all of the great advice everyone. I think we may just spend all six weeks in Turkey and leave Greece for another trip (or maybe just see Athens for its greatest historical sites). This would allow us to select about 10 locations to base ourselves across Turkey. Here's what we know for sure (I think!):

1. Istanbul

2. Selcuk (or thereabouts)

3. Antalya (or thereabouts)

4. Cappadocia

5. ?

6. ?

7. ?

8. ?

9. ?

10. ?

Maybe we could continue around the exterior of the country working in sights like Mt. Nemrut, Ani, Sumela Monestary, and some other Black Sea locations as we work west back to Istanbul?

I'll check into the locations mentioned above as well. Cirali sounds wonderful, as we don't like to spend too much time in the overcrowded tourist areas unless we're visiting "must see" sites.

Cirali / Antalya
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10. Re: Travel strategy for Turkey?

1. arrive at Istanbul

2. fly to Izmir - rent a car there and drive to Selcuk (or thereabouts) 2 nights

3. drive to Hierapolis-Pamukkale but stopp off along the way first at Aphrodisias

sacred-destinations.com/turkey/aphrodisias

Visit the sites along the Lycian way

Ancient Cities of Lycian Civilization ( .UNESCO World Heritage Sites - Date of Submission: 06/02/2009 )

http://whc.unesco.org/en/tentativelists/5408/

Major cities of this federation were Patara (being the capital city), Xanthos, Pinara, Olympos, Myra and Tlos which had three votes later joined Phaselis.

Lycian civilization only existed in this part of the world and Anatolia

4. drive to Fethiye for 2 , 3 or 4 nights

5. drive to Cirali for 3 or 4 nights

6. drive to Antalya for 2 or 3 nights

( In the above you could add if you wanted Uçağiz, Kaya koyu and Kas ) or you can also add more days to each desintation

7. leave the car at the antalya airport...fly to Kayseri to visit Cappadocia ( 3 nights )

8. fly back to Istanbul from Nevsehir..or if you wish to continue to the black sea coast ( trabzon ) or perhaps Safranbolu

Travel 24 to 30+ Days in Turkey

turkeytravelplanner.com/itin/…index.html

9. I would leave 4-5 nights to visit Istanbul at the end of my journey