How Do You Tell a Flying Carpet to Fly?
“How would you say in Turkish, “Fly!” such as a command to a flying carpet?”
Can I Go Cheaply from Athens to Istanbul by Bus?
Yes, but it’s a 20-hour, US$60 trip. Ferry costs even more…
Can I Go from Athens to Istanbul by Ship?
Yes, but it’s not the way it used to be…
Train from Istanbul to Izmir
There used to be lots more, but now there’s only one…
Seeing Istanbul from a Cruise Ship
Then spending some time at a luxury resort….
Do They Gouge Americans?
Why are there so many different prices for the same hotel room?
Frequent Travel Istanbul<–>Ankara
What’s the best way if you have to go back and forth a lot?
Two-Week Itinerary is Too Fast!
All of Turkey in two weeks? Unfortunately, it’s impossible.
How would you say in Turkish, “Fly!” such as a command to a flying carpet?
Well, it sounds kind of silly, but you’d say “Uç!” (OOCH!), the imperative of “uçmak,” (ooch-MAHK) to fly.
But perhaps what you really want to say is “Take off!” which would be “Kalk!” (KAHLK!, rise, go!)
Legal disclaimer: I will not be responsible for airborne accidents should the use of these words result in your carpet actually taking off. 😉
I write to you to ask, if you can tell me if there is an opera festival at Aspendos this year in September. Last year my wife and I had the chance to go to the opera. It was a very great experience. Since we will go to Turkey this year, we would like the plan the trip so we could go to the opera again. I hope You can help med with an answer. We have been in Turkey 9 times before and we also look forward the visit your lovely country again.
With regards, Keld K, Denmark
Thanks for your message, and apologies for the late reply. I was traveling.
The 10th annual Aspendos Opera and Ballet Festival, in Antalyaprovince, opens this year on June 14th with Verdi’s Aida by the Turkish State Opera, and closes on August 16th with Tschaikovsky’s Nutcracker.
Alas, no operas in September, from what I can tell.
First I would like to extend my thanks and say that I found your site to be extremely useful, informative and well put together. I am planning a trip to Turkey sometime in the near future and your site has been very useful in not only helping me put the trip together but also in learning a little more about the places where IÕll be going.
I do have one question that I hope you can help me with. ÊI was wondering if you could tell me if there is a regularly scheduled ferry between Athens to Çanakkale?
Thanks for the help and IÕll defiantly be recommending your site to those travelers who wish to visit Turkey.
Thanks for your kind words about my Turkey Travel Planner website.
No, there’s no ferry between Athens and Çanakkale. The major terminus for ships and ferries coming from the western Med and Aegean is Çesme, west of Izmir. Some cruise ships go to Istanbul, of course.
There are ferries from several Greek islands to points in Turkey, and some can even transport a car or two, but of course you’d need to get your car from Athens to the island first (if it’s a car you’re thinking of).
The closest ferry from the Greek islands would be from Lesvos (Mytileni) to Ayvalik, the most problematic and expensive of the island ferries.
Hope this helps!
Hi Tom –
I just got back from Greece and Turkey this week [early April]. My brother and I barely got out of Athens on the 20th due to one of the several large anti-war protests in Athens, but we did make it to Selcuk on 3/20.
We stayed at the Australian-New Zealand pension there, which would make a great addition to your page on Selcuk. They’ll give you a free ride to Ephesus in the morning as well. They run a carpet shop, so you get the usual “check out my carpets” hassle, but they’re not pushy about it. Great breakfast and dinner there, too, and it’s very cheap.
Pergamum was very cool, and again, I’ve got a recommendation for a pension, in Bergama – the Athena pension is awesome. space heaters and electric blankets in the rooms, and the guy who runs it is very cool and friendly. also very cheap, about 7 USD/person.
Istanbul was a bit annoying, between the guy hassling us at the Blue Mosque to come visit his cousin’s carpet shop, the visit to the carpet shop, and the same sort of thing going on left and right at the Grand Bazaar.
All in all, though, it was a great trip and despite the warnings from the US government (bogus, in my opinion, and probably retaliation for Turkey not buying into this war), I never felt the slightest bit unsafe anywhere in Turkey, or in Greece for that matter.
Alright, thanks again for your help in planning my trip – everything went off without a hitch.
I have just stumbled across your site and found it to be exceptionally comprehensive and useful.
We plan to spend a week in Istanbul prior to taking a comprehensive tour through other parts of Turkey. We expect to be there in mid-March.
The package which we are using for Air/hotel offers the Grand Yavuz hotel located near the Hippodrome and conveniently located where most of the major old town attractions are situated.
Alternatively, for a modest upgrade in price, we could locate at either of the Nippon or Golden Age I, both shown as 4 star hotels. These are both in the Taksim area.
I’m wondering if the transportation system makes it simple to go from that area to the attractions or would we be better off by just locating at the Grand Yavuz which, from pictures, looks like a pretty decent place.
Have you any words of wisdom on this question and the transportation system? Thanks for anything you might pass along.
Thanks for your message, and for your kind words about my Turkey Travel Planner. It’s nowhere near as comprehensive and helpful as I plan to make it, but I’m delighted that even at this early stage it has been helpful to you.
The Grand Yavuz is fine. The rooms are a bit simpler than those at the Nippon and Golden Age, but still perfectly adequate.
I myself prefer being able to walk out my hotel door and stroll to the sights, which you certainly would be able to do from the Grand Yavuz.
By the way, there’s a little-known Byzantine cistern near the Grand Yavuz: the Serefiye Sarni?i (Cistern of Theodosius). It’s entered by a side door to the right of the main entrance of the EminšnŸ Belediye Baskanligi (a city government building) on Piyer Loti Caddesi. Wander in and have a look. If there’s a guard there, he’ll turn on the lights for you. It hasn’t been tarted up for tourism. Most major buildings in Constantinople had cisterns beneath them. This one is probably about 1600 years old.
By the way, I’m leaving for Turkey in late February, but returning after the first week in March.
Have a great trip!
Congratulations! You are the first person to whom I have ever had the opportunity to say,”The check’s in the mail.” I will mail it this afternoon.
I have enjoyed surfing your pages on Turkey and would like to know if it is possible to visit Gallipoli other than by guided tour, and if so how. Are ferries from Çanakkale regular? Full around ANZAC day? Reasonably priced?
Certainly you can visit Gallipoli without a guided tour. The only challenge is transportation.
The battlefields are spread out. A motorbike would be fine (in warm weather), a rental car good in any weather. Hiking would be okay if you only wanted to see a few battlefields and were in good condition.
Full on ANZAC Day? Probably, but they’ll probably put on extra boats.
Regards, Tom Brosnahan
My name is A~~ and I’m from Canada. in May a friend and I will be coming to Turkey. We are backpacking throughout Europe so we only have a week in Turkey. I don’t know if you answer these kind of questions but since you have a site on travelling in Turkey I figure it can’t hurt to try.
Where in Turkey do you think we should go in a week on a limited budget? Should we stick to Istanbul ro go off a bit down the coast?
ALSO, I know you are not a travel agent or anything but I was wondering on if you could give me a clue on how to get to Athens for the cheapest price. I’m trying to check out buses but it’s difficult since alot of the site are in Turkish. You see, we are going to London in the end but I have found a cheap ticket from Athens to London, I just have to get to Athens. Any info could help, a name of a bus line, a website, anything,…
Thank you very much for listening,
Your choices for getting to Athens are bus or ferry since the flights are expensive. There are direct buses from Istanbul, a 20-hour, 1150-km (715-mile) trip.
For example, Varan, Turkey’s best (and most luxurious) bus company, has a bus leaving Istanbul every Tuesday in May at 10 am, arriving in Athens 20 hours later, for US$60 per person, one-way; 20% discount for people 13 to 24 years old.
Other bus companies will probably be somewhat cheaper, perhaps as little as US$45 (that’s a guess). You can find them at the Istanbul International Otogar. Travel agencies in Sultanahmet will also sell you tickets, but shop around.
As for ferries to the Greek Islands, I’d go down the coast to Kusadasi, cross to Samos, and go on to Athens from there; or you could go from ‚esme (west of Izmir) to Chios. The one-way fare from Turkey to the island will be about US$30 plus $6 to $10 in port tax; then you must pay more to get from the island to Athens. (Unfortunately, I don’t have schedules for ferries from the Greek islands to Athens.)
Enjoy your trip!
Regards, Tom Brosnahan
Could you give me information on travel between Cyprus and Antalya, please? I will be in Girne, Cyprus and would like to travel to Antalya on or near May 14, and return to Cyprus on or near May 18. Is there ferry or air service that I might use?
Thank you, R~~
There’s daily ferry service between Girne (Kyrenia), Northern Cyprus, and Tasucu (near Silifke) on the Turkish Mediterranean coast. From Tasucu you’d need to catch a bus westward to Antalya, a 390-km (242-mile) nine-hour trip. Long, but relatively cheap.
The alternative is to fly from Cyprus to Istanbul, then to Antalya, but there are no close connecting flights. I have not heard of a direct flight or ferry between Antalya and Cyprus.
Sorry not to have good news. Hope this helps!
Regards, Tom Brosnahan
I’ve been driving myself crackers on the web trying to find what I want and now I’m beginning to suspect it doesn’t exist. So I turn to you, the real expert on the ground.
Is there not even one ferry that runs between Athens and Istanbul? It can stop at as many islands as it wants, as far as I’m concerned, but I can’t stand the idea that I can’t arrive in Istanbul by sea. What’s the story?
Many thanks, (Ms.) E Z
There are some cruise ships that go from Athens to Istanbul, but it’s expensive to hop on one of those just for the Athens-Istanbul segment.
Turkish Maritime Lines runs ferries between Venice, Brindisi and ‚esme, but they haven’t set their 2003 schedules yet, and their website (http://www.tdi.com.tr/eng/denizyollari.shtml) is a complete waste of time: has no info, doesn’t work right.
If you *really* want to arrive in Istanbul by sea, you can cross from Athens to a Turkish Aegean coast town, make your way to Bandirmaor Yalova, and take a fast ferry from there. See Greek Island Ferriesfor details.
Hope this helps!
Cheers, Tom Brosnahan
Hello Mr. Tom,
I’m a wholesaler, i want to go to Turkey to buy clothes… so i want you to guide me to these shops Jeans and sportswear. so how can i know their mails and their local,
thank you so much for helping me.
Thanks for your message.
Istanbul is FULL of jeans shops and workshops making other sorts of clothes. It’s a rich and fertile ground for a wholesaler.
I’m afraid I don’t have the addresses and contact info for any of them. I just wandered the streets taking pictures.
I’ll bet that if you contacted the commercial section of the nearest Turkish Embassy they could help you with contact info; or the Istanbul Chamber of Commerce (Istanbul Ticaret Odasi, ITO), Resadiye Cad. 34378 EminšnŸ, Istanbul; TEL : +90 212 455 6000, +90 212 511 0565, fax +90 212 5131565 – 5201656; [email protected]
The ITO website is not very useful: http://www.tr-ito.com
If you go to several streets and districts in the city you’ll see plenty of them. The districts are:
–‚adircilar Caddesi, on the west side of the Kapali ‚arsi (Grand Bazaar), and the northward continuation of ‚adircilar Caddesi, called Fuatpasa Caddesi
–Laleli, a district west of the Grand Bazaar and north of Ordu Caddesi, near Aksaray
–Mahmutpasa, a street and district north of the Grand Bazaar on the way to EminšnŸ.
Hope this helps. Good luck!
Can you tell me if there is a train that goes from Istambul to Izmir?
I shall be traveling on 7.3.03 & returning on the 15.3.03
Can you tell me how much it is & how often?
Many Thanks, A~~ (UK)
So you’d take a fast ferry from Istanbul to Bandirma (about 2 hours) to catch the train that departs Bandirma at 4 pm, arriving in Izmir (Basmane) at 10:39 pm (if it’s on time). The entire trip might take 11 hours.
A bus from Istanbul to Izmir would be much faster (about 8 hours; they leave about every 30 minutes all day, in both directions). Or you could take the fast ferry to Bandirma, a taxi from the ferry dock to Bandirma’s “otogar” (bus station), then a bus to Izmir (4.25 hours).
Unless you really have a good reason to take the train, I’d strongly recommend the bus instead. Much more comfortable, and faster.
I just left your web site, and think it’s wonderful. Perhaps, you can help us.
My wife and I are taking a cruise on the Radisson Diamond in July, from Athens to Istanbul. We would like to spend about 5 or 6 days in Turkey after we leave the cruise ship.
The cruise ship actually docks in Istanbul for 2 nights, and we will be living aboard ship those nights. I believe that the ship provides tours of the city at additional cost.
Where would you suggest visiting after we see Istanbul? We thought we would like to go to a resort for a few days to rest before returning home to New York.
We will be visiting Kusadasi and Dikili on the cruise.
Thanks for your help…and your web site.
You can take the cruise ship’s cruises, or I can set you up with your own guide and driver for probably about the same cost. Or you can walkabout on your own with a guidebook, as the ship will dock right smack dab in the middle of the city (at Karakšy/Galata, mouth of the Golden Horn).
As for a resort at which to unwind, Kusadasi is too honky tonk. Dikili is small and fairly peaceful. You will have seen Pergamum (from Dikili) and Ephesus (from Kusadasi). You will not have seen Cappadocia, which is one of the Top Three sights (along with Istanbul and Ephesus) in Turkey. It’s hardly a seaside resort, but it’d be an interesting contrast. I can recommend a cozy inn with troglodyte (cave) rooms run by a friend of mine.
Otherwise, there are lots of luxury hotels along the Mediterranean coast, but they may be crowded with groups in July. What’s your preference? All-inclusive resort, cozy little out-of-the-way place?
I like the idea of the Radisson Diamond. I once considered being a lecturer on that boat.
Cheers, Tom Brosnahan
First thank you for taking the time to establish such an informative-rich site…. I am planning a trip to Turkey (my first) in September for about 3 weeks. I have read through your itineraries. Typically I tend to travel at a more leisure pace in order to get the full flavor of an area. I enjoy staying in pensions or hotels that are smaller and more reflective of the site.
I think I would like to concentrate on Istanbul and two other areas of Turkey for my visit. I would be interested in any suggestions you might have. I am a serious photo-hobbyist and enjoy photographic venues. I doubt Turkey will disappoint. Thank you in advance.
David, Thanks for your message, and for your interest in Turkey Travel Planner. Your kind words are most welcome!
From Istanbul you can take excursions to Edirne and Bursa; in Cappadocia you can extend to the Ihlara Valley and even Konya; in the Ephesus area there are lots of possibilities, including (besides Ephesus) Miletus, Priene, Didyma, Sirince, and even as far south as Bodrum or east to Aphrodisias and Pamukkale (should you have the time).
As for photography, I’m a semi-pro photographer (just gone digital) and I find Turkey delightful for shooting. Most days should be very sunny in September while you’re there. Concentrate on the early morning and late afternoon (of course) when the light is warm and low-temperature. The midday light is very high-temperature and thus colors are quite washed out and shadows harsh.
All three areas I’ve recommended are excellent for photography. You should consider a hot-air balloon flight in Cappadocia for a truly unforgettable photo experience. The air is clear, the light warm and dramatic, and the angles unbeatable.
Have a great trip!
Dear Mr. Brosnahan,
I have trip planned for next summer to Turkey. I’ve always been fascinated by parts of the world that are mysterious, ancient, mystical and the like.
Anyway, I planned the trip so far ahead because I wanted to make the most of my time spent in Turkey.
However, my experience thus far is that there is evidently a perception amongst the Turks that all Americans are millionairesor something.\
I understand negotiation is part of life in Turkey and I would like to “get over it” but when somone quotes me an extremely over inflated price in anticipation of negotiation it simply offends me. If I’m quoted what I consider a fair price I pay it even if I could get it cheaper by dilly dallying. Why gouge people just because you can?
Having said that, I tell you I’m having an enormously difficult time planning an itenerary…. [This traveler goes on to give an example of people who have tried to “gouge” over price.]
[Tom:] I don’t think anyone is trying to gouge you here. Rather, the way hotel prices are set is pretty confusing. The hotel can set any prices it wants, of course, and can change them at any time. In fact, hotels rent rooms at all sorts of prices, just as airlines sell seats at all sorts of fares and car rental companies rent cars at all sorts of different rates. It’s all a part of modern marketing.
Of course, the hotel wants to get as much money as it can without alienating customers. A hotel advertises prices called “rack rates” which are pretty much the highest prices it intends to charge (except perhaps for special holiday and event periods, when prices may be even higher). Then, in various marketing programs, it discounts those rack rates.
As a customer, you may end up paying any of a number of prices, high or low, depending upon where you learn of the price and make your reservation: website, travel agent, toll-free number, advertisement, etc. etc. All hotels throughout the world do this, all the time. Now, the hotel sets its rates, and wants travel agencies to sell its rooms, so it gives travel agents a set of prices to charge. Travel agents add their commission (usually 10%) to the prices and offer those prices to the public. The prices that the hotel gives to the agents would normally be the same as the hotel itself would be charging. However, if the hotel isn’t getting many guests, it may lower its rates temporarily, but not pass that discount on to travel agents. So the travel agents are only authorized to sell rooms at the higher rates. I think that’s what happened in your case.
Let’s look more closely:
[Traveler:] The hotel quoted me $59. I didn’t negotiate because I think that is very fair. They will pick us up, give us a free dinner and free breakfast buffet every day.
[Tom:] Yes, that’s a good rate–if it includes the 18% VAT (tax). If it doesn’t, your true rate is $70, which is still pretty good because of the dinner and the transfer (airport to hotel). My travel agency friends were given a rate of $36 per person per day (or $72 for two), breakfast and tax included, by the hotel. They cannot really offer you any rate lower than that because the hotel won’t honor it.
[Traveler:] One agency I contacted quoted me $75 a night for the hotel. Now that’s gouging if they are paying $39.
[Tom:] No, they’d be paying $64.80, and earning $10.20 in commission.
[Traveler:] One guide quoted me 125 USD per day.
[Tom:] That doesn’t sound unreasonable to me, but a lot depends on the competence of the guide and the services offered. If the guide is knowledgeable and shows you around in his or her own car, $125 a day is an excellent rate.
[Traveler:] Another agency offered to book me and my husband into a fancier hotel and provide a guide for $1265 for six days.
[Tom:] The (better hotel) is a nice hotel, and if the guide is good, that’s not really a bad rate. That hotel normally charges about $135 to $175 a night, I think; you’d be paying abut $211 a night total, or, say, $135 per night for the hotel and $76 per day for the guide. Not bad at all.
[Traveler:] A freind of mine was in Turkey a few years back and paid a guide $20. Another contact was there last summer and paid $30.
[Tom:] I rather doubt that $20 or $30 would be enough to hire a good licensed guide for a day. Perhaps an inexperienced (but enthusiastic) student guide with nothing better to do who wants to practice his/her English; or a guide for one or two buildings right around Sultanahmet…. $30 a day would come out to $3.75 per hour for an eight-hour day.
I don’t really think people are trying to stick it to you (although that’s certainly possible, it happens everywhere) as that the pricing structure is complex, and the services being offered are not necessarily directly comparable. For $30 a day you might get a guide whose English is not easy to understand and who knows little about what he’s showing you. For $125 a day you may get a guide with a university degree, fluent English, and a car to drive you around. Either service might be fine for the price, but they’re quite different services.
By offering you a room at your choice of hotel for $72 per night, a travel agency would be giving you the lowest price it could (and still make a few dollars for its efforts). The travel agency can’t control the hotel, so if the hotel wants to discount its price for you, there’s nothing the agency can do about it. You benefit, but the travel agency won’t try very hard to sell the hotel’s rooms, so the hotel may lose in the end.
By the way, price complexity is a fact of life in the USA as well. If you asked everyone in a hotel or on a plane what they paid for the service, you’d get at least a dozen different prices, and probably more–for exactly the same service. It’s just the way marketing works.
Hope this helps!
Regards, Tom Brosnahan
Your website is pretty fantastic! I look forward to the updates. I am an American who will be working in Ankara for 4 weeks in March, 2003, and would like to spend weekends and extra days in Istanbul.
Can you suggest the best way for me to travel between Istanbul and Ankara over and over again?
Is flying the only answer? I tried to get a schedule of Turkish Airlinesflights between the two cities, but came up blank. Is the overnight train best? I am on something of a budget. Thanks so much!
Bus is probably the cheapest way to get back and forth between Istanbul and Ankara. With the expressway completed, it’s pretty fast, too; but a night bus leaving Friday evening will get you to Istanbul in the middle of the night, which would be no fun.
When you factor in all the time for a plane trip, it doesn’t look that much better (and it’s far more expensive): from your apartment or hotel to the place where you catch the airport bus (Ankara’s ASTI bus terminal or the railroad station), then on the airport bus for 35 km to the airport, then go through all that security, then wait for the plane, then board (if it’s on time); the flight is quick enough, only about an hour; but then there’s the de-planeing at Istanbul, the wait for the airport bus, the bus ride into the city, the ride to wherever you’re staying. It can add up to almost the same as the bus.
Hope this helps,
I saw your website in a search to find the easiest way to get from greece to Turkey. I will be flying into Athens on the 4th of december and flying back out of Istanbul.
I was thinking a week in each country.
Do you have any suggestions on were it is worth going in turkey (and how do I get there from greece)? I was thinking I was just going to go to istanbul, but then I saw your website and it sparked my interest.
Also, I am a female traveling by myself, will that be a problem? HELP!!! I really have no clue what I am getting myself into.
Hi,and thanks for your message.
In summer the daily ferryboats from the Greek islands to the Turkish coast are the best way to travel to places other than Istanbul, but in winter these services run far less frequently.
Your winter choices are probably a direct flight from Athens to Istanbul, or a bus (cheaper but longer). You could take a bus or train to northern Greece, then cross the border to Edirne and get a fast bus (every hour) to Istanbul.
Single women travel in Turkey all the time. You need to take the customary precautions, but I think you’ll find Turks generally to be very welcoming. Keep your relations with men formal, not friendly, and they will respond in kind. Turkish women and families will be happy to help you out while you travel. Don’t be afraid to ask them.
Have a great trip!
Regards, Tom Brosnahan
Hi. My name is ~~. I am a student in Istanbul. I am interested in learing Hebrew. You traveled Turkey(and istanbull) a lot. Maybe you can suggest some plase, some courses to learn hebrew.Thanks…. in advance.
Sorry, I don’t know where one might take Hebrew classes in Istanbul, but the Chief Rabbinate would know.
I read the lonely planet about the Turkey and get your website. I just want to check whether we(4 in a group) can travel by ourselves withe public transportation or rent a mini van around Turkey(esp in the steps of Paul) within 12-14 days?
My route as follows:
30/9 arriving istanbul.
5.Harran and drive to Antakya
6.Tarsus and Konya
7.Denzili and Pammukkale
9.Samos and Patmos and back drive to Izmir
10.Ismir and Bergama
11.Troy and Cannakkale
13.Drive to Kesan and across to Boarder of Greece to Thessalonika…
Our journey planned next Oct.
Can you give some advice or need to do private consult with you, but i am in Malaysia. Hope to hear from you soon.
Greetings from Hawaii, where I’m at a travel writers’ meeting. Thanks for your message.
The first part of your trip is too rushed. One day in Istanbul is not enough, nor is one day to, in and onward from Cappadocia; same for Nemrut Dagi. Turkey is a big country, and mountainous.
You’ve got to cut some things from your itinerary. I’ll be happy to review your itinerary and offer suggestions, but this will take some time, so I’m afraid I’ll have to charge you for the service.