This 5-day Fly-Drive Turkish itinerary takes you from Istanbul to İzmir and Ephesus, then Cappadocia, then back to Istanbul. Add your Istanbul days for the total length of the trip. (So if you add 3 Istanbul days, you have an 8-day trip to Turkey).
This is an alternative to my
5-Day Driving Itinerary from Ephesus to Cappadocia, which may
be more driving than you
want to do.
(You can also follow this itinerary in the opposite direction, starting in Cappadocia, flying to İzmir, driving to Ephesus, then returning by air to Istanbul. More...
Want someone to do the driving and guiding for you? Here's a private tour by car with driver-guide from Cappadocia to Ephesus that follows the same route as my driving tour and shows you everything in only 5 days. More...
fly from İzmir to Kayseri (for Cappadocia),
you don't have the long drive from Pamukkale to
Cappadocia, and you have more time to
see the sights in Cappadocia;
miss Konya, the Silk
Road, and Turkey's lake country around
1 - Fly Istanbul-İzmir,
Drive to Ephesus
flight from Istanbul to İzmir (ADB),
arrive by noon or earlier; lunch
snack at the airport, or carry a
or stave off hunger until you arrive
Pick up your reserved rental
the airport and
to Selçuk (62
km/39 miles, 1-1/4
next to Ephesus,
or to the lovely mountain village of
in Selçuk or
14:30 or 15:00 (2:30 or 3 pm), check
in at your hotel.
John Basilica, Isa
Bey Mosque (you
can walk to them all from the hotel).
Dinner and overnight.
2 - Ephesus, Aphrodisias
the morning, explore the ruins
of Ephesus (2 to 3 hours),
then drive to Aphrodisias (143
km/89 miles, 2 hours); lunch either
leaving Selcuk or at Aphrodisias.
Tour the ruins of Aphrodisias (1-1/2
to 2 hours), drive to Pamukkale (123
km/76 miles, 1-1/2 hours), arriving
before dark. Settle in at a hotel in Pamukkale Town or Karahayıt. More...
3 - Pamukkale, Fly İzmir-Kayseri
a swim in the mineral waters of Pamukkale (2
hours), and tour the ruins of the Roman spa
of Hierapolis (1
hour). There are no convenient flights
from nearby Denizli to Cappadocia,
so after lunch, drive to İzmir's Adnan
Menderes Airport (252 km, 157
miles, 4 hours), turn in your rental
car, and fly to Kayseri,
arriving late in the evening. Take
a shuttle bus to your hotel in Ürgüp, Göreme or Uçhisar.
hotel in Ürgüp: Esbelli
Evi, a charming "cave
inn," and my
favorite inn in all of Turkey;
in Göreme, Hotel
4 - Göreme, Cappadocia
before dawn for your hot-air
balloon flight (if you've
reserved this thrill-of-a-lifetime
experience). You'll be back at your
hotel in time for breakfast.
your sightseeing in Cappadocia,
you can rent a car,
but an air-conditioned,
chauffeur-driven luxury minivan from
little more (when you count the
cost of insurance and fuel—expensive!—for
a rental car),
and since your time is precious on
this efficient itinerary, you may
decide it's the best way to go. You
but your local driver won't; and
there'll be no parking hassles: your
driver drops you at the entrance
to a site, picks you up there
when you're finished, and takes you
right to the next site by the fastest
public transportation among
the sites of Cappadocia is virtually non-existent,
so it's really not an alternative
on a tightly-packed itinerary such
as this. You really need your
own private transportation to
make the best use of your precious
Open Air Museum in the
morning (no guide necessary; 2
to 3 hours).
Have your guide-driver meet you
at a certain time at Göreme,
go to lunch,
discuss your sightseeing plan for
the rest of today and tomorrow.
Suggestions: Avanos, Uçhisar, Underground
Cities and Ihlara
5 - Cappadocia, Fly Kayseri-Istanbul
the morning and afternoon visiting
the sites you didn't see on Day
the late afternoon or early evening,
take the airport shuttle minibus to Kayseri's
Erkilet Airport for your flight
If you have another day, spend it in Cappadocia. There's lots more to see. More...
the fly-drive itinerary, make
reservations as early as possible
for the services
you'll need. (Here are good
Turkish travel agents who
can make all the arrangements for
you if you'd rather not worry about
them, and here are my recommended licensed
Using a good travel agency to make your reservations (see below) offers important advantages. Read this.
If you'd like help for your reservations, these excellent Cappadocia-based travel agencies, all TurkeyTravelPlanner.com partners, make them easily:
Tourism & Travel, an official ticket agency for Turkish
Airlines as well as for other airlines, and they operates
buses between Cappadocia and Kayseri's
Erkilet Airport. More...
—Travel Atelier, specialists in Cappadocia weddings and honeymoons, as well as wine and culinary tours, not to mention all regular travel agency services such as hotels, rental/hire cars, guides, flights, etc. More...
—Rock Valley Travel, a full service agency with a good variety of guided tours of Cappadocia, as well as tours of Eastern and Southeastern Turkey. They're the official ticket agency for Turkish Statae Railways, also for Atlasjet, and they operate the AtlasJet airport shuttle vans. More...
—Turkish Heritage Travel, a full travel agency in Göreme with its own Cappadocia tours and hot-air balloon flights by Butterfly Balloons. More...
Flights on Day 1 from Istanbul to İzmir,
on Day 3 from İzmir to Kayseri,
and on Day
car on Day 1 from İzmir's Adnan
be returned to that same
airport on Day
and another rental car,
or car-and-driver, on Day
4 and perhaps Day
5 in Cappadocia.
Days 1 through 4 (Ephesus area, Pamukkale, Cappadocia.)
balloon flight reservation
in Cappadocia (if
you're interested). Reserve
your places for the morning
of Day 4 so that
you'll have Day 5 as a
case the balloons
can't fly on Day 4. More...
Airline shuttle bus reservations from Kayseri's Erkilet
Airport to Cappadocia
on Day 3, and from
Cappadocia back to the
your flight to Istanbul on Day 5. (Contact your Cappadocia travel agency.)
—by Tom Brosnahan