Help with planning please

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Brisbod
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Help with planning please

Post by Brisbod » Thu Jul 16, 2009 3:03 pm

We are two couples in our middle years and will be visiting Turkey for the first time in September. We are independent travellers and have a total of 26 nights to spend in this exciting destination. As I am the planner for our trips, I do a lot of my research on forums (thank you everyone out there who takes the time to reply to posts, it is so much appreciated). As so often said here, this website is incredibly helpful and is really a one stop shop. OK, now down to business. We intend hiring a car after exploring Istanbul for a few days and do a one way hire from Istanbul airport to Goreme. Having the car will give us the flexibility to go where we want at our own pace, however, Turkey is so vast and I want to try and cram in as much as possible and I'm not sure that we will have the time to see everything we want. Our itinerary at the beginning of our trip is:
3 nights Istanbul
1 night Eceabat (Gallipoli)
4 nights Kusadasi (Ephesus, Priene, Miletus, Didyma and day trip to Samos Island)
OK, now this is where I get stuck - we want to visit Pamukkale for a night but then is it worth coming back to stay in Bodrum and Marmaris or should we skip these two places and head straight to Fethiye? If we had to choose out of Bodrum or Marmaris, which should we choose? I certainly don't wish to offend any English out there but from my reading of forums and reviews of places, they sound pretty awful, and not the Turkish experience we are looking for. Are they worth a visit?
Our decision for this part of the trip will pretty much dictate how long we can spend in other places, which at this stage I have earmarked Fethiye, Kas, Side, Konya (1 night), Cappadocia (3 nights), Ankara (1 night) and then back to Istanbul for another couple of nights. Would appreciate any feedback. :D


steve
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Re: Help with planning please

Post by steve » Thu Jul 16, 2009 3:57 pm

Konya and Ankara can be a bit crap unless there's something specific there that you want to see. If you're into your Mevlana then Konya is a must, if you like a bit of Ataturk the Ankara is also a must. If not then you might prefer to use those nights elsewhere. 26 days and only 3 in Goreme is poor though! Maybe try Goreme for a couple of days and the Urgup for a couple more. I'd allow at least four days here - it's a good place to chill out after all the driving.

Marmaris and Bodrum are lively places but are what I call Brit-Pits. Good places to go for a night or a blue cruise, apart from that a lot of the west coast has been taken over by package tour idiots. Lots of tattoos, bald sunburnt violent nutters - and that's just the women! Seriously though, some of these resorts do bring out the worst in people - most of the Turks you will see there are mouthy young blokes interested in bedding foreign tourists. I am sure lots of people will reply to disagree with this and I am very much tarring everyone with the same brush, but they're not my cup of tea for more than an evening. I reckon Kusadasi will be enough for you.

Also worth considering Egirdir on the way to Goreme, the wonderful Cirali if you are going a different route. Amasya on the way back is a great stopover as is Bolu if you are going from Ankara west to Istanbul when you finish.

Jeanne
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Re: Help with planning please

Post by Jeanne » Thu Jul 16, 2009 5:27 pm

Hi there,
a good alternative is the Datca peninsula, sort of between Bodrum and Marmaris. I always thought Marmaris had more Germans and Dutch ;-)
But it has a spectacular coast line! The best coastline is sort of between Marmaris and Fethiye as there are lots of bays.
Dalyan is a very nice place to see the lake, delta and turtle beach (and they hatch that time!)
Fethiye is a great all year through town, Calis is the touristy part, but you could think of staying more rural like Kayaköy, you are between Fethiye and the stunning lagoon of Ölüdeniz. And perhaps not a spectacular site but Nicholas island is a lovely place to visit with Byzantine ruins. Fethiye area has also lots of Lycian sites.
Then I have to say I do like Ankara, it is opposite to any other town very modern, it has the old citadel and absolutely visit Beypazari on your way to Istanbul. That is if you drive by own means. The road to Beypazari is fantastic (almost 100 kms) close to Beypazari is a stunning valley (Inözü) and Beypazari has a Saffranbolu feel to it, but far less touristy.
Then a quick comment on the rest of your trip, I am not too familiar with it but I would skip Kusadasi (worse than Marmaris) stay in Selcuk or Sirinci and maximum 3 days.
Skip Side for the same reason, the ancient site is small, it exists of only big high rise hotels, very very commercial.
Hope this helps for a start, good luck!

carrie
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Re: Help with planning please

Post by carrie » Thu Jul 16, 2009 10:54 pm

here are my thoughts;
4 nights Kusadasi (Ephesus, Priene, Miletus, Didyma and day trip to Samos Island)
I would stay in Selcuk or possibly Sirince to experience the real Turkey..Priene, Miletus, Didyma ..can be done in one day..

Ephesus, Isa Bey mosque, St John Basilica , Efes museum etc..one day

http://www.turkeytravelplanner.com/go/A ... index.html
If we had to choose out of Bodrum or Marmaris, which should we choose?
I would not choose Marmaris thats for sure..I agree with the Datca peninsula..and perhaps Bozburun or Dalyan..

Along the Lycian way towards Antalya I would recommend Kaya Koyu, Uçagiz, and Cirali..

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..
my photos ;

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

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

And from Antalya then you can make your way to Cappadocia..Ankara or Konya would not be my favorite places for a first time Turkey trip..however for a second or third trip to Turkey..Ankara is a very wonderful and historical place to visit.

forget Side..another touristy area..like the rest have already mentioned the old part for history is great but that is about it..another great town taken over by mass tourism along the coast.

drive straight to the Cappadocia area from Antalya ( 7-8 hours ) or if you really want to make a stop along the way..take a different route towards Egirdir ( make sure to visit Sagalassos ) and then on to Cappadocia..
Carrie Akkelle
Canada Hotel
Cirali / Olympos
Turkey

http://www.canadahotel.net/en/index.htm

my photo site;
http://www.flickr.com/photos/canmom

Marilyn
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Re: Help with planning please

Post by Marilyn » Sat Jul 18, 2009 1:40 pm

Hello "Middle Years Couples"

What a wonderful expression! Carrie is right - Cirali is absolutely magnificent and for a first time traveler to this beautiful country walking that beach and into the streams and ruins surrounding you will feel transported both physically and mentally. I encourage you to make this a stop in your journey.

I don’t think Carrie is allowed to tell you this on this forum but I think I can. She and her husband own the Canada Hotel and if you look in your browser for this hotel you will find magnificent reviews. It might be an option for accommodation - just a suggestion.

I am from Toronto but I will be at my house in Ayvalik during the time you will be in Turkey on your vacation. I would be very willing to show you around that area if that region became part of your plan. Just let me know.

I recall the first time I visited Turkey in 2002 and the hospitality shown to me by everyone I met. I hope your voyage is as magical as mine was and look forward to either meeting you or hearing your stories upon your return.

Bon Voyage!
Regards,
Marilyn

Brisbod
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Re: Help with planning please

Post by Brisbod » Sun Jul 26, 2009 10:51 am

Thank you all so much for your very helpful replies - I'm very sorry that I haven't had a chance to get back on this forum to reply but I've had a house full of visitors. I'm definitely going to have to get my map out again and re-look at things - thanks for all the suggestions. I should have mentioned that our plan at the moment is to leave the car in Goreme - take an afternoon bus to Ankara from Nevsehir, spend one night and day in Ankara and then take the overnight train back to Istanbul (we quite like overnight train travel). Of course, if we find we are running out of time, then we can always fly straight back to Istanbul from Cappadocia. The overnight in Konya is suggested just to break the trip - is it too long a day to get from Antalya area to Goreme in a day? Will maybe look at the other route suggested.

I have been tossing up between staying in Kusadasi or Selcuk as our base but thought Kusadasi would be more central, especially if we want to do the day trip to Samos Island. Also, I have found an original Ottoman Caravanserail built in 1618 to stay in, which I thought would be a nice experience. We will need 4 nights - 1 day Ephesus etc, and Sirince, 1 day Priene, Miletus and Didyma and 1 day Samos. We would probably have definitely had our fill of mass tourism by then. Hubby is of the view that w should see the good, the bad and the ugly in Turkey so we may visit Bodrum and Marmaris, but perhaps not spend too much time in either place. Sounds like Dalyan may be a better option for us. I will also check out other suggested places.

Side was a suggestion from a Turkish person as an alternative to Antayla. Am I right in assuming that Antayla and Side are very tourist orientated and lively (only Side smaller) and the other option is Cirali which is very laid back and quiet?

I have another question - where can we go to find accommodation when we drive into a place if we haven't prebooked? We prefer small hotels or pensions and want to keep our travel as flexible as possible so have only pre-booked some places. We'll also be travelling in the mediterranean area during Seker Bayrami - will accommodation be more difficult to find during this time?

Jeanne - thank you so much for your generous offer but I don't think we'll get to Ayvalik on this trip. Such kindness from strangers is what makes independent travel so rewarding and is truly appreciated.

Thank you all once again - I'll post some further questions over the next few weeks.

Tosun Saral
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Re: Help with planning please

Post by Tosun Saral » Sun Jul 26, 2009 11:44 am

your plan to leave the car in Goreme - take an afternoon bus to Ankara from Nevsehir, spend one night and day in Ankara and then take the overnight train back to Istanbul is a very good idea. There are every 2 hours bus to Ankara from Nevsehir the capital city of the region called cappadocia. you can have the ticket to Ankara at Goreme. they will take you with shuttle service to Nevsehir.
http://members.virtualtourist.com/m/7d696/c1d/9/
In Ankara you can visit the Anadolu Medeniyetleri Müzesi the Anatolian Civilizations Museum at the Citadel. It is a must to visit.Statues of Hittites and Asur are aged to Pyramids. then you can have your tea or meal in one of the restaurants in the citadel I advice you "Andtur"
You can have your beer and lunch with a Ankara view at "Andtur" in the Castle of Ankara
Adress: Kalekapisi Soakak No:29
Telephone: 312 7978
We ate 4 person with beer and salat a Turkish speciality called "Manti" for 83:00 TL on Dec. 13rd 2007
http://members.virtualtourist.com/m/7d696/1c4b87/2/
A friend from Perth Australia called Alice from another forum visited me in Ankara we went there.
http://members.virtualtourist.com/m/baf50/1c4b87/2/

Coution. You must reserve or buy your night train ticket now.

After visiting the museum you can visit the mouseleum of Mustafa Kemal Atatürk,
Thats all in Ankara
Have a good time in Turkey :D
Don't die before visiting Turkey

Marilyn
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Re: Help with planning please

Post by Marilyn » Sun Jul 26, 2009 7:55 pm

Hello There,

I am really sorry you won't get to Ayvalik on this trip however if you are like most people who visit Turkey and fall in love with it's people and culture you will be back. If so you are always welcomed in Ayvalik - just keep my information for future reference and email me any time. Ayvalik is known as "place of quince" however I believe it has some of the best olive oil in the country. There are beautiful olive groves all around as well as an abundance of marine life. The Thursday markets are not to be missed as it winds through the old streets filled with Ev Rumi (Greek Houses).

I wish you a wonderful holiday and a safe journey.

Best Regards,
Marilyn

steve
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Re: Help with planning please

Post by steve » Mon Jul 27, 2009 1:35 pm

In answer to your booking accommodation question - I generally just turn up. I carry a couple of guide books and have a look to see which hotel will best suit my budget or requirements. Most books have a small map of the most frequently-visited towns and most lodgings are plotted on there; if not then directions are usually contained within the description. I also have a read-up before I go to find the little gems that are not yet in the guidebooks (for example, the wonderful Hotel Canada in Cirali is only just starting to show up in the books - despite looking after may many happy customers for a number of years). I tend to shortlist two or three places just in case my number one choice is fully booked. Unless you're travelling in a large group or are an awkward number you should have no problem finding nice places to stay. Istanbul can be more difficult, as can Ankara sometimes – particularly if there is a very popular business conference on or a large event such as the Istanbul F1 Grand Prix.

Brisbod
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Re: Help with planning please

Post by Brisbod » Wed Jul 29, 2009 12:39 pm

Many thanks everyone for your replies. Tosun (SirVictor) if we have time in Ankara we will most certainly look you up - thank you once again for your helpful info. Steve, it sounds like my usual plan of doing lots of research before and having my top 3 places to check out will apply for Turkey as well as most other places we have travelled to. Lastly, my sincere apologies Marilyn for confusing you with Jeanne.


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