Hi, arriving in Istanbul Oct 30 and departing Nov 11. can anyone suggest an itinerary? Travel by train, preferably. Thank you.
Family of 3 , traveling - interested in history and local culture. Not driving.
You can see quite a bit in the two weeks you are there. However, the trains through most of Turkey, especially going east from Istanbul are under repair as they are working on upgrading the lines.
We were there for 3 weeks in May/June and really enjoyed the bus lines there. There is a lot of competition so the prices are competitive and affordable and there is an attendant on the bus that will serve coffee/tea or soft drinks once or twice during your trip. Plus they have free wifi too. From Istanbul, many of the bus lines will have offices in the tourist area too so you don't need to travel all the way to the main terminus to get a bus.
We spent 5 nights, 6 days, in Istanbul. We prefer to see things slowly instead of rushing through it. There is a 72 hour museum card for 72 Turkish Lira (http://muze.gov.tr/museum_pass) that we recommend. If you only see the Hagia Sofia, Topkapı Palace Museum and Harem Apartments and one other place, the card has paid for itself and it allows you to skip the lines.
Outside of Istanbul, we'd recommend going to Selcuk, where you can visit Ephesus, one of the world's oldest and largest ancient ruins. From Selcuk, Pammukkale is a short bus trip where you will see a UNESCO site and one of only a few places in the world where calcium deposits are coming up through the mountains. Lastly, I'd recommend Cappadoccia, where there are beautiful Fairy Chimneys and a great place to either hot air balloon or wake up early and watch the 50+ hot air balloons in the sky.
I think with your 13 days, you should have just enough time to do all that. We are just finishing up our blog posts of Turkey, so you can see some of our thoughts at www.iPadNomads.com
Enjoy! over 5 years ago
The above answer is a good one. Turkey is a lovely country. Buses are much easier (and nicer) than trains in Turkey. But distances are long ... I'd recommend flying from Istanbul to Cappadocia to save time because you'd be packing a lot in to your trip. For more info on spectacular Turkey this post might help: http://traveleater.wordpress.com/turkey-not-greece/ over 5 years ago
Ditto about flying to Cappadocia, it's a really long way from Istanbul. Ephesus is a must but it's quite a way from Istanbul. I suggest you get a map and decide how far you want to travel and plan accordingly. You didn't say whether you we're on your own either but there's a lot of youth hostels in Turkey where you could meet like minded travellers as my daughter did recently. There's no train travel but buses are good and inexpensive. Car hire is approx £20 per day so that may be an option? over 5 years ago
I wouldnt hire a car as this is expensive and challenging.
I would use the bus system where possible - perhaps take an overnight bus so you can get more out of the days, or fly. There were good prices on Onur Air and THY if you booked enough in advance.
The train service is poor at best and does not cover a lot of Turkey.
I like the suggestions above and agree that this would be a nice way to see Turkey. I would perhaps have a day less in Istanbul or go to the Princes' Islands, and/or a day more at Cappadocia.
If you get the chance then head along the Med Coast to Antalya, Kas, or somewhere inbetween. Gorgeous sea around Kas and lots of history and architecture. over 5 years ago
Thank you all for your valuable answers. I would actually have 11 days on the ground. I will be traveling with my two grown up children. I would consider flying if the distance is a lot, but prefer to take a bus if it is shorter. In the time I have, how would I move about in Cappadocia ? Would appreciate any suggestions. over 5 years ago
You can fly to Nevishir for Cappadocia. Local buses are good and cost ok. I've ALWAYS driven in Turkey and found it ok. The roads good but signage not always there. The coast road from Fethiye to Kas and onwards to Antalya is amazing but it's too far for your time limit; you won't see anything. Look at the map and decide how far you want to go. It's a HUGE country! No train network but the buses are good. over 5 years ago
Just back from Turkey after my first visit- will definitely not be the last!! I took your suggestions and did SIRINCE , Seljuk, Ephesus , Pamukkale, Cappadocia and Istanbul, of course.
Some suggestions. Easier to book local tours through the hotels than a package from Istanbul- more flexible. Stayed at the Bella in Seljuk, with the wonderful Erdal who drove us to most nearby locations. Ephesus can be self guided- unless you want the full works provided by a guide.. Cleopatra's pool in Pamukkale is in my opinion a hype. You are better off lounging in the free pools outside.
To Seljuk , I flew from IST but returned by overnight coach- a kind of compromise. Same with Cappadocia- flew one way, returned by overnight coach to IST.
I would strongly recommend HotelOsman Han in Sultanahmet, with the charming, helpful and knowledgeable Fatih at the desk. Aya Sophia,the Blue mosque, topkapi and the Cistern are within 10 minutes walk. The Grand Bazaar is 15 minutes away. Location, location! For eating I suggest looking for places with a mix of locals and tourists. The 100% tourist establishments around the Sultanhmet square are decidedly pricier for the same or worse food! More in a later post. Tesekkur ederim , Turkish people -your hospitality and warmth is guaranteed to make me return! over 5 years ago