Two weeks around Turkey; Easy, difficult, feasible? Here’s how to organize your personal DIY tour to discover real Turkey.
But if you are looking for an easier tour my advice is to rely on organized tours. The price is equal to that used for a do-it-yourself trip even if the stages are much less organized. If you want to read the tour of Turkey by bus please read Tour of Turkey (historic + Antalya) – with tour operator. (1200 apiece)
Time, Budget and milestones
Time: 2 weeks
Budget: 1200 Euro approximately per head (of which 600 only of internal air displacement and from/to Italy) while very low the course of life (average price of fish dinner 7 euro)
Stages: Istanbul, Cappadocia, Antalya, Fethiye, DATCA, Ephesus, Pamukkale, Bodrum, Istanbul.
Olympos Woods-1 night
Bodrum-2 nights [Efeso e Pamukkale]
Is Turkey safe? We moved in solitary with all kinds of vehicles available: Car rental, scooter, bus, ferries and Metro. We have found no difficulty moving but indeed we organized our tour almost day by day (of course after identifying the main attractions and all the suggestions of the guide Lonely Planet), relying on the advice Of the hoteliers who turned out to be very friendly despite not speaking English in southern Turkey and relying on signs and gestures! They thought all of them and the scooter for our trips was often booked directly from the hotel.
Accommodation: We have booked from Italy the main hotels like those in Istanbul, Cappadocia and the hotel on the tree while we relied on Expedia to book with one or two days in advance the other hotels as Booking is obscured in Turkey ( Also for the Italians because the telephone line leans on those Turkish while we noticed that the Spaniards had no difficulty finding hotels on the site because their lines had another type of convention and they leaned as an IP address to their Country of origin). The accommodations are on average inexpensive, including luxury hotels.
Displacements: It was not difficult to organize travel throughout the country from day to day; It is not necessary to plan well in advance as it is very easy to pass from one city to another thanks to the buses that pass on the highway and stop to call (we also stopped under a sign and called the Bus stop).
Guide: Lonely Planet
Here is the map of the itinerary (with points of interest annexed)
A tip: Download the maps of the cities or areas you intend to visit so that they are available offline too. The WiFi in Turkey doesn’t seem to work very well.
Departing from Bergamo-Pegasus company about 150 Euro per head with direct arrival to Istanbul Sabiha Gate Airport.
To head to the hotel we took a taxi out of the airport that for 140 lire (now about 20euro) brought us to the hotel located in the Sultanahmet center of Istanbul.
Arrived at the Marmara Guest House we headed to the center of Istanbul. You can visit quietly the main part of the city in 3 days.
In addition to those described in the previous article here’s what not to miss in Istanbul:
Stopped a taxi driver in the center of Istanbul we noticed the taximeter positioned at the bottom of the normal location and we got suspicious but being the only taxi driver we still decided to use the service. Placing the meter down is easy for dishonest taxi drivers to move a lever comfortably with your hand to increase the price. This is not exorbitant prices as we are talking about Turkish lira but it is definitely the underlying concept that is wrong. We were then increased by double the price to arrive at Ataturk airport (much closer than the airport of the way) about 120 lire compared to the usual 60 and the taxite has also tried to hide the rest due. After being furious he proceeded to give us the correct rest.
We always found honest taxi drivers and this was the only drawback of our stay in Istanbul. We moved with the local media such as the Metro and it is always easy to get lost.
From Istanbul we then headed to Cappadocia with an internal flight of about 1 hour with Turkish airline with sandwich and drink included for about 40 euros.
At the exit a shuttle awaited us who took us comfortably our hotel-Relic house-in which we had a very good.
Tips for where to stay in Cappadocia:
From 34 Euro per night: Milat Cave Hotel
Or 70 euro Mithra Cave Hotel
Cappadocia is a beautiful region, perhaps the most characteristic and certainly deserves a tour for the Fairy chimneys and an experience on the balloon despite the high price.
Not far from here you can also visit the Salt Lake; An immense expanse with an effect similar to that in Bolivia;)
Wake up at 4 a.m. (We booked through Turkey’s agency Balloons, perhaps the best in the area) and after having been offered breakfast, at 5.30 we were taken to a valley ready to depart. The balloon trip lasts about 1 hour-to then land depending on where the wind decides. Do not panic if the driver is sympathetic and aims to crash into fairy chimneys. Sparkling wine with treats were finally served after the magnificent flight.
Other popular tours are the green tour and the Red Tour. The first one allows you to visit the wildest part of Cappadocia while with the second the most interesting historical sites.
We head to Antalya in which we will stay for 2 nights. We decide to spend the night on the bus of 9 hours that from Cappadocia would lead us to the destination. The seats were a little reclining (although they were not made for sure to sleep) and the ridiculously priced (55 Turkish lira) to deal with all 8 stops. For a stop in the bathroom it was necessary to get off the bus during one of the stops.
In Antalya from the bus depot we go to our hotel through the taxi.
Antalya Hotel-they didn’t speak English but they were all very helpful.
Here are some tips:
|Starting from $47-Delight Deluxe Boutique Hotel|| Starting from $100-Castle Hotel
| Starting from $134-La Paloma Hotel
|| Starting from $200-the Boutique Hotel-Adult Only
We spent the day at the seaside and then visit the ancient city and then dine at a restaurant (Mermerli restaurant) overlooking the sea spending about 10 euros apiece.
Other restaurants not to be missed near Antalya: The Seraser Fine Dining is one of the most refined restaurants in the city with international and Turkish recipes while a splendid panorama over the Gulf of Antalya can be enjoyed from the Castle Café Bar savoring Delicious Mediterranean cuisine or the 7 Mehmet which is one of the most famous restaurants in Antalya.
We spent the next day rafting in the river about 1 hour and a half away from the city.
Take a bus from Antalya until you arrive at Olympos lasting about 2 hours (PS: The bus is possible to take it either from any stop or in the middle of the road) to break the itinerary that would lead us to Fethiye.
Arrived in the city we took a Taxi to the Olympos Woods-a cottage on the tree in which we would have stayed to live here also a different experience than usual.
We asked if it was possible to go and see the Chimera (escorted free of charge with a shuttle) the same night and we immediately headed to the place. The cost of the visit is 30 lire (approx. 4 euros).
The Chimera (Yanartaş), or the eternal flames on a rocky mountain above the village of Çıralı near Olimpos is a fascinating natural phenomenon: about a dozen flames from a rock mass without apparent fuel to sustain them. The Flames burn a kind of methane gas that is expelled from the Earth on this rocky slope for thousands of years.
After 20 minutes of climbing on foot quite steep but with steps and in the dark (in the dark because the fire that comes out of the rock is more visible) we reach the location. (closing at 11)
The following day is dedicated to exploring the beaches.
The next day in the middle of the highway we take a bus to the locality Kas to take then an additional bus (recommended by those of the hotel) for one of the last stops to Fethiye in which we stay for two nights. Fethiye is known as “The Virgin of the homeland of light” because in addition to the beautiful beaches also welcomes the beautiful islands that can be visited with a very nice boat ride.
If the day is too windy and does not allow you to visit by boat the beautiful Butterfly Valley and the natural Park you will surely have the possibility to visit the other islets.
It is worth, finally, to take a bus to reach the beautiful sandy language of Oludeniz known throughout the world as “Blue Paradise”.
Other activities are getting aboard a Jeep for a saklikent safari or crossing the canyon on an off-roader.
Where to sleep
A bus to Marmaris and finally stop for 2 days. We arrive in the less touristy Turkey and we do not find anyone to communicate in English but we can understand very well anyway. We rent a scooter to discover all the beautiful coves to the tip of Knidos.
A city centre that also boasts blue-flagged beaches. The beaches of Datça are a mix of compact sand, gravel and pebbles. The sea is extremely clear and often calm, making the city of Datça a great place to swim.
The public beaches are Hastane altı Plajı and Taşlık Plajı.
Sevgi Yolu ha is a beautiful paved ground walkway that joins Kumluk Yolu. The two streets meet at an intersection where our hotel is located, the Fora Apart Hotel, which made our morning walk and the ride easier.
We have seen so many pics of Eski Datça on Instagram in the last two years or so that we could not miss a visit to the old town on this trip. We decided to walk (about 70 minutes via side roads rather than the main road) but there is also a bus that takes you up the hill to the intersection.
From Datcha by bus (for free) we arrive at Kairos Marina from which we will take the ferry-cost 50 lire-to arrive in Bodrum after about a couple of hours of crossing, last stop of our trip in which we will stay overnight but without making us miss a visit to Ephesus and Pamukkale.
A lot of travelers who visit Istanbul would also like to pay a visit to Ephesus. Ephesus is located 450 miles south of Istanbul and can be reached in 9 hours by bus. In this case, starting from the Bodrum stage will be reachable in a couple of hours.
It’s a wonderful site and you can spend all day wandering around, but in reality you’ll need about 4 hours and in this period make sure to visit the Terrace Houses complex within the main site. There is a surcharge to get in, but worth every penny.
“The surreal and luminous white travertine terraces and the warm and clear pamukkale pools descend, like the petrified waterfall of a mighty waterfall, from the edge of a steep valley in southwest Turkey. Truly spectacular in itself, the geological phenomenon that is pamukkale, literally “Cotton Castle” in Turkish, is also the site of the remarkably well preserved ruins of the Greco-Roman city of Hierapolis. ”
The best way to enjoy a little crowded visit is to spend the night in the village of Pamukkale, which has a lot of accommodations.
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