Travelling between Istanbul, Ephesus, Cappadocia
Replies: 20 - Last Post: Aug 28, 2012 12:44 AM Last Post By: sarikanarya
Aug 15, 2012 10:05 AM
Day 1 - Istanbul
Day 2 - Istanbul
Day 3- Ephesus
Day 4 - Izmir area
Day 5 - Cappadocia
Day 6 - Cappadocia
Day 7 - Istanbul
Day 8 - extra day account for travel or allow extra time somewhere or to squeeze in a visit the WW1 Gallipoli Peninsula
What I am having difficulty figuring out is the most efficient and cost effective way to travel between each of these places. Also, if we should reverse the order. I think we will fly between Izmir and Cappadocia (maybe into Nevsehir) to save time.
Are there overnight buses or fast trains between Istanbul and Ephesus area? Also Istanbul to Cappadocia. We are definitely willing to travelling overnight on a bus to save time (and hotel cost).
Finally, any personal hotel recommendation in those areas would be greatly appreciated.
Aug 15, 2012 3:42 PM
1The three places you want to visit, Istanbul, Cappadocia and Ephesus are the most popular in Turkey. Nothing at all wrong with that, but many neglect the distance involved. This is about 2,000 km and about 40 hours by bus.
I know the idea of night busses is appealing as you spend "wasted" time in transport and may avoid hotel expense. Their coaches are very comfortable but are you certain everyone is OK with potentially spending 4 of your 7-8 nights on a bus? Some can get good sleep but others cannot--especially as all of the journeys will have stops and I've noticed that while many can sleep fine while moving, the stops wake them. There are trains in Turkey but in general such is the slowest way to travel. Also all trains heading east from Istanbul are cancelled for a few years as high-speed lines are being built.
You will have 7-10 hours of jet lag when you arrive in Istanbul. Some recover rapidly, others take at least a couple days to feel "themselves". Let me be honest and say that two days in Istanbul (especially when arriving with significant jet lag) is a virtual waste of time. Also, two days in Cappadocia is insufficient if doable in a pinch for time. With all sincerity the ONLY complaints I have ever heard or read regarding Cappadocia come from those who had two days and one night as part of a whirwind itinerary.
My suggestion for this amount of time, general itinerary and distance you've traveled:
Upon arrival in Istanbul, IMMEDIATELY FLY to Cappadocia. The two airports are Kayseri and Nevşehir. Flights to Kayseri are far more frequent and less expensive (book ASAP for the best price). Nevşehir is closer but flights are far less frequent and more expensive. Presuming you fly into Atatürk airport also fly OUT from there as the time to get to the other airport (SAW) will be greater than the flight time to Cappadocia! If you follow any of my suggestions for the itinerary this is the MOST IMPORTANT. Why? #1 This avoids splitting your skant time in Istanbul and reserves it for one piece at the end. #2 Cappadocia is a far better place to recover from jet lag than the hectic, huge city of Istanbul. #3 You will have at least a tiny bit of familiarity with Turkish culture before hitting the huge, hectic city.
Check this site for DIRECT flights from Kayseri to Izmir. (Notice that you can change the language to English.) The flights are not daily, but if they work with your schedule the price is quite reasonable and saves you a VERY LONG bus journey. This is one of the very few flights in Turkey that could be called "made for tourists" as the vast majority of point-to-point flights are routed through Istanbul. Overnight busses are available for this route and while you can find direct (no change of bus) there will be stops along the way.
Upon arrival in Izmir (either by plane or bus), IMMEDIATELY get a bus to the town of Selçuk which is on top of Ephesus and other interesting places to visit. Izmir is the 2nd largest city in Turkey and going there for a single night (except as required for transportation) is senseless. I suspect your "Izmir area" day is in fact for sites far more conveniently accessed from Selçuk.
Then fly or bus from Izmir to Istanbul to conclude your holiday--*hopefully with at least three full days to spend before even considering any sort of side trip outside the city*!
If you want to make hotel reservations in advance I would suggest such in Istanbul and Göreme (the best place for a short Cappadocian visit), most especially if you pre-arrange for transportation from the airport to the Göreme hotel. I suspect you will arrive in the wee hours in Cappadocia and you will greatly appreciate convenience and likely pay less than if you use a taxi. A public bus will be the least expensive way into Göreme. I'm not positive but suspect such is impossible between say 10:00 p.m. and 6:00 a.m.
Edited by: swampeastmike
Aug 16, 2012 1:38 AM
2Ditto to all Mike has written.This is a heavy itinery for 8 days.I do understand and appreciate that coming (expensive) long haul you want to see and do as much as you can but even with excitement and adrenelin carrying you along the first day will be pretty much wiped out by jet lag.
If your budget allows then fly all the long routes,overnight buses are cheap etc. but you'll end up bug eyed by the end of your tour!It makes no difference whether you go clock wise or counter clockwise,go the way that provides the cheapest and best connection/flight times.There may be better flights on to Kayseri or Nevşehir or there may be better flight times down to Izmir,use the Bulucak web site Mike gave you to search.
Forget about Çanakkale.I know this is important to Canadians but you really don't have the time this trip,save it for the next one :) Remember that by mid October the days are shorter giving you less viewing time at outdoor sites and that indoor sites will be on winter hours by then meaning most will close around 17.00-17.30-18.00.
Sorry for seeming negative,I'm not,I'm just trying to be realistic.It would be a pity for your trip to be just a rushed blur.
Aug 16, 2012 4:50 AM
3I did the same itinerary in May but had 14 days. See my trip report at Trip Report – Istanbul, Cappadocia, Selcuk – 2 weeks .
But if you have only eight days, you should definitely fly between the sites. Flights are almost as inexpensive as buses. If I had eight days, I would spend more time in Istanbul and choose only one of the other places.
Aug 16, 2012 7:24 AM
4Hello! I have read your posts and it seems to be very close to the information I am looking for. My boyfriend and I will be going to Turkey at the end of October for 2 weeks. Flying in and out of Istanbul. We would ike to go to Ephesus and Cappadocia and maybe fit in going to Kas for a short stop. Wondering if all this is possible and would it be worth it to fly as I have seen how long the bus rides can be.
What order would be best and it is too risky to book flights and trains once we get there? It seems difficult to book things online on our own from Cananda.
Aug 16, 2012 8:34 AM
5Two weeks is a much more reasonable length of time for Istanbul, Ephesus and Cappadocia and quick trip down to the Mediterranean coast is not out of the question.
Try to give yourselves at least four FULL days in Istanbul (and I will still say it's best if you reserve Istanbul until the end of your trip). Three FULL days for Cappadocia is approaching reason, but zero problem to find things to do if you stay longer! One full day for Ephesus is sufficient---there are certainly other things to see in the immediate area but compared to Ephesus itself they are rather anticlimactic. The end of October will find very comfortable daytime temperatures and smaller crowds in the ancient city.
Flights either to or from Istanbul are the best to consider. Do reserve early for the best prices! You sholdn't have any problem making reservations from Canada. Other flights from Turkish city to Turkish city will route through Istanbul (or perhaps Ankara) and are much more time consuming and generally more expensive as a result.
Cappadocia - Kaş will take at least 13 hours by bus; Kaş - Izmir at least 9. Night busses are likely available, but you would miss much in the way of beautiful scenery. You cannot pre-reserve busses and there are no trains for these routes.
A possible itinerary:
Arrive Istanbul, immediately fly to Cappadocia to spend three full days and 4-5 nights depending on transport connections.
Day busses Cappadocia * Kaş and Kaş * Izmir. This will take four days with four nights and two full days for Kaş wıth the rest of your time mainly spent in transport.
One night in Selçuk (near Izmir and to visit Ephesus) and then either fly or bus to Istanbul for your final 4-5 nights.
If you omit Kaş, you can spend more time in Cappadocia and/or Istanbul and also have time for a day or overnight trip to Pamukkale. If so, you can bus or fly from Cappadocia to Izmir. This is a long and generally unattractive journey so it IS a good place for a night bus.
I very much recommend that you spend some time at www.turkeytravelplanner.com ! It is an EXCELLENT resource for those who want to travel in Turkey. Many of the suggestions I make here have their origins at turkeytravelplanner and have been confirmed by my personal experiences in the country.
Aug 16, 2012 1:40 PM
6Pehasus airlines currently have a sale cutting a reasonable amount off flights from October to March, I think. Hurry to check their current prices - it ends 17 August. (But check out cheapest fares for any given day on http://www.skyscanner.net
Aug 16, 2012 1:57 PM
Aug 16, 2012 2:04 PM
8What airport do I select on Pegasus arilines fr Cappadocia?
Aug 16, 2012 2:11 PM
9Nevsehir or Kayseri. Nevsehir is closer, but the shuttles from Kayseri are more regular, I think.
Aug 17, 2012 1:33 AM
Aug 17, 2012 1:42 AM
11Yes it is still doable in December.Just be prepared for it being cold in Cappadocia and possibly snow there too.Capp looks sooo beautiful under snow :) and it is a dry crisp cold not that nasty damp cold,so it is bearable.
Rooms rates will be lower everywhere you go too which is a bonus but in Capp. be sure to book a room with heating and hot water!
In Istanbul most sites are indoors so the weather won't impact much on you.Even a short Bosphorus cruise is possible;just wait until you wake up to a dry bright sunny morning then wrap up well and go for it.
I'm guessing you may be female so use the search box facility to read up on safety tips for solo female travellers,nothing special,just the same common sense precautions you'd use anywhere.
Aug 17, 2012 6:40 AM
12thanks, sarikanarya! i found cheap round trip tickets and cappadocia is on my bucket list. i don't mind a bit of cold =) i'll have to book it then!
Aug 22, 2012 3:45 PM
13Thank you to all who contributed, this was exactly the advice I was looking for. I have adjusted itinerary:
Day1- land in Istanbul, fly immediately to Kayseri
Day 2 - Cappadocia
Day 3 - Cappadocia
Day 4 - Cappadocia/ fly to Izmir (or possibly first thing day 5)
Day 5 - Izmir to Ephesus (possibly rent a car at the airport to maximize time -- thoughts?)
Day 6 - Izmir to Istanbul (or may already have flown to Istandbul the night before, depending flights)
Day 7 - Istanbul
Day 8 - Istanbul
I know its rushed, but I just can't give up seeing Ephesus. And can't extend my stay as I am a mother of two young boys, and we have never been apart over night, let alone ten days! I am traveling with my husband and his brother and they are staying for an additional nine days, so will have more time to explore Turkey.
Are flights our best option, even over maybe taking one night bus? As parents of two small children, interrupted sleep is the norm, so I am not concerned about that.
Would you mind critiquing again, as I would like to get our in-country flights booked as soon as possible.
Again, thank you, thank you, thank you!!!
Aug 22, 2012 8:07 PM
14If I can't find a direct flight between Kaysir and Izmir, would a bus be better or just fly through Istanbul? Also, what company would I use to look up bus options?
I have been able to get the website you referred to translate to English. I tried 2 different browsers but just doesn't want to cooperate, but thank you for the suggestion!
Thank you again for your insight, it has been invaluable.
(4 star Hotel)
From US$177.32 per night
(3 star Hotel)
From US$132.38 per night
(0 star Hotel)
From US$14.50 per night