Winter holidays in Turkey itinerary, comments?
Replies: 8 - Last Post: Nov 17, 2012 11:22 AM Last Post By: Daichovo
Nov 3, 2012 1:32 PM
Winter holidays in Turkey itinerary, comments?Hi,
I am going to Turkey over break after Christmas (have to work in the US through Dec 25 and can't go earlier). I have to be back in US for a wedding on Jan 6th so this is what I worked out.
Arrive via plane 2am in Istanbul 28th Dec
Fly out to Kayseri 6am arrive there 8am for 2 days in Cappadocia/Goreme.
--Stay in cave hotel and do touristy tours (recommendation for specific tours here?)
Fly to Izmir for Ephesus and/or Pammukale (arrive noon on 30th leave eve 31st)
--I have friend of a friend in Urla, is it too far to stay there? Also considering to stay at Pammukkale
Fly back to Istanbul for New Year's Eve gig with friends, spend rest of time there with my friend/his family, playing music, eating, drinking, tourist stuff (they live in Beyoglu!)
Fly back to US on morning of 4th :(
I decided to spring on the inter city flights just because I have so little time there. Prices are pretty inexpensive and I will have free lodging most of the time so will have some extra money.
Any comments on trip, is it a good use of the time I have, or anything not to miss? It is my first time in Turkey though hopefully not the last.
Nov 3, 2012 1:45 PM
1Also I managed to have significant layovers in Hamburg (10 hrs) Frankfurt (5 hrs) and Zurich (7 hrs) so any recommendations there would be appreciated!
I am a very high energy person so I am not worried about being too tired (plus, if I ever get REALLY pooped that's what the hamams are for ;) ...just trying to be realistic about what is possible.
Edited by: Daichovo
Nov 3, 2012 3:14 PM
2Just checking flights for 28th and the earliest one from Istanbul Ataturk(you are flying in there and not SAW aren't you?)is to Kayseri at 06.45 arrive 08.05 with Turkish Airlines(THY).So you have a bit of a wait between flights but not too bad.If you are coming in on THY then you can check your luggage all the way through to Kayseri.
In Cappadocia local buses are pretty good but to make the most of your time I would certainly recommend what is known as the Green Tour as this takes in some of the particularly interesting but more distant area's such as Ilhara valley and Derinkuyu underground city.
Be aware there is likely to be some snow there at that time but this just makes it look even more magical-if colder :) but nothing a warm coat and gloves can't cope with.Ensure where ever you stay has proper heating and hot water systems and doesn't just rely on solar panels.Most hotels in the area are well set up for winter tourism but there are still a few that aren't.
Pamukkale is a fair way from Urla which is just south of Izmir;it takes around 3½ hours on the bus.With so little time it would be better to stay in Selçuk even though you have to pay for accomodation LOL!.You could stay there a night and then take the bus to Pamukkale.There are several hotels there which are open all year round.
Again checking flights...it may be better to fly to Izmir the evening before to keep your daytime hours free,especially as daylight hours are short at that time.On the 30th even the best connection doesn't get you to Izmir until 11.00 so you lose the whole morning!
On 29th Pegasus Airlines have a connector flight via SAW,depart Kayseri 21.50 arr.SAW 23.05,dep.SAW 23.45 arr.Izmir 00.45 price 133TL(PC165>br/>PC114).
There is also an earlier connector with THY but it is more expensive at 206TL but the times are better.Dep.Kayseri 19.30 arr.IST. 21.00 dep IST. 22.00 arr.Izmir 23.05.,These would mean you can get up early and get to Ephesus and be done by lunchtime.
There is a bus direct to Pamukkale village with Pamukkale Turizm bus company at 15.30 which would be ideal for you,arrives 19.50....just in nice time for evening dinner :)
If you do go onto Pamukkale then you can then fly back to Istanbul from Denizli Çardak airport.Only THY cover this route so flights aren't über cheap but not too bad.They have a flight at 19.05 arrive Ist.at 20.15 for 129TL (THY-TK2579)meaning you would have most of the day at Pamukkale.
Hope this is a help.....
Nov 3, 2012 9:14 PM
3Awesome, I will check out those other flights! I have preference for Turkish Airlines but one flight is not bad. I must have missed the other flight arriving Izmir at 23:05, also I did not investigate Denizli well either. I have not bought flights yet.
Yes I am flying in/out of Ataturk for all flights, it seems to have more connections and also my friend's family is on that side of Istanbul- easier to get to their place and also if anything goes wrong...
Nov 3, 2012 10:15 PM
Nov 4, 2012 12:45 AM
5THY are the flag carrier but we are very lucky here in that there are several domestic carriers and they are all good,so don't wory about using Pegasus,they're fine.One thing if you book online is that you should enter the amount in Euro's not USD or TL.This is true for Pegasus and may also be true for THY too.
It is worth booking asap to get the best prices usually.
All sites are open as normal on Dec.31st.They will be closed until 13.00 on 1st Jan.as only that day is an official holiday day......but I doubt that will affect you......not with the hangover you'll have :)
NYE in Istanbul is a nice time and Beyoğlu is great for nightlife.Try to find a high point to watch the fireworks from the bridges over the Bosphorus,they are spectacular!But stay away from Taksim Square as this is where all the idiots congregate :(
Nov 4, 2012 2:37 PM
6With this information I think I will skip Ephesus and Izmir, flying to Denizli for almost 2 days. I love hot springs and really like to see Pamukkale (it is very like Hierve el Agua which I was lucky to see in Oaxaca, Mexico recently). Also Aphrodisias seems really cool and I have some need of her services as of late....
Maybe I can try Ephesus, Izmir, Urla, etc on another, warmer trip.
Nov 4, 2012 10:58 PM
7Unfortunately there are no flights from either Nevşehir or Kayseri to Denizli.So you would need to either fly into Izmir and then take the bus or train.Or you can fly back to Istanbul and fly from there to Denizli.
Always a complication isn't there :-o
Aphrodisias is indeed a beautiful site to visit and is a real rival to Ephesus-but without the crusise ship hordes.I'm not sure how effective she is these days but hey,maybe you'll get some inspiration.......
Nov 17, 2012 11:22 AM
8Here is final detailed itinerary, I am quite pleased with activities and price, maybe it will interest people on what can be done, and on a budget:
Dec 24- fly LAX-EWR, play Xmas gigs in NYC
Dec 25 - more Xmas gigs! dinner with family in south Jersey
Dec 26- concert in Philly, hitch a ride to EWR with friend, fly EWR-HAM in evening
Dec 27- arrive in Hamburg 7:30am, do a boat ride and a free 3-hr city tour
fly HAM-FRA 4-5ish, dinner downtown Frankfurt, maybe a museum or walking
fly FRA-IST late eve
Dec 28- arrive IST 2am and out to Kayseri at 7-8a
Green tour and maybe a Turkish night (I have to see if the music is worth it) or visit to
hamam which is in hotel (Kelebek hotel was 40% off!- looks like v nice cave room)
Dec 29- probably Blue tour, or hike + Goreme museum, local dinner or potentially Sema night
Dec 30- fly early! to Denizli via Istanbul, Laodicea on way to hotel from airport
visit Aphrodisias and maybe the mudbaths/hot spring in the late aft/eve if still open
Dec 31- visit Hierapolis and Pamukkale, flight to IST for NYE festivities and possible gig
Jan 1-3- Istanbul sightseeing, hang with friends, jam sessions
Jan 4- IST-ZRH, arive at 10ish, do a boat/trolley tour thing (3.5 hrs)
ZRH-HAM, stay overnight/hang with friend of friend (on my friend's dime, sweet!)
Jan 5- HAM-EWR, lunch/dinner (and probably some shut-eye) at my sister's
EWR-Fort Myers, drive to Naples
Jan 6- possible early morning kayaking in Estero Bay, visit zoo, wedding in aft/evening
Jan 7- all day kayaking trip in Everglades
Jan 8- back to LA! And straight back to med school...I did give myself ONE day off to recover :/
Price for Europe flights was right at $1100, which I thought was good considering that there are TEN of them technically and I had no flexibility on the dates (just the connections), and it’s holiday season.
Price for US flights was $360 which is not bad at all again, also I did not have flexibility here at all (just on the time but not day on return)
By having my specific schedule I was able to include gigging in the US to make some $$ before I leave to offset costs. I also only booked on Star Alliance, I will be eligible for a trip to Europe in the spring now which is awesome. Prices could have been even less on other airlines.
Price for ALL activities in all places (so including activities I'm not sure about yet) and also meals, hotels, car rental, transport, and wedding gift should be just over 1000. I'm sure there will be more expenses for going out for drinks/coffee, snacks, etc and of course souvenirs but that's pretty darn good if I say so myself.
All hotels I booked single rooms for, no hostels excepting one night in Hamburg which I might end up having a place to stay (I am staying at a friend’s place in Istanbul so free there). The hotel in FL I probably will split costs with a friend, but for now am planning on single. I decided to join several organized tours as my Turkish is really really minimal (and my German, nonexistent) and I am a single young woman (tours seem worth it anyway, at least in Cappadocia). So you could do this even cheaper, for sure.
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