Travel tips for a Turkish newbie
April 1, 2008 3:12 PM   Subscribe

Help me set up my 11-day trip to Turkey this June.

I plan to visit Istanbul, than take the bus to Cappadocia/Goreme, then return by bus to Istanbul.

Exploring Istanbul and the bus rides seem straightforward enough, but should I reserve Cappadocia lodging in advance? (Underground might be fun, but probably beyond my budget.) Or should I arrange all this with a travel agent, ahead of time? (That's not my usual traveling style.)
Is getting around the Cappadocia region difficult?

Any tips for Istanbul hotels would also be appreciated, although that topic's come up previously.
posted by Rash to Travel & Transportation around Turkey (9 answers total) 5 users marked this as a favorite
I've never had problems just turning up in Cappadocia & walking around to find a room.

Having said that, I've never travelled there in June. I think that's a peak period for European summer holidays, so I *think* it would be best to book ahead. In some places, you can actually stay inside one of the fairy chimneys, and that's not to be missed if you can manage it.

It's not difficult getting around anywhere in Turkey, in my experience. Good roads, cheap buses & minibuses, regular connections. You can also charter transport in Cappadocia, and / or hire bicycles.

For an 11 day trip, I'd recommend you try to fit in some of the Mediterranean and / or Aegean coasts. Cappadocia to the Mediterranean coast is only about six hours, from memory. And none of the coastal towns west of Antalya, around the corner (Bodrum, Kas, Izmir etc & then North up the Aegean) are much more than a day's travel from Istanbul.
posted by UbuRoivas at 3:36 PM on April 1, 2008

Underground might be fun, but probably beyond my budget

don't assume that. i'm pretty sure i paid only about US$7 or so to stay in a fairy chimney. maybe it was 10 or 15, i forget. but still very cheap for the experience.
posted by UbuRoivas at 3:38 PM on April 1, 2008

> Is getting around the Cappadocia region difficult?

No, you'll find that there are Dolmus's (communal minibus-taxi things) all over the place. Alternatively, hiring a scooter or motorbike for a day is brilliant fun.

I've visited Cappadocia a couple of times, (worked there once), and I just turned up. You'll get a number of touts come and hassle assist you with finding accommodation. Depending on how drained you are after the bus ride, you can just collapse into their clutches, or have a wander around and check places out.
(oh, this is Goreme I'm talking about).

While you're there... get a Turkish bath and massage in Nevsehir (just up the road), and make sure you do a few wanders around Goreme and to the next village up the road, (the name of which escapes me now). You can have a great day just grabbing a couple of water bottles, a torch and a camera and wandering. If you go up the road toward the nearby National park thing, (essentially a fence put up around the best concentration of less-damaged frescos etc they could find), you can independantly explore around and you'll find outlying frescos in the deeper, larger holes. The national park thingy is cool too, but may be full of people. I had more fun finding my own places.
posted by pompomtom at 3:39 PM on April 1, 2008 [1 favorite]

Actually Ubu makes a good point about seasons.. both times I was there were quite early in the season. Booking ahead may well be advisable. I quite liked 'Panoramic Pansion', up the hill in Goreme. It is quite panoramic.

(also, if you come from anywhere with a currency stronger than the Turkish lira, (and that's almost everywhere), the accommodation shouldn't cost too much....)

And don't go to Kas. Horrible tourist trap place.
posted by pompomtom at 5:08 PM on April 1, 2008

And don't go to Kas. Horrible tourist trap place.

Also known as Goreme-on-the-coast. Hard, in my experience, to avoid (seeing) all the touristic shops etc in Turkey, unless you head way off to the east of Anatolia.

But digressing here.

On afterthought, 11 days = 2-3 in Istanbul upon arrival, about a week in Cappadocia (prob too much; a bit repetitive, IMHO), couple of days in Istanbul again...hard to squeeze much more in, and there's nowhere I can think of more or less directly between Istanbul & Cappadocia that's all that worth the effort.
posted by UbuRoivas at 5:51 PM on April 1, 2008

And don't go to Kas. Horrible tourist trap place.

Disagree. But then I enjoyed the experience of going scuba diving in the morning, then being picked up and taken to the hills to go parasailing, landing back at the marina...for much less than possible in the U.S. It's tourist-oriented, but not a tourist trap, and in a rather pretty area.

Definitely could've skipped Pamukkale, though.
posted by kittyprecious at 12:52 PM on April 2, 2008

Response by poster: Thanks for the info!

Regarding accomodation, note that I'll be traveling solo -- single rooms seem to be rare in Turkey.
posted by Rash at 2:55 PM on April 2, 2008

You can often get a double room at a discounted single rate, though I don't know if that applies in high season.

You haven't mentioned your daily budget. I haven't been in Turkey since 2001, so my memory's a bit hazy, but I think I paid something like $7-10 for a room, typically. Overall, I think it was one of those $15-20/day countries. If you're budgeting higher than that, you'll be living pretty well.

Also, Turkish food! Mmmm!!! Plan to put on at least five kilos.
posted by UbuRoivas at 3:28 PM on April 2, 2008

Response by poster: In Göreme I have had a great stay at the Köse Pension. Also I've found a cave room, elsewhere, for less than $20, a double but they're letting me have it for a single price (no breakfast included).
posted by Rash at 12:31 PM on June 30, 2008

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