One of the few countries to span 2 continents, Turkey has a kaleidoscope of experiences to offer! From hot air ballooning and underground cities to healing thermal pools and the most exquisite places of worship, this country has something for everyone!
I will be writing a series of posts about Turkey, but I thought I would start with the most appropriate, which is how to plan your route and travels around Turkey in order to get the most out of your trip.
My family and I visited Turkey for 10 full days, which I would say is the perfect amount of time. We started off in Fethiye, then moved on to Pamukkale, followed by Cappadocia, and lastly Istanbul. I’ve plotted a map below to show the route we took.
Istanbul —-> Fethiye
After flying with Turksh Airlines into Istanbul, we hopped on to another flight to Dalaman which is located in Turkey’s Mugla province. Fethiye is approximately 45 minutes from the Dalaman airport. This charming coastal town offers so many different activities such as paragliding, exploring Alexander the Great’s cave, and walking through one of the deepest gorges in the world. We only spent 2 nights here, and I feel like 3 would have been more suitable as there also a few islands to visit nearby.
Most tourists visiting Turkey flock to Antalya. After researching both towns, Fethiye has so much more to offer than it’s favoured counterpart. Be sure to do your homework beforehand, but my advice would be to go to Fethiye!
Fethiye —-> Pamukkale
We did a day trip to Pamukkale to visit the thermal pools, and had a flight booked out of Denizli the same evening.
This trip can be quite a nightmare to plan! Basically, the best way to get to Pamukkale is by bus via Denizli. The problem is that it can not be pre-booked online… you have to do it once you’re there. The first step is to get to the main bus station (I would suggest doing this a day before you want to travel as the spaces fill up quite fast). There are many bus companies offering services to Denizli. The usual price is around 40 TL ($10 or R120).
NOTE: None of these bus companies offer trips directly to Pamukkale, even though they may say they do. What they actually mean is that they offer the service to Denizli, and thereafter you would have to catch a shuttle bus to Pamukkale.
*Please make sure the company is aware that you want to go to Pamukkale*
The issue that we had was that we had all our luggage with us for the next flight. If this is your situation (as it most probably will be because there isn’t much to do in Pamukkale other than the thermal pools), speak to the bus company about storing your luggage at their offices in Pamukkale, and about getting a private transfer from Denizli instead of using the shuttle. There are luggage storing facilities at the Denizli bus station, but there is a fee and for a larger family, this could be expensive. The private transfer that we used also took us from Pamukkale to Denizli airport which was more convenient than going back to the Denizli bus station with the shuttle.
Denizli —-> Kayseri
There’s no doubt that Cappadocia should be a part of your trip to Turkey. It’s a once in a lifetime experience with enchanting towns, bizarre landscapes and the most amazing views from a hot air balloon!
There are two options for this route: bus or plane. The overnight bus trip takes approximately 14 hours but is a lot cheaper. We opted for the flight because of time constraints. The only problem is the limited number of direct flights into Kayseri. There are more available during the Summer months (June, July, August), but we had to fly via Istanbul. The flights between Denizli and Istanbul, and Istanbul and Kayseri were 1 hour each.
The Cappadocia region is approximately 1 hour away from Kayseri airport, and a transfer can easily be arranged with your hotel or the tour company you’re using in Cappadocia. We spent 3 nights in Goreme which was just right. It’s important to have a spare day if you’re planning to do the hot air balloon trip because if the weather isn’t good, the balloons don’t fly!
Kayseri —-> Istanbul
2 reasons we visited Istanbul on the final leg of our trip: The flight back home was at 1am on the last day, and baggage allowances for internal flights were only 15kg as opposed to 30kg for international… where would all my shopping from Istanbul have fitted?!
There are many flights from Kayseri into Istanbul, and the flight is just an hour long. We used Turkish Airlines for this one, and I have to say they’re one of the best domestic airlines I have experienced! We spent 4 nights in Istanbul which was way too much time! To be honest, it was my least favourite part of the trip … but you’ll hear more about it in the posts to come!
Please contact me directly if you need more help or advice when planning your trip!