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Izmir or Antalya?

Providence, Rhode...
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Izmir or Antalya?

Planning a vacation of about 16 travel days in Turkey for the end of the summer. We want to spend roughly half the time in Istanbul and then in another town/small city easily accessible from Istanbul. The first half in Istanbul would be a "City Trip" spending time seeing cultural events, mosques, historical sites, etc. The second half is the "Beach Trip" where we are a little bit more relaxed. However, while I like swimming and going to the beach, my husband has a skin condition that is aggravated by ocean water, and while he's happy to spend some time relaxing in the sun we're looking at places that have a little more to them than just a nice coastline.

For this reason, I'm thinking of Antalya or Izmir. Antalya seems to have the best beaches and might be a prettier place to visit in its own right, but Izmir seems more interesting historically/culturally and it's not horribly far from some nice beaches (though not nearly as close or as nice as those near/in Antalya it would seem). Really would like to stay in an area with an airport close by in order to reduce total travel time.

Thoughts or preferences?

Thank you!

-Ashley

26 replies to this topic
Kayakoy, Turkey
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1. Re: Izmir or Antalya?

Hello -Ashley!

Izmir is a lovely town for strolling around but you won't find a beach! For a beach you better go to Selçuk, where is Ephesus. There is a lovely beach nearby called Pamucak.

For Antalya, true that the beaches are quite nice but they are pretty far away from the town center where it is better to stay. You can still stay in the old town (Kaleici) and there is a small beach near the harbor a few steps down from the old town.

Looking at your wishes (beach and town combined), I can also recommend Fethiye as a place to stay. It is not that far from Dalaman airport, just about 45 minutes. And that does not differ too much with the transfers from Antalya airport or Izmir airport to the town centers. Only Antalya to Lara is a shorter transfer but that area really has not much else to offer than large hotels and becah. ıt is not a nice are for exploring.

Fethiye has truly the best coastline for both beach and town. The town is pretty small compared to the other 2. There are lots of options for beaches. There is Calis beach, quite wide but not very deep pebbly beach, Ölüdeniz has the famous lagoon (the lagoon that you will always see on each and every advertisement on Turkey) and a lovely much deeper beach at the commercial side, Koca Calis is much more unspoiled and you will find more locals there and quite some very modern beach clubs on the Fethiye peninsula.

There are lots of good restaurants, many directly on the seafront, good shopping, good walking since the town itself it hardly hilly, some great villages in the area...

Well there is much more to it, but first of all I hope this helps for a start!

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2. Re: Izmir or Antalya?

you seem to know so much, so if there are only 7 nights, between Antalya, Fethiya, Pamukkale and Selcuk, is it too rush to go to all of them? do you think my plan works and I will have time to see most of the beautiful sceneries? we are into both historical sites and amazing landscapes.

1. Antalya 2 nights and 1.5days

day trip to Sides

2. Fethiya 2 nights

3. Pamukkale 1 night

4. Bodrum 1 night (1.5 days)

drive to Selcuk at the late afternoon

5. Selcuk 1 night

visit Ephensus the next day, and then take night train from Izmir to Istanbul and then.catch our flight at 14:50.

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3. Re: Izmir or Antalya?

All you will be doing is travelling packing and unpacking, far too many places. Do you know distances? Have you looked a how long it takes between them?

Yes, you will tick boxes, no you will not enjoy your trip.

Two nights in Fethiye is not enough, If you like historical sites and beautiful scenery. Fethiye has it all.

There are some many places near Fethiye to drive to. Places like Tllos, Kayakoy, Saklikent Gorge.Fethiye itself has rock tombs and a lovely Marina, Great shopping in quirky places like Paspatur (the old town). A Fish Market open 7 days per week where you can pick your own fish and have it cooked for you in one of the restaurants there. The biggest market in the area every Tuesday. A lovely Marina where you can book a book trip to see the twelve Islands, boats stop in coves where you can swim. The boat taxi from Fethiye to Calis Beach (where some of Skyfall was filmed) Calis has the best sunsets in Turkey, A visit Oludeniz which has the most beautiful scenery and watch the Paragildes jumping off the mountain and sailing down to the beach at Oludeniz. Go to Kayakoy and see the old Greek Ghost Town. Go to Saklikent and walk up the Gorge. Visit Tlos where you can explore the Rock Tombs and learn about it’s 4,000 year old history. They are still digging there and in the last few years found two Roman Statues which are now in the Museum in Fethiye.

There is so much to see in do if you base yourself in Fethiye you are around 20-30 minutes from most places.

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4. Re: Izmir or Antalya?

Thanks so much for your into. So then should we skip Antalya or skip Bodrum?

To go to Antalya is because of Said, if Fethiya has it similar little towns by the water, we don't have to stay at Antalya, just take our renting car and drive to Fethiya after our plane arrives. but if you think Antalya area is different from Fethiya and worth 1.5 days, then we will stay there for 2 nights. What do you think?

Is 1.5 days enough for Cappadocia area? is base at Goreme a good idea?

We will take the train or drive from Pamukkale to Selcuk before the night fall and stay there for one night, the next day stay most of the day at Ephesus, then take a night train from Izmir to Istanbul. But do you think Selcuk and Izmir worth more time?

Bodrum is too much drive to Pamukkale, so we would skip it for sure this time. Thanks for your input!

London, United...
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5. Re: Izmir or Antalya?

Quite frankly your whole plan sounds like a nightmare to me - rushing from a to b.... just ticking off that you have been there? For example, in my opinion, for the trip to be worthwhile, you need more than 1.5 days for Cappadocia.

Kayakoy, Turkey
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6. Re: Izmir or Antalya?

Camillex424, well it is a different way of traveling and it works as well, only you will see less on one place but more over the country in a limited time. I meet people who do Europe in 2 weeks :-)

My traveling started exploring France by car and we never stayed longer than 1 or 2 days in one place, it is a different experience and you can be as flexible as you like. It depends a bit which time of the year you are traveling, certain parts of the season places can be quickly fully booked, earlier and later you can book as you go.

The condition is of course i that you consider the traveling bit as a part of your holiday. personally I love road trips, you do never need to stay long, just as you please. Your itinerary is not over too many kilometers, but the best way is to travel by rental car and you should try to make a loop, so you deliver the car at the same place of pick-up. Looking at the places you mention fly into Dalaman airport, rent the car from Dalaman. Drive to Fethiye and stay 2 days, drive to Antalya (forget about Side), on your way to Antalya along the coast you can stop at Patara a much more beautiful beach:

Worth the stop (picture!) is Kaputaş beach, continue via Kaş (lunch).... a long and winding road will be coming all the way to Antalya. Stay in Kaleici the old town. Your hotel needs to sort out the access for a car.

Next you drive via Korkuteli to Denizli to Pamukkale, this ride does not take too long, the road is very good.

From Pamukkale to Selcuk, also not a very complicated ride, only the first bit getting away from Pamukkale to E87 was a bit confusing for us, leading us through very narrow backstreets (with GPS).

You could visit Bodrum, but probably you will run out of time, and just as lovely bu very different is Bafa lake or Dalyan returning back to Dalaman airport.

Hope this helps, good luck!

New York City, New...
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7. Re: Izmir or Antalya?

hello Attagul, VillaRhapsody and Frances-Jane, how about this itinerary?

Istanbul Jul 13, 14, 15, 16

Istanbul- Goreme (fly) Jul 17, 18, 19

Goreme- Antalya (fly) Jul 20

drive to Fethiya and stay at Fethiya Jul 20, 21,22, 23

(drop by Kaş, Demre, Adrasan, Çıralı, Ulupınar, Phaselis, Kalkan)

Fethiya- Pamukkale July 24

Pamukkale - Ephesus (drive) Jul 25

Juy 26 the whole day at Ephesus and then take the overnight train from Izmir to Istanbul

Kayakoy, Turkey
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8. Re: Izmir or Antalya?

That is a great plan too, Camillex424! Different to you first plan, and in my opinion you lose more of the magic of you holiday by checking in at airports, waiting, flying, transfer to hotels etc. But Cappadocia is wonderful. Be warned that in summer it can be very very hot there and you will totally miss the sea breeze. The drive from Antalya to Fethiye is lovely, do stop in Cirali/Olympos and forget about Adrasan, it is lovely but the former is better. Do add Kekova/Kale in the list though. Kaş is the better one between Kaş and Kalkan. You could skip Kalkan. Demre is only worth for Myra and Beymelek is a lovely small village where you can eat blue crayfish.

Near Fethiye Saklikent gorge is a beautiful place to cool down is summer but be sure to be early, before the crowds arrive. If you like to see more Lycian sites there are plenty in the area (Xantos and Pınara are the most beautiful imho). And the rest of your plans is simple and good.

One more thing, drop one day in Fethiye and stay between Antalya and Fethiye, either in Kekova the sunken city or in Kaş!

Cheers!

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9. Re: Izmir or Antalya?

I agree - you are now getting a plan Camillex!! 3 days in Goreme gives you plenty of time to explore Cappadocia. And again I agree with VR about stopping off a few places between Antalya and Fethiye (I don't think you could really fit in all your places in one day drive anyway). so allow 2 days for the drive and then a further 2 days to explore around Fethiye (the lagoon at Olu Deniz and abandoned village of Kaya Koyu, Saklikent Gorge another day or the Lycian ruins). One thing though - have you checked there is a flight to Antalya that date - there are only flights in the summer months, but I do not know if they fly every day.

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10. Re: Izmir or Antalya?

or maybe stay at Antalya for July 20th and visit Said. the next day July 21 morning drive from Antalya to Fethiya through the coastal road, and then explore Fethiya area on July 22 and 23. in the afternoon of July 24 drive to Pamukkale.

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