Our plan is to start our holiday in Turkey toward the end of September and stay until the end of October – should be almost 6 weeks.
One of our goals is to not be in any one place during the ‘busy’ season, and I think Turkey in October meets that goal (hee hee…’Turkey in October’ makes me giggle as we obviously will not be having turkey that October!). We will be there just at the end of Ramadan, so we will have to read up on the customs and meanings around that, and learn how to be a gracious guest of the country during such a religious time.
We’ll start in Istanbul, but only stay in the city long enough to get our bearings and plan the bus trip east. We’re concerned about the weather in Turkey at this time of year and so have decided to travel east and south, where the heat will be retained longer, and then will return to Istanbul at the end to fully explore.
Ankara is the first destination where the Museum of Anatolian Civilization is said to be a must see. We’ll spend a few days here before continuing further east to Goreme, or the Valley of the Fairy Chimneys. I remember seeing pictures of this landscape when friends returned from Turkey a few years ago and thinking that it was like an alien landscape – I’m looking forward to seeing it myself and spending some time hiking around the area.
Then we’ll head southwest to Konya to see the famed whirling dervishes before heading further southwest to Antalya to explore this city, it’s beaches and do some hiking along the Lycian Way. I’ve read that it’s possible to do day trips along this route and that it is stunning.
We’ll leave the coast then and head northwest to Pamukkale to visit the Travertine Pools. I’ve read conflicting reports on whether this is a worthwhile trip or a tourist trap – we’ll have to decide if it’s worth it or not.
Ephesus is the next stop where we will learn the history of this ancient site and the surrounding area before we head further north to other historical sites, Troy and Gallipolli.
Then it’s back to Istanbul for the remainder of our time in Turkey. We’ll seek out a longer term rental here – maybe an apartment – and settle in for 10-14 days. It’s now that we’ll really explore the city, it’s neighborhoods, mosques and markets. We won’t be so concerned about the weather when we have a home base.
This itinerary really only shows us only the western portion of Turkey for a few reasons. Number one; I’m not sure how far we can travel given the time we have, and number two; I’m not sure how easy it is to travel farther east. I have heard that the Black Sea coast and Van Lake are beautiful with great hiking and fabulous scenery. Certainly I can see that, once we are there and have our ‘travel legs’, we could decide to travel further east.
I know though, that wherever we go in Turkey will be magical – it is one of the destinations that I am most looking forward to.