I am an Australian woman and want to travel to Turkey next year for our ANZAC Day celebrations at Gallipoli.
I am in REAL need of some assistance please in working out how to go about this trip - not having been to Europe before at all.
The overview, at the moment (all up in the air as for the life of me I don't know where to start), is to get to Turkey and then travel by train back through Europe to London.
The only places I MUST get to are: Gallipolli, Amsterdam and London - to see friends and relatives. In between is a total blank as there is too much to choose from.
I have only got three weeks to do this...... I know... no where near enough but work committments and finances dictate it.
Soooo.... what do you suggest please? BTW I am not into big cities - would prefer to spend my time in the "backblocks" with the real people and seeing how and where they really live and I love the countryside/bush/nature.
At the moment I am looking at possibly catching a train from Instanbul to Bulgaria - can I? From Bulgaria to Hungary, Croatia, Austria and Germany - (this is to utilise a Eurorail pass I am thinking of purchasing). Does this make sense to you? Or do you have any suggestions on how else to travel?
What in those countries would you suggest I could do and see? Any advice and hints you can give me would be gratefully appreciated.
Thank you in advance
I've been to Europe a few times over the past years and then went to Greece & Turkey this past May. I fell in love with Turkey as the people, food and culture were incredible.
I only had a week in Turkey so I did the western coast checking out Ephesus, Pergamum, & Pammukale. One suggestion might be to fly to Istanbul, make your way to Gallipoli via bus (or train if there is one), work your way down the west coast. From there, you can either fly from Izmir back to Istanbul and fly to your next destination. Or you could hop over from Turkey via the port of Kusadasi and take a ferry over to the Greek island of Samos (which only takes about 2 hours). From there, you can fly to Athens and then your next destination. The latter suggestion requires a lot of travel time which may not be preferable if you're on a limited amount of time.
I suggest flying as while taking the train is definitely good for sightseeing, it consumes a lot of time. The more time spent on a train means less time that you can spend checking out a city and its sights.
As for the Amsterdam to London section. If you have time, you can leisurely take the train from Amsterdam to Paris and then take the chunnel from Paris to London. I've flown from Amsterdam to London and its convenient but you'd have to go through Heathrow or one of the smaller airports. Part of your day does get consumed though in getting to the airport, checking in for your flight, arriving, clearing customs and then getting into the next city.
IMO you'll need at least 5 of them for London and another 4 for Amsterdam. Since friends are part of the mix, you'll never know what they might have planned so you might end up not seeing anything at all or not what you planned to do, so you maybe need an extra day for yourself. Also consider the jetlag, which will rob you of a day.
This leaves you with nine days for ANZAC and Turkey in general. Not much time, even if you reduce the number of days you spent in A'dam and London.
I guess that for you the cheapest and most efficienct way to do it is to fly in and out of London. From there it should be easy to get a cheap charter flight to Turkey. Alternatively fly with easyjet of ryanair to Berlin or Munich and catch a flight to Turkey there. From Turkey (ie Istanbul) you could fly with germanwings for around 50-100 EUR to Cologne (Köln) in Germany and from there go to Amsterdam.
Look for flight tickets about 4-5 months before you leave, then you'll get the best deals.
It is possible to take the train from Turkey all the way to London (Ever heard of the famous Orient Express Agatha Christie wrote about? You would be taking the route of that train.) Yet it is not really adviseable to do so, as you have not enough time to do this properly. That means hopping on and off in the countries you cross and to get to see a bit off them. Unfortunately this would at least double your travel time from 3 to 6 weeks, so it is better to refrain. Also you would be travelling through some of the not-so-nice-and-safe parts of Europe, where having your wallet stolen or getting mugged on the train is a very real and likely threat.
It should also be considered that in Bulgaria, Croatia and Hungary using point-to-point tickets can be cheaper than a Eurail pass.
Check www.seat61.com and http://www.turkeytravelplanner.com as well as http://www.ricksteves.com/
http://www.skyscanner.net will be helpful later, when flights are bookable.
www.bahn.de has the timetable for all European rail connections, www.eurolines.com is the European bus network.
Oh heavens....... I apologise sincerely for not answering these posts before this. I didn't receive any notification that anything had been posted in answer and had given up checking.
Thank you both for answering my post as I am still up in the air about what to do. I will answer you both individually just in case you don't receive any notification on this post.
Again thanks to you two
You can check www.anzacday.net for the Turkey part of your trip. You can also get some information from www.sisantours.com for the rest. Mrs. Nurten can help you from sisan tour. I used their service and it was value for money.
Thank you so much for that information. Will look at those sites tonight as I am going to booking my tickets etc on Sunday and certainly can use some further ideas. I appreciate your time.