i'm looking at going to Turkey for around a month next summer (around June '09). i'm assuming i'd stay in Istanbul and travel out from there, but beyond the typical attractions, what are some places people would recommend with this kind of time frame in mind? i know i'd like to go up to the Ukraine for sure, but as to parts of Turkey, what should one not miss?
i'm also looking at various options for accommodation and think it might be more advantageous to sublet a room for a month rather than stay in a hostel (which i'd rather not do anyhow.) any thoughts to this?
That is a far-fetched question as much as I am concerned.. but let me try to asnwer it for you:
1-) For Istanbul, try going off-the-beaten path.. Remember, it's almost all-safe during midnight, and after midnight, places such as Taksim, Beşiktas and midtown attractions are totally safe.. Just try not to leave the mainstream of people at late at night, such as 01.00 a.m. and after. Please ask specific places that you are concerned and I'll try asnwering it for you.
You cannot base yourself in Istanbul and then explore Turkey from there. The distances involved are far too large. Most backpacking tourists visit 3 main regions: The Lycian Coast (west and southwest) including Pamukkale and Ephesus, Cappadocia and Istanbul. It takes about a day to travel from one region to the other, Goreme in Cappadocia to Istanbul is a 12 hour bus ride.
If you wanted to really see Turkey you'd need to move around and hop from hotel to hotel and from pension to pension. I did just that I did not regret it at all. If you don't like hostels stay in hotels or small family pensions. Turkey is still very affordable for a westerner and a few times I was able to stay at a hotel for just 18 EUR per night.
See www.turkeytravelplanner.com for info on travelling in Turkey.
Goosh you are organised, a year before!!! Anyway 4 weeks is a pretty good time frame. I would stay away from the tourist places like Marmaris, Antalya etc. Cappadocia is seriously magic. I have heard that Olympos has changed in last few years, but when I stayed there in tree houses it was great..
Good luck whatever you do, Turkey is a one beautiful country!
thanks for all the feedback. in looking at my time frame (and considering how much time i'd like to spend in each place) i'm thinking it may be wise to limit myself to Istanbul, Cappadocia and then my little side trip to the Ukraine (maybe 5 days there.)
though i'm curious....what about Erzerum and Eastern Turkey? i really know nothing of it but am intrigued. i've known someone who went to Trabzon and found it really wonderful. is it a safe region for a solo female? perhaps that's a consideration for a later trip but still thought that i'd ask.
i especially like your suggestions t_maia. i was under the impression that Turkey wasn't as affordable as it once was (though considering the USD that assumption may be correct) but it's nice to know there are still some deals to be had.
I don't want to scare you now but...
It is impossible to predict what the security situation will be like in Eastern Turkey in summer 2009. Turkey is currently at war with the Kurds in Northern Iraq, in retaliation Kurdish rebels kidnapped a group of Germans hiking to the top of Mt Ararat (yes, the one with the Ark) at the border to Armenia a few weeks ago.
When I was in Eastern Turkey in 2006 there was a significant military presence there, but apart from that everything was quiet. Tourism was picking up (especially hikes to the summit of Mt. Ararat) and it was deemed safe to travel there.
Yet the situation with the Kurds in Iraq was already brewing then and it was only time until something happened. Turkey declared war and the situation went quickly downhill from there.
Nobody expected a kidnapping of tourists, but in retrospect it makes sense.
It is impossible to say whether it will be safe for tourists to enter the Kurdish Areas in 2009.
I could also say that Erzurum, Trabzon and the areas surrounding them are not pretty much the Kurdish areas, and that means they are safe - just try not to visit the areas that have direct border to a-) Iraq (thanks to our American buddies..) b-) Iran c-) Armenia.. they are, specially the rural areas are, not safe for a solo female traveller... Cappadocia area is pretty pretty much safe, if you just don't hitchkike and sit down and speak to everybody that approaches you.. I lived like half-an-hour drive to Cappadocia area for alomst three years and when I was there most of my job is to help foreigners, specially english-speaking tourists that are in need of urgent help. I have to say, I didn't encounter more than a dozen cases per year, so this is very very low percentage compared to a lot of other destinations around the world...
And also, if you first choose Istanbul and then move eastwards from ıstanbul you find many attractions such as Bursa, (Mt. Uludag), Ankara, Konya (Konya is a great place to stay a night and visit the city.. plus it is close to Cappadocia) Kayseri (if you like mountains.. there is Mt. Erciyes there), Kahramanmaras (to discover real Turkish rural life... plus one of the safest cities in Turkey) and Gaziantep (for great traditional food).. However, I don's suggest you to move any southeaster than Gaziantep.
I am more than glad to asnanswer wer any other questions you have.
I am Turkish and i live in istanbul. And Turkey is not in war. Turkey is safe country.
Go to Van East Turkey if you can its amazing place I travelled there in 05 and loved it. I have travelled from north to south and east to west its an amazing country so vast. I love travelling around turkey internal flights are cheap if your time frame is short the the night travel by coach is far better than the uk and I would say its safer travelling there than here in the uk enjoy