A tour of some ancient sites of Turkey

Discussion in 'Continental Touring' started by Don Madge, May 3, 2008.

  1. Don Madge

    Don Madge Funster

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    We completed this tour of Turkey in 2002 and as a few people have shown an interest in visiting Turkey I've at long last put this together. If ancient ruins is not your thing read no further.

    I'm just concentrating on the trip in Turkey between Ipsala where we crossed into Turkey from Greece and Marmaris where we caught the ferry to Rhodes.

    The tour goes anti clockwise along the Aegean and Mediterranean coasts and then back through central Turkey via the lakes.

    GALLIPOLI PENINSULA (GELIBOLU)
    We toured the peninsula for three days and visited many of the allied cemeteries, at the time (2002) the Turkish cemeteries were few and far between but when we visited again in 2006 we found some very large impressive Turkish memorials.

    The Turks commemorate Ataturk's success on the 18th March, for the allies it's Anzac Day on the 25th April. It would be wise to avoid the peninsula on these two dates.

    Although the area is a national park we had no problem overnighting in (2002) in the information centres car parks. Now there's a campsite open all year at Kum Limani Beach, 4 miles south of Kabatepe on the west coast of the peninsula free camping could be a problem.

    TROY (TRUVA)
    We were very disappointed in Troy, there's not much left of the site and the replica wooden horse looked like something from a movie.

    There's no overnight parking at Troy and the site is well guarded.

    BERGAMA.
    Pergamum. Acropolis/Asclepion. Well worth the drive up the hill. Superb views of the local country side from Pergamum. No overnight parking allowed.

    Campsite on left 2km before Bergama on entering town from the coast. Site is situated behind the Caravan Restaurant.

    EPHESUS.
    One of the best preserved archaeological sites in Turkey. This is a must. Try and arrive earlier as the place gets over run by coach parties.

    No over night parking allowed. Site is extremely well guarded.

    I would suggest staying at Camping Onder in Kusadasi a well located site on the sea front opposite the marina.

    PRIENE, MILET (MILETUS), DIDIM (DIDYMA)
    Small ruins but well worth a visit, we spent the night in the car park at Milet.

    BODRUM.
    Very touristy town, very difficult to park but the Castle of St Peter is well worth a visit.

    DALYAN.
    Kaunos ruins and Lycian Rock Tombs.

    If campsite is closed (open March-December) park along river bank and take small boat across river and walk to Kaunos ruins. Well worth a visit.

    FETHIYE.
    Pleasant Harbour walk and restaurants. There are some very good Lycian tombs at the back of the town on the hillside.

    Oludeniz. Beautiful lagoon for a relaxing time. Free camping and campsites available.

    KAS.
    Picturesque old town and harbour. Overnight parking allowed on harbour. Toilets/showers and electric hook up available.

    FINIKE.
    Overnight parking at "Harbour" not "Yacht Marina" We parked alongside sea wall just clear of the coast guard jetty opposite the fishing boats.

    OLYMPOS & CHIMAERA.
    Well worth a visit, could be a problem in the wet. Area is set in national park, good beach. Overnight parking can be arranged at the "Tree Houses" in Olympos.

    ANTALYA.
    Nice town and harbour well worth a visit. Camping Bambos 30 minute walk into town or take the tram.

    Day trip to Termessos (34km) one of the best preserved archaeological sites in Turkey.

    ASPENDOS.
    Very well preserved theatre. We arrived after 14.00 hrs. And stayed over night in car park. Toilets available. Many tourist coaches in the morning and early afternoon.

    SIDE.
    Worth a visit just for the view of the roman ruins as you enter the village. A bit touristy but has some good restaurants.

    ALANYA or as the locals say "Allemanya".
    Totally taken over by the Germans.

    Sedra Camping 13 miles east of Alanya on the D400. The site comes highly recommended, a new site that was not open when we were last in the area.

    MELLEC.
    About 53 miles east of Alanya. Small village where we free camped for four nights overlooking the beach. Water available and there's a stall selling bread. Peaceful spot with some road noise.

    ANAMUR.
    Just before Anamur is Anamurium - a sprawling very large site; impressive for sheer size. The best preserved structure is the public baths - look for coloured mosaic tiles which still exist on some portions of the floor. The whole area is awash with wild flowers in the spring.

    Mamure Kalesi (Castle) east of Anamur a well preserved castle well worth a visit.

    Campsite next to castle was run down when we visited but OK for night stop.

    TASUCU (SILIFKE).
    The port where ferries sail to northern (Turkish) Cyprus.

    Camping Akcaki, 2 miles west of Tasucu.

    KORYKOS.
    26 miles east of Silifke.

    Kizkalesi (Maidens Castle)
    We stayed over night on a beach side picnic area on the D400 in the Korykos area.

    We now leave the coast and take the motorway around Mersin (Icel) and head north to Goreme via Nigde for the fairy tale land of Cappadocia. This was one of the highlights of the tour in Turkey and is a must.

    CAPPADOCIA.
    We opted to stay at Camping Kaya on the outskirts of Goreme. The site owners were very helpful and gave us lunch on our arrival.
    We went on a day long organised tour to visit the underground cities and churches with our own personal tour guide.

    Goreme is situated at an altitude of 1200 metres and can get a bit cool at night. I would suggest you do not attempt to visit this area before April.

    From Goreme we headed west for Pamukkale.

    KONYA.
    We visited the Meulana Museum the former lodge of the "Whirling Dervishes".

    BEYSEHIR.
    We visited one of the oldest mosques in Turkey and had a conducted tour by the Imam who spoke very good English. The mosque is located on the lake side by the old railway bridge. We also visited the Dokumacliar Hani (Cloth Hall; storage chamber).

    EGIRDIR.
    We spent a couple of days free camped along the lakeside having a well earned rest in brilliant sunshine.

    PAMUKKALE & HIERAPOLIS.
    A spa town in a national park it's a unique place but did not "grab us".
    Camping Pamukkale hotel mocamp, on the left entering Pamukkale from Denizli.

    Afrodisias another very fine archaeological site.

    We then visited Marmaris to catch the ferry to Rhodes.

    OBSERVATIONS.
    I would suggest the time to do the trip would be March - April - May.

    We personally visited all the archaeological sites, I have used the Lonely Planet guide to jog my memory where my travel notes were a bit sparse.

    Don't even think about taking a stone or such like from an archaeological site if you do you could be in big trouble.

    Free camping is not a problem in Turkey, we often use the service stations when transiting from A to B this is a very common practise with motorhomers.

    The Turks are a very warm and welcoming people and will go out of their way to welcome you. The Turks treat their flag with great respect and expect you to do the same.

    The rural areas of Turkey are policed by the Army Military police the "Jandarma" they set up road blocks but usually wave you through when they see you are a tourist. Don't under any circumstances park or camp in the vicinity of a Jandarma Post they will move you on, the posts are marked with plenty of white paint, large Turkish flags and soldiers with guns. The coastal posts are usually situated in very picturesque spots and it is very tempting to park/camp near them just for the views.

    We have always found the Jandarma to be very correct and polite. The rank and file are conscripts the officers and NCO's are usually the only ones who speak English. They also have a traffic division. The town/city police (Blue uniforms) are usually a scruffy lot compared to the Jandarma.

    Many coastal campsites have been closed over the last few years to make way for hotels so in some places sites are few and far between.

    An up to date list of sites can be found at MagBaz Travels - Campsites in South West Turkey

    MagBaz Travels - Turkish Camping Club List

    Rough Mileage.

    Ipsala to Mersin coastal route about 1200 miles.

    Mersin to Marmaris inland route 760 miles.

    I would suggest that a copy of the Lonely Planet "Turkey" would be very useful. It is an excellent guide with a great deal of information.

    Safe travelling

    Don
     
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