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Insta Q&A: Turquoise Coast Is a Turkish Delight

Christina Talcott

My only regret after spending 10 fantastic days in Turkey last fall is that I didn't experience it by sea. Between the mosques and mystery of Istanbul and the country's spectacularly beautiful interior, I just ran out of time. Reader Carol Stern, on the other hand, is planning a visit with a friend for next fall and has wisely allotted a couple of days for a cruise. Smart move, Carol. She writes:

We would like to take a short two- or three-day cruise along one of the coasts. Can you make a recommendation? Also, we do not want to travel with a tour. Any suggestions for how to get around and where to go? So far we have Istanbul, Izmir and Cappadocia on our itinerary.

Carol, you've picked the perfect bases for a two-week visit. Istanbul, of course, is a must-see, and your timing is great, since the city's spiffing up for its reign as Europe's City of Culture in 2010, with hip new hotels, galleries and more. Izmir is the gateway to Ephesus, one of the most spectacular Roman ruins in the world. And Cappadocia has an otherworldly landscape that will leave you gasping in awe, no exaggeration.

For getting around, I recommend taking internal flights between your bases -- the distances are relatively vast. I flew from Istanbul to Cappadocia to Izmir. You can also rent a car (only for the brave), hire a car and driver (expensive) or take buses (time-consuming). There are no trains to speak of.

For your cruise segment, there are tons of options for a gulet (wooden boat) trip along the Aegean or Mediterranean coasts -- I'd choose the latter (how can you resist something called the Turquoise Coast?). You'll have to get yourself to one of the port cities like Bodrum, Marmaris or Fethiye. I recommend working this out in advance with a good travel agent or online company, because the choices are overwhelming once you get there. Tom Brosnahan's Turkish Travel Planner -- which is just about the best site I've found on visiting Turkey -- is a great place to get started, and has a good section on cruising.

Anyone out there taken a gulet cruise and have recommendations for Carol?

By Christina Talcott |  February 19, 2009; 1:26 PM ET  | Category:  Air Travel , Europe , Insta-Q&A , K.C. Summers , Online Resources , Travel Logistics , We Were There
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I looked into this. Many of the gullet operators wanted us to wire a deposit. I wasn't comforatble doing this.

Posted by: NoVAHockey | February 26, 2009 3:02 PM

I know what you mean. A friend and I paid a hot-air balloon company in Cappadocia in advance and we were really nervous since it was something like $200 apiece. And it wasn't one of the big-name companies. I did what checking I could online and didn't find any complaints against the company, so went ahead and did it. And it turned out fine -- they not only existed, but were very professional, and our ride was a highlight of the trip. So I guess the moral applies to gulet companies too: Check what you can and if the company seems to be legit, take a leap of faith. Or, you could always go through a good travel agent and have no worries.

Posted by: KCSummers | February 26, 2009 5:36 PM

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