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PLEASE NOTE: The currency in Turkey is the New Turkish Lira (I will refer to them as T$s). At the time of writing, US$1 = T$6.
My brother (Paul) and I wanted to see some of Turkey’s most famous historical sites.
My sister (Diane) and brother-in-law (Jeff) decided to join us half way through the trip to relax in a villa with a swimming pool.
… we collected Di and Jeff at Antalya Airport along the way …
AVEC CAR RENTAL:
After a lot of research and due diligence, we decided to rent an AVEC car through Economy Car Rentals. The latter were offering a 10% discount. AVEC’s own website was not.
We booked a diesel Renault Clio Estate for 10 days. We wanted an Estate because there were 4 adults with suitcases. Car pick up was in Izmir Airport and Drop Off was at Antalya Airport. This meant that we had to pay an additional US$70 ‘One Way Fee’. Also, due to our early flight time out of Antalya back to the UK, we had to pay a US$35 ‘Out Of Hours Drop Off Fee’.
At time of booking I paid a deposit of US$86 with a further US$281 to pay at pick up. A total price of US$367 (US$36.70 / day).
We pre-secured our Turkish eVisa. A 6 month eVisa with double entry costs US$20. Make sure that you go to the official website and not a scam site that wants to charge you US$99.
We flew on Jet2. We paid US$159 each one-way. This price included a 23Kg stowed bag, a 10kg carry-on bag, an assigned seat, and a meal.
We took off at 9:00am. The flight took 4 hours (direct). We put our clocks forward 2 hours. We landed at Izmir Airport about 3:00pm local time.
RENTAL CAR PICK UP:
AVEC do not have an office at International Arrivals. It was not clear as to where we needed to go.
We took a gamble and walked down to Domestic Arrivals. We found AVEC there.
The paperwork was easy and the man at the counter was fast and efficient; he spoke sufficient English.
We were on the road to Selcuk by 4:30pm.
Before flying to Turkey, I downloaded some offline Google Maps. We needed them.
I wanted to buy a TurkCell SIMcard at Izmir Airport. TurkCell do not have a shop there … only Vodafone do.
My offline Izmir Area Google Map was enough (without a Turkish SIMcard) to get us easily to our Selcuk hotel.
We had to join the toll road going south from Izmir Airport. You drive through the HGS lanes at the toll booths. The car is automatically detected and charged. Toll charges are paid when you return the car to your rental company. Our toll charge to the Selcuk turn off was T$3.75. We arrived at our hotel at about 6pm.
PLEASE NOTE: In Selcuk I used my offline Google Map to find a TurkCell shop. I bought a new SIMcard (T$100) and a 1 Month Promotional package that included 3GB data, 2GB Facebook, 500 call minutes, and several texts (T$25). This is a much better price than what you pay at the airports.
Before leaving the UK, we used BOOKING.COM to book 2 Double Rooms (both Single Occupancy) with Private Bathrooms at the Nur Pension. We paid T$70 each.
We sat down and had a meze for T$25 each.
Car parking costs T$10.
From Ephesus, it was a long 3.5 hour drive along the D550 and D320 to our hotel in Pamukkale.
In Selcuk, we tried to get online to BOOKING.COM to book our Pamukkale hotel. Their website did NOT allow anyone in Turkey to book an hotel in Turkey … there was some sort of ‘problem’.
We used HOTELS.COM to book 2 Double Rooms (Single Occupancy) with Private Bathrooms at the Dort Mevsim Hotel. We paid T$100 each per night.
Pamukkale is very touristic, so we drove to the nearby village of Karahayit for dinner. A typical Dinner was T$35 each.
By the time that we finished Hierapolis and Laodicea it was mid afternoon so we decided to stay in Denizli that night.
With BOOKING.COM still not working, we used HOTELS.COM to book 2 Double Rooms (Single Occupancy) with Private Bathroom at the Demasus Hotel. We paid T$100 each per night.
ANTALYA (OLD TOWN & ASPENDOS):
It took about 3 hours to drive down the E87 from Denizli to Antalya. We arrived at 2pm.
TURKISH BATH (HAMAMI):
You are, then, led inside the bathhouse. We spent 1 hour inside lying on an heated marble slab and bathing ourselves in alternate hot and cold water. Very pleasant.
The included buffet breakfast was good and opened at 7am.
We were back at our hotel by noon.
We drove 40 minutes back to Antalya Airport to pick up Di & Jeff at 6:15pm. Parking for 30 minutes was T$12.50.
From the Airport it was a 4 hour drive up the E87 and back down the D330 and D400 to Kalkan.
We pre-booked a 3 Double Bedroom villa up the hills in Islamlar using HOMEAWAY. We paid US$558 for 7 nights.
We met our host at his office in Kalkan Town and followed him to our villa.
The villa was fully equipped with a private pool.
In May, you can easily get a 2 Double bedroom villa in the Kalkan area for as little as US$50 per night for a 1 week stay. To get these prices book 2-3 months in advance.
As aforementioned, to get a good rate on a rental car, you also need to book 2-3 months in advance. Prices can double in peak season.
I will tell you more about Kalkan and the surrounding Historical Sites in my next post. I will, also, provide a budget for this trip … along with suggestions on how to stay within GRANDPAcking budget and how to get the best value for money.