Izmir to Kalkan – Turkey – Historical Road Trip

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MAY 2019:

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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.

My brother (Paul) and I flew from London Stansted (England) to Izmir (Turkey) to do a 4 night Historical Sites Road Trip from Izmir to Kalkan …Road Trip Map

… we collected Di and Jeff at Antalya Airport along the way …


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).

PLEASE NOTE: You can only get these prices if you go outside of Peak Season (e.g. May). In June, the cheapest car (an Opel Corsa Automatic) was already US$466 and a Clio Estate Automatic US$740.



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.


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.

I went into the Domestic Car Park to pick up the car. I was given a brand new Peugeot 301 Diesel Manual. Apparently there had been a mix up between Economy Car Rentals and AVEC. I took it.

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.

The room was simple but sufficient and came with a wardrobe. It had no TV. It had no fan and no aircon but neither were needed. The wifi signal was poor and too slow to stream videos.

The bed was old but comfortable.

The bathroom was good and had hot water.

The room included a good Breakfast. Breakfast is served between 8am and 10am.

The hotel was about 400m from the edge of the old town.

Here you can find a lot of eateries.

We sat down and had a meze for T$25 each.


From Selcuk, Ephesus is a short 10 minute drive.

Car parking costs T$10.

Basic Entry (without any extras like Audio) is T$60.

We spent nearly 3 hours walking around Ephesus.



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.

The room was basic but sufficient.

It came with a wardrobe and a TV (no English speaking channels). It had no fan and no aircon but neither were needed. The wifi signal was poor and too slow to stream video.

The bed was comfortable.

The bathroom was good and came with an hot water shower.

The included Breakfast was, also, very good.

Pamukkale is very touristic, so we drove to the nearby village of Karahayit for dinner. A typical Dinner was T$35 each.


Hierapolis was a short drive from our hotel. Parking was T$10. Basic Entry was T$50.

We were mainly at Hierapolis to see the amphitheatre …

… and the white terraces.

But the site is massive with plenty of other things to see (including hot pools if you want a swim).


About 10km south of Hierapolis is Laodicea. Parking is free. Entry is T$15.

The site is far less impressive but worth a visit to see the well preserved mosaic floors.



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.



It took about 3 hours to drive down the E87 from Denizli to Antalya. We arrived at 2pm.


We drove straight to the Old Town, parked up in a carpark (T$20), and walked to an Hamami. We had already chosen the Sefa Hamami.

We liked the fact that it was over 700 years old.

The prices were about DOUBLE those stated on Tripadvisor. We just wanted the Turkish Bath for T$40 each.

You get a secure changing room.

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.


We used EXPEDIA to book 2 Double Rooms (Single Occupancy) with Private Bathrooms at the Exporoyal Otel. We paid T$85 per night each.

The rooms were basic but sufficient. It came with a wardrobe, TV (no English channels), mini fridge, and aircon (which worked). The wifi was good and fast enough to stream video.

The bed was tired but OK.

The bathroom was OK and had an hot water shower. Alas, the shower unit kept falling off the wall.

The included buffet breakfast was good and opened at 7am.


The next morning we walked the 2km from our hotel to the Old Town.

We visited the normal sites including Hadrian’s Gate and the Old Harbour.

We were back at our hotel by noon.


From Antalya it was a 40 minute drive to Aspendos. Parking was free. Entry was T$35.

It was here that we saw an advert for some well priced Museum Passes; great value for people who like museums.

The site is pretty ‘average’ compared to places like Ephesus.

But, we were there to see the well preserved amphitheatre which is still being used today.



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.

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