Getting there and getting around Turkey

by Terri Cook and Lon Abbott
Wednesday, June 1, 2016

Private boats to visit the Sunken City are surprisingly affordable along the Turquoise Coast. Credit: Terri Cook and Lon Abbott.

Turkey has two major airports — Istanbul and Ankara — and many smaller regional ones. Istanbul Ataturk Airport offers nonstop flights on Turkish Airlines from several U.S. cities, including New York, Chicago, Atlanta, Los Angeles and San Francisco. To enter the country, Americans need a visa; these can be quickly obtained online.

From Istanbul, it’s an easy flight to Antalya, the largest city on the Mediterranean coast, or to Kayseri, the main airport in the Cappadocia region, which is famous for its “fairy chimneys” and Byzantine sanctuaries carved from volcanic ash. Although it’s possible to take an overnight bus between these regions, by far the most convenient option for exploring the Turquoise Coast’s sometimes out-of-the-way sights is to rent your own vehicle, which we found to be reasonably priced. Rental cars are widely available at airports and in all the major cities. Road signs are posted in both Turkish and English and the roads are in good condition.

Turkish ice cream is every bit as delicious as the best American ice cream, with a more plastic consistency that ice cream vendors harness to deliver an entertaining show with every scoop they sell. You'd better not be in a hurry when you purchase a scoop, but be sure to have your camera ready to record the look of surprise on the face of the young customer when the vendor repeatedly places the ice cream on the cone and then jokingly removes it with a long stainless steel ice cream scoop. Credit: Terri Cook and Lon Abbott.

Accommodations in Turkey span a wide range of quality and price; lists hundreds of reviewer-rated properties across the region. Campgrounds with modest facilities and very friendly hosts are available along the coast. In the Taurus Mountains, we recommend the family-owned Aladaglar Camping Bungalow (, which has campsites, a small café and several clean, cozy bungalows.

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