Istanbul to Ephesus in a week
Sep 23 - Sep 30, 2023
My husband and I are active, independent travelers and really appreciated customized Berat's itinerary planning for our trip to Turkey. We'd never used KimKim -- or gone to Turkey before -- but had an excellent experience! Berat's hotel choices were great -- we stayed three nights at the Bank Hotel in Istanbul which we really enjoyed (we'd just gotten off a small cabin on a sailboat so the quiet room with the big bed and bathroom were appreciated!) We were paired with a fabulous private guide, Volkan, whose passion, knowledge and enthusiasm about the history of the area was really exciting. We walked all over Istanbul for two days with Volkan and had an amazing time. It's a busy, crowded city and our guide's ability to navigate the crowds, neighborhoods and city sites allowed us to cover the city more efficiently and reduce the stress of doing this all on our own. We travelled on foot, by boat (on the Bosphorus) and by local mass transit and cab. From Istanbul we headed to Canakkale to view some WWI sites and memorials then on to Pergamon, Troy and Sirince (near Ephesus). With Volkan we saw SO many interesting ancient ruins and museums. He providing excellent guiding and briefings, but also gave us time on our own to enjoy and soak up the culture and history. We spent one night in Behramkale at a lovely small hotel with a gorgeous sunset view and then two nights in the village of Sirince. Berat was extremely professional and responsive during the entire process and answered all our questions. It was amazing, all the way around.
Great location and very quiet. Nice bar and upscale restaurant upstairs. They'll do laundry -- but it's spendy (we were desperate!) Excellent breakfast, comfy bed -- perfect, all the way around.
Very few people were staying here so we pretty much had the place to ourselves. Beautiful area. We had a wine tasting and ate dinner there that night - great food. Also the small adjacent museum is worth a look.
Very cute, friendly hotel. I would not recommend for anyone with mobility issues as there were a lot of stone steps! Beautiful terrace with sunset views. We had a simple pasta dinner and a bottle of wine - very enjoyable. Watched the distant lightening as the sky grew dark.
I'm so glad Berat booked us here. It's at the far end of the village on a rather rough road but worth it. Enjoyed dining there two nights -- beautiful terrace and nice breakfast, too. I wouldn't recommend for folks with mobility issues as the road is a bit rough and uphill. Fun to walk through the shops and lanes below the hotel.
Our guide gave us an amazing history lesson when he met us at our hotel the first day -- a review of Ottoman and pre-Ottoman Empire history that we really appreciated as it put everything in perspective. We did the mosques and the Topkapi Palace on a Sunday and the city was really busy and crowded. Having a guide made a difference! Istanbul is amazing.
We walked all over! Having Volkan (our guide) with just me and Connelly made this a really fun -- and efficient day. We especially enjoyed a local farmer's market. Spices cost less there than at the bigger Spice market. Our trip on the Bosphorus was fun, too. Another way to see the city -- by water.
I was really curious about this strategic area of the world -- and the battles fought there during WWI. The memorials and views are great and our guide did a great job of providing background and context.