Category Archives: Holidays

Time and Money Saving Travel Tips: Turkish Museum Passes

Summer 2013 3376Traveling to Turkey? What are you most excited to see? The underground cities and cave carved churches at Cappadocia? The intricate and immense ceilings of the Blue Mosque? The once grandesque Temple of Apollo? The library or the Church of the Virgin Mary at Ephesus, reached by a two-thousand year old stone street? Hittite relics at the Museum of Anatolian Civilization? Lycian ruins at Olympos where beach-goers in bikinis mingle with relics of lost cities?

With hundreds of historical sites to see museum entrance costs can certainly add up, and the summer lines at Hagia Sophia can deter even the most intrepid of travelers.

But, no worries! In 2008 the Turkish government launched the Müzekart For 40 lira anyone with Turkish citizenship or a Turkish residence permit can have unlimited free access to museums and archaeological sites run by the Ministry of Culture and Tourism over a period of one year. This is a great deal for students, retirees with residence permits, and other expats.  Unfortunately, if you are not a Turkish citizen, or do not have a valid residence permit, you are not eligible to purchase the card.

MuzekartPlus

However, if you are planning to visit the sites in Istanbul or Cappadocia, the government offers two regional museum passes.

In Istanbul you can purchase a Museum Pass Istanbul for 85 lira (3 days) or 115 lira (5 days).  The card is good for entrance to: Hagia Sophia Museum, Topkapı Palace Museum and Harem Apartments, İstanbul Archaeological Museums, İstanbul Mosaic Museum, Museum of Turkish and İslamic Arts, Museum for the History of Science and Technology in Islam, Chora Museum, Galata Mevlevi House Museum, Yıldız Palace, Rumeli Hisar Museum, and the Fethiye Museum. You can also use it to get discounts at a number of shops and entertainmnet venues.  The pass can be purchased at any of the sites, or at certain hotels (listed on the website).  The pass provides only single entrance (meaning you’ll have to pay full admission price if you make a second trip to the same museum), and slower sight-savoring travelers may find that it doesn’t pay for itself.  If you don’t plan on seeing all  the Istanbul sites, then the card’s main advantage is that it saves you from the lines, which can be quite long in peak season.

There is also a 45 lira Museum Pass Cappadocia.  This pass is valid for three days (72 hours from the time of first use) and covers seven spots in the Cappadocia region: Ihlara Valley, Derinkuyu Underground City, Goreme Open Air Museum, Goreme Karanlık Church, Kaymaklı Underground City, Özkonak Underground City, Nevşehir Museum, Cavusin Archaeological Site, Hacibektas Museum, and Zelve-Pasabaglari.

All passes (and individual tickets) are available for purchase on this government site.  Just make sure to print out your tickets for individual sites before heading to the museum!

Individual tickets cost from 5 lira (Olympos, Temple of Apollo) to 30 lira (Ephesus).  You can view a list of all museums here.

Other time-saving tips: Go early! Especially along the coast passengers from docking cruise ships create heavy museum traffic between 10 am and 3 pm.  Hit the museums when they open to avoid lines, or after 3pm to have a quieter and less crowded experience.

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Filed under Ancient Ruins, City Sights, Day Trips, Exploring, Holidays

Turkey: The Culture and History of Geography

A short jaunt through Turkey’s geography mixing culture, arts and history:
From Kevin Gould at The Guardian, here:
Nemrut Dagi, Turkey
Turkey’s culture and history, including sites like Mount Nemrut, is what makes the country so attractive today. Photograph: Peter Adams/JAI/Corbis

I’ve spent nearly 30 years travelling in luxury coaches, dodgy taxis, Dolmus buses, army helicopters, by boat and on foot and never fail to be thrown by the sheer diversity of a country that’s more like a continent.

Hip, cultural Istanbul is where many travellers start their voyages of discovery. Like New York isn’t America, Istanbul isn’t really Turkey, but a state in it’s own right. Unlike New York, Istanbul has 3,000 years of civilisation to inspire herself with. On the same latitude as Rome (and also built on seven hills), this was the perfect capital for the Emperor Constantine to establish the Eastern Roman empire from, just when old Rome was tearing itself to pieces.

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Turkey’s Best Beaches

Personally, we can’t decide between Olympos (Çıralı), where the adventurous can stay in tree houses (our old favorite is Orange Pansiyon for its grape vine-covered outdoor terrace and proximity to the beach), gorge on gozleme and fresh mussles during the day, and wander Roman ruins in between dips in the sea; Kabak Koy for the beach’s beauty and seclusion; and Iztuzu for the miles-long shallow water beach backed by an arc of protected pine forests. If you’re heading on the road to Bodrum (from Antalya) make sure to check out Kaputas Plaj too.  There’s no sign for the beach but the parked cars backed up on the winding road.  Head down a hundred cement steps and find yourself confronted with the clearest crystal water you’ve ever seen.

If you’re looking for great food to compliment your trip to the beach, check out Turkey’s Best Beach Food.

Gallery before the Guardian post is our own.

Originally posted in The Guardian here.

Winning tip: Çıralı, Antalya

Nestled in a valley, overlooked by the ruins of Olympos (Tahtalı Dağı), lies one of the most beautiful places I have ever visited. Çıralı is so special due to its two-mile sweeping beach which remains undeveloped thanks to the loggerhead turtles that nest on the sands each year. At one end of the beach lies the town of Ancient Olympos, while at the other is the natural phenomenon of the constantly burning Chimaera flames. The tiny hamlet is full of charm, with each impressive garden full of pomegranate and citrus trees. Stay in one of the simple pensions: favourites are Hotel Villa Monte and Anatolia Resort.
villa-monte.com (doubles €60 B&B), ciralipansiyon.net (doubles €65 B&B)
Emilylouise09

Kelebek Vadisi, near Fethiye

Kelebek Valdisi beach, Turkey

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Only accessible by boat, Kelebek Vadisi (Butterfly Valley), close to Fethiye, feels like a south-east Asian paradise beach. It has remained undeveloped, with just a few wooden buildings and a campsite dotting the lush valley. The stunning walk to a waterfall and the gorgeous beach make a popular day trip from Fethiye for TL10 (£2.50) return, but if you want to escape the crowds and totally switch off, this is your place. Camping and basic huts with restaurant and bar available on the beach.
Brid Doherty

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Filed under Beaches, Day Trips, Exploring, Holidays