Honeymoon in Turkey

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One of the main reasons that I wanted to be an expat was to travel. Yes, I like my home and love having a warm comfortable place to be, but one of the main urges was that, “hey I’m so close to things I want to see.” We are trying more to remember this and go do trips. Turkey has been our honeymoon goal since Ali and I got married last year. And it is really only 3 hours on the plane away.

For Grounded Traveler as a blog, I’m concentrating more on expat and Germany writing of late. Though as travel is such a big part of being able to live in another country, this still seems perfectly appropriate. I started a new project last week called Ctrl-Alt-Travel for my more travel oriented writing. It is still very new, but feel free to check it out.

Two Weeks in Turkey

Turkey is amazing and was great to step out of our life for a few weeks. Travel can be rejuvenating and sometimes you just need a few steps out of your world to realize how well you have settled into your expat home. Ok, we have been planning this trip for a long time, but it came at a good time for us. We spent two weeks and saw a lot of Turkey, but no where near all of it. It remains on our list to go back, especially to see more of Istanbul.


Hectic and chaotic. Built up and quite steep in places. Towers and sandwiches abound.  4 days is really not enough to see all that Istanbul has to offer, especially if several of those days are rainy. Part of the reason we need to go back is that a few things had to be skipped due to the rain. We were there on Easter weekend and it was good few days (again despite the rain). Istanbul scratches the big city itch that Freiburg just can’t. It was great to see things open until late in the night and have so many people walking around.

We stayed near Istikal and Taksim, which is quite a steep area, but also quite active with places open late. It was nice to be away from the tourist area, but I think I would stay in Sultanahmet next time.


From Istanbul we took a quick flight out to central Turkey to Cappadocia. This is an area of unusual rock formations. The town of Goreme is well known for the hotels that have dug into the soft rocks and offer rooms made like a cave. So of course we booked a cave hotel based on a recommendation from a fellow blogger. It was a good choice with a very helpful guy at the front desk.

The biggest attraction here is ballooning. An early morning wake up leads to an hour floating above and amongst the rocks with a hundred other balloons. Seriously, it is beautiful and not at all scary (remember me, scared of flight). Bring a camera and an empty memory chip. It will be full soon.


Izmir is not necessarily well known. It is kind of a bigger city and on the tourist trail is known as the nearest airport to Ephesus. The town is actually pretty cool and worth a day if you happen to be nearby. There is a castle on the ridge an ancient agora and some neat streets to walk through.

After a rough flight to Cappadocia I didn’t want to fly again so soon. So we had a wild day of cross country buses and quick changes to get to Izmir. We had enough time to see the castle before the skies opened up and drenched us. When we come back to Turkey, I would definitely stay another night or two here to see some stuff we had to miss out on.

Ephesus and Selcuk

Ephesus near the town of Selcuk was the highlight of our trip. The ruins are really impressive and Sulcuk town is cute and active despite its small size. It is definitely worth staying a night or two if only to have your leisure to walk through the ruins without a tour bus. There are even ruins of a Christian cathedral on the hill in Selcuk that were quite nice to walk through.

Don’t let yourself get talked into just a day trip to Ephesus on a bus or a plane (seriously, we saw advertisements for a daytrip from Istanbul involving flying to Izmir an hour away). Selcuk is a really cool, if small, town.


This was our wildcard visit. I knew the white cliffs here were amazing and worth seeing, but nothing more. Another day of buses and the closest thing to an aggressive pushy salesman(beyond “want to buy a carpet”, we felt trapped) we saw in Turkey later we ended up in Pammukale. Again well worth staying one night to have your time in the ruins and walking the travertines. Though we stayed two nights and that was probably a little much, it still was a great place to see and we met some great people there too.

This is another place that is totally worth doing at your leisure. There are the ruins of a Roman town on top and the white travertines to walk down. We heard a bus driver shouting at his herd that they had 45 minutes to see the white cliffs before having to be on the bus halfway across the ruins. Most people only get to the first two pools, so those are the ones that seem to get ruined the most. The best places are down further. And it is open 24 hours for your night time walking pleasure.

Honeymoon in Turkey: Good Idea?

You can see how much we did in 2 weeks. It was a little fast and we could have taken it slower, but it was great to get such an overview of Turkey and at least a few different aspects. We were never going to be happy on a resort beach lying in the sun doing nothing. If we take vacation time and fly to a place we really want to see it.

Turkey is a great place for a honeymoon. Although we didn’t do it, there certainly are the beaches and resorts. Even if you go that way, get out and explore. There are some great historical places to wander through and see that civilization has been around a long time. We need to go back, but the long wait and build up for going to Turkey as our honeymoon did not disappoint.


Help me decide in what order I will write about the Turkey trip in detail on Ctrl-Alt-Travel. Share your opinion in comments, always other feedback is always welcome.

38 thoughts on “Honeymoon in Turkey

  1. Looks like you guys had the most of your Turkey experience. Don’t tell everyone else, but you guys might be my favorite travel couple.

    • Awww thanks. 🙂 We had a blast. Though definitely need to remember to go slower. Despite which we leave tomorrow for a 10 day 4 country trip.

  2. Pingback: Honeymoon in Turkey - Ali and andrew Tell Their Story | Turkish Travel Blog

  3. Hi, thanks for sharing your experience! Your pictures were AWESOME!
    I was wondering if you could share with me how you got to Izmir from Cappadocia…


  4. Pingback: Walking the Travertines at Pamukkale - Ctrl Alt Travel

  5. Pingback: From Izmir to Goreme : Fast Decisions - Ctrl Alt Travel

    • Thanks. Glad you enjoyed it. (No I don’t read Turkish, I know how to use online translators. 🙂 )

  6. I want to go back to Turkey! I only went to Istanbul and still need more time in that city as well 🙂 Glad you and Ali had a wonderful time!

    • Yup. It was nearly a year after the wedding, but Turkey was our official honeymoon. Pammukale is very cool and work the time to go “out of the way” to it.

  7. Turkey looks amazing. I’ve only ever been to Istanbul, and I understand how great Istanbul is and the rest of the country just gets better from there. Add it to the bucket list 🙂

    • Yup definitely. Though spend some time here. The distances are further than they seem outside of Istanbul.

  8. Great overview of what sounds like an amazing trip! Looking forward to hearing more. We only have spent a long layover in Istanbul, so we definitely need to go back to experience what Turkey has to offer!

    • Istanbul was a lot of fun. Definitely worth a full week. Though I can’t say much as I saw Rome for the length of a piece of pizza.

      I’ll be posting more on Ctrl Alt Travel over the next weeks.

    • Yup, do it. It is well worth taking a month or two to wander through. So many diverse regions and sights to see and food to eat.

  9. Mmmmm Turkish food 🙂 I haven’t been back since 2009 when I was in Bodrum for two weeks scuba-diving and enjoying the sites surrounding, but I’d love to go back and explore more of the historical sights away from the touristy areas. I was with a group the last time I went, so unfortunately my itinerary was a bit limited.

    Istanbul is another fabulous place. I’ve several friends who study and live there as well. Ephesus is a place I want to travel to on my next journey that way.

    • We like the Turkish food a lot. That was one of the best consistent parts of the trip. We are pretty picky eaters and had no issues there.

      Ephesus is really worth seeing, but definitely on your own time without a group.

  10. I found Turkey to be so romantic – I can’t wait to go back there. Really sad we missed out on Pammukale – it was too far from where we were on the coast to justify the long trip for just one or two days.

    • Where were you on the coast? From Selcuk it was only 3-4 hours, so could have been a single overnight.

  11. Izmir and Ephesus is just a two hour drive away from my base so I get the best of both worlds. In the city of Kars now and just done the Eastern Black sea region. Amazing is all I keep saying. Totally different from the rest of Turkey. Stick it on your bucket list, you will not be disappointed.

    • There is definitely more of Turkey we would like to see. Especially your corner and more of the coast regions in general.

  12. Ctrl-alt-travel is a brilliant name – love it! Turkey is on my to-do list too since seeing Pete and Dalene Heck rave about it, looking forward to heading there in the not too distant future with any luck 🙂

    • Thanks Laurence. The new site has a few posts and a daily photo section, so feel free to check it out.

  13. You guys sound so much like my husband and I — I love it! We are dying to visit Turkey as well. We keep talking about all the things we want to do and see there and not even six weeks sounds like enough! But what a place for you guys to experience your honeymoon. Lovely. We’re like you, too, we don’t want to just go to some exotic place and sit on the beach; we want to experience it. We took our honeymoon to Croatia a few years ago, and we spent three weeks there doing what we could have easily done in two just so we would have some more built-in time to relax. Normally for us, once the plane touches down it’s go, go, go! We’re getting ready to move to China in a few months for my husband’s job. We’ll be there at least a year. And although his job is definitely a motivation for going, we also want to be expats for awhile so we can travel, too!

    • Cool. The expat life is pretty cool. Living in a foreign place is sometimes like traveling all the time. China sounds even moreso like that with the foreignness.

      We probably went a little too fast in Turkey, but that the stuff we wanted to see. We are slowly learning to go slower. There is this effort to want to see everything, but it ends up not getting to enjoy what you do see if you are always on the move. We get tired, hungry and grumpy and can’t get into the groove to enjoy things if we go too fast.

  14. Ctl-Alt-Travel – that is pretty awesome!

    So glad I had the chance to meet up with you on your big honeymoon! Who doesn’t want to meet fellow bloggers while they celebrate their love? Haha!

    • Exactly, it was a great time meeting you in Istanbul too. The new site is up though quite new. Check it out.

  15. Nice! We are hoping to go to Istanbul this fall for ~ 5 days but only 3-4 nights. We wanted a longer trip but are using up vacation time on a bunch of other things too. My friend really wants to go to Ephesus also, but I don’t see how this is possible in just 5 days. :/

    • That should be enough to see Istanbul. But as much as Ephesus is an amazing place, spending either half your time getting out there and back or doing some crazy day-trip-flight thing is not a good use of time. Both Ali and I have some scattered Istanbul posts and can definitely give advice if you need help with the planning.

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