Istanbul – Kütahya – Bodrum – Marmaris – Fethiye – Antalya – Eskişehir
In a road trip along the south coast of Turkey you have to organize yourself very well. The journey we propose is as long as it is beautiful. During this road trip you will discover a large and wonderful coast with the best beaches in Turkey. The trip that always starts from Istanbul has several stops including Kütahya, Bodrum, Marmaris, Fethiye, Antalya and Eskişehir. The journey time of the one way trip exceeds 20 hours, so (if you don’t have enough time) we recommend that you take a rental car in a Istanbul airport and drop it off at Antalya airport so you can fly back to Istanbul.
I remind you that we wrote a very interesting article on “Car & rental”
First stop: Kütahya
After hiring a car in Istanbul, following our tips, you can start the road trip from Istanbul to the south of the Turkey.
The first stop on this long road trip is Kütahya, a city with 237,804 inhabitants, lying on the Porsuk river, at 969 metres above sea level.
Kütahya is a provincial capital with Phrygian roots, but its historical peculiarity is given by its ancient role as the capital of the emirate of Germiyan (1302-1428), before it was incorporated by the Ottoman Empire. Apart from the sites of historical interest, the place does not offer much else and this makes it an ideal destination more for a day trip than for a long stay.
The city’s links with the industrial production of ceramics and majolica date back to 1514, when Selim I conquered Tabriz and transferred the artisans to Kütahya and İznik. The city’s museums illustrate this past that is literally “illuminated” by the ceramic kilns, and in July the Dumlupınar Craft Fair is an event worth attending.
Among these don’t miss the Kütahya Majolica Museum, which exhibits ceramics by masters such Mehmet Emin Efendi who also worked at the Haydarpaşa station in İstanbul.
Second stop: Bodrum
The journey to Bodrum, the next stop, is long but can be done in one day with a relaxing stop. Why not do it in Pamukkale?
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After a 6 hour driving you will be in Bodrum, much more than just a seaside town. We recommend that you stay here for several days and enjoy all the charm of this city.
Bodrum is pervaded by an enigmatic elegance: from the imposing castle that dominates the city to the beautiful harbor, to the cafes full of flowers and the alleys between the whitewashed houses. Even on the busiest summer days, it is possible to find small quiet corners, both in the city and, and above all, in the coastal villages of the surroundings.
Bodrum has only been associated with pleasure, paradisiacal beaches and glittering summer opulence for a few decades, in the past it was a simple fishing village, and the older ones still remember how things were very different or even didn’t exist at all.
Today Bodrum is a renowned tourist destination for organized European trips and for the Turkish population.
Third stop: Marmaris
From Bodrum you can take a ferry and then drive to Marmaris.
The attractions of Marmaris are linked to the mass tourism industry: an atmosphere of exuberant summer parties attracts British, Scandinavian and Russian tourists, most of whom come on organized trips. Nonetheless, the city has a beautiful harbor, surmounted by a castle, which houses wooden hulled yachts complete with banners of their countries of origin.
However, Marmaris is not as refined as Bodrum. The few Turks that you will happen to see are those who live in the area, and the cultural attractions are very few.
The immediate surroundings of Marmaris, including the wild and relatively undiscovered peninsulas of Bozburun and Datça, are spectacular, and the city is a perfect base for cruising aboard a gület (caique), diving in crystal clear waters and visiting the Greek island of Rhodes.
We recommend Marmaris to enjoy the beauty of the sea and relax before the next stop: Fethiye.
Fourth stop: Fethiye
Fethiye is famous for the turquoise color of its sea and the waters of the wonderful lagoon of Oludeniz are the masters, a place where at sunset it is possible to enjoy a unique panorama and colors.
In its area there are some of the most beautiful beaches in the whole of Turkey and its coast is absolutely perfect for gulet cruises.
Surrounded by the Taurus mountains, it is a real mecca for paragliding enthusiasts, who travel to Fethiye from all over the world to experience the thrill of a jump in this fantastic scenery.
Fethiye has now become one of the most renowned and sought after centers in the whole country for summer holidays. Very different but always fascinating and inviting destinations are only 15 minutes away from each other: the quiet hillside settlement of Ovacik; the center of the Hisaronu nightlife; the quiet and relaxed Calis Beach; the ancient Greek village now a ghost town and open-air museum of Kaya Koy. Fethiye has transformed in a short time not only from a small village to a world famous tourist destination, but also into a place where people from all over the world move and take root, attracted by its beauty and a relaxed and tailor-made lifestyle.
Fifth stop: Antalya
After some days of absolute beauty in Fethiye you can return to your road trip. Direction Antalya.
This city is one of the best known tourist destinations in Turkey, a city full of charm, with palm tree-lined boulevards and a beautiful marina. Located in the south-west of the country, it is characterized by a long Byzantine domination, then passed under the Ottoman reign until 1923, the year of the proclamation of the Turkish Republic. Antalya is populated by almost one million inhabitants, and stands on a very steep cliff. It is considered the “Mecca” of Turkish tourism: full of beaches, historic buildings, mosques and natural attractions, such as the wonderful Karaalioglu Park, from which you can admire the entire Gulf.
Among the places not to be missed are: the ancient Ottoman houses that adorn its pedestrian streets, Hidirlik (tower probably built in the 2nd century to serve as a lighthouse for ships approaching the coast), Clock Tower (located in one of the main squares of the city, the Kalekapisi square), Republic Square (the busiest shopping street in the city begins from this square), the Bazaar, the Kesik Mosque and Minaret.
Sixth stop: Eskişehir
This road trip along the south coast of Turkey ends in Antalya. It’s time to go back to Istanbul but as the journey is long you can decide to return by plane from the Antalya airport (you can drop off the car here) or make a stop by car between Istanbul and Antalya: Eskişehir.
This authentic oasis of liberality in the heart of Anatolia is becoming popular among weekend tourists from all over Turkey, and also boasts a small community of loyal foreign visitors.
Eskişehir’s progressive spirit is reflected in the area around the Porsuk River. Here you can find pedestrian bridges, a sandy beach, a pedestrian area and an excellent light rail. In the summer it is also possible to take a gondola or ferry ride along the river.
All of this has made Eskişehir the most liveable city in Turkey. With its atmospheric old town, vibrant nightlife, fine dining, two parks and a brand new science museum that’s very kid-friendly, Eskişehir has plenty of surprises in store.
After visiting this beautiful city for the days you want you can return in 3 hours to Istanbul.