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userDon Madge
Posted: 5 January 2007 2:46 PM
Subject: TURKEY

Epic contributor

Posts: 1869
Location: Rustington, West Sussex


On the 29th March 2006 there is a total eclipse in Antalya, I've put together some info for those considering the trip.

We have only traveled out to Turkey in the winter time (Dec/Jan), up to now we have used the Italy - Greece ferry route. In the past we used North Sea Ferries from Hull to Rotterdam. We now use Speedferries crossing from Dover - Boulogne then Luxembourg (cheap fags/fuel), Strasbourg, Basle, St Gothard Tunnel, Milan, Bologna and Brindisi.

If you do decide to use the ferry option in March the quickest way from Igoumenitsa would be go via Ioanina, Konitsa, Thessaloniki and Alexandroupoli then cross the border into Turkey at Ipsala. An alternative route would be via Ioanina, Metsovo, Katara Pass (1700 metres), Trikala, Larissa, Thessaloniki and Alexandroupli. If you take the ferry to Patras you can then go via Itea, Delfi, Larisa, Thessaloniki and Alexandroupoli. or via Athens, Larisa, Thessaloniki and Alexandroupoli.

As the camper deck option does not start until 1 April on the Italy - Greece crossing this rules out using it for the eclipse trip. An alternative overland route to Turkey through the Balkans is via, Luxembourg, Heidelberg, Regensburg, Vienna, Budapest, Szeged, Arad, Timisoara, Craiova, Sofia, Plovdiv, Erdine and Istanbul. The total mileage from Boulogne to Istanbul is about 2050. This is the route we will be taking in January 2006.

If you intend to use the Balkans route please bear in mind you will need the following vignettes. This is a very rough guide only.

For vehicles up to 3500kg a vignette can be bought for Euros 7.80 for ten consecutive days. For vehicles over 3500kg you will need to buy a "Go Box" that fits on the windscreen for a one off handling fee of Euros 5. Then for a two axle vehicle it will cost about 13 Euro cents +VAT per km. If you are close to the 3500kg mark it's best to carry a certificate issued by a weighbridge showing your weight. For full details see

You will need a vignette for the motorways. For vehicles up to 3500kg a four day vignette it will cost about £3 for vehicles over 3500kg it's about £4 for four days.

The Bulgarian motorway vignette costs between 5 - 69 Euros per vehicle and validity period

Over the years we have used all the Italian ferry ports to Greece. Venice, Ancona, Bari & Brindisi. Venice and Brindisi have the easiest access while Ancona and Bari can be difficult at times.

Between 1st April and 31st October it is possible to use your van on some of the Italy - Greece crossings on the camper deck. This year 2006 the option was limited to:-

Minoan Lines
Venice - Igoumenitsa - Patras and Ancona - Igoumenitsa - Patras.

Ventouris Lines Bari - Igoumenitsa and ANEK Lines Ancona - Igoumenitsa - Patras. Camping on board all year

ANEK Lines Anconca/Trieste -Igoumenitsa - Patras

MY WAY Ferries Brindisi -Igoumenitsa - Patras. Camping on board all year.

Agoudimos Lines Igoumenitsa - Corfu - Brindisi Camping on board all year.

Be warned the Camper Deck option can have its drawbacks. It's the cheapest crossing from Italy to Greece but you could find yourself parked between or very close to some refrigerated trucks which also use this deck. We have been very lucky and have never had this problem yet but I know some who have.

A new Turkish Immigration/Customs border post was opened at Ipsala in 2003. This has greatly reduced the congestion at the border.

A three month visa for a Brit costs Euro 15. I'm not sure what it will cost you, our Danish friends don't have to pay for a visa it seems they have a different charge for some nationalities.

The motorhome will cost nine Euros for the customs document to import for six months (I'm at a loss to understand why a vehicle gets a six month visa and a personal visa is for three months). The Vehicle Registration Document and a valid Green Card are required to enter Turkey. You should not have any language problems at the border but if you do you will always find one of the truck drivers will help out.

A point worth noting is the vehicle details are entered in the drivers passport and under normal circumstances the driver will not be able to leave Turkey without the vehicle. Make sure your Vehicle or Travel Insurance will cover the Duty/Customs Bond if you are taken ill and have to fly home or the vehicle is written off in an accident.

We have never had any problems at the border the Turks, as always, are most polite. Sometimes the Greeks are a bit slow in letting you through the border but you just grin and bear it.

If you are going straight to Antalya the quickest route from Istanbul is via, Izmit, Kutahya and Burdur. The Istanbul ring road is well signed and you should have no problems there.

The road from Kesan to Eceabat and the coastal road from Canakkale to Izmir is/was in a very poor condition and transiting Izmir with no ring road is a nightmare. If you do decide on this route, in Izmir follow the signs for Aydin.

In Turkey for overnight stops en route we use the large well lit 24 hour service stations. We just refuel, park up in a quiet corner and we have never been refused or had any problems.

I can recommend the following camp sites.

Onder Camping at Kusadasi for visiting Ephesus.

Camping Kayi at Goreme for visiting Cappadocia

On all our visits to Turkey we had a great time. The people are very friendly and we had no problems at all. In 2003 we crossed the border at Ipsala and visited Gallipoli before taking the ferry (YTL.20) from Eceabat to Canakkale. We then followed the coast to the Syrian (This was before the Iraq war) border. We used what campsites were open but a lot of the time we just free camped on the beach in small towns and villages. Many times we stayed overnight in the car parks of the ancient sites we were visiting. If we had to free camp in larger towns we stayed at the service station after filling up with fuel.

On the return trip we caught the ferry from Marmaris (very expensive) to Rhodes to cut down on the driving and we were getting very close to the end of our three month visa.Then the ferry from Patras to Venice using the "Camper Deck" option

I've listed the main ‘not to be missed’ tourist sights. For details and an insight into the history relating to these, we find the ‘The Rough Guide to Turkey’ or ' The Lonely Planet Turkey' guidebooks very useful.

Northern Turkey

Topkapi Palace, Aya Sofya, Blue Mosque, Sunken Palace, Grand Bazaar and
Dolmabache Palace are all must see sights.

The Gelibolu Peninsula
Anzac cove, Shrapnel Valley and the other World War 1 battlefields are found
here along with the many cemeteries.

The site which inspired the famous wooden horse.

Southwest Turkey
Ephesus (Efes)
One of the largest and best preserved ancient sites in the Mediterranean.

Rock formations coated in white calcium carbonate locally referred to as
‘Cotton Castle’

Take a boat along the Dalyan River to Istuzu Beach, a breading ground for
the loggerhead turtle.

Southern Turkey

Perge and Aspendos
Sites of two large and well-preserved amphitheatres.

A ruined Hellenistic port with some well-preserved sites.

Central Turkey
Capital city home to Turkeys Parliament and the Ataturk Museum.

A landscape made up of fairy chimneys, rock cut churches and underground

Other places ‘not to be missed’

For Swimming
Try the calm seawater of Oludeniz Lagoon, 5km from Fethiye.

For Walking
Take the path from Oludeniz Lagoon to Kaya Koyu, an old Greek settlement now
a ghost town.

Campsites in Turkey

Campsites in Turkey are plentiful in the summer months however the quality does vary tremendously. If you want to stay only on sites with good facilities you will need to do a degree of forward planning to find these. If on the other hand you are happy to stay on many of the less developed sites you should have no problems in finding a place for the night.

The Turkish tourist information office produce a brochure entitled ‘Camping in Turkey’ which details most campsites along with a location map. This can be obtained from their UK office, Tel 0207 629 7771.
A campsite listing along with a good location map can be found at

Posted: 6 January 2007 1:04 PM
Subject: RE: TURKEY
Epic contributor

Posts: 1159
Location: Earth

Hi Don- I do admire your ability to do these trips to such destinations, which I asume is just your wife and yourself. I would dearly like to do such trips but feel very apprehensive of what we may meet when heading down that way. Its o. k to travel in France and Spain but the thought of driving through non E.U countrys and the language problems. well to me it seems frighting quite frankley. How did you manage the first few times on these trips? Regards chas
userDon Madge
Posted: 6 January 2007 7:19 PM
Subject: RE: TURKEY

Epic contributor

Posts: 1869
Location: Rustington, West Sussex

Hi Chas,

I've been driving on the continent since 1952 so the driving side is not a problem at all.

We are loners isolationists who like our own company, we often meet like minded friends and spend a day or two together and then we are on our way again.

In the early 90's we wintered in Portugal and it was great, just a few motorhomers freeparking as the sites in those days weren't up to much. In the late 90's the Algarve started to get crowded so we moved on first to Spain where at times we felt non too safe. When Spain got crowded we moved onto the Canary Islands, great place for motorhoming but the £1300 fare was a bit off putting.

Then it was the turn of Morocco and what a great place this is (well we think so anyway) that got over run with thousands, yes thousands of motorhomes. So again we moved on. We also visited Cyprus with the van, a very pleasant place for motorhoming but the Greeks in their wisdom stopped running the car ferries from Greece to Cyprus. We spent time on mainland Greece but It was a bit cool for over wintering.

Then we started to venture further afield to Turkey and we have found the place to our liking. The people are very friendly and the four times we have visited we have had no problems at all.

We have visited most countries in Europe plus a few more. Now Romania and Bulgaria are in the EU their Black Sea coast is well worth a visit.

It doesn't exactly answer your question but as you see we gradually went further and further. We read as much as we can about each country using the Lonely Planet series of guide books. Other people use Rough Guides. There is a lot of information on the internet which makes travel a lot easier these days.

Take your courage in both hands and spread your wings slowly.

Safe travelling

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