Turkey First Impressions.

Very friendly people and a country steeped in history.

Food can be cheap - a kebab from a shop front cost less than £2, and a bit more in a cafe. You can £10 in a restaurant for similar fare, albeit with a few chips.

As a rule, places that sell alcohol charge more for food.

Beer in Istanbul cost around £3 for ½ a litre, sometimes a little less, others a little more but watch for the ‘service charge’ which some places add on. Beer is much less outside of Istanbul.

Transport is easy and cheap around Istanbul; further afield you would need to struggle with the local buses.

Driving in Turkey can be hazardous in built up areas, but outside of the major towns the roads are mostly empty especially the toll roads.

Our Trip

Places visited.

Started in Istanbul.

A  city full of history witk lots in easy walking distance.

Canakkale For Troy.

This is a great place and Troy is a bonus. Starting point for the tours of the Gallipoli battle sites.


 which contains the Roman ruins of Pergamon with the Acropolis, the Red Basilica and the Medical centre (The Asilipon).


Another wonderful town  close to the impressive Roman ruins of Effes - the best preserved Roman city in the East Mediterranean.

Also home to Temple of Artemis &  St Johns Basilica. It is in this town that  St John supposedly wrote his gospel and where Mary.



Istandbul is a sprawling place, however, for a first time visit it has to be Sulmentamet Square. Within walking distance you have

The Hippodrome. The Roman chariot arena This was the track, the seating and structure have long since disappeared.

Built in AD 537  it is famous for its massive dome. It was the world's largest building and an engineering marvel of its time. Was once a Christian church, then a Mosque and now a museum and, opps, now a mosque again!

The Hagia Sophia

The Hippodrome

The Blue Mosque. Gets it’s name from the blue mosaics inside.

Smiffy’s Turkey

Photos follow…You have to like photos to read on or bail out………!!!

The Spice Bazaar

The Basilica Cistern,

Can hold 80,000 cu m (80 million litre) of water!

The Snake Column in the Hippodrome. Built to celebrate the Greek victory over the Persians at Plataea (475 BC) & made with metal from the defeated Persian weapons. Removed from Delphi and bought here. The damaged column is at least 2,500 years old.



Smiffys Travels

View Other Places Visited

Canakkale (Troy)


Selcuk (Effes)

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          Really Useful Info On Turkey

Trams & Metro.

There are no ticket offices! You need to use the machines! The good news is that they have an English translation - of sorts.

Best Buy - Family Ticket. Can be used on both trams & Trains, 1 ticket that you hand back to your partner once you have entered! (I know, sounds strange but that's what you do! Of course you pay twice anyway, so you could buy 2, it cost 20 TRY but is best value for money)

Trips on the Bosphorus.

Trips can cost anything from £35 with a meal to a few quid if you avoid the touts!  

If you going for the evening cruise with a meal, & hotel pickup it’s probably best to book at your hotel.

If just want a boat trip, walk down to the river area where the boats depart and ignore the many, many touts.  Go up to the counter and buy your own ticket, it will save you!!

Turkish bus stations - Otagar

These are unlike any I’ve seen anywhere. There are no central offices, no departure information or point!

There are numerous bus companies so you have to go into the office to find what time their bus leaves. Don’t take the first one, the company next door will have buses running at different times.

Each bus company has its own departure area.    

Airports SAW

Worst airport I’ve been to! Rip off prices  at £1.50 for a small bottle of water & very few seats; most people end up sitting on the floor! Awful for a modern new airport.  

Turkish Visa

Great news! Visa are no longer required for Turkey! This will save $30.

How to get from Canakkale to Troy

You can join a tour but far better is just to take the local minibus for a few coppers