My Mother flew in from London Heathrow on British Airways cost GBP 300 landed 4.30pm, took one hour to pass through arrival formalities. We rented an Enterprise car at Ataturk Airport, a process that took about two hours. We were told by someone who used Enterprise regularly the business had recently changed owners, and the pick up point had been moved further from the main terminal. But perhaps that extra hassle was reflected in the low internet price which at GBP 145 came cheaper than the competition.
We drove to Tekirdağ for the first night, which took a couple of hours due to heavy traffic leaving Istanbul on Friday evening, and stayed over at the Ramada Hotel just off the dual carriageway leaving town, which was adequate, at a cost including a late dinner of GBP 135 for a double and a single.
The next day we left at 10am and drove to Çanakkale, arriving at 2pm. We took the windy coastal road for about two hours from Tekirdağ, with some spectacular sea views, before joining the faster highway, to catch the hourly ferry that connects Eceabat on the European side with Çanakkale on the Asian, a 30 minute journey (and roughly the route of the Dardanelles swim). We stayed on the eve of the race at the Çanak Hotel, which was comfortable and clean with an excellent breakfast terrace on the top floor with a view across the Strait, which cost GBP 66 B & B, with dinner outside costing GBP 33.
After the race, we drove to historic and charming Assos, where we’d booked a night at the Assos Behram Hotel, which proved clean and comfortable, except no pool, which we paid GBP 10 to use for the afternoon in the more expensive Kervansaray Hotel next door, which went down well with our kid, since it had a perfect kid’s pool for him to splash around in. We booked another night at the Assos Beygram, and spent that day at their partner Assos Barborossa Hotel on an open beach about 5 mins drive away, a less private but more convenient family experience for no extra charge. Total cost for two nights, including food and an excellent harbourside dinner at Assos, came in at GBP 244 B & B and GBP 77 for food.
On the fourth day, we set off mid day after a final swim in the crystal clear waters of Assos, and drove 2 hours before stopping for two nights at the Dikelya Hotel in Dikili right on the beach, GBP 35 B&B for a double, clean and great value, breakfast not bad, dinner not so good, we visited the Kayra Beach Club GBP 2 entrance fee, clear water great view, sea access by piers not so easy with 15 month child, had an excellent breakfast in Dikili at the Serenti Cafe, and lunch and dinner at the equally tasty beachside Deniz fish restaurant, who threw in sun loungers and free nannying service with lunch for GBP 25, whereas dinner cost us GBP 37, a couple of glasses of the fine local Leona Rose, two doubles of Yeni Raki and three sheets to the wind included.
They suggested we stay at the seafront Palas Hotel in Izmir, where we arrived after a 1.5 hour drive, cost GBP 122 for a single and double at the back of the hotel. It was again adequate, we had a nice dinner on the sea front, costing GBP 33 caught the 45 minute mid day flight back to Istanbul, cost GBP 30 per person, leaving my Mum ample time to catch her 5.30 pm BA fight back to London. Didn’t keep an accurate tab, but in for seven days on value for money budget trip, part pre-booked, part take what comes or is recommended along the way, for well under GBP 1,500! Great time had by all, safe as houses in every respect, except the busy night drive out of Istanbul.
Sponsor happy we hear and looking forward to the next leg of the Turkish coastal road ride with added swimming competition interest, the Izmir to Antalya leg that takes in the 3 hour Kas Meis race in May / June 2015, a ten dayer which we will look to bring in with a slightly more boutique theme in hotels and restaurants where possible for under GBP 2,000.