Ultimate Turkey Itinerary for 14 Days for First Timers

14 day travel itinerary turkey

After visiting Turkey more than 20 times over the last couple years I decided to go wild on my Turkey trip and travel to off the beaten path places and some of the top sights in Turkey. This way I created the ultimate road trip itinerary to visit the best places to see in Turkey in 14 days. How to travel around Turkey? Don't book a tour, do it yourself! Rent a car and follow this 2 week itinerary for Turkey and easily plan your trip yourself.

Trust me, traveling to Turkey does not need to be done in a group trip or with a tour operator. Let me convince you that you can do this on your own and I am sure you are going to have the time of your life.

I called this blog the ultimate Turkey itinerary for 2 weeks because I squeezed in most of the best places to visit in Turkey  into 14 days. I would suggest to pick your favorites from this itinerary and skip some places if you only have 7 or 10 days for your Turkey trip.

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Turkey road trip

I would highly recommend you to rent a car upon arrival and take a road trip around Turkey. Afraid of driving in Turkey? Don’t you worry, I drove almost 4,500 kilometers (2,800 miles) through the country and not a single time I got stuck in traffic. As soon as you leave Istanbul, the days on the road are very relaxed and road conditions are extremely good. Actually impressively good, like unexpected good! :)

Fuelling up your car is very cheap in Turkey as 1L of gas costs around 20 - 25 TL, less than $1 USD. Car rental cost for 14 days? Less than $250 USD! So what are you waiting for? For me a road trip around Turkey is the best way to visit Turkey! An absolutely amazing trip.

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turkey itinerary 2 weeks

Turkey Itinerary Map

Below you can find a map of the ultimate Turkey itinerary for 14 days with all the stops included. There are more than 14 stops, but you can do some of them in 1 day.

turkey itinerary map

Places to see in Turkey:

  • Amasra, Safranbulo
  • Sumela Monastery
  • Mount Nemrut
  • Egirdir LAke
  • Sirince, Ephesus
  • Pergamon, Bergama

For any Turkey road trip I strongly recommend you to buy a prepaid sim card for Turkey . It is cheap and super useful to be connected and there is 4G almost everywhere, check out the link to find the best network and best mobile operator. You can also buy a sim card at Istanbul Airport or SAW Airport , although the exact same prepaid sim cards for Turkey are more expensive at the airports.

Public transport in Turkey

I totally understand that not everyone is in the position to rent a car when visiting Turkey. But don't worry I have traveled to Turkey multiple times and only 1 time rented a car. I took busses around the whole country, for example from Istanbul to Cappadocia. But I also took an uncountable number of domestic flights. Overnight busses in Turkey are actually pretty damn comfortable!

To find the best connection, up to date time schedules, shortest route, or cheapest bus, ferry and even domestic flights I recommend you using the service of 12GoAsia. Their search engine gives you all the options and you choose your preferred way of travel. Try them out yourself below.

Turkey Itinerary for 14 days

If you let me help you plan your Turkey trip you see that I am sending you all over the country. From East to West and from North to South. For a reason of course, because there are so many more cool things to do in Turkey than just Cappadocia, Istanbul, Bodrum and Pamukkale.

It is best to plan your Turkey trip counter clockwise around the country. That way you do most of the long driving days in the beginning and they get shorter day by day. Plus you have the beaches towards the end of your Turkey trip.

Day 1: Amasra and Safranbolu - Charming Fishing Village on the Black Sea

Let’s not start with Istanbul, but straight away jump in your rental car when arriving at Istanbul Airport and drive Northeast towards Amasra. This is also where you are going to spend your first night.

amasra turkey 3

Amasra once was a sleeping fishing village, but now turned into a popular Turkey tourist destination. The narrow streets, an abundance of restaurants, ice cream shops and souvenir stalls will make you feel like on a holiday on your first day. Roaming the lively streets at night is the perfect way to experience Amasra to its fullest.

amasra turkey 2

Try to reach Amasra, which is a 4 hour drive from Istanbul, before sunset. If you won’t make that get up early in the morning for sunrise. They are magical, a short hike up will get you to an amazing viewpoint.

amasra turkey 1

Click on the link to find out the Google Maps location of the best sunset spot in Amasra .

If you have enough time stop on day 1 stop in Safranbolu, a village listed on the UNESCO World Heritage list. This old traditional village is worth a stop, as you drive past it anyway, either on day 1 or on day 2 of this Turkey itinerary.

Where to stay in Amasra

The Northdoor Amasra Hotel is a great Amasra hotel with the best reviews in town and costs only around $50 per night.

Day 2: Uzungol - Switzerland of Turkey

Be prepared for a long drive of more than 10 hours, but the next morning you will wake up in the Switzerland of Turkey: Uzungol. On day 2 you basically drive all day long along the Black Sea coast. You will also pass Trabzon, the biggest city on the Black Sea, but I recommend you to continue to Uzungol and you will thank me for mentioning this amazing Turkey tourist destination in this itinerary.

Looking for that iconic Uzungol Instagram picture? Check these list of the best things to do in Uzungol and find the swing with the breathtaking view over the valley.

The reason I recommend you to tour this Turkey itinerary counterclockwise around the country is that the first couple days are long days on the road. Better to have them in the beginning than in the end. Don't see this as a wasted day! You are driving along the Black Sea, a great introduction to this ultimate Turkey road trip. Take a break in the city of Samsun.

Where to stay in Uzungol

The Nova Uzungol has great reviews, a good view and is only $40 per night.

Day 3: Sumela Monastery - a Hidden Gem in Turkey

Wake up breathing in the fresh air of the mountains in Uzungol and sip a Turkish tea overlooking the fabulous Valley with the Uzungol Lake. No need to tell you that hiking around the Uzungol Lake is the best thing to do here. Spend the morning surrounded by mountain peaks and green landscapes.

Get back on the road and drive back to Trabzon, if you have time you can check out the city, but it wasn’t my favorite. I suggest you continue onwards to the next Turkey tourist destination: Sumela Monastery. From Uzungol to Sumela Monastery takes about 2 hours.

The Sumela Monastery was under construction when I visited and it was raining. At first I wasn’t convinced, but when I saw the paintings of the rock church I realized this should be included in every Turkey itinerary.

sumela monastery 1

It is easy to get to the Sumela Monastery, which is hidden deep into the forest of the Altindere National Park. From the main parking lot you have to a shuttle up a steep mountain road that brings you to the entrance of the monastery. Sumela monastery entrance fee is 20 TL.

sumela monastery 2

After you visited the Sumela Monastery and get back on the road, driving south to the next place to visit in Turkey: Mount Nemrut. Break the long trip by staying overnight in the city of Erzincan (3h drive) or Elazig (6h drive).

Day 4: Mount Nemrut - surprisingly fabulous UNESCO site on 2,100m

To me Mount Nemrut turned out to be on of the most surprising places to visit in Turkey . It is located off hte beaten path in Turkey and you won’t find many tourists here. Also because this UNESCO World Heritage site is located on 2,134 meter (7,000 ft) altitude.

mount nemrut 1

Mount Nemrut are actually two tombs dating back to 70 BC with on top statues that used to be 8-9 meters (29 ft) high. Unfortunately the heads are broken off, but they placed them in front of the statues. An absolutely must see in Turkey! Mount Nemrut entrance fee is 20 TL.

mount nemrut 2

To get to Mount Nemrut is fairly easy as you drive up to the parking lot and from there it is only a 10 minute hike. My secret Turkey travel tip would be to visit Mount Nemrut for either sunset or sunrise, but you gotta play a little around with your Turkey itinerary to make this happen.

Where to stay in Mount Nemrut

Continue the drive for today until you reach Gaziantep (3 hours drive). This big city in the South of Turkey is renowned for its outstanding gastronomy. In Gaziantep you can find 5-star hotels for as less as $50 per night. I stayed in the  Sirehan Hotel  which I would totally recommend you to stay as well.

Day 5: Gaziantep and Adana

One of the must visit places in Turkey if you are a food lover is Gaziantep. Indulge on the local delicacies here a city that is UNESCO listed for its gastronomy. More than 50% of all business are directly related to gastronomy.

baklava gaziantep

You have to try the Alinazik Kebab as it is Gaziantep’s specialty dish: pieces of kebab on top of bed of yoghurt with eggplant topped with a bit of buttery oil. Very rich and filling, but I was a fan! After dinner you of course have to try the famous pistachio Baklava. According to people from Gaziantep this is where the pistachio baklava originates.

alinazik kebab gaziantep

After you indulged yourself on the great tastes of Gaziantep you could walk around the bazaar which is rather small but authentic and check out the Gaziantep castle, but that is about it.

Next on your Turkey itinerary is Adana, famous for its amazing mosque. Until lately it was the biggest mosque in Turkey and from the outside it looks absolutely majestic, but don’t forget to check it out from the inside, you will be stunned a second time. The Adana Sabanci Merkez Mosque is totally worth it adding to your Turkey itinerary.

adana mosque

Where to stay in Adana

Stay overnight in Adana where you can easily find a 5-star hotel for under $50 per night. Check out the Sheraton Grand Adana which has actually great views over the river and the Sabanci Merkez mosque.

Day 6: Cappadocia - Hiking in Moonlike Landscapes

The only tourist destination in Turkey where I advice you to stay more than 1 night on this itinerary. Not just because of the hot-air balloons but so far it has been an intense road trip around Turkey and Cappadocia is the perfect place to unwind and chill for a day or go hiking.

cappadocia turkey 1

The day you arrive you will miss the hot air balloons as they start at sunrise around 6.00 am. But don’t worry if weather permits they rise every morning en mass, up to 150 at the same time. From Adana to Cappadocia is a 3 hour drive, so enough time to go hiking in the afternoon.

If you don’t feel like hiking you can arrange a taxi for about $25 for a couple hours. The best places to visit in Cappadocia are: Love Valley, Pigeon Valley and Rose Valley. Other cool things to do in Cappadocia are Uchisar Castle, the Goreme Open Air Museum, the Fairy Chimneys.

Check out this 2 & 3 day Cappadocia itinerary with the best things to do like visiting Pigeon Valley and Sunset Point in Goreme .

cappadocia turkey 2

Where to stay in Cappadocia

My Cappadocia hotel tip is the Koza Cave Hotel . It has the highest rooftop terrace in town and balloons fly just a couple meters above the terrace. I have seen the videos on Instagram and it looks almost unreal. Click here to find the best rates for your dates in Cappadocia.

koza cave hotel cappadocia 1

Day 7: Cappadocia - Magical Hot Air Balloon ride

On this day it is time for one of the  best things to do in Turkey : a hot air balloon ride in Cappadocia. I sincerely hope the weather is nice and there will be dozens of balloons taking off. It simply is a magical moment and one of those once in a lifetime experiences.

I have been a bit unlucky on the two times I visited Goreme. The first time in December 2014 it was snowing and ice cold, still I did a freezing balloon ride in cloudy skies. The second time in August 2020, there were no balloons flights because of Cøv$d. No problem, I happily visit Cappadocia over and over.

koza cave hotel cappadocia

Enjoy the rest of your day by checking out the remaining places to visit in Cappadocia. Staying for 2 nights in this magical town gives you the chance to find a viewpoint for the other morning. Sit back and stare at the morning sky seeing all the balloons rise.

Day 8 : Konya, Egirdir and Fethiye - History, Lake and Sea side

After another amazing hot air balloon sunrise in Cappadocia drive east towards Konya (3h drive). Consider a detour via Meke Crater Lake, an absolutely breathtaking volcano popping out of a lake. Go off the beaten path to this very unknown place to visit in Turkey!

Meke Crater Lake konya

Konya is one of Turkey’s oldest continuously inhabited cities. Obviously history can be found all around and some cool places to visit in Konya are: the green tiled mausoleum of Mevlana, the Alaeddin Mosque, the  striking facade of the İnce Minareli Madrasah dating back to 1264 and the Selimiye Mosque on the big main square in the city center.

Don’t spend too long in Konya though because lunch is waiting for you in Egirdir (2,5h drive). Right on the shores of Egirdir Lake you will find a little peninsula called Kale.

egirdir lake turkey

Life at Egirdir Lake is very much slow paced and not many international tourists find their way to this amazing Turkey tourist destination.

egirdir lake turkey 1

It is the perfect place for lunch. Head to the Melodi Restaurant for great views over the lake.

egirdir lake turkey 2

After lunch continue your way to Fethiye (3,5h drive), one of the most famous tourist destinations in Turkey and enjoy the beautiful beaches. For my Fethiye hotel recommendation see below.

Day 9:  Fethiye & Ölüdeniz - Butterfly Valley, Blue Lagoon & Paragliding

One of the best places to visit in Fethiye is the Butterfly Valley. It can only be reached by boat, so hop on one of the shuttle boats for 40 TL one way to get away from the tourists. A beutiful stretch of white sand beach perched between two high mountains is waiting for you.

In the afternoon go to Ölüdeniz where you will find the famous Blue Lagoon in Turkey. The beach is so white that without sunglasses you won’t survive and the sea has the deepest blue color. Absolutely spectacular.

Ölüdeniz is also popular for paragliding. Undoubtedly you will see loads of paragliders high above the Blue Lagoon. They take off from Mount Babadag, which is another cool place to visit in Fethiye. There is the Zirve restaurant on top so even if you are not one of those adventurers that wants to go paragliding in Ölüdeniz then order a drink and watch these daredevils taking off one by one.

My secret Turkey travel tip is the tiny little Greek island of Kastellorizo, only 3 kilometers from the Turkish mainland away. It is an absolutely gorgeous and picturesque island that is really high on my bucketlist of places to visit in Turkey. I know it belongs to Greece, but it is best to be visit by a 10 minute boat ride from Kas, Turkey 1,5 hour drive from Fethiye.

I know I am stuffing this Turkey itinerary with too many cool things to do right? But I am just giving you all the options. You decide which tourist destinations and activities you pick. :)

Where to stay in Fethiye

If budget allows you I would recommend you to stay in Beyaz Yunus Hotel, a charming boutique hotel , one of my favorite Fethiye hotels.

Day 10: Pamukkale & Lake Salda - A Natural World Wonder & Maldives of Turkey

On day 10 of this Turkey itinerary it is time for another Turkey top sight which is mentioned in every Turkey travel guide: Pamukkale. It was only my first time visiting lately and I encourage you to add this destination to your trip. Entrance fee 50 TL

The drive from Fethiye to Pamukkale take less than 3 hours, but first make a detour (1 hour extra) to the Maldives of Turkey: Lake Salda.

Lake Salda is an absolutely breathtaking beach destination in Turkey that is NOT on the sea. This extraordinary lakeside beach is just wow, see the picture below and decide yourself.

lake salda turkey 2

Pamukkale is a very unique site where carbonated minerals from thermal spring formed beautiful white terraces that are filled with water. Nowadays you are able to swim in these stunning little pools, well…

pamukkale turkey 4

First off let me tell you that there is a shortage of water at Pamukkale so most of the pools are dry nowadays. Second, visiting Pamukkale is a very popular thing to do in Turkey so tourism is taken its toll. Therefore man-made pools are created for tourists to swim in to protect the original ones.

pamukkale turkey 3

Completely understandable, let’s preserve this natural world wonder before we humans destroy another master piece created by mother Earth.

At first I wasn’t convinced by visiting Pamukkale, but towards sunset it was suddenly magical. My Turkey travel tip for Pamukkale is to visit this site a couple hours before sunset. First roam around the ancient Greek city of, which is connected to Pamukkale. The theater is the most amazing and best preserved theater I have visited in Turkey.

pamukkale turkey 1

Then towards sunset pick your pool to relax and you will see that as soon as the sun is almost down, 95% of the tourists are gone and you will have this beautiful UNESCO World Heritage site all for yourself.

pamukkale turkey 2

Where to stay in Pamukkale

An affordable place to stay in Pamukkale is the Bellamaritimo  for just $30 a night you already have  a room with a big swimming pool. An affordable 5-star hotel is the Doga Thermal Health & Spa hotel for less than $150 per night.

Day 11: Bodrum - Exclusive Beach Clubs and Charming Villages

It is finally time to party on your Turkey itinerary as you are reaching one of the most popular beach destinations in Turkey. Bodrum is often called the Ibiza of Turkey. Here you will find a bustling boulevard, endless beaches, but also exclusive beach clubs.

The drive from Pamukkale to Bodrum takes 3,5 hours.

Get yourself a cabana in one of the popular beach clubs like for example Buddha Bar & Beach . A more quiet, but utterly stunning beach club is Kai Beach & Restaurant . Sit back, relax and enjoy people watching. This is where the rich and famous Turks hang out.

On top of that the Bodrum peninsula has more to offer. Some really cool places to visit in Bodrum are the charming villages of Mugla, Akyaka and Eski Doganbey.

bodrum turkey

Where to stay in Bodrum

If you feel like spoiling yourself then look up the exclusive Mandarin Oriental Bodrum , Allium Villas Resort , Caresse a Luxury Collection Resort & Spa or the Bodrum EDITION . All of them absolutely stunning Bodrum Hotels, but also expensive.

A cute little boutique hotel and much more affordable ($50 per night) is the Petra Butik Otel .

Day 12: Sirince & Ephesus - Ancient Greek city and wine tasting

Relax a little more in Bodrum as you have a chilled day ahead. Your next destination in Turkey is a quaint mountain village with traditional houses called Sirince, famous for its wines and laid-back atmosphere. The drive from Bodrum to Sirince takes only 2,5 hours.

sirince turkey 1

You can either decide to first check in to your hotel in Sirince first and then go to Ephesus or the other way around. Ephesus is one of the most amazing places to visit in Turkey and just a 10 minute drive from Sirince.

ephesus turkey 1

The Ephesus entrance fee is 100 TL but that is a fair price as you will enter a whole ancient Greek city dating back to 1,000 BC. There is a big theater, but its main attraction is the impressive facade of the Library of Celsus. The Temple of Artemis, one of the 7 Wonders of the Ancient World was also part of Ephesus, but as you know, only ruins remain.

ephesus turkey 2

When in Sirince definitely do a wine tasting in one of the wineries. For more things to do in Sirince and restaurant tips, click on the link to read my Sirince blog.

Where to stay in Sirince

A great place to stay in Sriince is the Gullu Konaklari Boutique Hotel centrally located at the end of the main street. As you enter it feels like a peaceful oasis with small fountains, ponds and hotel rooms located in traditional houses.

Day 13: Pergamon & Bursa - Ancient Greece & Ottoman Empire History

The day after visiting Ephesus another ancient Greek city will be on Turkey itinerary: Pergamon. Located on a 335 meter (1,000 ft) hill next to the city of Bergama you will find the UNESCO World Heritage Site Pergamon, former capital of the Pergamon Kingdom around 300 BC.

pergamon bergama turkey 2

The drive from Sirince to Bergama take around 2 hours.

Much smaller than Ephesus and within an hour you have seen most of this top sight in Turkey. A little off the beaten path and therefore much less crowded. On my latest Turkey trip I had Pergamon all for myself.

pergamon bergama turkey 3

The Acropolis and the theater have amazing views over and are the highlights of this site. You are free to walk around wherever you want.

pergamon bergama turkey 5

After visiting Pergamon you continue your Turkey road trip towards Bursa, the old Ottoman capital to see a different era in Turkish history. From Bergama to Bursa is a a 2,5 hour drive.

bursa turkey 2

The main tourist attraction and place to visit in Bursa is: the Grand Mosque, once the biggest mosque in Turkey and one of the rare mosques around the world with a fountain inside.

bursa turkey

Other cool things to do in Bursa are the Green Mosque and Mausoleum, the cable car up the Uludag Mountain (2,500 m/8,200 ft) and the 700 year old UNESCO World Heritage village of Cumalikizik. Click on the link for my blog with 25 things to do in Bursa.

Where to stay in Bursa

One of the best Bursa hotel locations is the Crown Plaza Bursa and this 5-star hotel is with $60 per night very affordable as well. Great place to stay.

Day 14: Istanbul

Welcome to Istanbul! You have reach the end of this ultimate Turkey itinerary for 14 days. Im sure by now you are pretty exhausted, but one of the world’s most bustling cities is waiting for you to explore. If you have enough time on your hands and you are eager to explore this incredible city some more than I suggest you this 4 day Istanbul itinerary !

istanbul turkey 2

There are a couple places to visit in Istanbul for first timers: Blue Mosque, Hagia Sophia, the Grand Bazaar, Taksim Square, Istiklal Street and the Galata Tower are the standard things to do in Istanbul. If you are looking for more unique things to do in Istanbul then click on the link for a list of 10 hidden gems. Definitely recommend you to visit Uskudar on the Asian side and Camlica, Turkey's biggest mosque .

istanbul turkey 3

If you still have energy on the lasts days of your Turkey trip explore the colorful houses in Balat , watch the sunset from the Maiden Tower on the Asian side, take a boat trip on the Bosporus, see the Ortaköy mosque underneath the Bosporus bridge, find a fancy rooftop bar in Bebek or roam the cost and bustling streets at night in Besiktas.

istanbul turkey 1

Where to stay in Istanbul

Istanbul sightseeing will take its toll for sure so I recommend you to take a nice hotel. Some Istanbul hotels I can highly recommend you are the Ritz-Carlton Istanbul , Shangri-La  or the brand new JW Marriott right on the Bosporus. Expensive but worth it!

Some more affordable 5-star hotels around $100 per night are: 10 Karakoy Istanbul , Parma Hotel & Spa Taksim .

For a complete guide on where to stay in Istanbul click on the link.

I hope all the above tips for planning your Turkey trip were useful for your upcoming adventure. It was a pleasure helping you so far. But here are some last Turkey travel tips...

Additional things to do in Turkey

In case you still have time left on your Turkey trip I can highly suggest you to visit the following places.

Edirne - Wines & Great Mosque

About 3 hours drive from Istanbul to the West and therefore a little off the beaten path. Edirne can easily be done on a day trip from Istanbul, but it take an extra day and therefore I didn’t include it in the itinerary above.

Most of the wine culture in Turkey can be found in the European side towards the border with Greece and Bulgaria. Edirne is the biggest city west from Istanbul, just a stone’s throw away from the European border. It once was the capital of the Ottoman Empire and holds a lot of history.

A must visit place is the majestic Edirne Mosque . Make sure to also check out the interior. When you are done sightseeing in Edirne head out to one of the wineries in the region around Edirne and try wine tasting and delicious food. I can recommend you to check out the  Bakucha Vineyard Hotel & Spa . You can also spend the night here and wake up overlooking the wine fields. 

Mount Ararat - Resting Place of Noah’s Ark

Unfortunately I still haven’t visit Mount Ararat myself but it is now topping my list of places to visit in Turkey. However I actually have, but different story, I didn’t climb Mt. Ararat.

This Turkey activity is only for the adventurers among us, because Mount Ararat is the highest mountain in Turkey with an elevation of 5,137 meters (16,854 ft). I was on the foot of Mount Ararat, but on the Armenian side and I can tell you this mountain peak looks damn impressive.

Haven’t even mentioned that Mount Ararat is also considered to be the resting place of the Noah’s Ark and therefore alone already a must visit place in Turkey.

Turkey’s highest peak is located on the Armenian border, far from all the other Turkey tourist attractions and therefore I also excluded Mount Ararat from my Turkey itinerary. In case you would drive there it would take you at least 8 hours from Trabzon, one way. Not recommended.

In case you want to climb Mount Ararat, then I suggest you to fly to IGD Airport and organize a climbing tour from there.

For domestic flights in Turkey and bus and ferry tickets I always use the search engine of 12Go Asia. IT is easy, fast and reliable and no need to find a bus ticket on the streets. Their flight search engine for domestic flights in Turkey is pretty damn good too.

I hope all the tips for planning your Turkey trip were helpful and you can use some parts of this itinerary for your upcoming journey. Honestly, I always miss traveling in Turkey when I am not there. Sounds cheesy from someone who is trying to visit every country in the world , but trust me Turkey is one of my favorite travel destinations.

Also when wondering how to stay connected when traveling to Turkey then check out my guide for buying a sim card for Turkey in 2023 .

May you have any more questions about this Turkey itinerary please leave me a comment below or head to my Instagram and send me a DM , I will happily help you out.

Enjoy your trip to Turkey!

  • mount nemrut
  • sumela monastery

High Heels & a Backpack

14 day travel itinerary turkey

Two Week Turkey Itinerary – Your Perfect 2023 Route

This two-week Turkey itinerary enables you to see the cultural and historical highlights of this vast and beautiful country in a short space of time. It leads you through the bustling souks of Istanbul, among the ethereal landscapes and fairy towers of Cappadocia, and to less-frequented towns and villages way off the beaten path.

All of these things combine to provide the perfect insight into local life in Turkey. This route is perfect for first-timers and it starts and ends in Istanbul. This is a good starting point considering the vast amount of international flights that fly into Istanbul Airport.

Turkey Itinerary Highlights  

This Turkey itinerary is perfect for culture vultures, history buffs, and those that like to really get under the skin of the places that they visit in order to see them like a local. The highlights of this Turkey itinerary include:

  • Watching mystical whirling dervishes in beautiful Konya
  • Trekking through the most unique landscapes in the world in Cappadocia
  • Hot air ballooning in Cappadocia
  • Marveling at the Hagia Sophia and other gems of Istanbul
  • Going back in time to quaint traditional Turkish villages
  • Discovering entire cities built underground in Derinkuyu 
  • Falling in love with Turkey’s food culture – from sumptuous marinated meats to sweet loukoumi 
  • Encountering and befriending wonderful local people 
  • Navigating through the Serpentine souks of Izmir 
  • Marveling at the well-preserved ruins of Ephesus

2 Week Turkey Itinerary

2 week turkey itinerary days 1-3: istanbul.

2 week Turkey itinerary

‌Start your 14-day Turkey itinerary by flying into Istanbul, the country’s largest city. There is a distance of approximately 50km between the “new” Istanbul airport and the city centre.

However, fortunately, it is cheap and easy to take either an airport taxi or a bus. A private transfer or airport taxi should cost you no more than approximately €30 (200lira) with the journey taking around 50 minutes.

The bus costs just €4, with concessions available for children and the elderly. Since it makes a number of stops en route to Istanbul city centre, the journey takes around 100 minutes by bus.

Istanbul is one of the only places in the world that is spread across two continents. It straddles Asia and Europe and boasts cultural, archaeological, and gastronomic influences from the two regions.

The city’s various neighbourhoods are like little towns in themselves, each with its own unique personality. As you meander through them, you will see a mishmash of contemporary, Byzantium, and Ottoman architecture.

Things to Do in Istanbul

2 week Turkey itinerary

Sultanahmet district is where you can find the majority of the tourist attractions in Istanbul (the Blue Mosque, the Grand Bazaar, and the Hagia Sophia). Unfortunately, it is also where you will constantly be exposed to tourist prices in coffee shops, bars, and restaurants that are several times thel ocal price.

You can explore this area in full in just one day so if you are interested in trying more authentic restaurants and seeing Istanbul like a local then I would recommend staying in an alternate district and taking the tram into Sultanahmet during your Istanbul itinerary .

Get a Birdseye view from Galata tower

14 day travel itinerary turkey

Galata tower awaits just north of the Golden Horn in the namesake Galata Square. It can be seen from various points around the city and it looks particularly beautiful at night when it is illuminated by hundreds of twinkling lights.

Galata Tower (Galata Kulesi) is one of the oldest towers in the world. It was included in the UNESCO World Heritage Temporary List in 2013.

The original structure dates back to 507-508 AD when it was built by Byzantine Emperor Justinianos. It has been rebuilt and repaired several times throughout the centuries, affected by fires, earthquakes, and other natural disasters.

Expect queues if you go up at weekends but it is worth the effort. The breathtaking panoramas from the top of the tower are unparalleled.

Explore the Wider Galata Area

At the base of Galata tower, there are lots of cute traditional coffee shops and tea rooms. Here, you can drink Kücük cay with a piece of Turkish delight.

Some of the establishments here have even been featured in Turkish movies and TV series. Federal Galata (Şahkulu, Küçük Hendek Cd. No:7, 34421) is a nice choice.

So too is Velvet Cafe (Bereketzade, kule Çukmazı S, Büyük Hendek Cd. D:7a, 34421 Beyoğlu/İstanbul). If you have time to indulge in a little retail therapy, there are lots of charming vintage thrift shops in the area. These are great for picking up one-of-a-kind items.

‌Explore Ortakoy

Ortakoy is the port area from which you can take connecting ferries to other parts of Turkey. This was once a thriving fishing village and the area has maintained its traditional routes to this day.

As you walk along the seafront or the bridge that connects Ortakoy to Galata, you will notice many optimistic fishermen setting up camping chairs along the waterfront. The area is popular for hosting what are deemed to be the very best seafood restaurants in town.

By night, some of Istanbul’s chicest bars and nightlife spot s can be found here. Treat yourself to dinner with a Bosphorus view at Epope Cafe & Restaurant (Ortaköy, Değirmen Sok, Muallim Naci Cd. D:No:5, 34418 Beşiktaş/İstanbul).

Alternatively, House Cafe Ortakoy (Yıldız, Ortaköy Salhanesi Sk. No:1, 34349) is a favourite brunch spot among locals. Expect to find a blend of quintessential Turkish dishes and international classics like eggs benedict and eggs florentine.

Look out for the gorgeous Ortakoy Mosque while you are in the area. This is one of the most beautiful mosques in Istanbul, and arguably all of Turkey. It was built by Sultan Abdülmecit in the 19th century and its appearance looks almost as though it has been built on the water.

‌ Experiment with Turkish street food

Turkish food is far more than just kebabs and moussaka. You could spend a month in Turkey and still find yourself perpetually discovering new dishes. Y ou will find many vendors selling local delicacies all over the city. However, they are particularly abundant around Taksim Square and Istiklal Avenue. For an “only in Istanbul” eating experience, try the Islak burgers!

Islak burgers are known as “wet hamburgers”. They can only be found in Istanbul and there are only 2-3 stores that sell them.

Y ou won’t even see them in other parts of Turkey! They are much more appetizing than they sound and are made by soaking hamburger patties and buns in a rich, herb-infused tomato sauce . The burgers are small and bite-sized so you can indulge and treat yourself to a couple.

‌Hang out with Hipsters in Beşiktaş

14 day travel itinerary turkey

If Beşiktaş sounds familiar, it is because the area is home to Istanbul’s beloved Beşiktaş football team. If you’re young and trendy, this is the area to see and be seen on a Friday or Saturday night in Istanbul.

Joker No.19 (Sinanpaşa, Beşiktaş Cd. No:19, 34353) is a great place to meet and mingle with locals. The bar’s expert mixologists serve up a vast array of classic and eccentric cocktails.

Practice Haggling at the Grand Bazaar

14 day travel itinerary turkey

Navigating your way through the incense-filled passageways of the Grand Bazaar is a must while in Istanbul. It is touristy, sure, but you must pass through it at least once.

This is one of the largest and oldest covered markets in the world. It is made up of 61 covered streets and over 4,000 shops selling everything from Turkish delight, homemade candies, spices, and nuts, to perfumes and fabrics.

The Grand Bazaar was constructed in 1455 by Mehmet II, almost immediately after the Ottoman acquisition of Istanbul. Be prepared to haggle on anything you buy here.

You will generally find that prices for items across the board are significantly cheaper at other less touristic markets. As a rule of thumb, try to start your price negotiations at around 40% of the vendor’s asking price and you can haggle from there.

Take a Bosphorus Tour

Dozens of boats depart daily from Ortakoy giving you beautiful views of Istanbul’s most notable architecture from the water. You can also opt for the night version of the tour if you are interested to watch the sunset.

Most tours take around 90 minutes – ample time to capture countless unforgettable photo memories. You will also find some tours that offer dinner and drinks on a Bosphorus cruise.

A number of reputable Bosphorus tour options are detailed below for your consideration.

  • Istanbul: Bosphorus music and dinner cruise with a private table
  • Bosphorus sunset cruise on a luxurious yacht
  • Istanbul Bosphorus night dinner cruise
  • Bosphorus cruise with audio app

Visit Dolmabahce and Topkapi Palaces

The Topkapi Palace is a must-visit during your 2 week Turkey itinerary. This was the former court of the Ottoman Empire and the site of many weird and wonderful stories and events.

The palace was first constructed in the late 1450s on the order of Mehmet II. During the Ottomans 600 year reign, it housed approximately 30 Sultans.

The palace has been open to the public as a museum since 1924. While the well-preserved rooms and living quarters are opulent and impressive, it is the tales of scheming eunuchs, beautiful concubines, and lustful Sultans that will leave you fascinated.

Topkapi palace is typically always packed full of tourists. If you want to avoid the crowds, Dolmabahce palace makes a nice alternative.

It is lesser-known, yet just as rewarding to uncover. At Dolmabahce, you can also enjoy a free tour of the harem.  

Recommended Istanbul Tours

Exploring Istanbul independently during your 2 week Turkey itinerary is a wonderful experience. Part of the charm of exploring former Constantinople is found in simply taking the time to get lost among the narrow streets.

However, you may also enjoy doing a guided walking tour with the aid of a local. You will obtain more context to the things that you see and discover places that you would not otherwise find independently.

Better yet, exploring with a local means that you have a local expert to ask for recommendations on the best places to eat, drink and hang out in Istanbul. A selection of the best Istanbul day tours is detailed below for your consideration.

  • Istanbul Food and culture tour: a taste of two continents
  • Galata and Taksim walking tour
  • Istanbul: 4-hour evening walk and light food tasting tour
  • Full-day Istanbul highlights tour
  • Full-day Princes islands tour with lunch
  • Hagia Sophia, Tokpaki, and Basilica Combo ticket

Where to Stay in Istanbul

Istanbul offers accommodation options to suit every budget and travel style. The best area to stay in varies depending on your personal preference. The Sultanahmet district is touristy, but it places you right on the doorstep of the Blue Mosque, Hagia Sophia, and the other most notable things to do in Istanbul.  

If you want to stay somewhere away from the crowds, consider trendy Karakoy. Kabataş, Beşiktaş and Sirkeci are all good options.

Turkey Itinerary Day 4: Ankara

Two week Turkey itinerary

Ankara is the capital of Turkey. It is well worth a flying visit as part of your Turkey itinerary, if only for a day or so.

The city is home to many sites of historical and political importance. This makes the perfect place for gaining an understanding of Turkey’s past and present situation.

Visit Ankara Castle

The Turks love their former leader Atattürk and here in Ankara, you can visit his tomb at Anitkabir. For a 360-degree view of the city, hike up to Ankara Castle in the city’s Ulus district.

Ankara Castle is free to enter and is one of the oldest structures in the city. Nobody knows exactly when it was built, however, records indicate that it existed around the second century BC.

It was repaired many times by the Romans, Byzantines, Seljuks, and Ottomans. Just wandering the streets , stopping here and there for a Turkish coffee or a burek is a nice way to explore Ankara.

The Old Quarter can be found near the Ankara Citadel . It is characterised by its cobbled streets and ramshackle red Ottoman houses and takes you on a journey back in time.

In the evening, head over to trendy Kizilay. This is the beating heart of Ankara’s social scene. The streets here are laden with Designer boutiques, chic restaurants, and colourful outdoor markets.

Recommended Ankara Tours

  • Ankara: Private tour with a local
  • Ankara guided walking tour

Getting to Ankara from Istanbul

Long-distance buses and rickety train services run along the route from Istanbul to Ankara . However, you can expect the journey to take up to around 6 or 7 hours.

Turkey is a vast country and there is a whopping 443.9 km distance between the two cities. Arguably the best and most convenient option is to fly from Istanbul to Ankara.

Plane tickets can be purchased at a relatively low cost if they are bought in advance. Turkish Airlines and Pegasus service this route.

You can find flights for as little as $25-30 each way if booked in advance. Ankara Esenboğa Airport is just 45 minutes away from the city centre and regular, low-cost buses service the route.

Where to Stay in Ankara

14 day travel itinerary turkey

Despite the fact that Ankara is the capital of Turkey, the city centre itself is quite compact. Ankara does not make it into a lot of tourists’ Turkey itineraries and remains relatively off the beaten path.

Many of the boutique hotels that you will find here are very affordable. A handful of reputable options in Ankara are detailed below for your consideration.

Turkey Itinerary Days 5-7: Cappadocia

14 Day Turkey Itinerary

Cappadocia is a highlight of any 2 week Turkey itinerary. The rugged landscape here looks almost ethereal and other-worldly. It takes your breath away at every turn.

Taking a Cappadocia hot air balloon flight is the raison d’être that many people head to Cappadocia in the first place. However, there is far more to do in the area than just taking a balloon ride and photographing the balloon-filled skies.

Some of the best hiking trails in Turkey can be found in Cappadocia. You will also find mysterious underground cities and forgotten donkey trails that lead you to ancient Byzantine churches carved into caves.

Getting to Cappadocia from Ankara

14 day travel itinerary turkey

You can take the bus from Ankara to Cappadocia and it will get you to Nevsehir in approximately four hours. Be prepared that you may need to change buses towards the end of the journey and get onboard a smaller bus.

For example, if you are staying in Goreme , you will need to leave the bus at the Cappadocia stop and change. The Driver and Stewards on board will help you to make the transfer.

Buses in Turkey are really pleasant and comfortable. So, you can enjoy the journey with an in-seat TV, music, and free refreshments.

Recommended Cappadocia Tours

  • Cappadocia: Sunrise hot air balloon flight with champagne
  • Cappadocia hot air balloon tour
  • Sunset quad safari in Cappadocia
  • Full-day Cappadocia blue zone hiking tour with lunch
  • Göreme: South Cappadocia highlights tour with lunch
  • Göreme: Small group full-day Cappadocia red tour
  • Full-day Cappadocia blue tour with a small group

Where to Stay in Cappadocia

14 day travel itinerary turkey

Contrary to what you may think, “Cappadocia” is not a town in itself. It is actually a sprawling region made up of lots of different towns and areas.

Goreme is a good place to base yourself. It is here where the hot air balloon tours depart and the area is home to many of Cappadocia’s main attractions. For instance, the open-air museum, the red Cappadocia hiking trail, etc.

For a completely unique “only in Cappadocia” experience, consider staying in a Cave Hotel. I stayed at the Guzide Cave Hotel in Goreme and it was the best hotel experience I had in Turkey. The hotel serves a lavish Turkish breakfast and the owner, Murat, goes out of his way to help his guests make the most of their trips. 

Turkey Itinerary Days 8 and 9: Konya

14 Day Turkey Itinerary

The Central Anatolian city of Konya is a conservative Muslim city that remains unknown to most international visitors. It provides a stark contrast to Turkey, arriving in Konya felt like a stark contrast to the other cities on this 2 week Turkey itinerary.

At first glance, it can seem like a city of tight headscarves and high necklines. However, once you scratch beneath the surface, you will realise that Konya has so much to offer.

Even the most well seasoned travellers will fall in love with Konya. There is just something about the city that feels so magical, authentic and unspoiled.

Konya is far away from the typical tourist trail. It is a popular pilgrimage destination for followers of Sufism and Mevlana (aka the Poet Rumi).

Get Lost Among the Tapestries of the Bazaars

Sample hot salep in Konya

The bazaars of Konya are much more authentic than those in Istanbul. Konya locals will tell you that Turkish bazaars sell “everything from string to furniture” and that couldn’t be more true than in the souks and bazaars here.

Try a hot cup of salep – warm, creamy drink made from orchids and cinnamon. The items sold at the markets here are far more local and interesting than anything that could be found in Istanbul’s Grand Bazaar

Fall in Love with the Poet Rumi

The Mevlana Museum is the poet Rumi’s final resting place. Here, you can learn about Rumi’s life and works.

H owever, even if you are not familiar with Rumi’s works, the museum is worth a visit. One notable thing about Sufism is that they are the creators of the whirling dervishes.

In case you don’t know, whirling dervishes are those traditional Turkish dancers that spin round and round and have us all wondering about how they are not sick! In Istanbul, you can pay a small fortune to see a touristic whirling dervishes dance.

However, in Konya, you can watch this for free. The dance is performed each Saturday afternoon outside the Mevlana Museum.

Discover Ancient Civilisations

From Konya, you can take a short day trip to the Neolithic town of Çatalhöyük. This is one of the oldest human civilisations in the world and dates all the way back to 7,500 BC.

The settlement was inscribed as a UNESCO-protected site in 2012. It features a unique streetless settlement of houses clustered back to back with roof access into the buildings.

Getting to Konya from Cappadocia

You can take the bus from Cappadocia to Konya and the journey should take around 6 hours. If you prefer to have more of a full first day in Konya, you can also take a night bus from Cappadocia.

Konya’s bus station is quite far out of the city. So, you can either take a cab, or a tram that runs from the bus station to the centre of the city.

Related: Read about the crazy guy that fell in love with me in Konya .

Where to Stay in Konya

The main points of interest in Konya are centered around the Mevlana Museum. Try to opt for a hotel in this area so that you are within walking distance of everything. 

A selection of reputable Konya hotels and accommodation options are detailed below for your consideration.

  • Araf hotel – a quirky boutique hotel that was decorated with vibrant colours and eccentric furnishings.

Turkey Itinerary Day 10: Pamukkale  

14 Day Turkey Itinerary

Pamukkale is a surreal place that has become social media famous in recent years. The word “Pamukkale” means “Cotton Candy” in Turkish.

The site consists of miles and miles of rippling Travertine terraces. At first glance, Pamukkale looks as though it is made from snow or from clouds that have fallen from the sky.

In actual fact, it is made from sediment that has overflowed from the nearby natural thermal pools. At the top of the travertines is the Roman spa city of Hierapolis.

It is said that these ancient pools were a gift from Marc Anthony to Cleopatra. Legend has it that she was incredibly ugly before visiting Pamukkale and after swimming in the pools, she was breathtakingly beautiful.

Getting to Pamukkale from Konya

14 Day Turkey Itinerary

It’s another relatively long bus journey from Cappadocia to Pamukkale which again can be done on a night bus if you prefer. First, you need to take a bus from Konya to the city of Denizli.

This leg of the journey takes around 6 hours. From Denizli, the bus to Pamukkale takes around 30 minutes.

When you arrive in Denizli, you should go down to the lower level of the station to find the Pamukkale bus. The buses are small shared taxis that depart when full.

Recommended Pamukkale Tours

  • From Selcuk/Kusadasi/Izmir: Pamukkale full-day tour
  • Antalya: Full-Day Pamukkale and Hierapolis tour & lunch
  • Pamukkale and Hierapolis full day tour from Bodrum
  • Ephesus and Pamukkale: day trip by plane from Istanbul
  • From Kusadasi: Guided Pamukkale tour

Turkey Itinerary Day 11: Ephesus

14 day travel itinerary turkey

Ephesus is Europe’s most impressive and intact Greek-Roman ruin. It is estimated that even after over 150 years’ worth of excavations, only around 20% of Ephesus has been unearthed!

Here, you will find temples and marketplaces that still boast their original marble columns , as well as theatres and colosseums. Ephesus is a highlight of any 2 week Turkey itinerary.

One full day is plenty of time for a thorough exploration at a relaxed pace. Many local tour companies offer day trips and excursions to Ephesus and nearby points of interest.

There are hotels situated close to the archaeological site. However, you can also opt to stay in nearby Izmir and take a day trip to Ephesus if you prefer.

Getting to Ephesus from Pamukkale

2 week Turkey itinerary

It takes approximately three hours from Pamukkale to Ephesus. Once again you need to change in Denizli and take the small shared bus there. From Denizli, you will board a coach to Pamukkale.

Buy your ticket from the bus station at Denizli rather than one of the travel agencies in Pamukkale as they add an unnecessary premium. Buses depart from Denizli to Ephesus hourly.    

Recommended Ephesus Tours

  • Ephesus, House of Virgin Mary & Artemis Temple group tour
  • Private Ephesus and House of Virgin Mary tour
  • Ephesus entry ticket with mobile phone audio tour
  • Ephesus day tour with return flights from Istanbul

Turkey Itinerary Days 12 and 13: Izmir

Izmir is a highlight of any 2 week Turkey itinerary. The area around the Kemeralti bazaar is particularly charming.

The bazaar is made up of countless narrow, winding, labyrinth-like alleyways. As you wander around them, you are greeted with cute tea rooms, artisanal stores, and local vendors selling all manner of street food eats.

You could while away many hours outside these tea rooms people watching and sipping a cup of Kucuk cay . Izmir is a perfect city to enjoy with a more slow-paced, relaxed approach. Traveling here is not about hurriedly seeing the sights, but soaking in the atmosphere around you.

Enjoy the Turkish Coastline

Besides browsing through the bazaars and drinking Turkish tea, you can also enjoy people-watching and live musical performances at the Konak clock tower. Izmir is a coastal city and so it makes sense that there are several gorgeous beaches nearby. A short journey will bring you to the towns of Çeşme, Dikili, and Pamucak.

Go Back in Time in Sirince

Sirince is a quaint and charming little village just a short journey away from Izmir. If you want the perfect example of a traditional and unspoiled village, this is it.

Sirince is famed for its wine production and you can enjoy a tasting, or pick up some unusual tipples here. The name Sirince means “pretty” and the quaint little whitewashed buildings and twisting alleyways certainly help it live up to its name.

Here, elderly ladies in traditional dress bake bread over open ancient stoves. The entire experience of traveling here makes you feel as though you have been transported back in time.

Visit the Ancient Agora

The Agora of Smyrna in Izmir was once an important trading point on the old Silk Road trade route. Merchants from far and wide would come here to sell and exchange their wares.

It was originally built by the Greeks in the 4th century BC. However, the original marketplace was ruined by an earthquake in 178 AD.

Roman Emperor Marcus Aurelius ordered its reconstruction. Centuries ago, agoras were an important rendezvous point for the Greeks. You could compare the Agora of Smyrna to the Ancient Agora in Athens, Greece.

It takes just one hour from Ephesus to Izmir and vice versa.

Where to Stay in Izmir

The L’Agora Old Town Hotel & Bazaar is a stylish, centrally located boutique hotel in downtown Izmir. The hotel encircles a central courtyard and resembles an ancient Caravanserai. Rooms are stylish and elegant and start from just $45 a night. 

Recommended Izmir Tours

  • Ephesus and Sirince village tour from Izmir
  • From Izmir: private guided day tour to Ancient Pergamon

Turkey Itinerary Day 14: Departure

Your two-week Turkey itinerary is coming to an end! It’s time to cry into your box of Turkish delight and scour around frantically for a stall where you can buy one last islak burger.

Depending on where you are traveling, you may be able to take a flight from Izmir airport. Alternatively, you can fly from Izmir to Istanbul for a low cost and it prevents you from having to take any more long journeys via public transport!

Possible Extensions

14 Day Turkey Itinerary

Mount Nemrut is a fascinating place well suited for travelers that love hiking and adventure. It is situated in the Eastern part of Turkey close to the Syrian border.

Mount Nemrut is known as being the “Easter Island of Turkey”. The mountain is filled with the severed heads of gigantic stone-like statues.

It is thought that the statues were built by an egoistic king who wanted to build sculptures of himself and his family. However, after his death, the heads were removed from the statues and nobody knows exactly how or why. Fascinating, eh?

Visiting Nemrut Dag also enables you to visit many traditional towns and villages. The culture in Eastern Turkey is altogether different from that in central Anatolia or in the West. 

Mount Nemrut is in a remote area and it is not so easy to access. However, many companies offer 2-3 day tours from Cappadocia.

If you are interested in history, from Izmir you could take a trip to Troy for a day. Troy, as you may have guessed, is the site of the apparent battle of troy and where the Trojan horse was used.

Bursa is a city that is locally as “Green Bursa on account of its stunning natural scenery. If you have a little extra time, you could stop in Bursa for a day or two on your return journey back to Istanbul.

You can get between Bursa and Istanbul by a short, scenic ferry ride. Bursa is filled with temples and outdoor hiking routes.

Coastal Turkey

This 2 week Turkey itinerary focuses on immersing yourself in the rich culture of Turkey and exploring notable historical sites in the process. Let’s not forget though, Turkey’s pristine coastlines and warm summer climate also make it the perfect destination for a little rest and relaxation.

If you want to unwind after travelling across this vast country, you can consider spending a few days in a coastal area like Bodrum or Antalya. Here you can enjoy everything from idyllic beaches, scuba diving, and snorkeling, to exploring off-the-beaten-path Ancient Greek ruins.

Getting Around Turkey


Public transport links in Turkey are excellent, making this vast country a very easy place to get around. If you prefer a little more freedom and flexibility, you can also rent a car.

I got around by bus throughout my entire Turkey itinerary. This was convenient, comfortable, and affordable. 

Travel Turkey by Bus 

Opting to do tour entire 2 week Turkey itinerary by bus is actually a pleasant experience. This rings true even if you are someone who usually hates long bus journeys!

Buses in Turkey are very modern and offer airline-style services. Complimentary tea and snacks are served during the journeys, and the chairs often have inbuilt music/entertainment systems. 

Bus fares in Turkey are very affordable. This is one of the cheapest ways of getting around.

You can purchase your ticket at the offices of the various bus stations. It can be confusing, as there are several different bus companies.

Most bus companies in Turkey are reliable and comfortable. There are none that you need to try and avoid. British National Express and American Greyhound buses pale in comparison to Turkish buses!

Travel Turkey by Rail 

Turkey has a very well-developed rail network. Train services run to all corners of the country, making this a very convenient way to get around. 

For longer distances, you can opt to take night trains or board the Turkish high-speed rail. The Turkish high-speed rail network (Turkey’s bullet train?) currently runs between Ankara, Konya, Eskisehir, and Istanbul. 

Travel Turkey by Domestic Flights 

Don’t underestimate how vast Turkey is. Some journeys between destinations can take as long as 8-9 hours.

If you are limited on time, you may prefer to take domestic flights. Several low-cost airlines operate on routes between Istanbul, Izmir, Ankara, and Cappadocia, including Pegasus Air.

If you book your flights in advance, you can secure tickets for as little as $20 each way. Of course, additional fees are incurred for traveling with luggage.

Travel Turkey by Rental Car  

If you want more flexibility and independence during your Turkey itinerary, you can consider renting a car. Car rentals in Turkey are very affordable and there are virtually no tolls. Renting a car enables you to access sites and ruins that are not easily accessible via public transport. 

You can rent a car in Turkey if you are over 21 and have had your license for more than a year. Driving in Turkey is done on the right-hand side of the road. Many reputable international rental firms operate in Turkey and allow pickup from international airports. 

When to Travel to Turkey

Many people associate Turkey with being a “hot country”. Not so fast though.

Turkey is a huge country that straddles both Asia and Europe. Its temperatures vary significantly depending on the season during which you intend to travel to Turkey and the specific region you venture to. Plan wisely depending on the activities you hope to enjoy during your 2 week Turkey itinerary.

Spring (March to May):

Spring is one of the best times to visit Turkey. This is especially the case if you plan on embarking on a cross-country Turkey itinerary like the one included here.

The days are warm and sunny and the temperatures are pleasant. The range from the late teens to the early twenties in terms of degrees celsius.

Summer (June to August):

Temperatures are hot and sunny during the summer months in Turkey. In degrees Celsius, you can expect temperatures ranging from the late twenties to the early forties depending on where exactly you are.

This is perfect weather for relaxing on Mediterranean-style beaches in Bodrum and Antalya. However, is a little hot if you plan to do any hiking during your Turkey itinerary.

Autumn (September to November):

Autumn in Turkey sees similar temperatures and climates to spring. This makes it an equally perfect time to plan your Turkey itinerary.

Winter (December to February):

In Eastern Turkey and across the Anatolian plains, it gets very cold during the winter months. Snowfall is common – often to the extent that roads are blocked and hiking trails are rendered inaccessible.

The fairy-tale landscapes of Cappadocia look almost magical under a blanket of snow. This is seemingly perfect for photos during this time but be warned: balloon rides see more cancellations here than during any other time of year due to adverse weather.

Cappadocia air balloon flights are managed by the Turkish air force. If they decide that the weather conditions are too bad to fly, your tour company cannot do anything about it.

In Western Turkey (Istanbul, Izmir, Ephesus), temperatures are much more pleasant, even in the middle of winter. It is warm enough to walk around with just a sweater even and around 14-16 degrees Celsius in the day time.

Getting a Visa for Turkey

Travelling alone in Cappadocia

Visa processes for Turkey were recently updated. Now, citizens of most countries (including British citizens) should obtain a visa online prior to travelling. This process is very straightforward.

You ought to receive an email confirmation with your visa attached within a matter of minutes, all being well. Once granted, the standard visa is valid for three months and allows multiple entries into Turkey. You can find the visa application here .

2 Week Turkey Itinerary: Is it Safe?

Magnificent Nemrut-Dag in Eastern Turkey is accessible via tours from Cappadocia

Turkey is generally a safe country to travel to. It is unfortunate that a few recent incidents have made people apprehensive about visiting. If you are afraid, you are missing out on one of the most beautiful and culturally rich countries on our planet.

Turkey’s proximity to Syria concerns some people. However, terrorists are just as likely to carry out attacks in European cities (and they have done).

By all means, check the political situation and your local government’s travel advice prior to departure, but don’t be scared out of planning your Turkey itinerary. Turkey is not its neighbors.

In recent years, checkpoints have been established around the country to check the ID/travel documents of people traveling along certain roads. Similarly, additional security exists outside tourist sites like Pamukkale.

This is nothing to be intimidated about. It exists for your protection.

Travel Insurance for Turkey

Travelling to Turkey is a safe and enjoyable experience for most people. That said, you should always ensure that you have comprehensive travel insurance coverage, wherever you go in the world.

World Nomads are a good choice for adventure travel. Not only do they provide you with medical insurance coverage up to £5 million, but they also cover you for countless additional extras.

For instance, repatriation, cancellation, and baggage loss/theft. Unfortunately, no matter how well you prepare for a trip, you never know what may happen.

It is better to be safe than sorry. Be sure to write down/print out your insurance policy number. Should you need assistance overseas, this is the first thing that you will be asked for.

Turkey Itinerary: Solo Travel

Turkey may not seem like your usual solo travel destination but it can be a great choice. I have travelled to Turkey five times over the last five years , often for weeks at a time.

After travelling to over 51 countries, I would consider this one of my best trips so far. I have written a comprehensive guide to solo female travel in Turkey .

I came away from Turkey having made wonderful new Turkish friends, and a deeper understanding of this beautiful country and culture. Don’t let unfair media representations deter you from traveling anywhere you want to go.

Useful Additional Considerations

Cappadoccia is a highlight of any Turkey itinerary

Common FAQs and general things to consider before embarking on your 2 week Turkey itinerary are detailed below. 


The currency of Turkey is the Turkish Lira. Of course, as with all currencies, this is subjected to constant fluctuations. As of May 2022, 1 GBP is equivalent to 18.51 Turkish Lira.

1 USD is equivalent to 14.82 Turkish Lira. Turkish ATMs generally always charge for withdrawals.

Try to purchase a small amount of Lira before coming into the country. When you make a withdrawal, take enough so that you don’t have to keep going back to the ATMs and paying more fees. 

It is a good idea to open a borderless bank account before leaving your home country. Otherwise, international transaction fees on foreign accounts can quickly add up. 

What to Wear 

Turkey is a predominantly Muslim country. Istanbul is quite progressive and liberal, but other areas of the country are quite conservative.

You should err on the side of conservative dress, especially if you are a solo female traveller. The precise “dress code” in Turkey varies depending on which area of the country you will be visiting, and during which season. For more detailed advice, I have written this guide on what to wear in Turkey . 


14 Day Turkey Itinerary

Turkish is the national language of Turkey. You will find that Turkey is something of a “mixed bag” in terms of people’s language abilities. In Istanbul, you will find many people speak excellent English, yet in other areas, they do not speak a word. 

Download Google Translate App on your phone to make communicating with locals easier. You should also consider carrying a Turkish phrasebook “just in case”. 

Parting Words

I hope that my two week Turkey itinerary has come in useful for helping you plan your exciting Turkish adventures! Have any questions about this Turkey itinerary or about traveling to Turkey in general?

Feel free to comment and let me know! Safe travels! Melissa xo

Melissa Douglas

9 thoughts on “two week turkey itinerary – your perfect 2023 route”.

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Very informative thanks. Can I know the name of places/hotels were you stayed in each city. I read the cappadocia one.. Would love to know the best hotels too Thanks

THIS ITINERARY IS AWESOME! Thank you so much; so much useful information, I really appreciate you making this. 😀

lovely itinerary, i am really like it and appreciated. i suggest to include the visited restaurants and your rank on them.

Hi Mohammed, thanks for your nice comment. Good idea! I will be updating this itinerary soon so I will add hotel and restaurant ideas.

Safe travels! Melissa

I’m actually traveling toTurkey for 2 weeks at the end of December and have a similar itinerary planned out; definitely adding Ephesus & Pamukkale after reading this! Thanks so much 😀

Turkey is not a Middle East country. 97% of the country lies in the Asia and %3 is in Europe.

I am fully aware of that. Hence why the beginning of the article states that Turkey straddles both Asia and Europe. Nowhere does it state that Turkey is in the Middle East. But thanks for the snidey comment. I suggest you find better things to do with your lockdown time.

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2 Weeks in Turkey: The Perfect Turkey Itinerary

Last updated: October 30, 2023 - Written by Jessica Norah 82 Comments

If you are planning a trip to Turkey, our 2 week Turkey itinerary will help you plan the perfect trip. Turkey is a large country, but if you have 14 days in Turkey you have time to explore many of the country’s most famous highlights.

Our suggested 2 week Turkey itinerary includes visits to Istanbul, Cappadocia, Antalya, Fethiye, Pamukkale, Kuşadası, Ephesus, Troy, Çanakkale, Gallipoli, and Ankara. You’ll have time to explore Turkey’s most cosmopolitan cities, marvel at its ancient archaeological sites, relax on its beaches, shop at its traditional bazaars, visit several UNESCO World Heritage Sites, and enjoy its scenic landscapes. The detailed day-by-day itinerary covers some of the most famous and iconic places in Turkey as well as some lesser known spots.

Each day we provide a range of suggestions for what you might want to do to suit just about any person’s travel style, budget, and tastes. Activity suggestions include hot air ballooning, food tours, hiking, museum visits, boat trips, cable car rides, art tours, Turkish hamam experiences, watching the sunset, cultural performances, and enjoying the local night clubs.

Laurence and I have visited Turkey several times and wanted to share this 14 day itinerary to help you plan your own trip. With 2 weeks in Turkey, you can see and do a lot, but you do need to be choosy as Turkey is a big country with lots of interesting attractions!

This itinerary can work no matter how you plan to get around Turkey. We have provided advice for those planning to travel by bus, car, train, plane, or as part of a guided tour. If you are thinking about booking a tour, we also give some recommendations for tours of Turkey that are similar to our itinerary.

Our 2 week Turkey itinerary includes day-to-day transport details, sightseeing highlights, activity options, and lodging recommendations. In addition, we’ve also included loads of tips, advice, and recommendations to help you get the most out of your Turkey vacation!

2 weeks in Turkey itinerary 14 day Turkey trip Ephesus Celsus Library

Table of Contents:

Preparing for your Trip to Turkey

Before we share our suggested 2 week Turkey itinerary, we wanted to share some tips and advice and answer some frequently asked questions about planning a trip to Turkey.

These include travel basics like knowing the local language and currency, the best time of year to travel to Turkey, how to get a visa, how to budget for your trip, and the best ways to get around Turkey.

The most important things you need to decide before planning out your itinerary is when you plan to visit, how long you plan to visit, and how you plan to get around the country.

Best Time of Year to Visit Turkey?

Turkey is a year-round travel destination. Generally, the months that are considered the best months to visit Turkey are April, May, September, and October. They are months when it is warm but not super hot outside.

The summer months of June through to August are often very hot in most parts of Turkey and can make it uncomfortable to spend long periods of time exploring outdoors. So be prepared for the sun and heat if you visit during the summer.

The busiest time of year to visit Turkey is from April to September. So if visiting during this period, just note that places will be busy. So expect crowds at the most popular sites.

The least busy times of the year are the winter months. If you don’t mind a bit of cold weather, you might consider traveling between November and March. Just note that these also tend to be the windiest and wettest months as well as the coldest. Also some attractions in Turkey are seasonal and may be closed for part of this period.

It should also be noted that Turkey is a large country so the weather in Istanbul may be very different than that of Antalya, Bodrum, Ankara, or Kars at the same time of year. So best to check average temperatures and weather for the specific places in Turkey you plan to visit.

We’ve been to Turkey at many different times of the year, and for those who don’t love hot weather, we’d definitely recommend against visiting in the summer if you can. The spring and autumn are definitely ideal for temperature.

We have also visited in late November and early December and found it cool but pleasant and crowds were much more manageable. But you do need to be more prepared for rain and bad weather.

Blue Mosque Turkey 2 weeks in Turkey itinerary Sultan Ahmed Mosque

How Much Does it Cost to Visit Turkey?

Turkey is a relatively inexpensive country to travel to and it is easy to find affordable lodging, food, clothing, and transportation.

In Istanbul, you can pay USD $8.00 for a hostel bed or you can pay USD $500 for a luxury hotel room. Turkey can be a great destination for budget, mid-range, and luxury travelers alike.

If you are traveling on a budget, you can easily travel in Turkey for very little. You can get a bed in a hostel for under USD $10 and meals in inexpensive restaurants for under USD $5.00. Bus fares and train fares are also inexpensive. Even domestic flights are generally reasonably priced, especially if you book in advance.

To find out an idea of the current prices for things in Turkey we recommend checking out a site called Numbeo. Here you can check for the average prices of basic goods (bananas, taxis, gasoline, restaurant meals, wine) in Turkey or check on prices of goods for a particular city (see here for Istanbul ).

Although most things in Turkey that travelers are likely to be purchasing are inexpensive compared to say the USA, Canada, Australia, and Western Europe, imported goods are often the same price or more expensive. This includes imported grocery items, electronics, alcohol, and cars. Fuel can also be expensive.

Ephesus Turkey 2 weeks in Turkey itinerary Laurence Norah

Turkey Travel Practicalities?

Turkey, officially the Republic of Turkey, is a huge country of over 75 million people and its capital city is Ankara. The largest city is Istanbul. Turkey straddles Europe and Asia and is a place where eastern and western cultural practices mix.

Here are some things you should know about Turkey before your trip.

Language in Turkey

The official language is Turkish and that is the first language of most Turks. Many people in Turkey also speak Kurdish.

You’ll find English speakers in the larger cities and in all the main tourist hot spots; however, most Turkish people speak little or no English. If you are planning to travel independently, it is a good idea to have a Turkish-English phrasebook or translation app with you.

Religion in Turkey

There is no official religion in Turkey but the vast majority of the people are Muslim, with Sunni Islam being the largest sect. However, it is common to also see Christian and Jewish places of worship.

It is important to follow local customs regarding modesty and dress when visiting religious places. Both men and women are asked to dress modestly and you may also be asked to remove your shoes. Women will be asked to cover their heads.

We recommend that women always carrying a scarf or travel wrap with you to cover your head and shoulders as needed.

Blue Mosque interior 2 weeks in Turkey itinerary

Electricity in Turkey

In terms of electricity, Turkey operates on 220 volts / 50 Hz and uses round-prong Type C or Type E plugs that fit into recessed wall sockets. If your devices do not have Type C or Type E plugs (common in many European countries), you will need to take some plug adapters such as these ones .

If you are traveling from a country with 120v voltage (such as the United States or Canada), you will want to make sure to only bring electronics that will support 220v voltage, or you’ll need a separate voltage converter. You can see more in our guide about choosing a travel adapter for travel .

Currency in Turkey

The currency used in Turkey is the Turkish Lira (TRY). Credit and debit cards are widely accepted in Turkey, with Mastercard and Visa being the most commonly taken.

However, many small businesses, street vendors, taxi drivers, and market sellers do not take credit cards. You also will need cash for tipping. So it is always wise to have liras on you when traveling.

The best way to get liras is from a local ATM once you arrive in Turkey. But you can also get them from a currency exchange bureau or bank before or during your trip. You can check the current exchange rate here .

Drinking Water in Turkey

There are mixed reports about whether the tap water is safe to drink in Turkey. The tap water in some areas is considered safe to drink but not in other areas. So it is generally recommended that travelers do not drink tap water in Turkey. However, the water is considered safe for bathing and cleaning.

Although bottled water is available everywhere, the environmental impact of these plastic bottles is terrible. So we recommend instead that each person takes a reusable water bottle along with a water filtration system or purification tablets. Then you can fill it up with tap water from just about anywhere.

We use the LifeStraw water bottle and it not only filters out any bacteria and dirt, but also filters out chlorine and other chemicals that cause the water to taste bad.

Getting Online in Turkey

Wireless Internet is freely available at most hotels and other types of accommodation in Turkey. So that can be a free way to stay in touch and get online. If you want to be able to use your phone’s service, you might want to consider getting a local SIM card .

If it is important for you to be able to get online easily during your trip, you might consider taking along a mobile hotspot. On our last 2 week trip to Turkey, we used a mobile hotspot from MyWebspot and it worked very well.

You can read our guide for more tips on staying in touch and using the Internet while traveling . For those concerned about online safety, we also recommend using a VPN while traveling in Turkey if you plan to use WiFi.

Safety in Turkey

Turkey has generally been considered a safe country for travelers. However, you should always check the latest travel advisories in your country and those issued in Turkey

There has been a lot of unrest in countries neighboring Turkey, particularly Syria, and there has been noted instances of violence, protests, and fighting along its borders. So you will likely see some travel advisories advising against travel to some of the border areas.

As with any country, we always recommend protecting your valuables, protecting yourself against pickpockets, and being aware of your surroundings at all times.

The main thing we have experienced is that you need to be very careful when handing over cash or exchanging money. Be sure to carefully count what you hand over and say the amount out loud, and make sure you get the correct change back.

We’ve had a taxi driver in Istanbul scam us by claiming we gave them a much smaller denomination note than we did and would not give us back the correct change. We ended up paying about 4 times the regular amount for a taxi ride. We’ve heard similar stories from many other travelers as well.

hot air balloon in Cappadocia 2 weeks in Turkey itinerary

Do I need a Visa for Visiting Turkey?

Yes, most people, but not all, will need a visa to visit Turkey. Turkey has recently changed its policy so that residents of most European nations can enter Turkey without a visa.

You should check the current requirements for your particular country. Some countries may also have additional entry requirements.

Most nationalities that require a visa are eligible to apply for an e-visa in advance which is what we’d recommend doing. There are visa application places at the main ports of entry in Turkey but these can take longer and if your application is refused for any reason, you will be in a very undesirable situation. Best to apply and have it before you leave home.

With the e-visas, at most places the border patrol and authorities can check it in their system. But you will also want to bring along a digital and/or paper copy of your approved e-visa as well for back-up documentation.

How to Get to Turkey

Most visitors will arrive into Turkey via the international airport in Istanbul, but there are several ways to get to Turkey.

The main international airport in Turkey is the recently built Istanbul Airport in Istanbul. However, there are several major international airports in Turkey, including ones in Ankara, Mugla, Izmir, and Antalya.

There are direct or indirect flights to Istanbul from most parts of the world. The main airline operator in Turkey is Turkish Airlines.

It is possible to drive to Turkey via Bulgaria or Greece or to by taking a car ferry.

At the border you will need to provide a valid passport, visa (if needed), international driving license, vehicle license, international green card, vehicle registration details, and proof of insurance. Make sure your car insurance is valid for travel within all of Turkey. If the vehicle is not registered in your name, you may need a power of attorney document.

It may be possible to also enter by car from other countries to the east such as Iran or Georgia; however, the eastern borders are sometimes closed to private drivers and sometimes an authorized tour guide is required. Many rental car agencies will also not allow many of these border crossings. So do your research before your trip as it is often much easier to take a bus or train to make the crossing is there is one available.

If you want to travel to Turkey by bus there are regular services between Turkey and several European and Middle Eastern countries. You can check bus routes and book tickets on  BusBud .

There are ferry connections to Turkey for both cars and passengers, mainly from Greece and Cyprus.

Turkey has train links with eastern Europe and the Middle East; however, they are fairly limited and most trains are not daily so you will want to plan ahead. Wars and economic issues have closed a number of the long-distance international routes.

Currently, the two main places you can regularly get to Turkey directly by train are from Bulgaria and Iran.

If you are traveling in Europe by train and including Turkey in your trip, you will probably need to head to Sofia, Bulgaria and then connect to Istanbul via the Istanbul-Sofia Express train service. We took this train a couple of years ago.

If you are planning travel around Europe by train then you might want to consider a Eurail Global Pass (European rail pass for non-Europe residents) or Interrail Global Pass (European rail pass for residents of Europe). The Global Passes work for travel in over 30 European countries, including Turkey. The pass includes the Istanbul Sofia Express train service.

The most famous train service in the world, the Orient Express, once linked western Europe with Istanbul. It was a favored train by many famous writers, and we recommend taking along a book or two to enjoy if traveling by train.

A couple of novel suggestions include Murder on the Orient Express by Agatha Christie and Stamboul Train by Graham Greene. For a travel memoir, Paul Theroux writes about his experiences traveling by train in 1973 from Paris to Istanbul and from Istanbul to Tehran in his book The Great Railway Bazaar . He then retraces his train journeys over 30 years later in Ghost Train to the Eastern Star .

The terminus train station for the old Orient Express service is still there and once a year the Venice Simplon Orient Expres luxury train still makes this trip from Paris (or London) to Istanbul.

Istanbul-Sofia Express train service

How to Get Around Turkey

You have a variety of options for getting around Turkey. These include traveling by bus, train, or plane, renting a car, or joining a guided tour.

The easiest way is to take a tour, where someone else handles all your transport, accommodation, and sightseeing. The cheapest is to travel by bus and train.

In terms of public transport, Turkey has a good bus system which connects much of the country. There are both daytime and overnight buses, and there are usually a few services to choose from if you are heading to some of the more popular destinations, including those on our suggested itinerary.

There are several bus companies in Turkey. Many of the buses have amenities such as power outlets, WiFi, and onboard entertainment. Bus prices are very reasonable.

In places where the regular buses don’t have a route (such as to suburbs or to tourist attractions located outside of a city) there are often dolmus that run in these areas. These are shared taxis or minivans that run a set route for a set price. Passengers can then get out of the dolmus at any point along its route by notifying the driver. See advice for using a dolmus here .

For most of the regular buses, you can check the routes and buy tickets online in advance. The best tool we’ve found for comparing timetables and booking bus tickets in Turkey is BusBud and you can check prices and book online here .

There is a train network in Turkey, but it is not as comprehensive as the bus network. However, it is sometimes faster to take a train than to drive or take the same bus route when it is an option. So while you can use it to get to some of the main travel destinations in the country, you will likely need to also use the bus.

The railway network in Turkey is run by the government-operated Turkey State Railways (Türkiye Cumhuriyeti Devlet Demiryollari or TCDD). This includes a network of long-distance, regional, commuter, and high-speed trains. You can check routes and buy tickets here .

If you are planning to take a few train journeys in Turkey then you might want to consider a Eurail Pass (European rail pass for non-Europe residents) or Interrail Pass (European rail pass for residents of Europe). You can get a Global Pass that works for 32 countries in Europe (including Turkey) or a Turkey Select Pass (only valid for Turkey). The Eurail and Interrail passes are valid on all trains in Turkey operated by Turkey State Railways.

You will probably find a combination of train and bus will be the optimal way to get around if you are taking public transport. Bus and train prices are often similar, so in those cases, you’ll want to take whichever option is more time-efficient.

If you’d prefer to drive yourself, you can rent a car in Turkey. This can be a good way to get around if you want to have a more flexible itinerary and don’t want to take public transportation.

To rent a car in Turkey as a foreign visitor, you will normally be required to show a valid passport and visa, have a valid credit card, a valid drivers’ license in a Latin alphabet, and be age 21 or older (some age requirements may be as high as 27). If you don’t have a driver’s license in a Latin alphabet you will need to get an International Driving Permit prior to your trip.

The main roads in Turkey are in good condition and there are roadside services along the way. However, Turkey is known for a high number of accidents and bad traffic, especially in the cities. It can be a stressful experience for tourists not familiar with driving in Turkey. This is not to say you shouldn’t consider renting a car in Turkey, just be aware of the situation, get insurance, and be prepared to drive defensively.

Many of Turkey’s fastest highways and bridges have tolls. To drive any of these roads, you will need to first sign up for Turkey’s high-speed toll system called Hizli Geçis Sistemi (HGS) and have an electronic toll payment device on your car. You can’t pay the toll with cash or credit card at the toll booths. If renting a car, your rental car will likely come with the sticker and you should ask about it and any associated fees.

Just note that driving a car is generally the most expensive way to get around Turkey. You can often purchase 2 or 3 bus or train tickets for the cost of just the fuel between two cities. Given that drivers also have to take into account rental fees, insurance, parking, and highway tolls, driving a car is often even more expensive than flying.

Drivers should always keep local cash on hand as most of the tourist sites have paid parking fees and payment at some of these places is only accepted in cash.

You can rent a car in any of Turkey’s main cities, and many people rent a car in either Istanbul or Ankara. If you want to rent a car, you can compare and check prices online here .

Finally, as Turkey is a big place, there are a number of domestic flight routes which can help you to get between some of the major locations quite quickly. There are over 50 airports in Turkey.

Flights are relatively inexpensive if booked in advance, although they are usually more expensive than taking a train or bus. The main airline in Turkey is Turkish Airlines.

So flights can help you cover large distances in a relatively short time. Just don’t forget to account for the time required to get to and from the airport and to check in and go through security. It is also important to think about the environmental footprint of taking numerous flights versus other modes of transportation.

However, airports are often located a fair distance from the tourism destinations so you will still need to combine flying with other modes of transportation such as a bus, train, car, taxi, or tour.

By Carpooling or Ridesharing

You can use carpooling or ridesharing services like BlaBlaCar to find rides in Turkey. However, given that the established bus network will get you to almost anywhere you need to go, that bus tickets are so inexpensive, and that carpooling is not that popular in Turkey means that you are probably better off using the bus (or train).

One of the most popular ways to explore Turkey is to join a guided tour. We can definitely recommend it if you are considering a trip to Turkey similar to the one we suggest in this itinerary.

A tour makes travel in Turkey much easier. You don’t have to figure out public transportation schedules or how to buy tickets, you don’t have to spend long periods of time driving or figure out where to park, and everything is planned ahead for you.

The best thing about joining a tour is that you have a tour guide who can help explain all the things you are seeing and give you lots of great advice for places to go, dishes to eat, and things to see.

Many attractions in Turkey include very little posted explanations so having some sort of guide (whether a person, audioguide, or book) is important to get the most from your visit.

Private tours in Turkey with a guide are also possible and can be a good value for those traveling with a family or small group.

Upper Duden Waterfall Antalya 2 weeks in Turkey itinerary

How Long Should I Spend in Turkey?

It really depends on what you want to do and see in Turkey. Turkey is a huge country and it would take months to see all of its highlights.

I would say an ideal amount of time for a first trip would be 10 to 14 days. This will give you plenty of time to get a taste of Turkey and see some of the country’s most famous cities, historical attractions, and beaches.

Most first time visitors spend most of their time focused on the western part of Turkey and this is what we’d recommend. If you have 2 weeks, you can cover many of the highlights. If you have more time, or come back a second time, you can cover the lesser-known destinations of the west or expand your trip into the lesser-explored eastern part of Turkey.

For what to see with 2 weeks in Turkey, see our suggested itinerary below for an itinerary and day-by-day suggestions for what to see and do.

If you want to spend less time moving from place to place, you can easily just split your time between two places, for instance spending several days in Istanbul and then several days in another town or city, like Antalya, Fethiye, Ankara, or Izmir. You can spend time exploring the cities and take day trips to visit nearby attractions.

We’ve visited Istanbul several times now and still haven’t seen everything the city has to offer!

Hagia Sophia 2 weeks in Turkey itinerary

Tours of Turkey

Turkey is a big place and it is often a long distance between popular tourist attractions, resulting in quite large amounts of time transiting. While there is a fairly good public transport network and it’s possible to hire a car, we think for many people a tour is the best way to get around.

This way you can let someone else handle all the logistics of your trip, from transport to accommodation, and you can just enjoy yourself and focus on the sightseeing

. It also means you don’t have to worry about booking individual day trips for out of town sights, as most tours will already include stops at these attractions. You’ll also get a tour guide for the duration who can help explain all the amazing things along the way.

You can also spend the time on the coach reading, chatting with your travel companions, catching up on sleep, or surfing the Internet rather than driving or negotiating public transit.

Turkey is a popular destination, and there are a huge number of tours to choose from, varying from a few days to a few weeks. Most are offered at a reasonable price, with lots of budget and mid-range options.

When choosing a tour, it’s important to pick the style of tour that is right for you. Some tours are smaller groups, others are quite large. Some are geared to a younger traveler whereas others are more focused on a more mature traveler. Some include more time at historical and cultural sites whereas others may spend more time at beaches and seaside destinations. Check the comfort level of the accommodation and transport included.

It’s also important to read what is included when comparing tours. For example, some tours might include all your entry fees and meals whereas others will allow you to choose whether you want to pay for those things or not. So don’t just look at the price of the tour but also check what is and what isn’t included.

A good tour company should also be able to give you an estimate of the costs for all the optional activities and attractions that aren’t included, so you can budget accordingly.

For instance, we have taken a tour with Travel Talk Tours in Turkey and most of their budget-oriented tours work out to being about $50 to $80 per day per person for all inclusions, including transport, guide, attractions, meals, and lodging. You can read about our 12 day Turkey tour experience here .

We’ve put together a selection of tours of Turkey below which are quite similar to our itinerary, so you can pick a tour that is right for you. Most start in Istanbul but a couple start in Ankara.

  • This 10 day small group tour includes visits to Istanbul, Ephesus, Pamukkale, and Cappadocia
  • This 12 day tour includes visits to Istanbul, Gallipoli, Troy, Ephesus, Pamukkale, Fethiye, and Cappadocia.
  • This 12 day Turkey by gulet tour includes visits to Istanbul, Gallipoli, Troy, Ephesus, Pamukkale, Fethiye, and Cappadocia. It also includes 3 nights on a gulet boat. You can read all about our experience taking this tour of Turkey here .
  • This 12 day private tour from Ankara includes visits to Ankara, Istanbul, Cappadocia, Konya, Antalya, Kaş, Fethiye, Pamukkale, Efes, Kusadasi, Ephesus, Troy, and Gallipoli
  • This 14 day tour which includes Istanbul, Cappadocia, Antalya, Fethiye, Bodrum, Pamukkale, and Ephesus
  • This private 14 day tour of Turkey which includes Istanbul, Ephesus, Pamukkale, Antalya, and Cappadocia
  • This 19 day tour could be great for those with more time in Turkey. It includes visits to Istanbul, Gallipoli, Troy, Ephesus, Pamukkale, Fethiye, and Cappadocia, plus 7 nights on a gulet to visit nearby seaside towns and islands.

As you can see, there are lots of tours to choose from so you can probably find a tour that suits your travel needs. You can also consider mixing independent travel with a tour as we find this a good way to enjoy some time sightseeing on our own (such as in Istanbul) and then taking a tour to explore further afield.

Travel Talk Turkey Tour group 2 weeks in Turkey

14 Days in Turkey Itinerary Summary

Here’s a summary of our suggested 2 week Turkey itinerary to help you visualize what your two weeks in Turkey will look like:

  • Day 1: Istanbul
  • Day 2: Istanbul
  • Day 3: Gallipoli
  • Day 4: Troy & Kusadasi
  • Day 5: Kusadasi & Ephesus
  • Day 6: Pamukkale & Fethiye
  • Day 7: Fethiye
  • Day 8: Antalya
  • Day 9: Antalya
  • Day 10: Cappadocia
  • Day 11: Cappadocia
  • Day 12: Ankara
  • Day 13: Ankara
  • Day 14: Istanbul

2 Week Turkey Itinerary

The goal for this two week Turkey itinerary is to visit some of the many highlights the country has to offer.

Obviously, in a country with such a rich history, there’s no way to see everything on offer in two weeks. In addition, Turkey is a big country, so you also will want to factor in distance and travel times.

However, we feel that this itinerary would make a great starting point for anyone planning to spend between 10 days and two weeks in Turkey. It can, of course, be tweaked and adjusted based on how much time you have and your own personal interests, but we hope it gives you some inspiration for your own trip.

If you are planning to book a tour, this 14 day Turkey itinerary can help you decide which destinations you want to make sure are included in your tour itinerary. For those not taking a tour, we give travel suggestions for those traveling by bus, train, plane, and car throughout the itinerary.

Istanbul Spice Baazar Mısır Çarşısı 2 weeks in Turkey itinerary

Turkey Itinerary Day 1: Istanbul

We think the best place to start (and end) your trip to Turkey is in Istanbul. The city has the best international connections, especially by air, meaning it’s easy to get here from elsewhere in Europe and further afield.

As an introduction to Turkey, Istanbul is also a great starting point. Known as the “bridge” between Europe and Asia, the city is literally split between continents. The Bosphorus Strait separates Europe and Asia, and Istanbul spreads across both sides of this divide.

Istanbul is the largest city in Europe by population; however, it’s not the capital of Turkey—that would be Ankara. Founded over 600 years before the birth of Christ, Istanbul has literally seen the rise and fall of empires. It is a city that has been known by many names over the centuries, including Byzantium and Constantinople.

In terms of what to see when you’re in Istanbul, two full days will let you see many of the highlights, but it will definitely leave you wanting more! So you will want to prioritize what you want to do and see most in the city.

We’d suggest that you spend your first full day exploring the most famous of the historical sites and attractions in Istanbul, most of which are part of the World Heritage Site in Istanbul . Most of the main historic sites in Istanbul are located in the Sultanahmet area of Istanbul within the Fatih district which is where we recommend you start.

Some of the highlights you might want to visit in this area include the 6th century Hagia Sophia (Ayasofya), the 17th century The Blue Mosque (officially the Sultan Ahmed Mosque), Topkapi Palace , the ancient Hippodrome of Constantinople , the Basilica Cistern (Yerebatan Sarnici), and the Istanbul Archaeological Museums . A bit further away is also the impressive 16th-century Süleymaniye Mosque which is well worth a visit if you have the time.

These sites are all relatively close together and are easy to visit on foot, although taxis, public buses, and sightseeing buses are also options. As you visit these sites and wander the streets of the Old City, you will be taking a journey across thousands of years of history, including the Roman, Egyptian, Byzantine, and Ottoman periods!

You’ll also want to make time for a visit to the Grand Bazaar , which began in the 15th century and is one of the largest and oldest covered markets in the world. Here you can buy a lot of things, including ceramics, lanterns, rugs, clothing, tea, jewelry, and books. But do be careful of what you are buying as you’ll find everything from locally handcrafted rugs and jewelry to cheap Chinese made souvenirs, so price and quality varies widely.

Another market you might want to visit is the Egyptian Spice Bazaar , or Misir Çarsisi, which is another large market in Istanbul. Vendors here are known primarily for selling spices, but you can also find sweets, tea, dried fruit, Turkish delight, souvenirs, etc.

If you are looking for a guided walking tour of the historical area of Istanbul, there are several tours you can join that cover all the highlights of the historical area of Istanbul. A few options include this full day tour with lunch , this small group highlights tour , and this customizable private tour .

After a day full of sightseeing, we recommend ending your day with a relaxing Turkish dinner at a local restaurant or consider a sunset cruise on the Bosphorus Strait.

A cruise on the Bosphorus allows you to truly appreciate the incredible size of the city. The Bosphorus separates the European and Asian parts of Istanbul so you will be floating along the continental divide. Many of the cruises include dinner and entertainment, such as this cruise and this one .

Where to Stay in Istanbul

We suggest staying in or near the old part of the city (the Sultanahmet neighborhood in the Fatih district) for easy access to the city’s most popular sights.

Here are some accommodation options to consider in Istanbul across a range of budgets. Istanbul has a huge number of properties to choose from and prices are very reasonable.

  • Big Apple Hostel & Hotel – This well-reviewed good-value hostel offers both shared dormitory rooms and private rooms. Breakfast is included in room rates, and there’s an on-site restaurant for other meals. A good budget option as dorm beds are usually around $17 with breakfast. Located a 10-minute walk from the highlights of the Old City
  • Agora Guesthouse – This is a well-reviewed guesthouse offering both dormitory and private rooms. An included breakfast is served on the rooftop terrace. Located just a few hundred yards from the Blue Mosque and Hagia Sofia
  • Tulip Guesthouse – This guesthouse offers good value private rooms with either shared or en-suite bathrooms. Breakfast is included and is served on the top floor terrace which offers lovely views. It is about a 5 minutes walk from attractions like the Hagia Sofia.
  • Berk Guesthouse – Grandma’s House – A well-rated guesthouse with en-suite guest rooms, included breakfast, and a rooftop terrace with nice views over the city. A 2-minute walk from the Blue Mosque.
  • Meserret Palace Hotel – A well-reviewed 4-star hotel offers en-suite rooms with tea/coffee making facilities and flat-screen TVs, 24-hour desk, room service, and an included breakfast. Located near the Spice Bazaar and about a 10 minute walk from the Old City.
  • Obelisk Hotel & Suites – This well-rated 4-star hotel offers en-suite rooms with tea/coffee making facilities, 24-hour front desk, and an on-site restaurant. Breakfast is included with rates. Located just a few hundred hard from the Hagia Sophia.
  • Boutique Saint Sophia – This 4-star boutique hotel offers private en-suite rooms with breakfast included and an on-site cafe and bar. The hotel is located near the Hagia Sophia with some rooms offering views of the attraction.
  • Régie  Ottoman – This stylish boutique hotel is set in a 150-year  old  renovated  Ottoman building and offers all the normal modern amenities and breakfast is included. The hotel has an on-site restaurant and is located about a 10-minute walk from the historic Sultanahmet area. We’ve stayed here and really enjoyed our stay.
  • Vogue Hotel Supreme Istanbul – This 5-star luxury hotel centrally located hotel offer guestrooms with modern amenities, 24-hour desk, room service, and an on-site restaurant. A great option if you are looking for a luxury property in this part of Istanbul. Located near the Basilica Cistern and Hagia Sophia.

If you are looking for a self-catering stay, options include these apartments in the Fatih district on and these Fatih district apartments in Istanbul on Vrbo. If you are not finding what you want, you can see this list of apartment booking websites .

Blue Mosque Istanbul Turkey 2 weeks in Turkey itinerary

Turkey Itinerary Day 2: Istanbul

For your second day in Istanbul we recommend crossing across the Galata Bridge and exploring this part of the city. The Galata Bridge, which crosses the Golden Horn, is often seen as the link between the traditional and the more modern areas of Istanbul.

Highlights include the Galata Tower , a restored 15th-century tower that has an observation deck on top, enjoying the European style buildings and shopping along the picturesque Istiklal Avenue (Istiklal Caddesi), and the Taksim Square area which features the Republic Monument and is a lively area for shopping and nightlife. There are a lot of art galleries and museums in this area including SALT Galata , Pera Museum , and the Istanbul Museum of Modern Art Museum .

We can also recommend visiting Dolmabahçe Palace , this beautiful 19th-century palace was once the home of the sultans as well as the first President of Turkey Mustafa Kemal Atatürk. It is the largest palace in Turkey and today is a museum.

If you are looking for a place to relax and have a coffee, you might want to make a stop at the cafe or tea lounge at the luxurious Pera Palace Hotel . The hotel is one of the most famous historical hotels in the city having such past guests as Agatha Christie. Or find a street cafe along Istiklal Avenue to people watch or wander over to a seaside cafe to enjoy the view over the water.

Or maybe you’d like to try a traditional Turkish hamam experience such as this one at Aga Hamami , which is the oldest hamam in Istanbul. Note that this is a traditional Turkish bathing practice, not a spa but it is a relaxing and cleansing experience.

Depending on what you want to do and see on this side of the bridge and how far you are willing to walk, you can explore entirely on foot or you can take public transit just about everywhere. Transport options include public buses, trams, taxis, and sightseeing buses . Or you can join a tour that includes transport.

For those on foot, note that Turkey has a lot of hills and there is a steep hill to get from the Galata Bridge to Istiklal Avenue. However, you can take the Tünel funicular that will take you up this incline. This is one of the oldest subway stations in the world.

If you are looking for a guide on your second day in Istanbul, this walking tour focuses on this area north of the Golden Horn, this small group art expert-led tour covers the main modern art museums and art spaces in this part of Istanbul, and here is a guided tour of the palace .

For your second evening in Istanbul, you might want to finish your day with an evening food tour, sampling some local nightlife, or a cultural event in the evening.

Those interested in seeing and sampling more of the local food scene in Istanbul may want to consider a food tour. There are several food tours in Istanbul to choose from such as this evening food trail tour and this small group food tour .

Those looking for an evening cultural performance might see what is playing at the local theaters, Süreyya Opera House , or see a Turkish dance performance or whirling dervishes show at the Hodjapasha Cultural Centre. Those looking for a more wild night out might want to check out the nightlife in and around Taksim Square or join a local-led pub crawl .

We then recommend spending a second night in Istanbul. This works well for those taking a tour, flying, or those driving themselves. However, those taking a bus may want to consider heading to Çanakkale today instead so you have more time to explore Gallipoli the next day.

How to Get to from Istanbul to Gallipoli

If you are not joining a tour in Istanbul, you have three main options for getting from Gallipoli from Istanbul. If you decide to take a flight or bus, you’ll want to head to Çanakkale (or Eceabat) and then take a tour or find transport to the nearby historical sites at Gallipoli.

By Car: It is about a 186 mile (300 km) drive from Istanbul to the Gallipoli peninsula which takes about 4 hours. If you leave on the morning of your third day, this will give you time to stop and see the main sights in Gallipoli before overnighting in Çanakkale.

By Plane: The fastest option is to fly. Flights take around an hour from Istanbul to Çanakkale and are usually reasonably priced if booked well in advance.

By Bus: The bus journey is generally about 6 hours from Istanbul to Çanakkale, or a little less if you go to Eceabat. Check bus times and prices, and book online here . Depending on bus schedules, those wanting to explore Gallipoli may want to catch a late afternoon or evening bus on Day 2 to have more time to explore Gallipoli on Day 3.

Galata Tower Istanbul 2 weeks in Turkey itinerary

Turkey Itinerary Day 3: Gallipoli

Today we recommend leaving Istanbul after breakfast and heading southwest to the Gallipoli peninsula. The peninsula lies between the Dardanelles and the Gulf of Saros and is best known as being the location for the Gallipoli Campaign during World War I.

Most of the area is part of the Gallipoli Peninsula Historical National Park which was named a UNESCO World Heritage site in 1998. Whereas most historical attractions in Turkey date back thousands of years, this is a place where you can learn about more recent history.

On the Gallipoli peninsula in 1915, Allied Forces (which included British, Australian, New Zealand, Indian, French, and Newfoundland troops) mounted an ultimately doomed attack on the Ottoman Empire to try to capture Constantinople (now Istanbul) and take control of a vital supply route. After about 9 months of fighting and minimal gains, and with around 250,000 casualties on each side, the Allies withdrew.

The event was a huge disaster for the Allied war effort, and had lasting repercussions. For Winston Churchill , then First Lord of the Admiralty, his promotion of the failed campaign would lead to him having a demoted role in politics and the failure would haunt him for years. It would have been difficult for anyone to imagine him as a later wartime Prime Minister!

Turkey was at that time part of the Ottoman Empire and was fighting on the side of Germany. For the Turks, one of the army officers for the Ottoman defense at Gallipoli, Mustafa Kemal Atatürk , would later become the first president and founder of modern Turkey.

The Gallipoli Campaign was one of the most important events in the war to take place from an Australian and New Zealand perspective. The Australian and New Zealand Army Corps (ANZAC) were deployed, and like many of the countries involved, suffered heavy losses. The campaign is largely regarded as the trigger for the national consciousness of both countries, and to this day both countries formally remember their fallen on ANZAC Day (April 25th) each year.

For Australians and New Zealanders visiting Turkey, a trip to the Gallipoli peninsula is usually high on the priority list. However, we think this is a trip that should be of interest to anyone, regardless of nationality, in order to learn more about this event and reflect on the effects of war.

There are a number of places to visit across the Gallipoli Peninsula, including landing sites, memorials, and graveyards. A few of the more popular places for visitors include ANZAC Cove, Lone Pine Cemetery and Memorial, and Canakkale Martyrs’ Memorial. What you want to visit probably depends on your specific interests and your nationality, and y ou can see a full list of the sites here .

There are also a few museums in the area that focus on the Gallipoli campaign, including the Kabatepe Promotion Center And Museum in Kabatepe, Salim Mutlu War Museum (Salim Mutlu Özel Harp Anilar Koleksiyonu) in Alçitepe, and the Gelibolu War Museum in Gelibolu.

If you want to know more about the battles that took place here, we recommend getting a book such as Gallipoli: The Battlefield Guide . We would definitely recommend some sort of guidebook if you are planning to explore on your own without a tour guide.

Expect to spend a few hours here. It is a challenging place to get around unless you have your own vehicle, and we would definitely suggest taking a tour if you don’t have your own transport. There are a lot of tour options so it is usually easy to find a good value tour.

Here are some day tour options to consider, some also include Troy, which is on our itinerary for the next day.

  • An 8 hour tour of the Gallipoli sites with lunch from Çanakkale
  • A 6 hour tour of Gallipoli with lunch from Çanakkale
  • A full day tour of Gallipoli and Troy with lunch from Çanakkale
  • Another full day tour of Gallipoli and Troy with lunch from Çanakkale
  • A private tour of the Gallipoli sites from Çanakkale
  • A 6 hour Gallipoli tour with lunch from Eceabat

Now if you have extra time in Çanakkale, there is a fortress (Çimenlik Castle), an enclosed market called the Mirror Bazaar, a few museums you can visit (Military Marine Museum, city history museum, and Ceramics Museum), and a harbor area you can stroll around where you can find the wooden Trojan horse from the 2004 film Troy starring Brad Pitt. There is also Kilitbahir Fortress located just across the strait.

If you are staying in Eceabat, you can also spend some time relaxing on the beach there.

Where to Stay in Gallipoli

We would recommend spending the night in either Çanakkale (a short ferry ride from the Gallipoli Peninsula) or Eceabat. Eceabat is slightly closer to the Gallipoli sites, but Çanakkale has more services and attractions.

If you are traveling by bus, you’ll probably want to choose a place near the bus station.

It is easy to find good value accommodation in this area. Here are some options to consider at both locations:

  • Set Özer Hotel in Çanakkale – A centrally located good value hotel that offers private en-suite rooms with breakfast. Very close to ferry, waterfront, and main town attractions.
  • Kinzi House in Çanakkale – A well-reviewed and centrally located self-catering accommodation that offers a full kitchen, laundry facilities, and flat-screen TV. This is a great value option if you are traveling with a few people and want to cook yourself.
  • Artur Hotel in Çanakkale – A popular and well-reviewed hotel in the center of Çanakkale with private en-suite rooms and an on-site restaurant.
  • Kolin Hotel in Çanakkale – A 5-star hotel with all the modern guestroom amenities, outdoor and indoor swimming pools, spa, fitness center, multiple restaurants and bars, and a free airport shuttle. A good option for those looking for more amenities.
  • Eceabat Gezen Hotel in Eceabat – A very well-reviewed value hotel offering private rooms with en-suite bathrooms. Has a private beach area and a garden, as well as a bar and inclusive breakfast
  • Villa Bagci Hotel in Eceabat – This is a well-reviewed hotel offering private en-suite rooms with breakfast. Located a few hundred yards from the beach.
  • Hotel Casa Villa in Eceabat – Another well-reviewed hotel in Eceabat a few hundred yards from the beach. Features private rooms with en-suite facilities and breakfast is included.

How to Get from Çanakkale to Troy and Kusadasi

Your next stop of the trip is going to be Troy, after which you’ll head south via Izmir to Kusadasi. If you happened to already visit Troy today, then you can skip that stop and head straight to Kusadasi.

If you are not taking a guided tour, you have a few choices today:

By Car:   It’s around a 30 minute drive to Troy from Çanakkale, and then a little over 5 hours down to Kusadasi. We’d suggest spending a couple of hours at Troy, and then aiming to arrive in Kusadasi mid-afternoon if you are driving yourself.

By Plane: You can do part of the day by plane if you wish as you can fly from Çanakkale to Izmir. However, you will need to take a bus, car, taxi, or tour to get to and from Troy and then from Izmir to Kusadasi. Those planning to fly may want to base in Izmir instead of Kusadasi.

By Train: Part of today’s journey can be done by train as there is a train that you can take between Izmir and Selçuk (town next to Ephesus).

By Bus: There are regular buses (approximately every hour) from Çanakkale to Troy, the journey takes around 45 minutes. To head onto Izmir, you’ll need to backtrack to Çanakkale or head to Ezine, and from either you can get a bus to Izmir (about a 5.5 hour journey). From Izmir, it is about a 90-minute bus journey to Kusadasi.

You might consider taking a local private or shared taxi (called dolmus) to and from Troy. Then connect to the intercity buses in Ezine or Çanakkale onwards to Izmir and Kusadasi.

Check bus times and prices, and book online here .

Lone Pine cemetery 2 weeks in Turkey itinerary

Turkey Itinerary Day 4: Troy & Kusadasi

For your fourth day in Turkey, you’re going to visit the ancient city of Troy and then head down the western coast of Turkey to the city of Kuşadası. You may also want to make a stop in Izmir, along the way.

We recommend heading out straight after breakfast so you have time to explore Troy in the morning.

The first stop of the day is Troy which is only about a 30-minute drive south of Çanakkale. A city has been at this location known as Troy from around 3,000 years B.C. right up until about 450 A.D.

Of course, as it existed for almost four millennia, Troy saw a lot of changes in its time. In fact, there were in fact no less than nine cities on this location, which was favored due to its waterfront location. Reasons for its demise are unclear, but the fall of the Roman Empire was likely a factor in its final abandonment.

The main reason that Troy is famous today is that it was the main setting of Homer’s Iliad about the Trojan War. This ancient Greek epic poem gave us the famous story of the Trojan Horse and the disastrous love triangle between Helen of Troy, King Menelaus, and Paris. The historical accuracy of the tale is highly debated but many historians do believe there was some sort of war and siege of Troy by Spartan and Achaean warriors in the 12th or 13th century BC.

The actual location of the ancient city of Troy was lost to history in the subsequent centuries. Later travelers and archaeologists searched for the location of the famous city and many believed it was somewhere in the Anatolia region of Turkey, particularly the Troad peninsula. It was Englishman Frank Calvert who would first excavate the hill at Hisarlik and find what is now believed to be the remains of the ancient city of Troy.

Whether the events of the Iliad took place here or not, UNESCO notes that the archaeological findings at Troy are the “most significant demonstration of the first contact between the civilizations of Anatolia and the Mediterranean world”. Structures have been found at Hisarlik from a number of periods including the Bronze Age and the Roman and Greek periods.

Today, Troy is a protected archaeological site, a national historical park, and a UNESCO World Heritage Site. As a visitor, you can wander around and learn about the history of the place while seeing the various layers of the different cities. Naturally, there’s a giant wooden horse you can take a photo of as well. The recently opened Troy Museum (Troya Müzesi ) holds a number of artifacts from the archaeological site. We’re recommend allowing 2 to 3 hours to visit Troy.

From Troy you’ll continue south along the coast to the city of Kusadasi. Along the way, you’ll go through Izmir. Izmir is one of the oldest settlements in the Mediterranean, and was originally believed to have been settled in 6500 BC! It is now the third-largest city in Turkey by population.

Izmir offers lots of attractions and services. Some of the main tourist sites include the Roman Agora of Smyrna , the hilltop castle of Kadifekale (the “Velvet Castle”), the seafront and Kordon esplanade, Konak Square and its clock tower, several museums, and the Kemeralti shopping district. There is also a rich Jewish heritage here with several synagogues and other Jewish landmarks to be found here, especially in the Kemeralti district.

So Izmir may be a good place to stop and stretch your feet, and maybe visit an attraction or two. You could also decide to overnight in Izmir; however, our advice is to press on to Kusadasi as it’s closer to upcoming highlights and also has its own attractions.

Kusadasi is a popular coastal town in Turkey, which offers a wide range of accommodation options as well as beaches and attractions. It is also very close to Ephesus, one of Turkey’s most famous ancient ruined cities.

Today will be a long journey, regardless of your means of transport, so we recommend having a relaxing evening once you arrive in the Aegean seaside town of Kusadasi. Perhaps a stroll around town or a dip in the hotel pool, and then a nice dinner.

We recommend spending two nights in Kusadasi. However, those who are traveling by public transportation may also want to consider Selçuk (town next to Ephesus) as a base instead for the two nights as the transit connections are a bit easier there.

Where to stay in Kusadasi

Kusadasi is a popular resort town and there are a great many hotels to choose from, the majority of which offer excellent value. Most have pools and some are next to a beach.

Kusadasi is pretty spread out and we generally recommend staying within walking distance of the city center and seaside. Those traveling by bus will want to stay within walking distance of the bus station and bus stops. Some options to consider for your 2-night stay are as follows:

  • Hotel Stella – A well-reviewed good value 2-star hotel that offers en-suite rooms have balconies, a pool, an on-site restaurant, and inclusive breakfast. Located about 100 yards from the harbor.
  • Sezgin Boutique Hotel – A popular budget hotel with en-suite rooms, inclusive breakfast, and a swimming pool. Located about 150 yards from the city center.
  • Ilayda Avantgarde Hotel – This well-rated 4-star hotel offers ensuite rooms with views over city or water, a rooftop swimming pool, fitness center, and inclusive breakfast. Located near the city center and water.
  • Grand Sahin’s Hotel – This well-reviewed 4-star hotel offers ensuite rooms with balconies, an inclusive breakfast, on-site restaurant and bar, outdoor swimming pool, private beach area, and free parking. Located next to the seaside.
  • DoubleTree by Hilton Kusadasi – A popular city-center hotel offering 5-star facilities, ensuite rooms with balconies, a rooftop restaurant and bar, 2 swimming pools, fitness center, and a spa.
  • LaVista Boutique Hotel & SPA – This is a very well rated centrally located boutique hotel that offers large en-suite rooms, an on-site bar and restaurant, a fitness center, inclusive breakfast, and a lovely outdoor pool overlooking the Aegean Sea.

Where to stay in Selçuk

Those traveling by bus or train may prefer to spend the two nights in Selçuk instead of Kusadasi. For those using public transit, we recommend staying in central Selçuk within walking distance of the bus station and train station.

Here are a few accommodation options in Selçuk:

  • ANZ Guest House – A budget-friendly hostel that offers dorm beds as well as private rooms and family rooms. Breakfast is included and there is a rooftop terrace. Centrally located, about a 12-minute walk to bus station and train station.
  • Queen Bee Hotel – A good value bed-and-breakfast that offers rooms with private bathrooms and included breakfast. There is also a cafe on the ground floor here.  Centrally located, about a 12-minute walk to bus station and train station.
  • Celsus Boutique Hotel – A boutique hotel featuring outdoor swimming pool, garden, shared lounge, and inclusive breakfast. Centrally located, about a 10-minute walk to bus station and train station.
  • Vinifera Vineyards Hotel – If you are looking for something different and don’t mind being outside Selçuk, this hotel sits next to a vineyard and offers large ensuite rooms with patios, onsite restaurant and winery, a swimming pool, and inclusive breakfast. Located well outside of Selçuk so is best suited for those who plan to get around by car or taxi; however, you can get to Selçuk by train as the Çamlık station is about a 7-minute walk from the hotel.

Trojan Horse Troy 2 weeks in Turkey itinerary

Turkey Itinerary Day 5: Kusadasi & Ephesus

Today, we recommend heading to Ephesus after breakfast to explore the archaeological sites there. Then return and spend the latter part of the day exploring Kusadasi itself. Ephesus is very popular and can get very crowded, so going early is a good idea to avoid some of the crowds and the afternoon heat.

Many people visit Ephesus as part of a tour, but it is also easy to get to on your own. It is about a 25-minute drive, bus, or taxi ride away. If you are taking public transport, you can take a dolmus (shared taxi or minibus) from Kusadasi which can drop you at the lower gate of Ephesus.

Ephesus is one of the most significant archaeological sites in Turkey so it is on many visitors must-see lists. This UNESCO World Heritage Site was an ancient Greek city, founded in the 10th century BC, and only abandoned around the 15th century AD after centuries of decline, mainly due to the harbor silting up. At its height, it was second only to Rome in size and importance in the ancient world.

Today, Ephesus is a large and important archaeological site where you can see the remains of temples, theaters, wide marble streets, agoras, bathing complexes, tombs, aqueducts, fountains, terrace houses, and more. Some of the main sights include the spectacular Library of Celsus , the Temple of Hadrian, and the Great Theatre.

Ephesus is an important religious destination too, especially for Christians. It was the location of one of the Seven Churches of Asia (or Seven Churches of the Apocalypse), the seven major early Christian communities, as noted in the New Testament Book of Revelations in the Bible.

It is believed that the Gospel of John may have been written here, and that Mary, mother of Jesus, lived out her final years nearby in the care of John. Important early Christian sites in Ephesus include St. John’s Basilica , Church of the Virgin Mary , and The House of the Virgin Mary .

Also located nearby is the ruins of the Temple of Artemis , one of the Seven Wonders of the Ancient World. Unfortunately today, very little remains of the ancient temple.

For those interested in seeing some of the artifacts found here, you may want to take time to visit the nearby Ephesus Archaeological Museum in Selçuk after visiting the archaeological sites. It contains a number of statues, columns, coins, sarcophagi, tools, and other artifacts uncovered in Ephesus.

Most visitors just visit the main archaeological complex which contains over 25 main points of interest. There is an entry fee that covers all the sites (there is an additional ticket required if you want to go inside the terrace houses), and you can enter at the upper or lower gates and exit from either side. There are taxis, shuttles, and carriages that can transport you between the two if you wish.

It’s quite a large site, which runs from the top of a hill to the bottom, but once you get here you can visit everything on foot. Just be prepared for a bit of walking by wearing comfortable shoes and bringing your water bottle.

As you would imagine, there is a lot to see and take in here, and there isn’t a lot of information on display. We would recommend renting an on-site audioguide, joining a guided tour such as this one , or bringing a guidebook (like this one ) so you have an idea of what you are looking at. Most people spend 2 to 4 hours exploring the complex.

There is more to explore outside the main archeological complex for those with more time and interest. Sites located outside the main archaeological complex include the Temple of Artemis, House of the Virgin Mary, St. John’s Basilica, and the Ephesus Archaeological Museum. Other attractions in Ephesus include Selçuk Castle, Ayasuluk Citadel, and Isa Bey Mosque.

If you are considering a tour from Kusadasi (or Izmir), there are a variety of tours of differing lengths. We think that around 4 to 5 hours would work and then give you time to sightsee in Kusadasi in the afternoon, but you could also do a full-day tour if you want more time in Ephesus. Some tours to consider to Ephesus from Kusadasi are:

  • This 4 hour small group morning tour of Ephesus and the Temple of Artemis
  • This 3.5 to 4.5 hour private tour of Ephesus
  • This 5 hour small group tour of Ephesus , which includes the house of the Virgin Mary, Ephesus Terrace Houses, and the Temple of Artemis
  • This 6 to 8 hour small group tour of Ephesus , which includes the house of the Virgin Mary, the Temple of Artemis, and Isa Bey Mosque.

Once you have finished touring Ephesus, it’s time to return to Kusadasi. Kusadasi is a popular resort town and has a lot of cafes and restaurants as well as beaches. Depending on how you are feeling and how much time you have, you might want to visit one of the beaches (Ladies Beach is the most popular public beach), spend some time exploring the city’s attractions, or just relax by the hotel pool.

Our favorite thing to do is to take a walk over to Güvercinada , or Pigeon Island, a small island linked to the mainland by a causeway. There is a castle here that you can visit if you wish.

How to get from Kusadasi to Pamukkale & Fethiye

The next part of the trip involves a long day of travel, no matter what method of transportation you choose as the attractions are spaced far apart.

If you are not taking a tour, your best options are to take public transit or drive.

By Car: If you are driving, Pamukkale is about a 120 mile (190 km) drive from Kusadasi, and that drive takes about 3 hours if taking the toll roads (about 4 hours if not). From Pamukkale, it is another 125 mile (200 km) drive to Fethiye which is around another 3 hours of driving.

If that sounds like too much driving, you could skip Pamukkale, and just head south along the coast from Kusadasi to Fethiye. Then you would have more time to spend in either Kusadasi or Fethiye.

By Plane : You can fly from Izmir to Denizli (town near Pamukkale) and then from Denizli to Fethiye (airport in Dalaman). However, many of these flights connect via Istanbul meaning the flights often take as long (or even longer) than taking public transit or driving.

By Bus: From Kusadasi, it’s relatively easy to get to Pamukkale by public transport. You can go by bus, either directly from Kusadasi or via Selçuk. The bus takes between 3 to 4 hours.

Note that some of the bus companies (and the train) terminate in the town of Denizli and do not go directly to Pamukkale. So you may need to take a short 25-minute minibus or taxi ride to get from the bus station to Pamukkale which is located just outside Denizli. Just be sure to ask so you know if you need to transfer or not.

Then from Denizli, you can then take a bus to Fethiye, which will take around 4 hours. Check bus times and prices, and book online here .

By Train: You can do part of the route today by train. Take the local bus from Kusadasi to Selçuk (the town next to Ephesus), from where you can catch a train to Denizli. The train takes around 3 hours, and the first departure is usually around 9:00am. You can check train times and tickets here .

Then from the Denizli station, you can get a 25-minute minibus or taxi ride to Pamukkale. There is no train between Denizli and Fethiye, so you will have to take a bus from Denizli.

Ephesus Celsus Library 2 weeks in Turkey itinerary2 weeks in Turkey itinerary

Turkey Itinerary Day 6: Pamukkale & Fethiye

For your sixth day in Turkey, our suggestion is to head east inland to Pamukkale and then south to the coastal town of Fethiye.

Pamukkale, which means “cotton castle” in Turkish, is another of Turkey’s UNESCO World Heritage Sites. It’s famous for two reasons. First, it well-known for its photogenic natural white travertine (a type of limestone) terraces which are filled with thermal water. Second, the ruins of the ancient Greco-Roman city of Hierapolis are located here.

Springs in a cliff above the terraces provide the mineral-rich waters which have created the incredible landscape of petrified waterfalls and terraced basins of thermal water at Pamukkale. The milky white water is due to the large amount of calcium carbonate found in the water.

A thermal spa at Hierapolis was built on top of Pamukkale to take advantage of the hot springs in the 2nd century BC by the kings of Pergamon. It grew into a small city and you can see the Greco-Roman ruins here today. Pamukkale has been a popular tourist destination for about two thousand years.

The main reason people visit Pamukkale today is to see the white limestone terraces here, which are really quite incredible. These terraces cover a large area of almost 2 miles (3 km) in length. Although the terraces are natural, the bathing pools are artificial and have been created for tourists. Some of these are open to bathing or swimming.

Unfortunately, the thousands of years of tourism, as well as the more recent rise in mass tourism, has taken its toll on the location. Large sections of the pools don’t look like you see them in photos as many often have little water in them and the ones open to the public are often crowded with people.

To protect the site, most of the pools are now closed entirely to bathers, with only a small area accessible for swimming at one time. The water can be a bit dirty with all the people in them and they can also be very slippery so do be careful if you plan to go in them.

In addition to the small terraced pools, you can pay extra to swim at Cleopatra’s Pool, a former Roman pool, which is a thermal pool and spa that is privately run and includes locker rooms and showers. You need proper swimwear to enter this pool.

However, the good news is that the Pamukkale site is very large, and if you move away from the main crowds you can enjoy lovely views of the terraces with hardly any people around you.

After seeing the thermal spa and perhaps dipping your toes into one of the thermal pools, you can then take some time to explore Hierapolis. Many people come and just see some of the thermal pools and leave, but if you are going to take the time to come all the way to Pamukkale, we recommend taking some time to explore the rest of the site.

The city has Greek and Roman ruins, including ancient bathing complexes, gates, a huge theatre, temples, shrines, a martyrium, and an extensive Necropolis. The site has the Tomb of Philip the Apostle and the earliest evidence of the use of a crank and rod mechanism (as depicted on a sarcophagus). Housed in the former Roman Bath building is the Hierapolis Archaeology Museum which you can see some of the many artifacts unearthed at the site.

If you don’t have a guide but want to learn more about the history of Pamukkale and Hierapolis, we recommend taking along a good guidebook like this one .

There’s lots to see here, and it’s all included on the entry ticket, so take advantage of it. Most people spend about 3 hours here, but you’ll want to plan to spend longer if you want to fully explore Hierapolis.

Once you are done sightseeing in Pamukkale, continue on to Fethiye where we recommend you spend the night. Fethiye is a city (and district) located in the southwestern area of Turkey along the Aegean Sea. It is a popular tourist area and there are a lot of attractions in and around the city.

Given that you will likely be coming from a long day of travel and sightseeing, we recommend using your first evening in Fethiye to relax. We recommend spending two nights here.

Where to stay in Fethiye

You have two main options for where to stay in Fethiye. You can stay near the marina and old town for easy access to the sights, or you can stay a little further north on the 4km long Çalis Beach. So just depends if you prefer to be near the city center or have easy beach access.

Here are some options for places to stay in Fethiye:

  • Turunç Hostel – If you’re looking for a hostel, this is a great value and well-reviewed option in the heart of the town. Private and dorm rooms are available, with a good value breakfast on offer.
  • Infinity Exclusive City Hotel – A great value budget to mid-range option offering private en-suite rooms in the city center.
  • Orka Boutique Hotel – This popular and well-reviewed mid-range boutique hotel offers en-suite rooms, an on-site restaurant, and inclusive breakfast. Located a few yards from the sea, and a short walk from the city center.
  • Ece Marina Suit – This well-rated beachfront hotel near the old town overlooks the marina and has a private beach. Rooms are designed to be family-friendly and offer good value comfortable accommodation with living area and apartment-style facilities.
  • Hotel Delta – Found on Çalis Beach around 3 miles north of the old town, this well-reviewed hotel offers en-suite rooms with balconies and an on-site restaurant. Breakfast is included.
  • Eyna Hotel – This popular beach front property on Çalis Beach has great reviews, en-suite rooms, an on-site restaurant, and breakfast is included.

Pamukkale Hierapolis 2 weeks in Turkey itinerary

Turkey Itinerary Day 7: Fethiye

Fethiye is a beautiful coastal city and resort town on Turkey’s Aegean Sea. The area is known as the Turquoise Coast because of the incredible color of the water you’ll find here.

Fethiye has a lot to offer, but one of the most popular things to do here is to get out on the water and take advantage of the scenic coastline, beautiful waters, and nearby islands. Popular water activities include boating, swimming, snorkeling, SCUBA diving, fishing, and water skiing.

The Travel Talk tour we did included 3 nights on a traditional gulet boat. This might be too much boat time for many, but we definitely recommend considering spending part of a day on the water here.

On a boat trip, you can take in the scenery, swim, snorkel, and sightsee at a relaxed pace. Then you can return to your hotel, take a shower, and head out to watch the sunset and enjoy a bit of the city’s culture and nightlife.

Or if a day on a boat sounds like too much, you can just find a pretty beach to lie on! Çalis Beach is a popular beach that stretches along the city or you can find a smaller and less crowded one further away.

Alternatively, if you are up for some more sightseeing and cultural sites today, there are a number of attractions in and around Fethiye. These include the Fethiye Museum, Saklikent National Park, the rock tomb of Amyntas, the Roman theatre above Fethiye, ancient Lycian hilltop citadel of Tlos, ancient Lycian city ruin of Cadyanda, Butterfly Valley, and the spectacular beach at Ölüdeniz Lagoon. Paragliding is also a very popular activity in this area.

Of course, many of these attractions and activities are located outside the city, so you’ll either need to have your own transport, take a bus, or take a tour to experience them.

Below, we’ve put together some recommend boat tours, as well as other day tours from Fethiye you might consider. Alternatively, feel free to just wander the city itself, which is very beautiful and has a number of sights worth visiting.

  • A full day boat tour from Fethiye with swimming and snorkeling opportunities. Lunch included.
  • A full day boat tour from Fethiye to Ölüdeniz with swimming, lunch, and stops at Butterfly Valley and St. Nicholas Island
  • A popular tandem paragliding tour over beautiful Ölüdeniz

Hopefully, this gives you some inspiration for your day in Fethiye. We recommend enjoying the sunset from the beach, a seaside cafe, or your hotel balcony. Lots of nightlife opportunities here in the evening to enjoy in this popular resort town.

How to Get From Fethiye to Antalya

We recommend heading to Antalya on the next part of your trip. If you are not taking a tour, you have three options for getting from Fethiye to Antalya:

By Car: If you are driving, it’s about a 125 mile (200 km) drive if you take the most direct route which takes about  2.5 to 3 hours.

However, you can take the more scenic coastal route along the D400 between Fethiye and Antalya if you have more time and want to enjoy the scenery. It’s a nice drive. Taking the scenic route will add another 2 hours to your drive so I’d estimate about 4.5 hours.

By Plane: It is possible to fly from Fethiye (Dalaman Airport) to Antalya . Most flights are 3.5 to 4.5 hours long as most make a stop in Istanbul.

By Bus: In terms of public transport, there are regular direct buses from Fethiye to Antalya, with journey times taking around 3 to 3.5 hours on average. You can check bus routes and ticket prices online here .

gulet near Fethiye Turkey 2 weeks in Turkey itinerary

Turkey Itinerary Day 8: Antalya

Today, we recommend leaving Fethiye in the morning and heading to the southern coastal city of Antalya. But there’s no rush today so feel free to spend some more time in Fethiye if there is something you missed yesterday.

It takes about 3 to 4 hours to get to Antalya, depending on route and transport. So if you leave in the morning, you’ll still have half the day left to explore Antalya. Those traveling by car or tour bus may take the coastal route along the D400 which is slower but a very nice scenic route.

Antalya is believed to have been founded by King Attalus II of Pergamon around 150 B.C. and so has a long history. Most of the historical architecture in the city now dates to the medieval Ottoman period. The city is situated along the Turkish Riviera and has become Turkey’s most important international seaside resort.

There is a lot to do in Antalya and we recommend spending two nights here, giving you about 1.5 days to explore Antalya and the surrounding area. Once you arrive in Antalya and check into your hotel, we recommend spending your first afternoon exploring the town of Antalya and its city center attractions and perhaps spending some time on the beach.

In the town itself, we can recommend exploring the old town (Kaleiçi) on foot as there are a number of things to see here including Hadrian’s Gate, the Roman Tower (Hidirlik Tower), Yivli Minare Mosque (Fluted Mosque), and the Antalya Museum (regional history museum).

The Old Marina area is also worth exploring and is a great place to enjoy a meal or drink. You can also take a sightseeing boat tour from here.

Elsewhere in town you’ll also find a panoramic elevator for views over city, several city parks, a toy museum, and lots of other historical attractions.

If you prefer something more relaxing, you may also want to head to one of the area’s beaches. There are also some nice beaches within 10km of the city center, including Lara Beach (sandy beach) and Konyaalti Beach (pebble beach).

In the evening, Antalya is a lively place with lots of restaurants, bars, cafes, and nightclubs. The city also has cinemas and some movies are shown in their original English (with Turkish subtitles). There are also regular shows which include traditional Turkish music and dance and belly dancing performances.

Those who enjoy the theater or opera will also find the Antalya State Theater and the Antalya State Opera and Ballet here. There is also the popular Fire of Anatolia Dance Show that is regularly held at the Gloria Aspendos Arena.

If you are visiting in the summer months, you may want to see if the Aspendos International Opera and Ballet Festival is taking place during your visit. Throughout this popular festival, regular performances are held at the ancient Aspendos Roman theater.

Where to Stay in Antalya

Antalya is a large city and there is also a lot of accommodation throughout the Antalya region along the coast. We have two different recommendations depending on your interests and budget.

Our first recommendation is to either stay close to the Antalya Old Town center so you are within walking distance of the majority of attraction in the city itself. This is great for those who are are interested in the city attractions and nightlife here, and for those needing the public transit connections here.

Our other recommendation is to consider spending these two days at a nice coastal resort outside of the city. Antalya boasts some of the nicest hotel resorts in Turkey and if you are looking for an all-inclusive resort, you have a lot of options. These all tend to have multiple restaurants and bars, swimming pools, spas, fitness centers, and kids’ activities. Some also have beach access.

Here are some lodging options near the Antalya Old Town:

  • Hostel Vague – If you’re looking for a budget option in Antalya, this hostel is a great option. It’s centrally located, offers shared and private accommodation and an on-site kitchen, lounge, terrace, and garden for guest use
  • Beyaz Butik Hotel – A well-reviewed homestay option offering private en-suite rooms and breakfast. A short walk from the old town.
  • White Garden Hotel – With a rooftop terrace, outdoor pool and easy beach access, this is a great value and well-reviewed hotel near the old town
  • Tekeli Konaklari – Located in a restored Ottoman Pasha’s residence, this property features private rooms set around a central courtyard, with easy access to the old town. Rooms are en-suite and breakfast is included.
  • Cap d’Perge Hotel – This well-reviewed adults-only hotel offers private en-suite rooms with lots of amenities, a private beach, and an on-site restaurant. This one feels a bit tucked away but is still within easy walking distance of the historic center of the city
  • ATICI Hotel – A popular and central hotel located right in the heart of the city center offering private en-suite rooms.

Here are a few resort hotel options to consider near Antalya:

  • Xanadu Resort – This 5-star resort near Belek includes swimming pools, water slides, a kid’s club, fitness activities, several restaurants, a spa, and access to a private beach.
  • Gloria Serenity Resort   – This 5-star resort includes swimming pools, a fitness center, sports center, several restaurants and bars, a spa, a game room, kids’ club, and beach access. We have stayed in one of the villas here and it is a great place if you want a relaxing place to stay on your trip.
  • Land of Legends Hotel – This family-friendly hotel is geared to kids and all guests get free access to the Land of Legends theme park. The hotel and park feature roller coasters, a water park, pools, restaurants, children’s shows, and more.

belly dancer 2 weeks in Turkey itinerary

Turkey Itinerary Day 9: Antalya

Today you’ll spend a second day exploring Antalya. There are lots of options for how you can spend your day, depending on your interests.

If you didn’t explore the historic city center and Old Marina areas yesterday, you might want to do that today. You can wander this area easily on foot.

Or perhaps head to the Beydaglari Coastal National Park. Here you can take the cable car (Olympos Telferik) to get a great view of the area. The park offers opportunities for hiking, paragliding, climbing, and other outdoor activities. In the winter there is skiing and snowsports.

For those interested in waterfalls, there are several waterfalls in the area. The most popular are the Upper Duden Falls and Lower Duden Falls. We can also recommend a visit to Kursunlu Waterfall.

For those looking for historical and archaeological sites outside the city, we can recommend the ancient Greco-Roman city of Aspendos . Here you can see the impressive remains of a Roman theatre, aqueduct, and basilica are well worth the visit. Another option is the ancient Greek city of Perga (or Perge) that contains a Bronze Age acropolis among many other of its ruins.

Those who like theme parks may want to spend the day at The Land of Legends , which is an amusement park with roller coasters, water slides, live shows, a surf pool, and a cinema. Very popular with families visiting the area.

Golfers may want to hit the links and try one or two of the many golf courses in the area. Belek and the surrounding area is considered the top golf destination in Turkey with over 20 different golf courses in Antalya. In 2012, the Turkish Airlines World Golf Final was hosted at the Antalya Golf Club in Belek.

If you are feeling like a lazy and inexpensive day out, consider just heading to a beach and having a relaxing day in the sun. Or if you are staying a resort, you can just spend your full day enjoying the resort amenities.

Note that many of these attractions, like the waterfalls, Aspendos, and the national parks, are located outside of the city center. Some you can reach by public bus, but many you will need to either hire a taxi or join a tour if you don’t have you own transportation.

Here are some day tours you might consider taking today:

  • This 8 hour tour includes a guided city tour of Antalya, a boat tour, a visit to Duden Waterfalls National Park, and lunch
  • This full day tour includes the Tunektepe cable car ride, visit to Duden Waterfalls National Park, Antalya city tour, lunch, and a boat ride
  • This 9 hour tour from Antalya includes visits to the ancient cities of Aspendos, Perge, and Side as well as a stop at the Kursunlu Waterfall
  • This 5 hour waterfall tour includes visits to three different area waterfalls in the Antalya region plus lunch
  • This full day jeep safari includes Saklıkent Gorge, Patara beach, and Kaputaş as well as a buffet lunch

In the evening, we recommend enjoying more of the Antalya nightlife. There is something to suit just about any taste whether you are looking for a relaxing seafood dinner at the harbor, a dance performance, a sunset cruise, or a night out at the clubs.

Those traveling by bus may want to consider taking an overnight bus to Cappadocia tonight instead of spending the night in Antalya.

How to Get from Antalya to Cappadocia

Your next destination in Turkey is Cappadocia. Note that Cappadocia is the name of the region, rather than a specific city. The main tourist destinations in the region are in and around the town of Göreme.

By Car: It is a long 310 miles (500 km) drive from Antalya to Göreme, and the drive will take you about 7 hours. So this will use up most of your day. You may want to stop to visit the Derinkuyu Underground City before heading into Göreme today.

By Plane: Flying is the quickest option to get from Antalya to Cappadocia. Direct flights take about 1 hour, but those with connections usually take about 3.5 hours. In the summertime, there are often direct flights, but off-season you’ll likely have to connect through Istanbul.

The two main airports in Cappadocia are Kayseri Erkilet Airport in Kayseri, around a 1 hour drive from the main tourist sights, and Nevsehir Kapadokya Airport in Gülsehir, around a 40 minute drive away. From the airports, you can book an airport transport service to hotels in the region here .

By Bus : If you are traveling by public transport, there are a number of buses from Antalya to Göreme. The buses take about 9 hours, and most are overnight buses although there are some daytime routes as well. Check bus times and prices, and book online here .

Aspendos Roman Theater Amphitheatre Antalya 2 weeks in Turkey itinerary

Turkey Itinerary Day 10: Cappadocia

Today we recommend leaving Antalya after breakfast and heading to Cappadocia . Cappadocia is one of Turkey’s most well-known tourist regions and it is definitely an area worth exploring.

Cappadocia is a region of central Turkey that has been inhabited since at least the 5th century BC. It is best known for its distinctive “fairy chimneys” and rock formations formed by erosion, the many rock dwellings carved into the rock valleys by the troglodytes (cave dwellers), and the carved rock churches, some of which still have existing frescos. There were entire underground villages here.

Cappadocia today is one of the most popular and visited areas of Turkey by international travelers. Visitors come to see its surreal landscapes, interesting rock formations, and ancient cave dwellings. It is also one of the most popular places in the world to take a hot air balloon flight!

The main town is Göreme and we recommend using this as a base to explore this region. There is a lot that you can see and do in the region, so you’ll want to prioritize your time here.

One of the most popular places to visit in the area is the Göreme Open Air Museum . The large outdoor complex contains ancient rock-hewn homes and some of the area’s most important rock churches and chapels. Many contain well-preserved frescos dating back to the 9th to 12th centuries. This site is a designated UNESCO World Heritage site, along with several other locations in the region, including the underground cities of Kaymakli and Derinkuyu.

A number of underground complexes built in this area. In terms of ones you can visit, Derinkuyu and Kaymakli are both partially open to visitors. The two underground cities were once connected. At Derinkuyu, it is believed that as many of 20,000 people could have lived there at one time!

Most of the area’s rock formations are made of soft volcanic tuff, which made it easy to carve and some of the dwellings were quite large. One of the better-known formations is the so-called Uçhisar Castle which is a mountain-castle that served as both a monastery and residential housing for up to 1,000 people in the Byzantine era.

Natural erosion of the rock has also lead to the interesting rock formations found throughout the region. There are lots of places to see these formations as they are scattered throughout the region.

For seeing local rock formations, you can visit one or two of the many valleys that feature a large concentration of these formations. These include Pigeon Valley (or Valley of the Dovecotes is full of dovecotes carved into the volcanic rock), Ihlara Valley (canyon full of cave dwellings and rock churches), Love Valley (full of phallic-shaped pillars), and Monk Valley (full of fairy chimneys and other rock pillars).

Most of these valleys offer plenty of opportunities for hiking as well. Some valleys also permit quad biking tours which are also popular.

This region is also known for its traditional arts and crafts, particularly pottery, and earthenware pottery has been made here for centuries. If you are interested in pottery and handicrafts, you’ll want to visit the town of Avanos which has a number of shops and galleries. We recommend a visit also to the Güray Museum in Avanos, which is an underground cave museum filled with antiques, ceramics, and pottery.

This is also an important region for those interested in the Hittites who were a people in the central Anatolia who established a Bronze Age empire in the region. The empire’s capital was in Hattusa, and the ruins of the ancient city can be visited today and are another UNESCO World Heritage Site. Hattusa and the main Hittite archaeological sites are about a 2.5 hour drive from Göreme.

As Cappadocia is a bit spread out, again you will either need your own transport or to take a tour for the majority of these attractions. There’s also a hop on hop off bus you might consider , which visits many of the attractions.

There are lots of tour options around Cappadocia so they are all pretty competitive with each other so you should be able to find one at a decent price. Most include lunch in the tour price. Here are some tours of Cappadocia to check out:

  • A full day small group tour of Cappadocia which includes lunch and visits to Derinkuyu Underground City, Ihlara Valley, Selime Monastery, and Göreme Valley
  • A full day private tour of Cappadocia which includes Göreme Open Air Museum, Pigeon Valley, Kaymakli Underground City, and other highlights
  • A 6.5 hour tour of Cappadocia , including Devrent Valley, Zevle Open Air Museum, Pasabag, Göreme Open Air Museum, and Pigeon Valley. Lunch is included.
  • A 6 to 7 hour tour of Cappadocia, including Uchisar Castle, Love Valley, Göreme Open Air Museum, Monks Valley, Avanos, and Devrent Valley. Lunch is included.
  • A full day private tour of Cappadocia , includes lunch and visits to Göreme Open Air Museum, Uchisar Castle, Pigeon Valley, and Kaymakli Underground City.
  • This full day tour with trekking explores south Cappadocia and includes visits to Derinkuyu Underground City, Ihlara Valley, Belisirma, and Selime. It also includes a 4 km trek in Ihlara Valley and lunch.
  • This private Anatolian art tour focuses on the local art and handicrafts of the region, particularly in Avanos. This includes carpet weaving, pottery, Ebru (water marbling), and jewelry. You get a chance to watch some of the art being made and chances to shop for local pieces.

Depending on how you travel to Cappadocia, you are likely spending a large portion of today traveling between Antalya and Cappadocia. So you may not have much time to explore on your first day.

If you don’t get into Cappadocia until the late afternoon or evening, there are still some activities you might consider on your first day.  For example, you might consider a sunset ATV tour, sunset horseback riding tour , or night show performance and dinner . Or maybe just heading to Sunset View point to watch the sunset before dinner.

We recommend going to bed early so you can be up to take a hot air balloon flight or watch them take off from afar in the morning!

Where to Stay in Cappadocia

Our recommendation for your time in Cappadocia is to stay in Göreme, Ortahisar, or Ürgüp. These three towns are next to each other and all feature a wide range of accommodation options.

You can see the hot air balloons from all of them, depending on weather conditions, with Göreme being the closest to the main launch sites.

Our recommendation is to stay in one of the many cave hotels on offer in this area, which is a unique experience! Just be aware that many of the cave hotels offer a range of accommodation options, and not all of them will be in a cave, so do double check before booking a specific room type if this is important to you.

Here are some accommodation options to consider in Cappadocia:

  • Hostel Terra Vista in Göreme – This is a well-reviewed budget hostel option that offers both dormitory and private rooms with included breakfast. It’s not in a cave, but it does offer lovely views across Göreme.
  • Homestay Cave Hostel , Göreme – This is a well-rated hostel with some of the dormitory rooms located in a cave. Breakfast is included.
  • Guzide Cave Hotel in Göreme – This good value cave hotel offers a range of en-suite cave room types with breakfast included.
  • Grand Elite Cave Suites in Göreme – This well-reviewed cave hotel offers room types to suit most budgets, and also has an outdoor swimming pool and breakfast is included.
  • Aydinli Cave Hotel in Göreme – This cave hotel offers ensuite rooms, inclusive breakfast, and a lovely rooftop terrace that offers great views across Göreme.
  • Zara Cave Hotel in Göreme – This is another wonderfully reviewed cave hotel offering a range of en-suite cave rooms across a variety of budgets. Breakfast is included and the hotel has a shared lounge and terrace area for nice views.
  • Kayakapi Premium Caves in Ürgüp – This upscale cave hotel offers stunning cave rooms in restored historical caves, a magnificent view across the surrounding landscape, an on-site restaurant, a swimming pool, a spa, and breakfast is included. We’ve stayed in this cave hotel and really loved it.

Piegeon Valley Cappadocia 2 weeks in Turkey itinerary

Turkey Itinerary Day 11: Cappadocia

This morning we recommend getting up early to enjoy a hot air balloon flight. Cappadocia is very well-known for hot air ballooning and up to 100 balloons fly here on most days (weather permitting). Due to the unusual landscapes and wide open places, it is considered one of the best places in the world to experience a balloon flight.

If you want to take a hot air balloon flight, just be sure to book once in advance. If you are traveling with a tour, almost all tours offer this as an optional activity.

You’ll need to get up early as the balloons fly in the morning around sunset. How early will depend on the time of year and this can range from a very early 4:00am to 7:00am. Most balloon companies offer pick-up from your hotel and many also include breakfast (or at least coffee and a snack).

Most flights last between 1 hour and 1.5 hours in the air and you travel slowly over the scenic landscape. It is great to see all the interesting rock formations from above as well as see all the other hot air balloons in the sky. If you are looking for a splurge experience in Cappadocia, this is a good one to consider.

We’ve been to Cappadocia twice and have done hot air balloon flights with two different companies, and we can say that some companies definitely are better than others. We can wholly recommend booking a flight with Royal Balloons based on our experience. The staff, food, and safety precautions were all excellent.

Hot air balloon flights are widely available from many companies, but you will want to book in advance to secure a spot. Here are some few suggested options to consider for a hot air balloon flight in Cappadocia.

  • This 2.5 hour experience with Royal Balloons includes flight, hotel pickup, champagne toast, and breakfast. We did this trip and it was excellent; highly recommend!
  • This 2 hour experience includes breakfast, champagne, souvenir flight certificate, and hotel pickup
  • This 2.5 hour experience includes breakfast, champagne, and hotel pickup
  • This private balloon experience is exclusively just for you and your group and includes hotel pickup and champagne toast.

Just remember that hot air balloon flights are weather dependent so cancelations are common if the winds are too strong or the weather is bad. So we recommend trying to have flexibility in your schedule for the next morning to do the flight if it is canceled. This will allow you to reschedule and hopefully get a chance to go up the next day.

If you are not interested in taking a balloon flight or the flights are a bit above your budget, you might still want to get up to watch them take off in the morning. The majority of hot air balloon flights launch from around Göreme. You can see them from many of the hotels (ask at yours specifically) and from many parts of the city.

The Sunset View point we mentioned for sunset is also a good place to watch sunrise and the balloon launch, and take photos.

After your morning balloon experience, you may be tempted to crawl back into bed for a nap, but we’d recommend using the rest of your day to see more of the wonderful landscapes and explore the local cultural attractions. There is plenty to see and do in the region to keep you busy all day!

If you are planning to take a balloon flight and then join a day tour today, just make sure that you will have time to get back from your flight before the tour departs.

For those who do want a more relaxing day time activity, you might consider shopping, spending time at one of the local spas (some hotels have their own spas) or hotel pools, going hiking in one of the valleys, or enjoying a mud bath at the Cappadocia Mud Baths & Spa . Laurence found a visit to the mud baths invigorating after a day of travel.

In the evening, we recommend enjoying the sunset and having a nice dinner. There are plenty of evening experiences you can enjoy as noted on Day 10. But if you got up early today, you are probably ready for an early night!

How to Get from Cappadocia to Ankara

Your next destination in Turkey is Ankara, the country’s capital. You have several options on getting between the Cappadocia area and Ankara. If you are planning to use public transportation, we’d recommend checking the schedules in advance.

Those with less than 2 weeks in Turkey may want to skip the stop in Ankara and head onwards to Istanbul today.

By Car : It is about a 180 mile (290 km) drive from Göreme to Ankara, which takes about 3.5 hours.

By Plane : You can fly from Cappadocia (Kayseri or Nevşehir airport) to Ankara, but there are rarely direct flights so you will likely need to layover in Istanbul. Flights often take 4 to 5 hours.

By Train : There are usually two regular trains a day that run from Kayseri to Ankara, one during the day and one overnight train. They are not high-speed trains so the journey takes about 6.5 hours. Check train times and book online here .

By Bus : You can take the bus from Göreme (or other town in Cappadocia) to Ankara. The bus journey takes about 5 hours on average. Check bus times and prices, and book online here .

Cappadocia balloons 2 weeks in Turkey itinerary

Turkey Itinerary Day 12: Ankara

If you had a really early morning the day before, you may want to enjoy a relaxing later breakfast to start the day. Then it is time to head onward to Ankara.

If you weren’t able to take a balloon flight on the previous morning for any reason, you could do that this morning. Also if there is anything else you missed in Cappadocia, you could fit it into your morning and then head to Ankara in the late morning or early afternoon.

Ankara is the capital of Turkey, and the second-largest city after Istanbul. Like most cities in Turkey, it has a long and rich history and has been inhabited since at least the Bronze Age. The city became the capital of the Republic of Turkey in 1923 and is today a major center of government, industry, and culture.

Despite being the capital city, Ankara is not nearly as well-known to travelers and is not as touristy as Istanbul. Many of its attractions are focused more to Turkish people than to international visitors, giving the city a much different feel than that of Istanbul and the more touristed regions of the country.

It is a great place to see and learn more about how Turkish people live, eat, work, and play. We recommend taking the time to explore this city and to consider hiring a local guide or joining a local walking tour during part of your time here.

The most popular visited attractions in Ankara is the Anıtkabir or the Mausoleum of Mustafa Kemal Atatürk. Atatürk was the first president of Turkey, and is regarded as the founder of modern Turkey and was a leader of the Turkish War of Independence. He died in 1938, having served 15 years as President. Anıtkabir is a monumental complex of plazas, towers, statues, and a museum.

The city’s second most visited attraction is the Museum of Anatolian Civilizations and this is probably the one must-see place for most foreign visitors. The museum’s galleries tell the story of Turkey’s people in the past 8,000 years in chronological order, including the Neolithic, Early Bronze, Assyrian, Hittite, Phrygian, Urartian, Greek, Hellenistic, Roman, Byzantine, Seljuq, and Ottoman periods. The museum is especially known for holding the most comprehensive exhibition on Hittite artifacts in the world. It was named the first “European Museum of the Year” in 1997.

Ankara has many archaeological and historical sites. These include the Ankara Castle (a.k.a. Ankara Citadel), Roman Theatre, Temple of Augustus and Rome, the Roman Baths, and the Roman Road. Most of the Roman ruins can be found in or near the Ulus quarter in central Ankara.

The largest mosque in the city is the Kocatepe Mosque which has become a landmark of the city. Other impressive mosques the 16th-century Yeni Mosque, the 15th-century Haci Bayram Mosque, and the 12th-century Alâeddin Mosque.

Ankara offers a lot of shopping opportunities, from traditional bazaars to modern shopping malls. The street bazaar along Cikrikcilar Yukusu, also known as the “Weavers’ Alley”, is one of the best places to go in the city for traditional shopping. Another nearby popular market is Bakicilar Carsisi which is famous for its copper products. Those looking for more modern stores may want to head to the Kızılay area.

We also recommend a wander around the Hamamönü, which is a restored late Ottoman neighborhood in the center of Ankara. The area has been restored and amongst the historical structures are handicraft markets, shops, cafes, and restaurants.

If you enjoy museums, there are about 50 of them in and around Ankara. They focus on everything from war to art to steam locomotives to technology. In addition to those already mentioned, some museums you might consider are the Ethnographic Museum, Çengelhan Rahmi Koç Museum (technology), Independence War Museum, and Republic Museum.

Ankara is also a cultural performance hub. You can see the state opera and ballet companies of Turkey perform, as well as classical music orchestras and theatre performances.

For those looking for a different type of nightlife, the large student population of Ankara means there are also things happening in the bars, clubs, and cafes located in the more student-friendly areas of the city.

Here are a few tour ideas in Ankara:

  • This private full-day tour of the city’s highlights is designed to help you understand the history of Ankara with visits to some of the city’s main attractions including the Museum of Anatolian Civilizations, Ankara Citadel, Ataturk Mausoleum, and the Old Copper Market.
  • This private tour with a local guide can be booked from 2 to 6 hours and focuses on introducing visitors to Ankara. This tour is designed to show you the local side of Ankara and help you plan the rest of your time in the city.
  • This full day private day tour visits the Hittites sites of Yazilikaya and Hattusas. Includes hotel pick-up and lunch.

As you can see, there are plenty of things to do to fill a couple of days in Ankara!

Where to Stay in Ankara

Ankara is a big city, so ideally you will want to stay relatively close to the center to minimize transport times. We recommend staying near the city center, so in the area around Ankara Castle and the train station, as this will put you in walking distance of most of the main sights in the city.

Here are some accommodation options in Ankara to consider:

  • Deeps Hostel – This budget-friendly hostel offers both dormitory and private rooms, an on-site shared kitchen, and a dining room. It is also centrally located and is about a 5 minute walk from the main train station.
  • Sahinbey Hotel – This great value central 2-star hotel offers rooms with private bathrooms and an included breakfast. It is located about a 5 minute walk from the Museum of Anatolian Civilizations and also near Ankara Castle.
  • Kahya Hotel Ankara – This centrally located 4-star hotel offers en-suite rooms, 24-hour front desk, free on-site parking, terrace, and an on-site restaurant.
  • Güvenay Business Hotel – This well-rated central business-focused hotel offers comfortable en-suite rooms, an on-site restaurant, a terrace, a 24-hour front desk, a business center, and inclusive breakfast
  • Divan Cukurhan – This very well-reviewed historical hotel offers lovely en-suite rooms, with an on-site restaurant, 24 hour front desk, and optional breakfast. Located directly opposite of Ankara Castle and a 5 minute walk from the Museum of Anatolian Civilizations.
  • The Ankara Hotel – Another well-reviewed 4-star hotel offering modern en-suite rooms with lovely views of the city, an on-site bar and restaurant, free on-site parking, and inclusive breakfast. Located within the train station so a great place to stay for train travelers.

If you are looking for a self-catering option in Ankara, there are a number of options to rent a private room, apartment, or villa. You can check out these city center apartment options on Booking, and these city center options on Vrbo.

cat Turkey 2 weeks in Turkey itinerary

Turkey Itinerary Day 13: Ankara

For your second day in Ankara, we recommend you use it to do the things that you didn’t have time to do on the first day.

If you visited many of the most popular attractions like Anitkabir, the Museum of Anatolian Civilizations, and Ankara Castle yesterday, you might want to spend a more relaxing day wandering around one of the neighborhoods, doing a local food tour, and shopping. Ankara is a good place to search out any Turkish foods you haven’t had the chance to try yet or buying any last minute souvenirs or gifts.

Also a good time to do anything you had been wanting to do in Turkey that you hadn’t been able to do yet. For instance, if you had been wanting to try a Turkish hamam, you could do that today. One central historical hamam to consider is Şengül Hamamı .

If this is your final night in Turkey, we recommend planning something nice to do in the evening!

How to Get from Ankara to Istanbul

As the two largest cities in Turkey, Istanbul and Ankara are very well connected so you have lots of options on how to travel between them. The fastest way to get from Ankara to Istanbul is to fly although taking a direct high-speed train is also a good option.

By Car: If you’re driving, it’s around a 280 miles (450 km) drive from Ankara to Istanbul, and the drive takes around 5 hours.

By Plane : There are many daily direct flights between Ankara and Istanbul and these flights take about 1 hour.

By Train: The direct train takes around 4 to 4.5 hours. Several trains run this route each day and there is also an overnight sleeper train.

By Bus: Bus journeys between Ankara and Istanbul take between 6 and 7 hours on average. There are a great many bus services to choose from, including overnight options. Check bus times and prices, and book online here .

Turkish breakfast 2 weeks in Turkey itinerary

Turkey Itinerary Day 14: Istanbul

You’re back in Istanbul, having completed your fantastic 2 week trip in Turkey!

If you have more time in Istanbul, you can see anything that you didn’t have time to see during your first visit here. There are plenty of things to see and do in the city. You can also do some final souvenir shopping and enjoy a final Turkish meal.

If you are flying home from the Istanbul airport, you may want to pre-arrange an airport transfer .

2 weeks in Turkey itinerary Jessica Norah Laurence Norah

Our 2 Week Turkey Itinerary Map

We have marked out our suggested route for our 2 week Turkey itinerary on Google maps. This should help you more easily visualize the route over the 14 day trip through Turkey.

You can access our route map  here or by clicking on the map image below:

14 Day Turkey Itinerary 2 weeks in Turkey

There you have it, our suggestions on where to travel in Turkey for 2 weeks!

Like what you see above but don’t want to book the transport, hotels, and activities yourself? Considering booking a guided tour, you can see our list of recommended tours of Turkey earlier in the post.

Our 2 week Turkey itinerary will help you plan the perfect trip to Turkey. Our detailed 14 day Turkey itinerary includes Istanbul, Cappadocia, Antalya, Fethiye, Pamukkale, Kusadasi, Ephesus, Troy, Gallipoli and Ankara. Two weeks in Turkey gives you time to explore Turkey's cosmopolitan cities, ancient archaeological sites, beaches, bazaars & scenic landscapes. We also give tips & advice to help you get the most out of your Turkey vacation! #Turkey #TurkeyItinerary #Turkeytravel #2weeksinTurkey

Which of these places would be on your Turkey travel itinerary? Have you been? If so, we’d love to hear about your favorite places or tips on traveling in Turkey.

If you have any questions about traveling to Turkey or our 2 week Turkey itinerary, just leave them as a comment below and we’ll try our best to answer them. As always, we love to hear from you!

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Georges Chahoud Post author

October 11, 2023 at 11:09 am

Thanks a lot for the precious informations two weeks in turkey , what do you suggest me if I would like to visite the princesses islands ( Istanbul) and more excursions tour three weeks .

Jessica & Laurence Norah Post author

October 12, 2023 at 11:30 am

Hi Georges,

Glad you are finding our 2-week Turkey itinerary helpful in planning your trip. So with three weeks, I would probably just spend some more time at the cities and stops that are of most interest to you. It can also give you more time to do day trip and excursions from those places such as Istanbul, Antalya, Cappadocia, or Kuşadası. Or if you are planning to join a tour, it will likely allow you to choose a longer tour with more stops.

I think you mean the Princes’ Islands in Turkey, near Istanbul (I am not familiar with any Princesses Islands)? For that, I would probably just do it as a day trip and allocate a morning and afternoon for the visit. We have visited as part of a day trip and the main island is easy to get to by taking a ferry boat. I think it is the equivalent of a couple of dollars for a ticket each way and most people head to Büyükada (Big Island). You can book tickets in advance or just buy once you are there. You can also join as part of a tour, and here are some day tour options that you can book in advance. In addition to your transport, some of the tours also include a guided walking tour, lunch, bike rides, music, and/or fishing.

If you are looking for a 3 week guided tour, it is hard to make a recommendation without knowing more about your budget, age, interests, and who all is traveling together. But a couple of options would be this 19-day tour with TravelTalk or this 18-day tour with Intrepid Travel. But here are several more tour options that are between 18 and 25 days in length. If you decide to do a tour like those that is less than 21 days, then plan a couple of extra nights on your own in Istanbul at the end (where you can visit the Princes Islands for instance).

Hope that helps and just let us know if you have further questions as you plan your trip to Turkey!

Best, Jessica

October 15, 2023 at 12:55 pm

Hi Jessica. Thanks a lot for your reply, I found it very useful. I’m happy to find you and to be one of your followers. Concerning my voyage to turkey, my budget is about 5000C$, do you think is enough for 21 days, I’m 61 years old and for me it’s a discovering voyage, most probably I gone be alone . Thanks again.

October 16, 2023 at 8:19 am

You’re very welcome. Glad the information was useful in planning you vogage to Turkey.

Yes, $5000 CAD (about $3700 USD) is enough for a comfortable trip around Turkey for 3 weeks if you plan it well. Turkey is not that expensive. Flights are the biggest cost, if the $5000 is in addition to your international flight then that is a very nice budget to have, but you’ll need to be more budget focused if your flights will come out of that sum. You’ll have about a $230 CAD budget per day (currently about $170 USD or 4700 Turkish lira).

Just a side note, the Turkish lira (the official currency of Turkey) is very unstable and so most tourist places prefer you to pay in euros (or sometimes GBP or USD). A lot of tourist activities will be priced in euros so good to know the CAD to EUR conversion rates once in Turkey. So while you may want to have a small amount of Turkish lira cash on you for small establishments/markets/gratuities/etc, you can pay with most things with your credit/debit card or in euros.

You can stay in comfortable moderate hotels or guest houses, visit attractions, do some excursions, and eat well within your budget. You can choose to plan the full trip yourself and do your own travel (by car or public transit) or join a tour with a tour guide where that all is taken care of for you with that budget. If doing it on your own, you should be able to book most big things in advance (flights, hotels, car rental, excursions) so you’ll know the cost and be able to stick to your budget and then allow for all the needed extras (food, attraction tickets, public transit, taxis, souvenirs, gratuities, etc.).

If you want to do it on your own, you certainly can, but if you prefer some company and a guide, there are lots of tours within your budget as well. We’ve used Travel Talk in Turkey but they definitely cater to a younger demographic but Intrepid Travel’s Comfort or Premium tours might be nice fit. We’ve used Intrepid Travel in Morocco and the age range was from late 20’s to 70’s on their more Premium category tours.

One thing you might consider is to do a mix where you are part of a tour for some parts of your travels and you are on own for other parts so you get the ease of group travel for the more far flung destinations and can do it on your own in places like Istanbul.

I am not sure when you are planning to visit, but if you are flexible, I would probably recommend avoiding the hottest months in Turkey (particularly July and August) as it can be pretty uncomfortable to sightsee, especially the historical sites and gardens, in the summer heat.

Hope that helps! If you have further questions as you get further into planning your trip, just let us know.

Georges Post author

October 17, 2023 at 9:46 am

Hi Jessica, i hopeI do not bother you with my questions, but I find that your instructions are very useful. I have two questions,since I am planning to visit the western part of Turkey. In your opinion, is it better for me to start in Ankara and end with Istanbul, or vice versa, or to start and end in the same city (to avoid distances). Secondly, in your opinion, is it better for me to book hotels In advance, such as a flight ticket, or to leave hotel reservations until I arrive in Turkey to avoid unpleasant surprises (I heard that, as for some hotels, you book a room and are surprised when you arrive that your room does not look at all like what you saw in the picture, and perhaps it is from another hotel. What do you think? Thanks a lot.

October 18, 2023 at 12:31 pm

Sure, no problem. So I would probably recommend flying in and out of Istanbul as that is normally the cheapest option as Istanbul is the larger international airport. If you are planning to take domestic flights in Turkey, Istanbul is also a good hub for that. But flying in and out of Ankara can also work if prices are better there. So definitely price compare across airports, dates, and routes. We’ve generally flown Turkish Airlines on round-trip tickets into Istanbul. Then I’d just recommend planning your itinerary in a circular fashion around the Western part of Turkey starting and ending in either Istanbul or Ankara.

We do generally recommend booking your accommodation in advance (before you leave for your trip) if you know your dates. Trying to find accommodation on the same day once in a location is not the best idea and can waste a lot of time. It is also easier to stick to a budget if you know your lodging cost beforehand. But it is of course up to you and I would do what best fits your travel style.

But if you want to stay in a comfortable hotel and have that set and know the price in advance, I would just book in advance once you know your dates and itinerary and I would generally recommend booking with a free cancellation option just in case you needed to cancel your trip or change dates. Of course if you have travel insurance, you can normally do a claim there if you couldn’t make your trip due to illness or flight cancellation or something, but having the free cancellation for your hotels just makes that easier.

We normally book online via (or with some kind of cancellation option. We have not had any unpleasant surprises in Turkey but I think if you stick to well-reviewed hotels on an international booking website like Booking or Hotels with plenty of reviews (especially from other Western travelers) and photos, you should be fine. We give some hotel recommendations throughout the itinerary across budgets and that should get you started on your search, at least in those areas. But Turkey has a lot of decent mid-range options in the main tourist cities and towns in the west part of the country that are not very expensive, but I would avoid the very cheap/basic ones and any that have no or few reviews.

gezilecek yerler Post author

August 9, 2023 at 7:01 am

Thank you for this great Turkey itinerary. Greetings from Turkey!

August 10, 2023 at 10:49 am

Thanks for taking the time to comment. You are very welcome and glad you found our 2 weeks in Turkey itinerary helpful! If you have any questions, just let us know. And enjoy your travels around Turkey!

Anne Post author

July 28, 2023 at 8:13 am

Thank you for so generously sharing this itinerary in such detail! We are planning to spend the entire month of May, 2024 in Turkey. For most of the first week we’ll be staying with friends in Istanbul, and after that we will travel by bus. We would love to follow your itinerary, expanding on it to fill out our month. Which of these options would you recommend as the best ways to spend our extra time: 1. Spending time in the Black Sea region on our way back from Capadocia? 2. Adding a multi day boat tour while we’re in the Mediterranean region? 3. Spending additional days in one or more of the Mediterranean towns along the route? 4. Adding stops along the Mediterranean? 5. Taking the ferry and spending time in Greece? So many ideas!

July 30, 2023 at 4:22 pm

That is wonderful that you have a full month here and have friends in Istanbul. So it sounds like you have 3 weeks to cover the rest of the itinerary (excluding Istanbul of course) and that gives you time to add some extra time to all the stops and to add an extra stop or two to the trip. So I would recommend going through the itinerary and seeing which places you want to add time in the existing places, taking into account bus travel times/stops. Then see how much extra time you have leftover and then that can help you decide which of the options might work best.

I would first add an extra day or two to the places along the route that you are most interested in visiting. As the itinerary covers a lot of ground in 2 weeks, you have extra time to add an extra day or two to any of the stops. Even if you don’t want to spend 3 days in the town itself, it nice to have the longer stay without needing to move hotels and you can do day trips (either by public bus or join a bus tour) to neighboring towns and attractions. You already have a lot of time in Istanbul, but you might want to spend extra time for instance in Kusadasi, Fethiye, or Cappadocia. Maybe spend a night in Denizli/Pamukkale to make that day not so long and more leisurely. So I would go through the 2 week itinerary you already have and make it slower first of all.

If interested in cultural sights/cities, you might want to add an overnight stop in Konya – a lot of people stop to see a whirling dervishes performance at the Culture Center but also a number of mosques and museums. If you like more the beach vibes, you might want add more of those such as Bodrum or Marmais.

If you like time on the water, then yes, I would definitely recommend a boat cruise. Laurence did a multi-day gulet trip and enjoyed it a lot. It’s a great way to see some of the islands, swim, etc. Options range from budget group trip to luxury private ones, and from a few hours to 2 weeks in length. You can take boat trips from a number of places such as Kusadasi, Kas, Fethiye, and Bodrum. If you want to do a multi-day trip, you would want to book that in advance before you leave. Boat day tours you can normally arrange the day before or even same day if needed (although still a good idea to book those in advance too).

If you want to see a bit of Greece and plan to do a boat trip, some of the boats also go to Greek islands given that some of them are so close to Turkey. But the ferry could also be an option if you wanted to make a short visit to Greece. To be honest with 3 weeks outside of Istanbul to explore, I’d probably recommend focusing on Turkey and saving Greece for a future trip. But if you don’t think you’ll ever return to the area, it could be worth the extra time.

The Black Sea region is not as popular with international tourists as most of the other places on the itinerary but can definitely be a nice extra place to spend some of your time if you have at least a few extra days to spare in your itinerary. The beaches are not going to be as great as the ones in the south but it has some lush green hilly areas, alpine areas, forests, waterfalls, castles, coastal cities, tea plantations, historic mosques, lovely lakes, etc. So if you are looking for a more off the beaten path area or just a green area this can be a good choice and you could head there after either Ankara or Cappadocia before heading back to Istanbul. But just be sure you have plenty of time to add this and that there are good bus connections to the parts of the region that you would like to visit. Depending on which part of the region you visit, it can take you a day (~12 hours) to get from the region to Istanbul, and also most of a day to get there from Cappadocia (a little less if leave from Ankara) so you’d probably need 5 days free to be able to spend 3 days here so may or may not work with your schedule. The biggest Turkish city in the Black Sea region, Samsun, definitely has regular connections to both Kayseri, Ankara, and Istanbul by bus so you can look at that route to get an idea of connections and timing. You can check them on Busbud and FlixBus .

Anyway, hope that helps a little! Just let us know if you have further questions as you plan your 2024 trip to Turkey.

Radhika Bayanwala Post author

May 1, 2023 at 9:56 am

Hello, for a 12 day trip what part of this trip do I cut down on?

May 1, 2023 at 12:48 pm

Hi Radhika,

I think it really depends on what you are most interested in doing/seeing in Turkey. I would maybe look at the itinerary day by day and see which places seem less interesting and take 2-3 days out of the itinerary. So for example if not very interested in the coast, you might cut the 2 nights in Antalya or if not as interested in more city/cultural stuff you could cut the stop in Ankara and go directly back to Istanbul from Cappadocia, which would save you two days. It is really just up to you!

If you have any questions as you plan your trip to Turkey, just let me know!

Ferhana Abader Post author

February 11, 2023 at 12:51 pm

Hi Jessica, Thank you so much for this, it really is helpful. My husband and I want to visit Turkey towards the end of April from South Africa. We will be staying for 2 weeks. We want to go to Istanbul, Cappadocia and Antalya. Do you think it’s a good idea to stay in Istanbul for 2 nights, Cappadocia for 3 nights, Antalya for 3 nights and back to Istanbul for another 6 nights. We not really into history so we won’t be visiting quite a few of the places mentioned here. If 8 days in Istanbul is too much where do you recommend we go to where there’s other things to do besides visit historical sites?

Thank you so much 🌹

February 13, 2023 at 8:43 am

Hi Ferhana,

Glad you have found our Turkey itinerary helpful!

So yes, I think if historical and cultural sites are not that interesting to you, you might find that 8 full days in Istanbul might be too much. That is a pretty long time. Istanbul has a variety of things to do, but the main appeal to many visitors is of course the historical sites, churches/mosques, museums, etc. Of course there are also loads of other things including the markets, shopping, art, boat rides, evening entertainment, food tours, etc. So I think 4-6 days in total would probably allow you to see much of what you wish to see perhaps? But it really depends on what you enjoy doing. I’d maybe make a list of what you really want to do there and see how much is on it. That should help you decide.

If you feel you are spending too much time in Istanbul, the simplest thing would perhaps be to just add a night or two to your time in both Cappadocia and Antalya. This way your time is still divided by just 3 places.

If you like the beach and/or outdoor activities, another idea would be spend more time along the Turkish coast. In addition to Antalya, you might want to spend a few nights in either Fethiye or Bodrum. In the coastal cities, in addition to beaches, shopping, and the local historical attractions, you can do things like hiking, boating, golfing, water parks, and adventure tour activities like sailing, paragliding, rock climbing, or dirt biking. Gulet boat tours are popular and you could even consider an overnight trip where you get to sleep on the boat – they range from budget to luxury experiences.

Anyway, hope that helps give you some ideas! If you have any further questions as you plan your trip to Turkey, just ask.

February 13, 2023 at 10:07 am

Thank you so much for your response 🌹 This definitely helps me to make a more informed decision about my itinerary. Take care

February 13, 2023 at 11:58 am

You’re very welcome! Wishing you a great trip, and just let us know if you have further questions.

Jonathan Abrahams Post author

February 11, 2023 at 1:54 am

Thanks so much for this great write-up and itinerary for Turkey. It has definitely helped make my upcoming trip a lot easier to plan.

I’m visiting Turkey in April from the 22nd of April to the 6th of May this year. I’ll be mostly using public transport since I’m traveling solo.

My current schedule is as follows: 01. Istanbul (I arrive 7pm first day so it wouldn’t really count) 02. Istanbul 03. Istanbul 04. Istanbul 05. Selcuk (catch an early morning flight to Izmir and train to Selcuk – visit Ephesus and whatever else I can fit in) 06. Denizli (catch an early train from Selcuk and visit Pammukkale and whatever else I can fit in) 07. Antalya (take a bus to Antalya from Denizli – This time can be flexible if I want to see a bit more of Denizli) 08. Antalya 09. Antalya (taking an overnight bus from Antalya to Cappadocia – 9 hours) 10. Cappadocia 11. Cappadocia 12. Cappadocia 13. Ankara (take a bus from Cappadocia to Ankara – probably early in the morning) 14. Ankara 15. Ankara (take early afternoon flight from Ankara to Istanbul and catch my early evening flight out of Istanbul back home)

Normally when I travel I like to stay in one location for about 3 days to explore it and the surrounding areas, but I had to fit Selcuk in (for Ephesus) and Denizli (for Pammukkale). Do you think I’m spreading my time alright or should I perhaps move around a day or two here or there? Also, have you ever used AirBnB in Turkey and if so, how has it been?

Many thanks Jonathan

February 13, 2023 at 8:18 am

Hi Jonathan,

I think your proposed Turkey itinerary looks fine and glad to hear that our post made it easier for you to plan your trip and itinerary.

I do think that you will be a bit rushed for the 1 night visits as you say but that really can’t be helped unless you borrow time from elsewhere to stay longer in say Selcuk. Days 5 & 6 are definitely going to be longer/busy days for you. So it just depends if you are OK with this or not. If you wanted more time in those places, I’d suggest removing one of the other longer stops (say Antalya or Ankara).

In terms of how to spend your time, I would just review what you really want to see/do in each place and make sure you have enough time to do that. For example, as yourself what are the three main things you really want to do? How much do you want to see Pammukkale? What do you plan to do in Cappadocia/Ankara? etc. If you find that you are having to skip something you really wanted to see or feel it is too rushed, see if you can remove time elsewhere where maybe there are lower priority places. It is really about your priorities and how you want to organize your time, so really only you can decide if the alloted time and itinerary is a good fit for you or not. It is always good to also go with the mindset that hopefully you will return another time so you don’t feel like you have to see everything this trip.

Traveling by public transit is definitely your cheapest option; however, it does of course have the drawback as taking the longest and you will lose some travel time and have to be sure to check the bus/train schedules to be sure to make the most of your time. The overnight bus is a good way to maximize time (and saves you from paying for a hotel that night).

We have used Airbnb in a lot of places around the world, but not in Turkey. In Turkey, good value lodging is easy to find and often includes things like free breakfast, a front desk, a restaurant, and housekeeping so we have found it more appealing to stay in hotels here. I am sure Airbnb is good in Turkey, and if you use it just make sure to stick to places that have consistent good reviews and will be within walking distance of any needed public transit stops. We tend to only find Airbnb worth it for 3 night or more stays.

Anyway, hope that helps and wishing you a great trip to Turkey. If you have any further questions, just ask!

Jonathan Post author

February 13, 2023 at 3:16 pm

Thanks for the feedback Jessica. I’ve only made one change by flying out of Istanbul on my 4th day so I can spend two nights in Selcuk. Other than that I’m happy with my itinerary. Again, I can’t help but say thank you again for this awesome write-up that you’ve done.

Regards Jonathan

February 14, 2023 at 12:59 am

That sounds great to have that extra night in Selçuk so that you don’t have to feel rushed there. Ephesus is a large and important site so it is good to have a full morning and afternoon – having a tour guide can be a good idea here to better understand the ruins.

Having 2 nights will also give you time to see other things in that area. Depending on your interests, Kusadasi is a fairly easy minibus or taxi ride away (about 20 minutes), so that would be an option on the day you are not visiting Ephesus.

Wishing you a great first trip to Turkey!

Mona Post author

January 25, 2023 at 9:58 am

HI! Loved getting all the ideas from your trip! We’re travelling early March this year with our 9 month old! i wanted to know if they would allow him to be on the hot air ballloon with us in a baby carrier strapped to us since were traveling alone and cant leave him anywhere ! would love to know while i plan! def want to do the air balloon though

February 1, 2023 at 4:32 am

Glad you are finding our advice and Turkey itinerary helpful in planning your upcoming trip!

So you can not and should not take a baby in a hot air balloon. It would not be safe to do so as your baby could easily be injured, whether strapped to you or not. Landings can be rough and we’ve seen a number of injuries over the years we’ve been ballooning, luckily most are minor and it is not usual.

There are generally age and/or height requirements for hot air ballooning and these vary around the world and by the operator. Minimum age generally is between 5 and 10 years of age. In Cappadocia, I think the minimum age for most operators is 7 years of age.

So if you want to take a hot air balloon in Turkey, I would choose a hotel in Cappadocia that offers well-reviewed babysitting services. Many hotels in the area do this. For example, the hotel I last stayed at in the region, Kayakapi Caves hotel , offered family rooms, children’s menus, and babysitting services to parents. I would check on these services before booking any hotel.

But if you don’t want to leave your baby, I would choose an alternative activity that you would be able to do safely together. Then you can always return in several years and do a hot air balloon ride together as a family.

Anyway, hope that helps and wishing you a wonderful trip to Turkey!

Ashwani Post author

November 17, 2022 at 4:10 am

Very very detailed article. As someone who lives in Turkey, I really appreciate your travel information. it was a good guide.

November 18, 2022 at 3:57 am

Hello Ashwani,

So glad to hear from those in Turkey that they have found the travel information useful and accurate. Thanks for taking the time to comment.

Wishing you happy travels!

Ustun Post author

October 7, 2022 at 2:18 pm

Very very detailed article. As someone who lives in Turkey, I really appreciate your travel information. it was a good guide. You can also contact me for any help.

October 12, 2022 at 2:43 pm

Thanks so much for taking the time to comment and let us know that you enjoyed our Turkey travel guide. Always glad to hear from locals that our travel information is accurate and helpful.

If you have any questions, just ask but I am sure you have your own local contacts!

Preeti Post author

September 30, 2022 at 1:10 pm

Extremely helpful blog! We planned our itinerary quite similarly to the one mentioned above. Super in-detail and insightful. Thanks!

October 1, 2022 at 10:27 am

So glad you found our 2 weeks in Turkey guide helpful in planning your itinerary. If you have any questions, just ask!

Wishing you a wonderful trip! Jessica

Dominic Martin Post author

August 29, 2022 at 7:53 pm

Hi Jessica & Laurence, I am glad to have come across your blog. I am planning a 30 day budget trip to Turkey (end Oct to End Nov). We are a couple and will be using Istanbul for arriving and departing in to Turkey. Could you suggest an itinerary for the same? We are open to exploring all options.

Jessica Post author

August 31, 2022 at 12:14 pm

Hi Dominic,

The first thing to determine is how you plan to get around Turkey. We talk about all the options above.

If traveling on a smaller budget, the cheapest way to get around Turkey is definitely by bus. Buses go to most destinations in Turkey. Since you have a lot of time, you can be flexible and would have the time to work with a bus schedule.

Another good option to consider is a budget-oriented tour for part of your trip. For instance, you could do a week in Istanbul on your own, join a tour for a couple of weeks that will take you to all the tourist highlights (Ephesus, Pamukkale, Troy, Cappadocia, beaches, etc.) and then return you to Istanbul to spend another week on your own. One example of a tour company we have used for budget trips is Travel Talk Tours . Some of the tours average out to about $50 to $100 per person/per day so can be a good value, depending on your budget and if any of the itineraries match the main things you want to see/do. Some include time sailing on a boat for a few days.

It is easy to find inexpensive and good value hotels or hostels in most places in Turkey and food is also not very expensive (in comparison to Western countries anyway). You can book your lodging in advance to make sure you stay within your budget.

It is really hard to say what would be the best itinerary for you as it will depend on what you like to do, what you really want to see, your budget, etc. A person most interested in history and ancient sites may have a very different itinerary and priorities than someone more intersted in beaches and sailing. So here is a suggestion that is basically just adding nights to our itinerary and making day stops into overnight stays:

Istanbul – 5 nights Gallipoli/Çanakkale – 1 night izmir – 2 nights Troy/Şirince – 1 night Kusadasi – 3 nights Denizli/Pamukkale – 2 nights Fethiye – 3 nights Antalya – 3 nights Konya – 2 nights Cappadocia – 4 nights Ankara – 2 nights Istanbul – 2 nights

Hopefully, the above gives you an idea of how to get started in booking your trip to Turkey.

Dominic Post author

August 31, 2022 at 6:03 pm

Thanks for the detailed information Jessica. Will work around this.

September 1, 2022 at 1:52 pm

You’re very welcome and hope this helps. Just let us know if you have further questions as you plan your trip to Turkey!

Jay R Post author

August 29, 2022 at 6:22 pm

Hey Jessica & Laurence!

Thanks for putting together such a great guide. We are planning to go to Turkey in October for an engagement. We were trying to keep it to 14 days but finding it difficult. Also, we were hoping to squeeze in Mount Nemrut but it does not seem practical.

We are planning to rent a car.

Here is what we are thinking:

Istanbul – 3 nights Safranbolu – 1 night Hattusha – few hours Cappadocia – 4 nights Antalya – 2 nights Kas – 1 night Fethiye – 1 night (Paragliding) Pamukkale – 1 night Selçuk – 2 night Istanbul – 1 night

We really want to try and squeeze in Epheseus but we are already over the 14 day stay we were planning.

Do you have any suggestions based on this proposed itinerary? Would you remove any stop or shorten any days?

Also, for renting cars, the reviews seem all over – do you have any suggestions?

Thanks again to both of you for putting together such a great resource!

August 31, 2022 at 11:45 am

Glad that our suggested 14 day itinerary was helpful in putting together your own. Happy to try to give advice about your upcoming trip.

My biggest advice especially if trying to decide what to try to fit in and what to cut, is to just make a list of your top must-see places and then order them by how much you and your travel partner(s) want to visit. Then you can cut the places you want to see least and spend more time on the places that are a must-see. With only 14 days you can only see a bit of Turkey as its a huge country with so much to see/do but you can certainly see a number of places in 2 weeks. Hopefully you have the chance to return some day and see those places that don’t make it on this trip 😉

I would definitely not recommend adding to your current itinerary if you are trying to keep it to 14 days unless you remove some of the stops as you currently already have 16 days/nights by what you listed. If you want to bring it down to 14, some suggestions would be to skip Safranbolu/Hattusha, remove one night from Cappadocia (3 nights is probably enough), skip the 1 night in Kas, and/or remove the last night in Istanbul (and just fly home that day). What you remove will of course depend on how much you want to see each place. Removing the 1 night stops is generally a good place to start if needing to pare down an itinerary.

You might also consider dropping off your car at the Izmir airport and flying home from Izmir (via Istanbul) to avoid that long drive back from Selçuk and avoid the need to spend an extra night in Istanbul. Also you could potentially stop in Ephesus that day if you had time as it would be on your way to the airport.

So if you want to include Mount Nemrut, you can do so, but you are going to have to skip some of the other places. That will take you much further over to eastern Turkey and is about a 7 hour or so drive from the most eastern place on your itinerary at the moment. If you want to do that I’d probably end your itinerary as you have it above in Fethiye and fly home from there via Istanbul (skipping Pamukkale, Selçuk, and extra night in Istanbul). That would put you at about 14 days in total if you add a couple days for driving and visiting Mount Nemrut.

I am not sure if your question about rental cars is about where to check rates/companies or safety of driving a rental car in Turkey? We cover some of this above in the article. But in terms of where to look for rates, I’d recommend this comparison website to get a good idea of prices as they compare a lot of brands, both international (Sixt, Hertz, Europcar) as well as more local Turkish companies. Make sure you read all the terms of the rental. In Istanbul, you can pick up a car at the airport or in the city, so if exploring the city first, you might want to compare prices as you can sometimes save by not getting it from the airport.

In terms of driving/safety, the road network in Turkey and road safety are not the best in general, but if you stick to main routes to tourist destinations in western Turkey, it is OK, well-signed, and doable. But the further east you go and the more you go to rural and offbeat places, the less great the road system is. It also depends where you are coming from, your comfort with driving, and the road conditions you are used to in your home country. If safety is a concern, I’d definitely do your own research and read the latest stats/reports to make your own informed decisions.

Alternatives are taking buses or trains (buses go to most/all of the places you list, trains to a few), flights, or guided tours that include transport. Buses for most popular destinations are easy to book online these days (see some links above in article). The issue of course with taking public transit or flights is you’d have to keep to a schedule and you’d probably want to remove the 1 night stops (and maybe do them as guided day trips instead).

Anyway, hope the above helps give you some direction and answers to your questions. If you have further questions as you book your trip, just ask.

Wishing you a safe & fun trip to Turkey!

Ivelisse Garcia Post author

August 26, 2022 at 3:17 pm

Hi, Jessica am going to Turkey for 15 days , arriving in Istanbul then capadocia, konya, Antalya, Pamukale, but my question is from pamukale what other city I need to stay to see the churches and then returning to Istanbul, please advise( no tour company on our own)

August 27, 2022 at 5:17 am

Hi Ivelisse,

Happy to try to help. So there are a lot of churches in Turkey, so it depends of course on which ones in particular you want to see.

I am guessing you might be talking about the Seven Holy Churches of Asia (as mentioned in the Bible in the Book of Revelation) as those are popular places for tourists and pilgrims? Those would be the seven churches located in the ancient cities of Ephesus, Smyrna, Pergamos, Thyatira, Sardis, Philadelphia, and Laodicea.

I’d probably recommend splitting your time between Denizli and Izmir to see the 7 churches and Pamukkale (which is near Denizli). So maybe two nights in Denizli and then three nights in Izmir.

If you are looking for a single base to see all 7 churches, I would recommend Izmir. You’d probably need at least 3 days to see them as day trips plus I’d recommend another day to explore Izmir itself. So I would maybe do 4 nights there if trying to see all 7 churches from there.

Then from Izmir, you can then head north to visit Troy, Gallipoli, etc. before returning to Istanbul.

Ivelisse Post author

August 27, 2022 at 7:24 am

Thank you so much that helps me so much

August 28, 2022 at 3:44 am

You’re very welcome, happy to help. Yes, if you are wanting to visit all seven churches, the best solution would probably be to split your time between Denizli and Izmir.

Wishing you a wonderful trip to Turkey.

Ana Post author

August 10, 2022 at 5:02 pm

Hello Jessica and Lawrence! Thank you for such nice detail explanation in what to do in Turkey. I am planning a trip by the end of October 2022 and I’m traveling solo ( I’m a female 54 old and have traveled before by myself but I’m a bit rusty.. haven’t traveled in the last 4 years)I like the options provided, but was wondering if I have 14 days to spend there what would be the best for me? I was thinking about using air to move from one city to another in order to save time and get to know more places. I was thinking arriving to Estambul from USA Florida and get a flight to start in Capadocia so I could finish in Estambul. Do you have any plan for a solo female traveler??

August 11, 2022 at 6:49 am

Glad you are finding our 2 week Turkey itinerary helpful in planning your own 14 days in Turkey. We are happy to try to help.

If you are wanting to get between places by plane, then I’d recommend choosing 4 to 5 places to base with nearby airports and from those cities/towns you can explore the city and take day tours to places you want to visit from those places (e.g.,Epheseus, Pamukkale, Troy, etc.). Note that you will of course need to take a taxi, bus, or book a transfer to get from airports to towns.

So I would first recommend making a list of any must-see places and planning based on that. For example Izmir can be a base for places like Ephesus, Pamukkale, Pergamum, Kusadasi, etc. You can visit some places by bus on your own and others are going to be best by day tour.

Then you’ll want to check the nearest major airport to those sites. Some of the places with regular flights are Istanbul, Izmir, Konya, Antalya, the Cappadocia area, Bodrum, and Ankara.

So for example if you have 14 days, you mights do something like: 3 days Cappadocia, 3 days Antalya, 4 days Izmir, 4 days Istanbul. But it of course depends on where you want to go and your travel preferences (e.g., beaches versus museums versus ancient sites).

You might also want to look into tour options if you don’t want to make all the arrangements on your own and don’t mind some travel companions. For example you could join a tour for the first 10 days and then spend the rest of the time on your own in Istanbul. Tours are generally a good value in Turkey and can make life simpler if you don’t have a lot of time to plan.

Hope that helps! Jessica

September 24, 2022 at 3:10 pm

Thank you so much!!! Your ideas have helped a lot!😀

September 25, 2022 at 6:01 am

You’re very welcome! If you have any further questions as you start planning and booking your trip, just ask and we’re happy to try to help.

VINCE YIP Post author

August 10, 2022 at 12:19 am

I, fortunately, stumbled upon your blog. Its super informative and comprehensive – THANKS so much for that. Just hoping you can help give me some advice, It will be my first trip to Turkey and I will be travelling solo, arriving either Istanbul or Izmir on 25SEP22.

I will be flying into Turkey from Santorini and am thinking of flying straight into IZMIR (although it will take a good 8 hrs including transits in Athens and Istanbul.

I would like to cover Istanbul, Izmir/Selcuk/ Ephesus , Pergamon & Ayvalik, Miletus / Prienne (Kusadasi as base ?), Fethiye, Pamukkale, Antalya, Konya and Cappaodicia – 3 nites at least (for last, then fly back to Istanbul and spend a week in Istanbul). I do not have a time constraint so do not need to rush as such but do not wan to “over-stay” unneccesarily either in areas that do not warrant more time.

My “dilemma” is between Izmir and Cappadocia – what do you propose is the best way to move from one place to another and which cities would you recommend flying between instead of public transport ? Are buses well-served for your destinations – going anti-clockwise from Izmir. I am thinking once i arrive each town, i will look local guided tours as necessary.

Are there tours originating from Izmir to Ephesus and Pergamon where they pick me from my hotel. Any suggestions or insights you can offer with regards to travelling efficiently in time and logistics would be appreciated.

Thanking you in advance.

August 11, 2022 at 5:48 am

Glad that you found our Turkey itinerary and travel advice helpful in planning your upcoming trip to Turkey.

Yes, I don’t think it really matters if you start in Istanbul or Izmir, as it just depends if you want to spend some time in Istanbul at the beginning or your trip or not. As you note, you will likely fly to Istanbul either way, you just need to decide if you want a connecting flight to Izmir or not.

I would consider skipping Ayvalik as this seaside town is about a 2.5 hour drive north of Izmir and while you can get there by bus pretty easily, it will eat up a lot of time unless there is something here you really want to visit. It is also in the wrong direction based on your travel plans.

So an itinerary might look something like this:

Izmir – 3 days (visit Ephesus/Selcuk from here, perhaps also Pergamon or Ayvalik if going there) Kusadasi – 3 days (visit Miletus and Priene on day tour from here, visit Pergamon if haven’t done so from Izmir) Pamukkale – 1 day – (you can either visit by taking bus from Kusadasi to Denizli and stay overnight and just do on own, or just join a guided day tour from Kusadasi) Fethiye – 2 days Antalya – 3 days Konya – 2 days Cappadocia – 3 days Istanbul – 7 days

Since you have a lot of time, buses are cheap and pretty easy. You should be able to book regular buses (see section above about transport and buses) to any of the above. You can book online in advance in most cases. The nearest station I think to Pamukkale is Denizli so that one might be better done as a day tour unless you want to stay overnight there. Between Cappadocia and Istanbul, I’d probably recommend flying as it will save you time but you can also take a bus.

The easiest way to book tours is to just do so online in advance once you know your dates of travel and when you want to go. Most tours by both GetYourGuide and Viator offer free cancelation if done so 24 to 48 hours in advance if you needed to change your trip. Just be sure to check the cancellation policy before booking. This way you will know you have a tour booked and will know price in advance.

Tours to Ephesus, both group and private tours, are available from Izmir, Kusadasi, or Selcuk. If you are basing in İzmir you can see tour options here .

Similarly, tours to Pergamon are offered from Izmir, Kusadasi, or Selcuk. Izmir makes the most sense as it is the closest one to the city, but it will depend on tour availability what might be best for you. This is one of the reasons it makes sense to book any tours in advance to help determine how many nights you need in each town or city.

Vince Yip Post author

August 11, 2022 at 11:31 am

Hi Jessica,

Thank you so much for responding with your recommendations-really appreciate your generosity. Your suggestions sound great and sensible. I am overwhelmed by the number of similar tours on offer …but will get there. I was initially thinking of driving but at the same time didn’t want the hassle. I will let you know how I go…in due course.

Thanks again n all the best !! Vince

August 12, 2022 at 1:31 am

Between Izmir, Kusadasi and Selcuk – which town would you suggest as a better base , also which of these 3 would have more to offer apart from being a good base to Ephesus, Pamukkale etc.

August 12, 2022 at 3:15 am

You’re very welcome for the help.

As for the best town to base of the 3, as I said, you could do the tours to Ephesus, Pergamon, and Pamukkale from any of those three towns/cities. So any would work. However, if you were to choose just one, I’d personally say Kuşadası just as there are a lot of tours on offer from there (probably more than from Izmir) and it also has the seaside location, beaches, resorts, nightlife, tourist services, the castle, and some other sites of historical interest, etc. It is also a popular place from which to do boat tours or buggy tours. So you could definitely spend a day or two enjoying the town in between the tours.

When choosing tours, there are going to be a number of competing options to all the popular places like Ephesus and Pamukkale. So I would just recommend reading the details, see what is included for the price, make sure it is available on your date of travel, and check the cancellation policy. I would also recommend booking ones with good recent reviews from the past year and good cancellation policies. For example from Kusadasi, you can see a number of tour options here from GYG.

If flying in from Izmir and basing in Kusadasi, it is about a 1 to 1.5 hour drive by car, bus, private transfer, or taxi to get to Kusadasi. With luggage, I’d probably just book a private transfer for convenience. But you could also go by bus which takes a little longer but is much cheaper. I think the Havas airport shuttle is currently only about $5 (USD).

If just staying in one and considering 3 tours, and you have a lot of time, I’d probably spend 5 days there. That would give you 3 days out and 2 days to spend exploring and relaxing in the town/city.

Div Post author

June 27, 2022 at 2:52 pm

Hi Jessica and lawrence, You have a wonderful blog full of useful information. I stumbled upon it while researching about Turkey. I would like to know if last week of November will be a good time to visit Istanbul and Cappadocia. I am looking for a family trip 3 days in each location. This will be our first time in Turkey and not planning to do too much all at once. I would like to fly hot air balloons and visit the historic sites in Cappadocia and also do the high profile locations in Istanbul as you have listed above. Is Antalya doable in one week time frame? will be traveling from west coast of US and hence want to leave time for jet lag and travel delays. Any recommendations much appreciated.

June 28, 2022 at 10:39 am

November can be a good time to visit Turkey as the weather is cooler so you don’t need to worry about the hot temperature in the summer and it is not as popular a time to visit so less tourists. But you’ll want to bring along long sleeves and some warmer clothes as it can get chilly, especially in the evenings. I’d be sure to check the predicted weather in both places before your trip so you can pack accordingly.

So if you have 1 week in total for your trip and 6 nights, then splitting it between Istanbul and Cappadocia is a good idea. I wouldn’t really recommend trying to visit anywhere else as it will make for a rushed trip. If you are driving, you might consider a stop in Ankara on the way between them (since it is on the way), but since flying is probably a better option to save time (it is an 8 to 10 hour drive), I’d probably just split your time between Istanbul and Cappadocia. Taking the short flights in between them.

Three nights in Istanbul will give you plenty of time to see many of the highlights as we describe in the article. If you stay in the city center, it is easy to walk to many places. There are also a lot of walking and driving tours you can join for sightseeing.

For your time in Cappadocia, I’d recommend flying to save time (you can get a domestic flight from Istanbul to Cappadocia, and then book a shuttle or taxi to the town where you are staying). If the hop-on hop-off bus is running when you are there then that is a good option to get around as it stops at all the main tourist sites (Göreme is probably the best place to stay if doing bus). Or you can just book a guided tour (group or private) that goes to the places you want to go. And yes, we’d definitely recommend also booking the hot air balloon flight for one morning as that is definitely a highlight for many people. If staying 3 nights, I’d book the balloon flight for your second morning so that if it gets canceled due to weather you’d be able to potentially rebook on your third morning.

Antalya is not close to Istanbul or Cappadocia, so unless you have more than 1 week, I would probably not recommend also trying to go there. But if you have more time, it is a good option if you want to add some beach time to your trip. But you’d probably want 2-3 nights there to really enjoy it.

Hope that helps, and if you have more questions as you plan your Turkey trip, feel free to ask!

Kownain Andrabi Post author

June 21, 2022 at 8:02 am

Hi! We have planned our 2 week Turkey trip in the third week of August this year. I have been reading and re-readinh this blog so many times! 🙂 We have planned a few places – Cappadocia, Pamukkale, Konya, Bodum, Selcuk and Antalya. I am just a bit confused as to the sequence of the places. Like which place should we visit first. This itinerary is being really helpful but since we are not going to all the places listed, I am a bit confused

June 21, 2022 at 9:32 am

Hi Kownain,

Glad you are planning a trip to Turkey and that our blog has been helpful!

All of these places you mention are in the itinerary except Bodrum. Selçuk is just the town next to Ephesus (which as we note could be a good overnight stop instead of the suggested Kusadasi. The order you would probably want to visit them based on their geographical locations would be Selçuk, Bodrum, Pamukkale, Antalya, Konya, and then Cappadocia.

Now, it is also going to depend on where you are going to enter into Turkey (if you are coming from abroad). Most international flights land in Istanbul (or possibly Ankara). So if planning to fly in and out of Istanbul, then you can start your trip there.

But if you are not planning to actually visit Istanbul and do sightseeing there, you might consider taking a regional flight onward to Izmir to start your trip there and fly out of one of the airports in Cappadocia. This will allow you to skip several hours of driving or buses to get to the starting point of your trip from Istanbul.

Hope that helps, and I would definitely recommend that you start planning and booking your travel now (e.g., flights, hotels, tours, car rentals) as your trip is only a couple of months away.

Just let us know if you have further questions as you plan your trip!

June 23, 2022 at 1:08 pm

Thank you so much ch Jessica. Yes I forgot to mention that we are landing in Istanbul and leaving back from there as well. So the beginning and end of our trip will be Istanbul. We have already booked to and fro flights but we might have to book some domestic ones. I am trying to finalize the itinerary by this weekend. I might have more questions to follow😅

June 24, 2022 at 5:03 am

You’re very welcome!

Yes, so your itinerary would likely be Istanbul, Selçuk, Bodrum, Pamukkale, Antalya, Konya, Cappadocia, and then Istanbul. I would check to see what makes sense in terms of price and time on how to get to Selçuk and from Cappadocia. You have the options of flying, renting a car to drive, or taking a bus.

Your other option of course if you don’t want to plan and book all your transport, accommodation, and activities is to book a private tour that starts and ends in Istanbul such as this one .

Yes, happy to answer any further questions you might have. Wishing you a great trip to Turkey.

July 3, 2022 at 3:24 pm

Hi Jessica! I am here again 🙂 I made the itinerary and had to skip Pamukkale and Konya because they just didn’t fit. Also we are traveling with our 2-yr old for the first time so we don’t want to rush through places. Following is our itinerary (as of now). Can you please see and check if there’s anything we can change/improve. Day 1,2: Istanbul Leave for Cappadocia on Day 3 by air Day 3,4: Cappadocia Leave for Antalya on day 5 by air Day 5,6: Antalya Leave for Fethiye early on Day 7 by car Day 7,8: Fethiye Leave for Bodrum on day 9 in bus/car Day 9,10: Bodrum Leave for Selcuk on day 11 in car/bus Days 11,12: Selcuk/Ephesus Leave for Istanbul on day 12 via air Day 12,13: Istanbul Leave for home on day 14

We want to spend one more day in Istanbul, but not sure how to do that. Waiting for your insight Thank you so much

We have booked the main flights to and from home but not any other ones. We really want to finalize the plan in a couple of days so that we can book the hotels and domestic flights

July 4, 2022 at 4:24 am

Glad you have an itinerary drafted now for your Turkey trip. It looks OK to me and makes sense in terms of the order. Skipping Pamukkale and Konya is probably a good idea given traveling with a 2-year-old. But as you say, it may be a bit rushed with a young child, as you’ll only have 2 nights at any location with a lot of travel time getting from place to place.

So if you are wanting to simplify it a bit, I would probably take out one of the three coastal stops. I guess it depends on what you speciically want to do in Antalya, Fethiye, and Bodrum, but if it is mainly beach and water related, then I’d recommend cutting out at least one (if not two of them). If you have 4-5 nights in the same place it would make for a much more relaxing time, especially with a 2 year old. It might also mean you won’t need to rent a car and you could have the extra day in Istanbul.

Antalya is a great family destination and has good flight connections. A lot of the hotels and resorts have a kids pool, children’s activities, beach access, and offer babysitting services. Antalya has lots of beaches, historical sites, family theme parks, water activities, day tours you can take, etc. So unless you have things that you really want to see/do at Fethiye or Bodrum, I’d consider spending more time there and taking them out of the itinerary. Or you could alternatively just split your time between Antalya and Fethiye and skip Bodrum.

Another idea to save time and reduce stops is to group together all your time in Istanbul at the beginning of your trip and spend the first full 4 or 5 days there at once, rather than splitting it into 2 separate shorter stays. This would mean less moving and changing hotels, and less time going back and forth from the aiport. So for example, at the end you could book a flight from İzmir back home (likely will connect via Istanbul airport) rather than going back into Istanbul itself.

P.S. You are probably already aware of this, but many popular activities and tours have minimum age limits. So for example, hot air ballooning in Cappadocia is not possible with a 2 year old due to safety regulations. So just be sure when planning activities, that you check the age limits.

Anyway, hope that helps and gives you some ideas.

August 14, 2022 at 11:30 am

Your suggestions and advices have been really helpful. We are leaving in 5 days so everything is pretty much booked. We skipped Cappadocia, Pamukkale and Konya and are doing Istanbul, Izmir, Bodrum, Antalya and back to Istanbul. As I had mentioned earlier, going to Cappadocia with our toddler doesn’t make much sense and Pamukkale and Konya were too hectic. I just want some final suggestions. In Istanbul we have 3 full days in the beginning and another 3 full days at the end. I was wondering how to split the Istanbul itinerary effectively. We want to visit as many places in the city as we can (including the cruise) since there is plenty of time but not sure how about the order. About Izmir, we are planning to do one half day in Ephesus and then visit the town of Izmir and for the next day. In Bodrum, we will mainly be relaxing and then we have two full days know Antalya. How do you suggest we go about our itineraries for each of these cities effectively without getting over-exhausted? Really looking forward to your valuable suggestions.

P.s: Also I am all nerves because this will be our first vacation as a family and don’t know what to expect from the little one😥

August 15, 2022 at 2:28 am

So glad to hear that you have decided on your itinerary and have a lot of your trip booked now. I think splitting your time between just 4 cities makes sense if traveling mostly by plane and traveling with a toddler.

Yes, given the age restrictions I mentioned, Cappadocia may not be the best place to visit now with a 2-year-old and so taking it out gives you more time in the other places.

We give suggestions for about 3 days worth of things to do in Istanbul and since you have 5 to 6 full days, I’d consider just doing them slowly over time. With a toddler, you are not going to want to try to squeeze stuff in all day, so since you have the time, you can go more slowly and be more flexible. For instance you might plan 3 hours of sightseeing after breakfast, come back to have a big break in the afternoons and then go out for a few more hours later in the day. I am not sure the order makes much difference although you’ll want to check opening dates/hours but most of the major attractions are open most days.

Izmir, I think splitting time between Ephesus and visiting the city is good. For Antalya, if you have two days, you might spend one day walking around the old city, perhaps a cable car / gondola ride for the view, and maybe a tour out to Aspendos (Roman amphitheater). Then the second day just relaxing, whether that be one of the water parks, beach, or pool. You could also consider a boat ride. But this does depend a bit on where you are staying in Antalya as the resorts are a bit spread out and many also have their own activities on offer.

I think the best thing to do to not become over-exhausted is to just plan ahead and make sure you have time for breaks in your trip each day. I would also check the weather and see how hot it will be on your trip. If it is going to be really hot on some parts of your trip, it is best to avoid being outside (especially in unshaded places) during the hottest parts of the day (usually from about noon to 5pm). This is particularly important obviously with a baby. So if doing say a tour to an ancient ruined city or amphitheater or an outdoor walking tour, these might be best done in the mornings. Then taking a break in the afternoon in your hotel or some other air-conditioned or shaded area. And then coming out again in the late afternoon or early evening.

Hope that helps, and wishing you a wonderful trip to Turkey with your family!

Mr. Prakash Chandra Devkota Post author

May 19, 2022 at 1:31 am

What an incredible itinerary. we are planning a road trip in Turkey of this nature. Thank you very much for sharing this information.

May 19, 2022 at 4:46 am

Hi Mr. Devkota,

Glad our Turkey itinerary and travel information is helping in planning your own road trip in Turkey. If you have any questions as you plan your trip, just ask.

Wishing you safe and fun travels!

Sid Post author

May 17, 2022 at 5:48 am

Thank you so much for this post. We are planning a 12 days trip to Turkey in Beginning the 4th of July week (aware it will be pretty hot). The places we plan to cover are Istanbul, Cappadocia, Antalya, Fethiye/Oludeniz and Pamukkale.

We were not sure which way would work best. Whether we do the circular country tour left to right (beginning with Pamukkale) or right to left (beginning with Cappadocia) from Istanbul.

Request you to please share your thoughts on the same

May 17, 2022 at 6:07 am

Glad you enjoyed our post! So it sounds like you are planning to visit most of the places we list in our 2 week Turkey itinerary on your 12 day visit. The direction you do the trip really makes no real difference as you are essentially doing a circular trip. You just want to make sure that things are in logical order based on location as you go around. So you can follow the order as we list it or you can just reverse it.

Now, it does depend of course on how you plan to get around Turkey. As it may be easier to go one direction or the other depending on available flights, bus schedules, etc. Or if you are joining a tour or hiring a driver, they will of course have a set route. But if you are driving, then you’ll rent your car in Istanbul and return it in Istanbul so it wouldn’t make much difference. The only thing you may want to check on is accommodation availability as that could sway the direction.

If all is equal, I’d personally recommend leaving Cappadocia for last. Just as the scenery there is really unique and stunning, and if doing a hot balloon flight that is something special to look forward to doing towards the end of your trip.

And yes, expect it to be hot. You will want to be prepared for the heat so just be sure to pack accordingly, protect yourself from the sun, and always have plenty of water with you. But as long as you know the temperatures and weather and are prepared, you should be OK.

If you are planning to visit in early July, I’d highly recommend booking the main parts of your trip soon, particularly any international flights, rental cars, tours, and accommodation. You will be visiting at the height of the High Season for tourism to Turkey so good to make advance bookings, especially if working with a set trip budget.

Hope that helps and just let us know if you have any further questions as you plan your trip to Turkey!

May 18, 2022 at 7:34 am

Thank you so much Jessica!!


November 16, 2021 at 4:01 am

Nice article on Turkey, it helped us a lot to explore. I am an entrepreneur by profession and a traveler by heart. Your article made our stay exciting. Very attractive information.

November 16, 2021 at 4:13 am

Thanks so much and glad you had such a wonderful trip to Turkey and that our article could help provide some helpful information.

Wishing you safe & exciting future travels!

Sandra Post author

November 16, 2021 at 3:23 am

Thank you for all your useful information. Our Turkey trip was great.

We didn’t end up staying at a big resort in Antalya but drove one hour from Antalya to Milyos Hobbit Hotel . This hotel was situated on a mountain with great views and nice staff.

We will go plan a new trip to Turkey at soon, there is so much to see!

Best regards Sandra

November 16, 2021 at 4:12 am

So happy that you found our 2 week Turkey itinerary helpful, and that you had such a wonderful trip to Turkey!

Glad you enjoyed your time in the mountains. I think a lot of people enjoy the time along the coast, but certainly, some might prefer the mountains for a more peaceful time. For those reading this, the hotel she stayed in is about an 1 hour and 20 minute drive from Antalya and the coast. So a great location for getting away in the mountains but not so great if you want to be on or near the coastal area. Can be good for car drivers but not so convenient to reach by public transit.

So glad that you are considering another trip to Turkey soon. There is so much else to see in the country, particularly in eastern Turkey!

Wishing you safe & wonderful future travels! Jessica

Jack Hall and Sam Montgomery Post author

October 26, 2021 at 8:41 am

Great and informative article on visiting Turkey for two weeks or so. We went for 18 days in 2016 in the spring. Everything was organized by toursturkey which we found online. Their agent Tujan did a wonderful, detailed job. Our itinerary was almost identical to yours, but did not include Ankara. It did include the 4 day gullet cruise out of Fethiye, which we would not have missed. All hotels and guided tours were included ( we specified top grade hotels, not luxury) and breakfasts included at the hotels. Some other meals at sites outside cities. A great trip.

October 28, 2021 at 9:18 am

Hi Jack & Sam,

So glad you enjoyed our article about traveling to Turkey! And happy to hear that you have been to Turkey back in 2016 and went to many of the places we recommend. We definitely tried to give people a sense of what they could see with 2 weeks and tried to include a variety of the most popular places in Turkey.

Yes, I think that if people have the extra time, spending some time on a gulet is really nice and my husband spent several days on one as well once as part of a tour and really enjoyed it. Most people just do a day cruise (which is a nice way to spend a day), but you can definitely see a lot more of the coast/islands if you do a multi-day cruise and stay aboard the boat. But if you only have 2 weeks, it definitely takes away some of the time that could be spent doing other things so it is something people would need to weigh the pros and cons of doing. We are lucky to have been to Turkey a few times but most people just visit once so will need to prioritize what they want to see given the big distances in the country.

Thanks again for sharing your thoughts on your own visit to Turkey. Perhaps you will have a chance to return to see more of the country and also explore the capital city 😉

Saleem A Bikanerwala Post author

September 2, 2021 at 2:00 pm

Extremely informative. Thank you so much. Can you kindly point me to folks who do package tours. We are interested in a 14 day tour and want to know how much it would cost. We are 16 in total.

September 3, 2021 at 1:05 am

Yes, just scroll down to the “Tours of Turkey” section of our article and we list a number of tour providers and specific tours, including one that is 14 days in length. That should get you started, but there are a number of options out there. It will depend on your budget and where you want to go.

In places like Istanbul, you can also book day tours easily as there are a lot of options. But you would want a longer guided tour to explore the rest of Turkey.


May 19, 2021 at 6:20 am

Hello! Thank you so much for the valuable information.

I am planning on going to Turkey in June (after school is out, I am a teacher.). I live in Doha and this will be my first adventure. My husband and I want to do the road trip, starting at Istanbul and finishing the trip there as well.

Your information is so important to me. Are hostels easy to find? Do you suggest I get a sim card for the phone, so that I can use Waze and research things easily? Should I rent a car at the airport or is it ok to get a rental outside of the airport?

Thank you in advance for sharing all of your knowledge! 🙂

Best, Lynette

May 20, 2021 at 5:01 am

Hi Lynette,

So glad to hear that our 14 day Turkey itinerary has been helpful to you in planning your summer road trip in Turkey with your husband!

Yes, if you are flying into and out of Istanbul, then I’d follow the itinerary as is since it starts and ends in Istanbul. If you have less than 14 days, however, you’ll likely need to cut out some of the stops and rework the route a bit.

So hostels are easy to find in the larger cities for sure and many of the popular tourist towns. However, in smaller towns and cities, there may only be one hostel so options may be limited. But if you are on a budget, I’d also recommend checking out guesthouses, B&Bs, and budget hotels in Turkey as many offer a really good value, especially for a couple traveling together. Many of the guesthouses are not too much more expensive than a private hostel room.

If you are trying to stick to a budget for your accommodation, I’d recommend booking in advance so you know the price in advance and know where you will be staying. We list a number of hostels, guesthouses, and hotels for each place in the itinerary so you can book online in advance once you know your dates.

For the rental car, you can either rent from the airport or from Istanbul as there are rental car offices in the city as well. If you don’t need a car in Istanbul (we never use one there), you can save money by waiting to pick up your rental after you have already spent time exploring Istanbul. I’d just be sure to book your car in advance once you know your dates and where you plan to pick it up.

Yes, if your mobile phone works on the same frequency as used in Turkey and it is unlocked, you should be able to just use a local Sim card. You should be able to purchase these in many places in Istanbul or at the airport (or you can order one online before your trip). Just be sure to check the Sim card data rates. For more information about this, you can read this post about options for getting online when traveling .

Hope that helps, and just let me know if you have further questions as you plan your road trip. Wishing you a safe and fun trip to Turkey!

Sylvia Dsilva Post author

May 13, 2021 at 7:16 am

Hi Jessica & Laurence,

I’m really glad to have come across your post and its helps me plan my trip to Turkey. My boyfriend and I are going to be travelling in June’21 and I would like to know if I can start my journey from Cappadocia onwards and follow the same itinerary backwards and arrive to Istanbul.

Thank you for all the answers in advance, Sylvia

May 14, 2021 at 4:25 am

First, I am happy to hear that our Turkey itinerary has been helpful to you and your boyfriend in planning your summer trip to Turkey.

I would like to just note, as you are probably already aware, that Turkey is currently in a strict lockdown due to a surge of coronavirus cases over the past few months so almost all businesses are closed and travel is very restricted. The current strict restrictions will last at least until May 17th but some restrictions are likely to remain for the near future. So I would keep watching that situation to make sure that you are able to travel in June and that the things you want to visit will be open and it is safe to travel to those areas. I would make sure that any travel plans and bookings are able to be changed or canceled or that you have good travel insurance that would cover you in the event that you were not able to travel to Turkey in June.

Now, in terms of where to start your Turkey itinerary, you can start it anywhere along the route as it is a circular route. I would probably base it on where you are entering the country. Most foreign travelers will arrive into either Istanbul or Ankara, which makes them the best places to start the trip. It might also depend on how you plan to get around the country (e.g., car, train, bus, guided tour, etc.) as routes and dates may affect your itinerary.

But yes, you can, of course, start in Cappadocia. So you can go from Cappadocia to Antalya to Fethiye, and so on, going backwards through the itinerary. Just note if you start in Cappadocia and end in Istanbul, you will have to decide what to do with the days in Ankara – you can either skip Ankara or head there from Istanbul, perhaps by train as there is a good connection between the 2 cities, and spend the 2 days there before heading back for your time in Istanbul. Then you can depart from Istanbul.

Hope that helps, and just let me know if you have any further questions.

Shek Ahamed Shadhik Post author

March 25, 2021 at 4:49 pm

Such an amazing Itinerary. Me and my lady are planning on such a road trip experience. Is it ideal for a couple where only I will be driving the car the whole time? Also, do I have an option of airport pick up and drop at Ankara for car rentals?

March 26, 2021 at 9:06 am

Glad you found our Turkey itinerary helpful in planning your future road trip around Turkey. Yes, I think it is fine for someone driving but you also have the option of course to do public transit or take a guided tour instead. It just really depends on what you prefer and how much you want to spend behind the wheel driving as some of the distances are pretty great.

Yes, if you are arriving to Turkey through Ankara airport, you can rent your car there as there are several rental car agencies located at the airport as well as in the city center.

If starting in Ankara, I would just adjust the itinerary to start in Ankara and you can start there and then move to Istanbul and follow the itinerary until you are back in Ankara.

You don’t really need the car to explore Ankara (or Istanbul) and especially in Istanbul, I wouldn’t really recommend one. So you might want to explore Ankara and Istanbul on foot and using public transport (the 2 cities are well linked by train), and then pick up a car in Istanbul if you want to save some money on a rental car and not have to worry about parking/driving in the larger cities.

Hope that helps, and just let me know if you have any other questions as you plan your trip.

Wishing you happy and safe travels, Jessica

Blaž Dobravec Post author

March 21, 2021 at 4:28 am

Dear Jessica & Laurence,

Me and my girlfriend are traveling to Turkey in the middle of April, we were also thinking of doing a similar route as you guys did. I have a question about the current situation about the overnight busses and the domestic planes, since there is a curfew. Are there any other restrictions?

thank you for all the answers in advance, Blaž Dobravec

March 21, 2021 at 8:57 am

Hello Blaž,

Glad that our Turkey itinerary has been helpful in planning your upcoming trip to Turkey. If you have a similar amount of time, this can be a good route to try to see some of the highlights.

Unfortunately, Turkey is seeing an increase of coronavirus cases right now and many believe that there will likely be travel restrictions throughout the Spring and perhaps the summer months as well. Many governments, including ours here in the UK, are urging people to not travel there and to cancel any non-essential travel plans there for now.

So yes, I think not only will there be restrictions regarding transport in Turkey as you are seeing, but you are likely to see a lot of travel attractions closed or with travel restrictions. A lot of bars and restaurants are currently allowed to operate with reduced capacity (I think many that are open are at 50%).

I would check the latest news and also check to see what your home country has to say about travel to Turkey. Depending on your thoughts on this information, you might want to consider rebooking your trip for a later time when things are more stable there and you are going to be more able to travel freely and visit more places. There has been a lot of speculation about another short lockdown in Turkey by multiple news outlets recently given the spiking cases which could occur during your trip.

Sorry for the bad news, but I hope it helps and encourages you to check out the latest news and restrictions in Turkey and make an informed decision regarding your travel plans. If you do still plan to go in April, I would make sure that everything you book is able to be canceled and/or you have travel insurance that would cover disruptions due to Covid-19.

Let me know if you have any further questions about planning a trip to Turkey!

Josh Clement-Sutcliffe Post author

July 18, 2020 at 5:54 am

We love Turkey and feel like you should go for at least two weeks, partly because its such a large country but also because there is so much to do! Istanbul is magnificent, I loved exploring Topkapi palace and learning about the Ottoman history

July 18, 2020 at 6:55 am

Yes, we agree! 2 weeks is a great introduction trip to Turkey to explore Istanbul and see some of the highlights of the western part of the country. If you wanted to cover the highlights of the entire country, we’d recommend adding an additional 2 weeks to your trip.

Glad you enjoyed your time in Istanbul!

Marc Forrest Post author

April 6, 2020 at 6:56 am

This is a very impressive and detailed itinerary for Turkey – very helpful indeed! My wife and I are dreaming about a tour to Turkey and we now have a good draft of what to see and do! However, one place we may want to add is a stop in Konya to see some of the spiritual places and things. Have you been ? Would this be easy to add to this itinerary? Are there tours that go there or how might be the best method?

Thanks for any help and keep up the good work. Hopefully we will all be traveling again soon once we beat COVID-19!

Keep safe! Marc

April 6, 2020 at 8:36 am

We have not visited Konya yet, but it is one of the places we’d love to see on a future visit.

If you are planning to follow our suggested Turkey itinerary, then you could stop at Konya between Antalya and Cappadocia. I would recommend adding a night in Konya to your trip so you have plenty of time to visit some of the highlights there. Or you could do a day trip from Ankara as you should be able to easily hire a guide and do a guided day tour to Konya from Ankara.

If you are driving or taking the bus between Antalya and Cappadoccia, you will drive right past Konya so it makes a convenient place to stop. It is about a 4 to 4.5 hour drive from Antalya or about 6 hours by public bus.

Once you get to Konya, there are guided tours you can join such as this one of the city highlights and this one focused on Sufism .

In terms of guided tours of Turkey that include Konya, not many of the English ones stop at Konya. However, it is a regular stop for Turkish people and people interested in Sufism and archaeological sites like Çatalhöyük. So if you want a tour that stops in Konya in English, you will likely need to book a private tour or you can just add on a private day tour from Anakara. There is this private tour that is for 12 days and includes Konya.

If you want to join a guided tour and it doesn’t include Konya, you can fly from Istanbul to Konya pretty easily and spend a couple of days there to explore Konya on your own (or join day tours around the city from there) before or after your tour. I’d probably recommend a local guide or getting a good guidebook to the sites for exploring Konya to get the most of the visit (as with many places in Turkey).

Hope that information helps, and wishing you a wonderful trip to Turkey once travel opens back up and is safe again!

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14 Day Turkey Itinerary : The Ultimate Road Trip For 2024!

If you are looking for a Turkey itinerary for 14 days that takes you to all the best destinations in the country, then look no further! We have prepared for you one of the best routes through the whole western part of Turkey.

During this road trip, you will discover centuries-old Ottoman cities, impressive mosques , valleys flown over by hot-air balloons, heavenly beaches and delicious cuisine.

Turkey Itinerary for 14 Days: Our Advice

Turkey itinerary 14 days

We have created a list of advice and information to help you prepare for your Turkey 2 week itinerary:

  • The currency in Turkey is the Turkish Lira .
  • We recommend that you do not drink tap water which may be chlorinated.
  • If you plan to visit mosques, plan appropriate outfits and a scarf.
  • Keep in mind that Turks do not speak English very well, especially in the smaller villages.
  • “The Bosphorus Bridge” which joins the west bank and Istanbul is a toll bridge.
  • To rent a vehicle in Turkey, an international driver’s license is not mandatory . However you must be at least 21 years old and have more than one year of driving experience.
  • Highways are limited to 110km/h.

Turkey 2 Week Itinerary: The Route 

Turkey 2 week itinerary

Turkey is a vast country whose destinations are far from each other. During this itinerary, we have chosen to show you as many places as possible but unfortunately that may mean longer travel times in some cases. If you feel this itinerary is too much then check out our 10 day Turkey itinerary . 

If you’re looking for a more personalized trip, then I can help! As a Travel Planner I can research and organize the perfect Turkey itinerary for you based on your own interests and budget. I can also help find flights,rental cars and accommodations at the best prices for you. Contact me and we can get started planning your dream Turkey itinerary!

Days 1, 2 and 3: Istanbul

2 weeks in Turkey

Your Turkey itinerary for 14 days will start and finish in the incredibly lively city of Istanbul.

Located on the border between Europe and Asia, Istanbul is the largest city in the country. Having experienced a checkered past and several different empires, this city will offer you a variety of impressive places to discover . This is why we have decided to give you at least three days in the city to discover everything it has to offer. To start your discovery of the city you should visit one of the symbols of the city: the ancient Hagia Sophia . Built between 532 and 548, this ancient basilica was transformed into a mosque during the Ottoman conquest and its architecture has various influences. 

In addition, Istanbul is full of exceptional places to discover , such as:

  • The Blue Mosque: Built during the reign of Sultan Ahmet I, it owes its nickname to its magnificent blue tiled ceiling. With its unique architecture, it is the largest mosque in Istanbul .
  • Topkapi Palace: Overlooking the entire city, it is one of the largest surviving palaces in the world. For several years  it was the main residence of the Ottoman sultans .
  • The medieval Galata Tower: From the top of this tower you will have one of the most beautiful views of the whole city.
  • The Grand Bazaar: The ideal place to experience the atmosphere of the city and to do some shopping. With more than 4000 shops selling everything from fabrics and jewelry to pastries such as Turkish delight; You are sure to find the perfect souvenirs. 
  • The Taksim district: This is one of the most popular and lively areas of Istanbul. With its many restaurants and cafes, it is one of Turkey’s young destinations .

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Day 4: Bursa

Turkey 14 day itinerary

For the next stop on your Turkey 14 day itinerary, we take you to the charming city of Bursa located 2 hours from Istanbul. Nicknamed “the green city”, it is surrounded by lush green mountains, including Mount Uludag . You can choose to hike or take a gondola to the top of Mount Uludag to admire a superb panorama over all of Bursa. In addition, in winter, this mountain turns into a very popular ski resort.

If you head to the historic heart of the city , you will discover a set of cobbled streets, colorful mosques and natural spaces to rest. Among the essential things to do in Bursa , you will find:

  • The Green Mosque (Yeşil Camii): Built in the 15th century, it is one of the treasures of Ottoman architecture .
  • The Great Mosque of Bursa: Among its unique architecture you will also find twenty domes and two minarets.
  • The Green Mausoleum: Built in honor of Sultan Mehmed I.
  • Bursa thermal baths: These are renowned throughout the country for their virtuous therapeutic and relaxing qualities.
  • Turkish specialties: In Bursa you must try an Iskender kebab.

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Day 5: Ephesus

Turkey 2 week itinerary

Listed as a UNESCO World Heritage Site, the ancient city of Ephesus is considered one of the most beautiful jewels in the country . Located a 3h45 drive from the city of Bursa, you will find one of the most important archaeological sites in Turkey; Ephesus was once among the largest Greek cities in Asia Minor .

Fairly well preserved, this city still houses the ruins of several temples and monuments dating from the antiquity period. During your Turkey 2 week itinerary, you can wander the streets, such as Couretes Street , which were once lined by columns and ancient buildings; you’ll be transported back in time.

A must see is the Library of Celsus; one of the most symbolic monuments of Ephesus. Still rather well preserved, it was one of the three largest libraries of the ancient world . While on site you should also visit the temple of Hadrian.  

Lastly, no visit to Ephesus is complete without a visit to the few remains of the Temple of Artemis , goddess of the hunt. It is, with the pyramid of Cheops, known throughout the world to be one of the 7 wonders of the ancient world.

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Day 6: Pamukkale

2 weeks in Turkey

Pamukkale is one of the most beautiful natural sites in Turkey . From Ephesus, it is a 2h40 drive to reach this area of natural pools made of travertine, a white stone. Meaning “Cotton Castle” in Turkish, this snow-white paradise has existed for thousands of years. Since the antiquity period, Pamukkale has become an iconic Roman spa .

During your visit, you will be able to enjoy the benefits of these pools, with their mineral rich waters. You will find over 17 hot spring baths to soak in as you admire your unique surroundings. T his is a great place to relax before continuing your Turkey 2 week itinerary.

To complete your visit you should stop at the well-preserved ruins of the ancient theater of Hierapolis. From here you can admire the breathtaking views of the surrounding landscapes. 

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Days 7 and 8: Antalya

how to spend 2 weeks in Turkey

Founded thousands of years ago by the Romans, Antalya will be the next destination during your 2 weeks in Turkey. It will take you almost 3 hours to get here but you will be arriving in one of the most popular seaside resorts in the world .

If you are wondering what to do in Antalya, the main activity in the city will be enjoying its beautiful beach . This is the perfect place to relax on vast stretches of sand.

Konyaalti Beach is the city’s main and busiest beach. With landscapes of the surrounding mountains, this beach is the perfect place to do various water activities such as windsurfing and boat excursions.

However, if you are looking for a little more tranquil Topcam Beach , is a wonderful beach with a turquoise sea that will be perfect for you.

Lastly, you cannot leave without discovering the cultural past of the city with a visit to the Antalya Museum . Here you will find several archaeological collections of statues, objects and works of art.

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Day 9: Egirdir 

14 day Turkey itinerary

Located in the Lake District, Egirdir is a calm and relaxing destination for your next stop on your Turkey itinerary for 14 days . It is a 2h05 drive from the city of Antalya to reach the shores of Lake Egirdir.

Being the fourth largest natural lake in Turkey , lake Egirdir  will impress you with its size, but also with the beauty of its surrounding landscapes. With mountains, small villages and white sand beaches, this lake is simply magnificent.

Divided into two parts, you can explore the area during a hike or kayak to admire the picturesque landscapes. This is also the perfect place for a relaxing swim in the lake.

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Days 10 and 11: Cappadocia and Goreme

Turkey itinerary 2 weeks

During your 2 weeks in Turkey, you will have the chance to discover the magic of Cappadocia. Offering dazzling and enchanting landscapes, this region will surely be your favorite destination on this itinerary. To get to Goreme, the main town in the area, you will need to drive 5h20 from Egirdir. Unfortunately, it is a long journey but trust us when we say it’s worth it.

Listed as a UNESCO heritage site, this region includes a set of cave dwellings and rock formations that are unique to the rest of the world. To discover this area you will have several options available. The main one will be a hot air balloon flight over these small chimney-shaped cliffs. Cappadocia offers one of the best hot air balloon views in the world , which is why it is recommended to book several weeks in advance if you want to take part in this truly magical experience.

Other options to explore the area include paragliding or hiking in the “Goreme National Park”. During your hike you will walk through the “Valley of Love” with, it’s one of a kind landscape. We recommend staying until sunset so you can admire the hot air balloons and the illuminated city of Goreme for an unforgettable magical experience.

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Days 12 and 13: Ankara

turkey itinerary 14 days

You will continue this Turkey itinerary for 14 days with a visit to the Turkish capital of Ankara. It is after 3h10 of driving that you will arrive at your destination for the next 2 days. Often neglected for its neighbor Istanbul, this capital city offers several must-see sites such as Ataturk’s Mausoleum; the tomb of the first Turkish president: Mustafa Kemal Atatürk.

In addition, you will find throughout the streets of Ankara many other superb places to explore , such as:

  • The Ankara Citadel: Located on a hill, this former Byzantine fortress encloses the historic heart of the capital. In addition, you will have the opportunity to take magnificent photos of all of Ankara from this 9th century citadel.
  • The Ethnographic Museum: Offering a rich collection of traditional clothes, objects and works of art that date back to the Ottoman Empire.
  • The Kocatepe Mosque: Built in 1987, it is one of the capital’s architectural treasures . 
  • The Museum of Anatolian Civilizations: One of the most important museums in the city . It is the perfect place for anyone wishing to learn more about Turkey’s history.
  • Must try: “Köfte” which is a typical Turkish dish made from beef or lamb meatballs.

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Day 14: Kefken and Your Return to Istanbul 

14 days in Turkey itinerary

You will leave the Turkish capital to reach the small village of Kefken after a 3h40 drive. Located along the coast, this town will be the ideal place to take a break by the sea and reminisce on your trip. This final destination of your 2 weeks in Turkey will offer you a magnificent natural landscape between fine sandy beaches and small mountains.

Unsurprising, the main activity to do in Kefken is to relax on the beaches of Kapri Plaji, Kefken Plaji and Kumcagız Halk Plajı . Wild and uncrowded, all three will be perfect places to end your trip.

Before leaving, we suggest venturing a bit outside the village of Kefken, to the Pink Rocks . These large rock formations of a pink/orange color are one of the symbols of the area. Located facing the sea, it is possible to climb to admire the magnificent view from its height.

In order to complete your Turkey itinerary for 14 days, you will have to drive 2h40 to return to Istanbul.

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2 Weeks in Turkey: The Conclusion 

There you have it, our Turkey itinerary for 14 days. During this trip, you discovered some of the most beautiful landscapes in the country. If you are wondering when is the best time to travel to Turkey; we suggest spring or autumn. 

If you enjoyed this itinerary but don’t know how to start planning then let me help by finding your flights, accommodation and rental vehicle for you. Or if you want to modify this itinerary, I can do that too. As a Travel Planner I love researching , organizing and planning trips for anyone and everyone! Let’s create the perfect Turkey adventure for you! 




14 Day Turkey itinerary

The most exciting way to explore this beautiful destination, in my opinion, is by doing a road trip in Turkey. You can stop anywhere and enjoy the landscapes on the road between the places of the planned itinerary. 

Turkey   is the ideal country for such a trip. It offers a variety of relief, cultures, traditions, and views that will cut your breath away.

   With mountain peaks of over 3000 meters, big lakes, limestone terraces filled with emerald-shaded waters, fairy chimneys in the charming Cappadocia , and cliffs overlooking the Mediterranean, Turkey has everything you can wish for.

 You need at least a month to travel from North to South and East to West. So my road trip applies to those who want to see only a significant part of this beautiful country. 

Fourteen days full of adrenaline, joy, unique places to see, and things to know about Turkey .

What I use every time I travel:

  • To book hotels:
  • To book tours:


A Perfect Two Week Road Trip In Turkey

Map of the best Turkey Itinerary: 

turkey itinerary

Map of the Perfect Two Week Road Trip In Turkey

14-Day Turkey itinerary

Day 1: istanbul | turkey road trip .

    I recommend starting your 2 week Turkey itinerary with at least one day in Istanbul , the largest city in Turkey and the most diverse in all respects.

Take advantage of the fact that Turkish Airlines fly to Turkey from almost all over the world and start your Turkish adventure in the only city in the world situated on two continents.

Stay in Sultanahmet if you want to be closer to the history of the former Constantinople or in Taksim if you are more attracted to the bustle and fun.

    You must start your first day with a strong coffee at the traditional restaurant Hafiz Mustafa.

For a boost of energy, enjoy some baklava, a pudding, lokum (Turkish delight), and some halva, revani or kunefe.

The choice is yours. Further, explore the streets, which are full of charm and authenticity.

Colors, joy, hookahs, friendly cats, hanging plants, souvenirs, palm trees, curious eyes, trams, hurried drivers, ambulant sellers, and flavors.

Check out these fantastic tours in Istanbul ⇓

That’s what you will find on Istanbul’s narrow and tilted streets. Also, on the first day of your 14 day Turkey itinerary, you should go to Sultanahmet Square, the place with the most visited mosques.

Relax and admire the remaining monuments as proof of the glorious past.

    Don’t miss the chance to admire Istanbul from above in the evening. The sunsets and the Bosphorus are more beautiful from a rooftop bar. Fortunately, you have plenty of choices.

The city has dozens of such restaurants, and you must choose the table with the best view.

If you want to save money, you should buy this Istanbul Welcome Card , which gives you access to many museums in the city without waiting in line and includes public transport.

⇒ Also, read 21 Best things to do in Istanbul.

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View over the Bosphorus and the Galata Tower | A Perfect Two Week Road Trip In Turkey

Day 2: ISTANBUL | Turkey road trip itinerary

 Istanbul has some of the most beautiful and famous mosques in the world. The longest queues are at the Blue Mosque and Hagia Sophia , the former Christian cathedral.

No, I’m not trying to advise you to give up on visiting them for this reason, but on the contrary.

Although you must be patient, these 2 mosques cannot be missing from your 14-day Turkey itinerary. You can visit both on tour with a local guide for a better experience.

Patience is the key to visiting the spectacular interior of both.

Across the street from Hagia Sophia, underground, you will discover Cistern Basilica , another attraction you shouldn’t miss.

The tank was used to supply the Imperial Palace and several surrounding buildings with water, and it looks stunning.

As you are already in the area on the same day, you should go to Gulhane Park.

Besides being Istanbul’s oldest park, it is also an excellent opportunity to escape the crowds and retreat to a much quieter and greener place.

You can’t visit the metropolis of Turkey and not enjoy the delicacies in the Grand Bazaar and the Egyptian Bazaar.

Fortunately, they are located next to each other, and you can easily explore them on the same day.

⇒ Find all: hotels in Istanbul. 

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Turkish sweets | A Perfect Two Week Road Trip In Turkey

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The Blue Mosque | 14 Day Turkey itinerary

Day 3: ISTANBUL | 14 Days in Turkey

 I wanted to see a miniature Turkey on the third day of my Turkey itinerary. The perfect place to do this is Miniaturk Park , a miniature park. Surprisingly, huh??

134 miniatures, to be more specific. They are all related to the country’s history and are all made at a 1:25 scale.

The details are amazingly well done, and they correspond exactly to reality.

It is a great way to carefully study the architecture of the country’s most important monuments and buildings.

Here you will even find even a mini Ataturk Airport and a mini-stadium.

You will spend some hours in the park, so for the rest of the day you can choose to relax somewhere on a terrace or in the Galata Tower.

Check out these amazing tours in Istanbul ⇓

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Miniaturk | 14 Day Turkey itinerary


  You can’t leave Istanbul until you have admired it from a different perspective. The Bosphorus.

Whether you choose a sunset cruise with dinner included or take the ferry to the Princes Islands or the Asian side, you must ride on the Bosphorus waves. This is one of the best-rated tours of Princes Island .

 The next on the list is the Ortakoy Mosque. Although its interior is splendid, I don’t recommend visiting it on the inside, but rather admiring it from the outside. 

From my perspective, the Ortakoy Mosque is  the most Instagrammable place in Istanbul , especially as the background stands at the Bosphorus Bridge.

 On the same bank of the Bosphorus, 2 km to the left, is Dolmabahce Palace , the most beautiful building in Istanbul, in my opinion. 

⇒ Book your Dolmahahce Palace tour

Don’t settle only to admire the tall, white, well-decorated fences, but visit the inside as well. You will discover some exquisite rooms.

  Later, go to Istanbul’s Times Square, Taksim. Busy Istiklal street, the famous red tram, the great shops, the chic cafes, and the street shows will fascinate you.

Best Hotels in Istanbul: 

  • budget:  Taksim Terrace Hotel   – located in the heart of the city and with a sensational panorama of the Bosphorus, room service, delicious breakfast
  • mid-range:  Saba Sultan Hotel – located in the mosque area, beautiful view, rooms with unique design, free parking, delicious breakfast
  • luxury:  Hotel Arcadia Blue Istanbul – situated in the mosque area, splendid view, ultra-modern rooms, bar, wifi, room service, restaurant

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Bosphorus | A Perfect Two Week Road Trip In Turkey

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Ortakoy Mosque | 14 Day Turkey itinerary

Day 5: from ISTANBUL to CAPPADOCIA | 14 Days in Turkey

  Distance: 8 hours by car

Day 5 of your 14 Day Turkey itinerary includes a road trip of at least 8 hours from Istanbul to Cappadocia.

There are not many stops to make, but you will cross Ankara, the capital of Turkey, and you will reach Lake Tuz, one of the largest salt lakes in the world.

 It is so salty that the water was utterly absorbed in the area where we stopped, and we could only see the salt. As evidence, check the picture below.

 You will arrive in Cappadocia very late in the evening, so there is only time for dinner and checking in to the hotel.

Cappadocia has plenty of gorgeous hotels with authentic décor styles. 

I stayed at the  Sofa Hotel and  probably would still stay there next time as well.

READ MORE: 12 Most Beautiful places to visit in Turkey

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Lake Tuz | 14 Day Turkey itinerary

Day 6: CAPPADOCIA | Road trip Turkey

  As I told you in the article about the hot air balloon , I recommend choosing this activity on your first day of staying in Cappadocia.

That’s because it might be canceled if the weather conditions are bad.

Therefore, you need time to postpone. There is a lot to say about the ride, but I have already done it in a previous article so I won’t insist.

If you are decided to take this tour, here is one of the best-rated ones .

The flight ends before lunchtime. So you have enough time to explore the city of Goreme and discover many other Cappadocia areas. You can do this on your own or on an organized tour .

Optionally, I suggest you visit Avanos, the neighboring city famous for handmade ceramic products.

   Hotels in Cappadocia:

  • budget:  Adelya Cave Hotel   – free parking, free wifi, delicious breakfast
  • mid-range:  Design Cappadocia Hotel   – Free wifi, free parking, delicious breakfast, good location
  • luxury:  Museum Hotel   – pool, spa, bar, fabulous breakfast

Check out these amazing tours in Cappadocia ⇓

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Galerie Ikman in Goreme, Cappadocia | A Perfect Two Week Road Trip In Turkey

Turkey best itinerary

View over Goreme in Cappadocia | 14 Day Turkey itinerary


 Distance: 8 hours by car

 During the morning, you can still spend hours discovering these fairy-tale realms’ beauties. Until your next visit, you will miss them for sure.

For example, you can make a stop on your way to Pamukkale , at Uchisar, and from the Salkim Tepesi viewpoint.

The road to Pamukkale does not have many places to stop.

However, if you want to take a little break, Lake Edrigil can be an excellent option. Eight hours of continuous driving are not very light, so a little rest is welcome.

   Hotels in Pamukkale:

  • budget:  Sunrise Aya Hotel – swimming pool, room service, free parking, bar, superb breakfast
  • mid-range:  Venus Suite Hotel   – pool, room service, restaurant, fabulous breakfast
  • luxury:   Doğa Thermal Health & Spa   – 2 swimming pools, restaurant, fitness center, spa, delicious breakfast, bar

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Cappadocia | A Perfect Two Week Road Trip In Turkey

Turkey best itinerary

Day 8: PAMUKKALE and from PAMUKKALE to ANTALYA | Turkey road trip

Pamukkale means cotton castle, a metaphor very suitable to describe the extraordinary appearance of the travertines.

What are they? Some limestone terraces formed natural thermal pools.

Due to the immaculate white, you will initially feel that it is ice or salt. It is a unique place in the world but very visited.

The queue can be extremely long, especially in the hot season, so I recommend getting here early in the morning.

There is not much to see in Pamukkale except for the limestone terraces, Cleopatra’s pool, and the ruins of the ancient city of Hierapolis.

For this reason, you can visit everything in the first part of the day, then head to the following destination: Antalya, especially since the distance is not very big.

     Distance: 3 hours by car

Pamukkale Turkey

Day 9: ANTALYA | Turkey road trip

Antalya is reasonably considered to be the capital of the Turkish Riviera.

Therefore, it is time to combine fun with relaxation during your two days here. Neither are the landscapes to be ignored.

In the background of the Mediterranean Sea, the Taurus Mountains create a gorgeous picture, perfect for admiring when you relax on the beach.

On the first day, go and explore the streets of the old town, Kaleiçi, where you can also see the ruins of Emperor Hadrian’s gate.

Walk inside Karaalioglu Park, play with dozens of kittens living there, and descend into the harbor.

A bohemian and very colorful place where you can have your lunch.

Given that you are in Turkey, one of the countries with the most varied range of sweets, don’t miss a visit to the bazaar.

You don’t need to buy anything because the vendors here are more friendly and generous than elsewhere in Turkey and will serve you pieces of Turkish delights for free. Of course, they were supplemented by cold mango tea.

Best tours in Antalya:

  • Old City, Duden Waterfalls & Cable Car Tour
  • Olympos Cable Car Ticket
  • Perge, Side, Aspendos & Waterfalls Guided Tour
  • Full Day Scuba Diving Tour with Lunch
  • Suluada Bays Boat Trip with Lunch
  • Fire of Anatolia Dance Show

⇒ Find all: hotels in Antalya. 

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Antalya | 14 Day Turkey itinerary

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Antalya | A Perfect Two Week Road Trip In Turkey

Day 10: ANTALYA | Road trip in Turkey

 Antalya has it all, so you can’t miss the waterfalls. River Duden is generous and offers us two waterfalls, a mere 17 kilometers long. Upper Duden Falls and Lower Duden Falls.

One is located in a park in northern Antalya, and the other has a direct fall into the Mediterranean Sea. Both are spectacular.

I have two recommendations for the second part of the day.

Relaxation at the beach, whether you choose Lara, the finer sand, whether you prefer Konyaaltı, the spectacular scenery, or a ride with the Tünektepe Teleferic at an altitude of 605 meters above Antalya.

For just 15 Turkish lire, you get an amazing 360-degree view.

    Hotels in Antalya:

  • budget:   ATICI HOTEL   – free Wifi, free parking, bar, delicious breakfast 
  • mid-range:   Atalante Hotel   – 2 swimming pools, access to the beach, free Wifi, free parking, excellent breakfast, access to the beach
  • luxury:  Lara Barut Collection   – 3 swimming pools, spa, fitness center, beach access, bar, superb breakfast

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Duden Waterfall, Antalya | 14 Day Turkey itinerary

Day 11 – From ANTALYA to BODRUM | 14 Days in Turkey

Distance: 5 hours 30 min by car

 The most beautiful and busy day of the 14 day Turkish itinerary was the road trip from Antalya to Bodrum.

The route is full of surprises and more and more beautiful discoveries. The first stop was in the town of Kaş, the charming seafront town.

What conquered me? The narrow and cobbled streets, flowers set in cute little pots, kittens waiting to be cuddled, arches of vineyards inviting you into a magical world, colorful doors and windows, smiling people, and the continuous holiday atmosphere.

The next stop, just 30 minutes from Kaş, is Kaputas beach, a paradise place.

The location between two cliffs and the water in the gorgeous turquoise shades can not leave you indifferent.

Park the car along the road, lower the wooden stairs to the beach, and enjoy at least two hours, probably the most beautiful beach in Turkey.

Approximately 50 minutes further north, you will reach the Saklikent National Park, a true hidden gem, literally and figuratively.

Although you will not have much time to enjoy it, it is worth venturing through the 300-meter High Gorge.

Space is so narrow that you will feel as if you are suffocating. It is also worth mentioning that you will have to cross the Xanthos River’s ice-cold water to reach the Canyon.

Floating terraces are decorated with traditional Turkish pillows at the entrance—the ideal place to relax with a hookah.

I feel I did not have enough time to enjoy all these stops between Antalya and Bodrum fully. So if you add an extra day to the 2-week Turkey itinerary, it would be perfect.

Turkey best itinerary

Kas | 14 Day Turkey itinerary

Day 12: BODRUM | Turkey road trip

    Bodrum looks much like Santorini, the Greek island with white houses perched on the rocky cliffs. Because that’s exactly how it looks if you replace the rocks with hills.

It is a spectacular city, both during the day and after the darkness.

The day is ideal for excursions on the coast to explore the old center, port and souvenir shops, or the nearby Greek islands.

In the evening, the resort is changed completely. The fun is in full swing, and the music echoes from all corners.

    Nearby is the village of Gumusluk, with the most picturesque restaurants I have seen. You can cross the water on foot to get to Rabbit Island.

As the name calls it, the island is populated with cute rabbits.

⇒ Book your boat tour with lunch in Bodrum

     Hotels in Bodrum:

  • budget:  Bodrum Sade Pension – beach access, fabulous breakfast
  • mid-range:  The Marmara Bodrum – Adult Only  – swimming pool, spa, wellness center, private beach
  • luxury:  Root Redrock Yalıkavak   – 2 swimming pools, spa, fitness, beach access, bar, private beach

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Bodrum | 14 Day Turkey itinerary

Turkey best itinerary

Bodrum | A Perfect Two Week Road Trip In Turkey

Day 13: From Bodrum to ISTANBUL | Roadtrip Turkey

Distance: 9 hours by car

    The distance between Bodrum and Istanbul is so big, especially if you drive by car, so you do not have much time to stop anywhere.

However, you can add Kusadasi if you want to include a top resort in the itinerary.

In translation, the island of birds, Kusadasi, is a vibrant city located on the Aegean Sea, with stretched beaches and palm trees.

Turkey best itinerary

Kusadasi | A Perfect Two Week Road Trip In Turkey

Day 14: Back to ISTANBUL | Turkey road trip itinerary

 The last day in Istanbul is a perfect opportunity to taste the city’s flavor at a much slower pace.

Since your Turkey road trip is about to end, you can now relax and enjoy more.

My suggestions include a quiet walk along the Bosphorus, a quick snack under the Galata Bridge made up of the famous sandwich with fish, and a place decorated in a traditional style where you can smoke a hookah. Unless you have other plans.

Turkey best itinerary

Istanbul | 14 Day Turkey itinerary

When to visit Turkey – The best time to visit Turkey

  Since it’s a vast country, about 3 times bigger than Romania, the climate differs slightly from region to region, so it’s hard to tell the best time to visit Turkey.

If you follow precisely this 14 day Turkey itinerary, the most acceptable months in terms of temperatures are May – June and September – October.

But also the summer months are a good option if you do not mind the excessive heat and the big wave of tourists.

Therefore, the best time to visit Turkey, I think, is the end of Spring beginning of Autumn.

road trip in Turkey

How much it costs to make a Turkey road trip?

 Turkey is not a very expensive country since the Turkish lira has dropped quite a bit. Prices are acceptable in terms of food, accommodation, and transportation.

Renting the car for a 14 Day Turkey itinerary costs around 400 Euros, and the fuel revolves around the sum of 6.5 Turkish lire (≅ 1 €). A 3-star hotel night stay starts at 40 € with breakfast, and a meal in town can vary enormously, depending on where you choose to eat.

Is it safe to travel to Turkey?

Turkey is generally safe; you have little reason to be afraid. Especially the cities and tourist places are safe, considering that the locals are used to tourists.

Of course, you must be as careful as you would be in any other unfamiliar area. But there are no reasons for concern.

I recommend you use known platforms to order a taxi or book a hotel room or a tour. I have the utmost confidence in Booking and GetYourGuide , and I always recommend them.

Hi ! Thanks for this article, so inspiring ! My question: is it dangerous to drive there ? Especially in south where there are a lot of mountains ?

Thank you and welcome! Nope, it didn’t seem dangerous to me at all. Is quite beautiful to road trip in that area 🙂

Thank you so much for sharing your experiences, I really enjoyed reading this page! Quick question: any suggestions for a road trip with a focus on historical sites, like Roman or Ottoman ruins? I really love my history! Thanks!

Would it be possible to do this road trip in December when it snows througout the country?

I wouldn’t know what to tell you because I was there in the summer. Probably yes, only the temperatures will be much lower.

Is it safe to do this road trip for a single woman?

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The Ultimate Turkey Itinerary with map (2023)

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14 day travel itinerary turkey

A fascinating mix of modern and ancient, where East meets West, Turkey is one of the most incredible countries in the world. After many visits and months of planning our Turkey itinerary, we settled on a route which led us through some of the country’s highlights: from the capital Istanbul to the otherworldly Cappadocia, to the ancient ruins of Ephesus and Troy to the beautiful turquoise coastline and beaches. We were blown away by the variety of sights and scenery on our journey. We’ve put together our Turkey Itinerary below, including our suggested route, where to stay and the best things to do in each place.

Turkey itinerary

Table of Contents

Turkey Itinerary: The Route

Our Turkey itinerary took us on a loop of all the popular locations throughout western Turkey, starting and ending in Istanbul. The entire route can be completed in two weeks at a rush or three to four weeks to explore at a more relaxed pace. This Turkey itinerary can be extended or reduced depending on what sights you want to see and the time you have available. We did this route in 3 weeks which was around the right amount of time, however we had been to Istanbul previously so only spent 3 days there on this trip.

You can reduce the time by flying to Cappadocia or simple flying to Antalya and driving back to Istanbul via the coast road.

Route Summary:  arrive by air to Istanbul (1) – Safranbolu (2) – Cappadocia/Goreme (3) – Konya (4) – Antalya (5) – Kas (6) – Feithye (7) –Pamukalle (8) – Ephesus/Selcuk (9) – Izmir (10) – Troy  (11) – Istanbul (1)

Map of Turkey Itinerary Route

Turkey Itinerary

How to Use This Google Map:  Click on the grey star at the top of the map and this map will be added to your Google Maps account. You can then view it on your phone or computer in Google Maps by clicking on the menu button, going to “Your Places” and selecting this map. We use these maps all the time as you can set out your itinerary ahead of time and quickly reference the saved maps.

How to get around Turkey

Renting a car.

Renting a car in Turkey is very safe and it’s the best way to explore the country. We rented a car to explore Turkey and it was a great way to see the country. Driving is relatively easy and having your own car gives you the flexibility to travel at your own pace and see places that are simply not possible on group tours or public transport. Check out our tips for renting a car in Turkey

We’re huge fans of road trips and have driven rental cars in almost 50 countries so we have a lot of experience renting cars in foreign countries. Book your car now with , where you will find the best rental car prices

Book your rental car now

Public Transport

Much of this route is also possible by bus although it will likely take a little longer to allow for public transport schedules.

Turkey Itinerary: The Daily Itinerary

We’ve listed our itinerary in a loop coming from and returning to Istanbul. Feel free to reverse the order as it works just as well backward

Turkey itinerary tip:  if you are planning on visiting a lot of the sights listed in our itinerary make sure to pick up a  Turkey Museum Pass  which provides one time access to over 300 museums and sites affiliated to the Ministry of Culture and Tourism of the Republic of Turkey. It costs around US $35 and covers most of the ancient sites and museums and also avoids queuing for tickets. We used ours everywhere from Ephesus to Aphrodisas to Hagia Sofia and the open air museums in Cappadocia.

Day 1: Arrive in Istanbul

Most visitors to Turkey arrive and depart via the new Istanbul International Airport. After a late flight, we picked up our rental car and opted to spend a night at an airport hotel before we started our Turkey road trip. We’ll return at the end of the trip for a few relaxing days in Istanbul.

Turkey itinerary tip: Istanbul can be explored at either end of this itinerary: we preferred to save it to the end of our trip and spend a few days in the city before we left Turkey.

Where to stay at Istanbul International Airport

  • Bricks Airport Hotel Istanbul – excellent reasonably priced option a short taxi ride from the airport –  check prices now!
  • Rox Hotel Airport – well-appointed hotel a short taxi ride from the airport  –  check prices now!
  • WOW Airport Hotel: –  spacious and comfortable rooms, free airport shuttle –  check prices now!

Click here for Istanbul airport hotel prices!

Days 2 & 3: Safranbolu

The Ottoman City of Safranbolu is perfect for a one or two-night stop. We opted for two nights as the drive to Cappadocia requires an early start and we wanted to have a day to explore Safranbolu. If you prefer, you can go straight from Istanbul to Cappadocia using our guide on how to travel between them.

Drive time: 5 hours from Istanbul Ataturk Airport to Safranbolu

Turkey itinerary

Safranbolu is almost frozen in time. It is a typical Ottoman city with well-preserved architecture: there are 2,000 traditional Safranbolu houses which are incredible examples of traditional Turkish housing. Safranbolu played a key part in the caravan trade as the main commercial link between the Orient and Europe.

Where to Stay in Safranbolu

  • Hilton Garden Inn Safronbolu –  great modern option in Safranbolu. Rooms are clean and spacious –  check prices now!
  • Gulevi Safranbolu Hotel – lovely hotel set in restored 220-year-old Ottoman mansions in the historic centre –  check prices now!
  • Safranbolu Seyir Konak Otel – traditional hotel with great breakfast and wonderful views overlooking the historic centre of Safranbolu –   check prices now!

Click here for hotel prices in Safranbolu

Turkey itinerary

Things to do in Safranbolu

  • Explore Çarşı, the Old Town district, a maze of cobblestone alleyways winding up the hillside
  • Shop for local crafts and delicacies
  • Visit Cinci Hamam, a beautifully restored bathhouse
Turkey itinerary tip: we decided to drive from Istanbul to Cappadocia via Safranbolu and the archaeological site of Hattusha, both awesome historical sites. If you prefer to start your trip in Cappadocia it’s worth checking out connecting flight options to Cappadocia as it’s an 8 hour direct drive from Istanbul.

Day 4: Safranbolu to Cappadocia via Hattusha

The UNESCO World Heritage Site of Hattusha is an interesting stop between Safranbolu and Cappadocia and, after spending the afternoon exploring the ancient site, we arrived in Cappadocia just in time for sunset.

Drive time:  the total drive is 500km and takes around 7hours: 4hours from Safranbolu to Hattusha and 3hours from Hattusha to Cappadocia

Turkey itinerary

Hattusa was the capital of the Hittite Empire, an ancient Anatolian people, in the late Bronze Age and the archaeological site consists of ruins of temples, a royal residence and fortifications. A second site close to Hattusha, Yazilikaya, contains a fascinating ensemble of rock art. The highlights are the Lions’ Gate and the Royal Gate, the rock art and the Great Temple, the best-preserved ruin of a Hittite Temple from the 13th century BC.

Things to do

  • Drive around the ancient site of Hattusha
  • Stop by Yazlilkaya for ancient rock art
  • Watch the sunset in Cappadocia

Days 5 to 8: Cappadocia

With its whimsical landscape, ethereal beauty and balloon-filled sky Cappadocia is otherworldly. Magical valleys stretch as far as the eye can see and the sunrise hot air balloons are a once in a lifetime experience. Check out our guide to choosing where to stay in Cappadocia here.

Turkey itinerary tip: We recommend spending at least 3 nights as there are lots of things to do in Cappadocia. If a hot air balloon ride is on your must do list then make sure to leave a few extra days in case the balloon ride is cancelled due to weather. We visited in March and the balloons only flew on one of our three mornings in Cappadocia.

Turkey itinerary

Where to stay in Cappadocia

We stayed in three different hotels during our time in Cappadocia and recommend each of them!

  • Sultan Cave Suites – the ultimate spot to watch the balloons rise over the Cappadocia sky at sunrise, we loved waking up to a balloon filled sky. Guests have exclusive sunrise access to the rooftop terraces which over the best views –  check prices here !

Click here for Goreme Hotel prices!

  • Rox Cappadocia – located right next to the highest point in Cappadocia at Uchisar Castle, the hotel has incredible views of Goreme and Guvercinlik Valley from its rooftop. We stayed in a beautiful cave room and breakfast was a real treat –  check prices here !
  • Taskonaklar Hotel – we spent a few nights in a cave room at the luxury Taskonaklar Hotel. Awesome rooms, great food and fantastic views over the valley –  check prices here
  • Museum Hotel – one for the bucket list, the Museum Hotel is based on the concept of a living museum. The view of the hot air balloons from the hotel’s Roman Pool is breathtaking –  check prices here !

Click here for Uchisar hotel prices!

You can read more about our stay at the Sultan Cave Suites and our guide to the Cappadocia hotels with the best view of the balloons .

Turkey itinerary

Things to do in Cappadocia

There are so many awesome things to see and do in Cappadocia that your three days will be packed! Our favourite things to do were:

  • Take a sunrise hot air balloon ride – this is a bucket list Cappadocia item and a must for anyone visiting. This is one of the best yours and includes hotel pickup – click here to book a hot air balloon flight

Book your Hot Air balloon ride now

  • Hunt for the best Instagram photo spots in Cappadocia
  • Watch the sunset over the red valley
  • Explore Imagination Valley
  • Stock up on rugs at a Turkish carpet shop
  • See the iconic Cappadocia fairy chimneys
  • Explore the underground city’s
  • Visit the open-air museums
  • Hang an evil eye charm on the evil eye trees

For all the photographers reading we’ve put together a list of our favourite photo locations in Cappadocia (hint: there are lots!)

Turkey itinerary

Day 9: Konya

After an incredible few days in Cappadocia, it’s time to head towards the stunning Turkish coast. Konya, a compelling mix of ancient and modern and the home of the whirling dervish orders, is the perfect overnight stop before Antalya. On the way check out the Sultanhanı Caravanserai, an ancient trading outpost with an incredible entrance gate.

Drive time : 3 hours (235km)

Turkey itinerary

Where to stay in Konya

Hotels in Konya were extremely affordable and you can stay in some very nice modern hotels for a reasonable rate.

  • Hilton Garden Inn Konya  – clean, spacious and modern in an excellent location close to all the major Konya sights –   check prices here!
  • Novotel Konya – great facilities and clean, modern rooms with minibus access to sights –  check prices here!
  • Ramada Plaza Konya – modern hotel with hammam and pool, located close to the tram stop –   check prices here!

Click here for Konya Hotel Prices

Things to Do in Konya

  • Çatalhöyük – located just outside Konya, this stunning UNESCO World Heritage site is an ancient city over 9,000 years old and one of the oldest Neolithic settlements in the world.

Turkey itinerary

  • Mevlana Museum – home to the tomb of Rumi, a philosopher, poet and Islamic scholar who founded the whirling dervish sect of Sufism.
  • Kyoto Park – a slice of Japan in the middle of Turkey!
  • Mevlana Whirling Dervishes:  synonymous with Konya, the Turkish Dervishes perform a ceremony of worship, spinning in deep prayer.

Days 10 and 11: Antalya

Antalya is known as Turkey’s Turquoise Coast and offers a change of pace and scenery in addition to some of the best sunsets we’ve ever experienced. Antalya is packed with very affordable luxury beach resorts and has a stunning coastline, so we recommend spending a few days relaxing and recovering from the so far packed itinerary and long drives.

Drive time: 4 hours (300km)

Turkey itinerary

Where to Stay in Antalya

Hotels in Antalya are very reasonably priced so we opted for some luxury during our stay!

  • Akra Hotel – a five-star hotel on the sea, we loved our ocean view room and the amazing facilities. One of our favourite hotels in Turkey! –  check prices now!
  • Crown Plaza Antalya – set along the beautiful  Konyaalti Beach, another great five-star option with great facilities –  check prices now!
  • Rixos Downtown Antalya – overlooking the  sea  and the Taurus Mountains, Rixos Downtown is located close to Konyaalti Beach and has a host of dining options and great pools. –  check prices now!

Click here for Antalya hotel prices!

Things to do in Antalya

  • Aspendos Theater:  the theatre at Aspendos is one of the best preserved in Turkey and is still used for performances to this day

Turkey itinerary

  • Termessos – located in the mountains just north of Antalya, Termessos is one of the best ancient sites we visited in Turkey. This mountaintop city is a must for anyone visiting Antalya and the views from the theatre are incredible.

Turkey itinerary

  • Perge – the UNESCO site of Perge is another must see in Antalya. This ancient city prospered during the bronze age.

Turkey itinerary

  • Hadrians Gate:  iconic entrance gate to the Old Town Kaleiçi district which was erected in honour of a visit by Emperor Hadrian in AD 130.
  • Manavgat waterfall:  beautiful waterfalls located just east of Antalya, these are very popular and busy.
  • Düden Waterfalls:  a beautiful group of waterfalls in Antalya, be sure to stop at the source and by the sea.

Day 12 –  Coast Drive between Antalya and Kas

After a few relaxing days in Antalya, it’s time to move west along the stunning Turkish coastline. There are so many stops along the coast that it’s worth making an overnight stay half-way in the seaside town of Kas.

Drive time: 3 hours (190 km)

 Where To Stay in Kas

  • Hotel Cachet – located on the peninsula outside Kas, Hotel Cachet is one of the best in the area. The hotel is secluded and quiet with stunning views of the ocean – check prices now!
  • Olea Nova Hotel – this beautiful hotel is located just outside Kas and has amazing ocean views and a beautiful outdoor pool . The local bus stops just outside the hotel every 30 minutes for a short trip into the town of Kas – check prices now!
  • Nur Hotel – one of the best hotel options in Kas town is the Nur Hotel.  With beautiful sea views and a 5 minute walk to the town centre, the location is perfect for relaxing and enjoying all Kas has to offer – check prices now!

Click here for hotel prices in Kas

Turkey itinerary

Things to do on the Coast Drive between Antalya and Kas

  • Butterfly Valley:  only accessible by boat, Butterfly Valley is a large and picturesque canyon   that is home to a diverse population of butterflies, beautiful scenery and a beautiful beach
  • Phaselis: take a step back in time at the ancient Lycian port of Phaselis where the contrast of ruins and turquoise water is mesmerising
  • Kaputas Beach:  sheltered beach with huge waves and amazing viewpoints above
  • Theimussa ancient place:  sunken ruins from 4BC of the ancient city of Theimussa
  • Ancient Myra ruins:  incredible ruins with an amphitheater and Lycian rock tombs

Turkey itinerary

Day 13: Fethiye

The bustling marina town of Fethiye is another excellent base along the coast and we recommend a one-night stopover en route to Pamukkale.

Drive time:  90 minutes from Kas to Fethiye (100km)

Turkey itinerary

Things to do in Fethiye

  • Xanthos and Letoon:  a joint UNESCO World Heritage Site, the ancient city of Xanthos was the capital of Lycia and Letoon, a cult sanctuary of Leto and one of the most important religious centres in the region, is located nearby.
  • Fethiye waterfront and Old Town: from the bustling waterfront, a hub of restaurants, bars and yachts to the character filled Old Town, it’s lovely to wander through Fethiye
  • Lycian Rock Tombs: incredible Lycian tombs carved into the cliffside above Fethiye 
  • Kayakoy Ghost Town:  a ghost town now preserved as a museum village. Kayakoy was a thriving town of 10,000 until the early 1920s when, at the conclusion of the Greco-Turkish War, it was emptied of its Christian inhabitants.

Where to Stay in Fethiye

  • Yacht Classic Hotel – seafront hotel with beautiful decor, spacious rooms and excellent food. The Yacht Classic is another of our Turkey favourites –  check prices now!
  • Ece Boutique Hotel – located on the Island of Sovalye, a 10-minute boat ride from Fethiye –  check prices now!
  • Letoonia Club & Hotel – excellent resort style option with a huge range of restaurants and facilities –  check prices now!

Click here for Fethiye hotel prices

Turkey itinerary

Day 14: Aphrodisias, Pamukkale and Hierapolis

The brilliant white travertine of Pammukale is on the cover of nearly every Turkey guidebook and, with over two million visitors annually, Pamukkale is Turkey’s single most visited attraction. The ancient Greco-Roman city of Hierapolis, a thermal spa city, is located on the hot springs of Pamukkale. We spent a night in a hotel in Pamukkale to give us the chance to explore at less crowded times.

Drive: 3 hours (230km)

Turkey itinerary

The brilliant white travertine terraces of Pamukkale, meaning cotton castle, are topped with turquoise hot pools cascading down the mountainside above the town of Pamukkale. Pamukkale, while still beautiful, doesn’t quite look like the iconic images that you might be familiar with – some of the travertines have suffered from the effects of mass tourism over the decades and are closed off to allow them to heal. Bring swimwear to bathe in Cleopatra’s Pool, an antique pool where Cleopatra the Queen of Egypt once swam.

Turkey itinerary tip: shoes and sandals are not permitted when visiting Pamukkale to prevent further erosion.

Turkey itinerary

The ancient Greco-Roman city of Hierapolis was a thermal spa city located on the hot springs of Pamukkale in the classical kingdom of Phrygia. The ruins of Hierapolis ruins sit atop the natural site of Pamukkale and there are panoramic views for miles around. The ancient Theatre and the Museum are both unmissable. Together Pamukkale and Hierapolis are designated as a UNESCO World Heritage Site and the mix of natural and ancient is still breathtaking today.

Turkey itinerary tip: visiting Pamukkale and Hieropolis takes around half a day depending how much you wish to explore Hieropolis. Make sure to stop at the nearby site of Laodikeia where an active excavation is underway. Most of this site remains underground however it’s an incredible place.

Turkey itinerary


Around an hours drive from Pamukkale is the UNESCO world heritage site of Aphrodisias. You can visit as an afternoon trip from Pamukkale or en route to Selçuk plan to spend a few hours exploring the most recent UNESCO site in Turkey, the ancient site of Aphrodisias. The small ancient Greek Hellenistic city was named after Aphrodite, the Greek goddess of love and the highlights include the monumental gateway leading into the site, the temple of Aphrodite which dates from the 3rd Century, the stadium which is one of the best preserved of its size and the museum which house the friezes from The Sebasteion building.

Turkey itinerary

Where to stay in Pamukkale

  • Hal Tur Hotel – family run hotel with the best view of Pamukkale, all rooms have a balcony/terrace overlooking the site. We stayed here and it was a minutes walk to the Pamukkale entrance. – check prices now!
  • Hotel Sahin – another great family run hotel on the main street with excellent views and close to the entrance –   check prices now!

Click here for Pamukkale hotel prices!

Days 15 to 18: Selçuk & Ephesus

Our visit to Ephesus was one of the absolute highlights of our Turkey trip and it really is unmissable. Ephesus is located in the town of Selcuk and, together with ancient Ephesus, there are lots of  things to see and do in Selçuk:   the area deserves at least 2 to 3 full days to allow you to explore fully.

Ephesus is hands down the most spectacular archaeological site we visited in Turkey and it is worth committing an entire day to visit the site alone. The ancient Greek city of Ephesus was built in the 10th Century BC and contains successive settlements from the Neolithic, Hellenistic, Roman, Byzantine, Selçuk and Ottoman periods. It’s impossible to describe the feeling of standing in front of the magnificent Celsus library in Ephesus as the morning light washed over the ruins.

Turkey Travel Tip: Aim to visit Ephesus first thing in the morning when it’s relatively quiet and after a few hours return to your hotel to relax during the hottest part of the day. This avoids the immense crowds that visit the site each day and the worst heat of the day. Although it cost us an extra ticket, we returned around 90 minutes before closing when the tour groups had left.

Turkey itinerary

Things to do in Ephesus and Selcuk

The ancient city of Ephesus is located in Selcuk and there is much to explore in the town. For a more detailed guide, check out our article on things to do in Ephesus and Selcuk

  • The ancient city of Ephesus:  the ancient Greek city of Ephesus was built in the 10th Century BC and was home to over 300,000 people at its peak.
  • The terraced houses: an excavation site in Ephesus, the terraced houses were once luxurious residential villas and were known as the houses of the rich.
  • Ephesus Archaeological Museum:  exhibits artifacts that were excavated from the nearby ancient city of Ephesus
  • Basilica of St John: ruins of the 6th Century Basilica where the Apostle John, having travelled from Jerusalem to Ephesus, is said to have spent his remaining years
  • House of Mary, Meryemana:  the house of the Virgin Mary is a pilgrimage site close to the ancient ruins of Ephesus and is considered to be the place where Mary, the Mother of Jesus, lived and died after being taken there by Saint John
  • Ayasuluk Fortress: built to protect St John’s Basilica, the Ayasoluk Fortress dominates the skyline of Selcuk
  • Isa Bey Mosque:  the Isa Bey Mosque was constructed in the late 1300s and is based on the Great Mosque of Damascus
  • Sirince:  small village close to Ephesus is famous for its fruit wine and red-roofed houses
  • Grotto of the Seven Sleepers: tombs of seven young Christians, who, having refused to renounce their Christian beliefs, were said to have hidden in a cave close to Ephesus to escape religious persecution by the Roman Emperor Decius.
  • Temple of Artemis:  Dedicated to the goddess Artemis, it is one of the Seven Wonders of the Ancient World

Where to Stay in Selçuk

  • Hotel Mary’s House – family run hotel with handmade woodwork in bedrooms, a beautiful breakfast and a great location in the heart of Selcuk. We stayed here during our visit to Ephesus and loved it –  check prices now!
  • Cella Boutique Hotel & Spa:  luxury boutique hotel with outdoor pool, a spa and Turkish baths close to the centre of Selcuk –  check prices here! – check prices now!
  • Hotel Bella –  another great boutique option with Ottoman style furniture and a rooftop restaurant with great views of the fortress –  check prices here!

Click here for  Selçuk hotel prices

Days 19 and 20: Pergamon, Çanakkale, Troy and Gallipoli

After leaving Ephesus, we made a stop at the UNESCO World Heritage Site of Pergamon before spending two nights in Canakkale, a seafront town where the 2004 movie version of the wooden horse of Troy stands. Canakkale is a great base to explore Tory and Gallipoli.

Founded in 281 BC, the UNESCO World Heritage site of Pergamon was one of the most important cities of the ancient world. The city housed theatres, gymnasiums, the Great Altar and the library. The Trajan Temple is impressive and the theatre, the steepest surviving Roman Theatre, is a highlight. The nearby Asclepieion healing center is also an interesting visit.

Turkey itinerary

With 4,000 years of history, the world famous archaeological site of Tory was immortalised by Homer in the Iliad as the site of the Trojan War. In an early beauty contest, Paris of Troy had to choose between the three beauties Hera, Athena and Aphrodite. Paris chose Aphrodite who had promised Paris the love of Helen, the Queen of Sparta. Paris’ subsequent abduction of Helen to Tory provoked the Trojan war.

Turkey itinerary

The battlefield of Gallipoli saw immense bloodshed during World War I and many visit to pay their respects to the thousands of soldiers who lost their lives in the battle.

Where to Stay in Çanakkale

  • Buyuk Truva Oteli:  simple and comfortable hotel overlooking the Sea of Marmara – check prices now!
  • Hotel Limani:  a nice seafront hotel with functional rooms –  check prices now!
  • Kervansaray Canakkale Hotel:  charming hotel located in an old mansion in the heart of Canakkale  – check prices now!

Click here for Çanakkale hotel prices

Day 21: Çanakkale to Bursa and Istanbul

After leaving Çanakkale we made a stop in the UNESCO city of Bursa before travelling to Istanbul, the final city in our Turkey itinerary.

Between 1335 and 1363 Bursa was the first major capital of the Ottoman State and was known as  Hüdavendigar, or God’s Gift, during the Ottoman period. Some of the highlights of the Bursa UNESCO include the Ulu Camii Mosque and the Osman and Orhan Gazi Tombs.

Turkey itinerary

Days 22 to 25: Istanbul    

It’s hard not to fall in love with the vibrant, hip city of Istanbul and we recommend spending at least 3 nights exploring the city.  The eclectic mix of Europe and Asia, East and West and old and new make Istanbul an amazing spot.

Turkey itinerary

Things to do in Istanbul

  • The Blue Mosque
  • Hagia Sofia
  • Topaki Palace
  • Basilica Cistern
  • Grand Bazaar
  • Istiklal Street
  • Galata Tower and Bridge
  • Bosphorus Strait
  • Dolmabahçe Palace
  • Chora Church
  • Check out the best photo spots in Istanbul

Where to stay in Istanbul

We love staying in the historical district as the hotels are close to many of the major sights and we can walk or take the tram to sightsee.

  • White House Hotel:  a fantastic hotel in a great location close to Hagia Sofia, Topaki Palace and the Blue Mosque. We’ve stayed here on many visits to Istanbul, it’s the perfect spot for exploring the city –   check prices now!
  • Hotel Amira Istanbul:  a luxury hotel in the Sultanahmet district close to many of the major sites. The roof terrace has lovely sea views –  check prices now!
  • Osmanhan Hotel:  another great option in the historical district, the Osmanhan has a rooftop terrace overlooking the Blue Mosque and the Marmara Sea – check prices now!

Click here for Old City hotel prices!

Extending the itinerary

Our detailed itinerary is ideal for a two-three week trip but there are other Turkey highlights which you might wish to include if you have additional time in the country:

  • Mount Nemrut: deep in the Anatolian heartland massive statues of Greek and Persian gods scattered across a mountaintop. The road is closed during the winter months.
  • Van: Lake Van is the largest lake in Turkey and has many historical sites.
  • Trabzon: once an important stop on the Silk Road, Trabzon’s Hagia Sophia was built in the 13th Century and has served as a hospital, a museum and a mosque.
  • Kars:  as a result of the 19th Century Russian Occupation Kars is like stepping into Russia. It’s also a base for exploring the ruins of an abandoned medieval Armenian city, Ani.
  • check for travel advice before travelling. The UK Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO) advise against all travel to within 10 km of the border with Syria and to the city of Diyarbakir and all but essential travel to other parts of the south-east.
  • Selimiye Mosque:  a UNESCO World Heritage Site located in Erdine, 3 hours north-west of Istanbul. The Ottoman mosque is considered a highlight of architect Mimar Sinan’s work and one of the greatest achievements in Islamic architecture.

For more on Turkey

  • Check out our guide to the UNESCO World Heritage Sites

2 thoughts on “The Ultimate Turkey Itinerary with map (2023)”

This itinerary blew my mind with its eye for detail. 👌

Thanks Elaine and Dave. We just visited Turkey for 13 days from 6 – 19 June and enjoyed every bit of it. Istanbul, Izmir, Seljuk, Pamukkale, Antalya, Cappadocia – all done in a hurriedly planned itinerary. Our regret was not visiting Sirince, the famous waterfalls, etc., but we were lucky to have enjoyed the hot air balloon ride with a parachute jumper with us because of whom we were taken to a height of 2000 metres. Overall, an amazing trip, good food, lovely people and awesome weather.

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A Perfect Family Trip of Turkey

  • 13 Nights / 14 Days
  • Private Tour
  • May-November
  • Cultural, Historical, Leisure
  • Family, Honeymoon, Birthday

Highlights of the Itinerary

Immerse your family in Turkey’s captivating scenery on a 14-day tour of the country’s top highlights. Start this epic adventure on Istanbul’s lively streets and finish it on a private gulet on the breathtaking sea of the Mediterranean.

  • Explore the magnificent pieces of architecture left behind by the Byzantine and Ottoman occupiers of Istanbul
  • Take a private yacht up the Bosphorus strait as you enjoy a stunning view of Istanbul’s iconic skyline
  • From Istanbul, travel to Cappadocia and explore one of the most remarkable landscapes in the world. Visit cave churches, underground towns, and enjoy fairy chimneys
  • Embark on one of the most breathtaking experiences in your life as you fly across the Cappadocian sky on a hot air balloon
  • Fly to another beautiful city, Izmir, and explore the impressive ruins of an ancient Greek city
  • Embark on a relaxing 7-day cruise on the Aegean, from Marmaris to Antalya

Departure & Return Location

Istanbul / Antalya

Approx. Pick-up Time

Istanbul, Cappadocia, Ephesus, Marmaris, Fethiye, Antalya

Price Includes

  • Boutique Style Accommodation
  • All Private Transfers
  • Professional Tour Guide
  • Local (Non-Touristy) Lunches
  • Private Bosphorus Cruise Luxury motor-yacht / 2 hours
  • Hot-air balloon ride Standard +/- 1 hour flight
  • Private gulet yacht Basic standards with full-board menu
  • Entrance Tickets/Fees

Price Excludes

  • Dinners at hotels
  • Room / Cabin Upgrade
  • Turkish Bath (Hamam) Experience
  • Optional activities and water sports

What to Expect

The 14-day tour will let you explore Turkey’s incredible attractions from every dimension. Start on land as you tour Turkey’s most visited city, Istanbul, before taking to the skies in the magical Cappadocia. Later on, enjoy a peaceful cruise coupled with stops at idyllic towns for the rest of your tour.

Strengthen that family bond on a perfect trip designed for families.

Tour Photos Hagia Sophia Museum Aerial

Itinerary Details

Day 1 arrival in turkey.

Arrive at an airport in Istanbul and enjoy a private transfer to your hotel in Istanbul for the night.

Overnight at Istanbul

Day 2 Istanbul

Kick-off your Turkish escapade with an exploration of Istanbul’s top attractions. Start at the spectacular 15th century Topkapi Palace, the sultans’ residence for around 300 years. Here, visitors experience the extravagant lifestyle that the Ottoman sultans enjoyed for centuries. Enjoy a stunning view of the Golden Horn and marvel at the palace’s stunning architectural style as you explore the lush and shadowy royal gardens before exploring its lavish inner rooms filled with excellent collections and stylish decorations.

Toe to toe with your private guide and family, proceed to the Blue Mosque, known for its iconic six minarets and blue Iznik tiles. The mosque has a dazzling interior decorated by 20,000 breathtaking blue tiles and illuminated by 260 colorful windows. On the same street and opposite the Blue mosque is another incredible treasure from the city’s glory days; the Hagia Sophia.

At the time of its completion in the 6th century, the Hagia Sophia was the grandest church in Christendom. After the fall of Constantinople, it was converted into a mosque on Sultan Mehmet II’s order. Today, the structure is a stunning hybrid of a mosque and a giant cathedral, boasting incredible decorations from its Christian and Muslim inhabitants. Some will argue it is the most beautiful religious building in Turkey and the world, and they’re probably right.

Last but not least will be the largest and oldest market in Turkey, the Grand Bazaar. Here, you have the opportunity to shop for some of the finest wares from all over the country. You can find cheap and impressive souvenirs to remind you of your magnificent adventure in Istanbul.

Overnight at Istanbul | Meals: B

Day 3 Istanbul

Start the day with a tour of the Istanbul Museum of Modern Art, where your family will enjoy impressive displays of modern Turkish modern art and an expansive collection of 11,500 books written in Turkish and foreign languages. At the time of its opening in 2004, it was the first modern and contemporary art museum in Turkey (depending on the ages of children, we can replace the visit with Maritime Museum or Tophane on request).

Proceed to the Bosphorus for a nice and relaxing two-hour cruise of a private yacht. Along the way, enjoy a different view of Istanbul’s spectacular skyline and architectural marvels. Lining both the Asian and European sides are magnificent palaces, fortresses, iconic mosques, and restored Ottoman villas. If you’re lucky, you can even watch dolphins swimming in the clear waters of the straight.

In the afternoon, proceed to the affluent district of Nisantasi for an elegant shopping and dining experience before finishing your day at the heart of the city in the Pera District.

Spend the night in Istanbul.

Day 4 Istanbul - Cappadocia

Early morning flight from Istanbul to Nevsehir or Kayseri, and drive to Cappadocia. This scenic region boasts of one of the most unique landscapes on earth and is dotted with stunning pinnacles called fairy chimneys, rock castles, caves, and breathtaking valleys. Immediately start exploring the extraordinary landscape at the Goreme Open Air Museum, famed for its rock-cut churches decorated by impressive frescoes painted over 900 years ago.

Proceed to Pasabag Valley, where you will witness the largest concentration of fairy chimneys in Turkey. The thousands of rock pillars in the valley create striking scenery that makes for a fantastic photo spot. As you explore the rock forest, watch out for intriguing cave homes crafted into the fairy chimneys thousands of years ago by medieval monks.

Overnight at Cappadocia | Meals: B, L

Day 5 Cappadocia

At sunrise, embark on a breathtaking hot-air balloon flight across Cappadocia to enjoy spectacular views of valleys, fairy chimneys, vineyards, and monasteries washed in the orange light of the early morning sun.

After the flight, proceed to the expansive Kaymakli Underground City, once a haven for persecuted Christians in medieval times. Descend the four impressive levels open to the public, exploring the stables, schools, storage rooms, living quarters, churches, wine presses, and ventilation shafts that made life possible in the underground town.

Day 6 Cappadocia - Ephesus

Take an early morning flight to the port city of Izmir for a tour of the ancient ruins of Ephesus, which was once the capital of Roman Asia and the second-largest city in the ancient world. Here, you will explore the awe-inspiring ruins of one of the wonders of the ancient world; the Temple of Artemis.

The site is also home to the Great Theatre and the Celsus Library. This theatre was the largest in ancient Rome and could accommodate up to 24,000 spectators eager to witness the valiant gladiator battles, sporting competitions, and art performances. Today, Ephesus is a UNESCO World Heritage Site that stretches for about 8 square kilometers.

Spend the day walking the cobblestone streets of this magnificent city, followed by a visit to the House of Virgin Mary.

Overnight at Sirince | Meals: B, L

Day 7 Ephesus - Marmaris - Ekincik

You will spend the next 7 days cruising turquoise waters and exploring the seaside towns and ancient ruins.

C/out after early morning breakfast and a couple of hours of swimming in the clear blue waters. private transfer to Marmaris for a 7-day gulet cruise of the sea.

Upon embarkation, enjoy your welcome cocktails while the crew sets the sails off to Ekincik. Disembark for a hike, and trek through a glorious landscape. Along the way, dip into therapeutic natural hot springs, explore the ruins of Caunus and swim in the fresh, clear waters of Lake Koycegiz. Return to the gulet in Semisce Cove for dinner on the sea.

Overnight on board | Meals: B, L, D

Day 8 Aga Limani - Cleopatra Bath - Gocek

Early morning sail to Fethiye, which houses the impressive ruins of Lycia. After a delicious breakfast, enjoy snorkeling in the calm waters of the Aga Limani Cove while surrounded by beautiful coral. After you’ve had enough of the waters, head to land for a three-hour scenic hike through Lydia. Here, explore magnificent ruins rich in Roman and Byzantine history before proceeding to the Batik Hamam (where it is believed that Cleopatra took a bath).

Return to the yacht for lunch and sail for Gocek Lagoon.

Day 9 Gemiler Island - Soguksu Cove

In the morning, the yacht slowly sails towards Gemiler Island. After an easy hike to the shore, spend a few hours exploring this treasure cove of Byzantine-era ruins. Visit the ruins of a monastery, a temple, and a basilica decorated with mosaics. After a delicious lunch, swim in the secluded bay and resume your hiking expedition along the coast for three hours before meeting the Soguksu Cove vessel for some more swimming and snorkeling.

Day 10 Burguncuk - Kalkan - Xanthos - Patara

Sail into the Burguncuk cove and spend some time exploring Lycian and Byzantine ruins by the coast. Proceed to Kalkan through the Seven Capes and drive to the traditional mountain village of Bezirgan for a delicious local lunch. From there, explore the ruins of Xanthos, and proceed to the vast Patara beach. Your yacht will be waiting at the Firnazlar Cove.

Day 11 Kas - Kekova

Sail to the beautiful seaside town of Kas, dominated by charming whitewashed houses and beautiful bougainvillea blossoms. Spend half a day here and after lunch, proceed to the underwater ruins of Aparlae and explore with your snorkel. Climb up the cliffs of nearby Kekova for a breathtaking view of the sunset before returning to your yacht for dinner in Skyrock Bay.

Day 12 Myra - Olympos - Chimaera

After a sumptuous breakfast, start your day with a swim in the calm waters of the bay. Sail to Myra and explore the hillside tombs, and continue to Ulupinar for a delicious lunch with a glass of local wine. Spend the afternoon visiting Olympos, Chimaera, and relaxing on a white sandy beach under the warm sun.

Day 13 Leisure

More swimming and beach time and spend your last night on the gulet.

Day 14 Departure

Disembark the yacht and continue to the next destination (if any) or transfer to Antalya for a domestic flight to Istanbul. From Istanbul, transfer to the airport for your flight back home.

Do you have any other suggested routes for the gulet yacht?

Absolutely! At the time of the booking, we will advise the best available route and once we have a better idea of your travel type, we can also discuss other alternatives for sure.

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We just returned from our 12 day tour with two teen daughters that included Istanbul, Cappadocia and Kas. We are season travelers (this was our 26th country), and we all agreed that this was one of the best int’l travel experiences we’ve ever had. Working with Ismael was a great experience beginning to end – he planned the perfect trip for us, he was very communicative and flexible throughout the whole process, and when things went wrong (they always do) he was immediately available to help adjust our plans. The tour guides he chose for us were first rate, the quality of the private shuttles, boats, drivers, etc… far exceeded our expectations. And Turkey was everything we’d hoped for and more. This was the first time we’ve ever used a travel agent to help us plan a trip, but it will not be the last. I couldn’t recommend Made in Turkey more highly.

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This was to be a family trip to be remembered! So, we did TONS of emailing back and forth with Ismail before our trip. Ismail!!!…. the most patient, gracious, accommodating and knowledgeable person ever! We cannot say enough about our experience with everything that was arranged and recommended for our 13 day trip. Everything was first class from the hotels in Istambul and Cappadocia, the tours of the city, ballon ride, the transfers, drivers, restaurants, amazing guides, and our fabulous time in the Gulet sailing on the Coast of Turkiye! We were spoilt rotten by the crew with the service and level of comfort and safety. We would not hesitate to recommend Ismail and Made in Turkey Tours to plan the PERFECT holiday for you. We will never forget our time in Turkiye and we definitely plan to come back!

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My wife and I travelled to Turkey in late March/early April on a trip organized and customized for us by “Made in Turkey Tours” (MTT). We had a number of ground rules involving a more luxurious trip than is commonly booked. Ismail organized the trip and at every step, he strived to implement our requests. All of his responses were quick, professional, and helpful. We handled our own arrangements in Istanbul, and the tour started with pickup in Istanbul. The conditions were imperfect due to lockdowns starting and ending during the trip. Despite that every contact, pickup, etc. was on time or early, and all accommodations met or exceeded our expectations. The car, driver and guide were excellent.

Our itinerary was Cappadocia, Konya, Antalya, and after a break on a gulet, Fethiye, then back to Istanbul. We had a full-time guide named Fathi who was excellent. Fathi had an encyclopedic knowledge of Turkish history and culture. Since there have been dozens of major civilizations in Asia Minor over the years, he knew a lot. Equally important Fathi was able to communicate his excitement over the subject. He was also adept at gauging how tired we might be at times, and how events – like the snowstorm in Cappadocia – changed the itinerary on the fly.

Cappadocia is of course one of the great sights to see in the world, and we saw as much as we could despite the snow and fog storm that lead to a balloon flight cancellation. We were able to see the Dervishes in an 800-year-old caravanserai. There were at most 30 others in the audience in a venue that could have seated hundreds. There are good things and bad things about travelling in the pandemic. We also met and had dinner with Ismail in Cappadocia.

A note on the itinerary – we chose to go to Konya rather than Pamukkalle since we’ve seen unusual rock formations before and it’s not our thing. We also chose to limit the driving time to a maximum of about four hours a day, which the route through Konya facilitated. Konya is itself an interesting city. Travel is about both past and present, and the drive (by accident) through the large and rapidly expanding industrial areas of Konya was a sight in itself. By taking the route through Konya we were able to visit the prehistoric city of Catalhoyuk – arguably the second oldest city in the world. We also visited the caravanserai at Sultanani as one of our rest stops along the way.

We enjoyed Antalya which has major Roman and Greek sights, but it’s basically a beach resort, and when in a beach town, you should go to a beach resort. It must be said that Antalya does have an attractive “old town” which might have been fun to stay in in non-pandemic times. One of the three choices Ismail gave us was the Rixos resort in Antalya. This resort was >90% (by our estimate) inhabited by Russians and predominantly young Russian families. This provided it’s own window on travel and life around the world. The food at the all-inclusive buffets was surprisingly good and authentic as much as we can judge authenticity. Since the Russians (as an Istanbul guide said) “deny the pandemic” the Rixos was fairly busy. There is a long beach and cliff walk in front of the hotel linking much of Antalya.

When you pay in advance there’s always trepidation about what will result. In the case of MTT, everything promised was delivered and everything was very good or excellent. A set of refunds for the balloon rides and a hotel misunderstanding were promptly processed and sent to us.

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14-Day Turkish TripKit™ Itinerary

Last Updated on July 12, 2019

Here’s a  12- to 14-day  TripKit™  self-guided itinerary through the  best of Turkey , including  Istanbul ,  Ephesus ,  Pamukkale ,  Konya ,  Cappadocia  and  Ankara , that you can plan on your own.

You can easily shorten, lengthen or modify it. Transport is mostly by  rental car , but you may also want to travel certain portions by  public transport .

If you’d like to see all the  top sights in Turkey in two weeks , and would like the professionals to make all the arrangements for you, contact one of my  recommended travel agencies  or look at these  fine 11- to 15-day guided tours of Turkey .

Day 1 — Arrival in  Istanbul

After you arrive, plan on  2 hours  to get through the airport, to your hotel, and registered. Even if your flight has been a long one you’ll probably want to  get out and see something  in the city before catching up on your sleep.

(The experts say that the best way to handle jet lag is not to take a nap but to  maintain a normal schedule  in the new time zone.)

I’d suggest going to  Sultanahmet Square  and exploring the  Hippodrome , the  Blue Mosque , Basilica Cistern , and even  Hagia Sophia  (closed Monday) if there’s time.

Plunging into a new place has an excitement and exhilaration that is among the greatest delights of travel. Your sense of discovery and wonder are at their highest, so  revel in the moment : allow yourself an hour or two to just relax in a  sidewalk café , taking in the new sights, sounds and smells, overhearing snippets of conversation, and adjusting your psyche to a different world.

Day 2 –  Byzantine  &  Ottoman  Istanbul

Get to  Topkapı Palace  (9-5, closed Tuesday; stay 2-3 hr) at 8:45 am, buy your tickets (or do you have a  Museum Pass ?), and be among the first to get to the  Harem  for the tour (9:30 am).

After you’ve enjoyed Topkapı, see the other sights around  Sultanahmet  that you didn’t get to see yesterday.  Here are sample itineraries .

A  Turkish bath  (1-3 hr) can be amazingly refreshing after a long day! If not today, then later.

Day 3 – 19th-Century Istanbul

Start with a guided tour of  Dolmabahçe Sarayı  (closed Monday and Thursday), the sultan’s most lavish palace, then explore the romance of  Beyoğlu , the heart of  Europeanized Istanbul , which thrived during the same era. (If you’re not wild about ornate palaces, skip Dolmabahçe and go to  Taksim Square  and north to the  Military Museum  or southwest along  İstiklal Caddesi  (Grande Rue de Péra; 1-2 hr walking tour).

Lots to see along this main boulevard of 19th-century Istanbul: grand old embassy buildings, the  Pera Palace Hotel , lots of boutiques, and even a  whirling dervish hall . Plenty of  restaurants  for lunch. Walk downhill from  Tünel Square  at the southwestern end of İstiklal Caddesi to…

Galata Tower  (9-7, discount on Monday; stay 1/2 to 1 hr) Best views of the city from this Genoese cone-topped stone tower. Continue downhill to  Galata (Karaköy) Square  and…

Galata Bridge  (stay 1/2 hr) Cross the bridge over the  Golden Horn  which links Old and New Istanbul, taking in the view. At the southern end in  Eminönü , take the  Bağcılar tram  back to  Sultanahmet .

Day 4 – Istanbul to Selçuk (Ephesus)

Take an early morning flight to  İzmir ‘s  Adnan Menderes Airport (ADM). From the airport,  catch a train , or  rent a car  and drive ( here’s how ) to  Selçuk  (62 km/39 miles, 1 hour), the town next to  Ephesus .

Arrive in  Selçuk ,  Şirince  or  Kuşadası  by 2:30 or 3 pm and check in at your  hotel . Visit  Ephesus Museum ,  St. John Basilica , and  İsa Bey Mosque . Dinner and overnight.

Day 5 – Ephesus, Aphrodisias, Pamukkale

In the morning, explore the  ruins of Ephesus  (2 to 3 hours), then drive to  Aphrodisias  (143 km/89 miles, 2 hours); lunch either before leaving Selçuk or at Aphrodisias. Tour the ruins of  Aphrodisias  (1-1/2 to 2 hours), drive to the ancient mineral-water spa of  Pamukkale  (123 km/76 miles, 1-1/2 hours), arriving before dark. Settle in at a  hotel  in Pamukkale Town or  Karahayıt .

Day 6 – Pamukkale, drive to Konya

Enjoy a swim in  Pamukkale ‘s mineral waters (perhaps in the  Sacred Pool  itself), and explore the ruins of the  Roman  health resort of  Hierapolis .

After lunch, drive from Pamukkale by  Lake Eğirdir  to  Konya (450 km, 280 miles, 7 hours). (Yes, it’s a long drive, but the countryside is interesting, and it saves you backtracking to İ zmir ‘s  Adnan Menderes airport  for a flight via  Istanbul  to  Cappadocia .)

Day 7 – Konya, Silk Road, Ihlara, Ürgüp

Visit Konya’s  whirling dervish   Mevlana Museum ,  and the  Seljuk Turkish monuments  (1200s) on and around Konya’s  Alaettin Hill  during the morning (2 to 3 hours), then drive east along the ancient  Silk Road  to  Sultanhan ı  (110 km, 68 miles) for a brief look at the grandest of  Seljuk Turkish caravanserais (built in 1229), and lunch.

Continue through  Aksaray  (42 km, 26 miles, 40 minutes). If you want to explore the  Ihlara (Peristrema) Valley , turn right (south) 11 km east of Aksaray for Selime, Belisırma and Ihlara (23 km). Spend 2 or 3 hours at Ihlara, then head east via  Güzelyurt  to  Derinkuyu  or  Kaymaklı  to see its  underground city , though if you don’t watch your time carefully on this day you may arrive after it is closed for the day (17:00/5 pm). From Derinkuyu drive north to  Nevşehir , then east to  Ürgüp .

If you don’t want to see Ihlara, from Aksaray go east along the Silk Road to  Nevşehir  (65 km, 40 miles, 1 hour). There are more  Seljuk caravansarays  along this road if you’re interested, particularly the  Ağzıkarahan  10 km (6 miles) east of Aksaray. As you continue east you’ll pass the ruined-then-restored  Tepesidelik Han  13 km (8 miles) east, and the  Alay Han,  33 km (21 miles) east of  Aksaray .

If you’re interested in a  hot-air balloon flight  over Cappadocia, make your reservations well in advance of arrival.  More…

Day 8 – Göreme, Zelve, Avanos, Uçhisar

Visit the  Göreme Open Air Museum  in the morning (2 to 3 hours), then drive to the  Zelve Valley  for more cave-church explorations. Have lunch in either  Göreme Town  or  Avanos . If you have time, also visit  Uçhisar .

Day 9 – Hot-Air Balloon, Underground City, drive to Ankara

Get up and out before dawn to fly in a  hot-air balloon  over  Cappadocia . After you land, have  breakfast , then explore more of Cappadocia. If you didn’t get a chance to visit the  Underground Cities  during your drive from Konya, do it today.

In the afternoon, drive to  Ankara  (308 km, 191 miles, 4 hours) for a quick visit on your way back to Istanbul. Find your  Ankara hotel , and turn in your rental car.

(To shorten this itinerary by a day, turn in your rental car in Ürgüp and take the  evening flight  from  Kayseri  to Istanbul.)

Day 10 –  Ankara

Visit the  Museum of Anatolian Civilisations  (closed Monday; 1 hour), then take a walk through the  Hisar  (citadel) just uphill from it, and have  lunch  in a restaurant in one of the old restored Hisar houses. After lunch, take a taxi to the  Anıtkabir ( Atatürk ‘s mausoleum).

You can travel to  Istanbul  by any of several means:

– Take a  bus  (fast, frequent, cheap, comfortable, convenient)

–   Fly  (fastest, but relatively inconvenient and possibly expensive)

– Take a  train  (cheap, most comfortable, and relatively fast if you take the  high-speed train )

– Drive your  rental car  (tiring, and relatively expensive because of  fuel cost )

Day 11 – Istanbul

Enjoy a late  breakfast  on the rooftop terrace of your hotel with a view of the sea (most hotels have them), but take the  tram  to the  Eminönü ferry docks  to arrive by 10 or 10:15 am to get a seat on the  Bosphorus tour ferry . Leave the boat at  Sarıyer , have  lunch , then take taxis south along the  European shore of the Bosphorus  stopping at Büyükdere to see the  Sadberk Hanım Museum , and at Bebek to see the fortress of  Rumelihisarı . Have  afternoon tea  in the shore village of  Ortaköy , with its baroque waterside  mosque  and  old  Ottoman  houses .

In the evening, enjoy a  Turkish bath .

Day 12 – Istanbul Excursion

If you have an extra day, take a  one-day or overnight  excursion :

Comfortable day-long excursion by bus or car to see the  fine old mosques  and lively  bazaars  of the second  Ottoman capital, delightfully free of tourist crowds.  More…

Zoom south across the  Sea of Marmara  in a fast catamaran to see this first capital of the  Ottoman Empire , with its  fine old mosques ,  silk weaving  trade, and  thermal spas ; make it an overnight and see  İznik (Nicaea)  as well.  More…

Çanakkale – Gallipoli

Long  day-trip  by bus or car to see the  Dardanelles , the  Gallipoli battlefields , and even ancient  Troy ; possible in a  very long day , but better as an  overnight .  More…

Day 13 – Istanbul Shopping

It’s not a bad idea to leave most of your  shopping  until the last day so you won’t have to lug your purchases around with you.

Start the day by seeing the brilliant  Byzantine mosaics  in the  Kariye Museum  out by the gigantic  city walls .

Spend most of the day in the  Grand Bazaar  and the  Egyptian (Spice) Bazaar , or in the boutiques and antique shops on and off  İstiklal Caddesi  in  Beyoğlu .

In the evening, take a taxi to  Beyoğlu  for dinner and perhaps an evening in one of the small cafes or music clubs.

Day 14 – Departure

—by  Tom Brosnahan

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Home > 14 Day Turkey & Greece Itinerary – Best 2 Weeks In 2023

14 Day Turkey & Greece Itinerary – Best 2 Weeks In 2023

Post author SJ

Written by our local expert SJ

Sarah-Jane has lived in Croatia for 10+ years. SJ, as she is known, has been traveling the Balkans & beyond since 2000. She now shares her passion for traveling with her husband & kids.

Have a remarkable 14-day journey filled with history, culture, & breathtaking landscapes using our 14-day Turkey and Greece itinerary. 

Balkans Travel Blog_14 Day Itinerary In Greece & Turkey

If you want to go on a beautiful European holiday and make memories that’ll last a lifetime, consider touring Greece and Turkey.

Now, Turkey is actually in both Europe and Asia. Greece, on the other hand, is an entirely European country. Regardless of the technicalities, however, both countries are home to an incredible melting pot of cultures just waiting to be explored!

It’s not just about experiencing eclectic cultures and rich traditions. Both countries are known for their ancient history, and you can learn all about the past and visit fascinating historical sites.

And don’t forget about the gorgeous scenery and natural landscapes. Both countries – Greece in particular – are known for their pristine beaches and beautiful Mediterranean shorelines. But they also both have unique inland landscapes, including looming mountains, rolling hills, and some very unusual rock formations.

So, the question is, how many days in Greece and how many days in Turkey are ideal for your holiday? Well, you could easily spend a month in each, but for our purposes, a week in each country is sufficient to get a good feel for things.

A Greece and Turkey vacation will allow you to enjoy a little bit of everything – intriguing cultures, ancient histories, beautiful beaches, and beautiful scenery everywhere you look.

Skip Ahead To My Advice Here!

Why You Should Visit Greece And Turkey In One Holiday

The countries are near each other, and Greek and Turkish history is very much intertwined. The records of the Byzantine and Ottoman Empires play a significant role in both countries’ heritages and histories, and there was even a significant amount of movement of people between the two countries.

Greece declared independence from the Ottoman Empire in the 1830s, and the Turks became independent in 1923 after the First World War. The two countries’ relationship has always been tense due to their shared history, but today, they’re both members of NATO, and they’re on reasonably good terms – at least for tourists traveling between the two nations!

Thus, a 14-day trip to travel Greece and Turkey is an excellent idea because the intermeshing of cultures and history undoubtedly makes for an exciting experience! From a practical perspective, it’s also reasonably easy to travel within and between the two countries. Many transport options are commonly used, so they’re efficient, reliable, and relatively cost-effective.

So, if this sounds like an epic holiday to you, you’re in luck because we’re here to help ensure your trip goes off without a hitch!

Without further ado, let’s dive right into how to plan a trip to Turkey and Greece for fourteen days.

Turkey And Greece Itinerary: 14 Days Of Adventure

Best beaches on Naxos Island - Sunbeds with umbrellas on Agios Georgios beach, very popular resort on Naxos island, Greece.

When you’re planning a big trip like this, there are two main things you want to make sure you get right: going to the right places and doing everything in a logical order. The last thing you want to do is waste time and money traveling unnecessarily!

But luckily for you, I’ve already done all the hard work, so you don’t need to worry about how to plan a trip to Turkey and Greece. On top of getting the logistics right, I will give you all the extra insider info you need based on my personal experience of traveling to both countries.

Day 1: Istanbul

Eminönü - Galata Bridge Istanbul -3

Start the best Turkey itinerary by flying directly into Istanbul Airport, the ultimate European and Asian travel hub that falls perfectly between the two continents. The city even has an international airport on each side of the continental border!

A few places will be most frequently recommended when it comes to where to stay, but I recommend the Taksim area – more specifically, Galata. It’s a beautiful, lively, and safe area with loads to do and see both during the day and at all hours during the night.

Start your day wandering around Galata and find a café for breakfast – make sure you try a traditional Turkish breakfast (Kahvalti) and Turkish coffee as you have a full day ahead. Then, make your way to the historic 14th-century Galata Tower. You can either pay to go up to the top or enjoy the view from the bottom.

Continue your walk down to Karaköy on the water’s edge and cross the bridge over the Golden Horn, past the local fishermen, towards Eminönü. From there, you’ll need to walk up to Sultanahmet – you can take a tram, but it’s far more interesting to wander the streets.

Sultanahmet is where you’ll find the city’s most visited tourist attractions: the iconic Hagia Sophia, the Blue Mosque, and the Basilica Cistern. They’re within a few minutes of each other, so it makes sense to try and see them in one day. You can spend the rest of the day in this area with ease.

Top tip: Buy a ticket for the Basilica Cistern online to skip the queue!

Head back across the bridge to your accommodation in Taksim. When you’re ready for dinner, take a stroll around the neighborhood and wander off the main streets to find the best local food spots .

Day 2: Istanbul

Closed shop exterior with metal door covered with colorful graff

Your second day in Istanbul will take you a little further out of the main touristy spots to an area called Kadıköy (not to be confused with Karaköy), found on the Anatolian (or Asian) side of the city.

So, head back down to Karaköy on the shore front – this time, stick to the lefthand side of the bridge and head straight to the ferry station. From there, jump on the ferry heading to Kadıköy – best of all, it’s not just about the destination. You’ll cross the Bosphorus Strait during the ferry ride, a bucket-list item.

Spending the day in Kadıköy is about wandering around the stores, exploring the gorgeous coastline, and visiting the local markets. The highlight will be visiting the local Kadıköy Fish Market, where you’ll find vendors selling fresh fish and other local eats – make sure you try the stuffed mussels!

Take a walk down the coastal pathway towards Moda and visit Umbrella Street, a popular main street bustling with shops and vendors. It’s also known for its colorful aesthetic and historic tramline that runs through it.

The atmosphere feels quite different in Kadıköy than it does on the European side – everything is a little quieter, and you can wander into the mosques and see them in all their glory without being stuck in a noisy crowd. Just ensure you’re dressed appropriately; for women, always take a headscarf just in case.

Head back to your accommodation and try out some local seafood for dinner. There are several restaurants along the shoreline in Karaköy that are known, in particular, for their fish wraps.

Once you’ve eaten, wander down Istiklal Street – it’s sure to be full of people until the early morning hours, and you’ll find plenty of bars and live music venues up the alleyways. If you’re unsure, ask a local.

Day 3: Istanbul

Sultanahmet Grand Bazaar

It’s your last day and night in Istanbul , and it’s free time to hit up the bazaars. The Grand Bazaar is located in the Fatih district, and you can get there easily by foot if you walk up from the Eminönü area. The Bazaar was built in the 15th century and has been used by locals to sell spices, clothing, sweets, tea, food, and just about anything else you can think of for centuries.

Today, it’s an absolute hub of activity, and the atmosphere is electric – make sure you do some haggling before settling on a price!

Once you’ve had enough of the Grand Bazaar, return to Yenii Cami (the New Mosque) and check out the Egyptian Spice Bazaar. It’s also super busy and sure to overwhelm your senses with oodles of color and plenty of different smells – in the best way possible.

After the bazaars, catch a bus over to the charming little neighborhood of Balat. It’s a historic area full of colorful streets, plenty of artwork, and cultural heritage. This is a fantastic place to spend the afternoon and evening – Balat is known for its epic food scene and awesome nightlife. Or if you prefer palaces, head to Topkapi Palace and museum.

Getting back to Taksim is also relatively easy – the buses normally run until about 23:00, but you can even walk if you feel up to it.

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Day 4: Selçuk

Marble reliefs in Ephesus historical ancient city, in Selcuk,Izmir,

Next up, you’re heading to Selçuk. It’s pretty easy to get there, and you have a few options – you can get there by bus, train, or plane – but I’d suggest flying.

But your one night in Selçuk is actually all about visiting Ephesus, the ruins of what used to be the largest and most important city in the ancient Mediterranean world.

You only have one day and a lot to see; you’re only a few minutes away from Ephesus, and you can easily get there via public transport. So, arrive at your accommodation in the morning, freshen up, and hit the road because the sooner you get there, the quieter it’ll be.

The Ephesus tour covers 415 hectares, and visitors can wander around from one site to the next, exploring the ancient ruins – you can also do a guided tour if you prefer.

Here are the top sites you ought to visit:

  • The Library of Celsus
  • The Temple of Hadrian
  • The Temple of Artemis
  • Ephesus Great Theater
  • The Baths of Ephesus
  • The Terraced Houses
  • The Winged Nike
  • Hercules’ Gate

…and last but not least, the Ephesus Museum if you really want the full experience. Of course, this is a lot to fit into one day, so you may have to pick and choose. But make sure you spend some time wandering around the city center .

  • Complete Guide To Ephesus

After exploring the ancient city , head back to Selçuk before a relaxed dinner near your accommodation. Among my top recommendations would be SelçukKoftecisifor, a traditional Turkish meal of koftas and other delicious treats!

Day 5: Cappadocia

Colorful hot air balloons before launch in Goreme national park

Head straight to the airport bright and early for a quick flight to Kayseri – the flight is about an hour and a half – and then a bus ride to the gorgeous, arid town of Göreme in the Cappadocia region.

Now remember, Cappadocia – the famous home to Turkish hot air balloons , fairy chimneys, underground cities, and interesting rock formations often called “lunar landscapes” – is a region, and there are several places you can stay. But I personally think Göreme is the best. It’s conveniently situated, the town has a lovely atmosphere, and the scenery is just breathtaking – every morning, you can see the hot air balloon rides take flight no matter where you are in the town!

When you arrive in Göreme, the best thing to do is explore on foot and take it all in. Wander the streets and hire some bicycles in the town center – it’s cheap and a great way to explore. Take a ride out to Love Valley and see the unique rock formations – you can even take a picnic along and enjoy a Turkish lunch out in the open.

If you still have energy in the evening, book a sunset horseback ride around the nearby valleys – this is more appropriate than you think because Cappadocia is known as “the Land of Beautiful Horses.” Afterward, pick one of the many local restaurants to enjoy a delicious meal with a view !

Top Tip: Try the testi kebab – it’s a traditional meal from Cappadocia, and it’s a yummy kebab cooked in a local clay pot.

Day 6: Cappadocia

Turkey Cappadocia, Rock Formations in Pasabag Monks Valley - Things to do in Cappadocia

Get ready for lots of sightseeing because today, you’re going on a tour! While in Göreme, you can do three main tours – red, green, and blue. They all involve different sites and main attractions, but I’d suggest the green – it involves attractions you can’t see without your own mode of transport.

You’ll be collected from your accommodation at around 9:30 in the morning, and you’ll visit a plethora of different attractions – some are scenic viewpoints, and others involve a little more interaction. A few of the tour’s highlights include:

  • Ihlara Valley
  • Pigeon Valley
  • Derinkuyu Underground City
  • Nar Crater Lake

At around 14:00, you’ll be treated to a lovely lunch right on the banks of the Melendiz River, and you’ll be able to choose between various delicious local meals.

Although this tour involves a fair bit of driving, it doesn’t feel like you’re spending ages in the car because you stop frequently and get to see and do various things. You also enjoy an easy-to-moderate hike at one point, so you get to stretch your legs and get out into nature.

Finally, the tour ends with a final stop at a local Turkish sweet shop, where you’ll get to taste a variety of traditional sweets, including Turkish delight and halva.

You’re unlikely to feel like a big meal when you get home, but if you want something small, I’d suggest picking a restaurant with a terrace and enjoying a light bowl of lentil soup – it’s a Turkish favorite and delicious.

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Day 7: Antalya

Is Antalya Worth Visiting - Panoramic idyllic view of the sea coast in Antalya. Taurus mountains in the background and the blue Bay of the Mediterranean sea

Get ready for a change of scenery because you’re heading to the South-East Coast of Turkey . Catch a quick, hour-long flight from Kayseri to Antalya (you can also take a bus that takes about 10 hours) and arrive in this Mediterranean haven. I’d suggest staying in Kaleici (also known as the Old Town) – it’s full of life, and there are loads to do and see!

Head out immediately and start exploring the old town and the Old Harbor – just walking there is a treat as you wind your way through the alleyways filled with shops and restaurants.

Find a local tour company at the harbor and book a boat trip – you can choose between a short, 45-minute trip to the waterfalls or a longer excursion that involves swimming, lunch, and more. It all depends on what you feel like, and the scenery is gorgeous regardless! Just make sure you bargain down the price.

Enjoy lunch at one of the local restaurants in the harbor afterward, and then make your way to Mermerli Plaji, about five minutes away. This is a paid beach, but it’s really nearby, and it’s totally worth it.

In the afternoon, visit Perge – the city’s most famous ancient Roman ruins only 20 minutes from Keleici. For dinner, find a friendly local spot in the Old Town and grab something delicious – you’ll find different types of kebabs everywhere you look.

Day 8: Antalya

Where to stay in Antalya - Konyaalti beach, Antalya

Grab your beach gear and slip on your walking shoes because you’re heading to the beach. Arguably, the nicest beach in Antalya is Konyaalti Beach – it’s about a 40-minute walk, but it’s scenic, and you get to see the city simultaneously. You’ll wander along the old tram line and gaze out at the Mediterranean Sea over the cliffs.

Enjoy the beach park in all its glory – this is an excellent place to hang out all day on the beach, in the restaurants, and perusing the shops. There are plenty of public bathrooms and changing rooms, too. Also, if you’d like to get some exercise, the park has a cool pathway for runners and cyclists. There are also many pretty grassy patches in the shade if you want to picnic.

End your day back in Kaleici for dinner, and make sure you explore the alleyways through Hadrian’s Gate at night – you’ll find plenty of cool bars with live music.

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Day 9: Rhodes

Best Beaches In Rhode - Tsambika beach view from the Tsambika monastery on Rhodes Island

Start your morning early and hop on a bus to Fethiye because you’ll travel from Turkey to Greece. Now, when it comes to Greek islands near Turkey , Rhodes is the closest, and that’s where you’re going – take a ferry from Fethiye to Rhodes Island and get ready to start your Greek adventure. It’s just less than two hours – at least it’s not a ferry from Turkey to Santorini!

You’ll arrive in Rhodes in the afternoon, so stretch your legs after your morning of traveling by exploring Rhodes’ Old Town. Walk through the Old Town city gates and climb to the top of the Roloi Clock Tower for a gorgeous view of the city. Afterward, make sure you visit the Palace of the Grand Master and the Knights of Rhodes and then stroll down the iconic Street of the Knights of Rhodes.

If you still have energy, end your afternoon off by checking out the Acropolis of Rhodes, the ruins of the upper part of the ancient Greek city . Make sure you check out the Odeon – the old marble theater.

End the day on your own terms and find somewhere cool in the Old Town for dinner – you certainly won’t be short of options!

Day 10: Rhodes

Best Beaches In Rhodes - Anthony Quinn Beach

Head down to Mandraki Harbor and breathe in the fresh salty air – the old city walls and gorgeous blue sea will surround you. Make sure you have a look at the two deer statues at the entrance of the harbor. This is where the Colossus of Rhodes used to stand.

Wander around the streets near the shorefront, and if you’re in the mood for a morning dip, there’s a little beach near the harbor.

Take a walk around the outskirts of the harbor and check out the Rhodes Windmills, also known as the Windmills of Mandraki. The windmills are no longer in use, but back in the day, they were used to grind grain that was brought into Rhodes via ships. Today, you can wander around the windmills and catch a boat from there to explore other parts of the coastline!

Spend the rest of your afternoon at Akti Miaouli Beach, a gorgeous, spacious beachfront that stretches a few kilometers long.

For dinner, find yourself a lovely traditional taverna in the Old Town, and make sure you try the local dishes – Lacan is an absolute favorite in Rhodes!

Day 11: Karpathos

Olympos - Karpathos Island, Greece

Start your day with a four-hour ferry from Rhodes to the gorgeous, lesser-known, beautiful island of Karpathos. Located on the southern side of the Aegean Sea , it’s the second largest of the Greek Dodecanese islands, and it’s known for its gorgeous greenery, golden sandy beaches, and traditional and colorful villages.

The best way to get around the island is by hiring a car or scooter, so try and get that sorted as soon as you arrive. Once you’ve got your wheels, head to Olympos Village and wander around the traditional town – you’ll find locals dressed in traditional clothing and getting on with old Greek tasks.

In the afternoon, go to Pigadia, the capital of Karpathos. You can decide what you feel like doing and see when you get there, but here are a few options:

  • The Archaeological Museum
  • Pigadia Acropolis
  • Aperi Basilica

Spend the evening wandering around the restaurants, cafes, and bars – the area will surely be a hustling and bustling hive of activity!

Day 12: Karpathos

Most beautiful beaches of Greece - Achata, in Karpathos island

Enjoy your next day in Karpathos by doing beach hopping – that’s the point of visiting Greece , after all.

Begin at the gorgeous Apella Beach. It’s the perfect spot to spend all day relaxing, and the crystal-clear is breathtaking. There’s even a cute little 13th-century church down the end of the beach if you take a wander!

Next up is Ahata Beach – it’s known for its exquisite blue-blue waters and pebbly shore. It’s a great place to chill out, read your book, and take a few photos.

When you start getting hungry, make your way to Kyra Panagia – this is, arguably, the most popular beach on the island, so it’s sandier and has loads of tavernas and restaurants around. This is the perfect beach if you want to enjoy the Greek sun and a fun, bustling vibe.

If you want to get active, consider either Markis Gialos Beach or Agrilaopotamos – they offer windsurfing and kitesurfing, respectively.

Finally, enjoy the sunset at Agios Nikolaos – you’ll enjoy a gorgeous view of Kasos Island , and if you want to stretch your legs, you can walk up to Paleocasto. Head somewhere scenic for dinner – Gioma Meze is a gorgeous little spot near Agios Nikolaos where you can enjoy good food and a beautiful view.

  • Guide To Karpathos Island

Day 13: Athens

Best Rooftop Bars In Athens

Fly from Karpathos to Athens in just over an hour. Since you only have two nights in the city, I’d suggest you stay in Syntagma Square – it’s historically significant, and now, it’s just super central, and there’s always a buzz. Check out the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier while you’re there!

Head out to the Panathenaic Stadium, the location of the first-ever Olympic Games in 1896. If you want to walk on the track, you can pay to get in and get decent photos from outside.

Next up, make your way to the absolutely massive Temple of Olympian Zeus. The sheer size of the ruins is enough to make it worthwhile!

On your way to the Acropolis, you’ll pass by Hadrian’s Arch, a structure commissioned by the Roman Emperor Hadrian. Note the link to Hadrian’s Gate you visited in Antalya!

The Acropolis was once the heart and soul of ancient Athens and is still a UNESCO World Heritage Site . Ensure you also check out all the main sites and the Acropolis Museum!

End your afternoon with a walk around the quaint (quintessentially Greek) Anafiotika neighborhood.

Top Tip: If you’re looking for an authentic Greek dinner spot, try To Filema in the Syntagma Square area.

Day 14: Athens

Is Athens safe - Monastiraki Square in Athens, Greece

It’s the last day of your Turkey and Greece tour, and it starts with a visit to Monastiraki Square – there are lots of shops and even a little flea market. Just two minutes away, you’ll find Hadrian’s Library, another fascinating set of ancient ruins to wander around.

Head down to the Central Athens Market (also known as Varvakios) and check out where local vendors sell meat, vegetables, fruit, spices, and fish. It’s located close to the Psiri Neighborhood of downtown Athens , and going to the market will give you a really authentic feel for Greek culture.

After the business of the market, make your way to the National Archaeological Museum of Athens, where you’ll see some of the oldest Greek artifacts from all periods of the country’s ancient history.

And finally, end off your holiday by watching an incredible sunset from the top of Mount Lycabettus, the highest point of Athens.

If you want to treat yourself to a special dinner for your last night, make a booking at Orizontes Lycabettus – you’ll be able to enjoy delicious Greek-style food and seafood.

  • Where To Stay In Athens
  • Day Trips From Athens
  • Closest Islands To Athens

Final Thoughts On Your 14-Day Turkey And Greece Itinerary

Scuba diving Turkey - Sea Turtle

And that’s a wrap on your trip from Turkey to the Greek islands – and more! After fourteen days in two of the most beautiful countries in the world (in my humble opinion), you now know that deciding between Greece and Turkey isn’t necessary; you can do both!

Can I visit Greece and Turkey in one trip?

Absolutely – the countries are easy to travel between and have a connected history, making it great to explore both places together.

What is the best way to get from Turkey to Greece or from Greece to Turkey?

Taking a ferry from the Turkish mainland to one of the Greek islands (or vice versa) is the easiest way to get between the countries.

What Greek islands are close to Turkey?

  • Chios can be reached from Cesme.
  • Rhodes can be reached from Marmaris or Fethiye
  • Lesbos can be reached from Ayvalik
  • Kos, Patmos, Leros, or Kalymnos can be reached from Bodrum
  • Samos can be reached from Seferihisar

How many days do I need to explore Greece and Turkey?

We’d recommend no fewer than ten days; however, 14 days or more is optimal.

  • Choosing Between Greece And Turkey
  • Greece To Turkey Transport Guide
  • Greek Food Guide
  • Turkish Food Guide
  • Do’s And Don’ts Of Visiting Turkey

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Suggested Itineraries in Turkey

This section gives you a rough outline of what you can reasonably see in 1 or 2 weeks in Turkey. Here I make all the tough decisions for you (except for one; you'll need to choose between Ephesus and Cappadocia). If the idea of letting someone else plan your entire trip takes the wind out of your sails (and I can't blame you), you still might peruse the itineraries to see my recommendations for exactly how much you can see here in this amount of time.

Note : This information was accurate when it was published, but can change without notice. Please be sure to confirm all rates and details directly with the companies in question before planning your trip.

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14 Days in Turkey: Our Recommendations

When you spend 14 days in Turkey make sure to experience the old and the new sites in Istanbul.

  • ~ mins read

WheGet under the skin of the country that straddles Asia and Europe during your 14 days in Turkey. Jaunt through its major cities like Istanbul and Ankara and follow the footsteps of Greeks and Romans in Troy, Pergamum and Ephesus. Alternatively, hike the spellbinding Lycian Trail, or follow the footsteps of Saint Paul through the Taurus Mountains. Sail down the Aegean if you want to. With our 12 to 15-day tours below, you have a solid amount of time to hit the country’s best sites.

  • Karen Clancy
  • From England

1. Turkey Exclusive: 12 days in Turkey

Air balloon in Cappadocia, Turkey

Discover Turkey’s must-see destinations on this 12-day tour. Go on a sightseeing tour of Ankara before heading south to jaw-dropping Cappadocia . As much as it is known for fairy chimneys, Cappadocia is also home to numerous underground churches and dwellings. See the terraced pools of Pamukkale and travel back in time in Homer’s Troy. Spend your last few of days exploring Istanbul. See the Blue Mosque, Hagia Sophia and grand bazaar. See more 12-day tours in Turkey .

2. A Complete Package: 14 days in Turkey

The blue mosque in Turkey is a sight for sore eyes.

Cover the most sought-after sites of Turkey in 2 weeks with this tour. Starting and ending in Istanbul, this trip will take you through Goreme, Kaymakli, Fethiye and Pamukkale. Visit the spice market while in Istanbul and cover iconic landmarks including Hagia Sophia and grand bazaar. Also included is a visit to the Turkish Riveria in Fethiye during which you will visit its surrounding islands. See more 14-day tours in Turkey .

3. Turkey Blues: Turkey in 2 weeks

Pamukkale is a town in western Turkey known for its thermal waters.

Sail down the mythical Aegean and unravel the rich past of Turkey in 14 days during this trip. Start in Istanbul and make your way down the coast with stops in Troy, Pamukkale and Pergamum. Relive the First World War in Gallipoli and visit Ephesus and Kusadasi. Set sail on the Aegean after you have reached the coast and visit its islands. Describe your ideal 14-day Turkish tour for a customized itinerary .

4. Treasures of Turkey: 15 days in Turkey

The Celus library is an important Roman building in Anatolia, Turkey.

You will not be short of things to do during this 15-day tour. Having explored Istanbul, you are off to encounter breathtaking views of Turkey’s stunning coastline. Visit the shores of Gallipoli and the beautiful city of Antalya. Then see the cascading thermal pools of Pamukkale as well as Perge, home to mosaics dating back to the Bronze Age. Spend two nights soaking up the views of Cappadocia before flying back to Istanbul. See more 15-day tours in Turkey .

The above itineraries are a glimpse into the possibilities that 14 days in Turkey can open up. More ideas for the duration are available in our list of 14-day Turkey itineraries . Don’t have 14 days to spare? Then check out our guide on how many days to spend in Turkey for more ideas. You can also contact our local travel expert to create a customized trip. Or book one of the packaged tours in Turkey .

More information

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The Best Turkey Itinerary 10 Days: A Detailed Itinerary for Turkey

turkey itinerary

Looking for a Turkey Itinerary 10 days long?

Turkey is a true land of wonder. With highlights like the bustling streets of Istanbul , the otherworldly landscapes of Cappadocia , the white terraced Pamukkale thermal pools , the turquoise coastline and the ruins of several ancient cities like Ephesus , Turkey has so much to offer. 

This 10 days Turkey itinerary is the perfect first experience of the country. Taking you through top attractions, historic sites, culture steeped moments, jaw-dropping scenery and scrumptious cuisine, you won’t want to leave. 

itinerary for turkey

* This post may contain affiliate links, which means I may receive a commission, at no extra cost to you, if you make a purchase through a link. Please see my  full disclosure  for further information.

Every itinerary for Turkey should follow a logical loop and make transportation and accommodation easy to plan. This Turkey itinerary for 10 days starts in Istanbul , where the majority of people land in the country and makes a straightforward journey around Turkey, by plane, car, or bus .

I’ve also included a two week Turkey itinerary and 7 day Turkey itinerary options if that’s more suitable to your timeline.

In this Turkey trip planner, you will find a destination breakdown, like things to do and where to stay , and the best way to get from place to place . If you plan to take a Turkey road trip by car, I’ve got you covered there, too.

Turkey Itinerary Essentials

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10 day Turkey Itinerary: Overview

Day 1: Istanbul – Sultanahmet + Balat Day 2: Istanbul – Kadikoy, Galata + Besiktas Day 3: Istanbul – Food Tour + Asian Side Day 4: Cappadocia Day 5: Hot Air Balloon + Cappadocia Red Tour Day 6: Cappadocia Blue Tour Day 7: Antalya Old Town Day 8: Antalya Beach Day Day 9: Pamukkale Thermal Pools Day 10: Ephesus Ancient Ruins

10 Day Itinerary for Turkey: Route Map

10 days turkey itinerary

Driving in Turkey

Renting a car in turkey.

Looking to take a Turkey road trip? You can find a few different rental car companies located at the Istanbul international airport. But, due to the popularity of the region, I’d highly suggest booking your rental car before you arrive , and at least a couple of weeks in advance if possible. 

DiscoverCars is a great way to find the best cost and type of car that suits you and your Turkey travel itinerary. 

Check out this detailed guide on renting a car in Turkey (plus tips!)

turkey trip planner

Since your 10 day Turkey itinerary starts in Istanbul, I’d suggest heading into the Istanbul centre first by airport transfer , spending a few days exploring the sights and then picking up your car afterwards. I’ve heard from other travellers that driving in the city limits of the metropolis of Istanbul can be chaotic and stressful. So it’s best to avoid this on your trip.

NOTE | Depending on your nationality, you may require an International Drivers Permit AND a valid national drivers license in Turkey to rent a car . You also need to be over 21 years of age.

Book a Rental Car for your Turkey Itinerary

Tolls While Driving in Turkey

You will likely hit a few toll highways on your Turkey itinerary, but don’t worry, you don’t need to keep cash on hand to pay these tolls. Turkey has an HGS system that charges the toll electronically through a device set in your rental car. Simply slow down to 30km/h and it will register the toll on your car.

Once you’ve returned your Turkey car rental, you will be provided with a bill of tolls you accumulated during your trip. Each toll can be upwards of 30TL ($2.25USD).

Parking in Turkey

Parking in Turkey is straightforward. Except for a few larger cities, you can find free and ample street parking. If you are parking at an attraction, prices may be upwards of 5-10TL which is only $0.75USD). Rural parking is a breeze. This Turkey 10 days itinerary will have plenty of parking available to you via the street, so no worries there.

NOTE | Make sure to contact your hotel before booking to ensure they have parking available for you.

turkey itinerary 10 days

Turkey Itinerary 10 Days : Days 1, 2 + 3

Day 1-3 Emphasis: Culture, Food, Historic Buildings

14 day travel itinerary turkey

Day 0: Arrive in Istanbul (evening)

I’ve made the assumption and exclusion of your travel day to Turkey for purposes of streamlining this 10 days in Turkey itinerary. 

Since you may be arriving by a hopper flight from Greece, or far-off places like New York or Vancouver, I am excluding that time from the Turkey itinerary. The itinerary for Turkey’s 10 days starts bright and early in Istanbul’s historic centre . 

10 days turkey itinerary

Airport Transfer

If you are landing at the Istanbul International Airport or Sabiha Gokcen International Airport, I recommend scheduling an airport transfer to get you from the arrivals gate to your hotel in no time. Plus, it’s relatively economical !

Book an IST Airport Transfer

Book a SAW Airport Transfer

About Istanbul

Istanbul is not the capital of Turkey but can be considered the cultural capital of the country . The metropolis of 15.5 million people is split across two continents: Europe and Asia . The only city in the world to don this title. 

Istanbul Guide: Best Areas to Stay + Things to Do

From the bustling alleyways of historic Sultanahmet to the awe-inspiring architecture of the Hagia Sophia and Dolmabahce Palace , to the spice-heavy local food , Istanbul is a traveller’s dream.

The city can be explored on foot with a good pair of comfy walking shoes and a centrally located boutique hotel in Istanbul . Or, you can take the much accessible city transportation to get to all Istanbul’s attractions. 

Istanbul Hotels

Sultanahmet | Hotel Miniature (my fave!) Eminonu | Regie Ottoman Istanbul Hotel Karakoy | Hotel Sub Karakoy Galata | Galata Times Boutique Hotel

Best Istanbul Tours

Experience the top activities in Istanbul Istanbul Highlights: 1 or 2 Day Private Tour Istanbul Food + Culture Tour: 2 Continents Bosphorus Sunset Cruise

Day 1: Historic Istanbul (Sultanahmet + Balat)

Morning in sultanahmet district.

turkey itinerary for 10 days

Rich culture seeps into every nook and cranny of Istanbul’s historic district of Sultanahmet . Iconic buildings like the Hagia Sophia Mosque , the Blue Mosque , and the Grand Bazaar attract millions of tourists every year. 

This district also includes highlights like the underground Basilica Cistern , the expansive grounds of the Topkapi Palace , and the mouth-watering Spice Market . Start day one of your Turkey itinerary in Sultanahmet and explore the neighbourhood on foot . 

The Sultanahmet district is also a great place to base yourself during this leg of your travel itinerary for Turkey. The central location of Sulahanmet (historic district) means transportation to other districts in Istanbul is close and convenient. 

Afternoon in Balat District

turkey travel itinerary

Next, make your way to the colourful district of Balat and Fener via the bus stop at Eminonu . The 48E, 99, 99Y, 99A, 36CE and 44B bus routes all journey past the Balat/Fener neighbourhood. The bus trip should take less than 10 minutes depending on traffic. Get off at the ‘ Fener ’ bus stop . You can purchase tickets from the ticket machines located near all major bus, tram and ferry stops in the city.

This area graces the shoreline of the Golden Horn and is chock full of cute cafes and local shops . A few alleyways here are known for picture-perfect rainbow rowhouses and scenic views of the bay. A great neighbourhood to sit and people watch on this itinerary for Turkey 10 days.

End the first day of your epic Turkey itinerary with a good night’s sleep, because day 2 brings more adventures on foot across the Golden Horn!

14 day travel itinerary turkey

Tips for Day 1 of your Turkey Travel Itinerary

  • Remember a headscarf for visiting mosques today
  • If you are limited on time, I recommend visiting the Spice Market over the Grand Bazaar for a more authentic experience
  • Save your appetite for Balat’s many quality cafes as Sultanahmet offers inauthentic food catered to tourists

Day 1 Turkey Itinerary Top Attractions:

  • Hagia Sophia Mosque
  • Blue Mosque
  • Basilica Cistern
  • Topkapi Palace
  • Grand Bazaar
  • Spice Market 
  • Balat’s Colourful Houses

Day 2: European Istanbul (Karakoy, Galata, Besiktas)

On day two of this Turkey travel itinerary, you’ll spend time in the Beyoglu region of Istanbul . Neighbourhoods like Karakoy, Galata, Taksim and Besiktas are included in the Beyoglu area. This side of the Golden Horn is considered New Istanbul . 

If you are staying in the Sultanahmet district , make your way to the Eminonu tram station . Take the T1 tram to the Kabatas stop near the Dolmabahce Palace . This will be your first Istanbul highlight of the day.

Dolmabahce Palace in the Besiktas District

turkey 10 days itinerary

As one of the highlights of my week spent in Istanbul, I highly recommend adding a visit to the Dolmabahce Palace to your Turkey itinerary.

Make sure to get there early , by opening time if possible. The Dolmabahce Palace opens at 9AM. Note, there are no photos or videos allowed in the palace at any time. I rented out an audio tour of the palace and can say it was worth the extra dollars. 

Lunch in Karakoy District

10 day itinerary turkey

Jump back on the T1 tram and get off at the Karakoy stop.

Located at the mouth of the Golden Horn where the bay meets the Bosphorus Strait means Karakoy was once a busy port district. While that’s no longer the case, Karakoy has grown into a hipster paradise , full of utterly cool Istanbul boutique hotels .

Quaint cafes and lively main streets make this a great spot to spend your midday and lunch hour. Converted historic buildings now toting trendy digs make Karakoy the newest up-and-coming neighbourhood in Istanbul. 

I wandered around the alleyways and found myself on a self-guided food tour of the neighbourhood. Stopping at hole-in-the-walls along the way for fresh koftas and a small bowl of local soup (amongst other local delicacies).

travel itinerary for turkey

I think this is a great way to experience Karakoy since it’s considered a foodie hotspot. Make sure to peruse the seaside promenade and do some people-watching.

Optional Karakoy Activity: Have a traditional hammam experience at the Kilic Ali Pasa Hamam , considered one of the top spas in the city. Ladies only during 8am-4:30pm and gentlemen only between 4:30pm-11:30pm. Alternatively, you can check out these top spa hotels in Istanbul and partake in a traditional treatment from the comfort of your accommodation.

Optional Next Stop: Head up to the Taksim district , considered the modern shopping district of Istanbul for your fill of all the big brands and to see the historic tram and peruse the lively Istiklal Street.

Afternoon in Galata District

travel itinerary turkey

Head uphill from the Karakoy district towards the Galata Tower. The shining beacon of the Galata neighbourhood as it sweeps the skyline. Along the way duck inside the local shops as you slowly meander the cobbled alleyways . 

Make sure to climb the Galata Tower for unparalleled views of the Golden Horn, the city of Istanbul and the Bosphorus Straight beyond. 

Have early dinner here and then spend sunset on the Galata Bridge with scenic views of the Golden Horn and Galata district. Watch the fishermen take in their evening’s catch. 

turkey trip itinerary

Tips for Day 2 of your Travel Turkey Itinerary

  • Visit the Dolmabahce Palace early (at opening time – 9AM)
  • Schedule your hammam experience a few days beforehand – Kilic Ali Pasa is popular! And wear a bathing suit under your clothes
  • Skip Taksim district if shopping isn’t a priority

Day 2 Travel Itinerary Turkey – Top Attractions:

  • Dolmabahce Palace
  • Kilic Ali Pasa Hamam
  • Taksim historic tram
  • Istiklal Street
  • Galata Tower
  • Galata Bridge

turkey road trip itinerary

Day 3: Food Tour + Asian Istanbul (Kadikoy + Moda)

On the Asian side of Istanbul, you’ll find a more authentic look at life in a metropolitan Turkish city. This is also where long-term expats and digital nomads tend to stay in Istanbul, away from the touristic centre and where apartments are offered at a more economical price.

Nevertheless, for the purposes of a Turkey trip itinerary for 10 days, this will be the core of day 3. I’ve opted to add a food tour to your time spent in Istanbul because I believe a food tour is the best way to start your time in this country . 

A food culture speaks volumes about whatever country you choose to visit, and Turkey is no exception. With small share plates and quick street foods eaten by hand, you can already tell that the Turkish people prioritize family, community and fast solutions to busy city life. 

turkey tour itinerary

You can either choose a daytime food tour or an evening food tour. Each tour will start in the historic centre of Sultanahmet and include a ferry ride across the Bosphorus to the Asian neighbourhoods of Kadikoy and Moda. 

NOTE | If requested beforehand , your food tour guide can arrange a fully vegetarian experience for you, but unfortunately vegan is not possible .

14 day travel itinerary turkey

Book an Evening Istanbul Food Tour

Book a Daytime Istanbul Food Tour

Tips for Day 3 of your Turkey Trip Itinerary

  • If you opt for an evening food tour, spend the day in Moda and Kadikoy and request your tour guide meet you there
  • Wear good walking shoes because you will be on your feet a lot on your food tour
  • Try to eat conservatively before your food tour . You will be stuffed by the end!

Day 3 Turkey Tour Itinerary – Top Attractions:

  • Ferry Ride on the Bosphorus
  • Tasting traditional Turkish food
  • Discovering less-visited districts of Moda and Kadikoy

best turkey itinerary

Turkey Itinerary 10 Days : Days 4, 5 + 6

Day 4-6 Emphasis: Adventure, Bucket List Experiences, History

turkey 10 day trip cost

Day 4: Arrive in Cappadocia

How to get to cappadocia from istanbul .

The fastest way to get from Istanbul to Cappadocia is by plane . And since there are plenty of flights departing the IST and SAW airport in Istanbul daily, it’s also the most convenient. Prices start at $27 USD so it’s also really affordable . 

I use Skyscanner to book short-haul flights globally.

Book a Flight from Istanbul to Cappadocia

turkey itinerary

For other options like train and bus , check out my complete guide on how to get from Istanbul to Cappadocia .

How to Get from Istanbul to Cappadocia: Ultimate Guide

If you are following a Turkey road trip itinerary , head back to the IST airport and pick up your car rental for driving to Cappadocia .

Book a Rental Car for your 10 Days in Turkey

Cappadocia Airport Transfer

If you are arriving by plane, you will land in either the Nevşehir Kapadokya Airport or Kayseri Erkilet Airport. No matter what airport you arrive at, you can schedule a shared Cappadocia airport transfer that will bring you to your hotel in Goreme (the main tourist town).

Book Cappadocia Airport Transfer

10 days turkey itinerary

About Cappadocia 

The region of Cappadocia is probably the most popular tourist destination in Turkey , and there’s no wondering why. This area of Turkey is full of scenic landscapes, unique rock formations, picturesque valleys and bucket list experiences. 

Gaining popularity on Instagram with sunrise images of hot air balloon rides and novelty cave hotels , Cappadocia is a once-in-a-life-time spot.

You can read all about the history of Cappadocia, the best places to stay, how to get around and top things to do (plus much more) in my complete Cappadocia travel guide .

The best Turkey itinerary will always include a stop in Cappadocia.

Cappadocia Guide: Where to Stay + Things to Do

How to Get Around Cappadocia

Cappadocia isn’t one town, it’s an entire region comprised of 5 main towns and a few smaller villages. Given that, the area’s attractions are quite distant from each other and cannot be visited on foot . 

turkey itinerary 10 days

If you are staying in Goreme, the central tourist town of Cappadocia, you can reach the central attractions like Pigeon, Rose and Love Valley by hiking, but if you are looking to see all the region has to offer, including the fairy chimneys, underground cities and open-air museums, I’d suggest either a guided day tour or rental car in Cappadocia .

You can have a rental car waiting for you at either Cappadocia airport by booking ahead. Since Cappadocia is a popular region, I suggest booking your rental car at least 2 weeks out . >>>> CHECK PRICES + AVAILABILITY OF RENTAL CARS IN TURKEY

Cappadocia Hotels

Top Pick | Sultan Cave Suites (my fave!) Cave Hotel | Koza Cave Hotel Cave Hotel | Mithra Cave Hotel Budget Hotel | Antique Terrace Suites

Best Cappadocia Tours

Cappadocia Hot Air Balloon Ride Cappadocia Red Tour Cappadocia Blue Tour Private Cappadocia Custom Tour (my fave!)

Pigeon Valley Walk + Red Valley Sunset Viewpoint

If you’ve arrived in Cappadocia midday, venture out to Pigeon Valley and stroll through the picturesque canyon. Here you will see small pigeon caves carved into the rock face, which once housed thousands of pigeons.

Next, grab your rental car or hop in a taxi and enjoy the sunset from the scenic Red Valley Cappadocia sunset spot .

itinerary for turkey

Day 5: Hot Air Balloon Ride + Cappadocia Red Tour

Sunrise hot air balloon ride.

Today brings an early wake-up call , so make sure to get to bed early on your arrival day. Depending on the time of year, a sunrise hot air balloon tour can start anywhere between 4:30 and 7:30AM. It’s time to tick off this bucket list experience !

14 day travel itinerary turkey

All sunrise hot air balloon tours start by picking you up at your hotel within central Cappadocia (Goreme and Uchisar). Enjoy a light breakfast and then head to the balloon launching site and watch the pilot and crew ready your epic flight. 

You can opt for a private, semi-private, or group balloon tour, but nevertheless, it will end with a champagne toast and certificate of completion. This is an absolute must on your 10 days Turkey itinerary.

If your time is truly limited in Cappadocia, opt to stay at a hotel in Cappadocia with a view of the balloons at sunrise .

Book a Sunrise Hot Air Balloon Ride

Red Tour of North Cappadocia

Generally speaking, all tours either cover the red, blue or green sections of the Cappadocia region. The Cappadocia Red Tour will explore the attractions that are located at the north end of Cappadocia . 

Highlights of the Cappadocia Red Tour include:

  • Devrent Valley (Imagination Valley)
  • Pasabagi Valley (Fairy Chimneys)
  • Goreme Open Air Museum
  • Uchisar Castle

Book the Cappadocia Red Tour

The red tour is a great addition to your itinerary for Turkey because it i ncludes transportation, lunch and a knowledgeable guide to teach you about Cappadocia history and attraction-specific information. It also departs at 10AM which gives you ample time to return from your morning’s hot air balloon adventure.

End your day having dinner on the panoramic patio of Seten Restaurant located in the iconic Sultan Cave Suites (easily one of my favourite Cappadocia hotels). Or enjoy a traditional home-cooked 3 course meal cozied up inside Pumpkin restaurant .

turkey travel itinerary

Day 6: Sunrise + Cappadocia Blue Tour 

Watching hot air balloons at sunrise.

I highly recommend booking a Goreme hotel that comes with a panoramic veranda to watch the hot air balloons fly at sunrise.

If you are feeling more adventurous, make your way to this Love Valley Cappadocia sunrise spot to watch the hot air balloons float by , easily one of my favourite experiences while in Cappadocia.

Blue Tour of Central + Southern Cappadocia

Your guided Cappadocia Blue Tour will depart at 10AM. After enjoying a traditional Turkish breakfast spread at your hotel, your tour guide will pick you up for day 6 of your Turkey itinerary 10 days. Today you will be exploring the central and southern attractions of the Cappadocia region . 

turkey itinerary for 10 days

Highlights of the Cappadocia blue tour include :

  • Red and Rose Valley Hike
  • Cavusin Cave Village (Old Greek Rock Houses)
  • Underground City
  • Pigeon Valley
  • Ortahisar Castle

Book the Cappadocia Blue Tour

10 day turkey tour

Opting for a Private Cappadocia Tour

I f you’d prefer a more exclusive private experience, I’d recommend booking this private Cappadocia day tour . I can highly recommend it since it’s the tour I took and was super pleased with . 

I ended up paying more because I wanted to start my tour at sunrise at the Love Valley viewpoint and end at sunset at Red Valley. Usually, tours start at 10 AM . It was well worth it, in my opinion. You can also customize it to visit only the Cappadocia attractions you are interested in, which I found very appealing.

Book the Cappadocia Private Tour

End your third day in Cappadocia at Turkish Ravioli restaurant indulging in the local ravioli meal called manti with a glass of Anatolian wine in hand.

turkey 10 days itinerary

Turkey Itinerary 10 Days : Day 7 + 8

Day 7-8 Emphasis: Relaxation

10 day itinerary turkey

Day 7: Arrive in Antalya + Antalya Old Town

Arriving in antalya.

The best way to get from Cappadocia to Antalya is by plane . You can book a flight through the Kayseri Airport through Turkish Airlines or Pegasus (the low-budget airline in Turkey). Flights are direct and take just over an hour.

Flights from Cappadocia to Antalya start at $40USD, so it also makes it a really economical option .

>>> Check Skyscanner for Flights to Antalya

10 days itinerary turkey

Remember to book your Kayseri airport transfer . The journey from Goreme town to Kayseri should take just over an hour.

You can also get from Cappadocia to Antalya along your Turkey travel itinerary by boarding the bus . The bus departs from the Goreme bus station and reaches the Antalya bus station in approximately 10-11 hours (including rest stops) and bus ticket prices start at $8USD .

>>> Check Bus Prices + Schedule for Antalya on 12Go

Of course, you can also make the journey via rental car . I’d recommend a stop in Konya halfway through your drive for a good night’s sleep if you have the time. The journey should take 8 hours and is easily navigated through Google Maps .

>>> Check Prices + Availability of Rental Cars in Turkey

Only have 7 days? Head straight from Cappadocia to Pamukkale

turkey 10 day itinerary

How to Get Around Antalya

The city of Antalya is sprawled across the coastline of Turkey with the old town located on the far east and the famous Konyaalti Beach situated on the west. 

If you base yourself on the outskirts of the old town (which is where I stayed) you can easily meander the alleyways of the old town when you arrive on foot . 

The next morning will be a beach day, so you can either take the 45-minute walk along the coastline to the beach or grab the city bus . I opted to walk.

Since it was a hot day even in late October, we took a taxi back to Antalya’s old town after the beach. You can find them waiting in this area .

turkey vacation itinerary

About Antalya

Antalya, (known as the Turkish Riviera), the crowning jewel of Turkey’s turquoise coast is a busy and relaxed metropolis (almost 1.5 million people call Antalya home). 

With the backdrop of the Taurus mountains and the large stretch of sand gracing the shoreline, Antalya attracts tourists from near and far for a Mediterranean beach vacation. Antalya was one of the first cities to introduce mass tourism in Turkey in the 1980s and has become popular ever since. Originally settled by the Greeks in 200 BC and quickly taken over by the Romans, Antalya has been a thriving coastal city and port for centuries and boasts a quaint and lively old town to prove it.

Antalya Hotels

Top Pick | Sibel Pension (my fave!) Apartment | Mavi Avlu Old Town Midrange Hotel | Mai Inci Hotel

Best Antalya Tours

Koprulu Ziplining + Rafting Tour Perge, Aspendoes + Waterfall Tour Taurus Mountain Jeep Safari Tour

Exploring Antalya Old Town

Nestled on the clifftop of eastern Antalya is the lively and charming old town district , also known as Kaleici (‘within the castle’ in Turkish ) . Once you’ve arrived in Antalya, make your way to the winding enchanting streets of old town.

You can spend the afternoon ducking into shops, people watching while sipping Turkish coffee, purchasing souvenirs and walking the scenic coastline promenade over the Roman Harbour . 

The architecture in old town is a mix of well preserved Ottoman mansions and Roman ruins like Hadrian’s Gate .

14 day travel itinerary turkey

I particularly loved the trendy coffee spot called The Sudd , so if you are a coffee person make sure to grab a cappuccino there. If night life is your goal, there are many pubs in the area that offer late night entertainment and beer drinking culture . 

Or, for something quieter , grab a glass of wine at Karaf Bistro and sit by the window.

NOTE | If you’d like to stay in Antalya old town like me, make sure to book a place on the outskirts . The centre of old town can get quite loud and stay loud until very late at night.

Day 8: Antalya Beach Day + Evening Bus to Pamukkale

Spend the day at konyaalti beach.

Since day 8 of your Turkey itinerary for 10 days is prioritizing relaxation, you can lie in as late as you want. Today you will be heading to the famous Konyaalti Beach , the main attraction for holiday goers in Antalya. 

This pebble beach is 7kms long with many amenities. If you are staying in old town, you can reach the eastern most point of Konyaalti beach in a 45 minute walk. If walking that far in the heat isn’t your cup of tea, grab the city bus . 

Looking for more adventure? Try this Antalya ancient ruins and waterfall day tour

Evening Bus to Pamukkale

After a day of frolicking in the waves and catching some sun, its time to move on to the Pamukkale thermal pools, a unique highlight of Turkey.

14 day travel itinerary turkey

How to Get from Antalya to Pamukkale

Catch the afternoon or evening bus from Antalya bus station to the town of Denizli , just outside of Pamukkale. You can use 12Go to book your bus tickets. The bus journey on this leg of your Turkey 10 days itinerary will take approximately 4 hours with ticket prices starting at $6USD. 

>>> Check Bus Price + Schedule for Pamukkale on 12Go

NOTE | The bus will not take you directly to the town of Pamukkale, so you will need to catch the minibus from platform 76 at the Denizli bus station to make the 30 minute journey to Pamukkale. The flight itinerary from Antalya to Pamukkale is indirect (transferring in Istanbul or Izmir) and more hassle than it’s worth . Taking the bus is the best way to get from Antalya to Pamukkale if you aren’t renting a car.

turkey turquoise coast itinerary

Turkey Itinerary 10 Days : Day 9

Day 9 Emphasis: Natural Wonder, Ancient Ruins + Relaxation

10 day trip to turkey itinerary

Day 9: Pamukkale Thermal Pools + Evening Bus to Ephesus (Selcuk)

How to get around pamukkale.

Make sure to book a hotel in the centre of Pamukkale town. That way you can reach the Pamukkale main gates within a 10-15 minute walk (maximum). You can always get your hotel reception to call you a taxi, too.

About Pamukkale

Pamukkale hot springs has become a medicinal destination known the world over. Mineral rich water is pushed from deep down under the earth and cascades over the hill above Pamukkale. Once the calcium hardens, it creates small tiered pools . 

The water has been known to treat chronic disorders like skin, eyes and digestive issues. Right behind the pools are the ancient ruins of Hierapolis . Make sure to spend an hour or two exploring the property.

guided tours of turkey

Visiting Pamukkale Thermal Pools

Since you only have one morning at the Pamukkale hot springs in this 10 day itinerary Turkey, I suggest you get an early start. The main gate to Pamukkale doesn’t open until 8AM, causing most people to miss sunrise atop the pools.

If you grab a quick 5 minute taxi to the south entrance , you can enter the Pamukkale grounds at 6AM. Well worth the early wake up call. Make your way toward the hilltop and watch the hot air balloons fly over the unique landscape. 

Pamukkale Guide: Where to Stay + Things to Do

Before wading through the natural pools, visit the Hierapolis ancient ruins . The most famous ruins is the Roman amphitheatre , which is still well preserved today. 

Next, take an hour and soak in Cleopatra’s Pool (at a small extra cost). Finally, make your way to the top of the white terraces, remove your shoes and wade through the pools and exit through the main gate. 

Pamukkale Hotels

Top Pick | Pamukkale Whiteheaven Hotel Apartment | Venus Suite Hotel Midrange Hotel | Bellamaritimo Hotel

Best Pamukkale Tours

Pamukkale Hot Air Balloon Ride

Evening Bus to Ephesus (Selcuk)

Once you enjoy a leisurely traditional lunch at Hiera Coffee + Tea House , hop in a taxi or arrange a shuttle from your hotel to the Denizli bus station. From here, you can board a comfortable bus to the town of Selcuk, just outside the ruins of Ephesus. 

As always, I book my bus tickets through 12Go . The trip takes a scenic 4 hours and costs $6USD to start .

>>> Check Bus Price + Schedule for Ephesus on 12Go

best itinerary for turkey

How to Get from Pamukkale to Ephesus (Selcuk)

Like the Antalya to Pamukkale trip, flying from Pamukkale to Ephesus is a bit of a hassle . You will have a long layover in Istanbul from Denizli to Izmir. And then you’ll have to take a bus from Izmir to Selcuk. The direct bus is a lot more efficient and cost-effective.

If you are renting a car for your Turkey vacation itinerary, the drive will be pleasant and last about 3 hours.

Skipping Ephesus? Find out how to get from Pamukkale to Istanbul

turkey honeymoon itinerary

Turkey Itinerary 10 Days: Day 10

Day 10 Emphasis: History

turkey itinerary 14 days

Day 10: Ephesus + Evening Flight to Istanbul/Home

Arriving in selcuk.

The bus will drop you at the Selcuk central bus station. From here, most hotels in Selcuk are within walking distance (10 minutes max). 

After you check in, head into the old town of Selcuk and enjoy a meal at Artemis Koftecisi Ali Usta . They specialize in traditional Turkish koftas but also have some great vegetarian sides that can be eaten as a meal. Make sure to indulge in a pint of Ephesus beer.

turkey west coast itinerary

How to Get to the Ephesus Ruins from Selcuk

Either arrange a complimentary shuttle with your hotel, like I had at Nilya Hotel , or grab a taxi on the main street to reach the Ephesus ruins. The drive is only 10 minutes, and you will arrive at the upper gate of Ephesus. 

About Ephesus

The ancient city of Ephesus can be dated back as far as the 11th century BC. Originally established by the Greeks (with worship to the goddess Artemis), the Romans ruled over Ephesus for centuries and introduced Christianity to the region. 

Visiting Ephesus: Where to Stay + Things to See

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The city of Ephesus was a thriving Mediterranean port for a significant amount of time, with its decline occurring during the 3rd century AD by the goths.

Major sites here include the Library of Celsus, the Great Amphitheatre and the terrace houses. You can read all about what to see at Ephesus in my complete Ephesus guide .

Ephesus Hotels

Top Pick | Nilya Hotel (where I stayed) Luxury Hotel | Livia Hotel Ephesus Midrange Hotel | Ayasoluk Hotel

Evening Flight from Izmir to Istanbul/Home

Once you’ve had your fill of the ancient ruins of Ephesus, it’s time to go home. I know, its sad but true. 

You can head to the Selcuk bus station and hop on one of the minibusses heading to Izmir. It should take 1.5 hours to reach the airport. From Izmir, you can either transfer via Istanbul or fly out to an international destination.

Alternatively, you can grab a ticket at the Selcuk train station and take the frequent trip to the Izmir Basmane train station . From here, grab a taxi to the airport. Train tickets will start at 7.5TL ($0.50USD) and will take 80 minutes.

>>> Check Bus Price + Schedule on 12Go

>>> Check Flight Price + Schedule on Skyscanner

14 day travel itinerary turkey

Two Week Turkey Itinerary Option

If you have more time to spend in this beautiful country, I’ve put together a 2 week Turkey itinerary for you. Generally speaking, the difference between the Turkey 2 week itinerary and the Turkey itinerary 10 days is the addition of a road trip along the turquoise coast. 

Between Antalya and Pamukkale, take a road trip along the turquoise coast . Rent a car at the Antalya airport and make your way along the scenic coastal road towards the small town of Kas . Stay a night here and then move on to Fethiye for two nights, stopping in Oludeniz on the way. 

Return your rental car to the Dalaman Airport and grab the bus to Pamukkale.

  • Day 1-3: Istanbul 
  • Day 4-6: Cappadocia 
  • Day 7-9: Antalya 
  • Day 10-12: Road trip from Antalya to Fethiye with a stop in Kas 
  • Day 13:Pamukkale  
  • Day 14: Ephesus 

10 days in turkey

7 Days Turkey Itinerary Option

If you only have a week in Turkey, I recommend skipping Antalya and the Turkish Riviera all together and spending one less day in Cappadocia. Or opt to include Antalya instead of Pamukkale or Ephesus. 

Don’t subtract time spent in Istanbul as it requires at least 3 days (ideally more!) to properly explore. 

Spend less time in Cappadocia + Cut Antalya altogether

  • Day 1-3: Istanbul
  • Day 4-5: Cappadocia

Head straight from Cappadocia to Pamukkale

  • Day 6: Pamukkale
  • Day 7: Ephesus

10 days trip to turkey

Get your FREE Turkey Trip Planner

Plan and book your trip to Turkey with this simple checklist.

Turkey Travel Planning Guide

► what is the best way to book my turkey accommodation.

I always use for all my accommodations worldwide, and Turkey is no exception. I stayed in some really epic places on my adventure around this beautiful country.

For more cozy apartment-style accommodation try VRBO (better and safer than Airbnb).

► What are the best day tours in Turkey?

Taking a day tour in Turkey, whether in Istanbul, Cappadocia or elsewhere is a great way to experience the top attractions and learn from a knowledgeable guide.

I highly recommend these Turkey tours:

  • Istanbul : Bosphorus Sunset Cruise
  • Istanbul: Hagia Sophia Guided Tour
  • Istanbul: Whirling Dervishes Show
  • Cappadocia: Sunrise Hot Air Balloon Flight
  • Cappadocia: Highlights Red Tour

► Should I rent a car in Turkey?

If you are flying in and out of Istanbul and don’t plan to leave the city, I don’t recommend renting a car . You can quickly get around Istanbul by walking or taking public transportation.

If you plan to visit Cappadocia I highly recommend renting a car . The region’s highlights are spread apart and transportation options are limited and infrequent.

The best way to see the country is by renting a car in Turkey for an epic road trip!

► What is the best site to buy flights to Turkey?

For finding cheap flights to Turkey and within the country, I recommend booking through Skyscanner .

► Can you drink tap water in Turkey?

Yes! You can drink straight from the tap in Turkey. Although most foreigners are not accustomed to the taste of tap water in Turkey and choose to drink bottled water. Since plastic waste has a negative impact on our environment, I recommend not choosing this option when the water is safe to drink.

If you plan to do a lot of walking or hiking in Turkey, I recommend bringing my favourite self-filtering water bottle with you, just in case.

More Turkey Travel Guides

  • Tips for Renting a Car in Turkey
  • Where to Stay in Istanbul for First Timers
  • Best Spa Hotels in Istanbul
  • Top Istanbul Boutique Hotels
  • Detailed Guide to Visiting Cappadocia
  • Best Cappadocia Hotels with a View of Balloons
  • Top Luxury Hotels in Cappadocia for an Unforgettable Trip
  • Pamukkale Thermal Pools Complete Guide
  • Visiting the Ephesus Ancient Ruins

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Haley is the founder of the global travel blog, Haley Blackall Travel. She has travelled to 40+ countries across 5 continents over the last 15 years and is considered an expert in her field.

She loves to share honest first hand experience from her travels. Her goal is to help readers planning their next trip by providing in-depth travel guides and recommendations for her favourite boutique hotels, things to do and travel itineraries.

Haley focuses her expertise on countries such as Greece, Turkey, Italy, Costa Rica, Australia, Sri Lanka and Indonesia.

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This is amazing, thank you for the details, I’m visiting turkey for the 3rd time this September, and I’m definitely following your guide

Thanks, Tarik,

I’m so glad that this guide will be helpful for you. September is such an amazing time to visit Turkey.

I am going in about a week and so excited with the help of your blog. I am looking forward to seeing Turkey through your eyes 🙂

I am so happy for you, Turkey is one of my favourite countries! Such rich diversity, culture and natural beauty. And the food is so incredible! If you have time, definitely rent a car and check out the coastline between Antalya and Fethiye, including a stop in Kas. Otherwise, this 10 day Turkey itinerary should cover all the highlights for you.

I hope you enjoy your trip! Let me know how it goes.

AMAZING Agenda! Thank you.

Thanks, Cathy!

Turkey is such an amazing country. I hope you have the chance to visit soon.

Happy travels, Haley

What a great itinerary. This is so helpful. I am curious did you do all this in 2022? Just making sure the different types of buses you mentioned and flights are still a “normal ” thing. I am looking to do this late September 2022 and would love to just “cut/paste” this itinerary. Thanks for all the info and any extra advice. Solo traveler so doing it all myself and generally have not done “city to city” so pretty excited.

So excited to hear about your trip to Turkey. It is honestly one of my favourite countries in the world. I completed my trip in the Fall of 2021, but I don’t think you’ll find a big change in bus and flight options even now in 2022. I’ve included the best way to get from each city in the blog.

From Istanbul to Cappadocia, most definitely an economical flight is the way to go. If you are travelling from Cappadocia to Antalya or Pamukkale, also a flight is a good option. Throughout the rest of the itinerary, I would recommend taking the bus as the best option to get from A to B. Alternatively, exploring the country by car is a beautiful way to see all the in-between destinations not many other visitors see, and the flexibility is great.

I hope this helps, and happy travels!

Amazing itinerary, I am following this when I visit in October 2022 and I am so excited!

Would you recommend hiring a car for the time in Cappadocia? We can’t decide whether to hire a car and visit the sites ourselves or go on the tours you have suggested. If we went on the tours then I think a car wouldn’t be needed?

Also we are visiting similar time I think you did 2021, so tips on clothes to pack would be amazing.

Many thanks!

That’s so exciting that you will be visiting Turkey in October, I think it’s a lovely time to go.

In regards to your question about Cappadocia, there are, of course, pros and cons to renting a car or taking a tour. But I can give you my two cents based on my personal experience. We took a Cappadocia Private Customizable Tour (the one mentioned in this blog) and I can highly recommend it. The company that offers this is absolutely amazing and I really appreciated having a knowledgeable guide to give me insight into the region that I wouldn’t be able to get if I visited on my own.

This is generally what I requested of our guide for our full-day tour: -Sunrise at Love Valley to see the hot air balloons flying -Uchisar Castle -Kaymalki Underground City -Ortahisar Castle -Goreme Open Air Museum -Pasabag Valley Fairy Chimneys -Zelve Open Air Museum -Pigeon Valley -Red Valley Viewpoint for sunset and wine

Then you can leave it in the guide’s hands to schedule the ideal stops and timing for each. Combine this with a hot air balloon ride one morning, and you will experience most of the highlights in Cappadocia.

It wasn’t difficult to find good restaurants around Goreme in the evenings, so it’s not like you will feel super stuck without a rental car.

In regards to your question about what to pack, I would suggest layers. The weather in Cappadocia in mid-October is warm and sunny in the daytime (22 degrees C) and cold in the evenings and mornings (like 4 degrees C). I wore my athletic leggings, runners with socks, long sleeve shirt or t-shirt and sweater for the entire trip to Cappadocia. Combined with my light puffer jacket and a blanket scarf (that I was frequently taking off and putting back on), it was the perfect outfit.

I hope this helps, and let me know if you have any other questions.

Happy travels! Haley

Amazing itinerary.. I am planning to visit March end with my husband and 8 month old Do you think for travel within city we could use the public transportation?? We are on a tight budget trip so just figuring out alternatives as car rental and guide would get expensive.

Thank you Ekta

Absolutely, you can utilize public transportation in any of the larger cities on this itinerary. I used the bus and tram system in Istanbul to get everywhere and it was super convenient. Just note that you will have to purchase a loadable transit card (in Istanbul it is called the Istanbul Kart). These can be purchased at select kiosks and stations and cost ~25TL (just under $1.50USD). Then you will need to load it with funds before boarding. I think its a really great way to get around the cities. Antalya was super easy to navigate on bus, too.

If you have any other questions, don’t hesitate to reach out!

Enjoy your trip.

Hello! Thank you for documenting with so many details! I was searching for the part where you have the cost break down and over all cost for the trip. I will be flying from USA if that helps. Can you please point me to that detail.

Hi Saranya,

Thanks for the question.

Unfortunately, there are so many factors that go into budgeting for a trip to Turkey like your style of travel, what type of accommodations you like and if you will be renting a car or taking day tours, etc.

But, good news – since a major devaluation of the Turkish Lira a couple of years back, your US dollar will stretch quite significantly when planning your travels to Turkey. For an average traveller, I would assume roughly $60-100USD for a nightly stay, $2-10USD for a meal and $25USD a day for a car rental.

I hope this helps! And happy travels.

Hi, We are planning our first trip to Turkey in March and your blog is very helpful in planning our trip. We would also like to go to Bursa (Uludag ski resort), as kids want to enjoy snow. Could you please guide us where to fix it in your itinerary. We can reduce one day in istanbul and don’t mind making it a 12-14 days trip. Please guide.

Thanks in advance Subha

So glad to hear you are visiting Turkey in March, should be a great trip!

I recommend fixing Bursa (the Uludag ski resort) as your last stop before returning to Istanbul or flying out of Turkey, right after Ephesus.

Let me know if you have any additional questions.

Amazing itinerary! My friends and i are hoping to visit early Oct 2023. We are torn between visiting Antalya or Bodrum.

What are your thoughts on Bodrum?

So happy you decided to visit Turkey! I absolutely loved my trip in October. Unfortunately, I have not been to Bodrum, but from what I have heard it’s more quaint, has a higher-end feeling (similar to the French Riviera) and has sandy beaches outside of town. You can explore Bodrum’s attractions in about a day. Antayla, on the other hand, is much bigger, with a large and lively old town, and expansive central beach (pebbles).

It really depends on what you are looking for from your holiday, but I definitely loved my stay in Antalya.

Let me know if you have any other questions and happy travels!

I am visiting Turkey in April for 8 plays; planning to spend 2.5 days in Istanbul, then 2 in capa and 2 atleast in Antalya, Have one extra day and debating if i should spend that extra day in Antalya or go somewhere else. Any recommendation

April in Antalya will be pleasant exploring weather, but not necessarily beach-going weather (about 21 degrees Celsius), depending on what you’re used to. I’d recommend spending the 2 days checking out the old town and then making your way inland to Pammukale to see the thermal pools and ancient ruins of Hieropolis. You can easily see these sites in one day.

Alternatively, if you want to explore more of the Turquoise Coast (Turkish Riviera) and have a rental car at your disposal, you can take the coastal road from Antalya to Fethiye, stopping briefly in Kas and Oludeniz before flying out of Fethiye (about a 4.5 hour drive).

Lastly, you could always allocate that additional day to exploring more of Istanbul or Cappadocia, both have a ton to see!

Safe and happy travels, Haley

Very informative and detailed. I will follow your 10-day itinerary. Thank you for blogging about this. Helpful!

My pleasure, Clint. Enjoy your trip to Turkey!

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14 day travel itinerary turkey

Itinerary for a 14 day Trip Around Turkey

14 day travel itinerary turkey

Turkey is a country of contrast, it is a great mix of cultures, religion, nations, architecture and history. And even now people can’t decide if it is more Middle East or Europe. This is the country that should be on the bucket list of everyone who thinks of themselves as a traveler. There are many places to visit in Turkey and a year won’t be enough to explore this part of this world. Unfortunately, most of us don’t have a year to travel due to jobs, duties, or simply visa issues. So here is the itinerary for a 14 day trip around Turkey. 

You of course don’t need to follow my plan exactly, but one thing that you should do is to start your trip from Istanbul. Istanbul is an amazing place to dive into Turkish culture and history. This is the cultural crossroads of Ancient Greek, Byzantine, and Ottoman Empires. 

Itinerary for a 14 day Trip Around Turkey: Days 1-4

You should spend at least 3 full days in Istanbul. There are many things to do and places to visit in this city. The most important places to see in Istanbul are The Blue Mosque , Hagia Sophia , Basilica Cistern , Topkapi Palace , and Süleymaniye Mosque .  These are places with deep historical and cultural meanings and should not be skipped. There are also other fun things that you should do in Istanbul, like taking a food tour. So here is a daily guide to how to organize your days in Istanbul.

Blue Mosque

For those who arrived in the late afternoon my advice is to take it easy and just relax. Walk around the neighborhood and get a nice dinner at one of the restaurants nearby. By the way I do recommend staying in the Sultanahmet area since it is going to be very convenient for you to visit most of the important sites. It is a touristy section of the city, but a great choice for first timers to Istanbul.

Hagia Sophia

For the first full day, in the morning, you will want to hit sites like the Blue Mosque, Hagia Sophia and Basilica Cistern. They are located right next to another in the Sultanahmet area and won’t take a long time. The Blue Mosque and the Hagia Sophia are both mosques now, so you don’t need to wait in a long line to buy an expensive ticket to get to the Hagia Sophia like a few years ago (both of these places are now free). The Basilica Cistern (my favorite site) isn’t that crowded to begin with, so you won’t spend more than 20 minutes waiting to get inside. 

Itinerary for a 14 day Trip Around Turkey: Basilica Cistern

Blue Mosque

  • Location: Sultan Ahmet, Atmeydanı Cd. No:7, 34122 Fatih/İstanbul, Turkey  ;
  • Price: free;

Hagia Sophia 

  • Location: Sultan Ahmet, Ayasofya Meydanı, 34122 Fatih/İstanbul, Turkey ;

Basilica Cistern 

  • Location: Alemdar, Yerebatan Cd. 1/3, 34110 Fatih/İstanbul, Turkey ;
  • Price: TL72;

After your busy morning, get yourself a nice lunch at one of the local restaurants and in the afternoon walk to another historical\religious place – Süleymaniye Mosque

Ten Things to do in Istanbul

This is a beautiful mosque with a great view. I must say that I liked this place way more than the Blue Mosque. On the way back you should hit the Grand Bazaar which is located in the same area as the Suleymaniye Mosque. 

Grand Bazaar

The Grand Bazaar is one of the oldest markets in the city and is a popular tourist site. Here you have the option to get all the souvenirs you need. To be honest I wouldn’t recommend buying stuff here as everything is overpriced, but if you wanted a trinket to say you bought something at the Grand Bazaar then here’s the place. 

Suleymaniye Mosque

  • Location: Süleymaniye Mah, Prof. Sıddık Sami Onar Cd. No:1, 34116 Fatih/İstanbul, Turkey ;

Grand Bazaar

  • Location: Beyazıt, Kalpakçılar Cd. No:22, 34126 Fatih/İstanbul, Turkey ;

Day 2 you should start with visiting Topkapi Palace in the morning. The palace is quite big and gets quite crowded later on in the day. To see the whole palace you will need to buy an additional ticket (42 TL) to see the part where the Harem was. This is a very beautiful part of the palace, so I do recommend visiting it as well. 

Topkapi Palace

The Topkapi Palace will take you all morning, so don’t plan anything else. For the afternoon you can go to the Spice Bazaar. Here you can get exotic spices like saffron and others. I recommend you do not buy spices inside the Spice Bazaar but walk behind the Spice Bazaar to the outdoor section since the prices are way better there. 

Topkapi Palace

  • Location: Cankurtaran, 34122 Fatih/İstanbul, Turkey ;
  • Price: entrance fee of Topkapi Palace is TL72 and it is an additional TL42 per person to visit Harem;

After the Spice Bazaar you just need to cross the road and you will find yourself standing next to the Galata Bridge. Next to the bridge you will find places where they are having Bosphorus Cruises. It is better not to book the cruise through the tour agency (they charge 2, sometimes 3 times more). 

Spice Bazaar

Spice Bazaar

  • Location: Rüstem Paşa, Erzak Ambarı Sok. No:92, 34116 Fatih/İstanbul, Turkey ;

The Bosphorus Cruise is a very relaxing activity where you just sit and enjoy the view. It is a perfect ending to a very busy day. 

This day is all about the Turkish food . You can start your day by taking a walk to visit Galata Tower in the Karakoy section first and then get yourself on the ferry that goes to the Kadikoy district. It is the Asian side of Istanbul and a very popular place for food tours.  Many of the best restaurants that locals eat at are located in Kadikoy. Here is a list of all the places you can visit and detailed instructions to where they are, how to get there, and what food to order. 

Itinerary for a 14 day Trip Around Turkey: Turkish food

You can do this food tour on your own or join a guided tour . There are of course advantages for both ways. By yourself you will save money and with a guide you will learn more interesting facts and history about Turkish cuisine. 

Since Istanbul is a major flight hub, you can pretty much fly out to anywhere you want. However I do recommend going to the Cappadocia region. You can fly to Kayseri airport and from there get to Goreme city. Domestic flights can often be found for less than $20. 

Itinerary for a 14 day Trip Around Turkey: Days 4-7

Cappadocia is kind of a fairy tale place. This region is famous for its fairy chimney rock formations, underground cities, and hot air balloon rides. You probably have seen Instagram photos with people sitting on terraces or rooftops surrounded by hundreds of hot air balloons, so now you know that this is Goreme, Cappadocia . In Cappadocia you can spend three nights easily since there are many things to do outside of just riding in a hot air balloon or taking pictures on the terrace of your cave hotel. 

You probably will spend half a day travelling to Goreme and checking into the hotel. In Goreme you will want to stay at a nice cave hotel. It is a great experience and one of the must-do things in here. There are many options to choose from for every budget. If you want to splurge I really recommend Anatolian Cave Hotel.

Kaymakli Underground

During the second half of the day you will need to book your hot air balloon ride. If it is off season go to the office in person, and if it is high season it is better to book your hot air balloon ride online in advance. Then you can visit one of the famous Cappadocia sites – Kaymakli Underground City . Since you can do activities that involve hot air balloons just from 6 to 7 AM, Kaymakli will be a perfect place to spend your first afternoon. To get there you can arrange a taxi to take you there, wait, and take you back. Prices are around 250 Turkish Lira. 

Kaymakli Underground City

  • Location: Kaymaklı Underground City, Kaymaklı/Nevşehir Merkez/Nevşehir, Turkey ;
  • Price: TL 50;

Goreme is a great little town with many exceptional places to eat. Here are some of the best restaurants in Goreme .

Where to eat in Goreme, Cappadocia

This is the day when you will need to wake up very early. They launch all the balloons around 6 AM and you surely will need to get to them even earlier. 

The best advice I can give you is to bring warm clothes for the ride, because even if it is the middle of the summer it is going to be cold in the morning flying in the basket of a hot air balloon. 

Uchisar Castle

After the hot air balloon ride you can get a nice breakfast and get to Uchisar City . It is a neighboring city and you can just take a taxi there (5 minutes, 25 TL to get from Goreme to Uchisar). Uchisar is another place that looks like a fairy tale. In the center of Uchisar there is the Uchisar Castle. This is a very unique structure and I haven’t seen anything like this anywhere else in the world. 

Uchisar Castle

  • Location: Tekelli, 50240 Uçhisar/Nevşehir Merkez/Nevşehir, Turkey
  • Price: TL 20;

After climbing up and down the castle you can walk to Pigeon Valley . This is the place full of fairy chimneys and at one point people were breeding pigeons for food. If you go down the valley, you’ll see many pigeon halls made by people in fairy chimneys.

Pigeon Valley

  • Location: Aşağı, Adnan Menderes Cd., 50240 Uçhisar/Nevşehir Merkez/Nevşehir, Turkey

A nice way to finish your second day will be a walk around Goreme. You can pay a visit to a popular carpet shop where the owner has organized an Instagram spot for everyone who wants to take colorful pictures. 

Itinerary for a 14 day Trip Around Turkey: Sultan Carpet

Sultan Carpets

  • Location: Müze Cd. No:32, 50180 Göreme/Nevşehir Merkez/Nevşehir, Turkey

The morning of this day you will have to start early again. Get to the top roof of your hotel at 6 AM and wait for the hot air balloons to go up in the air. This is the way to get some of those amazing photos that you have seen on Instagram. 

After a cup of coffee and Turkish breakfast you need to visit the Open Air Museum. This is a great place to learn more history of the monks that used to live in this area and get some great photos. 

Open Air Museum

  • Location: Aydınlı Mahallesi, Yavuz Sk. No:1 D:No:1, 50180 Aktepe/Avanos/Nevşehir, Turkey
  • Price: 75 TL (doesn’t include the entrance to the Darck Church), children until 8 years old is free. The Dark Church is an additional 8 TL per person.

Zemi Valley

After lunch you need to see the Love Rocks or Mushroom rocks, or Pen*s rocks (usually called by tourists). The easiest way is to walk to the bottom of Zemi Valley and from there walk a little bit up right to the Mushroom rocks. There are other Love valleys, although Zemi valley is the closest and the easiest to get to from Goreme city. 

Zemi Valley

  • Location: Zemi Vadisi Yolu, Nevşehir, Turkey ;

This is the day when you will need to leave. If you can, book the flight in the afternoon, so that you will have an opportunity to visit Sunset Viewpoint to enjoy the view of the city surrounded by hot air balloons.

Itinerary for a 14 day Trip Around Turkey: Sunset Viewpoint

Sunset View Goreme

  • Location: 50180 Göreme/Nevşehir Merkez/Nevşehir, Turkey
  • Price: 3TL;

And don’t forget to book your transfer van from Goreme city to the airport in advance. 

Itinerary for a 14 day Trip Around Turkey: Days 7-10

Next stop is Izmir and the Agora of Smyrna . Izmir is one of the biggest cities in Turkey. There are not many things to do, but it is a very comfortable place to stay overnight, spend a great afternoon and travel to another location. 

Agora of Smyrna, Izmir

While staying in Izmir I advise you to visit the famous Agora of Smyrna. It is an old Greek Agora that at one point was rebuilt by the Romans. The site is very well preserved and looks fantastic. 

To end your perfect afternoon in this city you can have a nice walk along the sea and have dinner at “İzmir Sakız Alsancak”,  one of the best restaurants I have visited in Turkey. 

Izmir Agora

  • Location: Namazgah, Tarik Sari Sokağı No:29, 35240 Konak/İzmir, Turkey
  • Price: 18 TL;

On day 8 take a bus from Izmir for an hour to Kusadasi, a smaller port city that lies on the shore of the Aegean Sea. It is very comfortable to get to and there are many good hotels to stay at. 

In Kusadasi the rest of your day 8 you can spend on the beach or by the pool relaxing from all the sightseeing and saving your energy for the next day 

The main reasons you should come to Kusadasi is the ancient city of Ephesus (Efes) which is 25 minutes away, the Temple of Artemis (one of the seven wonders of the ancient world), and the location where Maria (Jesus’ mother) was born. 

Itinerary for a 14 day Trip Around Turkey: Ephesus

You need half a day to visit these three locations. It is quite easy and can even be cheap if you are doing it on your own without a tour guide. In fact, visiting Ephesus from Kusadasi by public transportation can save you over $40 a person. 

  • Location: Atatürk, Uğur Mumcu Sevgi Yolu No: 26, 35920 Selçuk/İzmir, Turkey ;
  • Price: 10 TL;

If you do Ephesus as early as possible you can be done by late afternoon. If you want to take a late afternoon or evening bus you can go to Pamukkale early to save off a day. 

Itinerary for a 14 day Trip Around Turkey: Days 10-11

After Kusadasi the next stop is Pamukkale and the ancient city of Hierapolis. To get to Pamukkale you can go by bus or plane. There is a big bus terminal and an airport in the nearby city of Denizli. From there just take a taxi to your accommodation. I recommend taking a Pamukkale Bus from Kusadasi to Denizli (4.5 hours) for about $6. Then just grab a taxi to your hotel in Pamukkale.


We booked the hotel “ Venus Suites ” next to the travertine mountain. It was quite comfortable to be so close to the entrance of Hierapolis and the travertine terraces. I do recommend staying in Pamukkale for one full day and two nights. The place gets really crowded with tour groups so it is better to wake up as early as 6 AM and head straight to the upper entrance. 

There are three things that you should do once you are at Pamukkale: explore Hierapolis, check out the white travertine terraces, and swim at the Cleopatra pool. 

Itinerary for a 14 day Trip Around Turkey: Cleopatra Pool

The ticket to the Hierapolis and Travertine terraces costs 80 TL (about $11) and the additional tickets to the Cleopatra Pool cost 100 TL a person (about $13). 

Pamukkale Hierapolis and travertine terraces

  • Location: Pamukkale, Denizli, Turkey ;
  • Price: 80 TL plus 100TL for Cleopatra Pool;

From Pamukkale you should arrange another Pamukkale Bus to Antalya for the rest of your stay in Turkey.

Itinerary for a 14 day Trip Around Turkey: Days 11-14

The next and final stop in Turkey is Antalya. There you can visit Kaleici, the old city of Antalya . It is a nicely preserved cute place that lays around a moon-shaped harbour. 

Itinerary for a 14 day Trip Around Turkey: Kaleiçi Old Town Antalya

The city looks magnificent with old thin walking streets, small shops, and romantic cafes. There are many beautiful spots with a great view of a harbour. Here you can visit Hadrian’s Gate and the old “Broken” mosque. Take a ride on the glass elevator overlooking the harbour and have a cliffside walk at Karaalioglu park. 

Hadrian’s Gate

  • Location: Barbaros, 07100 Muratpaşa/Antalya, Turkey ;
  • Price: free

Broken Mosque

  • Location: Selçuk, İskele Cd., 07100 Muratpaşa/Antalya, Turkey ;

Karaalioglu Park

  • Location: Kılınçarslan, Park Sk., 07100 Muratpaşa/Antalya, Turkey ;

Another reason why Antalya should be the last on your list is that there is a pretty big international Airport which makes it convenient to fly wherever you plan to next.

If you want you can stay the final night closer to the airport next to Lara beach. Spend your last day relaxing at the beach, drinking summer cocktails and getting a suntan. You deserve a relaxing end of your trip before flying back home.

  • Location: Lara beach, Antalya, Turkey ;

Well now that you’ve read my itinerary for a 14 day trip around Turkey you should be more than excited to go. I mean, Istanbul, Cappadocia, and Pamukkale alone are reasons to visit, but if you can also see the Smyrna Agora, Ephesus, and Antalya that makes it even better. 

What do you think about this itinerary? Too rushed? Too slow? Let me know some of your favorite places to see in Turkey in the comments down below!

Itinerary for a 14 day Trip Around Turkey

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A view of Suleymaniye Mosque in afternoon light  across the water in the Golden Horn

Hurray transparency! This post contains affiliate links. For more information see our disclosure .

Looking for the perfect 10 days Turkey itinerary?

You’re in the right place!

Having lived in Turkey for three years, we’ve spent a significant amount of time exploring every nook and cranny of this gorgeous country.

With its mouthwatering food, incredibly rich history, beaches fringed by aquamarine waters, stunning architecture, spectacular natural beauty and amazingly hospitable people, Turkey has something to offer every kind of traveller.

There are so many wonderful places to visit in Turkey that it can be difficult to decide exactly what to see and where to go, especially if you have limited time. But don’t worry, we’ve got you!

This Turkey 10 days itinerary is ideal for first time visitors to the country. Exploring the best of Turkey, from its top historical attractions and breathtaking natural wonders to its fascinating culture, friendly folk and incredibly varied food scene, it’s sure to make you fall in love.

Hot air balloon floating over mountains in Cappadocia, 2 week itinerary turkey

Our travel Turkey planner is also packed with tons of practical insider tips, including where to stay , recommendations on where (and what) to eat , the top attractions in each area and the easiest way to travel between the different stops on this itinerary.

If 10 days simply aren’t enough and you want to spend longer in Turkey, then check out our recommendations for a 14 day Turkey itinerary at the end of this article. You’ll also find an alternative 7 day Turkey itinerary and a 5 day Turkey itinerary too!

Whether you’re an adventurer planning an epic Turkey road trip ; a history and culture buff who wants to explore the most famous places in Turkey or you simply want a Turkey itinerary 10 days long that combines a beach holiday with some of the best tourist places in Turkey , this guide will help you plan an unforgettable trip.

Get ready to discover the best 10 day itinerary Turkey has to offer!

📝 Turkey Itinerary 10 Days: A Summary

In 10 days you can explore many of Turkey’s major attractions at a relaxed and leisurely pace. Before we go into further detail (and believe us this article is VERY detailed), here's a quick overview of how to spend an amazing 10 days in Turkey:

🏛 Day 1: Istanbul - Beşiktaş, Karaköy, Galata &Taksim

🕌 Day 2: Istanbul - Sultanahmet, Fener & Balat

⛴ Day 3: Istanbul - Kadıköy & Moda (Asian side)

⛰ Day 4: Cappadocia

🌄 Day 5: Cappadocia - Sunrise Hot Air Balloon Ride & Cappadocia Green Tour

🏔 Day 6: Cappadocia - Cappadocia Red/Blue Tour

🏛 Day 7: Ephesus Ancient City

♨ Day 8: Pamukkale Thermal Pools

🏖 Day 9: Fethiye - Fethiye Town & Oludeniz Beach

🏚 Day 10: Fethiye - Kayaköy Ghost Village

📌 Planning Your 10 Day Turkey Itinerary: Top Tips


Istanbul: NOA Luxury Apartments (⭐ 9.5)

Cappadocia: Sultan Cave Suites (⭐ 9.0)

Ephesus: Livia Garden Hotel (⭐ 9.8)

Pamukkale: Pamukkale White Heaven Suite Hotel (⭐ 9.4)

Fethiye: Avilia Suites (⭐ 9.7)


Taste of Two Continents Food Tour (⭐ 4.9/5)

Cappadocia Hot Air Balloon at Sunrise (⭐ 4.8/5)

Cappadocia Green Tour (⭐ 4.7/5)

Oludeniz Blue Lagoon Paragliding Experience (⭐ 4.4/5)

📚 READ: Lonely Planet Turkey and The Rough Guide to Turkey to get excited about your 10 day Turkey tour!

💡 INSIDER TIP: You can easily explore Turkey by renting a car . It’s a great way to road trip Turkey on your own!

🗓 Plan a Trip to Turkey: How to Get into Türkiye

✈️ getting into turkey by air.

The simplest way to reach Türkiye is by flying into Istanbul International Airport (IST) or Istanbul’s Sabiha Göcken Airport (SAW) .

Both airports have numerous international connections so it’s very easy to enter and leave the country from Istanbul. As most people land in Istanbul, we’ve chosen to begin and end the itinerary in this city. 

We love using WayAway to plan and book our flights. Made by travellers for travellers, it gives you the best rates on flight tickets.

Their fantastic membership programme, WayAway Plus , also gives you cashback on flights, rental cars, hotels, experiences and more! We've just used it on a recent hotel booking in Turkey and it's a nice bonus to get some cash returned to us after a trip.

Sunset behind the Suleymaniye Mosque - 14 days in turkey

🛣️ Getting into Turkey By Road

🚗 Entering Turkey by Car

Travellers looking to explore Turkey on a road trip or as part of a longer Europe trip, can enter the country by car. 

Coming from Europe, there are 6 border crossings to enter Turkey by road.

Via South Eastern Bulgaria:

Kapitan Andreevo–Kapıkule (open 24 hours)


Malko Tǎrnovo–Aziziye

Via North Eastern Greece (both open 24 hours) :



Tourists can drive in Turkey on a foreign driving license for up to 6 months . Make sure that you have appropriate insurance coverage and bring along the license documents for your vehicle and the vehicle’s registration details in case you are asked for them. 

Turkey also has open land border crossings with Georgia (from Northeastern Turkey) Iran (Eastern Turkey), Syria and Iraq (from South Eastern Turkey). From these land borders, you will have to drive across most of the country to reach Istanbul to begin this itinerary, which would be quite an adventure! 

A road in surrounded by brown hills in Turkey, turkey itinerary 1 week

🚍 Entering Turkey by bus

There are tons of long-distance buses to Istanbul from Central Europe (e.g. from Germany), the Balkans (Albania, Kosovo, Macedonia, Bulgaria and Romania) and Greece.

Buses usually terminate at the humungous Esenler Bus Station on the European side of Istanbul or at Alibeyköy Bus Station on the Asian Side.

We book all our bus tickets on Busbud - you can check all the bus times, prices, journey duration and compare different companies. The prices are the same as buying over the counter at the bus station, so save yourself the hassle and do it online!

🚆 Getting into Turkey By Train

A slower, but arguably more picturesque way of entering Turkey is via train. There are trains from across Europe to Istanbul - we’ve had the joy of travelling on trains all over Turkey and in Europe and if you have the time, we’d seriously recommend it. 

The Man in Seat 61 has a lot of information on how to travel to Istanbul via Sofia, Budapest and Bucharest and even from as faraway as London! 

🛬 10 Days in Turkey Itinerary - How to Get Around Türkiye

✈️ flights and buses.

In this itinerary we’ve recommend flying between some destinations , such as from Cappadocia to Izmir and taking comfortable intercity buses between others.

Flying is a good option if you have a set number of days to explore - the distances in Turkey are huge and travelling by bus can eat into your time.

🚘 Renting a Car in Turkey

You can easily make this a Turkey road trip itinerary by renting a car and driving between all the destinations in this travel plan.

🔍 Why Rent a Car?

Turkey has excellent roads with spectacular scenery, so driving in the country is a breeze. Having your own car also allows you to explore more remote/off beat sites on your own, for example in places like Cappadocia.

Of course you can also join a small group tour or hire an experienced guide to explore these areas, but if you like to travel independently then we’d definitely recommend renting a car.

It’s also a really affordable way of travelling around the country - for example, the starting prices for renting a car for 10 days via Discover Cars is around $37/£30.32 per day, including full coverage insurance.

Renting a car is perfect if you want to follow a Turkey self-drive itinerary.

🚗 Where Can You Rent a Car From?

The best way to rent a car for your Turkey trip is to book it online before your trip.

The two companies we would recommend using are Discover Cars and Local Rent .

Discover Cars is a car rental comparison site that works with big rental car suppliers such as Avis and Hertz. They have fantastic customer service, excellent prices and a range of insurance policies.

What we really like is how clear and transparent the process of booking with them is: all fees, extras and taxes are in the quoted price so you won’t be hit with any hidden charges.

Another great option is Local Rent who only work with highly rated local car rental suppliers.

Local Rent allows you to choose the exact car that you want to hire (model, make, colour, year etc.) and when you book it, that’s exactly the car you’ll get.

Since Local Rent uses local suppliers they have excellent coverage across Turkey, low deposit rates fees and top notch customer service too!

Hot air balloons flying at sunrise over a snowy landscape, how many days for turkey

🗺 Where Should You Pick Up Your Rental Car From?

You can collect your rental car from Istanbul International Airport or from Sabiha Gökçen Airport.

We would suggest following days 1-3 of this itinerary exploring the sights of Istanbul first and then picking up your rental car to drive to Cappadocia. Driving around Istanbul is not something we’d recommend: there is unbelievable traffic (especially on weekends), it’s hard to find parking and the roads can be crazy. Even the locals don’t like it!

Plus you don’t need to drive in Istanbul: public transport (metro, bus, tram and ferry) is excellent and will get you wherever you need to go. 

You will need to be at least 21 to rent a car in Turkey . Remember to bring your license and your International Driving License if you have one. 

🇹🇷 The Ultimate Turkey Itinerary 10 Days

🗓 turkey 10 days itinerary: istanbul, day 1 - 3.

A mosque in Istanbul at sunset with a seagull flying past, two weeks in turkey itinerary

Arriving in Istanbul

This 10 days Turkey itinerary does not include the day that you arrive in Istanbul . Since you could be arriving from anywhere in the world, in the morning, afternoon or evening, it doesn’t make sense to start the itinerary on this day. So rest up and get ready to start exploring Istanbul tomorrow.

Getting from IST or SAW Airport to Istanbul City Centre

The most hassle-free way of getting from Istanbul International Airport (IST) or Sabiha Gökçen Airport (SAW) to the centre of Istanbul is via airport transfer. It’s a long drive and the price of a private transfer right to your hotel is actually extremely reasonable. 

From Istanbul International Airport (IST) : You’ll get picked up from arrivals and driven directly to your hotel in a spacious and comfortable car with free WiFi and water included! The company tracks your flight so will know if you have been delayed and the service is available 24/7.

From Sabiha Gökçen Airport (SAW): Your driver will pick you up from arrivals and you will be taken to your hotel in a large and comfortable minivan. The service includes free water and like the transfer above is available 24/7. Again you don’t need to worry about extra charges if you are delayed as this company also tracks your flight. 

Alternatively, if you prefer to take public transport from either airport you can take the very reliable Havaist buses . They run 24 hours a day and all buses stop in Taksim .

From Taksim you can make your way to your accommodation by metro, bus or tram (or walk if you are staying in Taksim).

Be aware that the metro and tram only operates from 06.00 am to around midnight (Monday-Thursday and Sunday, it runs for 24 hours on Friday and Saturday evenings ) and some buses will be infrequent late at night.

You will need an Istanbulkart to use buses, trams and the metro in Istanbul - these can be bought from the yellow card top up machines that you will find in metro and tram stations or near Metrobus stations. You can also buy an Istanbulkart card in advance here .

If you arrive after the metro service has ended you may have to hail a taxi - taxi drivers often want to overcharge tourists, so be aware. To avoid this, we'd recommend downloading two ride hailing apps: BiTaksi which is an app for taxis or Tiktak which works like Uber. (Uber also works here).

Introduction to Istanbul

This Turkey itinerary for 10 days simply has to begin in Istanbul!

With a population of nearly 15.5 million people and brimming with picturesque sights, an incredible food scene and a history that goes back at least 2500 years, it’s no wonder that this former capital of the Byzantine and Ottoman Empires is the first stop on most travellers’ itineraries.

Straddling the continents of Europe and Asia, this is a city where stylish cafes and restaurants open up everyday, there’s something cool to do every evening and where you are guaranteed to have your breath taken away by the many spectacular historical sites and absolutely epic skyline.

Three days is the very minimum you should spend here and even then, you’re only just scratching the surface of this dynamic city.

Getting Around Istanbul

Despite its humungous size, it’s very easy to explore Istanbul. There is excellent public transport (ferry, buses, trams and the metro) between all the major attractions. It’s also fairly easy to walk around, especially in the historical areas (be aware that some areas of Istanbul can be quite hilly though).

READ NEXT: The Best Areas to Stay in Istanbul

Best Istanbul Hotels

Galata: NOA Luxury Apartments (⭐ 9.4)

Karaköy: SuB Karaköy Special Category (⭐ 8.6)

Sultanahmet: Boutique Saint Sophia (⭐ 9.1)

Taksim: Ayramin Hotel Taksim (⭐ 9.4)

Besiktas: Ciragan Palace Kempinski (⭐ 9.0)

Click here for more Istanbul hotels

Best Istanbul Tours

Istanbul Food & Culture Tour: Taste of 2 Continents (⭐ 4.9/5)

Istanbul 1 or 2 day Private Guided Tour (⭐ 4.8/5)

Bosphorus Sunset Cruise (⭐ 4.7/5)

Blue Mosque & Hagia Sofia Guided Tour (⭐ 4.8/5)

Galata tower from a distance surrounded by other buildings

Day 1 in Istanbul: Turkish Breakfast & Exploring Istanbul's European Side (Besiktas, Karakoy, Galata)

You’ll begin this itinerary for Turkey 10 days by exploring the lively Istanbul districts of Beyoğlu and Beşiktaş . 

Located north of the historical area of Sultanahmet and the Golden Horn, this modern area includes the neighbourhoods of Galata , Karaköy and Taksim .

Brimming with cool cafes , shops and restaurants plus a number of important historical sites , this is a gentle introduction into Istanbul, before tomorrow’s hardcore day of sightseeing. 

Starting the day with a famous Turkish breakfast

Any travel itinerary for Turkey must include at least one Turkish breakfast and so that is what this first day in Istanbul will begin with: an incredible breakfast at Çeşme Bazlama Kahvaltı.

This restaurant is famous for its all-you-can-eat, homemade breakfast that showcases regional flavours and is considered to be one of the best breakfast places in Istanbul.  

From Turkish pancakes with different fillings, menemen (Turkish scrambled eggs) and numerous types of cheese, breads, olives and fruits to 36 types of homemade jam, you definitely won’t be leaving hungry.

Not sure what Turkish breakfast is? Our guide to a traditional Turkish breakfast explains it all!

A table showing the breakfast spread at Bazlama Kahvalti, two weeks in turkey itinerary

The amazing breakfast at Ceşme Bazlama Kahvaltı.

🚶 Getting there: If you are staying in the Sultanahmet neighbourhood, you can take the T1 Tram, followed by the Metro and a short walk to this restaurant. From Taksim you can take the gondola lift to Maçka Park and then also walk to Bazlama Kahvaltı.

💡 Insider Tip: Çeşme Bazlama Kahvaltı gets very popular during the summer, and even though there are three different branches of the restaurant in the same area, it's common to have to queue. We'd recommend getting there before it opens at 09.00 am.

⏰ Çeşme Bazlama Kahvaltı opening hours: Monday - Sunday 09.00 am - 5.00 pm

READ NEXT: 16 Best Breakfast Places in Istanbul

Dolmabahçe Palace (Dolmabahçe Sarayı)

Ornate exterior of Dolmabahce Palace, what to see in turkey in 10 days

The stunning Dolmabahçe Palace

After you’ve had your fill of breakfast, it’s time to take a leisurely walk down to Beşiktaş to explore the gorgeous rooms and grounds of the Dolmabahçe Palace , the largest palace in Turkey.

Alternatively, you can take the 30A bus (which is every 15 minutes) from the bus stop near Maçka Park down to the palace. 

The entrance fee to the palace includes access to the palace harem and the National Palaces Painting Museum which has around 200 paintings from 19th-century Turkish and international artists on display. 

⏰ Dolmabahçe Palace opening hours: Tuesday - Sunday 09.00 am - 5.00 pm, closed on Monday.

💰 Dolmabahçe Palace entrance fee: 300TL for foreign visitors, 100TL for domestic visitors (correct as of November 2022).

💡 Insider tips: No photos or videos are allowed inside the palace so make sure you take plenty of photos of the palace and the grounds when you are outside.

🙋 Book a tour : In the summer there can be long queues outside Dolmabahçe Palace. If you don’t want to queue, consider booking this Skip-the-Line ticket and Guided Tour of the palace.

💎 Hidden gem: Don’t miss visiting the gorgeous Baroque-style Dolmabahçe Mosque (Dolmabahçe Camii) close to the palace - even in the summer you can find it totally free of crowds!

📌 More information: For the latest prices and updated hours, click here .

Suggested additional stop: Head along the coast by bus (22, 25E or 30D) towards Ortaköy and visit the stunning Ortaköy Mosque (Ortaköy Camii) on the waterfront.

Built by the same Armenian architects who designed the Dolmabahçe Palace and Mosque, it’s one of the prettiest mosques in Istanbul. There are also some lovely cafes overlooking the water here. 

Afterwards, head into the backstreets of Ortaköy just behind the mosque and if you’re hungry, grab yourself an iconic Turkish street food: kumpir, Turkey’s take on a loaded baked potato . It’s one of the many must-try Turkish street foods.

You can then jump on a bus (22, 25E or 30D) towards Kabataş and then take the T1 tram back to Karaköy to continue this itinerary. 

Explore Karaköy Neighbourhood

After you’ve explored Dolmabahçe Palace, your 10 days trip to Turkey continues in Karaköy,  an area popular with young hipster Istanbulites and travellers. It’s easy to get there: simply hop on the T1 tram from Kabataş and get off in Karaköy. 

Karaköy has been a port since Byzantine times and after the Ottomans conquered Constantinople it was home to merchants of various backgrounds from Sephardic Jews to Catalan merchants.

The area was redeveloped in 2012 and the merchants’ warehouses and workshops became uber-cool cafes, boutique stores and trendy bars and restaurants. 

Cafes and restaurants in Karakoy, 7-day trip to turkey

A cafe-lined street in Karaköy

Much of the joy of Karaköy is simply wandering around the backstreets and stumbling upon a nice cafe or a tiny restaurant doing a roaring trade in just one speciality. 

Karaköy is also the best place for a quick, wallet-friendly lunch. So if you’re hungry (even after that mega breakfast), head over to Mehmet Usta’s Balık Dürüm (fish wrap) stall for a classic Istanbul street food lunch . 

If you’re visiting in winter, Karaköy Çorba Evi (a soup kitchen) serves 21 different kinds of homemade delicious soup, perfect for those chilly winter days. Iskele Mola Cafe , near the Karaköy main ferry terminal, is another great option, serving up hot gözleme and kumpir, which you can enjoy whilst looking out at the water.   

Suggested additional stop: A Turkish bath (hamam) is one of the things we recommend doing in Istanbul and Karaköy has one of the best places to try this quintessential Turkish experience. Kılıç Ali Paşa Hamamı is a stunning 16th century Turkish bath that has a hammam ritual fit for a queen (or king!)

After relaxing in a marble steam room, you will be massaged, scrubbed and have your hair washed. You can then relax on the comfortable sofas outside with snacks and a cup of Turkish çay, feeling completely reborn. 

⏰ . Kılıç Ali Paşa Hamamı spa services for men and women are at separate times :

👩 Women only hours: 08.00 am - 4.00 pm

👨 Men only hours: 4.30 pm - 11.30 pm

💡 Insider tip: Remember to bring swimwear/spare underwear for the hamam experience. There are changing rooms in the hamam and lockers for valuables.

Galata Neighbourhood

From Karaköy you can wander slowly uphill towards the neighbourhood of Galata via Yüksek Kaldırım Street.

This winding, cobbled street is surrounded on either side by cafes, juice bars and souvenir shops which you can explore at your leisure. 

💡 Insider tip: The walk up to Galata is very steep and will be difficult for anyone with mobility issues. You can take it slowly, stopping for breaks on the way or consider taking the historical F2 funicular line from Karaköy (known as Tünel ), which drops you off at the Galata end of Istiklal Street. From here it is an easier walk down Yüksek Kaldırım Caddesi towards Galata Tower.

Galata is famous for its many picturesque cobbled streets, neoclassical buildings, cafes, art galleries and independent shops. 

The star attraction is of course the 700-year-old Galata Tower . From the tower’s observation deck, you can see a 360° panoramic view over Istanbul’s rooftops and famous mosques, the Golden Horn, and the Bosphorus.

There are also museum exhibits on several of the floors that are worth checking out - don’t miss seeing parts of the chain that used to block enemy ships from entering the Golden Horn in the 8th century!

Galata tower through the trees, 10 day turkey itinerary

⏰ Galata Tower opening hours: Monday - Sunday 08.30 am - 11.00 pm

💰 Galata Tower entrance fee: 175TL (correct as of November 2022)

💡 Insider tip: This is a popular attraction especially during the summer so if you want to avoid queuing you should book this Galata Tower guided tour . This 75-minute tour includes a guided tour of the Galata Tower and the backstreets of the Pera district plus a fast-track entrance ticket.

🚶 Need to know: There are elevators in Galata Tower that take you to the 7th floor. The observation deck is on the 9th floor and you will need to climb two more flights of stairs to reach it. Most visitors have to use the stairs on the way back down to the ground floor - there are small exhibitions on some of the floors so you can take a rest here if you need to. If anyone in your group is elderly or has mobility issues , the staff will allow them to use the lift to go down.

📌 More information: For latest prices and updated hours click here .

Image of mosques and rooftops taken from the top of Galata Tower, 10 day itinerary Turkey

The stunning views from the top of Galata Tower

You can either have dinner in one of the many cute cafes and restaurants in the Galata area or wander down Istiklal Caddesi (Istiklal Street) towards Taksim Square.

You’ll find a real mix of restaurants along Istiklal Street - including meyhanes (taverns), lokantas, kumpir restaurants, ice cream parlours and plenty of döner kebab joints close to Taksim Square. Our favourite place for a quick bite is Falafel Köy, one of the best vegan fast food options in the area. 

Suggested additional stop: If you like shopping, then the 1.4km long pedestrianised Istiklal Street is for you! Featuring famous international and local brands, perfume and make-up stores, antique shops and more, it’s a shopaholics paradise.

The adorable historical Taksim tram also passes up and down the street at regular intervals - jump on it if you’re tired of walking. 

If you have time: The Galata district is full of art galleries and museums, so if you finish at Galata Tower and still have time on your hands, head to SALT Galata , a former Ottoman bank that is now a library, exhibition space, cafe and restaurant.

Alternatively explore the Galata Mevlevi Museum , a fascinating museum about Sufiism or explore the interesting art collections at the Pera Museum .

Galata Bridge

End the day by heading back down to Karaköy and watching the sunset over the Golden Horn from the Galata Bridge. It’s spectacular at all times of the year! 

How you spend the evening is up to you - there are plenty of cafes, bars and clubs across Galata, Karaköy and Taksim to keep you entertained!

Sunset over a mosque and a bridge in Istanbul, 10 days turkey itinerary

Travel Turkey Itinerary Day 1 Highlights

Breakfast at Ceşme Bazlama Kahvaltı

Dolmabahçe Palace

Ortaköy Mosque (optional)

Karaköy Neighbourhood

Turkish Bath at Kılıç Ali Paşa Hamamı (optional)

Galata Tower

Istiklal Street

Taksim Square

SALT Galata, Galata Mevlevi Museum, Pera Museum (optional)

Turkey Itinerary Day 1 Top Tips

  • Arrive early for breakfast at Ceşme Bazlama Kahvaltı.
  • If you want a hamam at Kılıç Ali Paşa Hamamı book it online in advance to ensure you get the day and time you prefer.
  • As you will be using public transport, make sure you have an Istanbulkart . Click here to buy one in advance .

🏠 The Best Places to Stay in Istanbul

Here are the best accommodation options in different areas of Istanbul. We’ve included our favourite options in each area plus hotels that suit every budget, so you can choose the one that fits yours.

14 day travel itinerary turkey

Photo courtesy of NOA Luxury Apartments from

TOP PICK IN GALATA: NOA Luxury Apartments (⭐ 9.4)

Close to Galata Tower, these gorgeous apartments are our favourite place to stay in Istanbul. Spacious, airy and bright, each apartment has a washing machine and tumble dryer, fully equipped kitchen, free Wi-Fi, and a flat-screen TV. Some units have a balcony or garden access.

There is also a well equipped gym and the staff are super friendly and helpful.

14 day travel itinerary turkey

Photo courtesy of SuB Karaköy Special Category from

BEST OPTION IN KARAKÖY: SuB Karaköy Special Category (⭐ 8.6)

Conveniently located within walking distance from Karaköy’s ferry port, this funky design hotel features stylish interiors and comfortable rooms.

Every room features free Wi-Fi, a flat-screen TV and an ensuite bathroom. The hotel also has a gym and a roof terrace where you can enjoy a complimentary Turkish breakfast every morning.

14 day travel itinerary turkey

Photo courtesy of Boutique Saint Sophia from

TOP CHOICE IN SULTANAHMET: Boutique Saint Sophia (⭐ 9.1)

Offering luxurious rooms with flat-screen TVs, free Wi-Fi, free minibar and Bulgari toiletries in the ensuite bathrooms, this hotel is the perfect choice for travellers who want to be based in the centre of Istanbul’s old city.

The Blue Mosque is only 250 yards away and the hotel also has spectacular views over the courtyard of Hagia Sophia.

14 day travel itinerary turkey

Photo courtesy of Ayramin Hotel from

BEST PICK IN TAKSIM: Ayramin Hotel Taksim (⭐ 9.4)

Located steps away from Istiklal street, this hotel features friendly staff and comfortable, sparkling clean rooms, all with ensuite bathrooms, free Wi-Fi, and flat-screen TVs.

There is also a varied complimentary breakfast buffet and some rooms even have their own private hamam.

14 day travel itinerary turkey

Photo courtesy of Cirağan Palace Kempinski from

TOP LUXURY HOTEL: Cirağan Palace Kempinski (⭐ 9.0)

Originally a 19th Century Ottoman Palace, this hotel features an infinity pool with views over the Bosphorus, several restaurants, an indoor heated pool, a fitness centre and a spa. Some rooms even come with private butler service!

This hotel is perfect for couples who want an incredible romantic holiday or travellers who wish to experience Istanbul in luxurious style.

14 day travel itinerary turkey

Photo courtesy of Louis Appartments Galata from

BEST MID-RANGE HOTEL: Louis Appartements Galata (⭐ 9.5)

Steps away from Galata Tower and close to Şişhane metro station, this hotel features modern, spacious suites that each come with a fully equipped kitchen, living room area, free Wi-Fi, a flat-screen TV, and an ensuite bathroom.

The roof terrace has breathtaking views of the Galata Tower.

14 day travel itinerary turkey

Photo courtesy of Fener Sweet from

TOP BUDGET OPTION: Fener Sweet (⭐ 9.6)

Featuring a lovely roof terrace overlooking the Golden Horn, this affordable homestay features cosy, clean rooms with free Wi-Fi, and ensuite bathrooms.

The hosts are really helpful and friendly and the hotel is located in the fashionable area of Balat (famous for its colourful Ottoman houses), with its many cute cafes and restaurants. Balat is also well connected by buses and ferry to other areas of Istanbul.

Istanbul is a huge city and it can be difficult to narrow down where exactly to stay.

If you would like more options, you should definitely click here to read our full guide to the best areas to stay in Istanbul for travellers on every kind of budget . It will really help you decide where is best for you, depending on your travel style and the kind of trip you want.

Day 2 in Istanbul: Historical Attractions in Sultanahmet & Balat

Morning until mid-afternoon in sultanahmet.

The second day of this Turkey travel itinerary starts in the Sultanahmet neighbourhood of Istanbul, where most of the city’s grandest historical attractions are located. 

Make sure you wake up early and wear some comfy walking shoes as you will be walking a lot today. Sultanhamet is basically an open-air museum and as it is pedestrianised (with cars not allowed between 9.00 am - 10.00 pm) it is easy to walk around. 

Our guide to the 12 Things You Must Do in Istanbul covers many of the major attractions in this area in detail, however, we’ve included a summary of the unmissable sites below.

You will begin in the spectacular Sultanahmet Square (also known as the Hippodrome), which is surrounded by Istanbul’s most iconic buildings, restaurants, cafes, fountains and gardens. 

The Hagia Sophia mosque at sunset with a fountain in front of it

The Hagia Sophia Mosque at sunset

The Hagia Sophia (Hagia Sophia Camii)

Start your day off at the breathtaking Hagia Sophia. Built by Emperor Justinian I in 537AD it was the world’s largest cathedral for almost 1000 years and is considered to be the pinnacle of Byzantine architecture.

Until 1453, the Hagia Sophia was the centre of the Eastern Orthodox Church and the seat of the patriarch of Constantinople. 

In 1453 the Ottomans conquered Constantinople and the Hagia Sophia was converted into a mosque. It remained this way until 1935 when it was reopened, after being closed for four years for restoration, as a museum. In July 2020, the Hagia Sophia was once again reclassified as a mosque. 

Inside the Hagia Sophia, you will see a combination of Christian and Islamic iconography. There are beautifully designed golden mosaics and frescoes on both the upper and lower galleries depicting the Virgin Mary, Jesus and various other Christian figures. 

Note: The upper galleries are currently not open to visitors (November 2022).

Yellow and gold decorations in the Hagia Sophia, turkey itinerary

⏰ Hagia Sophia opening hours: 9.00 am - 11.00 pm, everyday

💰 Hagia Sophia entrance fees: Entry is free

💡 Insider tips: You should plan to spend 1.5 - 2 hours exploring the building. If possible avoid visiting during weekends or at midday prayer on a Friday as it gets very crowded during these times and the prayer section will be roped off.

We would recommend visiting during the morning (it's quieter) and during daylight hours as the inside of the mosque looks even more beautiful with the light streaming in.

🧕 Dress code: Women should wear a headscarf and cover their arms and legs. Headscarves are available free of charge at the entrance.

🙋 Book a guided tour: This tour of Hagia Sophia with a knowledgable local guide will give you a much deeper understanding of the building’s history, religious significance, construction and architecture.

The Blue Mosque (Sultanahmet Camii)

Across Sultanahmet Square and opposite the Hagia Sophia is the stunning Blue Mosque. Commissioned by the 19 year old Sultan Ahmed I in the early 17th century, the mosque took seven years to build and was finally completed in 1616. 

Picture of the front of the Blue Mosque with blue sky behind, turkey itineraries

The Blue Mosque

Combining elements of Byzantine and Ottoman design, the Blue Mosque gets its name from the 22,000 handmade blue Iznik tiles that cover the walls and arches of the mosque. There are apparently more than 50 different tulip designs!  

With over 200 stained glass windows and many chandeliers, it’s easy to spend time in the Blue Mosque looking up and being awestruck by its beauty. 

Note: The Blue Mosque is currently undergoing an extensive restoration (November 2022) that is due to last several years - it is still open to visitors but many sections of the interior are closed off and covered in scaffolding. It is still definitely worth visiting though!

Arches, domes and decorations inside the Blue Mosque, 10 day itinerary turkey

⏰ Blue Mosque opening hours: 9.00 am - 7.00 pm, everyday

💰 Blue Mosque entrance fees: Entry is free

💡 Insider tips: You should plan to spend 1 - 1.5 hours exploring the Blue Mosque. The mosque is closed to tourists during prayer times. We would recommend visiting during the morning as it’s quieter.

🧕 Dress code: Women should wear a headscarf and cover their arms and legs. Headscarves and long skirts are available to rent at the entrance.

🙋 Book a guided tour: This comprehensive tour of the Blue Mosque and Hagia Sophia with a knowledgable guide will help you to fully appreciate the history and significance of both buildings as well as gain a better understanding of the history of Istanbul itself.

Basilica Cistern

The Basilica Cistern reopened in 2022 after an extensive renovation. Built by the Emperor Justinian I (yes, the same Emperor that built the Hagia Sophia) to supply water to the Great Palace, the cistern consists of 336 thirty-foot marble columns and can store 80,000 cubic metres of water.

The largest cistern in Istanbul, it contains an artificial lake that’s the size of two football fields! 

A sculpture of a hand in the water surrounded by columns at the Basilica Cistern, 10 days in turkey

The Basilica Cistern

The biggest attraction in the cistern is undoubtedly the two upside-down Medusa heads. There are also various art installations in the cistern - including some stunning sculptures.

The lighting inside also changes continually so it’s variously lit in blue, red and green hues and at some points fades totally to black, so watch your step if you don’t want to end up in the water!

Upside down column of Medusa at Basilica Cistern, famous places of turkey

⏰ Basilica Cistern opening hours: 9.00 am - 7.00 pm, everyday

💰 Entrance fees: 190TL (correct as of November 2022)

💡 Insider tips: As the Basilica Cistern has only recently reopened it’s very popular. If you don’t want to queue for ages, arrive just before it opens.

📌 More information: For the latest prices and opening hours click here .

Topkapı Palace (Topkapı Sarayı)

Originally the main residence of the Ottoman sultans and the administrative headquarters of the Ottoman Empire, the Topkapı Palace was constructed in the 15th century by Sultan Mehmed the Conquerer. 

The rooms of the palace are magnificently decorated, with intricately detailed tiles, stained glass windows and doorways and walls decorated with gold.

Ornate interior dome with red, gold and blue patterns at Topkapi Palace, turkey itinerary

Topkapı Palace

Don’t miss a visit to the Harem, where the Sultan’s wives, mother and as many as 300 concubines lived. The rooms in this section are the most stunning in the palace! 

You should also stop at the Imperial Treasury which features a collection of items made with precious metals and stones such as rubies, gold, diamonds and pearls. Amongst these you’ll find the Spoonmaker’s Diamond, a whopping 86 carat diamond in the shape of a teardrop, that is one of the largest diamonds in the world! 

⏰ Topkapı Palace opening hours: Wednesday to Monday 9.00 am - 6.00 pm, closed on Tuesday

💰 Entrance fees: 420TL (correct as of November 2022) The ticket includes access to the palace, harem and Hagia Irene.

💡 Insider tips: Photos can be taken inside the palace but you cannot take pictures of museum exhibitions.

🙋 Skip-the-line with a guided tour: This 75 minute guided tour of Topkapı Palace means you don’t have to queue for tickets and is a great way to understand the history of the palace. You’ll gain a deeper insight into the political and social structures of the Ottoman empire and how over the centuries, the significance of the palace and its role in Ottoman society changed.

The Grand Bazaar (Kapalı Çarşı)

Shopaholics are sure to love the Grand Bazaar! The largest covered market in the world, the Grand Bazaar consists of over 4000 shops and 60 streets and alleys. 

Everything is sold here, from Turkish rugs, brightly coloured lanterns, metalware and jewellery to ceramics, scarves and hamam accessories. 

Colourful glass lamps hanging at the Grand Bazaar, 10 days turkey itinerary

Given the size of the place, the crowds and the vendors constantly calling out to you, it can feel a bit overwhelming: our things to do in Istanbul guide has good tips for dealing with the sensory overload of the Grand Bazaar. 

The key thing is to not take it all too seriously and if you do want to buy something, except to haggle, because it’s the Turkish way! 

⏰ Grand Bazaar opening hours: 10.00 am - 6.00 pm, everyday

💡 Insider tips: Don’t worry about getting lost - this is definitely going to happen. Just wander around until you find an exit. Also decide what you are prepared to pay for an item before you enquire how much it costs.

The Spice Bazaar (Mısır Çarşışı)

Down the road from the Grand Bazaar, the Spice Bazaar is a food lovers paradise. Colourful and fragrant, this is the place to pick up your dried fruit, nuts, Turkish sweets and herbal teas. 

Piles of spices in the spice bazaar, turkey 10 days itinerary

If you haven’t had lunch yet, this is a fantastic place to stave off those hunger pangs as you can taste what’s on display! Vendors happily to ask you to try their products - so go ahead and sample those dried apricots, Turkish delights and pistachio nuts. 

Looking for unique gifts for friends or family back home? Pick up some pul biber (Turkish chilli flakes) or nar ekşisi (pomegranate molasses). 

⏰ Spice Bazaar opening hours: Monday to Friday 8.00 am - 7.00 pm, Saturday 8.00 am - 7.30 pm, Sunday 9.30 am - 7.00 pm

Afternoon and Evening in Balat Neighbourhood

The afternoon portion of this Turkey trip planner takes you to the lovely neighbourhoods of Fener and Balat, famous for their coloured Ottoman houses. 

The easiest way to get to Balat is from the Eminönü bus stop , which is within walking distance from the Spice Bazaar.  From here you can get the 36CE, 44B, 48E, 90, 99, 99A or 99Y bus to Balat - the journey should take about 15-25 minutes. You can use your Istanbulkart on the buses

In the future the T5 tram line will connect Balat to Eminönü and the M2 station at Haliç, making travelling to this area even easier!

Brightly coloured Ottoman mansions at the end of a road in Balat, travel turkey planner

The famous coloured Ottoman mansions ın Balat

Most people know this area from Instagram for its colourful houses , quirky cafes and winding picture-perfect cobbled streets . However, there are much better reasons to include this area on your travel itinerary for Turkey other than it just being Insta-famous. 

Once home to a thriving Greek, Jewish and Armenian community, you’ll find plenty of unique synagogues, mosques, churches and museums - if you know where to look.

Many Turkish TV shows are also filmed here - it’s not uncommon for streets to be cut off by trailers and film crews lugging their equipment up and down the steep hills. 

Check out our detailed guide to Balat and Fener here. Some of the highlights include: 

Church of St Stephen of the Bulgars - the only Orthodox church in the world that is completely made of iron and considered to be one of the most beautiful churches in Turkey.

The Ecumenical Patriarchate of Constantinople/St George’s Church - the symbolic headquarters of the Greek Orthodox Church.

Phanar Eastern Orthodox College - the most prestigious and oldest Greek Orthodox school in Turkey.

Fethiye Museum (formerly known as Pammakaristos Church)  -  famous for its Byzantine mosaics. (Currently closed for renovation).

Kariye Mosque (formerly known as Chora Church)  - famous for its Byzantine-era frescoes and mosaics that some say are even better than the ones in Hagia Sophia. (Currently closed for renovation). 

Ahrida Synagogue - built in the 1400s, this is one of the oldest synagogues in Istanbul. To visit you have to gain special permission from the office of the Chief Rabbi in Istanbul.

A girl walking down a steep cobbled street past brightly coloured houses, best tourist places in turkey

The brightly coloured houses are all over the Balat/Fener area - you are bound to stumble upon them just by wandering around. The most famous streets are Kiremit Caddesi and Merdivenli Yokuş .

💡 Insider tip: These streets become quite busy with Instagrammers by the afternoon so if you want to take a photo without someone posing behind you, I would recommend wandering around to some quieter backstreets. Please be aware that people live in the houses - they aren’t just a tourist attraction.

You’ll have had a very heavy morning and afternoon of sightseeing so I totally understand if all you want to do in Balat is just relax and grab some lunch. 

Head to Cafe Naftalin for unique coffees (definitely try the Mardin Turkish coffee), friendly cats and yummy snacks and desserts.

We also love Velvet Cafe - they have great lunch options and a relaxing garden, perfect for escaping the scorching summer sun. Velvet Cafe also serves Turkish coffee in vintage coffee cups - you get to choose which one you want! 

A Turkish coffee in an antique cup at Velvet Cafe, 10 day turkey tour

End your day at Agora Meyhanesi 1890 , a tavern that was opened by a Greek captain in… (you’ve guessed it!) 1890. It’s an atmospheric place, with thick stone walls, low lighting and ivy growing inside, it just oozes romance and rustic vibes.

It’s also famous for its outstanding mezzes - the selection here is extensive and you’ll want to try them all. The roasted eggplant and the courgette mixed with almond, yogurt, dill and garlic are to die for!

Turkey Travel Itinerary Day 2 Highlights:

Hagia Sophia Mosque

Blue Mosque

Grand Bazaar

Spice Bazaar

Fener and Balat - religious buildings and colourful houses 

Optional add-ons: This day is quite packed already but if you want to spend more time in Sultanahmet you can add on a visit to one of the many excellent museums in the area. Our favourites include the humungous Istanbul Archaeology Museum (which is actually three museums in one) and the Museum of Turkish and Islamic Arts .

Travel Itinerary Turkey Day 2 Top Tips:

  • It’s important that you wake up early today as there is lots to see - an early start means that you won’t feel like you are rushing around.
  • Make sure to bring a headscarf and dress conservatively when you visit mosques today. Most mosques have some cover ups to borrow or rent but when it’s really busy these can run out so it’s better to have your own. The police in front of the mosques are very strict about this and won’t let you in if you haven’t dressed appropriately.
  • If you feel like you are running out of time, consider visiting Topkapı Palace or the Grand Bazaar. Both places are huge and take time to explore. The Spice Bazaar is smaller and less chaotic and you can still experience the atmosphere of a Turkish market here.
  • You will need to use your Istanbulkart to go to Fener and Balat (you can also use it to get between sites in Sultanahmet if you don’t want to walk). You can buy this here in advance .

Day 3 in Istanbul: Explore the Asian Side (Kadıköy and Moda)

Your third day in Istanbul will be spent exploring the Asian side of this megacity .

With a reputation for being much more relaxed, less crowded and more authentic than the European side, this is the place to experience Istanbul like a local. 

A green and white tram on Kadikoy's Bahariye Shopping Street, plan a trip to turkey

Bahariye shopping street in Kadıköy

Getting to Kadıköy is easy: frequent ferries run every 15 to 30 minutes from Karaköy . There are two ferry ports - one run by Turyöl which operates the port near Tünel funicular station here and another run by Şehir Hatları here . You can use your Istanbulkart to get on the ferries. 

The journey to Kadıköy takes about 25-30 minutes: the ferry will usually stop at Eminönü before continuing on to Kadıköy.

It’s a lovely, relaxing and scenic journey - you can see the whole skyline of Istanbul from the water, so make sure you’re ready with your camera! The ferries are clean and comfortable - we always buy a cup of tea on the ferry to enjoy as we watch the city glide by. 

It’s also common to see people feed the seagulls that fly close to the ferry - you can hold bread out and they will grab it straight from your hand! 

Note: You can also take the Marmaray line from Yenıkapı Station directly to Kadıköy but the ferry is a quintessential Istanbul experience that you shouldn’t miss out on!  

Kadıköy, Yeldeğirmeni and Moda Neighbourhoods

Kadıköy is famous for its long, walkable seaside promenade, large green parks and its 14km shopping street Bağdat Caddesi. Packed with cute cafes, affordable restaurants, bars, shops and plenty of students, this area has a bohemian and youthful vibe. 

Brightly coloured lanterns above cafes in Kadikoy, travel itinerary for turkey

The best thing to do here is to explore on foot. Wander around the lovely pedestrianised Bahariye Caddesi and explore its cafes, antique shops and trendy clothing stores. There are also a few attractions in this area that you can visit, including:

Aya Triada Greek Orthodox Church

The Ottoman era Süreyya Opera House

Haydarpaşa Railway Station - this station used to connect Istanbul to Tehran and Baghdad. It is currently under renovation but will hopefully be reopening soon. 

The huge historical Tuesday market (Tarihi Salı Pazarı) that sells fruits, vegetables, dried goods, clothes, household products and much more!

Kadıköy Fish Market - a popular place for locals to grab a quick bite, this area also has restaurants, taverns, shops selling dried fruit and nuts, butcher’s shops and bakeries.   


North of Kadıköy centre is Yeldeğirmeni , a quiet area with breakfast restaurants, cool cafes, bakeries and art studios.

Originally home to residents from a range of ethnic backgrounds including Armenians, Greeks and Jews since the 15th century, it was also the first area in Kadıköy to have apartment-style buildings. 

For several years, Yeldeğirmeni was one of the main locations for the Mural Istanbul festival, which started in 2012. The murals are fantastic and exceptionally detailed. We’d suggest just walking around this area and seeing what you stumble upon! 

Street art of a woman sitting down in Yeldigermeni area Kadikoy, 10 days in turkey itinerary

Recently mentioned in Time Out as one of the coolest places in Istanbul, Moda has drawn comparisons with Brooklyn’s Williamsburg neighbourhood.

Jam-packed with hipster cafes, fashionable boutiques and trendy restaurants, this is where you’ll find Istanbul’s young people. 

Colourful buildings on a narrow street in Moda, turkey itinerary for 10 days

The buzzing Moda area

The Moda area also has some lovely parks - Moda Sahili Parki (Moda Seaside Park) hugs the coastline and has a promenade that stretches on for miles. It’s perfect for a late afternoon stroll as the sun is going down.

You can also rent one of the free bikes in Kadıköy (known as Isbike) and cycle along the seafront! 

Many people like to relax at Moda Çay Bahçesi , a tea garden that overlooks the sea of Marmara and another great sunset spot.

If you’d prefer to do something a little wilder on your last night in Istanbul, then head to Kadife Street, Moda’s nightlife hub that’s filled with relaxed pubs, cocktails bars, live music venues and clubs. 

Suggested additional/alternative activities on Day 3 in Istanbul:

Istanbul food tours.

If you want to do something other than sightseeing on Day 3 of your Turkey trip itinerary, then consider booking a food tour.  

A food tour will give you a much deeper understanding of how Turkish food is inextricably linked with Turkish culture, history, politics, traditions and society.

Spices at a market in Turkey, itinerary for turkey 10 days

Famous for being a labour of love (many dishes in Turkey can take hours to prepare), daily life in Turkey revolves around meals. Even at home, the kitchen is often the place where people congregate.

Here are three of the best food tours in Istanbul :

The Taste of Two Continents Food Tour (⭐ 4.9/5)

The Taste of Two Continents Food Tour gives you the chance to immerse yourself in Istanbul’s buzzing food scene with the guidance of a local expert.

From street food, to homecooked food, traditional sweets to locally made specialities, you will get to explore Turkish food in a way that goes beyond what visitors to the city usually experience.

On the tour you will visit local markets and try fresh produce plus stop at between 9-10 different eateries, sampling a variety of dishes at each place.

My favourite thing about this tour is that it takes you to off-the-beaten-track cafes and restaurants and family-run businesses specialising in one type of food/product or regional cuisine - places that would be really hard to find without a local guide!

There are two versions of this tour, run by two different companies.

Yummy Istanbul runs the daytime food tour : it starts at 09.00 am/09.30 am/10.00 am and lasts 6.5 hours.

My Local Guide Istanbul runs the evening food tour : it starts at 6.00 pm and lasts 5 hours.

Both tours begin at a meeting point in Sultanhamet and include a ferry ride across the Bosphorus to Kadıköy and Moda.

Note: The Taste of Two Continents Food Tours can be adapted to suit vegetarians but not vegans.

💡 Insider tip: If you choose the evening Taste of Two Continents tour, you can spend your day in Kadıköy and Moda and ask the tour guide to meet you on the Asian Side.

3 Hour Evening Food Tour in Kadıköy (⭐ 4.8/5)

If you would like to follow the itinerary suggested above and then add a shorter food tour on in the evening, this three-hour Kadıköy food tour is for you.

A local gourmet guide will take you around Kadıköy’s local markets and best hidden food spots whilst giving you an insight into the history of Turkish cuisine and how neighbouring countries have influenced Turkey’s food scene.

You’ll try various mezzes, popular desserts, plus lesser well known street foods, talk to shopkeepers and cafe owners and get to experience the best of Turkish food culture.

Note: Vegetarians are well catered for on this tour

Turkey Tour 10 Days, Day 3 Highlights: 

Ferry ride on the Bosphorus to the Asian side of Istanbul

Explore the neighbourhoods of Kadıköy and Moda

Check out the murals in Yeldeğirmeni neighbourhood

Explore Turkish cuisine through a food tour of Istanbul

Optional add-on: If you have an extra day, consider visiting the area of Üsküdar on the Asian side . There’s plenty to see there including the Maiden’s Tower (Kız Kulesi) and Çamlıca Mosque , the biggest mosque in Turkey! It’s also only a ferry ride away from Karaköy. For more information check out our guide to the best areas in Istanbul which includes a section on Üsküdar .

Turkey Trip Itinerary Day 3 Top Tips:

  • You will need your Istanbulkart for the ferry to the Asian side. Click here to buy one in advance .
  • If you plan on doing a food tour, make sure that you don’t eat much beforehand. All the tours involve a lot of eating , so you’ll definitely be totally full by the end!
  • Wear a comfortable pair of shoes - there is a fair amount of walking and standing on the tour.
  • Buy a simit (Turkish bagel) from one of the vendors near the ferry port and feed the seagulls when you are on the ferry. It’s a really fun thing to do!

🗓 Turkey 10 Day Itinerary: Cappadocia, Day 4 - 6

Hot air balloons in Cappadocia at Sunrise, travel itinerary turkey

Day 4: Travel to Cappadocia & Optional Activities

✈️ By plane: The quickest and most convenient way to get to Cappadocia from Istanbul is to fly. There are many direct flights with Turkish and Pegasus Airlines to Cappadocia’s Nevsehir Kapadokya Airport and Kayseri Erkilet Airport each week. Click here to search flights on Wayaway .

Flights to Cappadocia depart from both Istanbul International Airport (IST) and Sabiha Gökçen Airport (SAW) . Prices start at around £28/$32 and the flight takes 1 hour 20 minutes .

🚍 By bus: There are frequent buses from Istanbul to Goreme, Cappadocia's main jump off point for visitors to the region. Long distance buses in Turkey are comfortable and companies such as Pamukkale Turizm , Nevşehir Seyahat and Metro Turizm offer complimentary drinks and snacks too.

We’ve often been given ice cream, biscuits and cake on long journeys! Plus on most buses, there’s a fridge filled with water bottles that you can help yourself to. You can check bus prices and times on Busbud here .

The journey takes around 11.5 hours and is slightly cheaper than flying.

To save time on this itinerary and money on accommodation, you could take a night bus on your last evening in Istanbul and arrive in Cappadocia in the morning. You might be a little tired but this way you don’t waste a day of your itinerary travelling!

🚗 By car: If Turkey road trips are your thing, then this is the point where you will start your first long drive. You can pick up your rental car from Discover Cars or Local Rent at either Istanbul International Airport or Sabiha Gökçen Airport .

The drive to Cappadocia will take between 8-9 hours .

Airport Transfer from Cappadocia Airports

If you are flying into Cappadocia you will land at either Kayseri Erkilet Airport or Nevşehir Kapadokya Airport . The easiest way to get to your hotel in Göreme or Uçhisar is by booking a shared airport transfer. You can book this shared airport transfer here .

From Kayseri Airport it takes around 70 minutes by car to travel to Göreme and Uçhisar . Nevşehir Airport is slightly closer - around 40 minutes to both towns .

Introduction to Cappadocia

Of course, this Turkey travel planner had to include Cappadocia , a destination that is on a million and one Turkey itineraries!

Located in central Anatolia, Cappadocia (or Kapadokya in Turkish) actually covers parts of six provinces in Turkey : Kayseri , Nevşehir , Aksaray , Kırşehir , Niğde and Sivas .

Prior to Cappadocia’s tourism boom, the area was locally known as Nevşehir: the name of the city and the province that is slap bang in the middle of the region. This, however, caused confusion amongst tourists who thought they were visiting a city and not an entire area.

The name Cappadocia, from the ancient Persian name “Katpatuka” meaning “The Land of Beautiful Horses”, was subsequently adopted to describe the region. 

Sunrise over Cappadocia through a cave entrance, 10 days turkey tour packages

The unique landscape of Cappadocia is actually believed to be the result of massive volcanic eruptions and erosion that began almost 60 million years ago . The volcanic ash from these eruptions eventually hardened into a soft rock that was quite vulnerable to erosion by snow, rain and wind, (ironically the geological name for this rock is “tuff”!).  

As the softer rock gradually eroded away, the harder, less easily eroded material remained, thereby creating a range of unique geological formations , including the thin spires of rock, aka ‘fairy chimneys’, that Cappadocia is so famous for.

Cappadocia has been home to various human civilisations since the Paleolithic era , including the Hittites in the Bronze Age , the Persians and much later on, people from the Roman and Byzantine empires . 

Ortahisar Castle rock formation towering above houses in Cappadocia

Ortahisar Castle

The soft rock was easy for human settlers to carve: the most famous examples of this are the many churches , monasteries and underground cities that were built by Christians who were fleeing Roman persecution during the Roman/Byzantine era .

If you’ve seen people on Instagram toasting champagne or having a lavish Turkish breakfast at sunrise while hot air balloons float dreamily around them , chances are that those photos were taken in Cappadocia. 

With its unique and ethereal landscapes , rich history , jaw-dropping geological formations and once-in-a-lifetime experiences it’s easy to see why Cappadocia is definitely one of the cool places in Turkey to visit! 

Getting Around Cappadocia

Most visitors to Cappadocia base themselves in Göreme . From Göreme there are a few attractions that you can reach on foot such as Göreme Open Air Museum , the spectacular Rose Valley , the famous Love Valley with its erotic rock formations and Pigeon Valley .

However some sites such as the labyrinthian Derinkuyu and Kaymaklı Underground Cities and the lush Ilhara Valley are much too faraway to walk to, especially when you have limited time. For context, Derinkuyu and Kaymaklı Underground Cities are 37km and 27km away from Göreme respectively , whilst the Ilhara Valley is a whopping 81km away !

Luckily Cappadocia is one of the places offering some of the best guided tours of Turkey : you can book reasonably priced tours to all of the major attractions in the area.

Another option is to hire a rental car through agencies like Discover Cars or Local Rent to just explore this region. You can collect your car at either Kayseri or Nevşehir Airport . You can then explore Cappadocia independently and at your own pace.

Best Cappadocia Hotels

Top pick: Sultan Cave Suites (⭐ 9.0)

Göreme Cave Hotel: Arif Cave Hotel (⭐ 9.8)

Göreme Cave Hotel: Charming Cave Hotel (⭐ 9.7)

Uçhisar Cave Hotel: Karkık Cave Suite Cappadocia (⭐ 9.9)

Uçhisar Hotel: Ansia Hotel (⭐ 9.8)

Best Cappadocia Tours

Cappadocia Red Tour (⭐ 4.6/5)

Cappadocia Blue Tour (⭐ 4.4/5)

Private Cappadocia Tour (⭐ 4.7/5)

Possible Activities On Your Arrival Day in Cappadocia

Goreme open air museum.

If you arrive on a morning flight into Cappadocia and are staying in Göreme, the main hub for tourists visiting Cappadocia, leave your bags at your hotel and venture out to Goreme Open Air Museum , which is a short 25-30 minute walk away . (From Uçhisar it's a longer walk of just over an hour).

This museum is a great introduction to the history of Göreme and features beautiful examples of rock cut churches and restored frescoes from the Byzantine period .

Göreme was the centre of religious activity for many years and is believed to have initially been a Christian settlement for monks that eventually became a major pilgrimage site .

There are 15 churches in the Goreme Open Air Museum alone (some of which date back to the 10th century) whilst in the wider Göreme area there are 60 churches , innumerable burial mounds and chapels .

Inside a church carved out of rock  in Cappadocia, turkey 7 day itinerary

Everywhere you look you’ll also find the remains of chapels, monasteries and the living quarters of Byzantine monks, plus kitchens and dining areas!

Many of the spectacular churches in Cappadocia are located in Goreme Open Air Museum including the Dark Church (Karanlık Kilise) , Apple Church (Elmalı Kilise) and Sandal Church (Çarıklı Kilise) . Some churches have an additional entrance fee on top of the ticket price to enter the museum.

Goreme Open Air Museum is free to enter with the Turkey Museum Pass . A visit here is also part of some of the Cappadocia tours that we recommend for the next few days of your Turkey itinerary.

⏰ Göreme Open Air Museum opening times: 8.00 am - 7.00 pm (1st April to 1st October), 8.00 am - 5.00 pm (2nd October to 31st March)

💰 Göreme Open Air Museum entrance fee: 150TL (correct as of November 2022)

💡 Insider tip : No photos are allowed inside any of the churches in Göreme Open Air Museum. However, there are other churches in the surrounding area where you can take photographs inside.

Hike to Love Valley Cappadocia or Red Valley Cappadocia

If you’d prefer to do something even more adventurous on your first day, then consider a hike to the stunning Love Valley (Aşıklar Vadisi) or the equally gorgeous Red Valley (Kızılçukur Vadisi) .

Love Valley is one of the most famous places in the Cappadocia region for its phallic-shaped fairy chimneys, or as we like to say: rocks that look like cocks.

On your first day in Cappadocia, you can hike to the Love Valley viewpoint - this should take you just over an hour . You can also drive to the viewpoint (or take a taxi) - this will take around 15 minutes.

The viewpoint is very popular at sunrise and sunset, particularly with Instagrammers, so you’ll find a cafe nearby with benches, swings and heart-shaped frames. If you want somewhere less crowded, walk a bit further down the road as the views are equally as good.

Fairy chimneys in Love Valley, 7 days turkey itinerary

Fairy chimneys in Love Valley

If you prefer to spend some time exploring the valley itself and see those lovely willy formations up close, then simply follow the signs for the valley (which will read Bağlidere Vidisi, the original name in Turkish for the valley before it was renamed). 

You basically follow the same route to the viewpoint but instead of walking to the top, you will turn left after approximately 2.7km . After a few minutes, you will see a large sign for Bağlidere Vidisi on the left, this is the turnoff into Love Valley . Follow this dirt road down into the valley. 

Some tours will only take you to see the viewpoint over Love Valley, so this is a nice chance to explore it properly on your own on your first day. 

A roundtrip to the Love Valley viewpoint takes about 2 hours. If you explore the valley itself allocate 2.5 to 3.5 hours for the trip - this way you can walk through it without rushing. 

A sea of pointed red rock formations in Red  Valley in Cappadocia, turkey itinerary 7 days

Red Valley in Cappadocia

Another option is to hike to the sunset viewpoint at Red Valley Cappadocia . Located about 1 hour and 15 minutes from Göreme , this is another panoramic viewpoint located near a cafe.

During the daytime entrance is free for hikers, but at sunset, you will have to pay a small fee . Like the sunset viewpoint at Love Valley, this is a very popular tourist spot so get there early if you want to sit at the cafe and watch the sun going down. 

A round-trip hike to the Red Valley viewpoint will take about 2.5 hours. You can also drive/take a taxi to this viewpoint from Göreme in just over 15 minutes . 

If you arrive early and prefer to explore the valley itself, then good news - the starting point to the Red Valley hike is also here ! 

💡 Insider tip: You’ll find a map showing you the Red, Rose and Meskendir valley walking routes but we’d recommend downloading a map of the area from beforehand so you can follow the hiking route down into the valley.

Many of the signs along the route are broken, confusing and inaccurate, with some even pointing in different directions! The beginning of the Red Valley hike is located between the viewing terrace and the Crazy Ali Panorama Cafe.

⏰ Hiking the Red Valley loop from the viewpoint will take just over an hour . You also have the option of exploring the beautiful, pink and white Rose Valley Cappadocia as part of the hike too. If you decide to add in the Rose Valley loop , your round trip back to the viewpoint will take you about 3 - 3.5 hours .

🍹 You can enjoy a relaxing sun-downer at Crazy Ali Panorama Cafe before heading back to Göreme.

Note: If you decide to complete both hiking loops and then walk back to Göreme, your total journey time will be between 4 - 4.5 hours .

Horse Riding in Cappadocia

Another great way to explore the valleys of Cappadocia on your first day is to join a horseback riding tour .

This two-hour horse back tour takes you well away from the crowds to some of the most amazing rock formations and fairy chimneys. You’ll also ride through picture perfect vineyards, and apricot orchards. It’s a lovely, relaxing way to see Cappadocia, especially at sunset.

A man on a horse in a narrow valley in Cappadocia, turkey road trips

10 Days Itinerary Turkey - Day 4 Highlights:

Morning flight from Istanbul to Cappadocia

Göreme Open Air Museum 

Hike to Love Valley or Red Valley

Horseback tour of Cappadocia

Turkey Travel Itinerary Day 4 Top Tips:

  • Wear comfortable walking shoes if you want to hike in Cappadocia (we’d recommend this even if you are going on tours as there will be some walking involved).
  • Go to bed early as you have a very early start tomorrow!

🏠 The Best Places to Stay in Cappadocia

Cappadocia has a huge number of hotels, many with spectacular views of the surrounding valley. We’ve included hotels that suit every budget, so you can choose the one that fits yours.

14 day travel itinerary turkey

Photo courtesy of Sultan Cave Suites from

OVERALL TOP PICK: Sultan Cave Suites (⭐ 9.0)

Featured in millions of Instagram photos, this hotel has some of the best and most epic views of hot air balloons floating over Cappadocia. You have an uninterrupted view of the balloons floating in every direction.

The roof terrace here is decorated with Turkish rugs and cushions and they even put out a traditional Turkish breakfast at sunrise so you have the perfect backdrop for your photos!

The clean and comfortable rooms at Sultan Cave Suites feature free Wi-Fi, flat-screen TVs and ensuite bathrooms. Some rooms also have balconies with stunning views. The hotel's restaurant offers a range of must-try traditional Turkish Anatolian specialities.

14 day travel itinerary turkey

Photo courtesy of Charming Cave Hotel from

LOVELY GÖREME CAVE HOTEL: Charming Cave Hotel (⭐ 9.7)

This hotel offers gorgeously furnished, spacious, cave rooms with ensuite bathrooms, free Wi-Fi, flat-screen TVs and comfortable beds. They also have an onsite restaurant serving tasty meals, a shared lounge and bar.

Their stunning panoramic roof terrace, with Turkish cushions and rugs offers breathtaking views over Göreme town and the surrounding valley - perfect for watching the hot air balloons in the morning!

The hosts are really friendly and helpful and there’s a generous, homecooked and delicious breakfast for hotel guests.

14 day travel itinerary turkey

Photo courtesy of Karlık Cave Suite from

STUNNING UÇHISAR CAVE HOTEL: Karlık Cave Suite Cappadocia (⭐ 9.9)

Conveniently located close to restaurants and shops in Uçhisar and only 5 minutes walk from Uçhisar Castle, all the rooms in this hotel feature a hot tub, free Wi-Fi, flat-screen TVs, air conditioning and ensuite bathrooms.

Some rooms also have a balcony with views of the mountains and the castle.

The hotel offers free bicycles and a generous breakfast. Guests can enjoy meals from the hotel restaurant and relax in a shared lounge area. The roof terrace has lovely views.

14 day travel itinerary turkey

Photo courtesy of Artemis Cave Suites and Spa from

LUXURY PICK GOREME: Artemis Cave Suites and Spa (⭐ 9.5)

A stone’s throw from Göreme’s sunrise viewpoint, this hotel offers lovely, beautifully decorated and spacious cave or stone rooms with air conditioning, under floor heating, free Wi-Fi and flat-screen TVs.

The hotel also has a Turkish bath where you can get a full hamam and massage and a comfortable furnished terrace with incredible city and valley views.

14 day travel itinerary turkey

Photo courtesy of Museum Hotel from

LUXURY PICK UÇHISAR: Museum Hotel (⭐ 9.8)

It’s easy to see why this gorgeous luxury hotel features in so many Instagram shots!

With a heated Roman style pool boasting views across the valley and furnished with priceless antiques, this hotel is perfect for couples or families with older children who want to experience luxury in Cappadocia.

In keeping with the Roman theme, some of the rooms have free wine taps offering an endless supply of red and white wine!

All the very spacious rooms in the hotel offer an ensuite bathroom with a jacuzzi style bath, a flat-screen TV and free Wi-Fi. Guests can enjoy a sumptuous breakfast made from organic ingredients grown in the hotel’s own garden.

14 day travel itinerary turkey

Photo courtesy of Arif Cave Hotel from

MID-RANGE CHOICE GÖREME: Arif Cave Hotel (⭐ 9.8)

Boasting a roof terrace with panoramic views, this friendly hotel features large, cosy rooms with free Wi-Fi, flat-screen TVs, high ceilings and and ensuite bathrooms.

The hotel overlooks the town and is actually located right under the sunrise viewpoint in Göreme, so guests will be able to enjoy a perfect view of the balloons from the terrace.

The staff are kind and helpful and hotel guests are served a generous, varied and freshly cooked breakfast each morning.

14 day travel itinerary turkey

Photo courtesy of Ansia Hotel from

MID RANGE PICK UÇHISAR: Ansia Hotel (⭐ 9.8)

Located just 200 yards from Uçhisar Castle, this boutique hotel set in a gorgeous arched building has a lovely furnished terrace with breathtaking views of Cappadocia.

Guests can enjoy a generous and delicious homecooked breakfast each day and relax in beautifully furnished rooms that offer free Wi-Fi, ensuite bathrooms and coffee machines.

To make sure you are truly comfortable, the hotel even has a pillow menu for guests!

14 day travel itinerary turkey

Photo courtesy of Old Town Stone House from

BUDGET CHOICE GÖREME: Old Town Stone House (⭐ 9.6)

Offering cozy, rustic rooms furnished in a traditional Turkish style, comfortable beds, spacious bathrooms, free Wi-Fi and flat-screen TVs, this hotel is incredible value for money.

Most of the rooms also feature air conditioning and one even has a fireplace and a spa bath!

An amazing homemade buffet style breakfast with great vegan and vegetarian options prepares you for a long day of sightseeing (you can even have it served to your room!). The terrace is beautifully decorated and perfect for watching the balloons at sunrise.

14 day travel itinerary turkey

Photo courtesy of Anatolia Raymonde Cave House from

BUDGET PICK UCHISAR: Anatolia Raymonde Cave House (⭐ 9.1)

The clean and cosy rooms at this family-run budget hotel feature free Wi-Fi, ensuite bathrooms and comfortable beds in a traditional stone/cave-like style.

Rooms include a daily breakfast buffet and the hotel can also provide packed lunches for guests going on tours. There are BBQ facilities available for guests to use and the restaurant also serves traditional Anatolian cuisine.

The terrace has absolutely stunning views of Uçhisar and the hot air balloons at sunrise. Staff are really friendly and helpful.

Day 5: Cappadocia Hot Air Balloon at Sunrise & the Green Tour

Sunrise cappadocia balloon ride.

You’ll begin your day with a breathtaking hot air balloon ride at sunrise. A hot air balloon ride in Cappadocia is an unmissable experience and one of the main reasons most tourists visit the region. Here's everything you need to know.

The Experience

The Cappadocia hot air balloon tours start early to catch the sunrise - in the summer this can mean that you will be picked up from your hotel at around 4.30 am , whilst in the winter you might get a bit of a lie in until about 6.00 am or 6.30 am .

The tour company will take you to the launch site where you will meet the rest of the people in your group who will be taking the tour with you. Every tour includes a complimentary light Turkish breakfast - you can enjoy this while you watch the balloons being checked and prepared for their flights.

After a short safety briefing, you will board the balloon basket with help from the flight crew. The balloon will then begin its flight and it’s time to get your camera out!

Close up of hot air balloons floating over fairy chimneys in Cappadocia at sunrise

At points the balloon will fly as high as 3000 feet (almost 915 metres) and you will see all of Göreme, Uçhisar and the stunning fairy chimneys and valleys below. It’s common for the balloon to go down into valleys and then up again, just to make sure you get the most spectacular views.

After your time in the air is over, your balloon will start to descend - where you land is entirely wind dependent.

Once you are back on solid ground you will have a glass of champagne to celebrate your successful flight and you’ll also receive a personalised flight certificate that you can keep as a souvenir (in addition to the thousands of photographs you’ll take in the air!)

Definitely an unforgettable experience in your 10 day Turkey itinerary!

💡 Insider tips: Make sure you take a warm jacket and a scarf with you for the balloon ride. Even during the summer, it’s still really cold at 3000 feet . Also, remember to bring your camera and only have a small bag with you - you cannot take luggage or large bags on board the balloon .

Hot air balloons floating over white mushroom shaped fairy chimneys in Cappadocia

Cappadocia Hot Air Balloon Price

We’re not going to lie: a sunrise hot air balloon ride over Cappadocia is definitely not a budget friendly experience but like our microlight flight over the Victoria Falls in Zambia , it is a cracking bucket list one .

Prices start from around £145/$170 at the cheaper end to £250/$290 and above per person . The duration of different tours varies: most flights last around 1 hour, though there are shorter options such as a 30 minute flight.

There are also much longer flights lasting 3 or 4 hours but these will obviously cost more. We’d recommend taking a 1 hour flight - this is more than enough time to enjoy the experience and see all the sights of Cappadocia from above.

There are a few different popular options for hot air balloon tours on Get Your Guide : this hot air balloon ride with champagne and a complimentary breakfast , this sunrise flight experience and this hot air balloon tour with Turquaz balloons are three of the best.

Close up of two hot air balloons floating over white fairy chimneys in Cappadocia

Most balloon companies also offer different options based on the size of the group going on the experience. Standard balloon flights (the cheapest option) usually take a maximum group size of  20-30 people , while more exclusive flights (semi-private) take a smaller group of around 16 people .

You can also book a private tour that is only for 4-8 people . Depending on the company, the semi-private and private flights usually last longer , from around 75 minutes to 90 minutes and as you’d expect, a more exclusive experience is more costly . 

If taking a hot air balloon ride is at the top of your list of things to do in Cappadocia, then make sure you book it for your first proper day in the region. 

Whilst on Instagram it might seem like the balloons fly all the time without any issues, the truth is that this experience is very weather dependent . Cancellations due to unsafe weather conditions are common, especially in winter and only 100 balloons are allowed to fly at the same time. 

If your flight is cancelled, your hot air balloon ride will be rescheduled for the following day. For this reason, it’s really important that you leave enough time in your itinerary for this experience , just in case you don’t get to do it on the first day. 

Note: If you are unlucky enough that the weather prevents you from flying at all during your time in Cappadocia, you will be given a full refund. 

Hot air balloons floating over a snow covered landscape in Cappadocia in winter

Cappadocia Green Tour (Southern Cappadocia)

In Cappadocia, tour operators offer three different tours: Green , Red and Blue . Each of these tours explore slightly different areas of the Cappadocia region.

The Green Tour takes you around the historical sites and natural valleys located in the southern region of Cappadocia in the provinces of Aksaray and Kayseri.

If you only have the budget to go on one tour during your time in Cappadocia, we would strongly recommend the Green Tour .

Why do we recommend the Green Tour ?

The main reason we suggest booking the Green Tour is that most of the sites such as Selime Monastery, Derinkuyu Underground City and the Ihlara Valley that you visit on this tour are very far away from both Uçhisar and Göreme , the main tourist hubs for travellers.

For example, Derinkuyu is 50 minutes drive away from Göreme , whilst the Ilhara Valley is 75 minutes away by car.

Whilst some of the sites on the tour such as Derinkuyu Underground City could, in theory, be accessed by public transportation (which is cheap but slow), in practice, you will have to take several buses and including the waiting times, it would actually take you most of the day to get there. This means you’d use a whole day just to visit one attraction.

Other attractions on the tour, such as Ihlara Valley cannot be visited using public transport, so unless you have a rental car (which is something we’d recommend!) you’d have to take a VERY expensive taxi.

Lush green valley against red rock walls against a blue sky in Cappadocia

In contrast, most sites on the Red and Blue tours can be reached easily by car in 10-15 minutes and in the case of the Red Tour, pretty much all of it can also be done on foot over the course of a day.

The Green Tour enables you to visit all these faraway attractions plus a couple more, so if you haven’t rented a car, it really is the best way to see these sites.

We also love the Green Tour because you get the chance to see much more of Cappadocia’s landscape. So much of the area is arid, otherworldly and moon-like, so visiting somewhere that is lush and green like the Ihlara Valley is a really nice contrast.

The cost of the Green Tour includes all your transportation, entrance fees and you visit at least five sites with a professional art historian guide.

Top Attractions on the Green Tour:

Göreme Panorama (Esentepe Viewpoint) - from here you can see over the whole Göreme valley. 

Derinkuyu Underground City - a Byzantine-era city that could accommodate up to 20,000 people plus their animals and food stores. The city actually has 18 subterranean levels, eight of which are open to the public. This is the largest underground city in the whole of Turkey.  

Ihlara Valley - a gorgeous 15km long gorge covered in lush green forest. Over 100 rock-carved houses and churches belonging to Byzantine monks line the gorge. Most of the tours include a hike along the river that flows through the gorge, followed by lunch in nearby Belisırma Village.

Selime Monastery - the largest religious building in Cappadocia, this church is actually the size of a cathedral and is completely carved out of the rock. There are beautiful frescoes inside. 

Pigeon Valley - home to thousands of dovecotes (pigeon houses) carved into the stone. 

Some tours also include:

Kaymaklı Underground City - another massive underground settlement, four floors of which are accessible to visitors. This stop is included in some tours instead of Derinkuyu, so double-check the tour itinerary if you prefer to visit Derinkuyu.  

Onyx jewellery factory in Uçhisar. 

Depending on the tour operator the order of the tour and some of the stops can change. 

The tours take 7-8 hours and start at 9.30am/10.00am , so you’ll have plenty of time to get back from your hot air balloon trip. 

You can book the Green Tour through Get Your Guide . There are three main choices:

Click here to see prices & availability of Green Tour 1 - offered by Stoneland Travel

Click here to see prices & availability of Green Tour 2 - offered by Pupa Tours

Click here to see prices & availability of Green Tour 3 - offered by Enka Travel

Note: The tours offered by Pupa Tours and Enka Travel are small group tours, usually limited to 15 participants , though often the group size is much smaller. If you prefer smaller group tours, this is the perfect choice.

💡 Insider tips: If you are on a self-drive itinerary , you can easily drive between these locations yourself. If you would prefer not to go on a tour, then we would recommend hiring a driver who can pick you up and drop you off at different spots, but this will be expensive.

🚶 Physical activity: The Green Tour involves a fair bit of walking. At Derinkuyu and Kaymaklı Underground City there is a lot to explore and plenty of steps descending to different levels - the latter can be quite claustrophobic and narrow in some parts.

To descend into the Ihlara Valley you have to navigate nearly 400 steps followed by a 3.8km hike along the river. If you have mobility issues or difficulty walking we’d recommend choosing the Red Tour or Blue Tour instead.

After a full day of exploring you will have worked up quite the appetite so it’s time to try a Cappadocia speciality: testi kebap . Also known as ‘pottery kebab’, this is a dish that is prepared in a…jug! 

Meat (chicken, lamb or beef) is cooked inside a pottery jug with vegetables (usually tomatoes, onions, green pepper, garlic), butter, salt and black pepper. The top of the pot is sealed with bread dough and the whole thing is then placed in a clay oven (known as a tandoor). 

Two clay pots (testi kebap) sealed with nan bread and placed together on a stove in Cappadocia

Testi kebap

Testi kebap takes a while to cook (usually a minimum of two hours) so the best restaurants in Cappadocia ask you to inform them in advance if you want to try this dish. When ready, the searingly hot pot is brought to your table and cracked open in front of you. 

We’d recommend trying this at Seten Anatolian Cuisine , Göreme Han or Kapadokya Kebabzade . 

Vegetarians, we haven’t forgotten you. When we visited Göreme for the first time 14 years ago, we were able to find a few vege versions of the testi kebap and we’re pleased to say that there are even more restaurants offering it today. Organic Cave Kitchen (formerly Family Cave Kitchen) and Inci Cave Restaurant do particularly lip-smacking versions.

Turkey Itinerary - Day 5 Highlights:

Sunrise hot air balloon ride

The Cappadocia Green Tour 

Traditional Anatolian dinner of testi kebap

Turkey Travel Itinerary Day 5 Top Tips:

  • Bring a warm jacket and scarf with you for the hot air balloon ride at sunrise.
  • Wear comfortable walking shoes - you’ll be walking a lot today!
  • If you want to try testi kebab remember to book this with a restaurant in advance.

Day 6 in Cappadocia: Watch the Hot Air Balloons at Sunrise, Red/Blue Tour & Evening Flight to Izmir

Seeing the hot air balloons at sunrise.

Watching the hot air balloons slowly rise into the air as the sun comes up over the horizon is as popular an activity as being in the actual balloon itself!

If you were able to take your balloon ride yesterday, today is the day you will watch the spectacular sight of them floating across the valley at sunrise.

This is another day with an early start (don’t worry, we promise some chillout time is coming) as balloon launches happen anywhere between 4.30 am and 7.30 am depending on the time of year.

Hot air balloons floating over farmland in Cappadocia at sunrise with rock formations and mountains in the distance

A lot of hotels have beautifully decorated balconies, with panoramic views of the valley, from which you can watch the balloons flying. Some of the most popular ones are Sultan Cave Suites , Mithra Cave Hotel , Charming Cave Hotel and Museum Hotel .

These hotels are very popular with Instagrammers so if you want to take photos of the balloons away from the crowds, book another option from our accommodation list or set off on an early hike to the Love Valley viewpoint .

Red Tour or Blue Tour

Today you have the opportunity to explore a different area of Cappadocia on either the Red or Blue Tour. We’ll go into detail about what each tour offers and how you can also do the tour independently if you want.

The Red Tour of Cappadocia

The Red Tour is probably the most popular route for travellers as it basically covers all of Cappadocia’s most photographed sites.

This is the second tour that we would recommend taking as part of this itinerary. It’s also a great choice if you only have one day in the region as it takes you around the most impressive sites, including Göreme Open Air Museum, which is the best introduction to Cappadocia.

The Red Tour explores the stunning natural wonders located in the central and northern areas of Cappadocia . Like the Green Tour, your lunch, entrance fees, transportation and professional guide are included in the Red Tour fee.

A distant view of Uçhisar Castle in Cappadocia surrounded by houses and pointed fairy chimneys with hot air balloons floating in the distance

Uçhisar Castle in Cappadocia

Top Attractions on the Red Tour:

Devrent Valley (Imagination Valley) - home to some of the most interesting rock formations, this is the most surreal landscape in Cappadocia. The lunar landscape here has fairy chimneys that resemble human figures and animals. The most famous one is the camel-shaped fairy chimney. 

Paşabağları (Monk’s Valley) - a former retreat for monks fleeing Roman persecution, this valley includes plenty of rock-cut churches, monasteries and houses. The valley is also filled with a huge concentration of very unique mushroom-shaped fairy chimneys.

Avanos Town (pottery making workshop) - The centre of pottery making in Cappadocia since the Hittite Empire in 4000BC. You’ll see a pottery demonstration and then be able to have a go at making something yourself!

A close up of pointed, mushroom shaped Cappadocia cave houses carved out of terracotta coloured Fairy chimneys

Esentepe Panoramic Viewpoint (Göreme Panorama) - a stunning viewpoint overlooking Pigeon Valley and Göreme town.

Uçhisar Castle - previously used as a fortress by the Roman and Byzantine armies, this is the highest viewpoint in Cappadocia

Göreme Open Air Museum - the area’s biggest tourist attraction featuring the most well-preserved and spectacular rock-cut churches (such as the Dark Church), frescoes, chapels and dining areas belonging to monks from the Byzantine period.

Some tours also include the following stop:

Çavusin Village - one of the oldest settlements in Cappadocia that is still inhabited by people today. This area has many churches and stone houses. 

The tours start at 9.30 am/10.00 am and take around 7-8 hours. As with the Green Tour, tour operators running the Red Tour might have slightly different stops and itineraries so make sure you read the itinerary carefully before you book. 

You can book the Red Tour through Get Your Guide . They offer three main options through different operators:

Click here to see prices & availability of Red Tour 1 - offered by Enka Travel . This is a small group tour limited to 15 participants - perfect if you don’t like tours involving larger groups!

Click here to see prices & availability of Red Tour 2 - offered by Tourmania

Click here to see prices & availability of Red Tour 3 - offered by Travelux Cappadocia

Doing the Red Tour Independently

If you aren’t a fan of tours, it is possible to visit these sites independently by foot and using public transport . 

Starting from Göreme or Uçhisar, hiking to the sites in a circular route would take around 7-8 hours but this does not include time for rest breaks or taking photographs.

If you head out straight after watching the hot air balloons at sunrise, you should have enough time. You can also take local buses to neighbouring towns from the Göreme bus station to cut down your walking time. 

💡 Insider tip: In the summer months it is very hot in Cappadocia and some trails have little or no shade . Do bear this in mind if you want to hike to the sights on the Red Tour and take plenty of water with you . You can also ask your hotel to organise a packed lunch for you!

If you just want to hike to certain sites/along particular routes, we’d recommend hiring a driver to drop you off at the trailhead between different locations and arranging for them to pick you up at the end of the trail.

If you’ve got a rental car, you can follow the Red Tour route on a self-drive itinerary .

A pink sunset over undulating rock formations in Cappadocia

The Blue Tour of Cappadocia

The Blue Tour follows a similar route to the Green Tour and takes you around some of the most iconic sites in southern and central Cappadocia .

As with the Red and Green Tours, the price of the tour includes all transportation, entrance fees to different sites, lunch and a professional, experienced guide .

Top Attractions on the Blue Tour:

Hiking across the Red Valley - one of the most famous places to watch the sunrise/sunset, this valley is named after its crimson-coloured fairy chimneys and rocks. Many churches are located in the Red Valley, including Uzumlu Church which has incredible frescoes inside.  

Hiking across the Rose Valley - another popular photography spot, the Rose Valley is also filled with many interesting chapels and churches. At sunrise and sunset, the rocks turn a lovely pink colour. 

Cavusin Cave Village - An ancient village that was originally inhabited by Christians fleeing Roman persecution. Many local people still live in the rock-cut houses. You’ll also find one of Cappadocia’s oldest churches here - The Church of St John the Baptist which dates back to the 5th century. 

Ortahisar Castle (a large fairy chimney) surrounded by houses on the mountainside  in Cappadocia in Türkiye

Rose Valley

Kaymaklı or Derinkuyu Underground City - Massive ancient underground cities on multiple levels. The many rooms in the cities include dining rooms, wineries, churches and stables!

Pigeon Valley - a valley filled with thousands of pigeon houses, known as dovecotes. Pigeon eggs were used in church frescoes and their droppings were also used by ancient farmers to fertilise their crops. The viewpoint here offers a spectacular panoramic view over the valley. 

Uçhisar Greek houses - similar to Cavusin village, there are plenty of Greek rock cut and stone houses in this area. 

Ortahisar Castle - a fortress built upon the largest mass of fairy chimneys in Cappadocia and one of the highest viewpoints in the region, this is an amazing place to take photographs of surrounding valleys. This site is also much less visited than Uçhisar Castle.

Uç Güzeller (The Three Beauties) - an interesting set of fairy chimneys with flat tops located between Ortahisar and Ügrüp. There’s also a legend that the three chimneys represent a princess, her husband and her child. 

The Blue Tour starts at 10.00am and takes 7-8 hours.

The Blue Tour is available on Get Your Guide through their partner Enka Travel as a small group tour limited to 15 people .

Doing the Blue Tour Independently

While most of the sites on this tour including Pigeon, Rose and Red valleys, Cavusin Cave Village and Ortahisar Castle can be visited independently on foot from Göreme and Uçhisar, the underground cities cannot . If you don’t opt for a tour, you will need your own car or a driver to visit these sites. 

Fairy Chimneys in Red Valley at sunset with Mount Erciyes in  Cappadocia in Türkiye

Private Cappadocia Tour

If you want the ultimate flexible Cappadocia itinerary, we’d recommend taking a private tour with your own driver.

This private car/guide service is a great choice if you want to build your own itinerary in Cappadocia. You can choose the attractions that you want to visit and decide how long you want to spend at each one. The private tour can last between 4-8 hours.

The driver is also a knowledgable tour guide so will be able to give you background information on different places and make suggestions about your itinerary. In our experience they also tell you about more off-beat locations that you won’t have heard about!

You can also arrange to start your tour a little earlier than normal tours (most begin at 10.00 am) or finish later (this may come with an additional fee).

If you want a private tour with an itinerary , then this full day skip-the-line private tour is another good choice. It’s also a little bit cheaper than the previous option. This private tour has various start times that you can choose from, beginning as early as 8.30 am until 11.30 am .

Evening Flight to Izmir - Stay in Selçuk

After your tour is over, head back to Göreme and have a traditional meal of gözleme (filled Turkish pancake) before setting off to Kayseri Erkilet Airport for your evening flight to Izmir .

(You can find this traditional Turkish meal offered in most restaurants and as a street food snack from the side of the road!)

The best way to get to Izmir from Cappadocia is to fly from Kayseri Airport . The flight takes 1.5 hours with either Sun Express or Pegasus Airlines (Turkey’s low cost airline). Flights between the two areas are cheap, usually between £25-£35 ($29-41) per person.

We’d also highly recommend booking this shared airport transfer between Göreme/Uçhisar and Kayseri airport . The airport is around 74km away and the journey takes just over an hour . For that distance, this transfer is a bargain!

From Izmir Adnan Menderes Airport, you can catch a Havas shuttle bus to Selçuk , where you will be staying for one night. Look for the bus that says Selçuk or Kuşadası . The buses run roughly every 2-3 hours - you can see the bus timetable on the Havas website .

Selçuk is the jump off point for travellers visiting Ephesus (which is what you will be doing tomorrow!) It’s a charming town with a great selection of hotels and restaurants.

The Havas bus from the airport takes around 90 minutes and at the time of writing, costs 130TL (be aware that with the volatility of the lira, this price is likely to change, so check on the website for the updated price.)

You’ll be dropped off in the centre, right near Selçuk state hospital . Most hotels in Selçuk are within easy walking distance from here.

Hot air balloons at sunset floating over mushroom shaped fairy chimneys in Love Valley  in Cappadocia in Türkiye

Getting to Selçuk by bus

You can also book a night bus here that goes directly to Selçuk bus station in Izmir, from Göreme bus station.

The bus usually takes around 14 hours (including rest breaks) and I'd recommend booking Metro buses (we've used this company a lot for uber long bus rides of more than 20 hours). Selçuk bus station is located right in the centre of the town and walking distance from most hotels.

The bus is slightly cheaper than flying but takes a lot longer and whilst the buses are very comfortable (with charging ports, footrests and snacks provided), you still won’t get the best night's sleep. However, it is a much more environmentally friendly alternative.

Ticket prices start at around £20/$23. (Correct as of November 2022)

Driving to Selçuk

If you are doing this itinerary by road, then it's time to hop in your rental car. The journey to Selçuk should take around 10-11 hours .

If the drive is too long and you fancy getting your head down, the historical city of Konya or the upcoming tourist town of Isparta are great places to stay the night.

💡 Insider tip: The shortest driving route to Selçuk goes past Denzili which is the gateway for Pammukule. If you prefer, you can stop off at Pammukule first and then head on to Ephesus (basically swap Day 7 & 8 of this itinerary around).

Getting to Selçuk by train

As of 2022 there isn’t a train running from Kayseri train station to Selçuk or Izmir. (There is, however a train between Izmir and Selçuk ).

Turkish trains are a great way to travel around the country - they might be slow, but they are clean, comfortable and very cheap. You can check out prices and times of various routes on the TCDD website .

🗓 Itinerary for Turkey 10 Days: Ephesus, Day 7

The ancient ruins of the Library of Celsus in Ephesus in Türkiye with Roman columns and statues

The Library of Celsus at Ephesus

Day 7 in Ephesus: Historical Ruins of Ephesus & Evening Bus to Pamukkale

Best ephesus hotels.

Top Pick: Livia Garden Hotel (⭐ 9.7)

Best Boutique Hotel: Vinifera Vineyards Hotel (⭐ 8.9)

Best Mid-Range Pick: Hotel Kalehan (⭐ 9.5)

Best Budget Option: Anz Guest House (⭐ 9.2)

Best Ephesus Tours:

Ephesus, House of Virgin Mary and Artemis Temple Tour (⭐4.7/5)

How to Get to Ephesus

After a good night’s sleep, wake up early and after breakfast make your way down to the ruins of Ephesus. 

Selçuk is extremely close to Ephesus : you can either hail a taxi from the main road (the drive is only 5-10 minutes long) or you can walk to the North Entrance (also known as the Lower Entrance ) along the busy main road (Dr Sabri Yayla Blv) passing the remains of the Temple of Artemis on your way. 

The walk to Ephesus is around 3km and takes about 40 minutes . Whilst there is some shade along this road, be aware that in the summer the extremely high temperatures can make this walk super tiring (we know this from experience!). 

There are also regular dolmuş minibuses from Selçuk Otogar (Selçuk bus station) to the North Entrance at Ephesus -  the journey takes about 5-10 minutes and the buses leave every 30 minutes . 

Many hotels in Selçuk also offer a complimentary shuttle service to the ruins. 

⏰ Ephesus Opening Times: 8.00 am - 7.30 pm (April - October), 8.30am - 5.30 pm (November - March)

💰 Entrance fees: 200TL (correct as of November 2022). There are separate entrance fees for particular attractions such as the Terrace Houses and House of Virgin Mary.

💡 Insider tips: Get to Ephesus early (ideally when it opens) especially during peak season to avoid the crowds and tour buses which tend to arrive a little later in the day.

If you visit early during the off-peak seasons (e.g. April/May or late October/November) you’ll have the site pretty much all to yourself. It’s much nicer to walk around without hordes of people.

🎟 If you plan to visit a lot of ancient sites in Turkey, consider getting the Museum Pass Turkey . It’s valid for 15 days and offers access into 300 museums, archaelogical sites and other attractions . It’s currently 1000TL (£48/$55) .

The Corinthian style columns and ornately decorated archway of the ruins of the Temple of Hadrian under a blue sky at Ephesus in Türkiye

The gorgeous ruins of the Temple of Hadrian

Introduction to Ephesus

Although the Greeks usually get all the credit for Ephesus, archaeological excavations have shown that the history of Ephesus actually goes back to the Neolithic Age (around 6000BC). 

Hittite settlements from the Bronze Age have also been discovered and scholars have suggested that the area was the location of the Kingdom of Arzawa which eventually became the city of Ephesus under the Greeks . 

With the arrival of the Ionian Greeks in 1000BC, the city grew into a vitally important bustling commercial port and trading hub in the Mediterranean.

Ephesus was also the religious centre for the worship of the Greek goddess Artemis, with huge crowds of people visiting to worship at the temple dedicated to her. The Temple of Artemis is considered to be one of the Seven Wonders of the Ancient World . 

The ruins of the Celsus Library under a blue sky at Ephesus in Türkiye

Ephesus was conquered by many different warring groups over the centuries and was variously ruled by the Lydians and the Persians , before falling to the Macedonian King Alexander the Great in 334 BC . 

The city became increasingly prosperous during this Hellenistic period, prosperity that continued under the rule of Roman emperor Caesar Augustus in 27BC .

According to Greek sources from the period, Ephesus became the epicentre for trade in the region and its prosperity was such that it was considered second in size and importance only to Rome ! (Go Ephesus!) Roman rule also brought Christianity to the region and temples once dedicated to Artemis became churches. 

Close up of the columns and partially destroyed ornate ceiling of the Library of Celsus at Ephesus in Türkiye

The city of Ephesus and the Temple of Artemis were destroyed by the Goths in 263AD , an event that began the gradual decline of the city’s importance. However, under the rule of Emperor Constantine, many areas of the city were rebuilt and even in Byzantine times, Ephesus was considered to be the most important city after Constantinople . 

The destruction of the city by an earthquake and invasions by the Arabs in the 7th and 8th centuries led to the city being mostly abandoned and forgotten. 

Ephesus became a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 2015 and is one of the top 10 places to visit in Turkey. The best Turkey itinerary should always include a visit to these incredible ancient ruins. 

Top Attractions in Ephesus:

  • The Library of Celsus - One of the few existing examples of a library in the Roman Empire and an architectural masterpiece, the Library of Celsus was the third largest library in the whole of the Roman Empire and once held 12,000 scrolls. This is the most popular attraction in the ancient city - so visit the area early if you want to photograph it without the crowds.

Ephesus Great Amphitheatre - This Greco-Roman Amphiteatre could accommodate 25,000 spectators and was used for a range of purposes including dramatic performances, gladiator games, political events and religious rites.

The theatre was further expanded under the Romans. Today the amphitheatre is still used for concerts - some of the most recent acts include Elton John and Diana Ross!

Curetes Street - The main road connecting the lower and upper parts of the ancient city of Ephesus, Curetes Street runs all the way from the Celsus Library to the Hercules Gate.

Originally used by priests as a sacred ceremonial walkway leading to the Artemis Temple (the street was actually named after the priests taking part in this religious ritual), during the Roman period it was lined with shops, statues, fountains and various monuments. There are beautiful mosaics on either side of the column-lined street.

The ruins of an old Roman street with columns flanking it. Curetes Street at Ephesus in Türkiye

Curetes Street

The great amphitheatre of Ephesus with green mountains in the background and under a blue sky

The Great Amphitheatre at Ephesus

Temple of Hadrian - Built in the second century AD and considered to be one of the most beautiful ruins on Curetes Street , this temple was constructed in honour of Emperor Hadrian who visited Ephesus from Athens in 128AD. The temple’s four Corinthian columns and decorated archway are carved in incredible detail. 

Terrace Houses - If you’re curious to know how the wealthy citizens of Ephesus once lived, then you must check out the Terrace Houses, located opposite Hadrian’s Temple. You can walk on a glass walkway above the houses and see their original layout plus detailed and beautifully restored floor mosaics and murals on the walls. 

The Odeon Theatre - Although much smaller than the Great Theatre, the Odeon is another well-preserved example of Greco-Roman architecture. Originally covered with a wooden roof, the theatre could hold up to 1500 spectators and was used for Senate meetings and performances. 

💡 Insider tip: The Terrace Houses require a separate ticket. The entrance fee is 85TL as of November 2022. Make sure you keep your ticket on you at all times.

You can easily spend a whole day wandering around Ephesus: most people visit for about 3-4 hours . If you visit during July/August remember that Ephesus is VERY hot during the summer . We visited in the height of summer one year and ended up extremely parched and retreating to a patch of shade to eat some watermelon! 

It’s very easy to explore the site independently - you can download information about the different ruins beforehand or rent an audio guide from the main entrance so you understand exactly what you are looking at.

If you’d prefer to have an experienced guide with you then we would highly recommend booking this excellent tour of Ephesus .

Lasting 5 hours, you will explore all the major sites of Ephesus with a knowledgeable guide who will give you a detailed explanation of each attraction’s history and significance. The cost includes entrance fees, parking costs and transport in an air conditioned vehicle . Book this tour here.

🏠 The Best Places to Stay Near Ephesus

Selçuk town has a wide range of accommodation close to Ephesus ancient city. We’ve included hotels that suit every budget, so you can choose the one that fits yours.

14 day travel itinerary turkey

Photo courtesy of Livia Garden Hotel from

TOP PICK: Livia Garden Hotel (⭐ 9.6)

This quiet, charming hotel close to Ephesus has clean and reasonably priced rooms featuring comfortable beds, ensuite bathrooms, air conditioning, flat-screen TVs, free Wi-Fi and tea and coffee making facilities.

The hotel also offers a generous and varied breakfast in the lovely garden and a small pool that is perfect for relaxing in after a long day of sightseeing in the sun.

There are free bikes that guests can use, so if you like, you can cycle to the ruins!

14 day travel itinerary turkey

Photo courtesy of Vinifera Vineyards Hotel from

BEST BOUTIQUE CHOICE: Vinifera Vineyards Hotel (⭐ 8.9)

Set among lush vineyards and with views of lavender gardens, this hotel is perfect for couples looking for a romantic escape in Ephesus.

Only 10 minutes drive out of Selçuk town, this lovely hotel offers elegant, light-filled rooms decorated with vintage furniture and featuring a balcony, air conditioning, free Wi-Fi and private bathroom. All rooms have beautiful views.

The hotel has a gorgeous swimming pool overlooking the vineyards and an excellent restaurant serving regional cuisine. Make sure to try the fantastic wines from the hotel’s winery.

14 day travel itinerary turkey

Photo courtesy of Hotel Kalehan from

BEST MID-RANGE PICK: Hotel Kalehan (⭐ 9.5)

Boasting a large garden and swimming pool, this friendly family-run hotel has reasonably priced, sparkling clean and spacious rooms with free Wi-Fi, flat-screen TVs and air conditioning.

Some rooms are decorated with antiques and face a gorgeous rose garden. The staff are kind and helpful and there is an excellent and tasty Turkish breakfast buffet.

14 day travel itinerary turkey

Photo courtesy of Arart Hotel from

BEST BUDGET OPTION: Anz Guest House (⭐ 9.0)

Located close to the Temple of Artemis ruins and featuring a comfortable rooftop terrace with views of the villages and surrounding landscape, this friendly hotel is a great choice for travellers on a budget.

The hotel offers a good breakfast and the rooms are cosy and clean, with air conditioning, ensuite bathrooms and free Wi-Fi.

The hotel restaurant also provides homecooked meals and there’s a bar, so you can grab a drink and watch the sun set from the terrace.

Explore Sites in Selçuk Town

Head back to Selçuk town in the early afternoon and have lunch at the lovely Ejder Restaurant , which serves all sorts of traditional Turkish dishes. The patlican kebab (aubergine kebab) and adana kebab are particularly good.

If you have time and energy, it’s definitely worth walking around Selçuk as there are a number of attractions that are worth exploring here too!

Basilica of Saint John

Built by Emperor Justinian in the 6th Century, this church was supposedly constructed over the tomb of St John the Apostle. The design of the church was inspired by the Church of the Holy Apostles in Constantinople which was eventually demolished by the Ottomans. The basilica is located on the hillside, below Selçuk Castle.

⏰ Basilica of Saint John Opening Times: 8.00 am - 7.00 pm

💰 Entrance fees: 50TL (correct as of November 2022)

💡 Insider tip: The ticket price also includes a visit to Selçuk Castle .

Selçuk Castle

A 1500-year-old Byzantine-era castle, this citadel was also used and expanded by the Seljuk and Ottoman empires. In its heyday, it had 15 towers and 1.5km long city walls! 

⏰ Selçuk Castle Opening Times: 8.00 am - 5.00 pm

💰 Entrance fees: A visit to the castle is included in the ticket price for the Basilica of Saint John (above).

Temple of Artemis

All that remains of this once magnificent temple dedicated to the goddess Artemis is a single pillar and the temple foundations. Artemis was the goddess of fertility, wild animals, hunting and childbirth, to name but a few! Destroyed by a deliberate fire in the 4th Century BC, it was rebuilt and then destroyed for a final time by Christians in 401CE. 

⏰ Temple of Artemis Opening Times: 9.00 am - 7.00 pm

💰 Entrance fees: Entrance to the Temple of Artemis is free.

House of the Virgin Mary

Located 7km outside of Selçuk town, this house was discovered in the 19th century and is believed to be where the Virgin Mary was taken by St John. Many Catholic pilgrims visit the site each year and Catholic popes are known to have visited too. 

⏰ House of the Virgin Mary Opening Times: 8.30 am - 5.00 pm

💰 Entrance fees: 150TL (correct as of November 2022)

Selçuk Castle seen from a distance and surrounded by forest  on top of a hill in Selçuk near Ephesus in Türkiye

Selçuk Castle 

Nesting Storks!

If you are in the right season, it’s worth looking out for pairs of storks that are nesting around Selçuk .

The birds usually nest on high points - in Selçuk this is mainly in the ruins of the Roman Aqueduct although we’ve seen them at the top of electricity poles too! It’s amazing to see these huge birds flying off. 

Nesting season starts in mid-March and finishes around the end of August.

A pair of storks perched on a large nest in Selçuk near Ephesus in Türkiye

Evening bus to Pamukkale

After you've had your fill of sites in Selçuk it's time to make your way to Pamukkale , famous for its gorgeous travertine thermal pools .

How to Get from Selçuk/Ephesus to Pamukkale

Head to Selçuk Otogar (Selçuk Bus Station) to catch an evening bus to Denzili , which is the town closest to Pamukkale .

The journey to Pamukkale takes around 3 hours and buses depart throughout the day until as late as midnight. Like other long distance buses in Turkey, the buses to Pamukkale are comfortable. Pamukkale Turizm is a good coach company to use on this route.

As usual we recommend booking your bus tickets through Busbud .

When you arrive at Denzili Otogar (Denzili Bus Station), you will need to go to the basement of the bus station to platform 76 to catch the dolmuş/minibus to Pamukkale .

Dolmuş buses only leave when full. You pay the driver directly and let them know which hotel you are going to. The journey to Pamukkale should take 30 mins.

If you are followıng this itinerary using a rental car , the drive from Selçuk to Pammukule is an easy 2.5 hours .

🚆 ✈️ By train or plane

These are two options that we would not recommend for this itinerary. 

Train: There is a train from Selçuk train station, once a day at 12.40 am. It gets into Denizli at around 04.00. Although we love train travel in Turkey as it's a more relaxing way to travel and is very cheap, we wouldn't recommend this for your 10-day Turkey itinerary when you are short on time. The bus is much more efficient. 

Flying: There are flights from Izmir airport to Denizli, however all of these are indirect and stop at Istanbul with long layovers . It really doesn’t make sense to choose to fly when the bus only takes 3 hours. The bus is also much much cheaper!

🗓 10 Day Turkey Itinerary: Pamukkale, Day 8

Aquamarine coloured water in white terraced pools on the hillside at Pamukkale thermal pools in Türkiye

Pamukkale hot springs

Day 8: Pamukkale Thermal Pools & Evening Bus to Fethiye

Best pamukkale hotels:.

Top Pick: Venus Suite Hotel (⭐ 9.1)

Best Luxury Choice: Pamukkale Whiteheaven Suite Hotel (⭐ 9.4)

Top Mid-Range Pick: Bellamaritimo Hotel (⭐ 9.1)

Best Budget Option: Hotel Pamukkale (⭐ 9.1)

Best Pamukkale Tours

Pamukkale and Hierapolis Full Day Guided Tour (⭐ 3.9/5)

Pamukkale Hot Air Balloon Tour (⭐ 4.4/5)

Introduction to Pamukkale

Meaning ‘cotton castle’ in Turkish (pamuk means cotton and kale means castle), the beautiful snow-white terraces of Pamukkale have long been a standard stop on most Turkey itineraries. It’s also a UNESCO World Heritage Site. But how was it created?

As a result of tectonic and underground volcanic activity (there’s a lot of this in Turkey given that it’s on two tectonic plates), there are 17 hot springs in the Pamukkale area : most of these are around 320 metres below the earth’s surface.

The hot spring water contains huge amounts of calcium carbonate and eventually, it reaches the earth’s surface. As the water comes into contact with the air and cools, the calcium in it is deposited onto the ground in a stream that cascades down the hillside. 

Close up of blue shimmering water in the travertine pools at Pamukkale hot springs in Türkiye

The stunning travertine pools at Pamukkale

Over thousands of years, the many layers of calcium carbonate crystallise into a hard rock formation called travertines and which look like steps or terraced pools.

Since Roman times, the mineral-filled thermal waters of Pamukkale have been thought to have healing properties and medicinal benefits . The Roman city of Hierapolis , built above the travertine springs, was founded as a thermal spa city in the 2nd century BC .

Advised by their doctors, Roman citizens from everywhere would come to treat their ailments. Even today, the water is believed to cure all sorts of medical issues from eczema and cardiovascular problems to rheumatism. 

The ruins of Hierapolis Amphitheatre at Pamukkale in Türkiye in the late afternoon sun

The ruins of Hierapolis Amphitheatre 

I’ve heard the pools at Pamukkale are damaged. Is it still worth visiting?

As you know, we like to be honest, so here it is. 

When we first visited Pamukkale in 2008, there were pools upon pools filled with turquoise water, as far as the eye could see. We were free to bathe in any of the pools and walk around as much as we liked. It was completely gorgeous and although plenty of tourists knew about it, it wasn’t crazy busy. 

Nowadays, things are a bit different - when you visit Pamukkale, you should expect to see around 10-12 pools filled with water (some of which you can bathe in). The rest of the travertines are completely dry. 

As Pamukkale grew in popularity as a tourist attraction, the town’s population increased in line with it. More amenities such as shops, restaurants, and hotels were built and a lot of water from the thermal springs was diverted to meet these needs.

The blinding white rocks and terraced pools at Pamukkale thermal pools in Türkiye. Some of the pools are filled with water whilst others are dry.

 In the 1980s a road was built that allowed people to drive right to the top of the travertines and hotels were built over some of the Hieropolis ruins and right next to the travertines.

When the area was declared a UNESCO site , the road was removed (phew) and developed into a number of artificial bathing pools for visitors. The hotels were also demolished (double phew).

Does this mean that you should strike Pamukkale off your list? Hell no! The blindly white terraces are completely breathtaking and there are pools designed for public use, where you can take a healing dip in the warm waters. Plus the ruins of the ancient city of Hieropolis are fantastic to explore and there’s also a great museum.

The one thing to keep in mind is that this is a hugely popular attraction - you’ll see hundreds of tourists here most of the year around. It can be very busy but don’t worry, it’s still possible to escape the crowds.  

Visiting Pamukkale Hot Springs

If you are visiting Pamukkale during the peak summer season, then I would recommend visiting the pools as soon as they open, so you can avoid the busloads of tourists that descend on the site later on. 

There are actually three entrances to the hot springs: 

The town entrance is basically within walking distance from most hotels.

The south entrance is the nearest to the Pamukkale travertines and the warmest pools at the top of the hill. 

The north entrance is close to the Necropolis and the other ruins of Hieropolis. You have to walk just over 2km to get to the hot springs from this entrance, which will take around 25-30 minutes. 

The south entrance and the north entrance both have car parks , so if you are coming by car you will be able to find somewhere to park. 

The gates have different opening times which we will outline below. 

⏰ Pamukkale South Gate Opening Times

Spring: 6.30 am - 8.00 pm, 1st March to 31st May

Summer: 6.30 am - 9.00 pm, 1st June to 30th September

Autumn: 6.30am - 8.00 pm, 1st October to 31st October

Winter: 6.30am - 6.00 pm, 1st November to 28th February

⏰ Pamukkale Town Gate and North Gate Opening Times

Spring: 8.00 am - 8.00 pm, 1st March to 31st May

Summer: 8.00 am - 9.00 pm, 1st June to 30th September

Autumn: 8.00 am - 8.00 pm, 1st October to 31st October

Winter: 8.00 am - 6.00 pm, 1st November to 28th February

💰 Entrance Fee: 200TL (correct as of November 2022 and includes entrance into the Hierapolis Archaeological Site and Museum).

🎟 Museum Pass: This site is covered in the 15 day Turkey Museum Pass , which covers over 300 sites , museums and other attractions . If you are following this itinerary it is definitely worth purchasing (as it covers museums in Istanbul and other cities as well) - you can buy it here . As of November 2022, it is 1000TL .

Close up of the aquamarine water in one of the thermal pools in Pamukkale in Türkiye at sunrise with tree-covered hills in the distance.

Pamukkale hot springs at sunrise

In this itinerary, you only have one day to see Pamukkale so we’d recommend going to see sunrise at the pools. From the town, you can hop in a taxi (or drive your rental car) to the south gate which opens early at 6.30 am. 

Sunrise over the pools is a completely magical experience, especially for photographers: it’s quiet, and the steam rising from the pools and the low clouds creates an ethereal mist. 

This is also the time to catch a great view of the hot air balloons flying over the travertines. You get beautiful views of the valley and the surrounding scenery, but be aware that most of the travertines will be in shadow at this time of day. 

💡 Insider tip: We’d recommend visiting the pools before heading to the ruins, because you’re only likely to get them to yourself in the early morning before the hordes of other tourists arrive. Arriving early means that it will be quiet - just you and a few other people for at least half an hour (or an hour if you’re lucky).

👣 You are not allowed to wear shoes (including flipflops and rubber water shoes) on the travertines. Walking on them isn’t exactly comfortable: it can be a bit slippery and there are sharp edges . So take care. If you visit in winter, the ground can also be a bit icy.

📅 Best time to visit: Like Ephesus, the best time to visit Pamukkale is outside of the summer peak season . The spring months of April-May and early autumn in September-October has great weather and fewer crowds . You can of course, visit outside of these months - we’re great advocates of visiting places in winter particularly!

🌅 Although half a day is more than enough time to explore Pamukkale, if you have more time we’d recommend visiting the pools at sunset as well. Although this means that you have to pay for another entry ticket (boo!), sunset over the pools is stunning as the fading light reflects in the pools and looks completely gorgeous. However, sunset is a really popular time so it will be crowded.

🍃 Please be a responsible traveller and only walk in the designated areas . We’ve seen tourists walking on off-limits travertines to get ‘the shot’. Don’t be that traveller. Respect the rules .

A stunning sunset reflected in the water of the thermal pools at Pamukkale hot springs in Türkiye.

Sunset at Pamukkale hot springs

Cleopatra’s Pool

North of the travertines and just under the ruins of Hierapolis, lie Cleopatra’s Antique Pools . 

This beautiful Roman bath is also fed with warm mineral water from Pammukale’s thermal springs and comes complete with fallen Roman columns (and other millenia-old artefacts) which you can see in the lovely clear water. Legend has it that the Queen of Egypt herself came to bathe here! 

Cleopatra’s pool isn’t included in the Pamukkale entrance fee, so you can decide whether you want to pay to swim in it after you’ve visited the travertines. As it’s quite big, it is a popular place for visitors to relax and swim, so you can expect it to be busy. 

⏰ Cleopatra’s Pool Opening Hours:

💰 Cleopatra’s Pool Entrance Fee: 150TL (as of November 2022). There are lockers for your valuables available for an additional fee.

Hierapolis Ancient Theatre

Even though you’ve already been wowed by Ephesus, the massive Hierapolis ancient amphitheatre is a spectacular site to see. 

Built in the 2nd Century AD by Emperor Hadrian (the same Emperor who built the famous Hadrian’s Wall in Britain), this amphitheatre could accommodate almost 15,000 people. The 45 rows of seating were divided into upper and lower sections, with some seats being specifically reserved for priests or other important guests. 

The decorations and inscriptions of mythological scenes in the Hierapolis theatre are incredible: you can see images of the god of wine and fertility, Dionysus, riding in a carriage pulled by leopards and others showing a sacrifice to Artemis. These Greco-Roman decorations are considered to be the most intact and well-preserved in all of Turkey. 

The ruins of Hierapolis Ancient Amphitheatre at Pamukkale in Türkiye

Hierapolis Ancient Amphitheatre

Ruins of Hierapolis Ancient City 

Definitely take time to wander around the rest of the Hierapolis Archaeological Site as there’s lots more to discover! 

Some of the best sites include Collonade Street , which was the main street in the ancient city and is bordered on either side by the remains of large columns; the stunning Domitian Gate , the Great Baths and the Roman Necropolis . 

Hierapolis Archaeological Museum

Museums in Turkey are consistently amazing and this museum is no exception. Containing sculptures, sarcophagi and myriad artefacts that were discovered during excavations of the ancient city and with informative explanations in English, it’s definitely worth visiting.

⏰ Hierapolis Archaeological Museum Opening Times : 8.30 am - 7.00 pm

💡 Insider tip: Your Pamukkale entry ticket includes admission to the Hierapolis Archaeological Museum and the ruins of the Archaeological Site.

If you’d like to explore the Hierapolis ruins and travertines at Pamukkale with a licensed guide, then we’d recommend this excellent full-day guided tour of the area . The tour lasts 7 hours and is a great way to gain a deeper understanding of the history of Pamukkale.

Alternatively, if you have the cash to splash and you'd like to experience floating over the travertines instead, then this Pamukkale Hot Air Balloon Tour is probably the experience you are looking for!

🏠 The Best Places to Stay in Pamukkale

All the hotels we’ve recommended are in Pamukkale town and within walking distance to the main entrance to the hot springs. Most of the hotels also offer a free shuttle which is a convenient option if you don’t want to walk.

We’ve included hotels that suit every budget, so you can choose the one that fits yours.

14 day travel itinerary turkey

Photo courtesy of Venus Suite Hotel from

TOP PICK: Venus Suite Hotel (⭐ 9.0)

This small boutique hotel offers large, comfortable rooms with a spacious ensuite bathroom, air conditioning, free Wi-Fi, a flat-screen TV and a balcony for a reasonable price.

Guests can enjoy a complimentary rich and varied buffet breakfast in the poolside restaurant.

Pamukkale’s travertines are a short 10-15 minute walk away or you can take the hotel’s free shuttle which runs every 30 minutes. The lovely garden and pool are a great place to relax!

14 day travel itinerary turkey

Photo courtesy of Pamukkale Whiteheaven Suite Hotel from

BEST LUXURY CHOICE: Pamukkale Whiteheaven Suite Hotel (⭐ 9.4)

For a luxurious stay in Pamukkale, look no further than this lovely hotel! Featuring spacious, cozily decorated rooms with furnished balconies (all with pool and garden views), flat-screen TVs, ensuite bathrooms (with a bathtub), air conditioning, free Wi-Fi and tea and coffee making facilities, this is the place to get a good night’s rest.

Pamukkale hot springs are 10 minutes walk away. The hotel also offers a free shuttle that you can book in advance.

14 day travel itinerary turkey

Photo courtesy of Bellamaritimo Hotel from

TOP MID-RANGE PICK: Bellamaritimo Hotel (⭐ 9.1)

Located close to Pamukkale town centre, this hotel has super friendly, kind staff and rooms featuring an ensuite bathroom, a private balcony, free Wi-Fi, air conditioning, and a flat-screen TV.

There is a beautiful swimming pool and the hotel also offers guests an excellent breakfast. The onsite restaurant serves a range of traditional Turkish meals. The town entrance to the Pamukkale hot springs is 15 minutes walk away.

14 day travel itinerary turkey

Photo courtesy of Hotel Pamukkale from

BEST BUDGET OPTION: Hotel Pamukkale (⭐ 9.1)

Offering rooms featuring free Wi-Fi, a flat-screen TV, ensuite bathroom, air conditioning and a balcony with a pool view, this hotel has incredible amenities for a low price.

The pool (filled with thermal water from Pamukkale) is perfect for a morning or evening swim and guests can opt to have a filling breakfast on the hotel’s gorgeous terrace.

The staff are extremely helpful and the location of this hotel is unbeatable: only 4 minutes walk to the entrance to Pamukkale’s travertines!

Evening Bus to Fethiye

After you have soaked in Pammukale’s pools to your heart’s content and explored the Hierapolis ruins, return to the town and have lunch at the cosy Hiera Coffee and Tea House. You need to book in advance (just send them a message on Google or on Instagram) as they only have eight tables and cook everything to order. 

You can also spend a bit of time exploring the small town and the local market where you can pick up a few souvenirs and Turkish ceramic handicrafts. 

Then it’s time to make your way to Fethiye on the beautiful turquoise coast: the last stop on this 10-day Turkey itinerary . Time for some very well-earned relaxation! 

How to Get From Pamukkale to Fethiye

From Pamukkale town you can get a dolmuş (minibus) or taxi from the main road to Denizli Otogar . Most hotels will also arrange a transfer to the bus station.

At Denizli bus station you can get on a direct bus to Fethiye which will take around 4 hours. Ticket prices start at around 120TL (correct as of November 2022). As usual, we’d recommend booking bus tickets through Busbud here . All the Turkish bus companies are shown on the website and the prices are the same .

There are a lot of bus companies to choose from and the later buses leave at 5.00 pm , 6.00 pm and 7.00 pm . The last bus is at 7.00 pm (although there is a night bus at 2.30 am but there is no need for you to stay in Pamukkale that long unless you want to watch the sunset).

The bus will drop you off at Fethiye Otogar (Fethiye’s main bus station) which is close to the Erasta shopping mall and around the back of a large Carrefour supermarket. In front of the Carrefour supermarket is a dolmuş bus stop - minibuses heading to Ölüdeniz, Hisaronu and Ovacık stop here . You can also hail a taxi from here.

You can either stay in the main Fethiye town or nearer to the beach in places like Ölüdeniz and Calış.

Similar to the trip between Selçuk and Pamukkale, there are no direct flights from Denizli to Dalaman (the nearest airport to Fethiye). All of the flights stop in Istanbul for several hours so we wouldn't recommend travelling this way.

If you’re renting a car, then driving from Pamukkale to Fethiye is a breeze. The scenic journey should take around 3 hours .

🗓 10 Day Turkey Itinerary: Fethiye, Ölüdeniz, Kayaköy, Day 9-10

A blue lagoon surrounded by white beaches and green trees with green mountains in the distance, Oludeniz Blue Lagoon, Fethiye, Türkiye

Ölüdeniz Blue Lagoon

Day 9: Fethiye Town and Ölüdeniz Beaches

Best fethiye and ölüdeniz hotels.

Top Pick: F48 Apartments (⭐9.3)

Best Luxury Romantic Stay: Oludeniz Loft (⭐ 9.7)

Top Luxury Near Beach: Salonika Suites (⭐ 9.0)

Best Mid-Range Near Beach: Blue Star Hotel (⭐ 9.0)

Top Budget To Mid-Range Near Beach: Unsal Hotel (⭐ 8.9)

Best Budget Near Beach: Dove Apart Hotel (⭐ 8.4)

Top Budget Pick In Fethiye Town: Ozgur City Residence (⭐ 9.5)

Best Fethiye and Ölüdeniz Tours

Paragliding In Oludeniz (⭐ 4.4/5)

Butterfly Valley and St Nicolas Island Tour (⭐ 4.2/5)

Saklıkent Gorge and Tlos Ancient City Day Trip (⭐ 4.5/5)

Introduction to Fethiye & Ölüdeniz

We think that the best itinerary for Turkey should always include a few stops along the Turkish Riviera , which covers Antalya, Muğla, western Mersin and the southern part of Izmir.

Famous for its beautiful beaches , clear blue waters , hot and dry climate and towering mountains , its no surprise that tourists flock to visit the Turkish coastline here every year.

Since we’ve only got 10 days, we’ve chosen Fethiye and nearby Ölüdeniz as the places that you will explore on the Turquoise Coast at the end of this trip, but we warn you - you’ll probably want to stay much longer!

Formerly the ancient Lycian city of Telmessos , the city was conquered by the Persians in 547BC and eventually became part of the Ottoman Empire in 1424 . Up until the 1920s, Fethiye and the nearby village of Kayaköy also had a large Greek community.

Rows of red roofed houses with green mountains and aquamarine water in the distance in Fethiye in Türkiye


It’s hard not to fall in love with Fethiye: surrounded by breathtaking mountains , gorgeous picture postcard beaches in Ölüdeniz and ancient ruins , this lovely coastal town is definitely the perfect last stop for this Turkey travel itinerary for 10 days!

Despite having a small town feel, the population of Fethiye is actually just over 160,000 and it’s a popular summer holiday destination with foreign holiday makers and locals alike.

Fethiye is also a working town (as opposed to a tourist town like Kaş or Hisaronu, or beach destinations like Ölüdeniz) and is open all year round, so if you visit in the winter (which we used to do quite frequently) everything will still be open.

And with ancient tombs , a fantastic museum , gorgeous promenade , amazing restaurants , old town and markets , it is most definitely worth a visit.

A white sand strip of beach at the edge of bright blue sea and surrounded by towering mountains in Ölüdeniz in Türkiye

Beaches in Ölüdeniz 

💡 Insider tip: The areas of Hisaronu and Ölüdeniz are very geared towards tourists so the restaurants here don’t really serve authentic Turkish food. The restaurants in Fethiye and the nearby village of Kayaköy are much better!

Getting Around Fethiye and Ölüdeniz

Fethiye is a walkable town . If you stay in the town centre you will find that all the main supermarkets, shops and restaurants are within easy walking distance as are the lovely bars and restaurants by the sea on Fethiye Kordon. 

To get to the beach areas of Calış and Ölüdeniz , you can hop on a dolmuş from this bus stop near Yeni Hamidiye Mosque . These are every 10-15 mins during the summer from 7.00 am to 8.00 pm and then every 30 minutes after 8.00 pm. The last buses from Hisaronu and Ölüdeniz are after midnight during the summer. 

Buses are less frequent during the winter and the last buses to Ölüdeniz, Hisaronu and Calış finish earlier. If you aren’t sure about the bus times, there is usually someone at the bus stop near the mosque who can help you. 

If you have a rental car you can drive anywhere around Fethiye pretty easily! 

A small boat sailing on the blue sea with green forest covered hills in the background in Fethiye in Türkiye

Exploring Fethiye and Ölüdeniz

Fethiye old town.

After breakfast, start your day by exploring the narrow cobbled backstreets of Fethiye old town .

You’ll find lots of shops selling spices, soaps, nuts and dried fruit plus a lot of clothes and souvenir stalls.

Fethiye’s 16th Century Old Turkish Bath is located here so if you missed the chance to get thoroughly scrubbed down in Istanbul, you could have a hamam here instead!

The Fethiye Fish Market is also in this area - pop your head in and watch people queuing to buy fish or have a freshly caught fish cooked to order. There are restaurants around here as well but they can sometimes rip unsuspecting tourists off so we wouldn’t recommend eating here.

If you’re wondering where Fethiye’s nightlife scene is, well surprise - it’s in the old town! There’s lots of bars and clubs here and on some nights there are live bands too. Deep Blue Bar is particularly good for live music.

Amyntas Lycian Rock Tomb

A short 15-minute walk up from the old town and you’ll find the Amyntas Lycian rock tomb .

Built in 350BC , this huge tomb was sculpted out of the rock face for Amyntas, son of Hermagios. There are many rock-cut tombs in the Fethiye and Dalyan areas (they are easy to spot as most are carved into the cliff face)  but the Amyntas tomb is by far the largest and most impressive . It’s also one of the only ones you can walk right up and into. 

Lycian tombs are always carved high into the rock face because of their belief that a magical winged creature would carry their dead to the afterlife. 

A girl wearing a winter coat and standing in between large columns of a rock cut tomb at Amyntas Rock Tomb in Fethiye in Türkiye

Amyntas Rock Tomb

To the right of Amyntas’ tomb are smaller, less elaborate burial places - we can only assume these were for the more common Lycian folks!

The climb up to the Amyntas tombs is worth it for the stellar view - you can see out over the whole of Fethiye from here. 

⏰ Amyntas Rock Tomb Opening Times: 8.00 am - 7.00 pm

💰 Entrance Fee to Amyntas Rock Tomb: 20TL (current as of November 2022)

💡 Insider tip: The walk up the stairs to the rock tombs is steep and not suitable for anybody with mobility issues.

Fethiye Archaeological Museum

A building that’s easy to miss (most people often don’t even realise that Fethiye has a museum), this place actually holds some fantastic artefacts and isworth a visit. Many of the statues found in the ancient city of Tlos (more on that below) were moved here and they are incredible.

There are also artefacts from the archaeological sites of Xanthos and Letoon, including mosaics and the stele of Letoon which has inscriptions in Greek, Lycian and Aramaic and helped archaeologists to decipher the Lycian language.

⏰ Fethiye Museum Opening Times: 8.30 am - 5.30 pm

💰 Entrance Fee to Fethiye Museum: Free

Fethiye Pazar (Fethiye Market)

If you arrive in Fethiye on a Tuesday , do not miss the opportunity to explore the sprawling Tuesday market (Fethiye Salı Pazari).  

Farmers and stallholders come from all over the region to sell their produce here and you can find everything at the Fethiye Pazar. 

You’ll see vendors selling special cheeses out of animal skins, a wide range of nuts and dried fruits (known as kuruyemiş in Turkish), massive bags of spices , many varieties of olives , strings of dried peppers, chillies and aubergines and plenty of vibrant fruits and vegetables. There are clothes, toys and shoes too!

A man in a checked shirt and trilby hat and sitting in front of a pile of shallots exchanges money with a customer at Fethiye Tuesday Market in Türkiye

Fethiye Tuesday Market 

We used to shop at this market once a week when we lived in the village of Kayaköy and visiting the market never felt like a chore.

It’s a great place to meet local people and practice your Turkish when you are buying something. There are a few tiny tea stalls in the market - stop by at these for a refreshing brew and a chat. 

And if you get peckish, there are plenty of food stalls selling gözleme , corn börek , köfte and kebabs too! Take a seat, help yourself to pickled cabbage and chillies and chow down. 

There is also a smaller market in the same location on Fridays .

If you decided not to have lunch at the market, then we’d recommend walking down the Fethiye Kordon (a promenade that runs along the coast) and having a bite to eat at the classy Mancero Kitchen while enjoying the sea views. 

Alternatively, have lunch at our favourite restaurant near Fethiye Old Town - Mozaik Bahçe . Specialising in Turkish food from Antakya in Hatay province , you will find dishes here that you definitely won’t find anywhere else. 

Everything on the menu is absolutely delicious and the staff are lovely. There are great options for vegetarians and dishes can also be adapted for vegans . If you’d prefer to visit in the evening we’d recommend booking, especially during the summer. 

A plate of grilled and spiced vegetables and flat bread covered in a tomato paste and spices at Mozaik Bahçe restaurant in Fethiye in Türkiye

The amazing food at Mozaik Bahçe 

After lunch, hop on a dolmuş from the bus stop near Yeni Hamidiye Mosque and take a trip to Ölüdeniz, famous for having one of the most beautiful stretches of beach in the whole of Turkey . 

This is where you will find the famous Blue Lagoon : probably the most recognisable image of Turkey’s turquoise coast . 

The water in one part of the lagoon is warm, calm and shallow, so perfect for kids or people who aren’t confident swimmers.

An aquamarine lagoon surrounded by white beaches and mountains covered in pine forest in Ölüdeniz in Türkiye

Ölüdeniz is simply gorgeous!

It does get very crowded in the summer months though, mainly with families, so unless you arrive super early you’ll find it hard to find a sunbed or even a patch of sand to lay your towel on. 

When we went in early June we couldn’t find a free sun lounger near the lagoon so we walked around to the main Ölüdeniz beach , which has crystal clear turquoise waters . Whilst there were a few more waves, there were also plenty of free sunbeds. It was perfect for us! 

Relaxing on a sunbed with a book or going for a swim is the perfect way to spend an afternoon. 

💡 Insider tip: If you are looking for a quieter stretch of beach, we’d recommending heading towards the gorgeous Kidrak beach , about 3km away from Ölüdeniz’s main beach.

You can walk there in about 40 minutes but it is much quicker to drive or take a taxi . Alternatively check out the beaches in Calış - they might not have the famous white sand but they are pretty!

Pink flowers out of focus in the foreground, in the background a beach with people, sun loungers and umbrellas in Ölüdeniz in Türkiye

If you are hungry after the beach we’d recommend heading back to Fethiye for dinner (we aren’t huge fans of the restaurants in Ölüdeniz as they are really geared towards tourists). 

If you want to party with lots of other tourists (mainly ones from Ye Olde England), then you can take the dolmuş back to Hisaronu .

Here you can find shops selling fake designer bags, tons of souvenirs, clubs offering foam parties, cocktail bars, and plenty of other pubs and clubs to dance the night away. 

Although this isn’t really our scene, we do love the friendly staff and cocktails at Alex’s Cocktail Bar and have had many a fun night there. 

Note: If you are staying in Ölüdeniz you can follow the itinerary for this day in reverse, starting with some beach time and exploring Fethiye in the afternoon and evening. 

Optional Activities on Day 9

Paragliding in ölüdeniz.

If you want to do something more exciting at the end of your 10 days itinerary for Turkey, consider doing this tandem paragliding experience from the top of Babadağ mountain , a really popular adrenaline rush activity in Ölüdeniz.

The entire experience, including being picked up from your hotel and being driven to the top of the mountain, takes around three hours . There are five flights available per day and you can expect to be in the air for around 30-40 minutes .

As Ölüdeniz has such mild weather all year round, it’s possible to go paragliding at all times of the year , including in winter .

You’ll be soaring 6500 feet in the air and will be treated to some jaw dropping views. An unforgettable experience!

This is a really popular activity and often sells out so I'd recommend booking it in advance here .

Visit Butterfly Valley

Another possible activity is a trip to Butterfly Valley viewpoint or to actually visit the valley itself on a boat tour.

The stunning valley was once home to 105 species of butterfly and is located 7km from Ölüdeniz. The steep cliffs of the valley surround a narrow stretch of white sandy beach that looks like a slice of paradise.

💡 Insider Tip: If you want to increase your chance of seeing butterflies, we recommend that you visit in March or April .

A small white strip of beach fringed by stunning aquamarine waters and towering sheer cliffs at Butterfly Valley in Fethiye

Butterfly Valley - a slice of paradise!

A small white strip of beach fringed by stunning aquamarine waters and towering sheer cliffs with a speed boat racing towards the bay at Butterfly Valley in Fethiye

The view of Butterfly Valley from the viewpoint

Butterfly Valley was once an off-the-beaten path spot but is now a very popular tourist destination so you can expect the viewpoint to be crowded.

You can drive or take a taxi to the viewpoint. Please remember to be careful when taking photos - after the rocks that you can stand on the viewpoint is basically a sheer cliff edge .

It is possible to hike down to Butterfly Valley from Faralya. This hike is considered to be pretty dangerous as there are sections where you have to scramble and descend using ropes . People have died doing this hike , so this is not for inexperienced hikers or ill-equipped ones - you need to wear proper hiking shoes .

You can follow the trail using the app and this guide on Wiki Loc

💰 Butterfly Valley Entrance Fee: There is a small entrance fee for entering Butterfly Valley - check with your hotel for updated prices.

Butterfly Valley Tour

If you’d prefer to go directly to the beach at Butterfly Valley itself, there are many excellent boat tours that will take you there. We’d really recommend this tour of Butterfly Valley and St Nicolas Island (also known as Gemiler Island).

On the tour you’ll get to swim and relax at Butterfly Valley before taking a short hike along a nature trail to see some waterfalls.

You’ll then sail to St Nicholas’ island and explore the ruins of several Byzantine Greek churches and Christian tombs . Many archaeologists believe that St Nicholas (yes, that Nicholas aka Father Christmas) was buried on the island.

The tour ends with a visit to Cold Spring Bay where you can swim and relax in an unusual freshwater bay, fed by natural springs that flow into the sea.

Saklıkent Gorge

Fethiye is a base from which you can do some cool Turkey day trips and one that you should definitely consider is a visit to Saklıkent Gorge , also known as the Hidden City in Turkish.

About 50 minutes drive outside Fethiye is Saklıkent Gorge, one of the deepest canyons in the world . 18km long and 300 metres deep, the colossal gorge was formed by water eroding the surrounding rocks over thousands of years.

So what do you do at a humungous canyon? Well, this is probably one of the only opportunities you get to actually walk through one .

After April, the water level in the canyon drops low enough that visitors can actually walk 4km of it . Part of this is on a wooden boardwalk and the other part is basically wading along the river bed through ankle-deep water. Depending on the season you visit, the water can reach up to your knees.

People in the distance wading through water and surrounded by huge cliff walls in Saklıkent Gorge in Türkiye

The water gushing through the canyon is actual melted snow from the Taurus mountains, so even in the summer, this water can feel icy cold!

There are also some adrenaline rush activities that you can do in Saklıkent National Park including bungee-jumping, ziplining, river tubing and canyoning.

You can take a cheap dolmuş (minibus) to Saklıkent from the bus stop near Yeni Hamidiye mosque. The journey is just under 1.5 hours .

⏰ Saklıkent Gorge Opening Times: 9.00am - 7.00pm

💰 Saklıkent Gorge Entrance Fees: 13 TL (as of November 2022)

💡 Insider tips: In peak season, try to get to Saklıkent when it opens as you can enjoy it without the crowds. 

📝 Clothes and shoes: Remember to take a spare set of clothes with you to change into after you have waded through the gorge. You can rent rubber shoes at the ticket office to make it easier to walk on the riverbed. Some trainers that you don’t mind getting soaked will work fine too. 

📆 Winter: The gorge is more likely to be closed during winter as heavy rainfall makes it too dangerous to visit as there can be flash floods.

Three archways of Roman ruins photographed through another archway at the Roman city of Tlos in Türkiye

Tlos ancient ruins near Saklıkent Gorge

Saklıkent Gorge Tour

If you’d prefer to go on an organised tour, we’d recommend this Viator tour where you visit Saklıkent Gorge and the nearby ancient Lycian city of Tlos .

Dating back to 2000BC , there’s a lot to explore at Tlos including a theatre, Roman baths, the remains of an amphiteatre, a Lycian fortress, various tombs and a stadium that had a seating capacity for 2500 people !

We visited Tlos independently by minibus and thought it was incredible. It’s not easy to travel to by public transport though, so we’d recommend going on a tour or driving there yourself .

🏠 The Best Places to Stay in Fethiye & Ölüdeniz

Fethiye and Ölüdeniz has a great selection of accommodation and you can choose whether you’d prefer to stay in a town or by the beach.

We stayed for two weeks at our top pick, F48 Apartments , and whilst they are not in the centre of Fethiye Town or close to a beach, we felt like we’d made a great choice and so we have included it here.

We’ve included hotels and apartments that suit every budget, so choose the one that fits yours.

14 day travel itinerary turkey

Photo courtesy of F48 Apartments from

TOP PICK: F48 Apartments (⭐ 9.3)

These clean and bright apartments are extremely reasonably priced and feature comfortable beds, excellent Wi-Fi, a well equipped kitchen, air conditioning, washing machine, flat-screen TV and a balcony with a mountain or garden view.

It’s perfect for people who want to self-cater sometimes (like us) and also get work done (also like us!). The bus stop for the bus into Fethiye or Ölüdeniz is just a few minutes walk. It’s a great choice for a longer stay.

14 day travel itinerary turkey

Photo courtesy of Ölüdeniz Loft from

BEST LUXURY ROMANTIC STAY: Ölüdeniz Loft (⭐ 9.7)

Located high up in the lush green valley in Ölüdeniz, this dreamy, adults-only hotel offers an infinity pool with a spectacular sun terrace, a fitness centre, massage services and luxurious spacious rooms featuring balconies with sea views, a flat-screen TV, an ensuite bathroom, air conditioning and free Wi-Fi.

Guests can enjoy a sumptuous and varied breakfast each morning and the onsite restaurant also offers lunch and dinner.

14 day travel itinerary turkey

Photo courtesy of Salonika Suites from


This magnificent hotel is just 4 minutes walk from Ölüdeniz beach and is the perfect choice for travellers looking for a luxury beachfront holiday. Boasting large rooms complete with spa baths, a separate ensuite bathroom with shower, a flat-screen TV, free Wi-Fi and air conditioning, it’s designed to ensure a tranquil stay.

The hotel also has a lovely outdoor swimming pool, garden, restaurant and bar. A freshly made à la carte breakfast is served by the pool each day. The restaurants and bars of Ölüdeniz town are just steps away from the hotel.

14 day travel itinerary turkey

Photo courtesy of Blue Star Hotel from


Just minutes away from Belcekız Beach in Ölüdeniz and in the centre of the town, this hotel offers bright, clean and comfortable rooms at a very reasonable price, especially considering the location.

All rooms feature an ensuite bathroom, a flat-screen TV, free Wi-Fi, a balcony with a pool and garden view and air conditioning.

Staff are lovely and extremely helpful and there is a wonderful pool. There is a varied and delicious buffet breakfast each morning with a range of hot and cold items - you can even get omelettes cooked to order!

14 day travel itinerary turkey

Photo courtesy of Unsal Hotel from


Just 240 metres from the beach and one minute from Ölüdeniz’s buzzing main street, this hotel has a large pool, jacuzzi and sun terrace surrounded by lovely gardens.

Rooms feature an ensuite bathroom, flat-screen TV, free Wi-Fi and air conditioning. Some rooms also have balconies with pool or mountain views.

The hotel serves an extensive and delicious breakfast and the on-site restaurant also offers a wide range of traditional Turkish and international dishes. They can even offer vegan and vegetarian meals upon request!

14 day travel itinerary turkey

Photo courtesy of Dove Apart Hotel from


Only 5 minutes walk from the lovely Calış beach and close to cafes, supermarkets and restaurants, this budget apart hotel has a range of accommodation options from cosy double and twin rooms to one/two bedroom apartments and three bedroom villas.

The rooms, villas and apartments all have balconies and offer free Wi-Fi, air conditioning, ensuite bathrooms and a flat-screen TV. The apartments and villas also have a well equipped kitchen and washing machine. Staff are welcoming and friendly and the pool is great for a late evening swim.

14 day travel itinerary turkey

Photo courtesy of Ozgur City Residence from

FETHIYE TOWN BEST BUDGET PICK: Ozgur City Residence (⭐ 9.6)

Ideally located in the centre of Fethiye, these brand new, clean, bright and spacious apartments have comfortable beds, an ensuite bathroom, a private well equipped kitchen, washing machine, air conditioning, free Wi-Fi and a comfortable dining and lounge area.

All the apartments have a balcony with views over a garden area. There is also a roof terrace with lovely views over Fethiye.

Restaurants, bakeries and supermarkets are only just around the corner and the bus stop to Ölüdeniz, Hisaronu and Kayaköy is 5 minutes walk away. The hotel also offers a bicycle and car rental service.

Day 10: Kayaköy and Evening Flight Home/to Istanbul

Dilapidated roofless stone buildings photographed through a small window in another stone building in Kayaköy in Türkiye

Introduction to Kayaköy

First time visitors to the ghost village of Kayaköy can be forgiven for thinking that this abandoned Greek village is much older than it is.

The hillside is littered with the neglected remains of old stone houses as far as the eye can see, weathered by the blistering summer sunshine and winter wind and rain. Mostly roofless, these dilapidated structures are now being reclaimed by nature.

However in actual fact, Kayaköy is the result of sad events that took place in the 20th century. Originally inhabited by Greek Orthodox Christians and Turkish Muslims , Levissi (Kayaköy’s original name) was a prosperous village with schools, chapels, shops, cafes restaurants and churches - you can still visit and explore the remains of many of these structures today.

An abandoned Greek Orthodox Church surrounded by the remains of stone houses and forests in Kayaköy in Türkiye

A church surrounded by abandoned houses in Kayaköy

Records show that despite their different backgrounds and religious beliefs, the community lived together in harmony, socialising and even attending each others’ weddings.

This ended abruptly in 1923 , when at the conclusion of the Greco-Turkish war, the two countries agreed to a population exchange so that each country would have one major religion.

And so, the Christan residents of Kayaköy (and other areas) were expelled from Turkey , whilst Turkish Muslims were deported from Greece .

Homes, businesses and places of workship were left behind. The village was renamed Kayaköy but never recovered: the returning Turkish residents did not want to settle on the hillsides, instead preferring the valley below, so the buildings in the village fell into disrepair.

A major earthquake in 1957 did further damage to the remaining stone buildings.

Abandoned stone houses on a hillside in Kayaköy Türkiye

The many abandoned buildings of Kayaköy

Today Kayaköy is a popular tourist attraction : for a small fee you can wander around the 500 buildings that remain. It’s an eerie place but still charming - the narrow cobbled streets are picturesque and in the churches you can admire the pebble floor mosaics , weathered frescoes and wall paintings .

It’s also a great place to watch a stunning sunset - when you take in the views you can understand why people chose to live here.

Getting from Fethiye/Ölüdeniz to Kayaköy

From Fethiye: Walk to this minibus stop near Yeni Hamidiye Mosque and hop on the dolmuş to Kayaköy. The bus usually says ‘Kaya Village’ and sometimes ‘Gemiler’ on the front in addition to the stops of Hisaronu and Ovaçık. The dolmuş runs every 30 minutes in summer and every hour in winter.

From Ölüdeniz: Take the dolmuş up the hill towards Hisaronu and get off in the town. You can take the dolmuş to Kayaköy from there (basically the same bus that is coming from Fethiye).

From Çalış: Take a dolmuş to Fethiye - the bus will drop you off at the bus stop near Yeni Hamidiye Mosque. You can then take the dolmuş to Kayaköy from there.

If you have a car, it’s pretty easy to drive to Kayaköy - it will take about 20-25 minutes. There are two routes you can take - one that passes through Hisaronu or the back route which starts on Kaya Caddesi near Amyntas Rock Tomb. The second road is quicker but is a very windy mountain road, so you will need to drive carefully.

If you have time, you can walk to Kayaköy from Hisaronu . It’s a long walk that takes about 1 hour and passes through a lovely pine forest. You can also walk from Fethiye along a back road - the views are beautiful on this route but be aware that it is a fairly steep walk.

Visiting Kayaköy

The dolmuş drops you off in the centre of the village and from here you can make your way to one of the entrance booths - the main one is just past the Lebessos Wine House Restaurant .

Top attractions in Kayaköy:

  • Panaghia Pyrgiotissa Church or Katopanagia Church (also known as the Lower Church or Asağı Kilise in Turkish). The vaulted ceilings and frescoes in this church are beautiful.
  • The 19th Century Taksiyarhis Church (the Upper Church or Yukarı Kilise). This church has an atrium decorated with a mosaic made from white and black stones. This church was used as a mosque until the 1960s.
  • The old school building
  • Various other viewpoints, chapels and tons of empty homes!

You can even take a picnic and find a place with an amazing view to sit down and enjoy it. Just remember to take your rubbish with you.

Note: Some of the churches in Kayaköy may be closed for renovation.

⏰ Kayaköy Opening Times: 8.30 am  - 7.30 pm, every day

💰 Kayaköy Entrance Fee: 20TL (correct as of November 2022)

We lived in Kayaköy for a year and our advice would be to just spend your time getting lost and walking around the ruins and the cute village.

The village bakery sells delicious treats and it's a pleasure to walk around and enjoy the fresh clean air. There's a number of cute cafes where you can stop off for çay, including the village tea house where you can watch old Turkish farmers play backgammon.

Remains of a church in Kayakoy Turkiye

Optional activity:

If you have more time than in this itinerary, you can walk part of the ancient Lycian Way from Kayaköy to Ölüdeniz .

The route follows the coastline and there are some stellar views over the cliffs and out to sea, particularly at sunset.

You’ll need proper hiking shoes and I’d advise trying to complete the trail before it gets dark. (We ended up stumbling about in the late evening, our phone torch batteries dying and surrounded by some sheer cliff edges - something we wouldn't recommend doing).

When you've had your fill of the ruins, stop off at Yalçin Kebap restaurant for a late lunch/early dinner.

Yalçin is primarily a BBQ restaurant : you can select pre-prepared skewers of the meat you want to eat and then grill it at your table. You can also order rice, salad and chips to go with your meal.

And surprisingly vegetarians and vegans don't have to miss out! The restaurant serves a great vegetable guveç (vegetable casserole) and a wide selection of vegetarian and vegan mezzes . If you want to have one last Turkish kahvaltı this is a great place to try it - they even serve it late into the afternoon!

A plate of skewers of grilled chicken kebab with other dishes in the background at a restaurant in Kayaköy in Türkiye

Evening flight from Dalaman to Istanbul or Home

Once you’ve finished your meal, it’s time to start the journey home.

Hop on the dolmuş back to Fethiye and make your way to the Fethiye Otogar . From the bus station you can take a Havas bus directly to Dalaman airport .

From Dalaman you can fly to Istanbul or out of the country to an international destination (mostly in the UK or Europe).

🗓 Turkey 2 Week Itinerary

If you are looking for a Turkey itinerary 14 days long then I’ve got a few suggestions for you.

A 2 week Turkey itinerary gives you even more time to explore this gorgeous country: especially some of the insanely pretty towns along the Turkish Riviera . Trust us, if you have time, you’ll definitely want to spend it exploring more of Turkey’s jaw dropping coast.

When designing a Turkey itinerary 2 weeks long, we’d recommend following the 10 day Turkey itinerary above but with two additional stops: one in the picturesque town of Kaş and the other in the vibrant city of Antalya .

Read through the 10 day itinerary before going through the two week Turkey itinerary as it is more detailed.

People swimming in brilliantly clear blue waters  or relaxing under white umbrellas at Kaputaş beach in Kaş in Türkiye

2 Weeks Turkey Itinerary Summary

Days 1-3: Istanbul

Day 4: Morning flight from Istanbul to Cappadocia. Stay in Cappadocia.

Day 5: Cappadocia

Day 6: Cappadocia. Evening flight from Kayseri to Izmir. Transfer to Selçuk and stay there.

Day 7: Ephesus. Evening bus to Pamukkale.

Day 8: Pamukkale. Evening bus to Fethiye.

Day 9-10: Fethiye/Ölüdeniz

Day 11: Kaş (take a bus from Fethiye in the morning)

Day 12: Kaş

Day 13: Antalya (take a bus from Kaş in the morning)

Day 14: Antalya and fly home/to another destination.

We’ve gone into more detail for the additional days on your 14 day itinerary Turkey below.

Day 11-12: Kaş

A stunning stretch of white beach fringed by clear blue sea at Kaputaş beach in Kaş in Türkiye. In the distance tourists swim in the sea and walk along the beach.

The stunning Kaputaş beach in Kaş

Travel to Kaş

After breakfast, jump on a bus to Kaş: the journey only takes 2 hours. You can book tickets here .

Exploring Kaş

Despite being incredibly beautiful, Kaş is still a very much undiscovered gem on Turkey’s turquoise coast.

Filled with charming cobbled streets, quaint whitewashed stone buildings, picture-postcard perfect beaches and a cool relaxed vibe, this is the place to get away from it all.

You won’t find shops selling souvenirs and knock-off bags here or places advertising English breakfasts and foam parties (nothing wrong if you like that sort of thing though). Kaş in many ways resembles the beautiful town of Alaçatı near Izmir , but crucially without the hefty price tag .

A couple hold hands walking through the picturesque, flower filled cobbled streets of Kaş in Türkiye

The picturesque streets of Kaş 

Here are some of the best things to do in Kaş during your 2-week Turkey itinerary:

  • Visit some of the areas most famous beaches . The stunning Kaputaş beach (Kaputaş Plajı) is probably the most famous and with its white sand and bright turquoise waters, it’s easy to see why. Other beaches worth visiting include: Büyük Çakıl Beach , Limanagzi Beach , Küçük Çakıl Plajı and Inceboğaz Beach .
  • Wander around Kaş’ cobblestone streets . A lot of the joy of being in Kaş’ is just strolling around and exploring. You’ll find clothes shops selling clothing by local designers, stores selling handmade jewellery, beautiful artwork, amazing ceramics and galleries. Feel free to browse without being bothered - this isn’t the Grand Bazaar!
  • Enjoy the many restaurants and bars : there are plenty of places to eat in Kaş and many serving high quality, home cooked Turkish food. There are also plenty of cool cocktail bars to hang out in after dinner.

People swimming in the aquamarine waters or walking along the white sand beach at Kaputaş beach in Kaş in Türkiye

Kaputaş beach in Kaş  - a great place for some downtime on your holiday!

  • Visit the Antiphellos Amphitheatre at sunset . Overlooking the sea, this is a great place to relax, crack open a beer and watch the sun go down.
  • Listen to some live music . A lot of of the bars around Kaş have live music in the evenings, particularly jazz and blues. Some of the most popular venues include Hi Jazz, Echo Bar and Pell’s.
  • Take a boat trip to Simena/Kaleköy . This historic village is only accessible by boat and is a great place to go on a day trip. Explore Simena Castle and the ruins left by Lycian and Byzantine empires. There are some restaurants near the water to have lunch and you can also snorkel or kayak there.
  • Hike a small part of the Lycian way . This famous ancient coastal path has beautiful views and is clearly marked. You can follow a route in Simena up to Simena Castle or follow a route from the centre of Kaş.

🏠 The Best Places to Stay in Kaş

Here are our best accommodation options in Kaş for each budget. Choose the one that corresponds to yours.

14 day travel itinerary turkey

Photo courtesy of Hill House Adults Only from

TOP LUXURY OPTION: Hill House Adult Only (⭐ 9.7)

The perfect option for couples looking for a romantic escape, this hotel offers beautifully designed, comfortable rooms with free Wi-Fi, ensuite bathrooms and flat-screen TVs. Some rooms also have a terrace or balcony - perfect for enjoying a drink at sunset.

Guests can also enjoy the plentiful and varied hotel breakfast featuring regional products and dishes. The hotel’s gorgeous outdoor swimming pool is ideal for soaking up the sun and has breathtaking views of the sea and Kaş town.

14 day travel itinerary turkey

Photo courtesy of Payam Hotel from

BEST MID-RANGE CHOICE : Payam Hotel (⭐ 9.3)

Located just outside of Kaş centre, this hotel offers quiet, bright, spacious and spotlessly clean rooms with air conditioning, free Wi-Fi, a flat-screen TV, and an ensuite bathroom. Some of the rooms have balconies with stunning sea views and a hot tub!

Staff are friendly and extremely helpful and there is also a plentiful hotel breakfast which includes some dishes cooked to order. The hotel also has a lovely outdoor pool. Some of Kaş’s most beautiful beaches are just a stone’s throw away and the centre of town is only 10 minutes walk.

14 day travel itinerary turkey

Photo courtesy of Smyrna Pansiyon from

TOP BUDGET PICK: Smyrna Pansiyon (⭐ 9.3)

We really loved the simple but comfortable Smyrna Pansiyon. The cosy rooms at this bed and breakfast are bright and clean and have a balcony (with mountain or garden views), air conditioning, an ensuite bathroom and free Wi-Fi. The staff are super welcoming and will go above and beyond to help you.

Their homecooked breakfast is also delicious and there are some different dishes each day. Smyrna Pansiyon is located only a few minutes from the centre of Kaş and just 9 minutes walk from Small Pebble Beach. All in all a great budget option!

Day 13-14: Antalya

Travel to antalya.

Take a morning dolmuş (minibus) from Kaş to Antalya. The journey takes around 4 hours .

Exploring Antalya

Antalya is the total opposite to Kaş. The most popular tourist destination in the country and the largest city on the Mediterranean coast (with a population of 1.2 million people), this was one of the first cities in Turkey to introduce mass tourism. However, that doesn’t mean that Antalya has lost any of its charm.

First settled by the Greeks in 200BC and then quickly conquered by the Romans , the city of Antalya developed into a prosperous port city with a massive commercial centre and attracted people from all over Europe. And this trend has continued to the present day: Antalya is the second most visited city after Istanbul .

With a beautiful old town , amazing beaches , plenty of historical tourist attractions and amazing nightlife , there’s plenty to see and do in Antalya on the last few days of your Turkey 14 day itinerary.

Brightly coloured houses on the edges of a narrow street in Antalya's old town in Türkiye

Here are some of the best things to do in Antalya:

  • Explore the maze-like streets of the charming old town . Kaleiçi (the Turkish name for Antalya’s old town) is filled with restored red-roofed Ottoman era houses, some of which have been turned into hotels. There are also lots of little shops selling souvenirs, art galleries and cute cafes where you can grab a quick çay or Turkish kahve.
  • There are some ruins here too: the entrance to the old town is through the imposing Hadrian’s Gate plus the gorgeous 18th century Tekeli Mehmet Paşa mosque.
  • Visit Konyaaltı beach . With the stunning backdrop of the Taurus mountains, white sands and unbelievably blue waters, it’s easy to see why Konyaaltı beach is so popular amongst locals and tourists.

A stretch of white sand curving off into the distance and towering grey mountains in the background at Konyaaltı beach in Antalya in Türkiye

The amazing Konyaaltı beach

  • Explore the old harbour area . Located at the foot of the old town, this area was once the major trading port under the Romans. Today it is full of cafes and restaurants overlooking the sea and is the perfect place to sit and people watch.
  • Climb a Roman watchtower for epic sunset views . With a panoramic view over Antalya’s harbour, Hıdırlık Kulesi, a fortress/watchtower near Karaalioğlu Park is a great spot to watch the sun go down.
  • If you have more time, consider a day trip to some ancient cities . Perge (17km east of Antalya), Aspendos (47km east of Antalya) and famous for having one of the best preserved Roman theatres in the world, and Termessos are some of the best ancient ruins to visit.

🏠 The Best Places to Stay in Antalya

Here are our best accommodation options in Antalya for each budget. Choose the one that corresponds to yours.

14 day travel itinerary turkey

Photo courtesy of Hotel Lykia Old Town Antalya from

BEST LUXURY OPTION: Hotel Lykia Old Town Antalya (⭐ 9.6)

Only 5 minutes walk from Mermeli beach, this beautiful historical mansion is located right in the heart of Antalya’s picturesque old town and offers charming and stylish rooms with an ensuite bathroom, flat-screen TV (with Netflix), free Wi-Fi and air conditioning.

Guests can enjoy a varied and delicious breakfast made using organic produce from the hotel’s own farm! Restaurants, cafes and sights such as Hadrian’s Gate are within easy walking distance and the lovely outdoor pool is perfect for cooling off in after a long day of exploring.

14 day travel itinerary turkey

Photo courtesy of Villa Tulipan from

TOP MID-RANGE CHOICE: Villa Tulipan (⭐ 9.5)

This friendly, family run hotel has a roof terrace with a stunning panoramic view of the Mediterranean sea and Antalya’s marina area. All of the hotel’s cosy and light rooms are decorated with antique furniture and feature an ensuite bathroom, air conditioning and free Wi-Fi. Some rooms have sea views.

A generous breakfast is served on the hotel’s roof terrace every morning. The sights of the old town are within a 10 minute walk and the famous Konyaaltı beach is just a 20 minute drive away.

14 day travel itinerary turkey

Photo courtesy of Flaneur Hostel from

BEST BUDGET PICK: Flaneur Hostel (⭐ 9.3)

Located in the centre of Antalya’s Kaleiçi Old Town this friendly and clean hostel offers quiet mixed and female-only dormitory rooms plus private double rooms with ensuite bathrooms.

There is fast free Wi-Fi throughout the hostel and both private rooms and dormitories offer air conditioning. Guests can prepare their own meals in the well-equipped kitchen which includes an oven, grill and stove top.

The rooftop and garden terrace are great places to socialise with other travellers in the evening. A real budget gem in Antalya!

After you have finished your second day of sightseeing (or lounging on the beach - it’s your choice!) head to Antalya airport. It’s easy to catch a Havas bus from Antalya city centre to the airport.

This Turkey two week itinerary ends in Antalya which is a great jump off point for further travel or to fly home . From Antalya you can take an international flight (mainly to destinations in Europe , Central Asia or the Middle East ) and domestic flights to many places in Turkey including Istanbul , so it’s very convenient to fly out from here.

This is the best 2 weeks itinerary Turkey has to offer!

🗓 Turkey 7 Day Itinerary

The circular Galata tower with its pointed roof stands above the roofs of other buildings  The circular Galata tower with its pointed roof stands above the roofs of other buildings on a cloudy day in Istanbul in Türkiye

A week in Turkey is still a great amount of time to explore the major attractions in this beautiful country. We’ve created a few different options for a Turkey 7 days itinerary, depending on what you are interested in.

7 Days Turkey Itinerary Option 1 - Istanbul, Cappadocia, Ephesus & Pammukale

If you aren’t that bothered about spending time on the beach, then this Turkey 1 week itinerary will be perfect for you.

In this itinerary I've cut a visit to southwestern Turkey completely. You will spend your first three days in Istanbul , followed by two days in Cappadocia followed by Ephesus and then Pammukale .

I don't recommend cutting down the time you spend in Istanbul because the city is huge and in three days you still barely scratch the surface of it (I've been living here for two years now and there's still so much to explore).

Here’s a summary of this itinerary:

Day 5: Cappadocia. Evening flight from Kayseri to Izmir. Transfer to Selçuk and stay there.

Day 6: Ephesus. Evening bus to Pamukkale.

Day 7: Pamukkale. Evening bus to Izmir to fly home/to another destination.

A close up of hot air balloons flying over fairy chimneys in Cappadocia at sunrise against a backdrop of rippled mountains in Cappadocia in Türkiye

Turkey Itinerary 7 Days Option 2 - Istanbul, Cappadocia & Antalya

This one week in Turkey itinerary is perfect if you want to fit in Turkey’s amazing beaches . You’ll still see plenty of historical wonders in Istanbul (trust us, it’s hard to miss them) plus get time to explore the gorgeous landscapes of Cappadocia.

We’ve cut Ephesus and Pammukale from this 7 days in Turkey plan: instead you will spend your last two days chilling on the beaches in Antalya . (Which sounds like a perfect way to end a holiday, if we’re honest).

Here’s a summary of what this itinerary looks like:

Day 5: Cappadocia. Evening flight from Kayseri to Antalya.

Day 6: Antalya

Day 7: Antalya. Fly home/to another destination.

Note: We’ve chosen to add beach time in Antalya for this 7-day itinerary Turkey, because there are direct flights between Kayseri airport in Cappadocia and Antalya airport. Unfortunately there are no direct flights between Kayseri and Dalaman (for Fethiye).

A bird’s eye view of people swimming in the crystal clear blue waters and walking on the beach at Kaputaş beach in Kaş in Türkiye

7 Days in Turkey Itinerary Option 3 - Istanbul & Cappadocia

A third option for a 1 week Turkey itinerary is to just split your time between Istanbul and Cappadocia . I would recommend four days in Istanbul (this could then include a day trip to the Princes' Islands ) followed by three days in Cappadocia . You could also do this the other way around and start off in Cappadocia instead.

Days 1- 4: Istanbul

Day 5: Morning flight from Istanbul to Cappadocia. Stay in Cappadocia.

Day 6: Cappadocia.

Day 7: Cappadocia. Evening flight from Kayseri to Istanbul.

7 Day Itinerary Turkey Option 4 - Istanbul, Cappadocia, Ephesus & Fethiye

A final option for 7-days in Turkey that covers the major sights plus a little bit of beach time , is to spend three days in Istanbul , two days in Cappadocia followed by a day trip to Ephesus (staying in Izmir instead of Selcuk). You can check out accommodation options in Izmir here .

You can then take a direct flight (the better option as it is much faster) or bus in the early evening from Izmir to Dalaman and transfer to Fethiye . Spend your evening and the following day in Fethiye before heading to Dalaman airport for your flight home.

Day 5: Cappadocia. Evening flight from Kayseri to Izmir. Stay in Izmir.

Day 6: Day trip to Ephesus from Izmir. Evening bus (4-5 hours) or flight (1 hour 15 minutes) to Dalaman and transfer to Fethiye.

Day 7: Fethiye. Fly home from Dalaman or to another destination

A single white house with a red roof sits in a green valley surrounded by fairy chimneys of all shapes and sizes against the backdrop of green mountains in Cappadocia in Türkiye

As you can see there are lots of ways to arrange your Turkey travel itinerary for 7 days.

As we mentioned above - one week in Turkey is enough time to see many of the major attractions in the country. Hopefully the examples above should help you to create the perfect Turkey one week itinerary!

Additionally, if you do have extra time and are looking for a Turkey 8 days itinerary , then consider adding an extra day in Istanbul to the above itineraries (with a day trip to the Princes’ Islands ) or an additional day in Cappadocia .

🗓 Turkey Itinerary 5 Days

A layer of snow covers the newly built mosque in Taksim Square on a bright blue sky day. Red Turkish flags surround the mosque in Istanbul in Türkiye

If you only have five days in Turkey then we would recommend splitting your time between two places: Istanbul and Cappadocia .

An itinerary for Turkey 5 days long may feel a bit rushed given the size of the country, but it is completely doable. Just consider it an introductory trip to this wonderful place - you’ll be coming back for sure!

Turkey Itinerary 5 Days: Option 1

In the Turkey 5 day itinerary below, you will fly to Cappadocia in the evening of the third day and have almost two full days in the Anatolian region before heading home.

Days 1-2: Istanbul.

Day 3: Istanbul. Early/late evening flight to Cappadocia. Stay in Cappadocia.

Day 4: Cappadocia.

Day 5: Cappadocia. Evening flight from Kayseri to Istanbul.

Fairy chimneys photographed through a cave entrance in Cappadocia in Türkiye

5 Day Turkey Itinerary: Option 2

Alternatively, if you prefer a 5 days in Turkey itinerary where the bulk of your time is spent in Istanbul, then spend three full days in Istanbul and take a morning flight to Cappadocia on the fourth day instead.

Days 1-3: Istanbul.

Day 4: Early morning flight to Cappadocia. Stay in Cappadocia.

If you have an additional day and are looking for a Turkey itinerary 6 days long instead, add on an extra day in Cappadocia or Istanbul .

You could also fly from Cappadocia to Izmir on the evening of your fifth day and visit Ephesus on the sixth day of your itinerary before flying home.

🙋 10 Day Turkey Tour Packages

10 days turkey tour to istanbul, cappadocia, antalya, ephesus (⭐5/5).

This highly rated 10 Days Turkey Tour from Viator is one of our favourites. Firstly, it is a small group tour so the group number is capped at a maximum of 15 people - this means you won’t be traipsing around in a massive crowd (our nightmare).

Secondly, this tour covers all of Turkey’s top attractions but at a leisurely pace - meaning that you won’t be rushing from one site to the next. There’s also plenty of free time built in so you can explore on your own.

During your three days in Istanbul , as well as exploring the main sites in Sultanahmet , you’ll get the chance to take a Bosphorus cruise and explore some off-beat attractions on the Asian side such as the incredible Camlica Mosque.

The tour also includes two days in Cappadocia where you will explore the sites in northern and southern Cappadocia ; leisure time in Antalya plus a city and old town tour; Pamukkale and the gorgeous beaches of Kusadasi (for more relaxation) and Ephesus .

Accommodation on every stop of this tour will be in 4 star or high class boutique hotels . Certain meals , airport/hotel pickup , admission tickets , tour guides , drivers and all flights and ground transportation on the tour are included.

Given everything you get to see and what is included, we’d say this tour is real value for money .

A bird’s eye view of tourists enjoying the clear aquamarine waters and golden sands of Kaputaş Beach in Kaş in Turkey

Explore the Best Highlights of Turkey in 10 Days (⭐5/5)

Also from Viator, this 10 day tour covers the main highlights of Turkey and follows a very similar itinerary to the tour above with the exception of Antalya.

The tour includes three days in Istanbul , followed by a day in Ephesus , one day in Pammukale and then three days in Cappadocia (including two full days exploring north and south Cappadocia ).

On the second to last day you return to Istanbul and can choose to spend your time in the afternoon and evening as you please - whether that’s shopping for souvenirs or having a final Turkish breakfast!

This tour includes certain meals , airport/hotel pickup , accommodation in 4* or high class boutique hotels , admission tickets , tour guides , drivers , ground transportation and internal flights .

Tour of Turkey in 10 Days From Istanbul (⭐4.5/5)

Another small group tour (maximum 15 participants ), this Tour of Turkey In 10 Days From Istanbul covers all of the historical and natural wonders of our 10 day itinerary with some added extras that history buffs will love.

As well as exploring Istanbul (2 days) , Cappadocia (3 days) , Pammukale (1 day) and Ephesus (1 day) , you’ll also go on a one day tour of the World War I battlefields of Gallipoli plus a day trip to Troy and the ancient acropolis of Pergamum .

Domestic flights , ground transportation and car ferry fees , airport pick up , admission fees , certain meals , drivers , English speaking tour guide and accommodation are all included in the tour price.

10 Days Private Tour of Turkey (⭐5/5)

If you’d prefer to take a private tour of Turkey’s historical sites then this very highly rated 10 Days Private Tour of Turkey from Viator should be a top pick for you.

This tour follows a broadly similar itinerary to the tours above and includes three days in Istanbul followed by two days in Cappadocia , one day in Kusadasi and one day in Ephesus .

Where this tour is different is that it includes one day exploring sites in Aydın such as Priene , an ancient Greek city; Miletus , an ancient theatre; and the massive stunning Temple of Apollo . On your second to last day you’ll visit Pammukale before heading home on your final day.

Accommodation is included in the tour and you will have a choice of staying in 3, 4 or 5 star hotels . You can also choose to book the tour without accommodation .

Certain meals , airport/hotel pickup , admission tickets , tour guides , drivers , admission fees , ground transportation and internal flights are all included.

There are a lot more excellent Turkey tours (including other 10 day tours) on Viator and Get Your Guide - check these out if you’d like to travel with a professional guide.

✍ Turkey 10 Day Itinerary FAQs

I am planning a trip to turkey - is 10 days in the country enough.

10 days is definitely enough time to explore Istanbul , the historical sites of western Turkey and the Anatolian region of Cappadocia plus grab some beach time . If you have more time to play with, we’d recommend extending your Türkiye trip - you can spend longer in some places such as Istanbul or add in a few more beach destinations.

How many days in Turkey would you recommend?

Similar to the answer above - we’d recommend a 10 day trip to Turkey at the very minimum but if you have more time that’s even better. This is a huge country and Istanbul alone takes a minimum of three days to explore (and that’s just for the main attractions). The longer you have, the less rushed you will feel.

We are huge fans of slow travel, so if you have the luxury of spending 3 weeks in Turkey or longer, we’d say go for it!

However, if you only have a short time Türkiye, look at our suggested itineraries and prioritise what you want to see. And like we said before, think of this as an introductory trip - if you fall in love with Turkey (and we’re fairly certain you will) then you’ll want to come back!

A small grey dome of a mosque and the blue sea behind it framed by bright pink flowers and trees on the Princes’ Islands in Istanbul in Türkiye

Is this a suitable Turkey backpacking itinerary?

We’d really recommend Turkey to backpackers - our third visit to the country was on a backpacking Turkey itinerary down the western coast, and that experience made us fall in love with the country. We also recently completed an incredible three month backpacking trip through northern and eastern Turkey.

Türkiye is very backpacker friendly and this whole itinerary can be done independently and on a low budget . At each stage of the itinerary, we’ve also recommended hotels suitable for every budget . Much of the itinerary involves taking public transport , so that keeps costs down too.

You can also take buses between the destinations where we’ve recommended flying to save time (e.g. Cappadocia to Izmir), although this does take longer. We’d also recommend booking your flights in advance if you can, as you can make extra savings that way.

Local SIM cards tend to be expensive so save yourself time and money by using Airalo e-SIMs . With generous data packages that are super affordable you can stay connected on your adventure in Turkey.

A woman in a yellow jumper and a green winter hat sits on a bench in front of snow covered mountains in the Black Sea region of Aydir

In Aydir during our three month backpacking trip across the country

Is Turkey expensive to visit?

Turkey is a very cheap country for most travellers and your money really does go very far, especially if you are converting pounds, dollars or euros.

Having said this - if you stay at expensive hotels, eat at the very best restaurants and visit during the peak season, your trip could cost you considerably more.

Certain tours, such as the hot air balloon experience in Cappadocia, can also put a huge dent in your budget, so bear that in mind when you are planning your trip.

You can make this a Turkey budget itinerary by visiting in low season or winter (November to March) or shoulder season (April-June, September-October), eating in cheaper places like lokantas (canteen style restaurants) or trying street food and staying in budget-hotels or hostels and taking public transport .

It really depends on your travel style.

A man wearing a flowered face mask holds up a circular bread (like a bagel) known as simit in Antakya in Turkey

Simit - a classic cheap breakfast snack in Turkey

How much does a Turkey 10 day trip cost?

See above. This very much depends on when you visit, where you stay, what activities you choose to do and where you eat out. As we have said before, Turkey is a very budget friendly country and your money does go far - but it all depends on what kind of traveller you are.

Can I do a road trip in Turkey?

Yes! This is a very scenic way to see the country and outside of Istanbul, the roads are calm and in good condition. Hiring a car means that you can also explore places in Cappadocia much more easily without having to go on a tour or hire a driver.

We’d recommend hiring a car through Discover Cars - you can explore car hire prices with Discover Cars here . We also recommend Local Rent: check out car hire prices with Local Rent here .

A road near Mount Nemrut in Turkey heading off into the distance and surrounded by grey rocky hills, trees and shrub

We hope you’ve enjoyed this MEGA 10 day Turkey travel itinerary blog post and that it helps you to plan a trip to Turkey.

If you have any questions, just drop us a line in the comments below and we’ll do our best to help you!

Before you go, make sure to check out some of our other Istanbul and Turkey/Türkiye guides:

🏠 Best Areas to Stay in Istanbul: Coolest Neighbourhoods & Top Hotels

🌟 22 Best Hotels in Istanbul With a View

🍲 The Best Istanbul Food Tours

🌷 Visit the Istanbul Tulip Festival

🎪 18 Best Festivals in Istanbul

🛫 How to Get from Istanbul Airport to the City Centre

🏔 Cappadocia in Winter: 7 Reasons to Visit + 16 Amazing Things to Do

⛄ 9 Awesome Reasons to Spend Winter in Istanbul

🍳 Best Breakfast in Istanbul - 16 Incredible Places to Try

✅ 12 Things You Need To Do in Istanbul

☕ 20 Best Cafes in Istanbul

🔎 Explore Balat Istanbul: An Insider's Guide to One of Istanbul's Most Unique Neighbourhoods

🍟 Best Vegan Fast Food in Istanbul

🥑 Where to Find the Best Vegan Turkish Breakfast in Istanbul

🥘 26 Must-Try Gaziantep Foods

🍔 Off the Eaten Track: The Best Street Food in Istanbul

🥦 Vegan Istanbul: The Best Under-the-Radar Restaurants

Find more travel tips and useful information on Turkey here .

Looking for more travel inspiration? Click here to discover more of our favourite places around the world.

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Want more on Turkey?

20 Best Cafes in Istanbul (2023): Hidden Gems and Unique Istanbul Cafes You Have to Try!


14 day travel itinerary turkey

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Highlights of Turkey: A 2 Week Turkey Itinerary For First Time Visitors

Hot air balloons at sunrise in Cappadocia in Turkey with text overlay for 2 week Turkey itinerary

Turkey is an underrated tourist destination that has so much to offer, from archaeological ruins and cities to a spectacular aquamarine coastline.

Are you overwhelmed trying to plan a trip to Turkey ? Don’t know where to go and what to see in Turkey? Believe me, I was in your shoes not so long ago.

Travertines at Pamukkale in Turkiye

Turkey (now officially known as Türkiye ) is such a massive country with so many cities to visit, it’s hard to figure out where to start , let alone how to get around, where to stay and what to do in each destination.

Zelve Archaeological Museum in Cappadocia Turkiye

If you’re feeling a bit lost, read on for an easy, customizable 14 day Turkey itinerary for first time visitors to the country that straddles 2 continents.

Is this Turkey itinerary right for me?

Kayakoy Ghost City in Mugla Turkey

If you are planning your dream Turkey trip then you need to realize that Turkey is a really, really big country: one of the biggest travel mistakes you can make when planning your Turkey itinerary is underestimating the time it takes to travel between cities.

Umbrella street in Istanbul Turkiye

Personally, if it is your first time I would not recommend spending fewer than 7 days in Turkey as you won’t be able to cover much ground – it’s best to aim for no less than 10 days to 2 weeks in Turkey.

If you’ve read my overly ambitious Mainland Greece road trip itinerary , you’ll know that I do not like wasting time. This Turkey travel itinerary is for you if you:

  • don’t want to waste time traveling between destinations…
  • …but also want to take in the sights and attractions in Turkey without feeling rushed
  • don’t want to travel with a tour group and prefer to travel independently
  • are comfortable renting a car in Turkey and embarking on a Turkey road trip
  • are happy to take a few domestic flights to save time between certain destinations
  • are a first-time visitor and want a taste of what Turkey has to offer

At the end of the day, the best itinerary for Turkey is one that works for your travel schedule and is in line with what you’re looking to accomplish during your dream trip. Read to the end of this 2 week itinerary for Turkey for some ideas on how to modify it to either shorten it or add more stops!

You might also enjoy: Common Turkey travel mistakes to avoid making

Is it safe to travel to Turkey?

Galata Tower Istanbul Turkey

The country underwent an attempted coup in July 2016 and has experienced political unrest over the past couple of years. A state of emergency was imposed after the coup attempt but has since been lifted in 2018. There have also been a number of attacks in Istanbul, Ankara, Izmir and other Turkish cities.

Multiple governments have travel advisories telling its citizens to reconsider traveling to Turkey. Should you cancel your travel plans? It depends. From personal experience, we experienced nothing but warm hospitality from the Turkish people, except for some minor scams here and there – 1 taxi driver in Istanbul overcharged us by almost 5 times the normal rate (taxi scams are common in Turkey), and a shopkeeper in Cappadocia tried to scam us out of 60 bucks when we exchanged our US Dollars to Turkish Lira.

But that’s not to say that you shouldn’t be aware and cautious, just as you would at home or abroad in any other country. Here are a few precautions to take according to the U.S. Department of State:

  • Stay alert in locations frequented by Westerners
  • Avoid demonstrations and crowds
  • Stay at hotels with identifiable security measures
  • Monitor local media and adjust your plans based on new information

Most governments also agree that you should avoid traveling to the border region with Syria .

Essential Turkey travel tips

Turkish Airway in Turkey

✈️ To get into Turkey you have a few international airport options as the country is well-connected by air. You are most likely to fly into Istanbul (which as two international airports), Antalya, Ankara, Izmir, Dalaman or Bodrum as your first port of arrival for your Turkey trip. You can take a taxi to your hotel, or use Uber if you are arriving in Istanbul, Izmir or Ankara. If you are arriving into Istanbul save yourself some hassle and  pre-book your Istanbul Airport Private Transfer  or  pre-book your Sabiha Gokcen Airport Private Transfer .

🛂 You need an e-Visa to enter Turkey : Visa fees for Turkey vary depending on your nationality. You can apply for your visa ahead of time on the official Turkish government e-visa website here .

💱 The local currency is the Turkish Lira (TL) : The exchange rate is approximately US$1: 26 TL or 1 Euro: 28 TL. When we visited in 2018 it was closer to US$1: 5-7 TL or 1 Euro: 8-10 TL. Euros and USD are occasionally also accepted (and sometimes preferred) by shops and tour companies.

Vodafone counter at Istanbul airport in Turkiye

📱 Stay connected and buy a local SIM card: There are usually counters on arrival at the international airports in Turkey or shops operated by Vodafone locally where you can buy a Turkish SIM card.

🌤️ Weather in Turkey: When we visited in September, it was already significantly cooler in Istanbul than other coastal areas like Izmir, Alacati , Fethiye and Oludeniz . The temperature in spring and autumn dips, and the country experiences snow during the winter months.

🗓️ Best time to visit Turkey : In general, tourism numbers are far lower than they have historically been, so in my opinion there is no “bad” time to visit Turkey if you want to avoid tourist crowds. However, the weather is more pleasant from April to about October/November, after which it can get bitterly cold.

🎟️ Invest in the Museum Pass : The Museum Pass Turkey is a great card to purchase if you are visiting multiple cities in Turkey. It is accepted at most museums and archaeological sites including ones in Istanbul , Ephesus , Pamukkale and Fethiye and allows you to skip-the-queue – all you need to do is swipe or present the card at the entrance and you can sail right in.

The Museum Pass Turkey is valid for 15 days and currently costs 3500 TL (as of August 2023) though the price does tend to go up every year. Nevertheless, you end up saving a lot in entrance fees if you put it to good use. It can be purchased at pretty much any landmark that accepts it as well as online.

Dress code at the Blue Mosque in Istanbul Turkiye

👚 Dress code in Turkey : Most of the population in Turkey are Muslim, yet Turkey as a whole is not extremely conservative. Men can walk around with sleeveless tops and female tourists are not required to wear headscarves. The only exception is when you enter a mosque, in which case you will need to abide by the dress code (in general, men must wear long trousers and women must cover their hair, arms and knees). That being said, to be respectful of cultural norms I wouldn’t recommend walking around with too much exposed skin.

🌐 Language in Turkey: Turkish is the most spoken language in Istanbul, and most people, especially those in hospitality or food & beverage, speak English very fluently so you shouldn’t have a problem with communication.

🛏️ Booking hotels in Turkey : This is an important Turkey travel tip to be aware of before you hop on a plane – you can not book hotels in Turkey using when you are in Turkey, as it has been blocked by the Turkish government (so has Wikipedia, and they’re looking to extend the ban to other websites including AirBnB and Expedia).

Instead, make sure you book hotels for your stay in Turkey before your trip , or use for any last-minute hotel bookings that you need to make when you are already in the country. These two websites don’t appear to be blocked – yet – but either way you’ll want to book ahead, especially if you’re visiting during the peak travel season.

For even more information on Turkey travel dos and don’ts click here!

How to get around Turkey

Driving in Cappadocia Turkey

There are a number of options to get around Turkey. We ended up traveling around using a combination of domestic flights, rental car, scooter (in Cappadocia ) and by public transportation or on foot. You can also take buses if you are on a budget.

Drone photo of driving in Cappadocia Turkiye

At the beginning of our trip, we flew into Istanbul and immediately caught a domestic flight to Cappadocia as the drive would have taken 10-12 hours. Next, we caught another domestic flight from Cappadocia to Izmir and rented a Hyundai i20 car from Alamo Rental Cars to embark on the Turkey road trip portion of our trip: we traveled from Izmir-Ephesus-Fethiye-Pamukkale-Alacati-Izmir. It cost us just US$110/100 Euros for 8 days and tolls are virtually non-existent in Turkey.

Turkish Airway in Turkiye

For any drives longer than 5-6 hours I would recommend trying to take a domestic flight. Sometimes it’s just easier to fly between cities as there are many domestic flights operated by Turkish Airlines, Pegasus and SunEpxress, and they are fairly reasonably priced.

After dropping the rental car off at Izmir we then ended the trip by flying back to Istanbul and spending our last 3 days in Turkey exploring the attractions and landmarks in the city that spans two continents.

Looking for the best prices for rental cars around the world? Click here to book your rental car in Turkey. Bookings can be cancelled or amended if your plans change!

14 day Turkey itinerary

Turkey surprised me. There, I said it. I don’t know what I was expecting, but I did not expect it to be as diverse as it was, especially as most of what you read in news headlines doesn’t always exactly paint the country in the most positive light.

Turkish breakfast in Istanbul Turkiye

In just 2 weeks in Turkey, we explored centuries-old archaeological ruins; swam off the pristine Turquoise Coast; saw dolphins frolicking in the Bosphorus Strait; visited gilded palaces, museums and mosques; sampled a plethora of Turkish cuisine; soared above otherworldly terrain in a hot air balloon and much much more.

Hot air ballooning at sunrise in Cappadocia Turkey

My biggest tip for visiting Turkey is this: keep an open mind. The country is rich in history and culture, and the landscapes are unreal. Here is how I recommend spending your 14 days in Turkey!

Note: For our 2 week Turkey itinerary we essentially did a “big loop” from Istanbul-Cappadocia-Izmir, and then a “small loop” from Izmir-Ephesus-Fethiye-Pamukkale-Alacati. This itinerary is also do-able in reverse and is a rough guide to help you decide how many days to spend in each city. We did it this way to minimize our time on the road and to cover as much ground as possible in just 2 weeks in Turkey.

Day 1-4: Cappadocia (3 nights)

Goreme Panorama Viewpoint in Cappadocia Turkey

Cappadocia is an iconic Turkey travel destination, and it is one of the most popular places in the world to go hot air ballooning – but as we learned, there’s more to Cappadocia than hot air balloons, carpet shops and Instagram rooftops.

Hot air balloons above fairy chimneys in Cappadocia Turkey

To get there, we got off our long-haul flight in Istanbul and hopped straight onto a domestic flight to Cappadocia – you can fly into either Kayseri (Erkilet International Airport or ASR) or Nevşehir (Nevşehir Kapadokya Airport or NAV).

Uchisar Castle in Cappadocia Turkey

Most people will recommend that you don’t skip Cappadocia from your Turkey trip itinerary, but make sure you don’t overlook what the region has to offer beyond hot air ballooning! It is also home to sprawling underground cities, a plethora of viewpoints, open air museums and archaeological sites.

Drone photo of Uchisar town in Cappadocia Turkiye

You’ll want to spend at least 3 nights here to explore Cappadocia, and you’ll need a few “back-up” mornings in case your hot air balloon ride is cancelled (which does happen!) and you need to reschedule.

Read more: 10 things to know before you go hot air ballooning in Cappadocia

Hot air balloons over fairy chimneys in Cappadocia Turkey

Don’t miss Uchisar Castle, the Goreme Open Air Museum, the Pasabag Fairy Chimneys, Rose Valley, Derinkuyu Underground City and book a hot air balloon ride. For more information about what to do in Cappadocia click here.

Hanzade Suites in Cappadocia Turkey

Hotel recommendation for Cappadocia: The majority of the hotels are located in Göreme, Ürgüp and Uçhisar, but in my opinion, the best place to stay in Cappadocia is in Göreme as the town has lots of tour companies, grocery stores, restaurants and hotels. Hanzade Suites is located right off the main street in Goreme and is within walking distance to the Goreme Sunset Point. Our room was spacious and cozy, and the rooftop is a great place to hang out for tea or coffee – you can also watch the balloons fly overhead in the mornings. Click here to check current rates at Hanzade Suites or head on over here to see other highly rated hotel options in Cappadocia! We also considered staying at Sunset Cave (located just up the hill from Hanzade Suites and similarly close to the sunset viewpoint), Tulip Cave Suites (a boutique hotel with a rooftop terrace and family rooms), and Naif Hotel (modern adults-only boutique hotel with private parking available).

Day 4-5: Ephesus via Izmir (1 night)

Library of Celsus in Ephesus Turkey

The ancient Greek (and later, Roman) city of Ephesus is home to some of the most wondrous UNESO-listed ruins in the world including the Library of Celsus and the Great Theatre. Present day Ephesus is located in Selçuk in western Turkey.

Library of Celsus in the morning at Ephesus in Turkey

We left Cappadocia on the morning of the 4th day and took a flight to Izmir (there are direct domestic flights between Cappadocia and Izmir during the summer months, or flights via Istanbul during the other months of the year).

14 day travel itinerary turkey

From Izmir, we drove just under an hour to Selcuk and arrived in the early evening. After a light dinner, we turned in for the night to wake up refreshed and energized to go sightseeing on the morning of the 5th day.

Antique Theatre in Ephesus Turkey

The sprawling Ephesus ruins can easily be explored within 2 hours, and you should also stop at the Ephesus Archaeological Museum and Temple of Artemis. Don’t miss the Library of Celsus, the Terrace Houses and the Antique Theatre. Click here for more information on visiting the UNESCO-listed ancient city of Ephesus in 1 day.

Temple of Artemis in Ephesus Turkey

To make the most of your time in Turkey, move onto the next top after you’ve explored Ephesus – 1 night in Selcuk is more than enough.

Akanthus Hotel in Selcuk Turkey

Hotel recommendation for Selcuk: I highly recommend Akanthus Hotel Ephesus , just minutes away from the ancient ruins. It is a beautiful and cosy boutique hotel with elegant, country chic décor. The owner is incredibly welcoming and the staff are very helpful and warm. The hotel also has a pool for those extra warm days and free street parking outside. Click here to check current rates at Akanthus Hotel Ephesus . Based on glowing reviews, we would also consider staying at Celsus Boutique Hotel (a cottage-chic hotel with spacious rooms and a wonderful staff) and Livia Hotel Ephesus (an adults-only boutique hotel with beautiful, peaceful grounds). These two alternatives to Akanthus are also a 5-10 minute drive away from the Ephesus ruins. You can check out other highly rated options in Selcuk . Prefer to stay overnight in Izmir instead? Here are some popular hotels in Izmir.

Day 5-8: Fethiye (3 nights)

Butterfly Valley in Fethiye Turkey

After leaving Ephesus in the early afternoon, we drove south from Selcuk for about 5 hours and arrived at the seaside town of Fethiye (with a quick stop in Dalyan) in the early evening.

Beach in Oludeniz in Turkiye

Fethiye was once known as the ancient city of “Telmessos”, one of the most important cities of the Lycian civilization. It is located in the Aegeon region in southwest Turkey, about 4 hours south from Izmir.

Fethiye in Turkey

Fethiye is surrounded by outrageously cool heritage sites, archaeological wonders, pristine beaches and lagoons and towering mountains. It’s also one of the best places in the world to go paragliding, or you can watch the paragliders take off one after the other from Mount Babadağ.

Paragliding in Fethiye Turkey

Don’t miss the Ölüdeniz Blue Lagoon, go on a day trip on a boat around the ultra blue bays of Fethiye, see Butterfly Valley (from above and by boat) and visit the Amyntas Rock Tomb.

Drone photo of Oludeniz Beach in Turkiye

Many people also do a day trip to Saklikent Gorge from Fethiye. Click here for the best things to do in Fethiye!

Yacht Boheme Hotel in Fethiye Turkey

Hotel recommendation for Fethiye: Book yourself into Yacht Boheme Hotel , an adults-only beach chic hotel steps away from the marina. The décor is beautiful and very bohemian, the rooms are extremely spacious and the breakfast spread is amazing and fresh. The hotel is just a 5 minute stroll away from the “downtown” area of Fethiye with restaurants and shops, and there is also free parking – the staff even provides valet services at no extra cost. Click here to check current rates at Yacht Boheme Hotel (Adults Only) in Fethiye or head on over here to see some other highly rated hotel options in Fethiye and Oludeniz . If you like the look and feel of Yacht Boheme , you might also want to consider its sister hotel Yacht Classic Hotel (which also accepts families traveling with children), or check out the rustic-yet-chic rooms at Hotel Unique (like Yacht Boheme, it is adults only). This group of boutique hotels in Fethiye has consistently positive reviews for the attentive service, cleanliness and location.

Day 8-9: Pamukkale (via Kayaköy and Tlos) (1 night)

Pamukkale Travertines in Turkey

After a glorious 3 nights in Fethiye, we were more than half way through the 2 week Turkey itinerary. We reluctantly peeled ourselves away from the glistening water and made our way towards Pamukkale in Denizli province .

Kayakoy Ghost City in Mugla Turkey

Enroute, we stopped at Kayaköy and Tlos: Kayaköy is less than half an hour away from Fethiye and is often referred to as a “ghost village” that was once home to nearly 20,000 Greek Orthodox residents.

Tlos Ancient City near Fethiye in Turkey

The Tlos ruins are only about 40 minutes away from Fethiye, and it is believed that the hero Bellerophon once resided in Tlos. Bellerophon was a Greek hero credited with slaying the dreaded Chimera, a monster with a lion’s head, goat’s body and a serpent’s tail. You can read more about Kayaköy and Tlos here. Both are easy day trips from Fethiye if you have more time, or you can do a quick pitstop on your way from Fethiye to Pamukkale.

Pamukkale Travertine Pools in Turkey

Once you have explored the ghost town and archaeological ruins, make your way onwards to Pamukkale, or Turkey’s “cotton castle”, one of the most spectacular natural landscapes in the world.

Walking barefoot in Pamukkale Travertines in Turkey

Pamukkale was formed when a spring with a high content of calcium bicarbonate cascaded over the edge of the mountain cliff, which cooled and hardened leaving white-coloured calcium deposits and aquamarine mineral-rich water.

Hieropolis Theatre in Pamukkale Turkey

We stayed overnight in Pamukkale and visited the travertines on the morning of the 9th day – you should only need a few hours to see the travertines and the Hieropolis ruins.

Closed off section of Pamukkale Travertines in Turkey

Head on over here for more tips on visiting Pamukkale and how to be a responsible visitor at the travertines.

Hotel recommendation for Pamukkale: The town of Pamukkale has very limited accommodation options and Bellamaritimo Hotel is probably your best bet for a 1-2 night stay in the area. Many people plan a day trip to Pamukkale from Bodrum or Izmir, but I would recommend spending 1 night in Pamukkale so that you can visit the travertines early in the morning. Click here to see availability and current rates at Bellamaritimo Hotel , or head on over here for some other hotel options near the Pamukkale travertines. Looking for more Pamukkale hotel options? Based on extensive research, I would also personally consider staying at Venus Suite Hotel (clean, modern-ish hotel 15-minute walk from the ticket office or take their shuttle service into town), or Hotel Pamukkale (family-run hotel located near the Pamukkale lower gate entrance).

Day 9-11: Alaçatı (2 nights)

Alacati main street in Turkey

We left Pamukkale around noon after visiting the travertines on day 9, and drove to Alaçatı in just under 4 hours – right in time to check into our next Turkey boutique hotel stay. Alaçatı (pronounced “Ala-cha-ti”) is a small town just a hop and skip away from Izmir on the west coast of Turkey.

Windmills in Alacati in Turkey

The charming town is a hidden gem that most people haven’t heard of, and the majority of first-time visitors leave Alaçati off their Turkey itinerary.

Coffee shop in Alacati in Turkey

Alaçati is not one of those places where you follow a list of things to do to the letter. There aren’t a ton of landmarks, archaeological sites or museums to add to a checklist – instead, wander through the cobblestone streets and check out the colourful buildings.

Delikli Koy near Alacati in Turkey

On a bright summer’s day head to the coast and spend the frolicking in the Aegean, or head straight to one of the local wineries and taste the wonderful Turkish wine. Read more about what to do in Alaçati here.

Walking down stairs at Cesme beach in Turkiye

If you are fortunate enough to spend more than 2 weeks in Turkey then I highly recommend spending a few more days relaxing and sipping on cocktails in Alaçati and exploring the neighboring city of Çeşme.

Gaia Alacati Boutique Hotel in Alacati Turkey

Hotel recommendation for Alaçati: I highly recommend staying at GAIA ALACATI , a stylish boutique hotel in the heart of the old town. One of the best parts of the small boutique property is the enclosed internal courtyard-slash-restaurant where you can get your fix of mouthwatering food and drinks. Click here to check current rates at GAIA ALAÇATI or head on over here to see even more Alacati boutique hotels! If you love the look of GAIA ALAÇATI , you might also like their new properties – check out GAIA Bazaar which is also in the old town, and GAIA By The Sea which is their adults-only property located on the seafront in nearby Çeşme.

Day 11-14: Istanbul (3 nights)

Hagia Sophia Istanbul Turkey

On the morning of day 11 in Turkey, we drove back to Izmir to return the rental car and hopped on a short 1-hour flight to Istanbul . Domestic flights take just over 1 hour and are extremely reasonably priced, or you will need to embark on a 5-hour long drive from Izmir to Istanbul which eats up a huge chunk of your 2 weeks in Turkey.

Bosphorus Strait Istanbul Turkey

End your 2 weeks in Turkey in the city of Istanbul. The city is absolutely buzzing with things to do and see, if you only have 3 days in Istanbul make sure you go on a food tour around the city ( this is the one I recommend ), cross the Bosphorus Strait on a ferry and visit the 17th century Egyptian Bazaar.

Shopping at the Egyptian Bazaar in Istanbul Turkiye

Istanbul is a wonderful city to explore on foot. Make sure you go for a wander through the Grand Bazaar, tour the Topkapi Palace Museum and Harem and visit the famous Blue Mosque just to name a few. Head on over here for more ideas of things to do in Istanbul!

Dolmabahce Palace Istanbul Turkey

Istanbul is a fantastic place to start your Turkey adventure or to end your trip – you’ll want to spend a minimum of 2 to 3 nights in Istanbul to make the most of your time in the city.

Pera Neuf Istanbul Turkey

Hotel recommendation for Istanbul: We stayed in the Beyoglu district, just steps away from the Galata Tower and Istiklal Street. Pera Neuf is a stylish and classy yet comfortable boutique apartment in the thick of it all. We loved how clean the apartment was – the beds are extremely comfortable and the shower pressure is fantastic. Click here to check current rates and availability at Pera Neuf or click here to see other centrally-located and highly-rated accommodation options in Istanbul ! Following extensive research, we would also consider staying at Be Mate Casa Di Bava which is also in the Beyoglu area. Like Pera Neuf, Be Mate Casa Di Bava offers one-bedroom apartments with small kitchenettes and also “deluxe” apartments which have a small balcony. Reviewers love the spacious apartments, helpful manager and in-building elevator. Click here to check availability and rates at Be Mate Casa Di Bava.

Is 2 weeks enough for Turkey? Other suggestions for your Turkey itinerary

Hot air balloons at sunrise in Cappadocia in Turkey

If it is your first trip to Turkey, it’s best to aim to spend no less than 10 days to 2 weeks in this sprawling country. Like I mentioned earlier, you need to account for lengthy travel time between regions as there is a lot of ground to cover in Turkey in 2 weeks – there is also a lot to see and do, and even more to eat!

Antique statues on Nemrut mountain, Turkey. The UNESCO World Heritage Site at Mount Nemrut where King Antiochus of Commagene is reputedly entombed.

I would have happily stayed in Turkey an additional week or two to explore some of the lesser-visited regions such as Trabzon and other cities along the coast of the Black Sea in the north; Kaş and more of the Turquoise Coast towards Antalya ; or ventured inland to visit the stone heads guarding the royal tombs at Mount Nemrut in eastern Turkey.

Ancient temple of Apollo in the city of Didim under the bright sun. Turkey

Have more than 2 weeks in Turkey? If you are able to spend more than 3 weeks in Turkey you might also want to add a few of these destinations to your itinerary: Bodrum on the Turkish Riviera, Apollo’s Temple in Didim , the Gallipoli peninsula in Çanakkale , Pergamon or Troy .

Street cats in Alacati Turkey

I hope this Turkey 2 week itinerary helps you to better plan your dream Turkey trip, and gives you an idea of how long to stay in each place, what to do and where to stay.

Kaunos rock tombs in Dalyan Turkiye

You can easily shave off a few days here and there or skip a destination to convert this into a 10 day Turkey itinerary. Been to Turkey before? Leave a comment below with your favorite landmark!

Egyptian Bazaar Istanbul Turkey

You might also find these Turkey destination guides helpful:

  • Here are some of the top Turkey travel mistakes to avoid
  • Most people begin or end their Turkey trip in Istanbul – here is my guide to spending 3 days in Istanbul
  • Head to this charming coastal town near Izmir – read on for the top things to do in Alaçati in Turkey
  • History lovers can’t skip the UNESCO-listed ruins of Ephesus. Head here for my guide to exploring Ephesus
  • Cappadocia is famous for its dreamy landscape and hot air balloons, but there’s so much more to see and do in this region. Here are the top things to do in Cappadocia
  • And here are all my best tips for booking a hot air balloon experience in Cappadocia
  • Wondering if it’s worth visiting Turkey’s cotton castle? Read this for my thoughts on visiting Pamukkale
  • You’ll love Turkey’s Turquoise Coast: read my guide to Fethiye and Oludeniz

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Library of Celsus in Ephesus Turkey with text overlay

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Hi Flo, Just wanted to check what was the budget you allocated for this itinerary?

Hi Charlotte, we generally allocate US$150-250/night for accommodation and don’t have a fixed budget for rental cars/tours/meals as it varies so much. We do dine out frequently but found meals to be very reasonably priced in Turkey – even at the more upscale restaurants. The Cappadocia balloon will cost anywhere between US$190-350 per person, I would recommend that you splurge a little for the more “premium” tours as they have fewer people in the baskets and longer flight times which make for a more comfortable balloon experience. I share a little more about this here:

Hope this helps!

Hi Flo, Thanks a lot for such an informative article. We are going in May end from 20th may till 3rd Jun. We are following the itinerary to the tee but I have one question, should we do 2 nights in fethiye n 4 nights in Istanbul or 3 nights in fethiye n 3 nights in Istanbul. Your suggestion will really help. Also, in alacati where do we park our car given the cobbled streets in the old Town are very narrow. We are also flying out the same day to capadoccia the day we are landing in Istanbul, how many hours of gap should we keep between the arrival flight n the flight to capadoccia? 2 hours is ok or to be on the safer side keep it longer than that? Regards Anubrata

Hi Anubrata, thanks for taking the time to read this. I’m happy to hear you found it helpful in trip planning.

It really depends on what you’re after – city or beach. If you’d rather explore Istanbul then you can stay 4 nights in the city. However we personally found 3 nights to be enough for a first trip and preferred to spend more time by the sea.

You should park your car in Alacati at your hotel – ask them if they have on-site parking. We parked on the street next to Gaia, and while it was street parking we had no issues.

Depending on which airport you land at you may want to leave a solid 2 hours between flights, we found the international airport to be very busy. And you should ensure that your flights are from the same airport as there are 2 in Istanbul. Hope that helps,

Hello! Just wondering if you booked all your hotel accommodations before arriving in Turkey? Thanks!

Hi Star, yes we did but our plans changed between Pamukkale and Istanbul, and we ended up going to Alacati for 2 nights. When I tried to using for Alacati it didn’t work (it is blocked in Turkey), which is why you’ll need to use an alternative booking engine like HotelsCombined. Best of luck!

Hi I am planning to visit turkey in December for about 2 weeks will follow your itenary but you have not mentioned anything for Antalya,Bodrum, Ankara are these places worth visiting as I am going to self drive from Istanbul

Hi Chetan, apologies but we did not make it to those areas. If you plan on following this itinerary for 2 weeks you might find that you’ll need closer to 3 weeks to visit Antalya and Ankara as well. You can likely stop in Bodrum on your way down to Fethiye if you’d like to slot that in. Safe travels!

Hi .. Hope your doing well. Thank you for this article . I am planning a trip and will be following this itinerary . You mentioned that on your way to Fethiye you did a quick stop in Dalyan. I would like to know if it will be possible to visit the beach and do a mud batch and still be able to reach by late evening to Fethiye.

Thank You in advance, Sylvia Dsilva

Hi Sylvia, yes that is do-able as the drive from Dalyan to Fethiye takes only about an hour. You will need to be prepared for a fairly long travel day though!

Hi, great article. I might follow your itinerary for my trip with my brother and dad. I do not know if my father will understand why we will take flight from Istanbul to Cappadocia without visiting it first. Though I think it will feel a lot more magical . I just wanted to ask what is the average cost ? I know it can be different but what is the scale for budget travelling? My budget is 12-1500 per person. Also do you buy the domestic flight tickets before or during the trip? I am not really that experienced. Thank you.

Hi Hasan, great to hear that you found this itinerary helpful. Turkey is very budget friendly but each person’s budget is going to vary depending on which hotels they stay at, restaurants you choose to eat at, transportation costs (whether you’re hiring a driver/taxi vs. self-driving) etc. You should buy your domestic tickets before the trip.

Best of luck!

Thank you so much! BTW, just booked my room at Hanzade!

Hi Flo! Your article is great in helping me plan my trip to Turkey in May. I usually book hotels once I’m there so very grateful for your tips on I do plan to take domestic flights to Cappadocia/Ismir/Istanbul, but for getting around to other areas I’m not sure I can drive. How hard is it to drive and navigate in Turkey? I w/be solo. What do you recommend? Thanks in advance.

Hi Lan, so glad you found this helpful! It’s not too difficult to drive in Turkey, the roads we were on were in pretty good condition and there is lots of free parking. Alternatively, perhaps you could arrange 1-way transfers between cities. In that case, I would advise that you ask your hotel for recommendations and pricing. Happy travels!

hello i really liked your article , but i have just one question , do i need to have visa to visit turkey if i am from Italy ?

Hi Kalifaa, please see this page:

“Italy: Ordinary and official passport holders are exempt from visa for their travels up to 90 days.”

Hi, when u say u took a flight from cappadocia to izmir … did u take the keyseri or the other one? Thanks

Hi Sal, Pegasus has direct flights to Izmir from Kayseri, or you can also go with Turkish Airlines via Istanbul (also from Kayseri). Both airports are approximately the same distance from Goreme so it doesn’t matter if you fly from Kayseri or Nevsehir – just go with whichever offers the flight time you need.

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An overhead image of a carved turkey on a white platter. Herbs poke out from between various cuts.

A Good Appetite

Get Ahead on Thanksgiving With This Make-Ahead Turkey

Whether you’re driving it to dinner an hour away or you just want to plan ahead, here’s the best strategy for a Thanksgiving bird you can prepare in advance.

This spatchcocked bird — roasted at a high temperature a few days before, then cooked low and slow before serving — is notable for its crispy skin and tender meat. Credit... Bobbi Lin for The New York Times. Food Stylist: Maggie Ruggiero.

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Melissa Clark

By Melissa Clark

Melissa Clark roasted a dozen turkeys to create this recipe. Her freezer is now stocked with turkey soup.

  • Published Nov. 7, 2023 Updated Nov. 8, 2023

In a perfect world, you’d always be able to serve your Thanksgiving turkey directly after its sojourn in the oven. It’s the best way to take advantage of the bird’s crisp juiciness and meaty aroma — not to mention a chance to hide in the kitchen from football games.

But what if you have to drive your cooked turkey an hour away to a Friendsgiving ? Or you need room in your oven for pie? Or you’d simply prefer to wake up on Thursday morning secure in the knowledge that the trickiest part of your feast is already waiting for you in the fridge?

Whatever the reason, there are times when you need a killer make-ahead turkey recipe, and I’ve found the way.

Recipe: Make-Ahead Roast Turkey

It took several weeks of testing and a dozen birds to get the result I wanted: a reheated turkey that tastes very nearly as good as it did right after roasting, with a juicy breast, tender dark meat and glistening, crispy skin.

It also had to be food safe — because Thanksgiving is stressful enough without the added worry of making anyone sick.

The safety advice for reheating turkey comes down to making sure to never leave turkey — neither raw, nor roasted and cooled — unrefrigerated for more than two hours. Then, when reheating, bring the turkey’s core temperature back up to 165 degrees.

The puzzle I had to solve was not only how to do this without drying out the breast or making everything soggy, but also how to make it truly delicious.

Troubleshooting Tricky Turkey Meat

Most of the make-ahead recipes I’ve seen call for roasting a whole turkey, letting it cool and cutting it into pieces before chilling. This is convenient for serving because the meat is already carved. But it also intensifies the usual problems of roasting a whole turkey, where cooking the dark meat through can mean drying out the breast meat. Even if you succeed in the first roasting, it’s almost impossible to replicate when you reheat. Breast meat seems to want to dry out.

A common fix is to reheat the white meat in a pan of gravy or broth, or to steam it covered with foil. But the moist environment can turn the meat simultaneously tough and soggy, and the skin limp and slippery.

The first tweak I tried was leaving the breast whole while reheating it. While this improved the texture slightly, it wasn’t enough to make the breast delicious, and the skin stayed just as unappealing.

Then again, since the turkey was just going to get cut up after roasting, why not cut it all up beforehand and roast it in pieces? Theoretically, this gives you more control, since you can take the breast pieces out of the oven just as they’re done, while the legs finish cooking to perfection.

That technique worked nicely for the initial roasting: It’s terrific if you’re not trying to re-create a Norman Rockwell painting. But once reheated, the breast meat was exactly as tough and soggy as before, whether I reheated it still on the bone or carved off in one piece.

(The dark meat came out great, however — something to keep in mind if your crowd wouldn’t be averse to a panful of flawlessly roasted turkey thighs and drumsticks without the breasts.)

In the end, the breakthrough turned out to be spatchcocking.

An overhead image of a spatchcocked turkey photographed overhead on a cutting board. Carving utensils sit just to the right of the bird.

Spatchcocking is one of my favorite ways to prepare any roast bird, whether an adorable three-pound chicken or hulking 13-pound turkey. The flat shape facilitates even cooking, and because all of the skin is now draped over the meat and exposed to the oven’s heat, it crisps up gloriously. Spatchcocked birds also cook quickly, in half the time or less compared to a traditional roast. You can have your butcher spatchcock the turkey for you, so you don’t have to struggle with sawing through thick, sturdy turkey bones.

How to Reheat Your Turkey

The best way to reheat a spatchcocked turkey happens to be the easiest — whole and on the bone, without any added liquid in the pan. The skin and fat protect the breast and preserve juiciness, while the skin also re-crisps nicely. And the legs end up just as tender and succulent as when they were freshly roasted.

It takes the same amount of time to reheat a spatchcocked turkey as it does to roast in the first place, 45 minutes to an hour. This is partly because of the lower temperature. Because while you need to blast the raw bird with high heat in a 450-degree oven, you reheat more gently, at 350 degrees. As a bonus, the low-and-slow reheating allows you to bake (or reheat) your sides, like stuffing or sweet potato casserole, in the oven at the same time.

Perhaps the greatest de-stressor here is that there’s no guesswork left about when the bird is finally done. When it’s steaming hot and the skin is glistening, your turkey will be ready for the table — wherever that may be.

Tips for Make-Ahead Turkey Success

As with any roasted turkey, dry-brining a few days ahead helps season the bird and gives a golden, crisp skin. You can use just salt and pepper, or add herbs, spices, and citrus zest if you like. Or use your favorite dry brine recipe.

If the pre-roasted, cooled bird will be out of the refrigerator for more than two hours, pack it in a cooler so it stays cold.

After taking it out of the fridge, let the pre-roasted bird come to room temperature for one to two hours before reheating. And note: You don’t need to rest this turkey after reheating.

If you want to reheat the stuffing and sweet potatoes and the like at the same time as the turkey, put the bird on upper rack of the oven and the vegetables below.

Lining the bottom of the roasting pan with fresh herbs (rosemary, thyme and sage) when reheating adds flavor to the bird and adds a fantastic aroma to the kitchen.

This reheating technique works with any spatchcock turkey recipe. If you have a favorite, go ahead and use it.

Follow New York Times Cooking on Instagram , Facebook , YouTube , TikTok and Pinterest . Get regular updates from New York Times Cooking, with recipe suggestions, cooking tips and shopping advice .

Melissa Clark has been a columnist for the Food section since 2007. She reports on food trends, creates recipes and appears in cooking videos linked to her column, A Good Appetite . She has also written dozens of cookbooks. More about Melissa Clark


Never Ending Footsteps

How to Spend Two Weeks in Turkey: An Itinerary for First-Time Visitors

14 day travel itinerary turkey

Some people only know Turkey for its sparkling blue sea, lined by long stretches of beach. Others make the trip to see its utterly unique natural wonders, such as the fairy chimneys of Cappadocia or the travertine-lined thermal springs of Pamukkale. If you’ve got two weeks in the country, though, why would you not see it all?

Even though it’s a sizable nation, 14 days in Turkey is enough time to cover a lot of what makes it such a wonderful place to explore. By balancing nature hikes with beach days, pilgrimages to Ottoman mosques with strolls through Ancient Greek ruins, you’ll quickly see why so many different types of visitors have fallen in love with the country.

14 day travel itinerary turkey

A Note on Travel in Turkey

Turkey can be a time-consuming country to traverse. The easiest option would be to rent a car, but you can also manage by using the modern, air-conditioned long-distance buses or through cheap domestic flights with local airlines like Pegasus or Anadolujet. Bear in mind, however, that if you’re planning on taking public transport, you may want to simplify your Turkey itinerary by cutting out some of the south coast towns and adding a day in Cappadocia, Antalya, or Bodrum to catch your breath. 

14 day travel itinerary turkey

Day One: Istanbul

As always, we like to hit the ground running! While Istanbul may not be the official capital of Turkey, it is the nation’s most exciting city by a mile. Start at one of the enduring symbols of the city: Hagia Sophia. Originally a church, then converted into a mosque, before becoming a museum and then, controversially, being turned back into a mosque, it has survived almost 1,500 of historical and political upheaval. 

The muted pastel colors of the exterior speak to its centuries-old age but belie the shimmering surfaces that await on the inside. Ostentatious, low-hanging chandeliers sparkle only slightly more than the golden Byzantine mosaics of Jesus in the vestibules or the golden Arabic script inscribed upon circular wooden plaques attached to columns. Hanging over it all is the remarkable dome, an architectural first when it was built that has been restored to reveal bright blue and gold paintwork meant to resemble the heavens.

Directly opposite the Hagia Sophia is the slightly more modern Sultan Ahmed Mosque, built in the 1600s. It’s commonly known as the Blue Mosque, not because of the outside but because of the stunning blue tilework that decorates the interior’s walls and pillars.

Not all of Istanbul’s wonders are above the surface. A few steps away from the city’s most famous mosques is the Basilica Cistern, an eerie Roman-era water storage space that echoes with the sound of tourist footsteps. Don’t miss the Medusa head column bases.

Grab a soft, warm simit (sesame-coated bread similar to a bagel) from a street stall, as you make your way up towards the Topkapi Palace. A fitting headquarters for the Ottoman Empire, there’s a lot to cover in this sprawling complex, from the Disney-like Gate of Salutation to the opulent Harem. Innumerable tiles and geometric patterns in bright hues decorate the walls and pillars, even managing to outdo in color the flowers that fill the courtyards and gardens.

If you aren’t completely exhausted, spare a moment to visit other parts of the Topkapi complex. The İstanbul Archaeological Museum preserves mosaics, marbles and other treasures from old Constantinople, while the Hagia Irene is the city’s oldest surviving church, now completely bereft of its former splendor and a somber contrast to the Hagia Sophia.

Where to stay in Istanbul: There are a lot of reasonable options not far from the center of town, but the Peradays B&B is a bit quirkier than some of the other comfortable and clean but rather bland accommodations. The breakfast is awesome, and the location is very conveniently situated for the main sights.

14 day travel itinerary turkey

Day Two: Istanbul

Turkey is famous for its scrumptious breakfast platters, consisting of vegetables (particularly olives, tomatoes and cucumber), cold cuts, local cheeses, dips and, of course, freshly baked bread. If your accommodation doesn’t offer this morning repast, Dogaciyiz Gourmet is consistently a great place to go for the full spread, washed down by a glass of sweet tea.

After you’ve prepared for the day with a hearty meal, head to nearby Dolhambace Palace, Istanbul’s more modern alternative to the Topkapi. Built along the Bosporus in the mid-19th century, it’s a much more Western-style exhibition of luxury, featuring plentiful gilt finishings and glittering crystal chandeliers. 

Time your trip to the Galata Tower to coincide with the midday call to prayer. Standing atop the hundreds-year-old stone edifice and enjoying the 360-degree views as the city’s many mosques echo the adhan all around is a completely unique and moving experience.

In Taksim Square, you can sample some of the country’s favorite street eats from the surrounding stalls, like durum (kebab wrap) and kofte (a kind of ground meatball). If you have an interest in historic luxury hotels, pop into the nearby Pera Palace for a leisurely drink in the Orient Bar. This hotel has played host to such luminaries as Ernest Hemingway, Alfred Hitchcock and Agatha Christie. You can also pay a visit to the famous Room 101, which now hosts an exhibit that memorializes Mustafa Kemal Ataturk, Turkey’s first president.

Cross the Golden Horn to the old town where you spent most of the previous day to visit the Grand Bazaar, sometimes described as the oldest shopping mall in the world. It’s a sprawling series of covered streets filled with tchotchkes, decorative objects and apparel, making for a gloriously chaotic shopping experience. 

Finish the day with a boat ride on the Bosporus. You can take a public ferry and cross over into Kadikoy on the Asian side of Istanbul for an evening meal, or opt for a dinner cruise with a tour company. While dining on local delicacies, you’ll pass by such sights as the Rumeli Fortress, the Beylerbeyi Palace and the Maiden’s Tower, as well as the striking neoclassical Haydarpasa Train Station.

14 day travel itinerary turkey

Day Three: Bursa

While you could easily spend at least another day or two checking out some of the further afield parts of Istanbul, there are a lot of other cities to see in Turkey!

Just south of Istanbul is Bursa, once the capital of the Ottoman empire, now the fourth most populous city in the country. At its heart is the bazaar, which is particularly famous for the Kozi Han courtyard, dotted with cafes and surrounded by luxurious silk emporiums for big spenders. We just stuck with a coffee and some people watching.

Next door is the city’s Grand Mosque, a 20-domed building with a beautiful marble fountain at the heart of its gold-accented white walls, though overall it’s fairly plain compared to what you’ll see in Istanbul.

Venture 20 minutes to the northwest where the Muradiye Complex boasts a number of early Ottoman tombs in greatly varying degrees of splendor, though the most ornate have some truly dazzling bright blue Iznik tiles.

End the day by trying Bursa’s local specialty, the Iskender kebab: thin slices of meat layered atop pide flatbread and slathered with spicy tomato sauce, yoghurt, and butter. Delicious, but not something we’d recommend every day if you want to keep your cholesterol in check!

Where to stay in Bursa: The family-run Avlu Tophane guesthouse is just a short saunter away from the city center, but what sets it apart are the excellent, welcoming staff, who are happy to help answer all questions, including one of the most important: where to go for good food.

14 day travel itinerary turkey

Day Four: Day Trip to Uludag Mountain

In addition to the remnants of early Ottoman history, Bursa is the gateway to Uludag National Park. In the winter, it becomes one of Turkey’s most popular ski resorts, but we visited in the summer when the slopes are a rich green – though you’ll still need a jacket for the upper climes, which can be chilly even in July.

A cable car runs from the outskirts of town up Uludag Mountain, giving you gorgeous views of the city as well as of the natural beauty below. More than 8 kilometers long, the ride takes just over 20 minutes from the bottom to the top, gliding over vertiginous heights. Once you’ve arrived, there are numerous hikes you can do, wandering absently through alpine meadows and woods. It makes for a nice change of pace after darting about cities for a few days.

On your return from the cable car station, consider eschewing the local bus and walking back towards your accommodation. This way, you can pass by a few local landmarks that aren’t worth going out of your way for but still hold some interest: the Green Mosque, with its elaborate mihrab; the Green Tomb, a hexagonal building with tiles that look more blue than green, but are no less striking for all that; and the Irgandi Bridge, a rebuilt 15th-century construction lined with cute-looking shops selling the usual tourist souvenirs.

Library of Celsus, Ephesus

Day Five: Izmir and Ephesus

While Izmir itself has limited appeal as a tourist destination, it is a great jumping off point to reach one of Turkey’s most iconic destinations, Ephesus. Once a prominent Ancient Greek city, it is now a collection of picturesque ruins that attract biblical tour groups (thanks to its association with the New Testament) as much as history buffs. It also lends its name to Turkey’s most popular beer, Efes.

Ephesus’ most famous attraction is one you’ll probably have seen before, perhaps as a screensaver: the Library of Celsus. All that remains is a colonnaded marble façade that hints at former grandeur, but it still holds an atmospheric allure. As you wander amidst the rubble and the half-standing buildings, make sure you don’t miss the sizable amphitheater (said to once hold 25,000 people, although we didn’t count the seats) or the terraced houses, which give an idea of how the former inhabitants used to live.

The easiest way to get to Ephesus is through a tour , though you can also make the trip from Izmir using a combination of train and bus.

Where to stay in Izmir: While Izmir isn’t short of well-known, brand-name hotels, we like the small, local spot called Deka Evleri because everything feels more personalized and unique. Plus, it’s in a good location for the train to Ephesus.

14 day travel itinerary turkey

Day Six: Day Trip to Cesme/Alacati

Later on in this Turkey itinerary, we’ll take you through our favorite parts of the Turquoise Coast, named because of its sparkling blue waters. Before that, however, make a day trip to the Izmir peninsular and the towns of Cesme and Alacati. Compared to the southern resort towns, this area hasn’t yet attracted the same degree of international tourism and so still retains more of its local flavor. In fact, it used to be predominantly where locals holidayed, as it isn’t quite so far from the major cities of Istanbul, Izmir, or Bursa.

The peninsula is dotted with sandy beaches and relaxed dining options. While Cesme has its picturesque marina and castle, Alacati is where you’ll find pretty stone houses lining cobbled, higgledy-piggledy streets reminiscent of charming Greek villages.

You’ll also see plenty of people windsurfing, as this part of Turkey is known for having some of the best conditions for the activity, though we haven’t yet had a chance to try it here ourselves.

14 day travel itinerary turkey

Day Seven: Cappadocia 

Cappadocia is one of the most magical places you’ll spend your 14 days in Turkey, a landscape full of fairy chimneys, hidden cities, and rugged terrain that’s perfect for energetic hiking. We recommend basing yourself out of Goreme, which is a convenient village from which to reach most of the major sights.

Start your day at the Goreme Open Air Museum, a complex of churches cut out of the rock face just 15 minutes from the town center. Each of these has its own distinctive shape and its own distinctive frescoes, many of which are incredibly preserved considering they date mostly from the 10th, 11th and 12th centuries. 

In the afternoon, head out to Love Valley, named because the rock spires (coyly called fairy chimneys) resemble enormous phallic pillars. There are well-worn trails through the countryside, though that didn’t prevent us from getting lost. Still, with the help of Google Maps it’s fairly easy to get yourself back on track. If you have the time, we recommend hiking all the way to Uchisar Castle and back, as it has great views over the surrounding country and is itself a landmark, visible for miles around.

Where to stay in Cappadocia: Cappadocia is as famous for its cave hotels as it is for anything else, but not all are created equal. We love Luvi Cave because it has spacious stone rooms, a great location and one of the best terrace views in Goreme.

Girl with hot air balloons in Cappadocia

Day Eight: More Cappadocia

Get up early to catch the sunrise and ride a hot-air balloon. There are numerous tour companies offering different kinds of packages to suit your desires, including this one that includes hotel transfers and a light breakfast prior to the ascent.

While riding over the gorgeous scenery as the morning light filters through it is an utterly incredible experience, those who really can’t bear heights can rest assured that hiking up to a nearby hill and watching the sky fill with colorful balloons is an incredible vista in itself. In fact, if you decide to spend an extra day in Cappadocia, it’s definitely worth forcing yourself out of bed early twice and experiencing both sides of the coin.

Another thing you absolutely have to do while in Cappadocia is visit one of the underground cities. Personally, we’d recommend Kaymakli, partly because it’s a bit closer to Goreme (you’ll still need to hire a taxi) and partly because it’s generally less crowded than the other main option, Derinkuyu. Parts of the city are almost 3,000 years old, though it’s been expanded many times over the centuries. Only a small portion is open to visitors today, however, for safety reasons. 

At the entrance, you’ll find people offering their services as guides. While you might not need their assistance to find your way through (the one-way route is clearly marked), it’s worth hiring someone to give you context about the purpose of the different rooms, especially because most of them are hard to identify without aid.

Be aware that it can get a bit claustrophobic underground, as many of the passageways between the rooms are narrow – not so much that you will get stuck, but you should at least expect to crouch down to fit through. In fact, it’s incredible to think that people once inhabited these rooms, admittedly usually only for short periods of time in order to flee persecution.

If you’re still aching for adventure once you return to Goreme, you can take a leisurely stroll through the Rose Valley, admiring the pink hue of the landscape under the sun. 

14 day travel itinerary turkey

Day Nine: Konya

Konya has a long-standing association with Sufism, and several of the city’s attractions are connected to this Islamic practice. Turn up on the right day of the week and you can even see a mystic dance performance by whirling dervishes at the Mevlana Cultural Center.

Even if your schedule doesn’t coincide with the ritual, however, there are still informative exhibits about Sufism at the Mevlana Museum. This modest complex sticks out of the cityscape like a sore thumb thanks to its copper-green tower. Here, you can learn about the Sufi beliefs and visit the rather grand mausoleum of one its most famous adherents, the poet Rumi. 

Just a short walk away, the Aziziye Mosque is worth visiting just to get a glimpse of the unusual blending of Ottoman and Western architecture into a curious puzzle of a building. 

Spend the rest of your time in the city wandering around Alaaddin Hill, where another beautiful mosque awaits. Don’t miss the dazzling domed ceiling of the nearby Karatay Madrasa, a museum whose display of Seljuk tiles is underwhelming compared to the tiled décor of the building.

Where to stay in Konya: Accommodation options in Konya are limited, so don’t expect anything as spectacular or unique as you’ll find in Cappadocia. Bablin Butik is a reliable option, situated nearby the main sights and with clean rooms. We have to admit the somewhat over-egged décor might not be to everyone’s taste, but as long as you plump for at least a king room, you won’t find yourself overwhelmed by the dark wood furniture. 

14 day travel itinerary turkey

Day Ten: Antalya

You can’t visit Turkey for two weeks and not spend some time by the sea. Built overlooking beautiful blue water, Antalya is one of the easternmost points of the Turkish Riviera, a region filled with seaside resorts that trace their way along the southwest of the country. 

In Antalya, Konyaalti Beach is the city’s most easily accessible hotspot, its pebbled surface stretching for eight kilometers and framed by the Taurus Mountains, which make for a rather lovely backdrop.

Once (or perhaps if) you tire of lounging beside the cooling waters, head into Antalya’s old town, where you’ll find such landmarks as the stocky Hadrian’s Gate and the Hidirlik Tower, both built in the 2nd century. Mainly, though, the point of visiting this part of Antalya is just to enjoy meandering through the quaint streets, before eventually ending up at the old marina for a meal and to watch the sun set.

Where to stay in Antalya: The big question in Antalya is whether you want to be closer to Konyaalti Beach or closer to the old town. Despite the fact that, from what we’ve seen, rooms in the old town tend to be a bit more compact, we still lean that way because the buildings are more atmospheric, in particular Hotel Lykia , which is located in a cute stone edifice and offers a lovely patio and pool area.

Oludeniz beach in Turkey

Day Eleven: Kas/Oludeniz/Fethiye

Turkey isn’t short of pretty beach towns. If you’ve rented a car, we’d recommend driving along the coast, stopping at the various villages as you go. If you’re going by public transport and have to travel according to the set timetables, however, it might be wise to limit your meanderings.

There are three spots we particularly recommend visiting. Kas is the smallest of the trio but perhaps all the more charming for that, with a relaxed vibe and cool bars. Whitewashed houses with terracotta roofs crowd a small piece of land encircled by hills.

Oludeniz’s Blue Lagoon is surrounded by some of the nicest beaches we saw in Turkey. Not only that, but paragliding off the nearby Babadag Mountain is a legendary (if terrifying) experience. 

Fethiye is the largest of the three and also has the most interesting historical sight, the Lycian rock tombs. These final resting places are carved out of the cliff wall above the town. Climbing up a series of steps set into the slope, you can even enter one, the Tomb of Amyntos, though most people will probably find the views down upon Fethiye more engaging than the now-barren stone vault. 

Where to stay in Fethiye: We particularly love the crisp modern furnishings at the Yacht Boheme Hotel – as well as lounging about by the pool. As its name suggests, this boutique spot overlooks the marina, where luxury yachts are berthed. It’s also about 15 minutes’ walk from the downtown area.

14 day travel itinerary turkey

Day Twelve: Bodrum 

The last stop on our exploration of the Turquoise Coast, Bodrum has more of a party atmosphere than the other beach destinations we’ve mentioned so far, probably because it’s somehow simultaneously gained a reputation for being a good option for a cheap getaway and become a destination where the wealthy anchor their yachts. Many resorts have staked a claim to sections of sand here, but there’s also the sizable public Yahsi Beach, which packs in the loungers and umbrellas.

Thanks to its advantageous coastal position, Bodrum also boasts an impressive fortification. Officially called the Castle of St. Peter, it was originally constructed by crusader knights but later seized by the Ottomans. Today, its battlements are patrolled by peacocks. There are great views of the harbor from the stone walls, but also spend a little time exploring the building’s (amusingly random) museum of underwater archaeology, which details the finds that have been retrieved in the nearby waters.

If, like us, this inspires you to go on your own treasure hunt of sorts, there are several scuba diving businesses in operation, which rent equipment and take visitors down into the blue depths of the ocean in search of reefs and wrecks.

Where to stay in Bodrum: There are a ton of enormous resorts in this part of the world, but with just three rooms the Townhouse offers something much more unique and personalized. The accommodation boasts spectacular views as well as its own bar and restaurant if you’re feeling too lazy to go anywhere. Having said that, the prime location means you’re not far from a host of alternative eating options.

Pamukkale travertines

Day Thirteen: Pamukkale and Hierapolis

Pamukkale is arguably one of Turkey’s most Instagram-famous attractions. Its name literally means ‘cotton castle’ due to the white mineral deposits that have formed over the years as a result of the thermal springs. These waters have been revered for their healing properties at least since Ancient Greek times, when a spa town, Hierapolis, was built here to cater for tourists.

You can still bathe in the pools even today, though there are strict rules around where you can and can’t go, as the Turkish government attempts to preserve the site from rampant tourism. Regardless of these restrictions, it’s worth making the trip to see the strange formations of travertine, which lend everything here a slightly otherworldly appearance, like the surface of a foreign planet.

While in the area, you may as well visit Hierapolis, though it is little more than ruins bar an impressive theater and some tombs in the necropolis. Nearby, the Antique Pool feels rather more like a water park than the remnants of a Roman bathing place, though there is something romantic about the ruined pillar fragments submerged beneath the transparent waters.

Where to stay in Pamukkale: The large rooms at the WhiteHeaven Suite Hotel make up for some of the, um, questionable designs on the soft furnishings. We are particularly keen on the breakfast, served poolside, and the complimentary shuttle bus to the travertines.

14 day travel itinerary turkey

Day Fourteen: Istanbul

After gallivanting across the country, you’ll probably be in need of some much-deserved rest and relaxation. Fortunately, Istanbul is not just famous for its delicious cuisine and storied historical sites. It’s also renowned for its traditional Turkish baths, where visitors are steamed, scrubbed, and massaged into bliss. One of our favorites is the Kilic Ali Pasa Hamam, which maintains its beautiful old stonework but also offers the comfort of modern-day amenities. 

If you didn’t manage to pack in everything we recommended from the first two days in Istanbul – and it is admittedly a very full schedule – you can squeeze the rest in today. Alternatively, prolong your post-hamam relaxed state by ending your trip at one of the chilled bars overlooking the Bosphorus, gulping back a nice cold Efes as you watch the boats go by, before making your way to the airport to catch your flight out.

14 day travel itinerary turkey

And That’s How to Spend Two Weeks in Turkey!

Traversing Turkey in just 14 days is bound to be an exhausting experience, but there are just so many wonderful experiences you won’t want to miss. If you feel you absolutely must simplify your visit and spend a couple of extra days just chilling out, we would recommend skipping Konya (which is culturally fascinating and breaks the journey between Cappadocia and Antalya, but still not as interesting as the other cities listed here) or picking one of the Turquoise Coast locales and sticking there for a few days, rather than visiting them all

If, on the other hand, you want to extend your trip, it’s worth exploring some of the cities further east, like Gaziantep and Mardin. In recent times, visits here have been curtailed due to their proximity to the Syrian border. As government advice about travel to the region relaxes, however, it’s worth considering exploring a different aspect of Turkey’s culture and history.

Lauren Juliff

Lauren Juliff is a published author and travel expert who founded Never Ending Footsteps in 2011. She has spent over 12 years travelling the world, sharing in-depth advice from more than 100 countries across six continents. Lauren's travel advice has been featured in publications like the BBC, Wall Street Journal, USA Today, and Cosmopolitan, and her work is read by 200,000 readers each month. Her travel memoir can be found in bookstores across the planet.

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Travel itinerary, Travel guide and Destination reviews

2 Week Turkey Itinerary (Best Highlights of Turkey In 14 Days)

In this post, let’s read about the Turkey Itinerary 14 Days. So check the detailed 2 week Turkey Itinerary with things to do, where to shop, hotel stays, and other valuable tips for first-timers. 

  • Ultimate Turkey Itinerary 8 Days (Best of Turkey + Day-wise Things To Do)
  • Best Istanbul Itinerary 4 Days ( 4 Days In Istanbul )

Turkey itinerary 8 days - 8 days in Turkey itinerary

2 Week Turkey Itinerary – Turkey Itinerary 14 Days

Read the day-wise split up of your Turkey 2 week tour with things to do, where to stay, and the best itinerary for Turkey. 


Turkey gives e-Visa to 99 countries. You can click this link to check and apply for your e-Visa . Indians having valid USA visas get e-Visa to Turkey within 2 to 3 working days by applying online. 

Turkey Itinerary 14 Days

Read things to do in Turkey itinerary 14 days or 2 week Turkey itinerary with hotel stay options.

Day 1-3: Istanbul (3 days)

  • Visit Hagia Sophia, Blue Mosque, Topkapi Palace, Basilica Cistern, and Grand Bazaar.
  • Stay in the Sultanahmet area, such as Hotel Sultania or Sultanahmet Palace Hotel.

Best Things To Do In Beautiful Istanbul City Tour – A Complete Istanbul Guide

Day 4-5: Cappadocia (2 days)

  • Take a hot air balloon ride, explore the unique rock formations and cave dwellings, and visit Goreme Open Air Museum.
  • Stay in Goreme, Kelebek Special Cave Hotel, or Sultan Cave Suites.
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Day 6-7: Pamukkale (2 days)

  • Visit the white terraces of Pamukkale and the ancient city of Hierapolis.
  • Stay in Pamukkale, Doga Thermal Health & Spa, or Venus Suite Hotel.

Turkey itinerary 8 days - 8 days in Turkey

Day 8-9: Ephesus (2 days)

  • Explore the ancient city of Ephesus, and visit the House of the Virgin Mary and the Temple of Artemis.
  • Stay in Selcuk, such as Hotel Nilya or Kalehan Hotel.

Turkey itinerary 8 days - Turkey itinerary 14 days

Day 10-11: Antalya (2 days)

  • Visit the old town of Kaleici, explore the Antalya Museum, and relax on Konyaalti Beach.
  • Stay in Antalya, such as Puding Marina Residence or Mediterra Art Hotel.

best of turkey itinerary - 8 days in turkey

Day 12-13: Fethiye (2 days)

  • Take a boat tour of the stunning coastline and visit the Blue Lagoon.
  • Stay in Fethiye, such as Alesta Yacht Hotel or Infinity Exclusive City Hotel.

Day 14: Istanbul (1 day)

  • Explore any remaining attractions in Istanbul, such as the Dolmabahce Palace or the Chora Church. 

Istanbul In Pictures - Istanbul Photography Tour

FAQs for first-time tourists to Turkey – Best of Turkey in 2 Weeks

  • Do I need a visa to enter Turkey? 

Yes, most visitors to Turkey need a visa. Check with your country’s embassy or consulate for specific requirements. You can apply for an e-Visa online before your trip or get a visa on arrival at the airport.

  • What is the currency in Turkey?

 The currency in Turkey is the Turkish lira (TRY). You can exchange currency at banks and exchange offices or withdraw cash from ATMs.

Istanbul In Pictures - Istanbul Photography Tour

  • Is it safe to travel to Turkey?

Overall, Turkey is a safe country for tourists. However, like any destination, you must be aware of your surroundings and take precautions against pickpocketing and other petty crimes. It’s also a good idea to avoid large crowds and political demonstrations.

  • What should I wear in Turkey?

 Turkey is predominantly Muslim, so it’s essential to dress modestly, especially in religious sites. Women should cover their heads, shoulders, and knees, and men should avoid wearing shorts in mosques. Outside of sacred sites, you can dress more casually.

  • What are some must-see attractions in Turkey? 

Turkey has a rich history and culture, so many must-see attractions exist. Some of the most popular include the Hagia Sophia and Blue Mosque in Istanbul, the ancient city of Ephesus, the fairy chimneys of Cappadocia, and the thermal pools of Pamukkale.

  • What is the language spoken in Turkey? 

The official language of Turkey is Turkish, but many people speak English, especially in tourist areas. It’s a good idea to learn some basic Turkish phrases, such as “Marhaba” (hello) and “teşekkür ederim” (thank you).

Istanbul In Pictures - Istanbul Itinerary Photography Tour

  • What is the best time to visit Turkey? 

The best time to visit Turkey depends on your interests and itinerary. Generally, spring (April to May) and fall (September to November) are the best times to visit, as the weather is mild and there are fewer crowds. However, if you plan to visit the beach or participate in outdoor activities, summer (June to August) is the best time. Winter (December to February) can be cold and rainy, but visiting ski resorts is a good time. 

  • Can We Drive To Turkey?

Driving Laws:  In Turkey, vehicles drive on the right side of the road. The speed limits vary depending on the type of road, with limits ranging from 50 km/h (31 mph) in cities to 120 km/h (75 mph) on highways. Yes, you can drive in Turkey with a valid driver’s license, which permits driving in Turkey or having an International Driving Permit (IDP).

Internal Flight Budget & Details for Turkey Itinerary Planning

Turkey itinerary 14 days - 2 week Turkey itinerary

If you plan to visit Cappadocia, take a domestic flight from Istanbul to Kayseri, the closest airport to the region. Internal flights in Turkey are a convenient and relatively affordable way to travel between different parts of the country. Here’s some information on the cost of internal flights: 

  • Flight Cost : The cost of domestic flights in Turkey can vary depending on the airline, time of year, and how far in advance you book. However, as of April 2023, the average one-way fare for a flight from Istanbul to Kayseri is around $40-60 USD, depending on the airline and time of day.
  • Airlines:  Several airlines offer flights from Istanbul to Kayseri, including Turkish Airlines, Pegasus Airlines, and SunExpress. Comparing prices and checking the baggage allowance and any additional fees before booking your flight is always recommended for low-cost internal airlines.
  • Flight Duration:  The flight from Istanbul to Kayseri takes approximately 1.5 hours, making it a quick and convenient way to travel between the two cities.
  • Transportation to/from Airports:  In Istanbul, you can take the metro, tram, or bus to the airports, depending on your location. You can take a taxi or shuttle bus to your hotel or other destination in Kayseri.

Remember that a domestic flight may add to your overall travel expenses if you’re on a budget. However, it can save you time and provide a more comfortable travel experience than taking a long bus or train ride.

Budget of 2 Week Turkey Itinerary for One Person?

Istanbul In Pictures - Turkey places to visit

The total budget for 2 week Turkey itinerary will depend on several factors, such as the level of comfort and the activities you choose to do. However, here’s a rough estimate of the costs in US dollars:

  • Flights : Round-trip flights from the US to Istanbul can range from $500 to $1000, depending on the time of year and airline.
  • Accommodation:  A budget hotel or hostel can cost around $15-40 per night, while mid-range hotels can cost about $60-120 per night. Luxury hotels can cost upwards of $200 per night.
  • Food:  Food in Turkey can be very affordable, especially if you eat at local cafes and restaurants. A basic meal can cost around $5-10, while a mid-range meal can cost around $15-20. Fine dining options can cost $50 or more per person.
  • Transportation:  Local transportation, such as buses and trains, are relatively cheap, with fares starting at around $1-2. Taxis can be more expensive, with a starting fare of approximately $3-4.
  • Activities:  Admission fees for attractions such as the Hagia Sophia and Topkapi Palace can range from $10-20. Guided tours and activities, such as hot air balloon rides in Cappadocia, can cost upwards of $150 per person.

A budget traveler can expect to spend around $500-800 for an 8-day trip to Turkey, while mid-range travelers can expect to pay about $1000-1500. Luxury travelers can expect to spend upwards of $2500 or more. Remember that these are rough estimates, and prices can vary depending on several factors.

Do We Get Vegetarian Food In Turkey?

Istanbul In Pictures - Highlights of Turkey

Turkish cuisine is famous for its diversity and the blend of many cultures. As Istanbul lies on two continents, it is a perfect melting pot of Western and Eastern cultures, also reflected in their culinary skills. You can have much vegetarian Turkish food with Asia’s aromatic spices and herbs, making Turkish food unique and worth trying.  

Shopping In Turkey – Turkey Itinerary 2 Weeks

Istanbul shopping guide - Turkish souvenirs

Turkey is a shopper’s delight and offers various things ranging from local produce to locally handcrafted items, artisan products, handwoven textiles, and many Turkish products. Once known as Constantinople and Byzantium, Istanbul has been an important trade and commerce center between Europe & Asia since ancient times. 

I hope you loved reading about the 2 Week Turkey itinerary and will soon plan a Highlights of Turkey. There are so many beautiful things to do in Turkey that you can arrange for two weeks if you have more time. 

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Turkey itinerary 5 days.

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The Reporter (Fond du Lac)

The Reporter (Fond du Lac)

Run the Turkey Trot, attend Holiday Lights and more in Fond du Lac's can't-miss events this week

Posted: November 14, 2023 | Last updated: November 14, 2023

FOND DU LAC — Signs of the holiday season are showing up more frequently as we approach Thanksgiving.

On Nov. 23, the Festival Foods Turkey Trot will be held at the high school and, that evening, the Holiday Lights at Lakeside Park will be on display.

There's no shortage of events this week to get you in the spirit of the season.

Here are five can’t-miss events happening in the community this week.

1. Turkey Trot begins at 8 a.m. Nov. 23

The Festival Foods Turkey Trot will begin at 8 a.m. Nov. 23 at Fond du Lac High School, 801 Campus Drive.

Participants can do the untimed 2-mile Walk, 2-mile Fun Run, or the timed 5-mile Run, and is open to everyone of all ages and abilities. There’s also a 2-mile Dog Jog.

Goodies included with registration include coupons, snacks, race-day bib and more.

Registration is $35 for adults and $15 for children 18 and younger. Sign up at .

Packet pickup is 2 to 6 p.m. Nov. 22 and 6:30 to 7:30 a.m. Nov. 23.

All registered participants will be eligible to win a new Polaris Sportsman 850 Ultimate Trail ATV.

Free Thanksgiving meals: Fond du Lac churches will distribute more than 1,200 free Thanksgiving meals. Here's how you can get one, or how to help.

2. Visit the Holiday Lights at Lakeside Park

The Holiday Lights will be on display beginning Nov. 23 at Lakeside Park, 555 N. Park Ave.

Each night from 5 to 11 p.m., visitors can watch the show from their cars. The display will be up through Jan. 1.

There is no charge to view the show. There is a parking lot across the street for the best view. After parking, turn off your headlights and tune your car radio to 87.9 FM to hear the music. There are eight songs in the rotation that takes approximately 25 minutes, then the show repeats.

For more information, visit .

3. 'It's a Wonderful Life' presented as a radio play

Fond du Lac Community Theatre will present the holiday classic “It’s a Wonderful Life: A Live Radio Play” Nov. 16-19 at the Goodrich Little Theatre, 72 W. Ninth St. Show times are 7 p.m. Nov. 16-18 and 2 p.m. Nov. 19.

This show is based on the classic holiday movie, except it’s staged as a live radio broadcast. Actors portray numerous characters, and sound effects are done through Foley artists. The story follows George Bailey, who is down on life. A loveable angel comes to George to show him what life would be like if he doesn’t have a change of heart and have a better understanding of the true spirit of the holidays.

Tickets are available online at or in person at Thelma Sadoff Center for the Arts during regular business hours. Tickets also available at the door for an additional $3 per ticket.

For more information, visit .

4. Sigma hosts its annual Holiday House Nov. 18

Sigma of Fond du Lac will host its Holiday House Nov. 18 in the Expo Center at the Fond du Lac County Fairgrounds, 520 Fond du Lac Ave. The event will run 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. and is open to the public.

The Sigma Holiday House showcases juried artisans offering a variety of collectibles, gifts, original crafts, clothing and art. There will be a raffle and a silent auction and homemade Christmas cookies available for purchase.

Admission is $5, and children ages 6 and younger are admitted free.

Get tickets in advance from Sigma members or at the following businesses: Klapperich Real Estate, Horicon Bank on West Johnson or East Johnson, Partners By Design, Blue Door Coffee Co., Beans & Bites, National Exchange, Boudry Dental LLC, Create Salon and Spa and Fox Valley Savings Bank.

Remember when ...: Remember when Sears led Fond du Lac's shopping scene? Here's its journey from Main Street to the mall.

5. Dance to the music of the Big Band Era Nov. 21

The Lighthouse Big Band ’s Holiday Kick-off Dance Party is set for Nov. 21. The event begins at 7 p.m. in the Fountain City Jazz and Dance Club at Thelma, 51 Sheboygan St.

Beginning at 7 p.m., the band will perform songs of the “Big Band Era,” featuring music by Charlie Barnet, Glenn Miller, Tommy Dorsey, Count Basie and many others. Guest vocalist Paul Rosenfeld will sing some Frank Sinatra favorites.

Admission is free. For more information, visit .

Contact Mara Wegner at  [email protected]  or 920-996-7241.

This article originally appeared on Fond du Lac Reporter: Run the Turkey Trot, attend Holiday Lights and more in Fond du Lac's can't-miss events this week

The Holiday Lights at Lakeside Park will be on display Nov. 23 through Jan. 1

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IMG Releases 2023 Holiday Travel Trends

IMG Releases 2023 Holiday Travel Trends

  • IMG reviewed the travel itineraries of nearly 20,000 of its members with upcoming travel plans between Thanksgiving Day and New Year's Day to determine emerging travel trends this holiday season.

INDIANAPOLIS , Nov. 14, 2023 /PRNewswire/ -- IMG (International Medical Group), an award-winning global insurance benefits and assistance services company, has conducted a review of customer travel plans between Thanksgiving and New Year's Day and predicts the top 5 international destinations for U.S. travelers will be:

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IMG data shows that travelers are increasing the amount they are spending on their trips this holiday season, with a 12% increase in the average insured trip cost among IMG travelers. With their increased travel investment, more travelers want to make sure their highly anticipated holiday trips are protected. This can also be reflected in the 23% increase in travel protection plan purchases for trips departing between Thanksgiving and New Year's Day compared to the same timeframe in 2022.

"During the holiday season, we see the increased likelihood of hazardous winter weather, which means travel insurance should be top-of-mind for travelers during this time of the year," said Justin Poehler , IMG Chief Commercial Officer. "For the majority of the United States , winter brings colder temperatures along with snow, sleet, and ice. Travelers can't control the weather, but they can make sure their trip investments are protected this holiday season with a travel protection plan from IMG."

For those preparing to travel and visit loved ones for the holidays this year, trips will average 9 days in length , which is a day longer than the average for holiday travel in 2022. And while the holiday season is historically one of the busiest times to travel, IMG customer data predicts that two of the least busy days to travel during the holidays this year are New Year's Day and Christmas Eve .

"Traveling during the holidays can be such an exciting experience, but if travelers want to avoid expensive flights and long lines at the airport, then they should consider traveling on a less busy travel day, like Christmas Eve or New Year's Day," said Grant Hayes , IMG Director of International Sales – Travel.

To learn more about IMG's award-winning travel and health safety solutions, please visit .

About IMG ® (International Medical Group ® ) IMG ® (International Medical Group ® ), a SiriusPoint company, is an award-winning global insurance benefits and assistance services company that has served millions of members worldwide since its founding in 1990. The preeminent provider of travel and health safety solutions, IMG offers a wide range of insurance programs, including international private medical insurance, travel medical insurance, and travel insurance, as well as enterprise services, including insurance administrative services and 24/7 emergency medical, security, and travel assistance. IMG's world-class services, combined with an extensive product portfolio, provide Global Peace of Mind ® for travelers, students, missionaries, marine crews, and other individuals or groups traveling, working, or living away from home. For more information, please visit .


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