Here is a 7 to 15 days in Turkey itinerary that will take you from mosques and boat rides between two continents to Roman ruins and hot-air balloon flights.
Part European and part Asian, Turkey year after year attracts more visitors eager to know its culture, gastronomy, natural beauties and beaches on the shores of the Aegean sea.
Touring Turkey is to enter the Muslim culture, which is not as strict as in other Asian countries. But you will find anyway the sound of the loudspeakers of the mosques calling to prayer.
Turkey has many UNESCO World Heritage Sites. It has natural attractions that you will hardly find in other parts of the world.
Because of its long coastline, there are many beaches to choose from where you can sunbathe and swim in the clear waters of the Aegean Sea.
We have prepared an itinerary of the essential things to see in Turkey in 7 days and 15 days, so you won’t miss a thing. Let’s discover them!
– 7 days in Turkey itinerary
Normally you will arrive in Turkey by air, making your first steps in Istanbul. The city has excellent connections and direct flights to European cities as well as South American and Asian countries.
Also check these tours that you may be interested:
- Cappadocia, Pamukkale and Ephesus 6-Day Trip from Istanbul.
- 7 Day Turkey Classics Tour from Istanbul.
If you plan to travel for a week, we suggest this itinerary on what to see in Turkey in 7 days.
Days 1, 2 and 3: Istambul
There is so much to see in Istanbul that it deserves at least three days. The Bosphorus canal separates the city in two, one part belongs to the European continent and the other part to the Asian continent.
Istanbul has that mix of European and modern flair with Muslim culture and Asian cuisine. Four of the main attractions are located in the Sultanhamet neighborhood, the historical area of the city. Here you will find the Hagia Sophia Mosque, the Blue Mosque, the imposing Grand Bazaar with its spice shops and the Topkapi Palace, the seat where the sultans lived during the Ottoman Empire.
In addition, you also have to take a boat ride on the canal to see the city from the water, with the towers of the mosques overhanging, and on the Golden Horn to reach Eyüp and see the city from the hill.
The modern part of the city, in a more European style, includes Taksin Square, the pedestrian Istiklal Cadessi street with its famous red tram and the top brand stores, the Galata Tower with fantastic views and the Dolmabahçe Palace on the banks of the canal.
Well, may be 3 days in Istambul isn’t enough, eh?
📷 Check here all the excursions you can do in Istanbul.
Days 4, 5 and 6: Cappadocia
The weird rock formations and caves of Cappadocia look more like a lunar landscape than our own planet, and are hard to find elsewhere. This UNESCO World Heritage Site also requires 3 days to visit all its attractions.
Cappadocia is the name of a region that includes several charming villages such as Göreme or Uçhisar. Landscape varies with different (and beautiful) shades of reddish, yellowish, pink or brown.
There are different signposted routes for trekking through the valleys, most do not require a high physical effort, including the Red Valley, Rose Valley, Valley of the Pigeon or Valley of the Monks. Along the way, you will find ancient paintings inside the caves.
Two of the essential activities to do in Cappadocia is the visit to the Open Air Museum, with ancient churches with their attractive frescoes in the caves, and the balloon ride during sunrise, to see the whole landscape from above and be pleasantly surprised.
Day 7: Pamukkale
Finally, in the 7 days itinerary on what to see in Turkey, a visit to Pamukkale, whose meaning “cotton castle” says it all, is a must.
The travertines of Pamukkale are natural pools of white calcium, which are formed in the mountain and fall like a waterfall down the hillside. In the distance, it seems that the mountain is covered with snow.
The visit to the travertines is complemented by the ruins of Hierapolis, an ancient Roman city where there are remains, highlighting the amphitheater which is the best preserved area of the complex.
– 15 days in Turkey itinerary
The 15-day in Turkey itinerary includes, mainly, historical sites, cities with fewer tourists and more authentically Turkish, and of course, relax on one or more of the beaches of the Turkish coast on the Aegean Sea.
To the itinerary on what to see in Turkey in 7 days mentioned above, we would add the following attractions:
Day 8: Troy
Although it is not so spectacular what remains standing today, it has a great value from the historical point of view since we are referring to vestiges dating back to centuries BC and the first centuries AD.
At the entrance is the reconstruction of the mythical horse with which the Greeks defeated the Trojans. Further on you will find the amphitheater and small ruins.
If you plan to visit Troy, it is advisable to make base in Çanakkale, distant about 25 kilometers, which has a nice promenade.
Days 9 and 10: Izmir
Izmir is a big city, but for us the attraction of the place is that it’s not so touristy for foreigners. Also, it’s close to places like Ephesus and the beaches and has a very local atmosphere.
The most beautiful things to see in Izmir are the promenade and the bazaar, which is not as big as the one in Istanbul, but it still has a lot of charm and there is a lot of movement of people especially from sunset onwards.
It is also worth a day trip to the small town of Foca, a small fishing village 70 kilometers from Izmir, very picturesque and ideal for eating fresh fish and diving into the sea.
Day 11: Ephesus
The ruins of Ephesus are truly impressive and very well-preserved. The rise of the city occurred during the Roman occupation and lasted until the first centuries AD.
The ruins are large and are located three kilometers from Selçuk, the place to base and sleep. They can be toured in half a day, but if you like everything about history, we suggest you dedicate the whole day. The amphitheater and the library are, for us, the most amazing places.
Near the ruins of Ephesus, you can visit the supposed house of the Virgin Mary and the beaches to relax watching the sunset.
Days 12 to 15: The best beaches in Turkey
Turkey’s extensive coastal shoreline offers several beach destinations. It’s worth leaving 3 or 4 days in the itinerary to lie in the sun and dive into the sea.
Of the best beaches in Turkey, you have to choose between Kas, Fethiye, Oludeniz lagoon and Bodrum. The clear blue sea is a constant in all these places.
They are all very touristy especially during summer, so do not expect to be in a place without many people. These places are characterized by large hotel complexes and the influx of foreign visitors.
There are less crowded beaches, like Patara beach, a place protected by the spawning of sea turtles located next to the village of Gelemis, that we loved.
– Map of 7 to 15 days in Turkey itinerary
Discounts and useful resources to save on your trip
- Cheap flights with Skyscanner
- Rent a car with Auto Europe
- Interrail Pass
- Eurail Pass
- Train Tickets with OMIO
- Bus tickets with OMIO
- Ferry tickets with OMIO
- Asia tickets with 12Go