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For those who have a personal connection to the ANZAC history or are a history buff interested in WWI military battlefields. Read our practical guide to visiting Gallipoli and ANZAC Cove, on a fully-escorted battlefield historian private tour.

John at Lone Pine Cemetery.

DISCLOSURE: All views expressed on this site are our own and do not represent the opinions of any entity whatsoever with which we have been, am now, or will be affiliated. Learn more .

It is not every day you travel far across the globe on an Australian right of passage and pilgrimage tour to Anzac Cove and Gallipoli’s battlefields in Turkey to see where your grandfather fought for our freedoms during the First World War.

In early-July 2019, John and I travelled to Greece , Italy and Turkey for eight weeks, spending six nights in Turkey — from visiting Istanbul’s Blue Mosque and Hagia Sophia to wandering through the colourful Grand Bazaar and Egyptian Spice Market to hot-air ballooning over Cappadocia’s fairy chimneys , to name a few activities. One memorable and sombre experience was our full-day historical journey to Gallipoli’s principal battlefields, graveyards and monuments.

John, an ex-military soldier and 21+ year veteran of the Australian Armed Forces, was also keen to learn about the brave and fateful moment in 1915 when 16,000 Australian troops, including my grandfather, landed at Gallipoli.

To do this once-in-a-lifetime experience justice, we hired one of Turkey’s best-leading experts and historians on the Gallipoli Campaign, Kenan Çelik, MA, OAM, booking one of his six-hour Classic Anzac Battlefield tours.

Here is our guide on how we stepped into exploring WWI history on a full-day fully-escorted private tour from Istanbul to Gallipoli.

gallipoli travel itinerary

What we'll be covering

Brief overview of the gallipoli campaign and the anzacs.

Onsite commemorative Anzac 1915 plaque at Anzac Cove, Gallipoli

At dawn on 25 April 1915, Allied troops landed on the Gallipoli peninsula in Ottoman Turkey. The Gallipoli campaign was the land-based element of a strategy intended to allow Allied ships to pass through the Dardanelles, capture Constantinople (now Istanbul) and ultimately knock Ottoman Turkey out of the war.

In 1915 Australian and New Zealand Army Corps (ANZAC) troops stormed a quiet Aegean beach to battle Turkish soldiers on the Gallipoli Peninsula.

ANZAC Day was first marked on 25 April 1916 in commemoration of the first anniversary of the landing of the ANZACs, marking the brave and fateful moment when 16,000 Australian troops (including Rae’s grandfather, Bertram Hare) landed at Gallipoli of which 2,000 would be killed and wounded on that fateful day alone.

By the time Gallipoli was evacuated in December 1915, 8,709 Australians and 2,779 New Zealanders had been killed.

Places of Pride

Today, many memorials and cemeteries, not only in Turkey, Australia and other countries (see other top battlefields around the world worth visiting further below ), mark the fight and honour those who lost their lives.  

Places of Pride is the National Register of War Memorials and is an Australian War Memorial initiative to record the location and photos of every war memorial across Australia.

John at ANZAC Square Memorial Screens, Brisbane, Australia

The  Australian War Memorial in Canberra, Australia, is also such a place open to the public to visit — designed and built in the 1920s and 1930s to commemorate those who served in the First World War. 

Australia War Memorials Commemorative Courtyard

Today, the Australia War Memorial building and its extended surrounding structures tell the stories of the past and honour Australian servicemen and servicewomen involved in other battles of subsequent conflicts and operations, such as World War II, the Korean and Vietnam wars and current operations.

Where are Gallipoli and Anzac Cove?

Map of The Dardanelles and the Gallipoli peninsula, showing the sea attack on the Narrows in 1915.

Anzac Cove (Turkish: Anzak Koyu) is a small cove on the Gallipoli peninsula (Gelibolu in modern Turkey) located in the southern part of East Thrace, the European part of Turkey, with the Aegean Sea to the west and the Dardanelles strait to the east.

Anzac Cove became famous as the site of the World War I landing of the Australian and New Zealand Army Corps on Sunday, 25 April 1915.

Getting There

John at Anzac commemorative site, Gallipoli, Turkey

It is about a 5-hour (about 266 kilometres) one-way drive by a private limousine from Istanbul to Gallipoli.

Combining the road trip with our six-hour fully-escorted guided tour (plus a lunch break in Eceabat) makes for a 16-hour+ full-day excursion.

The nearest towns to the Anzac commemorative sites are Eceabat (20km), Canakkale town centre (30km) and Gelibolu (45km), but there is no public transport available from these towns to the national park. The services take place in the Gallipoli Campaign Historical Site, a protected area in a national park, which is an isolated, remote and exposed location with no permanent infrastructure, facilities or shelter.

Best Time to Visit Gallipoli

The best time to visit Gallipoli is during the spring (March through May) and autumn months. Summer months will mean intense heat and blazing sun. Also, there is very little shade on the battlefield area, in addition to massive crowds, mainly from Turks on holiday. The Winter months are typically cold and rainy.

Days before and during 25 April is an extremely popular and busy period each year for Australians, New Zealanders and Turks. For further information on attending the Anzac Day Gallipoli Dawn Service, Anzac Commemorative Site; and Australian Memorial Service, Lone Pine Cemetery and New Zealand Memorial Service, Chunuk Bair, go to the Australian Government, Department of Veterans Affairs website .

The busiest month for tourism in Gallipoli, Turkey is July, followed by June and May. We visited in early-July 2019, with few tourists, and experienced warm weather (a high of 87°F (30°C)) with clear blue skies and a gentle breeze coming from the Gallipoli peninsula beaches.

What To Pack For Gallipoli

Dress in casual clothing and comfortable walking footwear, especially since all sites of interest at Gallipoli (except for private museums in the area) are outdoors. The variable terrain includes reasonable flat sealed roads, cobblestone paths, sloped and uneven gravel tracks and grassed areas (which can become slippery or muddy when wet), as well as very steep ungraded paths.

In the summertime, come prepared with a hat and sunblock, snacks and bottled water (as the nearest shops are in Eceabat, 20 kilometres away). In the colder months, wear layers.

About Our Expert Battlefield Guide & Historian

John with Kenan Çelik, MA, OAM (right) - Turkey's leading battlefield historian and guide

Kenan Çelik, MA, OAM, is one of Turkey’s leading English-speaking experts on the Gallipoli Campaign of World War One, having been a certified guide to the battlefields of the Gallipoli Peninsula for more than 30 years.

At that time, Kenan shared his knowledge of the events of 1915 with literally thousands of people from all walks of life.

He has had the privilege of showing Gallipoli battlefields to Presidents, Governors-General and many other dignitaries, as well as visitors from Australia, New Zealand, Great Britain, India, Turkey, Ireland and Canada.

In 2000, Kenan was awarded the Order of Australia, our highest civil honour, by the Australian government recognising his services to Australian history and becoming the first Turkish citizen to receive this award.

Since retiring as a lecturer in English language and literature, Kenan holds the Turkish states certificate’, qualifying him as a guide for all sites in Turkey — concentrating on introducing visitors to the history of the Gallipoli battlefields and the ancient cities of Troy and Assos.

You can contact Kenan for more information on Gallipoli, Troy and Assos and his expert service as a guide for these places when you plan to visit Turkey.

Gallipoli as an ex-Australian Soldier and Grand-daughter of WWI

Private Bertram Hare

As an Australian, visiting Gallipoli is a right of passage and a once-in-a-lifetime historical pilgrimage. However, there are also two personal reasons for John and me why this journey was historically and significantly important.

My grandfather, Bertram Hare, was there as a Corporal on the landing at Anzac Cove and John served 21 years in the Australian Armed Forces with a keen interest in military history.

The most moving part of this Gallipoli tour experience for us was spending time in the cemeteries where thousands of ANZACs lie, and seeing the graves of legendary ANZACs including John Simpson [Kirkpatrick], the ‘man with the donkey’.

Simpson and his donkey (named Murphy) are part of the legend of Anzac.

My Grandfather, Corporal Bertram Hare — An ANZAC Soldier at Gallipoli

Bertram Hare

Every family has a WWI family ancestral story and one I’m proud to share. Below is my Grandpa Bert’s military biography and journey to Gallipoli as a veteran and surviving soldier of the First World War, 1914-1918 conflict.

On 22 December 1914, my grandfather on my mother’s side, Corporal Bertram Hare and his Company 15th Battalion embarked a ship bound for the Middle East.

When the 15th Battalion (part of the 4th Brigade) arrived in Egypt two months later, it became part of the New Zealand and Australian Division. Bert and his Battalion left Egypt bound for Gallipoli as part of the Mediterranean Expeditionary Force on 12 April 1915.

On 25 April 1915, my grandfather and his fellow soldiers landed at ANZAC Cove in the late afternoon. When, on the night of the landing, the troops of the 4th (Monash’s) Infantry Brigade — the 13th, 14th, 15th, and 16th Battalions reached the head of the valley — they found Quinn’s held by a handful of men of the 1st and 3rd Brigades, together with some New Zealanders and a New Zealand machine-gun.

gallipoli travel itinerary

The 16th Battalion was designated a place at Pope’s, and part of the 15th near Courtney’s and Steele’s. The 13th, coming up the next day, mainly strengthened the 16th Battalion on Pope’s, but one of its companies reinforced the remnants of the original garrison at Quinn’s. When the 1st Australian Division was reorganised, the 15th Battalion, scattered through it, was gradually disentangled. On Thursday, the 14th Battalion in Quinn’s Post was relieved by six officers and about 220 men of the 15th under Captain Quinn. (ref Bean diaries vol I, p579). Thousands died the first night.

From May to August, the Battalion was involved heavily in establishing and defending the front line of the ANZAC beachhead. In August, the 14th and 15th Battalions are assigned to the task and seize the high ground between Hill 971 (or Koja Chemen Tepe), the highest point of the Sari Bair Ridge and Chanuk Bair in order to secure a drive across the peninsula to capture the forts which guarded the straits.

Anzac Cove (looking south), Gallipoli peninsula, Canakkale Province, Turkey

In the first months of the Gallipoli campaign, flies were not present to any great extent, but over time, with horse manure and several hundred thousand dead, waste, and polluted water, disease spread, and dysentery became rife. Medical records indicated there were many mistakes with diagnosis and treatment. In the end, hundreds were being shipped out in May-August 1915 to try and prevent the spread of disease.

Bert suffered malaria, loss of vision, gastroenteritis and dysentery. On 30 July 1915, he was shipped out. It was just in the nick of time, for in August, the Company participated in the failed attempt to assault the summit of Hill 971. During the night of 6 August 1915, the 4th Brigade advanced. But, progress was slow due to the difficulty of the terrain. By dawn the following day, the Brigade was well short of its objective. During the failed attempt to assault the summit, most of his Company died.

Memorial for all the soldiers (including those who served in the 15th Battalion alongside my grandfather) that died at Anzac Cove, Turkey.

From 21 August 1915 until 26 September 1915, Bert has hospitalised onboard a ship, at island hospitals Ghezirah, Mena, Helouan, and Zeitoun in Egypt. Later he was discharged on light duties until 19 February 1916, when Bert got transferred to Australia as escort duty on the Nestor. On return, he was promoted to sergeant, discharged on medical grounds and employed as a recruiting officer.

The Atatürk memorial at Ari Burnu Cemetary, Anzac Cove Beach

Grandpa Bert luckily survived Gallipoli to settle down as a farmer back in Australia. Unfortunately, he died before I was born, so I never got to thank him personally for his service to our country.

What Does ANZAC Day Mean to Us?

Warrant Officer (WO2) John Ronan served over 21 years in the Australian Armed Forces.

For over a century Australians have served in conflict and peace around the world, protecting the values of freedom and democracy. During John’s 21 years in the military, we have met hundreds of good people who have served, some of whom are still good friends of ours today.

John on Anzac Day (front right) with military mates of longstanding.

Every ANZAC Day we remember and give thanks for the service of all those who have fought for our freedom, and we give thanks to all those serving our country today.

Whether that’s through wearing rosemary, a red poppy or medals on your chest, marching through the city streets as a collective group, listening to the last post at dawn on our house driveway (during Covid) alongside our neighbours followed by one minute of silence for a time of reflection and as a sign of respect to baking traditional ANZAC biscuits . We all do our part.

What To Expect on the Gallipoli Battlefield Private Tour

Respect to Mehmetçik Monument

At 6:00 am, our private driver picked us up in an air-conditioned car directly from our accommodation, Hotel Amira, located in the historical city centre, the Sultanahmet area, Istanbul, leaving the crowds and traffic behind.

En route in our car, we followed the turquoise shore of the Sea of Marmara and the Dardanelles viewing the historic waterway the British, French and Anzac troops intended to secure during the Gallipoli campaign.

John at the Anzac Cove landing.

We stopped for a leg stretch, refreshments and a toilet break around the halfway point of our road trip.

It took us approximately five hours to drive from Istanbul before we finally reached the Gallipoli National Park and our first stop, the Anzac commemorative site — where we met our private tour guide, Kenan Çelik, for the first time.

At first impressions, Kenan is a warm Turkish gentleman with a casual happy demeanour.

As time progressed, the more time we spent with him, the further we admired his sharp intellect, dry wit and compassionate nature.

He is passionate about his subject matter and can rattle off battlefield facts and figures, war legends, and battle scenes from these hollowed Turkish grounds from a mental repertoire of three decades of historian knowledge and experience.

John with Kenan Çelik (right) looking south down Anzac Cove discussing the failed British landing.

Kenan took us on a story-telling journey of discovery to key sites of historical significance, including ANZAC Cove, the Ari Burnu cemetery, the Nek, and the battle sites of Chunuk Bair and Lone Pine.

Lone Pine Cemetery is a Commonwealth War Graves Commission cemetery dating from World War I in the former Anzac sector of the Gallipoli Peninsula, Turkey and the location of the Lone Pine Memorial, one of five memorials on the peninsula which commemorate servicemen of the former British Empire killed in the campaign but who have no known grave.

His in-depth knowledge brought alive the many abandoned battlefields and overgrown trenches and tunnels, where history, myths and legends were born, connecting the past with the present.

Gallipoli's trenches and tunnels.

Exploring the Gallipoli Peninsula and seeing the scars left by WWI, we paid tribute to the ANZAC, including my grandfather, who survived, his mates and Turkish troops who didn’t and laid down their lives in battle.

Beach Commonwealth War Graves Commission Cemetery

After a lovely Turkish-styled all-inclusive lunch with Kenan at a restaurant in Eceabat, the nearest town to the battlefields of Gallipoli, we visited many other places made famous by courage and sacrifice: Shrapnel Valley, Quinn’s Post, Beach Cemetery, ANZAC Commemorative Site, Respect to Mehmetcik Statue, Lone Pine Australian Memorial, Johnston’s Jolly (Turkish and Allied trenches and tunnels), and Turkish 57th Infantry Regiment Cemetery.

Beach Cemetery is a small Commonwealth War Graves Commission cemetery containing the remains of allied troops who died during the Battle of Gallipoli. It is located at Hell Spit, at the southern end of Anzac Cove on the Gallipoli Peninsula.

In addition, we walked in the footsteps of soldiers on the infamous battlegrounds where Turkish troops stood off against the ANZACs and admired the memorials at Brighton Beach and Chunuk Bair.

View from Russell's Top looking towards Ari Burnu on the Gallipoli Peninsula

Along the way, we gained insights into the history behind the Battle of Gallipoli — known otherwise as the Battle of Canakkale.

At the end of our tour, we returned during peak-hour traffic to Istanbul around 10 pm to rest and reflect, with emotional feelings and an unforgettable lifetime of memories in our hearts and minds.

Gallipoli met our expectations and has now ticked off our growing travel bucket list .

Six Other Top Battlefields Around the World Worth Visiting

ANZAC Day - Lest We Forget quote

There are other battlefields where the ANZACs proudly served in WW1, WW2 and Vietnam, which we have visited or have plans to visit.

  • Western Front: Villers-Bretonneux, France and Belgium
  • Long Tan, Vietnam (Visited)
  • Honiara, Solomon Islands (Visited)
  • Crete, Greece (Visited)
  • Kapyong, South Korea

If you are interested in doing a tour, Mat McLachlan offers escorted battlefield tours to these locations.

We thoroughly recommend this Gallipoli fully-escorted private tour with battlefield historian, Kenan Çelik , for those who have a personal connection to the ANZAC history or are a history buff interested in WWI military battlefields.

Gallipoli is a special place to visit – no Australian or New Zealander who goes there will fail to be moved by the unique experience.

Visiting battlefields certainly is not everyone’s idea of a holiday, but for travellers looking for an extra dimension to their overseas journey to Turkey or wanting to connect with history, adding a one-day Gallipoli tour to your holiday itinerary can be a rewarding journey.

Lest We Forget

Alternatively, spend the extra time in Istanbul or Cappadocia , Turkey.

What’s your most life-changing battlefield tour experience and why? Let us know in the comment section below.

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Gallipoli Battlefields Tour Turkey

DISCLOSURE: We were paying guests for this activity. All views, opinions and photos unless otherwise stated are our own and remain copyrighted to Suitcase Escapes. Learn more .

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Welcome to SUITCASE ESCAPES—a travel and food blog for the over 50s traveller! We are John and Rae Ronan—an Australian married couple who are members of the over fifty empty nesters club and avid storytellers sharing our tales about our travel and food adventures. We’ve travelled to 34 countries worldwide. We aim to inform, entertain and inspire you, from seeking out new undiscovered locations to meeting the locals to having authentic and once-in-a-lifetime experiences — without the kids! Pack your suitcase and escape with us! Oh! And, don’t forget to YouTube channel and --> go social with us daily. Is this your first time to our travel and food blog? Then, read on…

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G'day. thanks for seeking us out.

Hello there! We are John and Rae, a married couple from Australia who are over 50 and have grown-up children. We love exploring and trying out new travel and food destinations , and we enjoy sharing our experiences with others.

So far, we have visited  36 countries across 5 continents , some of which we have visited more than once because we loved the people, culture, sights, and food.

We always book everything ourselves and feel confident doing so. We believe that it’s possible to travel smartly and enjoy luxury without overspending. We also think that stepping out of your comfort zone can be exciting and liberating.

As avid travellers with a passion for food, beer and wine , we have accumulated over 50 years of travel stories  and unforgettable experiences that we love sharing. We are still financially secure, fit and healthy, and eager to continue exploring the world.

Our goal is to entertain, inspire and inform you. We love discovering new and unexplored locations, meeting locals, and having unique and authentic experiences. We invite you to join us on our journey of self-discovery and exploration of the world.

If you share our passion, then read our story below.

John and Rae Ronan

Suitcase Escapes is a  travel and food blog  designed for  independent travellers over the age of 50. 

Our goal is to provide you with informative, entertaining, and inspirational content that will help you discover new and unexplored locations, meet locals, and have authentic and once-in-a-lifetime experiences.

If you think our blog is a good fit for you, then  pack your suitcase and escape with us on our adventures!

Also, make sure to connect with us on social media and subscribe to our VIP Suitcase 50+ Escapees community to enjoy various free benefits.

Countries Visited

Fijian islands, independent travellers with years of experience under our belts.

Their travel journey began with romantic getaways as a couple before expanding into family vacations with friends and relatives. Later, they returned to traveling as a couple again.

Currently, they have reached a point in their lives where their children have grown up and started their own travels. They have both had successful careers and have experienced over 50 years of the earth’s rotation .

Although not everyone can afford to quit their jobs and sell all their possessions to travel the world, John is close to retirement and will soon be able to join Rae on her travels full-time. However, they are still open to the idea of continuing their travels even after John’s retirement.

In 2020, Rae retired and started Suitcase Escapes as one of her major passions. John is still working full-time to maintain their comfortable lifestyle.

John and Rae are two down-to-earth individuals who lead a simple life and strive to maintain a good balance of health and wellness .

When they are not travelling either domestically or abroad, they spend countless hours browsing through online books, YouTube vlogs, website blogs and travel reviews in order to plan their next trip.

Their goal is to strike the perfect balance between travel, food, and culture , with a mix of pampering, health and fitness pursuits, and adrenaline-driven adventures thrown in for good measure. Whether it’s a Thai foot massage after a long day of sightseeing, white water rafting for 13 km in Bali to get their heart racing, or joining locals for a shisha and street food in some back alley, John and Rae are always up for a good time.

John and Rae value their independence when they travel . They prefer to control their itinerary, prioritizing experiences that include some luxuries. To save time and money, they take a DIY approach to planning and booking free self-guided and self-paced sightseeing trips  around local cities and towns. However, they sometimes opt for small group tours to add a social element.

John enjoys going on road trips and driving off the beaten path. When Rae is by his side, they often stop for photos, roadside farmer stalls, or landmarks that catch her attention. Both of them prioritise their health and wellness , and they find excitement in hiking  through a country’s iconic scenery, beautiful national parks, and diverse landscapes.

They sometimes treat themselves to upscale dining or a luxurious hotel, but only when the situation calls for it and their budget permits. At the same time, they are aware that there are people who are not as fortunate as they are, which is why they have gone on journeys to assist and support local ethnic communities, such as the Hmong in Sapa, Vietnam .

Let’s go back over 50 years in time

Viva la holidays {1970-1980}.

Rae received her first passport when she was nine years old and still remembers her first cruise around the South Pacific Islands with her mother and one of her siblings.

It was during the 70s and 80s when overseas holidays were booked through travel agents and only group tours were available. The brochures depicted popular locations like Hong Kong, the Philippines and the Hawaiian Islands which were affordable and value-for-money.

Rae’s mother was a modern independent working woman who saved her money for a yearly two-week holiday to some exotic destination in a faraway land. Rae was fortunate enough to be able to join her on these trips. Every year, Rae would ask her mother, “Where to this year, Mum? South Pacific, Asia or somewhere in Oceania?”.

When Rae reached young adulthood, she set her sights on Europe. It took her almost two years to save up enough money on her minimum wage for a three-month European backpacking holiday. Although she was restricted by her meager budget, she longed for independence and self-discovery. She travelled solo and joined up with other like-minded backpackers around the European countryside. During the 90s, long-distance airfares cost double compared to today.

At the same time, her future husband, John, was developing his interest in travel . He toured the world for more than two decades while serving in the Australian military .

Travelling like a pack of wolves {1990-2010}

Fast forward, Rae met her husband John and they got married. Unfortunately, they couldn’t afford a honeymoon. The couple had two sons and they all shared a mutual love for travel, food, and adventure.

Like a wolf pack, they often went on trips together during school holidays to their next bucket list destination. Even when their eldest son was still a toddler wearing nappies (diapers), they revisited the Pacific Islands.

When the boys started school, the family holidays became a group affair with close relatives joining them. Often, a party of ten would travel together to affordable destinations in Asia, such as Bali, Indonesia  and  Thailand.

The Ronan family believed that “a family that plays together stays together.”

They would sit around the dinner table and reminisce about their travels, laughing at the hilarious antics, hair-raising escapades, and travel scam near misses. They would say things like, “ Hey, remember when! ” and vow to start planning the next holiday before these stories became too old.

Bali Safari Park, Indonesia

Couple suitcase escapes {2010-2020}.

John surprised Rae on her 50th birthday with a romantic holiday to the Maldives .

Both of them had travelled to the Asian continent many times before. However, Europe now became a beckoning destination for them, which was once considered a far-flung location from Australia.

Two years later, Rae reciprocated by taking John on a six-week road trip around Italy . They drove from the Amalfi Coast in the south to Venice in the north, and everywhere in between, including The Dolomites . It was one of the most rewarding, exhilarating, and logistically extensive independent travels they had undertaken at the time.

Since 2019, they have continued their passion for road-tripping around Europe , Australia and the Pacific islands until COVID-19 brought travel to a near standstill. However, now they are making up for the lost time.

They are often asked what their favourite place in Italy is, and…

For them, it is not the places they visited, but the people they met and the little moments in time that made an impression or made them laugh out loud

The Evolution of our Travel and Food Blog

During their trip to Italy, Rae created a daily journal on Instagram and Facebook where she shared her favourite photos and travel stories with her family and friends back home. For countless days, her devoted followers woke up to the sound of their post notifications due to the time zone difference. Rae received overwhelming positive feedback from her friends and followers on her posts. Many of them didn’t want the trip to end. After returning from Italy, Rae turned her social media diaries and photos into coffee table books, as she believes that special memories are worth preserving for generations to come.

The next stickers to add to our suitcase

In 2022, John and Rae decided to start a travel and food blog called SUITCASE ESCAPES .

They plan to fulfil their travel dreams once John retires, and they are excited to explore different destinations and create visually compelling blog stories. From fast-paced city living to slow travel, they want to share their experiences with their readers.

gallipoli travel itinerary

They have been to many destinations and have many stories to share on their blog. If you’re interested in following their journey, subscribe to read the latest posts.

Their next stops are in May 2023 , where they plan to explore Malta, Sardinia, Sicily, and Tuscany in Italy . They are excited to discover the beautiful countryside of Tuscany and explore the stunning Mediterranean islands.

To give you a sneak peek, here is their preliminary 5-week Tuscany and Mediterranean road trip itinerary .

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Last updated: 02 December 2022

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Home > 5 Reasons For Visiting Gallipoli Battlefields Turkey + What To Expect

5 Reasons For Visiting Gallipoli Battlefields Turkey + What To Expect

Post author Guru

Written by our local expert Guru

Written by a local specialist we know and trust to bring you the most up-to-date travel information.

For most visitors to Türkiye, a visit to a World War I battlefield like Gallipoli is generally not on their itinerary. But it should be – and not just for Australian and New Zealand nationals.

Here are five reasons why you should visit Gallipoli in Turkey, and everything you need to know about the dawn service, as written by historical expert Julie from The Red-Headed Traveler.

For most visitors to Türkiye , especially those traveling there for the first time, visiting a World War I battlefield like Gallipoli is generally not on their itinerary.

There’s the requisite time spent in frenetic, brimming with history Istanbul and from there, perhaps a sojourn to the famed Turquoise Coast where days are spent idling away the hours in this Mediterranean paradise complete with the most picture-perfect meze platter for you (and especially your stomach) to partake in.

Of course, we can’t forget about Cappadocia . This central Turkish region is home to a mythical landscape, a bucket list item for many finally fulfilled when gliding over its breathtaking beauty at sunrise in a hot air balloon or sleeping in a cave hotel .

But what about Gallipoli? It’s located on a peninsula in Turkey , right between the Aegean Sea and the Dardanelles straits. The Allied commanders thought an invasion there would be a decisive strike against the Ottoman Empire (which had aligned itself with Germany) and thus would bring a quick end to World War I.

In case you were asleep that day in class when the Gallipoli campaign was covered, or worse, as an American, you never even heard the name Gallipoli before since World War I history is so hastily and scantily clad in the school curriculum, here are five reasons why you should visit this sacred site.

It is a significant part of European and World War I history and also of Türkiye’s modern-day history.

Skip Ahead To My Advice Here!

Learn About One Of The Most Important Battles Of World War I Firsthand

Things To Do In Gallipoli - Reasons To Go To Gallipoli - Bunker On Anzac Cove

There’s no better way to learn about the past than being in the same exact spot where it all happened, for it’s only then that history can indeed come alive. When standing in the tiny city of Ecebat (where most visitors begin their tour to the Gallipoli travel sites) and gazing out at the waters of the Dardanelles, think about how both the Allied and Central Powers were fighting for control over a body of water only 0.75-4 miles (1.2 to 6.5 kilometers) wide.

When you arrive at ANZAC Cove, the site of the landing of the ANZAC forces (Australian New Zealand Army Corps), and gaze at the steep, rocky terrain before you, the same landscape the ANZACs would have had to scale while avoiding artillery fire and another bombardment from the Turkish forces; you’ll be amazed to learn that there were relatively few deaths during the landing itself, that it wasn’t a bloodbath like the D-Day Invasion was at the Normandy beaches in France in 1944.

Sadly, the bloodbath would commence in the months ahead during the many ferocious battles fought during the campaign.

Unlike in Belgium and France, where the infamous trenches along the Western Front were plowed over after the war, they remain mostly intact at Gallipoli. As you stand in one (because yes, you are allowed to climb down into them), let this bone-chilling fact sink in sometimes: the Turkish and Allied lines were just a few dozen meters apart…each side was that horrifyingly close to the enemy.

This was a stark contrast to the fighting on the Western Front, where soldiers from the two opposing armies rarely saw each other.

Pay Your Respects To The Fallen Soldiers Of The Battle Of Gallipoli

Things To Do In Gallipoli - Reasons To Go To Gallipoli - Tombs

At a place where so much death occurred (by the time the Allied forces withdrew in defeat in January 1916, nearly a year after the fighting started), nearly half a million soldiers had been killed or wounded. Hence, there’s sadly no shortage of cemeteries and other final resting places you can visit.

The most famous cemetery is Lone Pine. When first arriving there, you’ll think it is a peaceful and lovely spot, enhanced by the sight of the single pine tree, which provides a respite from the intense sun during the summer months.

One could never imagine this being the exact site of one of the campaign’s bloodiest battles, most of which were fought in hand-to-hand combat in an underground maze of trenches. 

Today, many young men are buried there (over 1000), along with the unknown graves of roughly 500 soldiers. The Lone Pine Memorial commemorates 4,934 Australian and New Zealand Army killed in the sector with no known grave.

You’ll notice a recurring detail among the tombstones- as most of the fighting at Gallipoli was so fierce, the exact dates of death are not known for many of the soldiers buried there. Instead, a range of dates is given (for when the battle occurred) as the date of death.

Two other cemeteries you should visit are Beach Cemetery and Johnston’s Jolly; these contain only one identified individual.

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Learn about the man who became the father of modern-day turkey.

gallipoli travel itinerary

Mustafa Kemal Atatürk will always be remembered as the founder of the Republic of Türkiye. He served as its first president from 1923 until his death 15 years later. He was heralded for shaping Turkey into a secular state and especially for the advancement of women’s rights he ushered in.

But before all that, he was a commander during the Gallipoli campaign. Many consider him and his military prowess a reason why the Allies were defeated and ultimately retreated from the peninsula.

“There is no difference between the Johnnies and the Mehmets to us where they lie side by side here in this country of ours.” Although some doubt the authenticity and origin of the quote, many believe Atatürk said these comforting and healing words at a commemorative event nearly 20 years after the campaign.

Atatürk was always a great leader and conscious of all families’ ultimate sacrifice when they lost their sons in fighting at Gallipoli. A life-size statue of Atatürk can be found at Chunuk Bair Hill, which was the site of the highest number of fatalities for New Zealand soldiers and where many are buried; you’ll also see the names inscribed of Maori soldiers who lost their lives here.

See A Side Of Türkiye That Many Visitors Never Do

Gallipoli can be visited in a day from Istanbul , only a five-hour drive away. Yet, the Çanakkale Province receives a fraction of the number of visitors that places like Cappadocia and the beach resorts along the coast do.

An exception is on ANZAC Day, when Aussies and Kiwis descend upon Gallipoli in the thousands for the remembrance ceremonies. But that means your experience will be all the richer and more authentic when you visit since it’s an area of Türkiye not overrun with foreign tourists and globalization, which are dominating aspects of Türkiye’s largest cities.

Being here also means you’re in close proximity to incredible sites like the ancient city of Troy (yes, THAT Troy, where people like Paris and Helen and the infamous Trojan horse had such large starring roles) and Assos, where countless civilizations (the ancient Greeks, Romans, Persians, Ottomans) all lived at one time in history and where beautifully preserved Greek ruins can be explored.

You don’t need to hop on a plane or endure a long car ride to see and experience some of Turkey’s stunning coastline. The Çanakkale Province has truly breathtaking vistas for miles. Even Zeus thought so, as it’s believed (according to Homer) that he watched the Trojan War from atop the Altar of Zeus, which today is near the small town of Bergama.

Undoubtedly, One Of The Most Unique Places To Visit In Türkiye

Things To Do In Gallipoli - The Canakkale Martyrs' Memorial

Istanbul’s Hagia Sofia and the Blue Mosque have become so iconic and known worldwide that most people could identify them from sight alone. And one can’t go perusing a travel-focused feed on Instagram a day without seeing photos of the hot air balloon contingent over the Cappadocian landscape .

Sure, all those places and experiences are memorable and worthwhile, but they’re no longer unique. A visit to the Gallipoli battlefield would be. You’ll bear witness to not only one of the most horrific military campaigns of World War I but also where three national identities were born-Turkey, Australia, and New Zealand. It’s not Greek history on a Homeresque level, but it’s still pretty monumental.

ANZACS Dawn Service – April 25

If you’re considering making the journey to this historic peninsula for the Anzac Day ceremonies, here’s the lowdown to ensure you’re well-prepared and know precisely what to expect.

Who’s Invited

Everyone’s welcome! Whether you have a personal connection to the ANZACs, a keen interest in history, or feel the pull to experience this significant event, you can go. There’s no invitation needed, just a sense of respect and perhaps a bit of adventure.

Timing is Everything

The Dawn Service starts at the crack of dawn on April 25 each year, marking the anniversary of the landing of the ANZAC troops on Gallipoli in 1915. However, the catch is that you’ll need to arrive hours earlier. People typically start gathering the night before, so be prepared for an overnight stay outdoors. It’s part of the experience—think of it as a unique chance to reflect under the stars before the dawn breaks.

What to Pack

Pack like you’re going camping because, in a way, you are. Comfortable clothes, layers (it can get chilly at night and warm up quickly by day), rain gear (just in case), snacks, water, and a torch are must-haves. Oh, and bring something to sit on; you’ll be thankful for it.

During the Service

Expect a solemn but also incredibly communal atmosphere. The service itself lasts about an hour, with speeches, wreath-layings, and a minute of silence. It’s a powerful experience, with the first light of dawn breaking over the peninsula as the ceremony unfolds.

The Rest of the Day

After the Dawn Service, you can attend other ceremonies dedicated to specific nationalities, like the Australian and New Zealander services. You’ll likely be doing a lot of walking, so wear comfortable shoes . It’s also a day of reflection, learning, and understanding, with opportunities to tour the battlefields and memorials.

Getting There and Away

Plan your trip to Gallipoli well in advance. Options include joining a guided tour (which might simplify logistics like transport and entry permits) or going it alone, which offers flexibility but requires more planning. Accommodation in the area gets snapped up fast around Anzac Day, so book early.

  • Respect the site; it’s not just a tourist destination but a place of remembrance.
  • Be prepared for crowds; it’s a significant event for many, so expect lots of company.
  • Stay hydrated and fed; it’s a long day, and you’ll need your energy.

Attending the Dawn Service at Gallipoli is a profoundly moving experience, blending historical reflection with a sense of contemporary unity. It’s not just a lesson in history but an opportunity to witness the enduring legacy of peace and camaraderie that emerged from a time of conflict. Whether you’re there to honor ancestors, fulfill a bucket list dream, or soak in the gravity of the occasion, it’s an experience that stays with you, no frills needed.

Visiting Gallipoli Pre-Travel Guide

Here is some helpful info on getting and how to get around Gallipoli.

Getting To Gallipoli & Anzac Cove

So, how do you get to Gallipoli?

There are various ways to reach Gallipoli, including by car, public bus, and group tours. Traveling by car from Istanbul will be the fastest and easiest way to get there ( just around four hours’ driving) , not to mention making it effortless for you to drive around the battlefield yourself.

You can take a public bus from Istanbul’s Otogar Station to Ecebat (this journey will take five hours) or take a bus from Otogar Station to Çanakkale and then by ferry to Gallipoli. Traveling via public transportation from Istanbul will cost around 100 Turkish Lira.

Getting Around Gallipoli

You will need some sort of vehicle to get around the Gallipoli battlefields. Just as the Allied soldiers encountered nearly impossible terrain, you would, too, as a pedestrian.

Not to mention, the battlefield is so expansive that it’s unofficially broken down into ANZAC points of interest and English/French points of interest (the latter forces had been fighting already at Gallipoli a few months before the ANZACs landed there).

If you don’t have a car, consider taking a private or group tour. Depending on availability, these can be arranged in advance, traveling from Istanbul or in Ecebat and Çanakkale.

Crowded House is a recommended tour outfitter- it’s the only tour company based on the Gallipoli Peninsula (in Ecebat) that caters exclusively to overseas visitors. It’s also the only company that offers regular tours of the Helles battlefield, the area of Gallipoli where the British and French soldiers landed and fought.

When To Go To Gallipoli

The best time to visit Gallipoli is during the spring and fall months. Summer months mean intense heat and blazing sun. There is also very little shade on the battlefield area, in addition to massive crowds, mainly from Turks on holiday. The Winter months are typically cold and rainy.

What To Pack For Gallipoli

Just dress accordingly, especially since all sites of interest at Gallipoli (except for private museums in the area) are outdoors. So in the summertime, come prepared with a hat and sunblock, and in the colder months, wear layers.

For more tips on what to wear in Türkiye, check out our guide here.

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Perfectly described <3 How many hours would you recommend to spend there? is it worth spending a night there as well or to head to a different area after?

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Group of tourists on a Gallipoli Tour from Istanbul, standing at historical battlefields and memorials, reflecting on World War I history.

Visiting Gallipoli from Istanbul in a Single Day: Explore Historic Battlefields

Gallipoli, a peninsula steeped in history, offers a poignant journey for travelers. Situated in the Turkish Straits, it’s a destination that resonates deeply, particularly for its role in World War I. For visitors in Istanbul, a day trip to Gallipoli is both feasible and fulfilling, allowing a glimpse into a significant chapter of history while experiencing the unique beauty of the region. This guide will provide you with a comprehensive plan to make the most of your single-day visit to Gallipoli from Istanbul.

Morning Departure: Setting Off from Istanbul

Starting early.

  • 6:00 AM : Begin your journey early from Istanbul to maximize your time at Gallipoli. Considering the distance, an early start is crucial.
  • Transport Options : You can opt for a guided tour, which usually includes round-trip transportation, or rent a car for a more flexible itinerary.

Scenic Drive

  • Route : The drive to Gallipoli, covering approximately 320 kilometers, offers scenic views of the Turkish countryside.
  • Breakfast Stop : Enjoy a traditional Turkish breakfast at a roadside café en route.

Arriving at Gallipoli: A Landmark of History

First stop: the gallipoli battlefields.

  • 10:00 AM : Arrive at the Gallipoli battlefields, where guided tours are available to provide historical context.
  • Key Sites : Visit significant landmarks such as Anzac Cove, Lone Pine, and Chunuk Bair.

Reflecting at Memorials

  • 12:00 PM : Pay respects at various memorials, including those dedicated to Turkish, Australian, and New Zealand soldiers.

Afternoon: Exploring More of Gallipoli

Lunch with a view.

  • 1:00 PM : Have lunch at a local restaurant, savoring Turkish cuisine with views of the Dardanelles.

Museums and More

  • 2:00 PM : Explore the Gallipoli Campaign Museum for deeper insights into the history.
  • Beaches and Cemeteries : Time permitting, visit the pristine beaches and serene war cemeteries.

Evening Return: Journey Back to Istanbul

Departure from gallipoli.

  • 6:00 PM : Start your journey back to Istanbul.
  • Sunset Views : Enjoy the sunset over the Dardanelles during your drive back.

Practical Tips for Your Day Trip

  • Time Management : Stay mindful of the time, especially if you’re driving yourself.
  • Cultural Sensitivity : Remember the solemn nature of many sites in Gallipoli.
  • Weather Prep : Check the weather forecast and dress accordingly.
  • Guided Tours : Consider a guided tour for comprehensive historical insights.

Three top Gallipoli tour package

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gallipoli travel itinerary

Gallipoli Peninsula

Today, the Gallipoli (Gelibolu) Peninsula battlefields are protected landscapes covered in pine forests and fringed by idyllic beaches and coves. However, the bloody battles fought here in 1915 are still alive in Turkish and foreign memories and hold important places in the Turkish, Australian and New Zealand national narratives. Australians and New Zealanders view the peninsula, now protected as the Gallipoli Campaign Historic Site, as a place of pilgrimage, and visit in their tens of thousands each year; they are outnumbered by Turks who, drawn by the legend of the courageous 57th regiment and its commander, Mustafa Kemal (the future Atatürk), also travel here in ever-increasing numbers to pay their respects.

Attractions

Must-see attractions.

Kilitbahir Castle Museum

Kilitbahir Castle Museum

Reopened in 2019 as a museum focussing on Ottoman and maritime history, this sprawling castle was originally built by Mehmet the Conqueror in 1452 and…

Gallipoli Campaign Historic Site

Gallipoli Campaign Historic Site

Set within the 33,500 hectares of the Gallipoli Peninsula, this historic site protects the cemeteries and battlefields of the Anzac campaign. There are…

Lone Pine Cemetery

Lone Pine Cemetery

Lone Pine is perhaps the most moving of all the Anzac cemeteries. Australian forces captured the Turkish positions here on the afternoon of 6 August 1915…

Chunuk Bair New Zealand Cemetery & Memorial

Chunuk Bair New Zealand Cemetery & Memorial

Chunuk Bair (Conk Bayiri in Turkish) was the first objective of the Allied landing in April 1915, and is now the site of of this cemetery and memorial,…

Nek

On the morning of 7 August 1915, the 8th (Victorian) and 10th (Western Australian) Regiments of the third Light Horse Brigade vaulted out of their…

Anzac Cove (Anzac Koyu)

Anzac Cove (Anzac Koyu)

Initial Anzac landing site on the ill-fated morning of 25 April 1915.

Çanakkale Epic Promotion Centre

Çanakkale Epic Promotion Centre

If visiting Gallipoli independently, it's a good idea to start your tour at this high-tech museum roughly 1km east of the village of Kabatepe. It…

French War Memorial & Cemetery

French War Memorial & Cemetery

The rarely visited French cemetery is extremely moving, with rows of metal crosses and five white-concrete ossuaries each containing the bones of 3000…

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Experience the real Turkey

Let a local expert craft your dream trip.

gallipoli travel itinerary

Latest stories from Gallipoli Peninsula

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The Lone Pine Memorial and War grave in Gallipoli, near Canakkale Turkey.

Oct 17, 2014 • 6 min read

Its tranquil hills and gullies are now covered in pine forests and wildflowers, but one hundred years ago this slender peninsula between the Dardanelles…

Anzac Cove on the shores of Gallipoli, Turkey.

Gallipoli Tours

Gallipoli Day Trip from Istanbul

Gallipoli Day Trip from Istanbul

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  • Detailed Itinerary
  • Inquire About this Trip
  • Reviews (13)

Tour Overview

Take a poignant day trip from Istanbul to the historic battlefields of Gallipoli. Walk in the footsteps of soldiers, explore key landmarks, and learn about the campaign that shaped WWI. This guided day trip includes transportation, expert commentary, and a chance to pay your respects at memorials. Ideal for history enthusiasts wanting to delve into Turkey’s past.

6:00 am: Pick up from hotels or hostels in the Taksim area 6:30 am: Pick up from hotels or hostels in the Sultanahmet area 12:00 pm: Arrive in Eceabat and have lunch 1:00 pm: Depart on a fully guided Gallipoli Tour

On the tour you will be able to see the following sites:

— Brighton Beach — Beach Cemetery (John Simpson’s Grave) — ANZAC Cove — Ari Burnu (First ANZAC landing place) — Lone Pine Cemetery (Australian memorial) — Johnston’s Jolly (walk in the ANZAC trenches) — View of Shrapnel Valley — Turkish Memorial — The Nek and Walker’s Ridge — Chunuk Bair (Main New Zealand memorial)

At the end of the tour at around 6:00 pm, you will be transferred back to Istanbul. Around 11:00 pm you will arrive back to Istanbul and will be dropped off at your hotel in Istanbul. End of tour and services.

INCLUDED in the Tour Price:

  • Hotel pickup and drop-off service is available only on the European side of Istanbul.
  • Transport by air-conditioned Vehicles
  • English-speaking tour guide during the tour
  • Lunch (Vegetarian lunch option available upon request).
  • Entrance fees
  • Local taxes and service charges

NOT INCLUDED:

  • Gratuities (optional)
  • Food and drinks, unless specified

IMPORTANT INFO:

  • All prices are per person in U.S. dollars.
  • This is a regular shared group tour, but if requested at cost can be provided as a private tour.
  • Round-trip ground transportation via air-conditioned vans, mini-buses or buses (depending on the number of passengers traveling)
  • We strongly urge you not to book travel arrangements from Istanbul to your home destination on the day of your tour. We cannot be responsible for common or uncommon travel delays in our arrival time back to Istanbul.

13 reviews for Gallipoli Day Trip from Istanbul

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Waimai – August 17, 2014

As a New Zealander I found Gallipoli a very though provoking place to visit. The guide provided was excellent and the group small enough that we could all hear. The long trip (5+ hours each way) was worth it just to visit the sites at Gallipoli.

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Robert W – February 22, 2015

The tour was excellent and very informative. Would highly recommend this trip. Tour guide, Hasan, was very good

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Sandra – August 22, 2015

Gallipoli Day Trip was a great tour. It takes a full day but is definitely worth your time. I would highly recommend this tour.

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Lauren E – March 24, 2016

Definitely worth the Gallipoli day trip. Especially if you’re into history!.

Peter T – February 11, 2017

We had a very nice day around the Gallipoli Peninsula. Our guide Hasan explained us many things about geography, history, culture… We highly recommend it!

Allen C – August 27, 2017

The trip to Gallipoli was amazing. The tour guide was fantastic. This Gallipoli tour is a must for anyone visiting Istanbul.

Melissa G – July 21, 2018

Gallipoli is beautiful, and the tour was very well and professionally organized from the pick up to the drop off at the hotel. I highly recommend this tour.

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Deidre R – September 4, 2018

Best tour I have been on in Turkey. The shuttle pick up was on time, the shuttle had AC and the included lunch was delicious. The best part of the tour was our very knowledgeable and humorous guide, Burak. He knew his history from an ANZAC and Turkish perspective and engaged our entire group. If you’re thinking of a day trip to Galipolli book with OneNation.

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Demonmuzz – September 11, 2018

I did the Gallipoli day tour from Istanbul with these guys and would recommend it to everyone. Josh was our driver and he did a great job. Our guide Burak was outstanding, he blended historical insight with collected stories and his own perspective. The story I tell others about my emotional and memorable day at Gallipoli will mention Burak – great day

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Nathan A – September 22, 2018

The Gallipoli tour was fantastic! The best way to know Gallipoli. Burak my tour guide was amazing. I will recommend it.

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Canberra – October 20, 2018

All was as described. We were picked up from our hotel in Istanbul for the 4 hour drive (once all pickups had been made) to the Gallipoli Peninsular. There was a half hour break on the way to and from Eceabat. We had a good lunch at a local restaurant. Both drivers on the way to and from the Gallipoli Peninsular were excellent. Burak was our highly knowledgeable guide for the afternoon and he explained the history from not only the British, Australian, New Zealand perspective but also explained the history from the Turkish perspective. Would highly recommend this trip.

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Daniel P – January 7, 2019

I really enjoyed my tour of Gallipoli today the guide was fantastic and full of useful knowledge and the driver was fantastic I felt safe the whole way there and back even with ic on some parts of the road from snow.

Dean T. – March 1, 2022

Everything was well organized and well done. Gallipoli day tour bus and guide were great.

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Gallipoli Day Trip from Istanbul

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Gallipoli Tour

Gallipoli Tour is a professional tour operator in Istanbul and has been licensed by TURSAB and the Turkey Tourism Ministry under license number A-6073.

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Gallipoli Day Trip: Your Complete Guide to ANZAC Cove

A visit to the Gallipoli Peninsula and ANZAC Cove is a deeply moving experience, and I am not sure I can begin to do justice to it here. But I will do my best to put the sentiment into words that I felt visiting this site.

When documenting such a place it is important to be as respectful as possible. So there was no posing for photos and no on-site commentary for anything that we did or saw that day.

It is a place for quiet reflection and appreciation of those who came before us.

This post is my best effort to convey what I felt visiting a place that I had thought about often since I was a kid. But of course, I have also tried to offer as much practical information as possible.

My Aussie Disclaimer

First I wanted to highlight this is written from the perspective of an Australian and is heavily slanted towards why this is a special place for Australian’s.

I want to respect the Turkish perspective and what Gallipoli may mean to them.

When I refer to the arrival at Gallipoli I call it the landing, but to them, it was an invasion.

So I wanted to start off this article by sharing the Ataturk Memorial. I thought this was the most moving memorial at the site, and a great leveler no matter what your background.

It is a message inspired by peace from the Turkish people that recognizes that wartime has passed, and neutralizes any debate of right or wrong with supreme forgiveness and an offer of brotherhood.

ataturk memorial

“Those heroes that shed their blood and lost their lives … You are now lying in the soil of a friendly country. Therefore rest in peace. There is no difference between the Johnnies and the Mehmets to us where they lie side by side here in this country of ours … You, the mothers who sent their sons from faraway countries, wipe away your tears; your sons are now lying in our bosom and are in peace. After having lost their lives on this land they have become our sons as well.”

What is ANZAC

For those of you not from Australia or New Zealand you may not be familiar with ANZAC (Australia and New Zealand Army Corps) or the Battle of Gallipoli.

As a brief background, the battle started on the 25th April 1915 when allied troops landed on the beaches of Gallipoli in an attempt to take control of the Dardanelles and Bosphorus straits. This would have isolated Turkey from its allies, and opened up the sea-lanes from Europe to Russia.

This was the ANZAC forces first entry into the war effort and came at a time when Australia was a new nation. Having only become a commonwealth 14 years earlier in 1901.

The reality of war was a foreign concept to many of the men who enlisted prior to the Gallipoli Campaign.

The opportunity to travel abroad and fight the Germans was an opportunity too good to pass up according to some very effective propaganda at the time. Their primary worry was that the war would be over before they could get there !

But the Battle of Gallipoli alone dragged on for nine months. Led to a stalemate and eventual retreat, with little to show for it.

But it was the stories of bravery, courage, mateship and a unique sense of humor that came out of this campaign that established the ANZAC legacy, and this is celebrated annually in Australia on the 25th April.

Despite this event taking place over 100 years ago, the ANZAC legacy not only lives on, but gathers strength every year. The younger generations continue to embrace and celebrate ANZAC Day with this annual commemoration.

The battle is depicted in the 80’s movie Gallipoli. Which gives some insight into the odds these men faced and the sheer bravery they showed as they charged the Turkish trenches.

I have not seen this movie since high school but I still remember a line before the final scene from the officer in charge of sending his men over the trench into what was an unwinnable raid.

“I cannot ask the men to do something that I will not do myself”

plugges plataeu

Sharing the Experience with Anh

I felt somewhat privileged to be sharing this experience with someone who had not grown up in Australia where the ANZAC legacy is celebrated each year and is deeply ingrained in the national identity.

Anh didn’t come to Australia until she was 11 years old, and living in an immigrant community did not expose her as much to what this means to her adopted countrymen.

This gave me the opportunity to talk through what this legacy meant to me personally. Which is something that I had never thought to discuss in such depth before with anyone.

I found myself having a hard time staying composed as I tried to articulate my thoughts. But going through that process helped me to some important realizations which I will share at the end of this post.

Sites We Visited

ANZAC Cove in its current state is a beautiful sight. The clear blue water runs up to a lovely small beach, surrounded by manicured grounds and well-kept retaining walls.

It is difficult to imagine what went on here in such beautiful surroundings.

What stood out to me the most was just how small the site was.

Between the landing site and the eventual battlefront is a steep hill that is covered in thick shrubbery.

This is an intimidating obstacle to tackle without even factoring in the conditions of war.

The coastal road sweeps past the site, site and the main ANZAC Cove memorial site.

anzac cove

After making our way up the steep hill past Plugge’s Plateau, we reached the site of the Battle of Lone Pine.

It was on this site that four days of intense fighting led to the death of over 2,000 Aussie troops.

This was a much larger memorial site with a well-manicured cemetery that overlooks a stunning view of the Aegean Sea, which glows in the background.

Overlooking the grounds was a memorial that also contained a guest book where you could sign your name and leave a note.

This was something I wrestled with for about ten minutes. Not just to find the words to write, but to be able to do so without tears welling up in my eyes.

If you visit the site I would encourage you to do the same. It really makes you stop and think about what you could say to these brave men if given the opportunity.

I have shared a longer version of what I wrote in the guest book towards the end of this post.

lone pine cemetery

  • Shrapnel Valley

To be added

shrapnel valley

How to get to ANZAC Cove

From istanbul.

You can do the round trip from Istanbul to Gallipoli in a day, but it will be a long day. A 6am pickup would likely end with a drop off around 10pm that evening.

This is why we recommend a tour rather than self-driving if you plan to do it in one day. You can at least relax on the bus when weary on the way home.

If you want to visit for the dawn service then the easiest route if to book a tour that will organize your transport, meals and camping space on site.

For prices and booking information check out the links below:

  • Regular day trip
  • Private tour option
  • ANZAC Day dawn service and two day itinerary

From Eceabat and Canakkale

This is a cheaper option, and far less taxing than the long day involving a round trip from the capital.

Whether it is suitable depends on your time to spare, and our general direction of travel. If you would also prefer a tour guide then this is an affordable choice compared to a private guide.

  • ANZAC Day Dawn Service

Public Transport

Flights depart from Sabiha Gokcen Airport to Cannakale, which is just a short ferry ride to Eceabat.

The cost of the flight is not much more than the bus ticket with a range of $30-$100US depending on when you fly.

Book your flight online here.

You can take a bus from the Greater Istanbul Bus Station (Esenler Otogari) directly to Eceabat, or Canakkale.

The journey will cost $15US and take approximately 5-6 hours.

battle of lone pine memorial

Self Driving

The trip is about 4-6 hours by car depending on traffic (and wrong turns).

Our drive definitely ended up near the higher end of the range!

Unless you plan on continuing on past Gallipoli and down the west coast of Turkey we don’t recommend the self-driving option. It is much easier to just get on a day tour.

We rented a car through Europcar directly from the airport. We found their terms and pricing were the most favorable for our trip:

  • Unlimited KMs
  • Low holding deposit
  • Easy experience

<Book your car rental here>.

From Eceabat

We did the drive from Istanbul the night before and stayed in a hotel in Eceabat. This is a convenient home base with ANZAC Cove just a quick 15 minute drive away.

Canakkale is also a viable option, just factor in an additional 20-30 minutes in travel time to get across the ferry ($15-20US with a car).

Unfortunately, my lack of a proper map, and some poorly made assumptions about where the entry point was based on what I had seen in the dark the night before led us to a 90 minute drive through the back fields of the Peninsula.

We realized the mistake early but doubled down in an attempt to snake our way through the backcountry and back onto the main road.

With every turn the dirt road became narrower. At one point we were on a single lane gap through the back of someone’s farm. And speaking of snakes, we did see a massive one dart across the road in front of the car.

Now we did find the road we were looking for that was supposed to join up with the main road to ANZAC Cove…. But as of July 2019 that road is a dirt construction site. Maybe try in 2021 if you want to go that way.

So we had to turn around and go all the way back.

Don’t do what we did.

Preparing for Gallipoli Without a Tour Guide

If you are not going with a tour guide and want to learn more ahead of time then there are some great resources that can help you get the most out of your time there.

For the history buff, the Australian Department of Veterans Affairs has prepared an audio guide covering each of the following sites on The ANZAC Walk:

  • North Beach
  • Brighton Beach
  • Artillery Road
  • Johnston’s Jolly
  • Quinn’s Post
  • Turkish Memorial
  • The Nek Cemetery
  • Walker’s Ridge Cemetery
  • Overlooking North Beach at Walker’s Ridge

If you are more of a couch historian you have the option to watch one of the many documentaries about the campaign such as the one below:

5 More Tips for Visiting ANZAC Cove

  • If you wish to visit for the ANZAC Day dawn service book well in advance
  • Take the time to write in the guest books at the memorials. While no words could ever be enough to express appreciation to those who fought there, just stopping to think about what you could say is important.
  • Give yourself at least half a day to walk around the site. You will want to take your time to appreciate your surroundings and read the memorials.
  • In the summer months, it gets very hot so you will need a hat, sunscreen and to dress light
  • Oh, and if self-driving use a damn navigation app so you don’t waste a chunk of your day driving through sunflower fields as we did.

anzac cove beach

A Personal Reflection

As I walked through the various cemeteries on the site I came to a humbling realization. At 35 years of age, I was much older than the vast majority of the men who’s names stared back at me.

Row after row of headstones where young men just like me, from a land just like me, met their end for a cause greater than I could imagine.

It may have only been my good fortune to be born a hundred years later that would determine how different our lives would be.

When we were back in the car and driving away from the site Anh asked me the question of whether I would have enlisted and joined the war effort if I was around at the time.

This is a question I have thought about a lot over the years, and it is very difficult to answer.

My gut says yes.

This may be out of pride, ego, adventure, love of country, love of family, and a complete lack of understanding of what war is really about. Just as it was for many of the young men who did enlist back then.

But deciding to go, that may just be the easy part.

For me the real question is this:

If I was faced with the same circumstances, would I have the courage to do what they did?

Am I capable of charging up a beach, or out of a trench, directly into machine-gun fire? Shoulder to shoulder with my mates.

That is a question that I cannot even begin to answer… And thanks to the sacrifice of the men who lay here, and thousands of others around the world since, I never have to.

And for that, I am deeply grateful.

Read more: 

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gallipoli travel itinerary

Exploring Gallipoli 

Tour Code: S108

In association with Peter Hart Battlefield Tours

Gallipoli! It was a lunacy that never could have succeeded. This tour is operated by our partners at Peter Hart Battlefield Tours and provides and in-depth exploration of the peninsula and a campaign that was never going to succeed.

Tour Type: Active

Cover GALLIPOLI - Anzac.JPG

Day 1: Arrive Istanbul and transfer by air-conditioned coach to our base for the week on the Gallipoli peninsula. There will be stops en route.

Day 2:  Our first day at Cape Helles will examine the naval campaign and landing beaches and will include stops such as: Kilid Bahr,  V Beach including cemetery,  Helles Memorial,  W Beach, French guns, and Doughty Wylie’s Grave . 

Day 3: The second day at Helles will consider the fighting inland as the campaign progressed, and will include highlights such as: X Beach, Gully Ravine from end to end, and Krithia. 

Day 4:  Gallipoli is synonymous with Anzac for our friends in New Zealand and Australia. Our first day in this sector will likely include: Anzac Cove, Beach Cemetery, Plugge’s Plateau, Quinn’s Post, Turkish Memorial, The Nek. Optional walk down Walkers Ridge.

Day 5: Our second day in the Anzac area will likely include: Views from Hill 972, Chunuk Bair, a walk down Rhodeodendron Ridge 

Day 6:  Our itinerary will likely include:  Visit to Kum Kale Cemetery, Orkanie Fort and Çannakale. 

Day 7: Our final day on the battlefield sees us travel north to Suvla. Our itinerary will likely include:  Lala Baba Cemetery and a walk up Lala Baba for a view over the Salt Lake, Hill 60. Chocolate Hill & Green Hill Cemetery,  Suvla Point & the sunken lighter,  Hill 10 Cemetery.

Day 8: Today we rise early and journey back to Istanbul to catch our flights home.

This itinerary is also available as a bespoke/private tour for groups. It can also be adjusted to cater for more specific interests. Please enquire for availability. 

YOUR TOUR INCLUDES:

Meet & greet, airport transfers Istanbul

Air conditioned transport

3* hotel accommodation with breakfast

Packed lunches and evening meals

Entry to museums and sites

YOUR TOUR DOES NOT INCLUDE:

International flights

Tips for local guides

Drinks with meals

Meet the Team

Peter spent more than thirty years compiling oral history for the Imperial War Museum. He has published innumerable books about the First and Second World Wars. His particular passion is force-marching guests around the Gallipoli peninsula to highlight the absolute idiocy of the campaign.

a8ca3631-af13-4cac-a35f-55d869731c7c.JPG

Gallipoli Pilgrimage

2 days | travel to the gallipoli peninsula and pay your respects to the fallen soldiers.

gallipoli travel itinerary

Travel to a region associated with one of the most significant military battles of our time. Be guided through Anzac Cove to the battlefields, the Nek and Lone Pine and share the stories of heroism and camaraderie that unfolded among the tragedies of what has become a defining moment in Australian and New Zealand history. Many say that the struggles of Gallipoli marked the birth of a national consciousness among Australians and New Zealanders. This journey provides a great opportunity to pay respect to those who lost their lives and to reflect on what they fought for, and you'll be able to take time out to explore Troy before returning to Istanbul.

Trip overview

  • A moving and educational experience regardless of your age or background.
  • Listen to stories of bravery and comradeship.
  • A quintessential Antipodean pilgrimage, to reflect and pay your respects.
  • By travelling on this trip, you’ll directly support our Intrepid Foundation partner, CYDD (Çağdaş Yaşamı Destekleme Derneği). Donations help them provide scholarships and educational programs for economically disadvantaged youth in Turkey.
  • Being a Short Break Adventure, this trip packs a lot into just a few days, including some early starts and late finishes. If you prefer to explore at a more leisurely pace this may not be the best trip for you. Please carefully read the itinerary before making onward travel plans.
  • On Short Breaks, you maintain a good level of independence and freedom, with the added bonus of having the details sorted out for you. You’ll have lots of free time and you won’t be accompanied by a Trip Leader. This means that all included activities and tours will be run by different local Intrepid partners, and these may operate independently from each other. The included activities and transfers will operate on a join-in basis, which means that you could have your Adventure all to yourself, or others may join you along the way. If you would prefer to travel in a group with a dedicated Trip Leader, just get in touch with your booking agent and they will take you through some alternatives.
  • Being an independent traveller, you will have to carry your own bag on and off the bus or ferry, and into the hotel.

Hosgeldinz. Welcome to Turkey!

Your Gallipoli Pilgrimage starts this morning. You will be picked up from the Manesol Galata Hotel at 6AM - 6.30AM (Please call and reconfirm with the office at least 24 hours prior to pick up on +90 530 442 60 09). This tour in not accompanied by an Intrepid group leader.

You will then travel by minibus to Eceabat. Please note that the vehicle used for the transfer is on a share basis and you will share this bus with other travellers visiting Gallipoli. The journey will take approx 6 hours.

After a light lunch you will be met for a fully guided Gallipoli tour visiting the following sites on the Battle Fields of the Gallipoli Peninsula: ~ Brighton Beach ~ ANZAC Cove ~ ANZAC Commemorative Site ~ Ariburnu & Beach Cemetery ~ Respect to Mehmetcik Statue ~ Lone Pine Australian Memorial ~ Johnston's Jolly (Turkish and Allied trenches and tunnels) ~ Quinn's Post ~ The Nek and Walker's Ridge ~ Chunuk Bair New Zealand Memorial

For any Australian or New Zealander visiting the shores of Turkey, a visit to the battle fields of the Gallipoli Peninsula is a must. The battle at Gallipoli in WW1 is seen as the turning point in the history both of these nations (and also the Republic of Turkey). It was the moment when the nations' characters were defined and the core value of mateship was embedded in their psyche. The names of ANZAC Cove, the Nek and Lone Pine have a special place in the hearts of Antipodeans and are just some of the places you will visit first hand on this trip. You will be struck by the beauty and serenity of the place, in stark contrast to the stories your guide will tell you of the events that unfolded here. You will walk through the trenches and be transported to a place in history.

Pride will swell in the stories of heroism and camaraderie, not only amongst one's own troops but also with the enemy, making this a truly unique battlefield. There are opportunities to visit the war graves to seek out those from your town or area.

You will stay overnight in Canakkale.  Our accommodation tonight is in a bed and breakfast.

Hotel (1 night)

  • Gallipoli - Fully guided Gallipoli tour & visit to the Commonwealth graveyards

Today we will have a free morning in Canakkale.  Why not consider taking an optional guided tour of the historical site of Troy. We will be learning a lot about the famous archaeological site of Troy and see a replica statue of the Trojan Horse. Then, delve into the interesting era’s of Troy and discover how this settlement transformed over time. The tour finishes around 5:30 pm, after which our  transfer returns to Istanbul. This service will drop you door to door, at which point this trip finishes upon arrival. Arrival back into Istanbul is scheduled to be at around 11:30 pm, but may vary depending on traffic conditions.

We recommend you arrange an additional night's accommodation for the evening of day 2. Extra accommodation pre and post tour can be requested, please ask your agent at the time of booking. Accommodation can also be requested for Canakkale if planning to stay longer on the peninsula. If you have an arranged transfer with Intrepid, pick up time for the airport will be 4 hours prior to your flight from Manesol Galata Hotel.

  • Troy Guided Visit - EUR55

Transport on this trip is by way of shared mini bus service. The service includes pick up and drop off within the greater Istanbul area. 

1 breakfast, 1 lunch

Dates and availability

Important notes.

1. This Short Break Adventure is a ‘join in’ group departure, which means you are not accompanied by an Intrepid group leader – our local representative fills this role – and the configuration of any fellow travelers in the group might change during the trip. This trip is operated by one of our local partners in Turkey and therefore you may be joined by a mixture of Intrepid-booked passengers and other travelers during activities.

2. Please refer to the joining instructions in our Essential Trip Information for the pick-up point for this tour. If you would like to be collected from an alternative hotel in the greater Istanbul area please advise your booking agent 15 days prior to departure. Please call and reconfirm with the office at least 24 hours prior to pick up on +90 530 442 60 09. Transport is on a shared basis with pick up and drop off to your nominated hotel. Whilst we endeavor to pick you up at the agreed meeting time of 06:00 - 06:30, depending on the location and the number of passengers on this departure pick up time may be from 06:30 to 07:15. We ask that you be ready at 06:00 and we apologize in advance if your pick up is delayed.

3. Extra accommodation pre and post tour can be requested, please ask your agent at the time of booking. Accommodation can also be requested for Canakkale if planning to stay longer on the peninsula.

Want an in-depth insight into this trip? Essential Trip Information provides a detailed itinerary, visa info, how to get to your hotel, what's included - pretty much everything you need to know about this adventure and more.

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The Gallipoli Campaign

The Gallipoli Campaign

Damn the dardanelles: this will be our grave.

Military History and Battlefield Tours

30th April - 8th May 2025 (9 Days)

Expert Historian : Dr Bruce Cherry

Tour price: £3,975

click here to book

Your Holiday Essentials

30th April - 8th May 2025 (9 Days)

4-star hotels, meals and drinks as indicated, all entrance fees, tour manager and expert historian throughout, optional travel from UK.

Activity Level : 2

Standard price: £3,650

Incl. travel from UK: £3,975 Room sole occupancy supplement: £350 Non-refundable deposit: £800

Booking open

Interested in this tour but not ready to book? Register your interest using the link below and we will keep you updated on the progress of the tour.

click here to register your interest

Tour Introduction

During this wonderful tour to Turkey we will visit and examine the main aspects of the Gallipoli campaign: the naval assault, the problems of landing against defended beaches at Cape Helles, the command, control and communication issues, the miracle that was ANZAC, the Turkish perspective, the conditions at Gallipoli, the Suvla Bay fiasco and discuss whether it was all worthwhile. All this is set against the exotic backdrop of Turkish history, culture, scenic beauty and cuisine - all of which we will have ample opportunity to explore. We will also soak up the culture with visits to the ruins of legendary Troy and a full day exploring the beguiling and bustling city of Istanbul, the crossroads of Europe and Asia.

Gallipoli was the scene of one of the great Allied failures of the First World War. In attempting to take Turkey out of the war, the assault on the Dardanelles ended in disastrous failure following a campaign that lasted from April 1915 to January 1916. The campaign saw some thirteen British and Empire divisions involved in a struggle against twenty Turkish divisions, with a total cost of 500,000 casualties.

  • British & ANZAC landings, at Cape Helles & Sulva Bay
  • A detailed examination of the Turkish coastal defences
  • Spend some quiet time at the Helles Memorial for the Missing
  • S, V, W, X and Y Beaches
  • Visit the museum at Gaba Tepe
  • Explore Anzac Cove
  • Climb up to Plugge’s Plateau, scene of fierce fighting, with its overview of ANZAC Cove
  • Walk a section of Gully Ravine
  • The extraordinary naval museum and the Turkish gun positions at Ephez
  • The ancient ruins of Troy
  • A full day in Sultanahmet

What's Included

  • Expert historian throughout providing a daily variety of talks, presentations and Q&A
  • Return flights from London (optional)
  • 4 Star Hotel
  • Buffet breakfast each morning
  • Dinner parties hosted by your expert historian and tour manager
  • Two drinks i,e wine or beer at each dinner and a welcome drink on first evening
  • Dedicated Tour Manager
  • Entrance fees for sites included in itinerary
  • Modern, comfortable, air-conditioned coach
  • Tour information booklet
  • Helpful and friendly travel advice
  • The company of like-minded travelers

""Bruce Cherry is an exceptional guide & tries to personalise the tour for everyone. I also appreciated the excellent hotels and food on the tour".

"Thoroughly enjoyed the tour which was well organised, informative and exceeded my expectations. Would recommend to all history buffs."

Customers on The Gallipoli Campaign 2024 tour

Day 1: Arrival

Fly London to Istanbul or join the tour in Istanbul. Transfer to central Istanbul hotel. Pre-dinner drinks and introductory talk. (D)

Day 2: Sultanahmet

Explore the imperial quarter of Istanbul including the extraordinary Haghia Sophia, the imperial Topkapi Palace, the graceful Blue Mosque and the enchanting Grand Bazaar. This evening we enjoy dinner overlooking the Bosphorus. (B,L,D)

Day 3: Canakkale

This morning we visit Istanbul Military Museum with over 50 rooms of collections, those of particular interest being on Gallipoli and Ataturk. This afternoon we drive to Canakkale where we check-in to our hotel for the remainder of the tour. (B,L,D)

Day 4: Naval and Amphibious Operations

This morning, following a detailed examination of the Turkish coastal defences from Kilitbahir to the hugely impressive national Turkish memorial, we visit the French-held sector before moving onto the 25th April landing points – S, V, W, X and Y Beaches; each with its own poignant story, including the ill-fated SS Clyde landings at V Beach, and the “six VCs before breakfast” won at W beach by the Lancashire Fusiliers. We’ll also spend some quiet time at the Helles Memorial for the Missing. (B,L,D)

Day 5: Helles Peninsula

We will walk a section of Gully Ravine, perhaps the most atmospheric yet least visited part of the battlefield. Our day will also see us studying the battles around the ‘Vineyard’. We’ll shift our focus to the Turkish perspective visiting some amazing memorials and the small village of Bigali where we find a museum dedicated to Ataturk. This afternoon we visit to the extraordinary naval museum and the Turkish gun positions at Ephez. (B,L,D)

Day 6: ANZAC

Today’s highlights include the museum at Gaba Tepe and Anzac Cove, a climb up to Plugge’s Plateau, scene of fierce fighting, with its overview of ANZAC Cove and key features such as Razor Back, Shrapnel Valley and Lone Pine Ridge, where seven VCs were won. We also tour one of the many front-line ANZAC positions, such as Johnstone’s Jolly and Quinn’s Post. We visit the important sites of the August offensive such Sari Bair, Walker’s Ridge, the Gurkhas battle for Hill ‘Q’ and end our day at the Nek, the site of the ill-fated attack of the Australian Light Horse, immortalised in the film ‘Gallipoli’. This evening dinner you are free to find the restaurant of your choice but at your own expense. (B,L)

Day 7: Suvla Bay

Drive to beautiful Suvla Bay and examine the landings of August 6th 1915 at Nibrunesi Point and the baptism of fire for the Kitchener battalions such as the 6th Green Howards and the King’s Sandringham Company. Depending on weather conditions, we will take a short but telling walk to Lala Baba, or along a stretch of Kiretch Tepe; follow the failed attempt to break out at Hill 10, Chocolate Hill and Green Hill and the subsequent struggle for Scimitar Hill and Hill 60. We’ll also visit a small private museum at the village of Büyükanafarta. Finally we shall examine one of the most successful phases of the operation, the evacuation at Suvla Bay. Return to hotel and a final farewell dinner on the harbour-side. (B,L,D)

Day 8: Kumkale and Troy

From Kumkale, weather permitting, we will obtain great views over the Dardenelles towards Cape Helles and discuss the naval operations. But most of our day is spent exploring the layered archaeological remains of Troy and its fabulous museum which reveal over 1000 years of continuous habitation. (B,L,D)

Day 9: Home

Drive to Istanbul to catch our flight to London. (B) Gallery Category If a new tour a gallery of pictures needs to be created. These images should be of past experiences of the tour. They will scroll along the bottom of the tour page (optional)

Recommended Reading List

  • Gallipoli (Wordsworth Military Library)
  • Gallipoli: A Soldier’s Story
  • The Spirit of Gallipoli

Dr Bruce Cherry

Dr Bruce Cherry

A former university lecturer with his PhD in military history, Bruce has been guiding on the Western Front since the late 1980s. Indeed for many years he operated a range of First and Second World War tours out of Lille. Amongst other titles, he is the author of ’They Didn't Want to Die Virgins; a study of Sex and Morale on the Western Front'. As an academic, his tours very much emphasise the learning aspect that is to be gained from battlefield touring.

Photo Gallery

  • Our 2019 Tour Group
  • X Beach Gallipoli
  • W Beach Gallipoli
  • V Beach from Helles
  • Twelve Tree Copse Cemetery
  • Lancashire Cemetery
  • Gully Ravine monument

Tour Reviews

Take a look at some of the images taken on our most recent tour

Take a look at some independent reviews of this tour by previous participants here

The Gallipoli Campaign

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gallipoli travel itinerary

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Gallipoli Tours & Trips

Find the right tour for you through Gallipoli. We've got 201 adventures going to Gallipoli, starting from just one day in length, and the longest tour is 45 days. The most popular month to go is September, which has the largest number of tour departures.

201 Gallipoli tour packages with 2,778 reviews

Turkey Classics Tour Tour

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Magic Carpet Tour Tour

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"The tour was excellent. It would have been better to have more free time in the town we were staying in." melanie, traveled in July 2023

Anatolian Civilizations | 10 Days Tour

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"All the hotels were very comfortable. Our vegetarian food was ordered." Kittur, traveled in September 2023

Absolutely Turkey Tour

Absolutely Turkey

"An excellent way to see the highlights of Turkey for those short on time. Enquire about upgrading to the cave hotel in Cappadocia - it's an absolutely must-have experience." Bianca, traveled in April 2022

Western Turkey Explorer - 6 Days Tour

Western Turkey Explorer - 6 Days

"There was not one thing that went wrong or was not to my satisfaction for the entire 7 days and 8 nights." Mandy, traveled in July 2019

Absolute Turkey Tour

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Absolute Turkey

"At 71 this was my first tour with Tour Radar/G Adventures, I only wish I had found them long before this." Thomas, traveled in July 2022

Best of Turkey by Land (5 & 4 Star Hotels) Tour

Explorer Historical

Best of Turkey by Land (5 & 4 Star Hotels)

"Sights were amazing, hots very good and food authentic and varied. Highly recommended." Peter, traveled in August 2022
  • €150 deposit on some dates

The Best of Turkey Tour

In-depth Cultural Coach / Bus

The Best of Turkey

"Everything was first rate. Tour Radar quickly answered all questions and took care of the many details." Patricia, traveled in May 2023

2 Days Gallipoli & Troy Tour Tour

2 Days Gallipoli & Troy Tour

"This to me is a severe deficiency." Paul, traveled in November 2023
  • €100 deposit on some dates

10 Days Turkey Escapades Tour Tour

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10 Days Turkey Escapades Tour

"Excellent and amazing" kevin, traveled in May 2024

Turkey Encompassed Tour

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"Really enjoyed the tour, with the small group size & emphasis on meeting local people." Andrea, traveled in September 2019

The Wonders of Turkey: Classical Turkey 13 Day Tour Tour

The Wonders of Turkey: Classical Turkey 13 Day Tour

"Istanbul was impressive and Cappadocia was an unforgettable experience. The hotels were wonderful and the food inside the hotels was better than I expected." Diana, traveled in April 2023

Turkey Group Discovery 10D/9N Tour

In-depth Cultural Active Family Explorer Christmas & New Year +3

Turkey Group Discovery 10D/9N

"It was a very good experience. Cappadocia in the snow was an unexpected highlight" Michelle-Rose, traveled in April 2019
  • 10% deposit on some dates

3 Days Gallipoli, Troy & Pergamon and Ephesus Private Tour from Istanbul Tour

3 Days Gallipoli, Troy & Pergamon and Ephesus Private Tour from Istanbul

Gallipoli, Troy, Ephesus, Pamukkale and Cappadocia Tour from Istanbul Tour

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Gallipoli, Troy, Ephesus, Pamukkale and Cappadocia Tour from Istanbul

"Great 6 days Gallipoli, Troy, Ephesus, Pamukkale and Cappadocia tour. Cleopatra pool pamukkale, I am recomments every body to see in pamukkale." Kate, traveled in August 2019

What people love about Gallipoli Tours

We went on the 2024 ANZAC day Colonial Tour with Ege Ertas as our guide over 13 days. Türkiye far exceeded our expectations in the ancient sites we visited, the people we met and the delicious food we had daily. The knowledge that Ege imparted in each of the places we visited was very impressive. He has been the best tour guide we’ve experienced. Fez travel were very easy to work with and we look forward to returning to do another tour with them
Fez Travel packed in lots of sights and things to see and do. I liked the variety in our stops and sights. Well planned except for the last couple of days. Somehow, they need to be tweaked so there are not so many unreasonable night departures. I would have rather paid a bit more and had the meals ordered when we sat down. Buffet meals were luke warm, over cooked, and meats were so dry from heating for long periods. The meals we sat down and was served were much better, tastier, better variety of foods.
We had a nice time in Turkey thank you to Fatih our guide for his passionate commentary of the Anatolian civilisations history.
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  • Turkey Travel Guide | All You Need to Know

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2 Weeks in Turkey: The Perfect Turkey Itinerary

Last updated: April 17, 2024 - Written by Jessica Norah 92 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 with Discover Cars 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.

We have a selection of recommended tours that are similar to this itinerary in this guide. We also suggest taking a look at Turkey tours on TourRadar here , where you’ll find a range of tours from various tour operators at different price points and durations.

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 13 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 see lots more tours in Turkey from various tour operators on TourRadar here .

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 Booking.com 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 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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Isha Post author

March 24, 2024 at 3:23 pm

I will be in Turkey on Tuesday. This guide has been an extremely useful resource in planning my 14 day trip. I will be starting from Istanbul to Izmir (stay in kusadasi) – Cappadocia – Antalya (from Antalys day trip to Heirapolis and Permukkale). Thank you very much

Jessica & Laurence Norah Post author

March 25, 2024 at 4:26 am

So happy to hear our Turkey itinerary has been helpful in planning your own 14 day trip. Sounds like you hae a great trip planned. Hope you have a wonderful time and just let us know if you have any questions!

Best, Jessica

April 10, 2024 at 2:02 am

Hi, thanks again for this blog which was the best resource in planning my trip. I am back. I had an amazing time. The only thing i did not need was a water bottle (which i packed). I also downloaded the vpn.

Istanbul – toured by myself and didnt need a tour guide as most places are accessible by wandering around-4 days flew to Izmir-kusadasi-ephesus. did a tour with a guide. 2 days

flew to cappadocia did the green and red tours, skipped the balloon. Also did the turkish night dance which was overpriced in my opinion. 4 days

flew to Antalya. did day tour and went to permukkale and hierapolis by road.

Thank you so much for this amazing blog resource.

April 14, 2024 at 1:00 am

You’re very welcome and thanks for taking the time to tell us about your travels in Turkey. So glad you had such a great trip to Turkey and that our Turkey itinerary was a helpful resource in planning your trip and thanks for letting us know where you went and how you organized your time. Sounds like you did a mix of independent travel and guided travel, which sounds nice. I am sure it might be helpful to future readers looking to plan a similar trip.

Hawa Post author

February 20, 2024 at 4:33 am

Thank you so much for sharing your 14 day itinerary as well as tips! Extremely useful and no doubt that you guys had an amazing time! My hubby and I are planning to visit Turkey in September. Overall itinerary is 16-17 days. We want to visit the following places but are not sure which way to plan the routing. Can you please advise/assist us based on the places that we want to visit. We also not keen to hire a car and would prefer flying wherever possible. If there are no flights available for certain routes, then we opt to take a bus. The places are: Istanbul, Izmir, Pamukkale, Cappadocia and Antalya. Please assist us. Also we were planning to spend 3 full days in Antalya and about 2 and half days in Cappadocia. Is this okay? Or would you suggest us staying longer in Cappadocia then Antalya. Thank you! Kind regards,

February 20, 2024 at 12:44 pm

Happy to try to help with your trip. I am going to assume you are flying in and out of Istanbul? In that case, you could do Istanbul – Izmir – Pamukkale – Antalya – Cappadocia – Istanbul or do that in reverse ordering, leaving Istanbul and going to Cappadocia first. It really makes little difference which way you go, just that you on in an order that makes logical sense.

So a trip based on those locations and some of your plans you stated might be:

Istanbul – 3 nights Izmir – 4 nights Pamukkale – visit as part of a day trip from Izmir? Antalya – 4 nights Cappadocia – 3 nights Istanbul – 2 nights

Above is 16 nights in total

So it is easy to fly from Istanbul to Izmir. When in Izmir, you can either use local buses, taxis, or join day tours to visit places like Epheseus and Kuşadası. I’d also consider taking a day tour from here to Pamukkale. You can see a number of day tours available from Izmir here on GYG and here on Viator .

For Pamukkale, you can visit by public bus, join a day tour from Izmir (or Antalya), fly into Denizli airport and then take a taxi or bus. I’d probably opt to just join a day tour as you don’t have to worry about getting to the actual sites from a bus station or airport. Most of the tours include stops at both the hot springs and the ancient city of Hierapolis.

Then from Izmir, you can take a flight to Antalya and then taxi to your hotel. Then from Antlaya, you can take a flight to Cappadocia (2 different airprot options). Then from Cappadocia, fly back to Istnabul for a couple of days before your flight howm.

Our suggested itinerary has lots of info on things to do at each of these locations, but feel free to ask if you have further questions.

Anyway hope that helps answer your questions and get you started in planning out your itinerary and starting to book your trip.

Just let us know if you have more questions as you continue to research your trip!

Linda Post author

January 14, 2024 at 6:50 pm

Hi Jessica and Lawrence, Your post is so amazing and helpful for me to understand traveling in Turkey! My partner and I are thinking of hiking the Lycien Way. Do you have any recommendation regarding tour group and how to do it? This will be our first time going to Turkey. Thank you! Linda

January 15, 2024 at 4:49 pm

So glad that our Turkey itinerary has been helpful to you and your partner. So are you looking to extend a 2 week trip around Turkey by adding in the hike, or are you going to to focus on doing the hike? The full hike is about a month but you can easily do a shorter section of it which can range from 1 day to a couple of weeks.

So if you want to do a general trip around Turkey (similar to the one we wrote about) and hike the Lycien Way as part of a guided tour, I’d probably do a regular guided tour around Turkey first, exploring places like Istanbul, Epheseus, Antalya, Troy, Cappadocia, etc. first. We give lots of suggestions for tour companies that do similar itineraries to the one above as well as those for slightly shorter or longer trips.

Then after that ends (almost all begin and end in Istanbul) add on a second hiking specific tour of the Lycien Way after that you can get a flight down to Dalaman Airport (DLM) or Antalya Airprot. Most of the hiking trips end/begin at the Dalaman Airport (or in nearby Fethiye) or in Antalya. Domestic return flights within Turkey are normally pretty cheap (about $150 to $250 per person). You just need to be sure to book your tours in advance and leave a little leeway in case there are delays or anything, so I’d probably leave a full day at beginning and end (also nice to have a day to relax in between tours).

So as you probably already know the Lycien Way is an approximately 760 km (472 mile) way-marked footpath around the coast of Lycia in southern Turkey, stretching from Fethiye to Antalya. However, the exact length and such is different depending on map and guidebook, and has changed over time. But generally it takes about 30-40 days to walk the full path. It is generally recommended to do it in the Spring by most sources although autumn also can be nice. I can’t give any specific personal advice on hiking it or a tour group as we have never tried hiking any more than a short section.

Now if you are looking for a tour group, I don’t know of any that regularly do the full path from start to finish with English speaking guides (I would check local hiking/trekking companies in Turkey or ask in a Turkey hiking forum) but there are several companies that do group or private 6-10 day hiking highlights tours of the Lycien Way so that you experience some of the main and more scenic and easy to reach sections. But they also arrange your transport, food, luggage, accommodation, etc. Tour companies like Intrepid, Explore, and UTracks all seems to offer them, and the Explore one in particular seems to get a lot of really good reviews online. You can compare various tours here that include the Lycien Way.

If you want to do the Lycian Way, I would recommend getting a copy of the English guidebook on this by Kate Clow (she is the authority on the route as she waymarked and promoted it). Note that the latest version of this guidebook was published in 2022 (it can be hard to find so you may need to order it directly from her website Trekking in Turkey). This guidebook along with free online resources and mapping apps should help inform and guide you whether you choose to do it on your own or with a guide.

Hope the above helps, but let me know if you have more questions as you research and plan your trip to Turkey!

Charles Post author

December 15, 2023 at 4:18 pm

Istanbul, Turkey is such a captivating destination, love the Hagia Sophia, Blue Mosque, Topkapi Palace, and the Grand Bazaar. This website offers such valuable insights into these attractions, as well as local cuisine and practical travel advice. Had such an enjoyable visit to this enchanting city. Would love to return to follow your whole itinerary but not the time on this trip. Thanks so much and Happy travels!

December 16, 2023 at 8:18 am

Hi Charles,

So glad you had such a wonderful visit to Istanbul and glad you found our Turkey articles helpfull. Hope you get a chance to return to Turkey soon and see more of the country beyond Istanbul – lots of great places to visit!

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 .

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!

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 Booking.com (or Hotels.com) 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!!

ALEX THOMPSON Post author

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.

LYNETTE SANTIAGO Post author

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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Gallipoli itineraries and travel guides

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  18. The Gallipoli Campaign battlefield tour

    Tour Introduction. During this wonderful tour to Turkey we will visit and examine the main aspects of the Gallipoli campaign: the naval assault, the problems of landing against defended beaches at Cape Helles, the command, control and communication issues, the miracle that was ANZAC, the Turkish perspective, the conditions at Gallipoli, the ...

  19. Gallipoli Pilgrimage by Intrepid Travel (Code: ERAG)

    Itinerary. Start and end in Istanbul! With the Explorer tour Gallipoli Pilgrimage, you have a 2 days tour package taking you through Istanbul, Turkey and 2 other destinations in Turkey. Gallipoli Pilgrimage includes accommodation in a hotel as well as an expert guide, meals, transport and more. Expand All. Introduction. Day 1 Istanbul/Gallipoli.

  20. 10 Best Gallipoli Tours & Trips 2024/2025

    Browse the best tours in Gallipoli with 2,776 reviews visiting places like Gallipoli and Istanbul. All Major Brands. Biggest selection. Best Prices. Shop 2,500 operators. 4.5 stars on ... Fez Travel packed in lots of sights and things to see and do. I liked the variety in our stops and sights. Well planned except for the last couple of days.

  21. A Guide to the Best Things to do in Gallipoli

    The Greek fountain. One of the most historic and interesting architectural features of Gallipoli is the Greek Fountain. The water feature dates back to the 16th-century; while one side features mythological carvings, the other is carved with symbols of Gallipoli itself and is located on the mainland, just across from the little island.

  22. 2 Weeks in Turkey: The Perfect Turkey Itinerary

    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, sandy beaches, traditional bazaars, and scenic landscapes. We also ...

  23. Gallipoli itineraries and travel guides

    Itineraries and travel guides written by real travelers to help you plan your trip. ... Hotels; Log in; Sign up. All guides Turkiye Turkish Aegean Coast Canakkale Province Gallipoli. Gallipoli itineraries and travel guides. Top guides. Gallipoli: top places to visit. The most-mentioned places by blogs and itineraries on the web. Auto-generated.