Turkey - with all its history and its culture, its traditions and its modernity - is a country that is sure to delight, surprise, and amaze. Whether you have one week or two weeks to travel through Turkey, we've put together some of the best itineraries for you to ensure that you have an incredible time and see as much as you can.
Turkey is a vast country - it's about three times as big as the United Kingdom, or approximately the same size as France - so you'll have to think about your transportation options. There are plenty of domestic flights around the country but there's also the option to hire a car in Turkey.
No matter what, your holiday to Turkey will be one to remember!
The Perfect One Week Itinerary for Turkey
If you only have seven days in Turkey, you'll want to make sure you see as much as possible. You also don't want to spread yourself too thin, so dividing the week into two destinations is probably your best bet.
Start your week in Istanbul. It's arguably the hub of the country (though not the capital; that would be Ankara). No matter what, you should aim to spend at least three days in Istanbul as there are so many amazing places to visit.
Consider staying in a hotel in Sultanahmet, as it's extremely central to many of Istanbul's most famous landmarks. From there, you'll be able to visit The Grand Bazaar, The Blue Mosque, Hagia Sophia, and Topkapi Palace, each deserving of at least a few hours of your time.
After a few days soaking up Istanbul's history and culture, where you head next is up to your interests. For those wanting a bit of time to relax on the water, Turkey offers some of the most beautiful coastlines in the world. Head to Dalaman for a slice of heaven; sail in beautiful Göcek, float in the waters of the Blue Lagoon at Ölüdeniz, watch for loggerhead turtles at Iztuzu Beach, or lounge in the sun in Sarigerme, where the Aegean Sea meets the Mediterranean Sea.
If you're not as interested in the beach but want to take in even more of Turkey's history and topography, definitely make your way to Cappadocia for the rest of your week. The area is absolutely bursting with things to see: climb to the top of Uchisar Castle, head below the earth to the underground city of Derinkuyu, marvel at the "fairy chimneys" that are a result of millions of years of erosion, or soar above ground in a hot-air balloon. Cappadocia's otherworldly landscape will be guaranteed to blow you away, and will round out your perfect week's itinerary in Turkey.
The Perfect Two Week Itinerary for Turkey
With two weeks in Turkey, you definitely have a lot more freedom. No matter what, you'll still want to start your holiday in Istanbul; it's a fantastic way to be introduced to Turkish culture and ease you in nicely for the next two weeks travelling around the country.
In Istanbul, make sure to hit up all of the usual sightseeing spots, but take some time to visit lesser-known neighbourhoods, too; the area around Galata Tower, Karaköy, is sometimes overlooked by tourists, but deserves at least a day of wandering. Because you have more time, spend at least half a day visiting a traditional hamam or spa to start your holiday off with some rest and relaxation.
From Istanbul, head to Cappadocia. It really is a sight to behold; with its unique rock formations jutting up from the Anatolian plains, this is one destination that will leave you breathless. Cappadocia has plenty to see and do, so it's recommended to spend at least three days in the region in order to see everything it can offer.
From Cappadocia, you can take a domestic flight to Izmir. Izmir is an important stop in Turkey due to its proximity to Selcuk, which is just under an hour away. Selcuk is home to the Ephesus ruins, an essential place to visit in Turkey for anyone interested in the country's fascinating history and global influence. The ancient city of Ephesus was once considered the most important trading hub in the Mediterranean region; not to be missed are the Library of Celsus and the Temple of Artemis.
Once you've explored the ruins for a day or two, head to the unbelievably beautiful city of Fethiye. A few days on holiday in Fethiye is sure to recharge your batteries! With its stunning beaches and its proximity to many archeological sites, you'll be able to while away the hours quite easily. Spend at least three days here for the ultimate in Turkish relaxation.
Unfortunately, your time in Turkey is almost at an end, but there is still a lot to do in the region. You can spend a day or two exploring Pamukkale, home to Turkey's "cotton castle", head to the lesser-known but extremely charming town of Alacati, or take in the Acropolis of Pergamum. You might have to head back to Istanbul to catch your flight home, but with a city as enchanting as Istanbul, we're sure you won't mind!
There you have it: the perfect one-week and two-week itineraries for Turkey. There's never enough time to see it all, of course; there's also the coastline between Bodrum and Olympos, the jaw-dropping mountain-top temple of Nemrut Dagi in southeastern Turkey, the food and art of Ankara, the excellent trekking in the Kackar Daglari mountain range, and so much more.
Whatever you choose to do in Turkey, you're guaranteed to have a holiday of a lifetime. What are you waiting for? Book your holiday to Turkey today!