12 DAYS IN TURKEY AND THE BEST ITINERARY!
Day by day, Turkey Tourism continues to remain in rapid growth momentum. According to the World Tourism Organization; Turkey is one of the first 6 countries in the world that hosts most tourists. The vast majority of tourists are visiting historic sites and seaside resorts in Turkey.
Even though Istanbul, Cappadocia, and Ephesus Ruins are the most well-known destinations in Turkey, there are countless things to do activities and visiting attractions! Generally, those who visit Turkey having 2 to 15 Days.
Having a 12 Days Trip to Turkey is fairly enough to visit the Highlights of Turkey. However, there are many places to visit and explore as we mentioned. On this hand, this post will be a perfect guidebook for your Turkey Itinerary, if you do not know where to start or overwhelmed about planning.
Day 1: Arrival in Istanbul
As the most crowded city in Turkey with a 16 -18 million population, Istanbul is the country’s cultural, historical, and financial center. Since this city is the center for inbound and outbound flights, most probably you will start your Turkey Trip in Istanbul. Upon arrival at Istanbul New Airport(IST) or Sabiha Gökcen Airport(SAW). Take your transfer to your hotel according to your landing time and rest.
Day 2: Ephesus Ancient City Tour
Take one of the domestic flights to Izmir City and join to Ephesus Ancient City full-day guided Tour. Ephesus is the largest open-air museum of Turkey where you may explore the ancient ruins from the Ancient Greek and Roman Empire periods. Here you may read our post about Ephesus Ancient City!
At the end of the tour, stay overnight in Kusadasi Town. Kusadasi is one of the most beautiful seaside towns where you may stay overnight in Turkey. The population is only 115.000 and it is located by the side of the Aegean Sea. So, on your potential stay in Kusadasi Town, you may walk by the Aegean Sea, explore the local life, and have an unforgettable dinner in one of the fish or local food restaurants.
Day 3: Pamukkale Natural Springs and Hierapolis Ancient City Tour
Join a full-day guided tour to Pamukkale. Explore; Pamukkale Natural Springs and Hierapolis Ancient City, which is the second most popular destination in the Aegean Region after the Ephesus Ruins.
Pamukkale contains terraces filled with natural hot spring water. These terraces have been formed for centuries by the combination of calcium carbonate and limestone. It is one of the most unique places that you may see around the World!
Hierapolis Ancient City is located next to Pamukkale. It is a typical Roman city and includes one of the best examples of the Ancient Greco-Roman Theaters. In addition, Pamukkale is one of the two places in Turkey where the Hot Air Balloon Flights are operated. The second and the most well-known is Cappadocia. Sometimes, travelers being late to reserve their places in Cappadocia and they miss out on the availability of this activity. So, Pamukkale might be a good option if you are one of those. At the end of your day, stay overnight in one of the thermal hotels in Pamukkale.
Also, do not forget to read our post about Pamukkale in which explained all about Pamukkale; Pamukkale, Turkey!
Day 4 – 6: Travel from Pamukkale to Antalya City
Antalya, Turkey’s largest city in the Mediterranean region. In recent years, it has become a frequently mentioned tourism city with its wonderful beaches, natural and cultural beauties.
There are 3 options to get from Pamukkale to Antalya;
First; you may go to the bus station of Pamukkale and take an intercity bus to Antalya. This costs about 60 – 80 lira per person and lasts approx. 4-5 hours.
Second; you can rent a car. However, we do not recommend this option as you do not hold sway over the local rules and local traffic.
Third; you may book a private transfer to Antalya. This is the most comfortable and timely way to reach Antalya. You can contact our team and book door to door private transfer.
In Antalya, you may visit the below places;
Kaleiçi / Old City of Antalya: The castle walls in the old city have been well preserved until today. Walking through these walls will provide you a glimpse of stunning architecture, dating back to the Eastern Roman Empire, Byzantine, Seljuk, Ottoman Empire, and the modern Turkish Republic at the end.
Famous Waterfalls of Antalya: There are several very nice waterfalls in and around Antalya such; Düden Waterfall. We highly recommend you to visit one of those and swim in the Mediterranean sea. Or, you may join a tour which visits Düden Waterfall during the tour.
Antalya Archeological Museum: Visit the largest archeological museum of Antalya City. And, explore the numerous artifacts dug out from Perge, Side, Termessons, and other ancient destinations near to Antalya.
Termessos, Perge, Side, and Aspendos: These are the most well-known archaeological sites near to Antalya. If you are a history lover, we highly recommend visiting these places.
Day 7 – 9: Travel from Antalya to Cappadocia
Cappadocia is a top travel destination in Turkey. Almost no one leaves Turkey without visiting Cappadocia. During your visit, we are sure that you will love in; rock formations, fairy chimneys, hot air balloon rides, and several other activities. The distance from Antalya to Cappadocia is approx. 580 km. And you have 4 different options to reach Cappadocia;
First; you can take public transport from Antalya to Cappadocia. This costs about 80 – 100 lira per person and lasts approx. 4-5 hours.
Second; you can rent a car in Antalya. However, we do not recommend this option as you do not hold sway over the local rules and local traffic.
Third; you may book a private transfer to Cappadocia. This is the most comfortable and timely way to reach Cappadocia. You can contact our team and book door to door private transfer.
Fourth; you can take a flight to Cappadocia / Kayseri Airport (ASR).
Here is the list of must-do activities in Cappadocia;
- Join the Red/North Tour of Cappadocia! Visits: Panoramic View of Goreme, Goreme Open Air Museum, Three Beauties Rock Formation, Devrent Valley, Pasabag Valley, and Avanos Village.
- Join the Green/South Tour of Cappadocia! Visits: Red Valley, Love Valley, Cavusin Valley, Valley of Doves, Cavusin Castle, and Kaymakli or Derinkuyu underground cities.
- Take Cappadocia Hot Air Balloon Tour!
- Experience the Whirling Dervishes / Sufi Dance Ceremony!
- Join the Turkish Night and Dinner Show!
- Join the ATV or Horse Safari!
Day 10 – 12: Istanbul
Above all, Istanbul is the largest and most popular city in Turkey! There are numerous things to do in Istanbul. You should have at least a week to explore Istanbul completely. However, many travelers wish to visit the highlights of Istanbul in their limited time! On this hand, we have provided a list of must-visit places in Istanbul;
- Join a full-day guided Old-City Tour! Visits: Hagia Sophia, Topkapi Palace, Blue Mosque, and Grand Bazaar!
- Visit Chora Museum, Dolmabahce Palace, and Beylerbeyi Palace!
- Take a ferry trip across the Bosphorus, with a stunning view connecting the European and Asian sides!
- Climb to the top of Galata Tower and take a picture of your life-time Turkey Travel!
- Experience the very famous Turkish Bath / Hammam!
We highly recommend you leaving the Istanbul part to the end of your travel plan! For some reason, your return flight to Istanbul could be canceled, or some other travel difficulties may occur; if you do not leave the Istanbul part to the end of your travel plan, this may cause a serious problem to catch your departure flight!
If you would like to learn more about Istanbul, click here to read one of our posts created especially to describe Istanbul! Or, you can read our below post to learn which kinds of Tours you should better be picking in Istanbul; Small-Group Tours in Istanbul vs Private Guided Tours in Istanbul!