Turkey. A land of culture, history, food, beaches and surprises. There are so many ways to explore Turkey. Take a look at our Turkey itinerary to see what we did, what we loved and what we would change next time.
16 Day Turkey Itinerary
Day 1 (Tuesday) – Istanbul
We arrived in Istanbul after 19hrs of flying, at around 8am. After settling into our apartment near Taksim Square, we set out on foot to discover Istiklal Street. We walked from Taksim Square to Galata Tower. We then had a meat feast for dinner in Istiklal Street.
Day 2 (Wednesday) – Istanbul
Our first look at the Old City of Istanbul, we headed into Sultanhmet, took in some sights (Blue Mosque, Hagia Sophia, Basilica Cistern), stopped for lunch to get our energy up to explore the Grand Bazaar.
Day 3 (Thursday) – Istanbul
We ventured to the Asian Side of Istanbul! Explored Kadikoy, the streets, the markets. Then we spent the rest of the day around Taksim. By now we are starting to realise there are so many things to do in Istanbul.
Day 4 (Friday) – Istanbul
Chris and I woke early, caught the funicular and tram to Findikli station, then started walking. We walked past the rainbow stairs, past “French Street” (don’t bother), to Galata. Stopped for a fresh orange juice and Turkish Tea overlooking the Galata Bridge, then walked over the bridge to explore the Spice Markets. Got a fresh cheese and meat roll then headed to the Chora Church and Istanbul walls.
Day 5 (Saturday) – Istanbul
Today we did a full circle Bosphorus Cruise which stopped in a village at the top of the Bosphorus. We then went out for dinner in the old city at Dejavu. A fitting way to finish off our Istanbul food experiences. So happy that we had 5 days in Istanbul.
Day 6 (Sunday) – Istanbul to Gallipoli to Cannakale
We travelled by bus from Istanbul to Gallipoli (took about 5 – 6hrs). We then did a tour around Gallipoli, stopping at all the different places of interest. Then caught a ferry to Cannakale.
Day 7 (Monday) – Cannakale to Kusadasi (+ Troy + Pergamon)
Another big day, left Cannakale via mini bus, to get to Kusadasi. Stopping at Troy and Pergamon on the way (ruins).
Day 8 (Tuesday) – Kusadasi (+ Ephesus + Waterpark)
A day tour to Ephesus, followed by an afternoon at Aqua Fantasy waterpark. Dinner in Kusadasi.
Day 9 (Wednesday) – Kusadasi to Pamukkale
Left Kusadasi via mini-bus, to get to Pamukkale (about 3hrs). Visited Pamukkale (hot springs and national park) and Hierapolis (ancient city ruins). Stayed overnight in the tiny village of Pamukkale.
Day 10 (Thursday) – Pamukkale to Marmaris
Took a bus from Denizli Station to Marmaris. Walked around Marmaris, had a look at Marmaris Castle.
Day 11 (Friday) – Marmaris
Looked around the town in Marmaris. Caught up on some work.
Day 12 (Saturday) – Marmaris (on boat)
Marmaris during day. Dinner and sleep on Gulet in Marmaris Port.
Day 13 (Sunday) – Gulet – Eckincik Bay
Sailed to Eckincik Bay. Went on a put put boat to Dalyan, past Ancient rock tombs. Also stopped at mud baths. Night on boat.
Day 14 (Monday) – Gulet
Sailed to Oludeniz bay, moored, swam. Moved to another location for more swimming and sleeping.
Day 15 (Tuesday) – Gulet to Fethiye
Had our final swims and sailed to Fethiye. On land again! Walked around Fethiye. Dinner at Mozaic.
Day 16 (Wednesday) – Fethiye to Rhodes
Time to farewell Turkey! On the boat to Rhodes, Greece in the morning.
Although we don’t normally love doing tours, the few day’s we did tours made those activities much easier to get to, to learn the history and move to the next destination. Although doing day tours can be exhausting, it allowed us to move smoothly from one place to the next without having to plan or think too much. Places like Gallipoli, Troy, Pergamon and Ephesus, which we did tours to, would have been much more time consuming and more difficult to do alone.
We spent 5 days in Istanbul, which was a great amount of time. You wouldn’t want much less, as there is so much to see and do. We only scratched the surface in 5 days, but for a first visit this was great!
Tours were exhausting, and distance travelled in Turkey was fairly exhausting. For our Itinerary, travelling as a group of 6, this itinerary fit what each person wanted to do, so the tours and distance were necessary.
Not necessarily a con, but a night shorter on the Gullet would be fine also if you had a shorter itinerary.
I wouldn’t spend as much time in the beach towns of Turkey. We went to Kusadasi, Marmaris and Fethiye. Although we enjoyed them, they didn’t have as much charm as I envisioned, so if you were going to go I would pick one, not three. Our pick was Kusadasi.
Next time I would love to explore Cappadocia! We couldn’t fit it in this time, and I think it would have been too hectic to fit it in with the itinerary we had to really enjoy it. But I would love to see Cappadocia, and have heard great things about it.
Our Turkey Itinerary: The Wrap Up
16 days in Turkey was enough time to see a lot of different places (even though there are a lot of places we haven’t seen). Turkey has something to offer everyone, whether it’s beach, city or history. We loved the combination of all three!
Have you been to Turkey? What did you love? Or are you planning a trip?
Let us know if you have any comments or questions below…