Turkey's small size makes it possible to visit at least three regions in 11 days. First-timers can tour Istanbul's landmarks, wander the Ephesus ruins, and take a hot-air balloon over Cappadocia. Foodies will enjoy street eats in Eminonu and Kadikoy and an Anatolian cooking lesson in a local home. Active travelers can hike the Lycian Way and scuba dive in Kas, while history buffs will appreciate a road trip from Canakkale to Antalya with stops that include the ancient cities of Troy, Assos, and Aspendos.

Itinerary #1: Turkey's Top Landmarks Tour: Cappadocia, Ephesus, Pamukkale & Istanbul

With a mix of historic sites, cultural experiences, outdoor activities, and plenty of local cuisine, first-time visitors will get a great introduction to Turkey on this well-rounded itinerary. Starting in Cappadocia, you'll attend a whirling dervish performance, hike among quirky rock formations, and visit the Kaymaklı Underground City. Then, you'll tour the Ephesus archaeological site and relax in the thermal waters of Pamukkale. Wrap up your trip in İstanbul with a guided tour of iconic landmarks, a tasting tour of the markets, and an urban hike in the Old City.

A view of the Hagia Sophia in İstanbul and the Golden Horn of Turkey
Take in views of the Hagia Sophia in İstanbul and the Golden Horn of Turkey
Day Highlights Overnight
Day 1 Arrive in Kayseri, Transfer to Cappadocia, Whirling Dervish Ceremony Cappadocia
Day 2 Göreme Open Air Museum, Ceramics Tour in Avanos & Nature Walk Cappadocia
Day 3 Hot-Air Balloon Ride, Explore Deeper in Cappadocia Cappadocia
Day 4 Cappadocia Cooking Class, Horseback Safari, Fly to Şirince Şirince
Day 5 Discover the Ancient City of Ephesus, a UNESCO World Heritage Site Şirince
Day 6 Transfer to Pamukkale: Hot Springs, Ruins of Hierapolis & Spa Day Pamukkale
Day 7 Fly to İstanbul, Free Time to Explore İstanbul
Day 8 İstanbul Landmarks Tour: Blue Mosque, Hagia Sophia & Topkapı Palace İstanbul
Day 9 Discover İstanbul's Bazaars, Boat Ride on the Bosphorus Strait İstanbul
Day 10 Flavors of İstanbul Food Tour İstanbul
Day 11 Urban Hiking Tour of the Walled City, Depart İstanbul  

Waste no time after arriving in Kayseri, where you'll meet your driver and transfer to Cappadocia for a whirling dervish ceremony at the Saruhan Caravanserai. Next, check out the rock-cut churches and frescoes at the Göreme Open Air Museum and witness a pottery demonstration in Avanos. See the "fairy chimney" rock formations from above as you float over the lunar-like landscape in a hot-air balloon, then explore the tunnels of the Kaymaklı Underground City. Learn about Anatolian cooking with a local chef, and soak up the sunset scenery on a horseback ride before your flight to the Aegean coast.

With your base in the village of Şirince, you'll visit the Ephesus archaeological site, home to the ruins of the Temple of Artemis. Next, you're off to Pamukkale for a spa day and soak in the hot springs. Catch a flight to İstanbul where you'll visit historic landmarks like the Blue Mosque and Hagia Sophia, and practice your bartering skills in the bazaars. Enjoy the sunset over the city on a cruise along the Bosphorus Strait, and wrap up your trip with a tasting tour (yes, there are kebabs and baklava aplenty!) and a guided urban hike in the Old City. Learn more

Itinerary #2: Turkish Food & Culture Tour

Bring your appetite along for this culinary-focused exploration of Turkey. You'll sample street eats on a tasting tour of İstanbul, learn the art of Anatolian cuisine and enjoy a sunrise hot-air balloon ride in Cappadocia, tour the Ephesus ruins, savor Aegean cuisine at Nisanyan Hotel in Şirince. Soak in the Pamukkale hot springs, select your seafood for dinner in Kuşadası, indulge in a traditional Turkish spa experience, and celebrate with a farewell feast at Sofyalı 9. 

Try different Turkish dishes, like dolma or pide
Try a variety of Turkish dishes, like dolma and pide
Day Highlights Overnight
Day 1 Arrive in İstanbul, Dinner at Tuğra Restaurant İstanbul
Day 2 Cruise Along the Bosphorus, Evening Cultural Performance  İstanbul
Day 3 Guided Tour of Sultanahmet & Grand Bazaar, Feast on Kebabs İstanbul
Day 4 Street Food Tour of Eminönü & Kadıköy İstanbul
Day 5 Fly to Cappadocia, Lunch & Cooking Class, Whirling Dervish Show Cappadocia
Day 6 Hot-Air Balloon Ride, Tour the Region, Dinner at Seki Restaurant Cappadocia
Day 7 Kaymaklı Underground City, Ihlara Valley, Dinner at Lil'a Restaurant Cappadocia
Day 8 Fly to İzmir, Lunch at Can Carpet, Ephesus City Tour Şirince
Day 9 Visit Pamukkale, Choose Your Dinner at Kuşadası Fish Market Şirince
Day 10 Fly to İstanbul, Hammam Experience, Dinner at Sofyalı 9 İstanbul
Day 11 Depart İstanbul  

Dive into Turkish cuisine on arrival in İstanbul with dinner at Tugra Restaurant and Lounge. See the sites along the Bosphorus Strait by boat and grab a quick lunch at an esnaf lokantası (a popular type of restaurant with premade meals) before attending a folk performance. Embark on a walking tour of the Sultanahmet district, pausing for fasulye (white beans in tomato sauce with rice) at Suleymaniye Kurufasulyecisi, then do some souvenir shopping in the Grand Bazaar. Next, sample dürüm (a meat-filled wrap), midye dolma (stuffed mussels), and other street eats on a food tour of Eminönü and Kadıköy

Cook in a local home in Cappadocia, then enjoy a hot-air balloon ride and dine on manti (ravioli-like dumplings) and other Anatolian dishes at Lil'a Restaurant. Fly west and settle in Şirince to learn about traditional dying techniques at Can Carpets in Camlik, then tour the ruins of Ephesus and feast on ciğ balık (fish carpaccio with fresh ginger) and other Aegean dishes at the female-run Nisanyan Hotel. Next, your driver will take you to Pamukkale for a dip in the hot springs, followed by a seafood dinner in Kuşadası. The adventure ends with a Turkish spa experience in İstanbul and a farewell dinner at Sofyali 9Learn more

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Itinerary #3: Turkey's Greco-Roman Wonders: Istanbul to Antalya

Step into the past with this 11-day odyssey that's ideal for history buffs and archaeology and architecture enthusiasts. In İstanbul, you'll tour the İstanbul Archaeological Museum and visit the Hagia Sophia and other iconic sites. Then, your driver will take you on a road trip from Çanakkale to Antalya, with stops that include the ancient cities of Troy and Assos, the healing center of Asclepion, wine tasting at Yedi Bilgeler Vineyard, a full day to explore Ephesus, a refreshing spa day in Pamukkale, the ruins of Hierapolis, and the ancient cities of Aspendos and Perge.

Check off some of the richest sites in antiquity, like the Greco-Roman ruins of Pergamon
Check off some of the richest sites in antiquity, such as the Greco-Roman ruins of Pergamon
Day Highlights Overnight
Day 1 Arrive in İstanbul, Boat Ride on the Bosphorus İstanbul
Day 2 İstanbul Sightseeing, Visit the Blue Mosque, Hagia Sophia & Topkapı Palace İstanbul
Day 3 Get Lost in the Grand Bazaar & Eminonu Spice Bazaar İstanbul
Day 4 İstanbul Archaeological Museum Tour, Transfer to Çanakkale Çanakkale
Day 5 Transfer to Adatepe via the Ancient Cities of Troy & Assos Adatepe
Day 6 Transfer to Bergama, Discover Pergamon & Asclepion Bergama
Day 7 Transfer to Şirince, Wine Tasting at Yedi Bilgeler Vineyard, Village Stroll Şirince
Day 8 Discover the Ancient City of Ephesus, a UNESCO World Heritage Site Şirince
Day 9 Transfer to Pamukkale: Hot Springs, Roman Ruins & Spa Day Pamukkale
Day 10 Transfer to Antalya, Tour of the Old Town of Kaleiçi  Antalya
Day 11 Tour the Ancient Cities of Aspendos & Perge, Depart Antalya  

Get acquainted with İstanbul on arrival with a boat ride along the Bosphorus Strait. The following day, learn about İstanbul's history and architecture with a tour of the iconic Hagia Sophia, Topkapı Palace, and more, then pick up some souvenirs at the Eminonu Spice Bazaar. Before setting off on your Greco-Roman road trip, spend some time learning about Turkish heritage at the İstanbul Archaeological Museum. Your driver will take you to Çanakkale, your base for visiting the ancient cities of Troy and Assos. Continue to Bergama and explore the ancient city of Pergamon and the healing center Asclepion.

It's on to Yedi Bilgeler Vineyard for a wine tasting, followed by a stop at Şirince Bazaar to sample fresh produce and sip Turkish coffee. Spend a day marveling at the well-preserved ruins of Ephesus before continuing to Pamukkale for a hot springs soak and a visit to the ancient city of Hierapolis. Finally, you'll tour the old town of Kaleiçi, visit the Antalya Archaeological Museum, admire the Roman theater in the ancient city of Aspendos, and check out the mosaics at the Perge archaeological site before departing from Antalya. Learn more

Itinerary #4: Ancient Wonders & Adventure on Turkey's Turquoise Coast

This active coastal adventure is a great fit for travelers who enjoy ancient sites, outdoor experiences, and a flexible schedule. You'll explore at your own pace in İstanbul, wander the ruins of Ephesus, go bird-watching at Bafa Lake Natural Park, and enjoy a free afternoon at the beach in Bodrum. Take a self-guided tour of Paspatur, hike to the Tomb of Amyntas, sail the Turquoise Coast (or opt to paraglide over the Blue Lagoon), go scuba diving in Kaş, kayak to the sunken city of Dolchiste, visit the ancient cities of Perge and Aspendos, and use your free time to sunbathe or take a self-guided tour in Antalya before departure.

Kayak, sail, and dive off Turkey's Turquoise Coast
Kayak, sail, and dive off Turkey's Turquoise Coast
Day Highlights Overnight
Day 1 Arrive in İstanbul, Explore the City  İstanbul
Day 2 Fly to İzmir, Transfer to Alaçatı via Urlice Vineyards Alaçatı
Day 3 Transfer to Kuşadası via Selçuk & Ephesus  Kusadasi
Day 4 Transfer to Bodrum via Lake Bafa Nature Park Bodrum
Day 5 Historical Tour of Bodrum, Free Time to Explore Bodrum
Day 6 Transfer to Fethiye, Explore the City Fethiye
Day 7 Turquoise Coast Boat Cruise or Paraglide Over the Blue Lagoon  Fethiye
Day 8 Transfer to Kaş & Explore, Scuba Dive Excursion Kas
Day 9 Sea Kayaking at Kekova Island Kas
Day 10 Transfer to Antalya, Visit Perge & Aspendos Antalya
Day 11 Depart Antalya  

You'll have free time on arrival in İstanbul to explore at your own pace, perhaps touring the historic district of Sultanahmet and tasting Turkish street food at the Grand Bazaar. You'll then fly to İzmir and travel to the seaside village of Alaçatı, stopping en route to sample local wines at the Urlice Vineyards. Your driver will transfer you to Selçuk where you'll learn about Turkey's religious history at the Isabey Mosque and Basilica of St John before visiting the Great Theater and other sites at the Ephesus ancient city.

Stop for a bird-watching walk at Bafa Lake Natural Park en route to Bodrum, where you'll take a historical tour, then have an afternoon to relax at Yahsi Beach. Continue to Fethiye for a self-guided tour of the historic center of Paspatur and a hike to the Tomb of Amyntas. Spend your final day in Fethiye as you wish, sailing along the Turquoise Coast or paragliding over the Blue Lagoon before transferring to Kaş for a scuba diving excursion and kayak trip to Kekova Island and the sunken city of Dolchiste. Cap off your adventure in Antalya with a tour of Perge and a swim at Lara Beach. Learn more

Itinerary #5: Turkey Active Adventure: Cappadocia, Antalya, Adrasan & Istanbul

Active travelers eager to experience Turkey's outdoor activities will love this adventurous itinerary. You'll cycle and hike in Cappadocia, take an e-bike tour of Antalya, trek Mount Tahtalı, hike to Adrasan Castle, tackle the trail to the Olympos ruins, swim at Suluada Island, walk a section of the Lycian Way, take a guided urban hike in İstanbul, and finally, experience a Turkish bath at Hurrem Sultan Hammam.

Trek a portion of the Lycian Way along Turkey's Mediterranean coast
Trek a portion of the Lycian Way on this active adventure
Day Highlights Overnight
Day 1 Arrive in Kayseri, Transfer to Cappadocia, Sunset Bike Tour Cappadocia
Day 2 Hot-Air Balloon Tour, Kaymaklı Underground City, Ihlara Valley Hike  Cappadocia
Day 3 Explore Uçhisar, Watch a Pottery Demonstration, Horseback Safari  Cappadocia
Day 4 Fly to Antalya & the Mediterranean Coast, City E-Bike Tour Antalya
Day 5 Trek to the Summit of Mount Tahtalı Antalya
Day 6 Transfer to Adrasan via Yanartaş, Enjoy a Free Afternoon Adrasan
Day 7 Hike to the Olympos Ruins via Musa Dağı Adrasan
Day 8 Scenic Boat Trip to Suluada Island  Adrasan
Day 9 Hike the Lycian Way to Cape Gelidonya, Fly to İstanbul İstanbul
Day 10 İstanbul City Walls Urban Hike, Relax at a Hammam İstanbul
Day 11 Free Time in İstanbul, Depart  

You'll begin in Kayseri, where your driver will transfer you to Cappadocia to immerse in the otherworldly landscapes with a cycling tour, a horseback ride, and a hike. Then, you'll fly to Antalya for an e-bike tour followed by a trek and cable car ride to the summit of Mount Tahtalı. Your journey along the Mediterranean coast continues as you transfer to Adrasan, making a stop to see the flames at Yanartaş (Burning Rock). In Adrasan, soak up some sun and take a swim at one of the beaches, such as Adrasan Sahil, or, if you've got energy to burn, hike up the short but strenuous trail to Adrasan Castle.

After a good night's rest, you'll tackle the challenging trail to the Olympos ruins via Musa Dağı, then take a boat trip to Suluada Island, where you can rest your muscles with a beach day. Next, you'll hike a section of the Lycian Way to Cape Gelidonya, where you'll refuel with a picnic lunch. Finally, fly to İstanbul and enjoy one last outdoor adventure—an urban hike along the ancient city walls—before a rejuvenating spa experience at the Hurrem Sultan HammamLearn more

More Great Turkey Itineraries

Looking for more inspiration for your trip to Turkey? Check out these other Turkey itineraries, with outdoor adventures, cultural trips, and best-of tours to hit the highlights.


A note on diacritical and retroflex markings: In order to support the best technical experience and search functions, diacritical markings have been omitted from this article.


Map of 11 Days in Turkey - 5 Unique Itinerary Ideas
Map of 11 Days in Turkey - 5 Unique Itinerary Ideas