The availability of domestic flights makes it possible to visit at least five regions of Turkey in 12 days. Get an introduction to Turkish history with guided tours that include Ephesus and Istanbul's Hagia Sophia. Culinary travelers will enjoy an Eminonu street food tour and wine tasting in Sirince. Those keen on cultural experiences can join a pottery demonstration in Avanos and a cooking class in Cappadocia, while adventurers will appreciate e-biking in Antalya, scuba diving near Kas, and hiking the Lycian Way.

Itinerary #1: Journey Through Turkey's Old Silk Road

As you follow this highlights tour along the Old Silk Road, you'll find a balance of relaxation and exploration that includes wine tasting in Şirince, guided tours of the Kaymaklı Underground City and the ancient ruins in Ephesus, a soak in Pamukkale's thermal waters, and more. A glimpse into the Sufi tradition in Cappadocia and Konya combined with visits to mosques and spiritual sites in İstanbul and Beyşehir also make this trip a great choice for those interested in religion and spirituality.

Stay three nights in Cappadocia and watch the changing light
Catch the sunset over the famous rock-hewn towns of Cappadocia
Day Highlights Overnight
Day 1 Arrive in İstanbul, Hiking Tour of the Walled City İstanbul
Day 2 Tour of İstanbul with the Blue Mosque, Hagia Sophia & Topkapı Palace İstanbul
Day 3 Visit the Grand Bazaar & Spice Bazaar, Boat Ride on the Bosphorus Strait İstanbul
Day 4 Free Time in İstanbul, Fly to Kayseri, Transfer to Cappadocia Cappadocia
Day 5 Visit the Göreme Open Air Museum, Ceramics Tour & Nature Walk Cappadocia
Day 6 Visit Kaymaklı Underground City & Uçhisar, Whirling Dervish Ceremony  Cappadocia
Day 7 Transfer to Konya via Aksaray, Visit the Melvana Museum Konya
Day 8 Transfer to Pamukkale via Beyşehir Pamukkale
Day 9 Visit Pamukkale's Hot Springs & the Ruins of Hierapolis Pamukkale
Day 10 Transfer to Şirince, Explore the Quaint Aegean Village Şirince
Day 11 Day Trip to the Ancient City of Ephesus Şirince
Day 12 Wine Tasting at Yedi Bedgiler Vineyards, Depart Şirince  

Kick off your Turkey tour in İstanbul with an urban hike through the Walled City, where you'll find remnants of the fortifications built by Constantinople. After a good night's rest, you'll tour İstanbul's most popular sites, including a stop at Topkapı Palace to see how Ottoman royalty lived. Catch a flight to Kayseri next, where your driver will be waiting to transfer you to Cappadocia. Here, you'll observe ceramic artisans at work in Avanos, trek amid the rock structures of Love Valley, and witness the Sufi Muslims' spinning meditative rituals at a whirling dervish performance at Saruhan Caravanserai

Moving on to Konya, visit the Melvana Museum and read some writings by Rumi, a famous Sufi mystic and Islamic scholar. Stop by the wooden Eşrefoğlu Mosque in Beyşehir en route to Pamukkale, where you'll refresh with a soak in the thermal springs and check out the ruins of Hierapolis, an ancient Roman spa city. Next, your driver will take you to Şirince for some wine and olive oil tasting. Finally, get a history lesson on the Hellenistic, Roman, and early Christian periods as you tour the well-preserved ruins of Ephesus, and cap off your trip with a wine tasting at Yedi Bilgiler Vineyards. Learn more

Itinerary #2: Turkish Food & Culture Tour

Foodies will appreciate this 10-day gastronomic exploration, featuring traditional Turkish dishes paired with cultural experiences. You'll take a street food tour in İstanbul, go wine tasting in İzmir, level up your skills with an Anatolian cooking class, and select your own seafood at the Kusadası Fish Market. Plus, you'll have the chance to soar over Cappadocia's fairy chimneys in a hot-air balloon, learn about Turkish carpet weaving techniques in Çamlık, and reset with a traditional hammam experience in İstanbul.

Try a variety of delicious Turkish dishes, like this pide
Try a variety of delicious Turkish dishes like "pide," also known as "Turkish pizza"
Day Highlights Overnight
Day 1 Arrive in İstanbul, Dinner at Tuğra Restaurant İstanbul
Day 2 Cruise on the Bosphorus, 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 of 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, Visit Urlice Vineyards, Transfer to Alacatı Alaçatı
Day 9 Visit Can Carpets, Explore Ephesus, Transfer to Şirince Şirince
Day 10 See the "Cotton Castle" of Pamukkale, Dinner at Kusadası Fish Market Şirince
Day 11 Fly to İstanbul, Hammam Experience, Dinner at Sofyalı 9 İstanbul
Day 12 Depart İstanbul  

Enjoy Ottoman-era decor and views of the Bosphorus Strait as you get your first taste of Turkish cuisine at Tuğra Restaurant on arrival. The next day, cruise the Bosphorus on a private yacht, then try hünkarbeğendi (roasted meat served on mashed eggplant) and other traditional dishes at an esnaf lokantası, a casual-style restaurant that serves premade meals. Your culinary journey continues with fasulye, a classic dish of white beans cooked in tomato sauce with rice, at Suleymaniye Kurufasulyecisi, followed by souvenir shopping at the Grand Bazaar and a stop at Samatya Develi for kebabs.

Before leaving İstanbul, take a tasting tour of Eminönü and Kadıköy that includes stuffed mussels and other local delicacies. Fly to Cappadocia next, where you'll picnic among the Ihlara Valley fairy chimneys, sample local ingredients prepared with contemporary techniques at Seki, and take part in a cooking class. Catch a flight to İzmir for a wine tasting at Urlice Vineyards and a carpet weaving demonstration in Çamlık. Indulge in çiğ balık (fish carpaccio) and other Aegean foods at Nişanyan House in Selçuk, then wrap up your trip with a rejuvenating hammam experience back in İstanbul before departure. Learn more

Plan your trip to Turkey
Chat with a local specialist who can help organize your trip.

Itinerary #3: Tranquil Turkey: Ancient Ruins, Modern Cities & Relaxing Spas

Another great choice for first-time visitors interested in a balance of historical highlights and rejuvenating experiences, this İstanbul to Antalya itinerary includes spa treatments in the thermal pools of Pamukkale and at a historic hammam in İstanbul, wine tasting and overnights in tranquil Aegean villages, tours of Troy and other archaeological sites, and wildlife spotting in Mount Güllük-Termessos National Park.

Explore ancient wonders like the Celsus Library in Esphesus on your Turkey journey
Explore ancient wonders like the Celsus Library in Esphesus
Day Highlights Overnight
Day 1 Arrive in İstanbul, Spa Day at Hürrem Sultan Hammam İstanbul
Day 2 İstanbul Sightseeing: Visit the Blue Mosque, Hagia Sophia & Topkapı Palace İstanbul
Day 3 Explore İstanbul's Bazaars, Boat Ride on the Bosphorus Strait İstanbul
Day 4 İstanbul Archaeological Museum Tour, Transfer to Çanakkale Çanakkale
Day 5 Explore the Ancient Cities of Troy & Assos, Transfer to Adatepe Adatepe
Day 6 Transfer to Bergama, Discover Pergamon & Asclepion Bergama
Day 7 Transfer to the Aegean Village of Şirince, Wine Tasting at a Local Vineyard Şirince
Day 8 Discover the UNESCO World Heritage Site of Ephesus Şirince
Day 9 Transfer to Pamukkale, Visit Roman Ruins & Hot Springs Pamukkale
Day 10 Transfer to Antalya, Tour of the Old Town of Kaleiçi Antalya
Day 11 Tour the Ancient Cities of Aspendos & Perge Antalya
Day 12 Visit Termessos & Mount Güllük National Park, Fly to İstanbul, Depart  

Refresh after your flight with a Turkish spa experience at the historic Sultan Hammam in İstanbul. Over the next couple of days, you'll hit the city's top sites, including the Blue Mosque, where you can see the blue-hued tiles it's known for, and practice your bartering skills while shopping in the Grand Bazaar. Continue to Troy and explore the archaeological site and famed setting of the Trojan War, then stop by Assos for a visit to the Temple of Athena, Anatolia's only Doric-style temple. En route to Şirince, tour the ruins of the Greco-Roman city of Pergamon and learn about ancient healing traditions practiced here. 

Sample local wines in Şirince before heading to Ephesus to see the Temple of Artemis, one of the Seven Wonders of the Ancient World. Then, it's time for a spa day (complete with hot springs and a Turkish bath) in Pamukkale before transferring to Antalya. While in this resort city on the Mediterranean coast, you'll visit Hadrian's Gate and admire the Yivli Minaret (also known as the Aladdin Mosque). On your final day, check out Perge's ancient mosaics and Termessos' well-preserved rock tombs, then end your journey with some wildlife spotting in Mount Güllük-Termessos National Park. Learn more

Itinerary #4: Explore Turkey's Turquoise Coast by Land & Water

This sun-soaked Turquoise Coast trip is perfect for those who love combining city exploration and historical sites with adventures at sea. Highlights include the UNESCO-listed sites and maze-like markets of İstanbul, the ancient wonders of Ephesus and Bodrum, and a four-day cruise aboard a traditional Turkish yacht with options to paraglide over the beaches of Ölüdeniz or dive to explore underwater wreckage near Kaş. You'll also have some free time in Antalya and Bodrum for self-guided sightseeing or relaxing on the beach. 

Choose between paragliding or relaxing on the beach at Ölüdeniz
Choose between paragliding or relaxing on the beach at Ölüdeniz
Day Highlights Overnight
Day 1 Arrive in İstanbul, Explore the City İstanbul
Day 2 Fly to İzmir, Visit Urlice Vineyards, Transfer to Alaçatı Alaçatı
Day 3 Transfer to Kuşadası via the Ruins of Ephesus Kuşadası 
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 Embark on a Gulet Cruise, Optional Paragliding Excursion  St. Nicholas Island
Day 8 Cruise to Kaş, Optional Scuba Diving  Kaş
Day 9 Cruise to Kekova, Admire Dolchiste & Explore Kaleköy Kekova Island
Day 10 Disembark the Gulet, Transfer to Antalya Antalya
Day 11 Visit the Ancient Cities of Perge & Aspendos Antalya
Day 12 Depart Antalya  

Get to know İstanbul with street food tastings and visits to UNESCO-listed sites like Hagia Sophia. Then, fly to İzmir and learn about ancient viticultural techniques at Urlice Vineyards. Head to Alaçatı, your starting point for a tour that includes the Isabey Mosque and an afternoon to admire the Great Theater and other ruins at Ephesus. Continue to Bafa Lake Natural Park for bird-watching, then stop by Kapıkırı to see the ruins of ancient temples and tombs. Next, take a tour of Bodrum that includes the Mausoleum of Halicarnassus, one of the Seven Wonders of the Ancient World, before relaxing on Yahşi Beach.

From there, your driver will whisk you away to Fethiye, where you'll sample seafood from Fethiye Fish Market and take a hike up to the Tomb of Amyntas to see the Lycian-built tombs carved into the steep rocks. Then, you'll board a yacht for a four-day cruise along the Turquoise Coast, including a swim in Aquarium Bay, scuba diving or shopping for handcrafted silver jewelry in Kaş, and views of the sunken ruins of Dolchiste in Kekova. Disembark in Üçağız and transfer to Antalya, where you'll have free time to visit the sites or spend leisurely time at the beach before departure. Learn more

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

Outdoorsy travelers will enjoy this active Turkey itinerary that hops between the valleys of Cappadocia, the Aegean coast, and İstanbul. You'll ride bikes through the windswept Pancarlık Valley at sunset, hike amid fairy chimney rock formations in the Ihlara Valley, take an e-bike tour of coastal Antalya, trek up to Mount Tahtalı for views over the Mediterranean, and tackle a full-day hike to the Olympos ruins. Take it easy with a day of swimming at Suluada Island, then experience a section of the Lycian Way and do some urban hiking along İstanbul's city walls. 

Kick things off in Cappadocia, where you'll explore the famous fairy chimneys on horseback
Kick things off in Cappadocia, where you'll pass the famous fairy chimneys on horseback
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, E-Bike Tour Antalya
Day 5 Trek to the Summit of Mount Tahtalı  Antalya
Day 6 Transfer to Adrasan via Yanartaş, Free Afternoon Adrasan
Day 7 Hike to the Olympos Ruins via Musa Dağı Adrasan
Day 8 Suluada Island Boat Tour Adrasan
Day 9 Cape Gelidonya Hike, Fly to İstanbul İstanbul
Day 10 Urban Hike Along İstanbul's City Walls, Relax at a Hammam İstanbul
Day 11 Join a Walking Tour of the Beyoğlu & Kadıköy Districts İstanbul
Day 12 Free Time in İstanbul, Depart  

Start your Turkey adventure in Cappadocia with a sunset bike ride, passing the distinctive rock formations and rock-cut churches of the Pancarlık Valley. Then, set your alarm for a special early morning experience: a hot-air balloon ride over the lunar-like landscapes, followed by a glimpse into what life was like in the Kaymaklı Underground City. After a visit to the fortress of Üçhisar and a pottery demonstration in Avanos, end your exploration of the region with a sunset horseback safari. Catch a flight to coastal Antalya next and cruise the city on an e-bike, stopping to see the waterfall at Düden Park.

Trek to the summit of Mount Tahtalı for dramatic views over mountains and sea, then continue to Yanartaş, famous for its eternal flames caused by volcanic activity. Use your free time in Adrasan to swim at Adrasan Sahil or hike to the castle ruins of Adrasan Kalesi, and trek through pine forests up Mount Musa to the Olympos ruins. The following day, take it slower with a boat trip to Suluada Island's secluded bays, then tackle a section of the famous Lycian Way to Cape Gelidonya before returning to İstanbul for an urban hike under the city's old walls. Learn 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.


Map of 12 Days in Turkey - 5 Unique Itinerary Ideas
Map of 12 Days in Turkey - 5 Unique Itinerary Ideas