In eight days in Turkey, you can explore the essential historic sites and natural wonders of Cappadocia, Pamukkale, and Istanbul on a highlights tour. If history captivates you, dedicate half your time to ancient ruins scattered along the Aegean coast, or if you're a water enthusiast, seize the opportunity for a four-day sailing trip along the Turquoise Coast. Active adventurers can hike and bike around, while foodies divide their time between street food tours, upscale restaurants, and cooking classes.

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

Experience Turkey's must-see highlights, historical sites, and natural wonders on this classic itinerary. Ideal for first-time visitors, this adventure begins with three days in Cappadocia, takes you across the country to Pamukkale, and wraps up in İstanbul. Throughout, you'll soar above desert landscapes in a hot-air balloon, soak in mineral-rich hot springs that have been used as a spa since the days of Ancient Greece, and taste your way through İstanbul's Beyoğlu and Karaköy districts on a food tour. 

Spend a night in Pamukkale to visit its dramatic terraced hot springs and nearby ancient ruins
Spend a night in Pamukkale to visit its dramatic terraced hot springs and nearby ancient ruins
Day Highlights Overnight
Day 1 Arrive in Kayseri, Transfer to Cappadocia, Dervish Ceremony Cappadocia
Day 2 Visit Göreme Open-Air Museum, Explore the Cappadocian Valleys Cappadocia
Day 3 Hot-Air Balloon Tour of Cappadocia, Discover Kaymaklı Underground City Cappadocia
Day 4 Transfer Across Central Turkey to Pamukkale Pamukkale
Day 5 Explore Pamukkale & Hierapolis, Fly to İstanbul  İstanbul 
Day 6 Unearth History in Byzantine, Ottoman İstanbul  İstanbul 
Day 7 Heritage Tour of İstanbul, Boat Ride on the Bosphorus İstanbul
Day 8 İstanbul Food Tour, Depart  

Welcome to Turkey! After an easy transfer from Kayseri Airport to Cappadocia, you'll kick start your adventure with a memorable dervish ceremony at the 13th-century roadside inn of Saruhan Caravansarai. Delve deeper into the region's history the following morning at Göreme Open Air Museum, where you'll discover rock-cut churches and frescoes, followed by a gentle hike in Love Valley and a tour of the fortress-like town of Uçhisar. Your final day in Cappadocia proves to be just as memorable, with a sunrise hot-air balloon ride and a tour of the impressive Kaymaklı Underground City on the agenda. 

Nearing the midway mark of your trip, it's time to make the long but scenic transfer west to Pamukkale. Upon arrival, indulge in a glorious spa session, then dedicate the following morning to the region's mineral-rich hot springs and the afternoon to wandering the ruins of Hierapolis. Afterward, hop on a flight bound for İstanbul, where you'll spend your final three days. During your stay, join a guided city tour, roam the Grand Bazaar and the Spice Bazaar, cruise along the Bosphorus Strait, and treat your taste buds to a food tour through Beyoğlu and Karaköy districts. Learn more

Itinerary #2: From İstanbul to the Aegean: Discover Turkey's Greco-Roman Sites & Splendors

Turkey is renowned for its ancient Greco-Roman ruins, and on this eight-day trip, you'll have the opportunity to explore the best of them. Starting in İstanbul, enjoy a thorough introduction to the country's culture and history while visiting time-tested markets and roaming the İstanbul Archaeological Museum. Then, put your newfound knowledge to use as you travel down the Aegean coast, taking in epic ancient sites like the ruins of Troy and the wonders of Pergamon and Ephesus.

A cat in front of the UNESCO World Heritage Site of Ephesus, an important city through different historical periods
A cat in front of the UNESCO World Heritage Site of Ephesus, an important city through different historical periods
Day Highlights Overnight
Day 1 Arrive in İstanbul, Whirling Dervishes at Galata Mevlevihanesi Museum İstanbul
Day 2 İstanbul Sightseeing: Blue Mosque, Hagia Sophia & Topkapı Palace İstanbul
Day 3 Discover İstanbul's Bazaars, Boat Ride on Bosphorus Strait İstanbul
Day 4 İstanbul Archaeological Museum Tour, Transfer to Çanakkale Çanakkale
Day 5 Transfer to Behramkale, Explore the Ancient Cities of Troy & Assos  Behramkale
Day 6 Transfer to Şirince via Ancient Pergamon, Afternoon Wine Tasting Şirince
Day 7 Discover the Ancient City of Ephesus, a UNESCO World Heritage Site Şirince
Day 8 Free Morning in Şirince, Fly to İstanbul, Depart  

Your eight-day adventure begins in the bustling city of İstanbul. Here, you'll spend your first afternoon watching a mesmerizing whirling dervish ceremony at the Galata Mevlevihanesi Müzesi and dining at the traditional fish restaurant of Uskumru. Eager for more exploration, dedicate the next day to a six-hour guided tour, complete with stops at the Hippodrome, Blue Mosque, and the Topkapı Palace. Then, round off your stay in İstanbul by touring the Grand Bazaar, admiring the city while boating along the Bosphorus Strait, and diving into ancient history at the İstanbul Archaeological Museum.

Following a transfer to Çanakkale on Day 4, you'll delve even deeper into the tales of bygone times while visiting the ruins of Troy and the Troy Museum. Next, an overnight in Behramkale grants you the unique opportunity to climb the Temple of Athena, visit the Necropolis, and admire the Agora, but soon, you'll be back in a vehicle for a transfer south to Şirince. Along the way, stop by Bergama to walk among the ruins of Pergamon. Then, once in Şirince, dedicate your final days to discovering the Temple of Artemis, the House of the Virgin Mary, and highlights of the ancient city of Ephesus. Learn more

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Itinerary #3: Explore Turkey's Turquoise Coast By Land & Water

Discover the wonders of Turkey's Turquoise Coast on this eight-day itinerary, which blends land and sea exploration. Perfect for travelers looking to experience the historic wonders and superb landscapes of the country without having to worry about long transfers, you'll dedicate four days to sailing between Fethiye and Üçağız. Along the way, stop to swim in Kalkan Bay, scuba dive in Kaş, and discover the underwater city of Dolchiste. On either side of the cruise, enjoy time in İstanbul and Antalya. 

Sail the Turkish coastline in a traditional yacht
Sail the Turkish coastline in a traditional yacht
Day Highlights Overnight
Day 1 Arrive in İstanbul, Guided Tour of Sultanahmet İstanbul
Day 2 Fly to Fethiye, Explore Paspatur, Optional Paragliding Excursion  Fethiye
Day 3 Cruise to Butterfly Valley, Ölüdeniz & St. Nicholas Island St. Nicholas Island
Day 4 Cruise to Kalkan Bay & Kaş, Optional Scuba Diving Kas
Day 5 Cruise to Kekova, Admire Dolchiste & Explore Kaleköy Kekova Island
Day 6 Disembark Cruise, Transfer to Antalya Antalya
Day 7 Visit the Ancient Cities of Perge & Aspendos Antalya
Day 8 Depart Antalya  

Before heading to Turkey's Turquoise Coast, your adventure begins with a day in İstanbul. Here, you'll embark on a guided tour through the historic district of Sultanahmet and roam among the colorful shops in the Grand Bazaar. Then, catch a domestic flight to the Dalaman Airport, transfer to Fethiye, and spend the rest of the day exploring Paspatur, the town's historic center, and paragliding over Ölüdeniz Beach. The excitement continues the following day as you board a Turkish-style wooded yacht called a gulet and begin your four-day boat cruise along the Turquoise Coast

Your first sailing destination is St. Nicholas Island, stopping along the way to explore the enchanting Butterfly Valley and the renowned Blue Lagoon of Ölüdeniz. Then, spend the evening roaming the ancient ruins on St. Nicholas Island before sailing to Kaş, where you can visit local shops or consider a scuba diving excursion. Continuing along the Turquoise Coast, you'll reach Kekova, a region dotted with small islands and bays. After disembarking in Üçağız, transfer to Antalya and wrap up your adventure relaxing on Konyaalti Beach and discovering the ancient cities of Perge and Aspendos. Learn more

Itinerary #4: Turkey Active Adventure: Cappadocia, Antalya & Adrasan

Crafted for the active explorer, this adventure in Turkey features mountain hikes, e-bike tours, a hot-air balloon ride, and a horseback safari. Starting in Cappadocia, you'll discover rock-hewn churches, otherworldly valleys filled with unique rock formations, and dramatic canyons. Then, fly south and split the second half of the trip between Antalya and Adrasan, basking on beautiful beaches, cycling along the Mediterranean, and trekking to ruins dating back to the fourth century BCE.

Hike to the eternal flames of Yanartaş or "Chimera Mountain"
Hike to the eternal flames of Yanartaş or "Chimera Mountain"
Day Highlights Overnight
Day 1 Arrive in Kayseri, Transfer to Cappadocia, Sunset Bike Tour Cappadocia
Day 2 Hot-Air Balloon Flight, Kaymaklı Underground City, Ihlara Valley Hike Cappadocia
Day 3 Explore Uçhisar, Watch a Pottery Demonstration, Horseback Safari  Cappadocia
Day 4 Transfer to Antalya, Afternoon E-Bike Tour Antalya
Day 5 Trek to the Summit of Tahtalı Mountain Antalya
Day 6 Transfer to Adrasan via the Fires of Yanartaş Adrasan
Day 7 Hike to the Olympos Ruins via Musa Dağı Adrasan
Day 8 Suluada Island Boat Tour, Transfer to Antalya, Depart  

Straight off the plane at the Kayseri airport, your adventure starts with a transfer to Cappadocia and a thrilling three-hour cycling excursion through the remarkable rock formations of Pancarlık Valley and Paşabağ Valley. Get right back to the excitement the following day during a sunrise hot-air balloon flight, then spend the rest of the day meandering through Kaymaklı Underground City and hiking in Ihlara Valley. Before leaving Cappadocia, you'll also dedicate a morning to exploring Uçhisar, a beautiful town on the edge of Göreme National Park, and horseback riding through otherworldly rock formations.

On the morning of Day 4, a 75-minute flight takes you to Antalya, situated in southwestern Turkey. Enjoy your first afternoon here, e-biking along the Mediterranean coast and through the narrow streets of the city's historic old town, followed by a hike up Mount Tahtalı the next day for panoramic views of the coastline. As you continue south down the coast, your journey concludes in Adrasan. Here, you'll bask on the beaches of Adrasan Sahil and Adrasan Koyu, undertake a seven-hour trek to Olympos, and swim near the uninhabited island of Suluada before boarding your onward flight from Antalya. Learn more

Itinerary #5: Turkish Food & Culture Tour: İstanbul & Cappadocia

Discover Turkey's rich flavors and fascinating culture on this culinary journey featuring the bustling metropolis of İstanbul and the whimsical landscapes of Cappadocia. Designed with foodies in mind, this itinerary offers a blend of street food tours, cooking classes, and high-end dining experiences. In between, get to know the country's history and natural wonders while floating above Cappadocia in a hot-air balloon, touring the underground city of Kaymaklı, and watching a fascinating whirling dervishes performance.

Enjoy all the best food and drink Turkey has to offer on this eight-day experience
Enjoy all the best food and drink Turkey has to offer on this eight-day experience
Day Highlights Overnight
Day 1 Arrive in İstanbul, Dinner at Tuğra İstanbul
Day 2 Explore İstanbul's Old Town, Visit the Grand Bazaar, Dinner at Mikla İstanbul
Day 3 Street Food Walk Across İstanbul İstanbul
Day 4 Fly to Cappadocia, Cooking Class & Whirling Dervish Show Cappadocia
Day 5 Hot-Air Balloon Ride in Cappadocia, Ceramic Class in Avanos, Dinner at Seki Cappadocia
Day 6 Explore Kaymaklı Underground City & the Ihlara Valley Cappadocia
Day 7 Fly to İstanbul, Free Time to Explore, Dinner at Sofyalı 9 İstanbul
Day 8 Depart İstanbul  

Hopefully, you've arrived hungry because your culinary journey begins in İstanbul with a delightful evening at the renowned Tuğra Restaurant and Lounge. The following morning, get to know the city's historic Old Town and uncover the secrets of the Grand Bazaar alongside a guide before savoring another superb meal at the Michelin-starred Mikla. More rich flavors await on Day 3, this time in the form of perfectly cooked street food. Starting in Eminönü, you'll sample cheese, olives, and baklava, then catch a ferry to the Kadıköy district for savory bites like the bagel-style simit and lahmacun (Turkish pizza).

A flight east to Kayseri airport and a transfer to Cappadocia are next on the agenda, and after settling into your hotel for three nights, you'll spend the afternoon learning the secrets of Turkish bread baking in a local village home. Top off the day with an extravagant whirling dervish ritual dance show, and continue the excitement the following morning during a sunrise hot-air balloon ride. Then, with your trip winding down, you'll explore the underground city of Kaymaklı and the dramatic Ihlara Valley before flying back to İstanbul and celebrating the end of your adventure while dining at Sofyalı 9. Learn more

More Great 8-Day Turkey Itineraries

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


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Map of 8 Days in Turkey - 5 Unique Itinerary Ideas
Map of 8 Days in Turkey - 5 Unique Itinerary Ideas