Make the Most of Your Time in Turkey

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Hagia Sophia Mosque mosque, Istanbul
How Many Days to Spend in Turkey

Turkey is a huge country, so unless you have three weeks or more, it's wise not to spread yourself too thin. How long to spend will depend on whether you're on a quick, history-packed jaunt to tick off blockbuster sights or a more leisurely see-it-all sojourn lasting weeks or longer. Read on for recommended itineraries for visits from four days to four weeks.

Take in the unique sights of famed Pamukkale, a great natural wonder of Turkey
Map of 5 Days in Turkey - 4 Unique Itinerary Ideas
5 Days in Turkey - 4 Unique Itinerary Ideas

A five-day tour of Turkey is enough time to discover Istanbul's highlights and visit ancient ruins dating to the Bronze Age. But those aren't your only options—you could also embark on a wine tour through Thrace, a grape-growing haven since the 3rd century BCE. And you certainly don't want to miss a trip to Cappadocia and its enchanting lunar valleys or a quick stop at the Pamukkale hot springs to soak in Roman baths.

After a full day of touring, relax with a picnic and view of the pretty Manavgat Falls
Map of 6 Days in Turkey - 5 Unique Itinerary Ideas
6 Days in Turkey - 5 Unique Itinerary Ideas

Six days in Turkey is enough time to explore 2-3 regions. Foodies can taste their way around Istanbul on a street food tour and indulge in a Michelin-star meal. History buffs will appreciate visiting the Göreme Open-Air Museum in Cappadocia, wandering around the ruins of Troy and Pergamon, and touring Ephesus. Active travelers can bike around Antalya and hike on the Lycian Way, while sun seekers can set sail on a cruise that includes a stop at Ölüdeniz Beach and a scuba diving session in Kas.

Facade of the ancient Library of Celsus in Ephesus, Turkey
Map of 1 Week in Turkey - 3 Unique Itinerary Ideas
1 Week in Turkey - 3 Unique Itinerary Ideas

With seven days in Turkey, you can experience the best of the country's highlights on a classic tour of Istanbul, Cappadocia, and Izmir. Alternatively, take a deep dive into Turkey's vast history, both ancient and modern, on a voyage down the Aegean Coast that takes you from World War I battle sites to Roman ruins. Tea lovers will discover the best of Turkish blends on a cross-country trip showcasing Turkey's tea gardens and plantations, along with breathtaking natural scenery.

Head to Çanakkale and explore the ruins of Troy and visit the Troy Museum for insight on the tale of the Trojan Horse
8 Days in Turkey - 5 Unique Itinerary Ideas

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.

Discover Turkey's Turquoise Coast and vist historic sites and beaches like Ölüdeniz
9 Days in Turkey - 5 Unique Itinerary Ideas

Nine days in Turkey is an excellent amount of time to enjoy a well-rounded introduction to the country's natural and historical highlights or split your trip between Istanbul's culturally significant sites and the Aegean coast's ancient ruins. Ocean lovers will find a four-day cruise along the Turquoise Coast the ideal way to spend their time in Turkey. While active explorers hike, bike, and boat their way around the country, and foodies dine at Michelin-starred restaurants and bustling markets.

Map of 10 Days in Turkey - 3 Unique Itinerary Ideas
10 Days in Turkey - 3 Unique Itinerary Ideas

With 10 days, you can mix and match adventures to create the perfect vacation in Turkey. A highlights tour will take you from the Ottoman monuments of Istanbul to the fairy tale valleys of Cappadocia and down to the sun-kissed Aegean and Mediterranean coasts. Make a road trip out of it; visit ancient cities that predate the Bronze Age, and follow that with hikes around more "modern" archeological sites from the Greek, Roman, and Byzantine eras.

Hike a portion of the Lycian Way to Cape Gelidonya
11 Days in Turkey - 5 Unique Itinerary Ideas

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.

Sail high above Turkey's iconic Cappadocia on a sunrise hot air balloon tour
Map of 2 Weeks in Turkey - 3 Unique Itinerary Ideas
2 Weeks in Turkey - 3 Unique Itinerary Ideas

Two weeks in Turkey gives you carte blanche to explore high and low, from the historic streets of Istanbul to the lunar valleys of Cappadocia to the sun-kissed Turquoise Coast. You can even take a road trip to historic sights that includes the ancient cities of Ephesus, Pergamon, and legendary Troy. Round out your holiday with relaxing soaks in natural thermal pools, tour World War I battlefields, and hike the scenic Lycian Way.