Updated: Dec 24, 2021
In this blog post you can read about my perfect Turkey Itinerary, where I stayed, where I took my photos, and how which cities I included in my itinerary.
Photo taken in Cappadocia, Turkey
Turkey is a very unique country that is definitely worth a visit. Being famous for their beautiful rugs, tea, and amazing mosques they revel in beauty. The country of Turkey borders the Black Sea as well as the Mediterranean making the coastline just as beautiful as the other unique landscapes.
Making a trip over to Turkey?
What's mentioned in this article
My perfect Turkish Itinerary
Turkey travel tips
Instagrammable spots in Turkey!
My perfect 2 week Turkey Itinerary:
Day 1-3 Istanbul
Picture taken near the Hagia Sofia in Istanbul
Istanbul is a must see city since it is home to many of famous attractions including the Hagia Sofia and the Topaki Palace. As soon as you get to Istanbul, check into your hotel. I recommend staying in the Sultanahmet area, from where there are many main sights to see that are walkable from your hotel.
Must see places in Istanbul:
-Basilica Cistern (which I personally did not get to see due to COVID)
-Sultanahmet Arkeolojik Park
-Balat Distrcit (rainbow stairs!)
-Istanbul Archaelogical Museums
Picture taken in Hagia Sofia
At the time, I was coming from the United States and so there was a time difference! So make sure to look out for that it can get you pretty exhausted! Day One I took it a little slow but I got to see half of that list! Day 2 I got to see the rest and even got to explore Old Istanbul on my own.
Most instagrammable spots in Istanbul
Picture taken in Fatih - Alemdar Mh
To take the best pictures I would make sure to get up very early in the morning in order to get the least amount of people in your photos! Istanbul is one of the main cities in Turkey and so it can get pretty busy during the day!
My personal favorites
-Any lamp store you see
(They really press you to buy lamps and rugs here in Turkey so choose which store you want to take pictures at wisely so they don't pressure you!)
-Balat (a very beautiful neighborhood)
-Outside Mozaik restaurant
Picture taken on the colorful stairs in Balat
To get from Istanbul to Cappadocia you have to fly domestically! For my dad and I it only cost us about 75 Euros! We flew into Nevşehir Airport which is only about a 40 mins drive to Göreme. From the airport the hotel had arranged transfer for us to reach Göreme.
Day 4-6 Cappadocia
Picture taken in Cappadocia, Turkey
Cappadocia is 100% a must see here in Turkey. It was my favorite place that I got to see due to its uniqueness. I've never been in a place that compared to my experience here. From the hot air balloons, cave suites, panoramic hikes, as well as the people; Cappadocia is a must see! The formations and the landscapes were beyond imaginable!
Where to stay?
I would splurge on a hotel here. I got the chance to stay at Sultan Cave Suites and was amazed by the location and the views we had from the hotel. I took thousands of photos just in the hotel due to their Instagram ready photo ops around the hotel. From the hotel you get views of hundreds of hot air balloons that take up the Cappadocia sky. It was truly a magical experience staying at this hotel.
There are also many other Cave hotels here in Cappadocia so make sure to check the others if you think another hotel would suit you better! There are budget, mid ranged and luxury hotels here in Cappadocia. Here are my recommendations but of course do some research to see which hotel fits you most! They're all amazing.
Budget - Ottoman Cave Suites
Mid ranged - Sultan Cave Suites
Luxury - Argos in Cappadocia
My Cappadocia Itinerary
Day one in Cappadocia I decided to hike Pigeon and Love valley. You need to see Love Valley if you want a little laugh. I don't wan't to spoil what time of rock formations they have there, all I can say is that theres a reason that they call it Love valley LOL! From Pigeon valley you can easily head to Uçhisar Castle.
Towards the evening I headed to the Underground city of Kaymakli. You can buy tickets once your there, online, or at your hotel.
Picture taken in Ihlara Valley
Day 2 in Cappadocia
Due to the weather conditions in Cappadocia I was't able to do the hot air balloon ride which made me and my father really sad! It's a must do in Cappadocia so make sure you get to do it very early in the morning! The hot air balloon rides usually leave around five a.m. which allows you to watch the sunrise from in the air! It's worth the money and the perfect first hot air balloon experience!
After that its time to hike Ihlara! Ihlara had so many photo ops and was a beautiful hike! I spent around 2 hours on this hike and found a camel formation as well as a the famous lion formation! After this I went straight to Rose Valley and the churches of Göreme. Rose Valley is a litter longer hike so make sure to bring a water bottle!
Göreme was also where my hotel was located and so after visiting the churches, my dad and I walked back to the hotel for the night!
Day 3 in Cappadocia
Mmm waking up at Sultan Cave Suites with a delicious breakfast. For day three I headed over to the Göreme open air museum! The museum surrounds some of the best preserved frescoed churches. You do have to pay a fee of 30 Euros to enter the Museum but it's definitely worth it. We later just explored Cappadocia streets and took many photos! Sadly most of the photos I Took were shot on my iPhone since I was really focusing on photography on this trip; but it still showcases the Beauty!
Picture taken in Sultan Cave Suites
Day 7-10 Antalya
Picture taken in Termessoss
Antalya was yet another beautiful city located in Turkey's Southern Mediterranean region. The waters are a beautiful turquoise blue color and the harbor is very close to the main square! Many ancient ruins still remain throughout the entire city from Antalya's time as a major port for the Romans, making an incredible stop for History buffs like me!
My Antalya Itinerary
Day One in Antalya I began with Antalya's world famous museum which is called "Antalya Muzesi". The museum includes natural and historic artifacts from the Byzatine, Roman and Ottoman empires.
I then headed over to Kaleici which is the historical city center of Antalya. I explored there for around 2-3 hours before heading over to Kurunslu waterfall!
Day two in Antalya
I started the day with a hike up to the Termessoss ruins! It was quite the hike but I personally enjoyed being surrounded by nature. The hike was a little more intermediate due to the path being very slippery and rocky! Make sure to wear good shoes if you do this!
After Termessos, I headed to the ancient city of Perge! An amazing historical site to see but also a little bit of a hike! (Not as bad as Termessoss though)
Photo taken in Termessoss Ruins
Day three in Antalya
I actually ended up taking a day trip to Pamukkale on my third day here in Antalya which is a must do! Pamukkale was such a unique experience and one of the things you have to see it to believe it!
Pamukkale are thermal pools located in the city of Pamukkale. There is much to do around this city as it is just so unique and beautiful! Make sure to take a dip into the thermal pool! (Some get way too hot though, my feet were BURNING hahah)
Things to see in Pamukkale
-Cleopatra Pools (A hot spring with ancient ruins inside!)
-Hierapolis Archaelogical Museum
-Pamukkale National Park
Day 11-13 Selçuk
Picture taken of Library of Celsus
Selçuk is a town near Izmir, in Western Turkey. I stayed here instead of Izmir since Selcuk is very close to the ancient city of Ephesus which was something that was on the top of my list. In this ancient city, you can see the ruins of the library of Celsus, the remains of a large amphitheater, temples, and the House of Virgin Mary; a very religious shrine are all here. Ephesus was once considered one of the most important Greek cities and the most important trading center in the Mediterranean.
Where to stay in Selcuk?
I stayed at the Kirinca Houses and Boutique Hotel which was located in the mountain tops of Selcuk. If you're looking for more peace and tranquility I really recommend staying here. The mountains just offer so much serenity and it's incredibly beautiful. The people here are very nice as well but if you rented a car, the roads are very small! (Aren't they all in Europe though hahah)
if you're looking to stay in more of a city then I recommend finding a hotel in Izmir which is very close to everything as well!
Top sights to see in Selcuk / Izmir
I started the day at Ephesus, in Ephesus there is so much to see and do so get ready to walk ALOT!
Here make sure to see
-The Library of Celsus
-Visit the Virgin Mary's House
-The terraced houses (costs an extra 7 Euros but it's worth it)
-Temple of Artemis
-Basilica of St.John
-Grotto of the Seven Sleepers
Day 14 Fly Back!
On the last day my dad and I were in Selcuk, we chose to stay at Izmir Adnan Menderes Airport so we could catch the flight back home early in the morning back to Washington D.C.! I didn't want to leave Turkey but I was so glad I got to experience so much of the culture in just two weeks.
Picture taken in Istanbul
Things to know before traveling to Turkey!
You need a visa to enter the country, but it's not a difficult process at all! You go online to https://www.evisa.gov.tr/en/ and apply for your Turkish Visa! The process takes only about 5 minutes and you just have to pay a fee of about twenty USD.
2. Best time to travel to Turkey
Be careful when you choose to go to Turkey. In summer it could get as hot as 100 F, making it hard to walk around all day. The hikes are in heat and so if you do choose to go during the summer make sure to prepare adequately for the heat. The winters can get pretty cold and snowy as well! I went around January, and it was pretty cold, but it wasn't too bad! I would recommend going during the spring / fall seasons.
3. What to wear in Turkey
Turkey is very diverse in culture and so make sure you research the city you're going too to understand what the regulations there are for clothing in that area. There are some regions in Turkey in where you will see girls wearing mini skirts and little black dresses (Izmir) while there are also regions which are more conservative in where you will see women with everything covered but her eyes.
Please be respectful of their districts. In mosques, make sure to wear a headscarf, long pants that cover the knees, as well as a long sleeved shirt. This is how you should mainly dress in all the conservative parts in Turkey. As you can see from some photos above, Istanbul and Cappadocia are not as conservative as some other areas in Turkey. Istanbul does have its pockets though; so make sure to research wisely!
4. Is Turkey Safe?
I'm going to be really honest here. From my experience, yes, Turkey is relatively safe. I had one kinda weird experience but thankfully I had my dad with me. I was in Selcuk, near the Isa Bey Mosque and some man started following us in his car. I started to look into the car, and saw him staring back; and I got a really bad feeling. We ended up running into our rental car and zooming away as fast as we could. If I was alone, I don't really want to know what would've happened so I really recommend if you're a female, go with a group of friends or with a male. When in all the other regions I felt very very safe.
5. Currency in Turkey
The currency in Turkey is the Turkish Lira which is 6 Lira to 1 USD. This is great and makes Turkey an extremely affordable country!
Picture taken from Sultan Cave Suites
Instagram and Photo Spots in Turkey!
-Rainbow Stairs & Balat: Demirtaş Mahallesi, Arıcılar İş Hanı 24 Prof, Ord. Prof. Dr. Cemil Birsel Cd, 34611 Fatih/İstanbul, Turkey
-Galta bridge: Kemankeş Karamustafa Paşa Mahallesi, Galata Köprüsü, 34425 Beyoğlu, Turkey
-Grand Bazaar & Spice Bazaar: In the Sultanahmet neighborhood
-Sultan Cave Suites
-Galerie Ikman (most famous carpet shop!
-Or Sultan Carpets
-The Rox Cappadocia
-Sunset point (Lovers Hill)
-The balloon launch site or on a hot air balloon
Picture taken at Galerie Ikman
Picture of Hadrian's Gate and my three guardian angels
Fun fact about turkey... the stray animals here are so amazing. They have the kindest hearts and its almost like they could talk to me. I've never been in a country where the dogs would walk me home and protect me. They wouldn't leave my side all the way back home and when a man came to approach me, the dogs chased him away hahahah. They really were my angels and I wanted to take them all home but my dad said no LOL.
Picture places in Antalya
-Tombs of myra
Picture taken in Termessoss
In Selcuk & Pamukkale
In these two places, walking around will give you the best photo ops! Every corner is beautiful, especially in the mountain ranges of Selcuk. The small streets of Selcuk are always a most do for a photo op!
Pamukkale is a more historic and natural site. The thermal pools are PERFECT for photos and will give you a magical Instagram photo.
Picture taken at Hierapolis Historic Museum
For more be sure to read my other blog posts!