Travel Routes & Itineraries
A few days: If you only have a few days to vacation in Turkey, think about what kind of trip you want. If you want a main destination that has a little bit of everything from history, to culture, great food, beaches and a party atmosphere, then go to Istanbul. It has all of that. If this is not your first time in Turkey, consider checking out the Euphrates and Tigris Basin. The sites and main attractions are a little spread out, so you will have to carefully plan an itinerary, but it is possible as you can easily get a connecting flight to this region from Istanbul. If the Turkish coast is more of what you had in mind the most accessible region if you only have a few days is the Aegean Peninsula. You can easily get a connecting flight here or take a little bit more time to see some landscapes on a bus.
Up to one week: If you have never been, stop in Istanbul first for at least a full day before you go off to another destination. Take a city tour and sample the local foods at the bazaar. The closest most efficient location from here if you wish to see another region is the Aegean Peninsula just south of Istanbul. Experience other cultures outside of Turkish influences. Catch some beach time or search out the numerous historical points.
Two Weeks: If you have two weeks in Turkey and if you plan out your itinerary and budget, it is possible to thoroughly experience two or three regions. Choose your city centers in each region and the activities you would like to do and sites you want to see. If you book your travel means in advance this will give you a more structured tour so you do not miss anything. Istanbul is a good place to start, followed by the Aegean region and Anatolia. Or start from Istanbul to Anatolia and the Black Sea Coast. A lot of it will depend on what type of things you are looking to do and enjoy in Turkey. The themed itineraries which follow may help you get a better direction.
Three or more weeks: If you have the opportunity to stay on in Turkey for three or more weeks, there is much you can see and do. This can be a very all-inclusive adventure. Spend five days or more in a few places. See all the sights or make a themed itinerary for outdoor adventures, historical sites, beach and party atmospheres. Your options are endless and every region of Turkey can offer you something unique to your travels.
Detailed & Themed Example Itineraries
A Few Days
Urbanite Vacay: Head straight to Istanbul. Schedule a city tour to see all the historical and religious sites. Another day, go to the bazaars and try eating at the ‘lokantas’. Party at night at any of the numerous clubs and discos until the sun comes up.
Urban/beachtime: Stay in Istanbul. Get an afternoon city tour and take a sunset cruise along the straight. Stay another night at the beach to party at the bars and nightclubs and relax on the beach in the day.
Up to a Week
Stay in Istanbul for a couple of nights. Check out the bazaars in the morning hours and do a city tour on one day or maybe even a city tour and cruise along the straight combined tour. Catch a bus down the Aegean Coast and see the historical sites of this area and spend some time island hopping or touring the coast.
> Fly into Istanbul for one night and one day. See all the sights and check out the local spots to eat. Next day, catch a flight/bus to Anatolia and explore one of the major cities, do some hiking and visit the ancient cities of the Ottomans and Romans.
> Beach bum: Head straight to the Turquoise Coast on a connecting flight from Istanbul, put yourself up at a resort close to all the historical sights and of course, the golden sandy beaches. We reccommend Dalyan OF COURSE!!
Fly into Istanbul and stay a couple nights to see enough of the city, both day and night and all the historical and cultural centers. Take your time and walk around to see what you want to see. Catch a night bus to Aegean to Izmir, stay here a couple or more nights to have some relaxing beach time from the noise of Istanbul. Go island hopping and hike around to visit the ancient cities
> Fly into Istanbul and stay a couple nights to see enough of the city, both day and night and all the historical and cultural centers. Take your time and walk around to see what you want to see. Take a bus or fly to Anatolia. Stay in Ankara for a couple days to see the ancient Ottoman and Roman ruins. Take a balloon ride over Cappadocia. Next head up the the Black Sea if you are around during July or August to enjoy some of the best beaches and best waters for some fun adventure watersports.
> Outdoors and more: Fly to Istanbul and stay one full night and one full day. Schedule a proper city tour to see everything. Fly out the next day or grab a bus to see the landscapes on your way to the Black Sea Coast to see all the ancient cities and ruins. Make your way to Anatolia along the way of catching the ancient ruins. Tour the Taurus Mountains on a trekking trip or on an organised excursions like Volkan’s Adventures Reflections of Taurus.
Three + Weeks
Do everything you can. Fly into Istanbul and stay a few nights with two different stays in different parts of town. One in the city center and another on the coast near the beaches to catch the best nightlife in the world. Work your way down the Aegean Coast and see more cultural heritage sites. From there bus it to Anatolia, backpack and bus it to all the major regions of Anatolia and be sure to do a 2 – 4 day hot air balloon ride over Cappadocia. Head to the Black Sea Coast for some hiking and fresh air in the high mountains and seeing the high altitude ancient ruins and make your way to the Euphrates and Tigris Basin to the major cities and stay in a homestay in one of the ancient agricultural areas. Make your way back to Istanbul and stay just a couple more nights partying until the sun comes up.
When to Go
The peak tourist season in Turkey starts in mid-April and runs through mid-September. The summer months can be hot, however the spring months and fall are the ideal times to visit and the weather is comfortable. In general, Turkey is in a geographical region where the weather is always temperate and the skies are almost always clear though you may have a rain shower now and then. If you are along the coasts, then you may experience fairly consistent and comfortable temperatures, however if you travel more inland, because of the mountainous regions and microclimates, summers can be extremely hot and winters cold. Due to the many mountains here, Turkey does not have a consistent climate from one area to the next, no matter what time of year it may be.
To prepare for your trip, depending on when you are able to visit, many of the places you may want to see might depend on personal preference and how you wish to enjoy your vacation. If you want to lounge on the beach during your visit, then of course come at the most opportune times for lazy beach days. However, if most of your visit is touring the country to see much of the country’s history and immerse yourself in the culture, then most times of the year might work with the proper clothing and gear. Most importantly however, before you arrive in Turkey make sure you are fully prepared and organised – some handy hints and tips can be found in our Planning Your Trip guide pages.