From colorful cities to pristine, clear water on the coast, Turkey has everything you could ask for. To get a real feel for the country, you have to tread to more than just one destination. Over two weeks I discovered different parts of Turkey that make it one of the most unique countries I’ve ever been to. Here’s your ultimate itinerary to get the best out of your time in Turkey!
Part Asian, part European, Istanbul is one interesting city to visit. It is impossible to be bored while exploring the lamps and knickknacks in the Grand Bazaar or marveling at the details in the Blue Mosque and Hagia Sophia. Istanbul is a shock to the senses. The sights, sounds, smells and tastes all are fascinating.
Watching the sunrise from a hot air balloon was hands-down one of my favorite parts of this Turkey trip. It was well worth waking up before the sun rose to soar above the fairy chimneys of Cappadocia. This part of Turkey looked like it was another planet entirely. The town of Goreme is also so uniquely different than any place I’ve been. Hostels, restaurants, and other businesses are built straight into the rocks!
If you’re looking for an escape to relax in the comfort of nature, Olympos is the place to go in Turkey. Olympos is located in a semi-remote location on Turkey’s coast and kind of feels like Jurassic Park. I stayed in a hostel that was a tree house while I was in Olympos! The beach is simply gorgeous and so peaceful. It was a great first spot to visit on the coast.
Antalya, Kas, & Fethiye
A popular destination for beach-goers in Turkey, Antalya is a bit touristy but its pebble beaches are still beautiful and worth visiting to bask in the sun. Consider taking a boat cruise for three to four days from Antalya to Fethiye to make stops along Turkey’s Mediterranean coast and see the cute nuances of the different villages and beaches.
One of my favorite stops was Butterfly Valley near Fethiye. My friends from the cruise and I hiked up to a small waterfall and cooled off under the freezing water. We jumped off the boat into the turquoise water in this quiet little cove. I truly felt like this was one of the best places on earth.
Kas is such a cute seaside village with many small shops to buy artwork and souvenirs. I imagine Greece to look like this; it was such a beautiful stop along the way! I would have absolutely stayed longer if I had more time.
The Turkish Mediterranean is incredibly beautiful. With water so clear you can see straight to the bottom, you can’t go wrong with visiting any part of the coast in Turkey in the summertime.
Go to Ephesus to gain and understanding of Turkey’s history. An ancient Greek city, these are some of the oldest ruins I’ve ever been to. Imagining the people who walked through the entry to the Library of Celsus as I marveled at the ruins felt surreal. While we toured the ruins in the sweltering heat and we had virtually no relief from the sun’s strong rays in the dead of summer, Ephesus made me feel as if I stepped back in time.
The travertine thermal baths in Pamukkale are both an incredible sight and fun activity. My friends and covered ourselves in the smooth, soft mud and enjoyed the relaxing waters. The sunset along the cascading “cotton castles” was absolutely stunning. While there are so many tourists at Pamukkale, it’s worth it to explore some of the untouched parts of the baths you are not allowed to bathe in and can only see from afar.
If you’re searching for flights to Turkey specifically from the UK, you can find affordable airfare to various airports, including smaller airports such as Antalya or Milas Bodrum.