Above & below:
to 14-day TripKit self-guided itinerary
through the best of Turkey,
including Istanbul, Ephesus, Pamukkale, Konya, Cappadocia and Ankara,
that you can plan on your own.
You can easily shorten, lengthen or
modify it. Transport is mostly by rental
car, but you may also want to travel
certain portions by public
If you'd like to see all the top
sights in Turkey in two weeks,
and would like the professionals
to make all the arrangements for
you, contact one of my recommended travel agencies or look at these fine 11- to 15-day guided tours of Turkey.
1 Arrival in Istanbul
After you arrive, plan on 2 hours to
get through the airport, to your hotel,
and registered. Even if your flight
has been a long one you'll probably
want to get out and see something in
the city before catching up on your
(The experts say that the best way to handle jet lag is
not to take a nap but to maintain
a normal schedule in the new time
I'd suggest going to Sultanahmet
Square and exploring the Hippodrome,
Cistern, and even Hagia Sophia (closed
Monday) if there's time.
Plunging into a new place has an excitement
and exhilaration that is among the
greatest delights of travel. Your sense
of discovery and wonder are at their
highest, so revel in the moment:
allow yourself an hour or two to just
relax in a sidewalk
café, taking in the new
sights, sounds and smells, overhearing
snippets of conversation, and adjusting
your psyche to a different world.
closed Tuesday; stay 2-3 hr) at
8:45 am, buy your tickets (or do you have a Museum Pass?), and be
among the first to get to the Harem for
the tour (9:30 am).
you've enjoyed Topkapı, see the other
sights around Sultanahmet that
you didn't get to see yesterday. Here are sample itineraries.
bath (1-3 hr) can be
amazingly refreshing after a
long day! If not today, then
3 - 19th-Century Istanbul
with a guided tour of Dolmabahçe
Sarayı (closed Monday and Thursday), the
sultan's most lavish palace, then
explore the romance of Beyoğlu,
the heart of Europeanized Istanbul,
which thrived during the same era.
(If you're not wild about ornate
palaces, skip Dolmabahçe and
go to Taksim
Square and north to the Military Museum or southwest along İstiklal
Caddesi (Grande Rue de
Péra; 1-2 hr walking tour).
Lots to see along this main boulevard
of 19th-century Istanbul: grand
old embassy buildings, the Pera
Palace Hotel, lots of boutiques,
and even a whirling
dervish hall. Plenty of restaurants for
lunch. Walk downhill from Tünel
Square at the southwestern
end of İstiklal Caddesi to...
Tower (9-7, discount
on Monday; stay 1/2 to 1 hr)
Best views of the city from this
Genoese cone-topped stone tower.
Continue downhill to Galata
Bridge (stay 1/2
hr) Cross the bridge over the Golden
Horn which links Old and
New Istanbul, taking in the view.
At the southern end in Eminönü,
take the Bağcılar
tram back to Sultanahmet.
4 - Istanbul
to Selçuk (Ephesus)
an early morning flight to İzmir's Adnan
Menderes Airport (ADM). From the airport, catch a train, or rent
a car and drive (here's how) to Selçuk (62
km/39 miles, 1 hour), the town
next to Ephesus.
in Selçuk, Şirince or Kuşadası by
2:30 or 3 pm and check in at your hotel. Visit Ephesus
John Basilica, and İsa Bey Mosque. Dinner and
5 - Ephesus, Aphrodisias, Pamukkale
the morning, explore the ruins
of Ephesus (2 to 3 hours),
then drive to Aphrodisias (143 km/89
miles, 2 hours); lunch either before
leaving Selçuk or at Aphrodisias.
Tour the ruins of Aphrodisias (1-1/2
to 2 hours), drive to the ancient
mineral-water spa of Pamukkale (123
km/76 miles, 1-1/2 hours), arriving
before dark. Settle in at a hotel in Pamukkale Town or Karahayıt.
6 - Pamukkale, drive to Konya
a swim in Pamukkale's
mineral waters (perhaps in the Sacred
Pool itself), and explore the ruins
of the Roman health resort of Hierapolis.
lunch, drive from Pamukkale by Lake
Eğirdir to Konya (450
km, 280 miles, 7 hours). (Yes, it's
a long drive, but the countryside
is interesting, and it saves you
backtracking to İzmir's Adnan Menderes
airport for a flight via Istanbul to Cappadocia.)
7 - Konya, Silk Road, Ihlara, Ürgüp
Turkish monuments (1200s) on
and around Konya's Alaettin
the morning (2 to 3 hours), then
drive east along the ancient Silk
Road to Sultanhanı (110
km, 68 miles) for a brief look at
the grandest of Seljuk
Turkish caravanserais (built
in 1229), and lunch.
through Aksaray (42
km, 26 miles, 40 minutes). If you
want to explore the Ihlara
(Peristrema) Valley, turn
right (south) 11 km east of Aksaray
for Selime, Belisırma and Ihlara
(23 km). Spend 2 or 3 hours at Ihlara,
then head east via Güzelyurt to Derinkuyu or Kaymaklı to
see its underground
city, though if you don't
watch your time carefully on this
day you may arrive after it is closed
for the day (17:00/5 pm). From Derinkuyu
drive north to Nevşehir,
then east to Ürgüp.
you don't want to see Ihlara, from
Aksaray go east along the Silk Road
to Nevşehir (65
km, 40 miles, 1 hour). There are
caravansarays along this road
if you're interested, particularly
the Ağzıkarahan 10 km (6 miles)
east of Aksaray. As you continue
east you'll pass the ruined-then-restored Tepesidelik
Han 13 km (8 miles) east, and
the Alay Han, 33 km (21 miles)
east of Aksaray.
you're interested in a hot-air
balloon flight over Cappadocia,
make your reservations well in advance of arrival. More...
8 - Göreme, Zelve, Avanos,
Open Air Museum in the morning
(2 to 3 hours), then drive to the Zelve
Valley for more cave-church
explorations. Have lunch in either Göreme
Town or Avanos.
If you have time, also visit Uçhisar.
9 - Hot-Air Balloon, Underground City, drive to Ankara
up and out before dawn to fly in
balloon over Cappadocia.
After you land, have breakfast, then
explore more of Cappadocia. If you
didn't get a chance to visit the Underground
Cities during your drive
from Konya, do it today.
the afternoon, drive to Ankara (308
km, 191 miles, 4 hours) for a
quick visit on your way back to Istanbul.
Find your Ankara hotel, and turn in your
shorten this itinerary by a day,
turn in your rental car in Ürgüp
and take the evening flight from
Kayseri to Istanbul.)
of Anatolian Civilisations (closed
Monday; 1 hour), then take a walk
through the Hisar (citadel)
just uphill from it, and have lunch in
a restaurant in one of the old restored
Hisar houses. After lunch, take a
taxi to the Anıtkabir (Atatürk's
can travel to Istanbul by
any of several means:
Take a bus (fast,
frequent, cheap, comfortable, convenient)
- Fly (fastest,
but relatively inconvenient and possibly
Take a train (cheap,
most comfortable, and relatively
fast if you take the high-speed train)
- Drive your rental
car (tiring, and relatively expensive
because of fuel cost)
11 - Istanbul
Enjoy a late breakfast on
the rooftop terrace of your hotel
with a view of the sea (most hotels
have them), but take the tram to
the Eminönü ferry
docks to arrive by 10 or 10:15
am to get a seat on the Bosphorus
tour ferry. Leave the
boat at Sarıyer,
then take taxis south along the European
shore of the Bosphorus stopping
at Büyükdere to see the Sadberk
Hanım Museum, and at
Bebek to see the fortress of Rumelihisarı.
Have afternoon tea in
the shore village of Ortaköy,
with its baroque waterside mosque and old Ottoman houses.
the evening, enjoy a Turkish
12 - Istanbul Excursion
you have an extra day, take a one-day
or overnight excursion:
day-long excursion by bus or car
to see the fine old mosques and
lively bazaars of the second Ottoman capital,
delightfully free of tourist crowds. More...
south across the Sea
of Marmara in a fast catamaran to
see this first capital of the Ottoman
Empire, with its fine old
weaving trade, and thermal
spas; make it an overnight and
(Nicaea) as well. More...
day-trip by bus or car to see the Dardanelles,
battlefields, and even ancient Troy;
possible in a very
long day, but
better as an overnight. More...
13 - Istanbul Shopping
not a bad idea to leave most of your shopping until
the last day so you won't have to
lug your purchases around with you.
the day by seeing the brilliant Byzantine
mosaics in the Kariye
Museum out by the gigantic city
most of the day in the Grand
Bazaar and the Egyptian
(Spice) Bazaar, or in the boutiques
and antique shops on and off İstiklal
Caddesi in Beyoğlu.
the evening, take a taxi to Beyoğlu for
dinner and perhaps an evening in
one of the small cafes or music clubs.
14 - Departure
—by Tom Brosnahan
Temple of Apollo at Didyma, Aegean Turkey.<