16- to 23-Day Itineraries in Turkey

Last Updated on April 9, 2024

If you can spend about three weeks (16 to 23 days)in Turkey, you can see quite a lot.

Here's a loose TripKit™ itinerary for a 21-day trip through Aegean, Mediterranean and central Turkeywith suggestions for where you can add or omit a few days.

Another idea: spend about 10 days doing a circuit of the untouristed Black Sea coast and eastern TurkeyMore...

Days 1 to 4

Arrive in Istanbul. Consider flying right through to your next destination, because you'll probably have to be back in Istanbul at the end of your trip to fly home, so plan to save Istanbul for the end of your trip.

If you're coming from a long distance (say, California or Australia), you may want to stay a few days in the city to regain your land legs.

—Here are sightseeing programs for 2 to 5 days in Istanbul.

—Here are Istanbul hotel recommendations.

Days 5 to 7

Travel to Cappadocia by plane or busHere are details on getting to Cappadocia.

If you plan to take a hot-air balloon flight in Cappadocia, reserve your place(s) for the first morning you'll be there so that you'll have fall-back days in case of bad weather. More...

Here's info on Cappadocia hotels.

Highlights of Cappadocia are Göreme Open Air MuseumUçhisarunderground citiesIhlara Valley,Zelve ValleySoğanlı Valleys, and Avanos. More...

Day 8

Drive along the ancient Silk Road from Cappadocia to Konya, admiring the Seljuk Turkish caravansarays along the way. Stop at the Sultan Hanı for tea or a meal, and to see the grandest caravanserai of them all.

Spend the rest of the day and part of the next morning visiting the Mevlana Museum (Tomb of Rumi), and admiring Konya's other fine medieval Seljuk buildingsMore...

Day 9

Drive from Konya to the Mediterranean coast, perhaps stopping in Beyşehir to see the unusual Eşrefoğlu Mosque and to have a lunch of lake fish. The drive is through dramatic mountains, ending on the coastal highway. Choose your beach destination: go east to Alanya, west and south to Side, or west to AntalyaMore...

Days 10 & 11

Stay at least two nights on the coast here, more if you want time at the beach and/or to take excursions to Termessos and KarainPergeSide and AspendosKöprülü Kanyon for rafting; or Phaselis and OlimposMore...

(For a shorter trip, spend all your "Mediterranean days" here, then drive northwest to Denizli and Pamukkale, stay there one night, then continue west along the Meander River valley via Aphrodisias to Ephesus.)

Days 12 to 14

Drive south from Antalya, then west along the coast, stopping for one or more nights at KaşKalkanPataraFethiyeÖlüdeniz or Dalyan. Each has its charm and appeal. More...

Days 15 & 16

If you don't want to miss Aphrodisias & Pamukkale you can head west, then north from Dalyan to Muğla, then northeast to Pamukkale. Or if the siren call of Bodrum, Turkey's most chic resort, beckons to you, go west to Bodrum. More...

Otherwise, from Muğla speed north along the highway to Aydın, then Selçuk (Ephesus), Şirince or Kuşadası.

Days 17 to 19

Spend at least two nights near Ephesus, visiting that great city, taking my day-trip to Priene, Miletus and Didyma, and tasting the wines in Şirince.

Depending on how you've planned your time, you can easily fly from İzmir's Adnan Menderes Airport back to Istanbul, or continue your journey north along the Aegean coast to FoçaDikiliBergama (Pergamum), AyvalıkMount IdaAssosTroyÇanakkaleGallipoli, and EdirneMore...

Days 20 & 21

You should be back in Istanbul the day before your flight, just to be sure. Now's the time to do the shopping you didn't do before because you didn't want to carry your purchases all the way through Turkey.

—by Tom Brosnahan

Best Itineraries

Best Guided Tours

How to Choose a Good Tour

Licensed Private Guides

When to Go to Turkey

1- to 5-Day TripKit™ Itineraries

11- to 15-Day TripKits™

16- to 23-Day TripKits™

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Black Sea & Eastern TripKit™

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