This itinerary is a good way
to see lots of Turkey outside
Road, Konya, Beyşehir, Lake
Eğirdir, Pamukkale, Aphrodisias and Ephesus—flying from Istanbul to Cappadocia, then driving from Cappadocia to Ephesus, and flying
from İzmir back to Istanbul,
all in five days.
You can also do this tour in the opposite
direction, from Ephesus to Cappadocia. More...
(Want someone to do the driving and guiding for you? Here's a private tour by car with driver-guide from Cappadocia to Ephesus that follows the same route as the itinerary below and shows you everything in only 5 days. More...)
It is a very full, tightly-packed
itinerary, with some long days,
but it's possible. Also note that if
you rent a car in Cappadocia and return it near Ephesus,
your rental will
be subject to a hefty return
may add a substantial amount to
your car rental bill. More...
Add three full days in Istanbul
to this 5-day drive itinerary and you'll
have an excellent first-visit-to-Turkey
trip in the shortest practical
amount of time. If you can afford 9
or 10 days, all the better.
(If you don't want to make the 7-hour
drive on Day 3,
you can fly from Kayseri (Cappadocia)
to İzmir, but then
you miss Konya and the lake country. Here's
the alternate 5-day fly-drive itinerary.)
Tour Göreme, Zelve, Uçhisar
Take a morning flight from Istanbul
to either of Cappadocia's airports,
Kayseri or Nevşehir, then an airline
shuttle bus to your hotel
You could rent a car at the airport
and drive to your Cappadocia hotel,
saving yourself the small cost of the
shuttle bus, but the expense
of a rental car and especially the fuel
cost will probably be more
than the shuttle, and I
don't recommend driving from the airport.
the chance of getting lost (the route
can be confusing), and have to deal
with Turkish city traffic. Better
to take the shuttle, believe
me. You can arrange for a rental
car to be brought to your hotel after
you check in. More...
In the afternoon, visit the Göreme
Open Air Museum (no
guide necessary; 2 to 3 hours),
the nearby Zelve
and, if time allows, Avanos.
Hot Air Balloon Flight,
Underground City, Ihlara Valley, Silk
Road & Konya
Rise before dawn for your hot-air
balloon flight (if
you've reserved this thrill-of-a-lifetime
experience). You'll be back at
your hotel in time for breakfast.
Check out of your hotel after breakfast,
then south to Kaymaklı or Derinkuyu to
visit its Underground
City. Cross the mountains
via Güzelyurt to the Ihlara
(Peristrema) Valley for
a short visit, then continue through Aksaray and
along the ancient Silk
Road, stopping at the Sultanhanı and,
if you wish, more of the Seljuk
Turkish caravanserais along this
route. Finally, arrive in Konya and settle
in at your hotel. Here
are Konya hotels.
If it's still open, visit the whirling
Konya, Beyşehir, Lake
Eğirdir & Pamukkale
an early start in the morning,
visit the Mevlana
Museum (if you have
not already) and
Turkish monuments (1200s) on and
around Konya's Alaettin
Hill (2 to 3 hours).
The drive from Konya to Pamukkale
is 450 km (280 miles), about 7 hours. Drive west to Beyşehir for
a peek at the Eşrefoğlu Mosque, then
continue to Eğirdir on
the lake of the same name—a good place
to stop for lunch or a snack.
drive west to Denizli and Pamukkale,
settle in at your Pamukkale hotel, take a dip
in the hotel's warm mineral-water pool,
and sleep soundly tonight.
Aphrodisias & Ephesus
In the morning, explore the ruins
of the Roman spa city of Hierapolis,
swim in ancient Sacred
Pool, then drive
west along the Meander River valley,
making the detour to Aphrodisias (123
km/76 miles, 1-1/2 hours) for a
to 2 hours) and lunch. Return to
the main road and continue west to Selçuk (143
km/89 miles, 2 hours), to Kuşadası, or to Şirince,
and your hotel.
Ephesus & Fly to Istanbul
Visit the Ephesus
archeological site (2
to 3 hours), and in the town of Selçuk the Ephesus
John Basilica and İsa
Bey Mosque. In the
afternoon, drive from Selçuk to
Menderes Airport (ADB;
62 km/39 miles, 1 hour). Turn in
car and catch an evening
flight to Istanbul.
If this seems like too much driving,
look at my 5-Day
Make reservations as
early as possible for the services
you'll need for this itinerary. (Here
Turkish travel agents who
can make all the arrangements for you
if you'd rather not worry about them,
and here's my list of recommended private
Flights on Day 1 from Istanbul to Kayseri or Nevşehir airports,
and on Day 5 from İzmir to Istanbul.
car from your hotel
in Cappadocia on Day
1, to be returned
at İzmir's Adnan
Menderes Airport in late
afternoon on Day
Days 1 through 4 (Cappadocia, Pamukkale, Ephesus area) and in Istanbul on Day 5.
balloon flight reservation
in Cappadocia (if
you want this adventure). Reserve
your places for the morning
of Day 2. More...
Airline shuttle bus reservation from Kayseri or Nevşehir airport
to your hotel in Cappadocia. More...
Using a good travel agency to make reservations offers important advantages. Read this.
If you'd like help for your reservations, these excellent Cappadocia-based travel agencies have partnered with TurkeyTravelPlanner.com to make them easily:
Tourism & Travel, an official ticket agency for Turkish
Airlines as well as for other airlines, and they operates
buses between Cappadocia and Kayseri's
Erkilet Airport. More...
—Travel Atelier, specialists in Cappadocia weddings and honeymoons, as well as wine and culinary tours, not to mention all regular travel agency services such as hotels, rental/hire cars, guides, flights, etc. More...
—Rock Valley Travel, a full service agency with a good variety of guided tours of Cappadocia, as well as tours of Eastern and Southeastern Turkey. They're the official ticket agency for Turkish Statae Railways, also for Atlasjet, and they operate the Atlasjet airport shuttle vans. More...
—Turkish Heritage Travel, a full travel agency in Göreme with its own Cappadocia tours and hot-air balloon flights by Butterfly Balloons. More...
—by Tom Brosnahan