Welcome to the complete itinerary to get to know Turkey in 7 unforgettable days.
Besides being one of the great cradles of civilization, Turkey concentrates some of the most beautiful and exotic landscapes of the planet. There are deserts, forests, mountains, beaches, historical ruins and stunning scenery that make the country attract more and more tourists from all over the world.
From Istanbul’s incredible mosques to balloon rides through Cappadocia , getting to know the country’s major sights in less than ten days seems like an impossible mission. But it is not: by optimizing the time and organizing the trip, you can visit some of the main Turkish attractions in a roadmap that can be accomplished in 7 days or more, depending on your availability across the country.
Day 1 – Arrival in Istanbul
The prime location has made Istanbul one of the most important cities in world history. Ancient Constantinople, which stood exactly on the passage from Asia to Europe in Turkey, was once the capital of the Byzantine, Roman and Ottoman Empires.
Istanbul is divided into two parts: traditionalism and history of the East, Western modernity on the other. So there is so much to see and discover in the city. On this first day of your arrival in Istanbul you can be booked to rest from the long journey, unpack your luggage in the hotel and feel a little of the local atmosphere.
Day 2 – Getting to know Istanbul
The second day of the tour is dedicated to getting to know some of the most important buildings in Istanbul , such as the old Hippodrome Roman built in the 4th century by Constantine, the Blue Mosque, one of the great symbols of the city, and the equally important Saint Sophia, which was once a church , orthodox basilica, and currently functions as a museum.
Next to Saint Sophia is another great work of Justinian, the Cisterns of Yerebatan. Finally, take some time to shop at the Grand Bazaar, one of the largest covered markets in the world, with 4400 stores, a true universe of shopping opportunities for typical delicacies in the country.
Day 3 – A little further from Istanbul
If you think one day is enough to know everything that Istanbul has to offer, believe me it is not. There is so much to see in the city, so the tip is to book another day for your itinerary through Turkey. Enjoy visiting the Suleymaniye Mosque, which beautifies the highest of the city’s seven hills and was built between the years 1550 and 1557, during the reign of Sultan Süleyman I. The Spice Bazaar is another secular market in Istanbul offering various products.
Being divided between Europe and Asia, Istanbul provides a boat trip on the Bosphorus Channel, which crosses the imaginary line separating the two continents. Lastly, do not miss out on the grand Topkapi Palace, former home of the Ottoman Sultans.
Day 4 – Getting to know Ankara
Ready to explore other beautiful Turkish regions? One tip is to schedule a plane trip to Ankara , the capital of the country, and from there by land to Cappadocia , which is 290 km from the city. Although not offering so many attractions, Ankara is a strategic stop on the route between Istanbul and Cappadocia.
In Ankara, the tip is to visit in the morning the Hitita Museum , also known as the Museum of Anatolian Civilizations , one of the most important in Europe and, although small, has an incredible collection on the history of the peoples who lived in Asia Minor. The Atatürk Mausoleum is also an important point for a brief visit and houses the tomb of the founder and first president of the Republic of Turkey.
Day 5 – Cappadocia and Balloon Ride
Long awaited by many tourists traveling to Turkey, balloon rides run within the Goreme National Park, which is declared a World Heritage Site by UNESCO and stands out for its picturesque rock formations scattered throughout the area. You can either schedule an on-site flight or just watch the colorful balloons floating in incredible scenery. We have already talked about another article on how the balloon ride in Cappadocia works.
But Cappadocia is not just about balloon rides: it is worth visiting some of Turkey’s mysterious underground cities like Kaymakli and Saratli. Another interesting point is the Paşabağ Valley, an open park which is about 15 minutes drive from Göreme where you can observe several rock formations typical of Cappadocia very close.
For those intending to do the 5-day itinerary through Turkey, this is the end point of the trip. For those who want to stretch a little more and include two more days on the schedule, there is still much more to see and explore.
Day 6 – Exploring Konya and Pamukkale
Following from Cappadocia to Konya, it is approximately 3 hours by road through beautiful paths, which pass through the famous Caravanserai Seljukian, a fortified structure was built in the 13th century during the reign of Sultan Kayqubad.
In the city of Konya, the tip is to stop at the famous Mevlana Museum, where the Jalal ad-Din Muhammad Rumi mausoleum is located, a mystic Sufi and founder of the the Whirling Dervishes. This is a typical ceremony where the dancers revolve among themselves, symbolizing a form of spiritual evolution.
Finally, it’s time to head to Pamukkale and finalize the trip.
Day 7 – The beauties and mysteries of Pamukkale and Kusadasi
On the day that the 7-day itinerary ends in Turkey , the tip is to pay a visit to the Roman baths of Pamukkale , which means “cotton castle”, a place full of limestone rock terraces with thermal waters. Nearby is Hierapolis, a spa where you can visit the ruins of the largest ancient necropolis cemetery – there are more than 100,000 tombs.
Following the course, in Kusadasi, is the house which is believed to have been the last residence of Virgin Mary, mother of Christ. Also nearby is the mysterious Ephesus, the Roman capital of Asia Minor, where you can check out some of Europe’s best-preserved ruins, which its history began thousands of years before Christ, such as the remains of the Odeon Theater, the Gate of Hercules and many other treasures of mankind that can still be visited.