Turkey Itinerary: 7 Days

Turkey itinerary: 7 Days

Turkey is the ultimate vacation destination. Straddling Asia and Europe, Turkey is enveloped by sea on three sides. The vibrant culture of Turkey reflects the influences of both continents. The country has a unique history, having witnessed the rise and fall of empires such as the Romans, Greeks, Ottomans, and Byzantines. Different civilizations have left their mark, and the historic region is densely packed with prehistoric ruins, archaeological sites, ancient cities abandoned villages, and priceless artifacts.

But Turkey is not just about history. From the bustling metropolis, sun-kissed beaches, & spectacular landscapes to incredible food, iconic landmarks, & bustling bazaars – Turkey is a visitor’s delight. It is impossible to see everything in 7 days because the major tourist attractions are spread out across the country. However, if you plan ahead of time and make smart decisions, you will be able to see the best of Turkey in just 7 days.


What is the best time to visit Turkey?

Turkey is vast and spread out, and the weather varies greatly across the country. As a result, you can always find regions to visit at all times. In general, the best seasons to visit Turkey are spring (March-May) and fall (SeptemberNovember). The temperatures would be mild, the skies would be clear, the crowds would be thin, and everything would be less expensive. During Ramadan (March to May), few shops and restaurants are closed during the day. The summer months (June-August) will be scorching hot, crowded, and expensive. However, it is an excellent time to visit the Mediterranean coast. Cappadocia also hosts the Cappadox Festival in May, which is well worth seeing. Winters (DecemberFebruary) are extremely cold and rainy, making them an unsuitable time to visit Turkey.

Getting Around in Turkey

  • Air Travel – Flights are quite affordable in Turkey. Driving takes up lots of time, so it makes sense to travel by air. Turkish Airlines and Pegasus are the two main airlines that operate flights to various cities.
  • Rental Car – Renting a car is a convenient option for exploring less accessible areas or for a road trip. Keep in mind that you will be making some long drives. It takes 10-12 hours to travel from Istanbul to Cappadocia. There are various car rental agencies in major cities and at airports. If you are planning to drive between cities, check the offers at Localrent.
  • Train – Train travel in Turkey is generally limited and slow, though services are improving.
  • Bus – Buses are a popular and inexpensive mode of transportation in Turkey. Several bus companies offer both intercity and intracity services. The buses are comfortable and offer various amenities.
Blue Mosque, Turkey Itinerary for 7 Days
Blue Mosque



Istanbul, located at the crossroads of Europe and Asia, is the highlight of your Turkish vacation. The city has been around for 2000 years and is densely packed with ancient ruins and monuments. Begin your day in Sultanahmet, Istanbul’s old city, where you can see most of the city’s iconic sights, including Hagia Sophia, the Blue Mosque, Topkapi Palace, and the Basilica Cistern, among others. Everything is clustered together, and you can get around on foot.

Take a cruise along the Bosphorus and marvel at the most beautiful architectural mansions along the way, such as the Bosphorus bridges, Ottoman residences, Ciragan Palace, and Dolmabahce Palace. If you want to go deeper, visit the Ottoman Suites, Dolmabahce Palace, and Bezmi Alem Mosque. Istanbul’s public transportation system is excellent, and taxis are pointless. Keep in mind that Grand Bazaar is closed on Sundays & national holidays and Topkapi Palace on Tuesdays. Visitors are not permitted to enter the Blue Mosque before 1:30 p.m. on Friday mornings. The mosque may not be open to visitors during the five prayer sessions.

When you’re done sightseeing for the day, head to Grand Bazaar for a surreal shopping experience. It is one of the world’s largest and oldest covered markets. The Labyrinth Bazaar is a true test of your haggling skills, offering a mind-boggling range of local products and souvenirs. Another attraction is the Spice Bazaar, which sells essences, dried fruits, ceramics, and textiles in addition to countless aromatic spices. Check out the trendy bars, cafes, and restaurants for local flavors and cuisines. The vibrant neighborhoods of Nisantasi, Beyoglu, Besiktas, Karakoy, and Istiklal Caddesi won’t disappoint if you’re looking for some hot spots.

Turkey Itinerary for 7 Days
Grand Bazaar.    Flickr.com

Must-Visit in Istanbul:

  • Hagia Sophia – Once a cathedral, later a mosque, and now a museum; Hagia Sophia is an enormous architectural marvel.
  • Topkapi Palace – UNESCO Heritage Site and the oldest surviving palace in the world. The ancestral residence of the Ottoman Sultans has been converted into a museum.
  • Blue Mosque – An architectural masterpiece decorated with around 20,000 hand-painted blue Iznik tiles. The grandeur and splendor of the mosque will leave you awestruck.
  • Basilica Cistern – The subterranean grand structure was built in the 6th century and is full of visual wonders like the weeping column and inverted head of Medusa.
  • Grand Bazaar – Vibrant and colorful, Grand Bazaar is one of the first “shopping malls of the world”. It has 61 covered streets and more than 4000 shops.
  • Bosphorus Cruise – A cruise through the middle of Europe and Asia giving you gorgeous views of waterfront palaces and houses.
  • Galata Bridge and Galata Tower – The 500 AD watchtower is the best place to get a panoramic view of Istanbul.


Cappadocia has seen a sudden surge in popularity charts and may soon overtake Istanbul as the star attraction of Turkey. The region is made up of several towns, all having unique landscapes. Stunning vistas, fairy chimneys, amazing rock formations, & underground cave dwellings – Cappadocia is truly a magical destination. The popular spots include Goreme Open Air Museum, Pasabag Monk’s Valley, Devrent Valley, Tokai Kilise, Goreme National Park, Red & Rose Valleys, Cavusin Castle, and Uchisar Castle. It’s also fun to wander around downtown Goreme and shop for trinkets like Turkish rugs, lovely lamps, and other things. 

The region is famous for hot air balloon rides, and you must get up early in the morning to see hundreds of hot air balloons floating in the sky over the moon-like landscape. The views are simply breathtaking, both from the ground and from the basket of the balloon. Plan to stay at least two nights in Cappadocia so that you have an extra day to enjoy a hot air balloon ride if the weather isn’t cooperating and you can’t take the balloon ride on the first day. Book ahead of time because only 150 balloons are allowed per day and they are always in high demand.  If you’re looking for a reliable and top-rated hot-air balloon trip, Viator is a great place to start.

Use the second day to visit the more remote attractions. It is best to book a local tour so that you can explore the area without having to worry about logistics. Another option is to take a hop-on hop-off bus, which is a great way to get around the area for an affordable price. Cappadocia’s subterranean cities are as well-known around the world as the region’s unusual fairy chimneys. The region has 200 underground cities, the best of which are Derinkuyu and Kaymalki. To see the underground cities, you must ascend and descend hundreds of steps, but doing so allows you to learn about the history of these fascinating settlements and gain a better understanding of how the ancient inhabitants lived.

The Ihlara Valley is another must-see location. It has many cave churches and rock-cut buildings set in a unique landscape. Stay in one of the region’s many cave hotels for a magical experience. Travelers highly recommend Sultan Cave Suites and Kelebek Special Cave Hotel.

Cappadocia, Turkey Itinerary for 7 Days

Must-Visit in Cappadocia:

  • Kaymakli Underground City – The underground city has 8 floors below ground but only 4 are open to the public. It could accommodate 3,000 people during its peak.
  • Devrent Valley – Known for its unique fairy chimneys.
  • Derinkuyu Underground City – The deepest underground city in Turkey (200 feet underground) with an extensive network of passages and tunnels
  • Pasabag Monk’s Valley – For the mushroom-shaped pinnacles
  • Goreme Open Air Museum – Rock-cut churches and Christian monuments dug into the hills and dating back hundreds of years.
  • Uchisar Castle – The fortress offers panoramic views of the entire region
  • Ihlara Valley – A majestic 15km gorge that was formed thousands of years ago by volcanic activity in the region. It is 100 meters deep in most places.
Ephesus.         commons.wikemedia.org


Ephesus Ancient City, founded by the Greeks in the 10th century BC, is Turkey’s largest and richest open-air museum. Ephesus was the capital of the Eastern Roman Empire and the center of trade and commerce in the ancient world. Today, it is one of Turkey’s best-preserved ruins. You can explore the Isabey Mosque, the Temple of Artemis (one of the seven wonders of the ancient world), the 25,000-seat Ephesus Grand Theatre, the Basilica of St. John, the Hadrian Temple, Sirince Village, and the House of Virgin Mary in and around Ephesus.


Pamukkale literally translates to “cotton castle,” and there is no better way to describe this picturesque region. Pamukkale has natural thermal spring water pools with curative properties. Due to calcareous salt deposits, stepped-water terraces and white-colored travertines have formed on the mountain slopes. These natural springs have been popular since the 2nd century BC. People came here looking for remedies for their ailments. Pamukkale is a visual delight and a photographer’s dream. Wander the travertines, take a dip in the Cleopatra Pool, admire the breathtaking views, and visit the Roman Hierapolis city archaeological site – plenty to keep you busy.

Pamukkale.        Pixabay.com

7-Day Suggested Itinerary for Turkey

Our itinerary starts in Istanbul. Istanbul is an aviation hub and very well-connected to all parts of the world, so reaching it is never an issue.

Turkey Itinerary Day 1:  Arrive in Istanbul and spend the day exploring the Sultanahmet district and other must-see attractions. Try to reach Istanbul the day before or early morning, so that you can have a full day of sightseeing in Istanbul. Stay the night in Istanbul.

Turkey Itinerary Day 2:  Spend the second day of your trip in Istanbul. Take a cruise, enjoy a leisurely meal, and visit the other attractions on your list. We’ll be leaving Istanbul today for Cappadocia. Traveling by plane from Istanbul to Cappadocia is the most convenient option. Cappadocia is a region in Turkey’s heartland, not a city. Fly to Kayseri or Nevsehir in the late evening. They are an hour’s drive to most towns in the Cappadocia region. Stay overnight at Cappadocia.
PS: The cheaper option is to take an overnight bus from Istanbul to Goreme, Cappadocia’s main downtown area. The bus ride takes approximately 11 hours, and you will arrive in Cappadocia on the third morning of our itinerary. You won’t be able to go on a hot-air balloon ride on the third day if you take the bus.

Turkey Itinerary Day 3:  Get up very early so you can enjoy a spectacular sunset from your hot balloon. You are in for a once-in-a-lifetime experience. Explore the unique attractions of Cappadocia. Spend another night in Cappadocia.

Turkey Itinerary for 7 Days

Turkey Itinerary Day 4: Use this day to explore the nearby attractions in Cappadocia. Keep track of the time because we have to leave for Izmir today. Travel as late in the evening as possible from Cappadocia (Kayseri) to Izmir. There are two direct flights from Kayseri to Izmir, the rest are via Istanbul. Book your hotel in Kusadasi or Selcuk (Both are around one hour from Izmir). The Ephesus ruins are very close to Kusadasi (18km) and Selcuk (3km), making them ideal places to stay for an Ephesus trip.

Turkey Itinerary Day 5:  Explore Ephesus at your own pace. It is best to use a guide who can explain the historical significance of the numerous ruins. Kusadasi/Selcuk overnight

Turkey Itinerary Day 6:  There is no direct bus to Pamukkale, so self-drive/taxi/tour is the best option. Explore the stunning travertines. After you’ve had your fill, head to the hotel. It’s a long journey back to Kusadasi/Selcuk, where you’ll spend the night. You can also travel directly to Izmir and spend the night there if you need to catch a flight out of Izmir in the morning.
Kusadasi-Pamukkale:  By Train – 4h35m, By Road – Around 3h
Selcuk-Pamukkale:      By Train – 3h15m, By Road – Around 3h
Pamukkale-Izmir:        By Train – 4h35m, By Road – Around 3h

Turkey Itinerary Day 7: Take the flight to Istanbul from Izmir. If you have time in hand before your return flight, you can explore Istanbul further, or maybe enjoy some last-minute shopping.

7 Days Turkey Itinerary on Map

  Things to know before you travel to Turkey:-

  • If you have a European Union passport, you don’t need a visa to visit Turkey. Nationals of other countries mostly need an e-visa to enter Turkey. You have to apply online and your visa is processed within minutes.
  • The Istanbul City Tourist Pass is excellent value for money and includes admission to most of the popular attractions. It also includes many skip-the-queue options within the pass. You’ll also have access to public transport and 4G WiFi while in Istanbul.
  • Museums are generally closed on Mondays.
  • Booking.com and PayPal are banned in Turkey, but you can use a VPN to access them. 
  • Outside the tourist areas, English is not widely spoken in Turkey. It is advisable to learn a few basic words in the Turkish language to make life simpler.
  • The currency of Turkey is the Turkish Lira. It is equal to 0.10 USD. Most places in big cities take credit cards, but you will need some cash for taxis, street vendors, small shops, tips, and public transport. It is easy to find ATMs all over Turkey.
  • Turkey is very safe to travel to as a solo female traveler. However, you need to be conservative in your dress as Turkey is majorly a Muslim country.

Turkey Itinerary for 7 Days

  • Turkey is extremely strict when it comes to drug use. There is no tolerance for drug use or sale within the country, though smoking cigarettes and drinking alcohol are legally allowed.
  • When visiting homes or eating, Turkish culture has specific protocols. When visiting someone’s home, for example, it is customary to bring sweets, flowers, or gifts for the children. Handle all food with your right hand during meals, and keep your feet hidden beneath the table.
  • One should follow proper etiquette and respect the local culture. Public display of affection is frowned upon.
  • Always cover your shoulder and knees while visiting any religious places in Turkey. Scarves prove to be a big savior in such cases.
  • It is common to see stray dogs and cats everywhere in Turkey. They are mostly looked after by locals and are quite friendly, so there is no reason to be afraid of them.
  • Water is generally safe to drink, but it tastes bitter. For drinking purposes, bottled water is preferable.
  • Turkey uses a 220V two-prong system, similar to European plugs.
  • Piyaz, Saksuka, Mercimek Kofte, Yaprak Dolma, Lahmacun, Menemen, Manti, Börek, Corba, Baklava, and Lokum are some of the popular Turkish dishes
  • Most hotels, restaurants, and public places have Western toilets. However, while traveling around Turkey, you are bound to come across a squat toilet. The prospect may look daunting, but such toilets are cleaner and more hygienic. Few public toilets charge for usage, so always carry loose change on you.

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This Post Has 7 Comments

  1. James

    What a great itinerary! Turkey looks amazing!

  2. Lindsay

    Loved this post! I’ve always wanted to visit Turkey, and you’ve written about all of the places that I really want to visit. I’d love to explore the streets of Istanbul. There’s so much to see and do here that I have on my list. Cappadocia looks awesome too. I’m not to fussed about a hot air balloon ride though, more I just want to walk about the rock formations and explore the area. I’m really interested in ancient history and I’d love to visit Ephesus, where Troy was located. The rise and fall of this city has always fascinated me as a child. Pamukkale also looks so beautiful. I’d just love to soak in one of the water terraces and enjoy the views. Thanks so much for sharing this great guide 🙂

  3. Amanda

    Reviewed a lot of itinerarys for Turkey and this one is just too perfect. It touches on all the sites I want to visit. Thank you so much!

  4. Ester May

    Thank you for sharing! Love Turkey and would love to go back there some day!

  5. Anuja

    Liked your blog. Nicely written. You could have given some info on accommodation and restaurants.

    1. Takeoffwithme

      Accomodation recommendations in blogs are mainly for affilate purposes

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