The ultimate 10-day Turkey itinerary for first timers including the best of Istanbul, Cappadocia, Ephesus, and Pamukkale. (Updated in 2024)

Is it Asia or Europe? Turkey is both – the best of two continents in just one country.

At first, it may appear that Turkey mostly suits cultural travelers. After all, it sits on the cusp of both Europe and Asia, so it’s no wonder that the Turkish heritage is a fascinating fusion of various cultures.

By finely balancing age-old traditions with modern influences, Turkey promises travelers an unforgettable experience.

Istanbul - galata tower - Turkey itinerary 10 days
Istanbul – Galata Tower – Turkey itinerary 10 days

Here’s the thing – Turkey is an amazing destination for literally every kind of traveler. Adventure seekers, backpackers, families, fantasy landscape chasers, pilgrims, and party travelers – all will love Turkey for the same as well as different reasons.

I’m not much of a cultural traveler but I’m always in search of fantastic landscapes. I traveled to Turkey mainly because I had seen photos of Cappadocia‘s surreal structures that looked something like a fantasy movie. Moreover, I really wanted to sit in Pamukkale‘s blue and white natural pools.

Sunrise view - Sultan Cave Suites, Cappadocia, Turkey
In search for fantastic landscapes in Cappadocia, Turkey – itinerary for Turkey

Yes, I did everything that I wanted to do, and even more. Believe it or not, I fell in love with the culture in Turkey despite claiming not to be a cultural traveler. 

If you’re looking for a destination with fantasy-movie like strange beauty, rich history, amazing culture, insane bazaars, and good food then you really have to visit Turkey. The best part – Turkey is affordable. After all, Turkish Airlines runs promos for cheap flights to Turkey from many places in the world.

Alright, now that I have sold Turkey as a travel destination for you, I’d like to share my highly researched itinerary for Turkey that I personally made for myself. It includes Istanbul, Cappadocia, Pamukkale, and Ephesus.

Süleymaniye Mosque in Istanbul - view
Süleymaniye Mosque in Istanbul – view

There is a lot to see and do in Istanbul and Cappadocia, so you will spend most of your time there if you follow my itinerary.

Pamukkale and Ephesus can be covered in a short time but can get extremely crowded during the mid-day because most of the people head there for a day trip. So, as per my itinerary, you will visit these places early enough and stay the night nearby for a more relaxing experience. 

Rather than searching through various Turkey itineraries to find the one that best suits your interests, I will share golden nuggets on how to spend 10 days in Turkey. From information about how to move from point A to B and where to see the best sunsets, our Turkey trip planner has you covered. 

Planning a last-minute trip to Turkey? I’ve got you covered with my recommendations to help you book quickly.

Istanbul Activities to Book

Cappadocia Activities to Book

Pamukkale Activities to Book

Ephesus Activities to Book

Istanbul Hotel Recommendations

Cappadocia Hotel Recomendations

Pamukkale Hotel Recomendations

Selçuk (for Ephesus) Hotel Recommendations

The Ultimate Turkey Itinerary

Table of Contents

Day 1 of Turkey Itinerary

Arrive in Istanbul + Map

Istanbul, Turkey with Galata Tower in the Background
Istanbul, Turkey with Galata Tower in the Background

Start off your trip to Turkey by arriving in the bustling city of Istanbul. Your first day of Istanbul itinerary will be light and relaxed and yet will highlight the captivating history and culture of the city.

Remember, you will return to Istanbul towards the end of your trip and that’s when you will visit the majority of important landmarks.

If you think the trams of Lisbon are cute, then you will love Istanbul too!

Istiklal Street and Red Tram
Istiklal Street and Red Tram, Istanbul November 2023

I still remember my first few hours in Istanbul. I was amazed at the stunning minarets on each side of the water with interesting old buildings and historical sites that can be seen from a distance like the Galata Tower, the Maiden’s Tower, etc.

Talking about the water, the massive Bosphorus Sea is actually not a sea but a Strait between Blacksea and the Marmara Sea. It also has an inlet – the Golden Horn which divides the historic center of Istanbul from the rest of the city.

I have made the below map for you for your first day in Istanbul that you can save on your phone before your trip begins. You can also check out my Istanbul Instagram spots post for more inspiration.

By the way, Istanbul isn’t the capital city of Turkey, Ankara is.

Hippodrome of Constantinople (Sultan Ahmet Square)

Walking around in Sultan Ahmet square, Istanbul
Walking around in Sultan Ahmet square, Istanbul

The best place to start off after the touchdown is Sultanahmet Square. In the past, the square was the Hippodrome of Constantinople, the social and sporting center of the Byzantine Empire

Today, Sultanahmet Square is a historical area that is filled with various iconic attractions, and within close walking distance to other major landmarks such as Hagia Sophia and the Blue Mosque.

Sultanahmet Square in Istanbul
Sultanahmet Square in Istanbul

Since it is your first day and you probably will have to leave for Cappadocia on an overnight bus or an early morning flight, you will not be visiting both Hagia Sophia and Blue Mosque – but just one of them if the time allows.

Instead, take your time to discover the beauty of Sultanahmet Square. You will spot:

  • Serpent Column,
  • Obelisk of Thutmose,
  • Walled Obelisk
  • German Fountain

It is nice to walk around here in the evenings and see the colorful fountain. The minarets of the Blue Mosque and Hagia Sophia look spectacular when they’re lit up.

If you have enough time left, then head to the Blue Mosque. If not, you can head directly for the last thing for the day – Gulhane Park,

Sultan Ahmed Mosque (the Blue Mosque)

Inside the Blue Mosque - Sultanahmet Mosque in Istanbul, Turkey
Inside the Blue Mosque – Sultanahmet Mosque in Istanbul, Turkey

If you have enough time on your first day, then a visit to the Sultan Ahmed Mosque is definitely a must. It will introduce you to the beauty of Turkish culture and wow you.

Please note that it takes around one hour to visit the Sultan Ahmed Mosque because it is a big complex and the entry for visitors is all the way from the back.

The lovely architecture of Blue Mosque, Sultanahmet Mosque, Istanbul
The lovely architecture of Blue Mosque, Sultanahmet Mosque, Istanbul

Sultan Ahmed Mosque is commonly known as the Blue Mosque and is one of the most visited mosques by travelers.

It has six minarets that you can spot from a distance. The interiors look spectacular with ceramic tiles, blue paint, and stained glass windows that let the natural light in. To make things even more awesome, there are 100s of chandeliers inside. 

Inside the Sultan Ahmed Mosque (the Blue Mosque) in Istanbul
Inside the Sultan Ahmed Mosque (the Blue Mosque) in Istanbul

There is a section that’s just for people who are praying and a separate section for visitors. I like that it is done like this so that the travelers and visitors do not disturb the ones who are praying.

The Blue Mosque closes for prayers a few times a day and on those times the entry is restricted. The Blue Mosque has no entry fee because it is a place of worship.

What to wear at Blue Mosque in Istanbul
What to wear at Blue Mosque in Istanbul

When entering the Mosque, please make sure that you are dressed modestly as a sign of respect for the culture. 

Gulhane Park

If you are the kind to eat an early dinner, then interchange the next two points. I eat early too but understand that a lot of people don’t.

Gulhane Park is a short 10-minute walk from Sultanahmet Square and offers a relaxing escape from the busy tourist center of Istanbul. It is definitely one of the best things that you can do in Istanbul which even the locals will approve of.

Gulhane Park, Istanbul, Turkey itinerary
Gulhane Park, Istanbul, Turkey itinerary via Unsplash

Gulhane is a Persian word for greenhouse and during the Ottoman times, this park was earlier a part of Topkapi Palace. This itinerary also includes a visit to Topkapi Palace when you come back to Istanbul after visiting other places in Turkey.

It isn’t just a random park but has impressive historical structures and panoramic views of the Bosphorus. The historical, urban park stretches alongside the famous Topkapi Palace and even extends to its grounds. The Islamic Science and Technology Museum is located within the park.

To see the views of the Bosphorus, Marmara Sea, and Princes’ Islands, head to the park’s northeastern edge. The Column of the Goths is also located here.

This column is the oldest surviving monument from the Roman period! It commemorates the victory of Emperor Claudius II over the Goths in 268 CE. 

If you visit in springtime, then you may be able to enjoy the stunning Tulip Festival. If you do, then I will be very jealous but please comment below and show your pictures.

Expect to see not only lush trees but also fountains, wooden bridges, historical columns, and loads of flowers.

Garden 1897 Restaurant for Dinner

After walking around in Gulhane Park, I’m sure you would have worked up an appetite. Visit the legendary Garden 1897 Restaurant which is at Garden House Hotel very at Sultanahmet Square.

Garden 1897 Restaurant is a very highly rated one and has not only the Ottoman dishes but also the Mesopotamian dishes.

Your first day in Istanbul serves as an introduction to the rich history that resonates across the whole country. Take the time to soak it in and prepare for the rest of your Turkey itinerary.

Day 2: Istanbul to Cappadocia, overnight in Göreme

Fairy Chimneys in Göreme, Cappadocia, Turkey
Fairy Chimneys in Göreme, Cappadocia, Turkey

Waking up early isn’t fun but prepare to have your mind blown as you will see my favourite place on earth – Cappadocia. You will feel like you woke up and arrived in a dreamland!

How to Reach Cappadocia from Istanbul?

It is easy to reach Cappadocia from Istanbul. The simplest way is by catching a flight. Cappadocia has two airports – Kayseri Erkilet Airport (ASR) in Kayseri and Nevşehir Kapadokya Airport (NAV).

Pegasus Airlines flies daily from Istanbul to Cappadocia and the flights are usually not expensive if you book in advance. However, if you’re traveling on a budget, then you may want to get on an overnight bus from Istanbul to Cappadocia. Look for a ticket on Metro Turizm’s website.

Cappadocia's bizarre landscape
Cappadocia’s bizarre landscape

When you arrive in Istanbul, you will land at the international airport – Atatürk. In order to fly to Cappadocia, you will have to go to Sabiha Gökçen International Airport. They are both at the other ends of Istanbul.

Thankfully the public transportation system in Istanbul is pretty decent and both the airports are reachable by shuttles and metro.

Keep in mind that reaching Sabiha Gökçen airport from the Sultanahmet area just by public transport can take a while because it has to be split between tram and train. It is usually a better idea to get an Uber taxi or ask your hotel to arrange for a shuttle.

After an easy one-and-a-half-hour flight, you’ll arrive in Cappadocia, the breathtaking semi-arid region known best for its honeycombed hills and strange beauty.

Cappadocia is unreal – you will see caves, fairy chimneys, weird formations, and giant mushrooms. The best part – you can stay in a cave too!

Cappadocia has a reputation as a fairytale destination, whimsical in nature and magnificent in beauty. I want to remind you to sure that your camera (or phone) is fully charged before arriving. 

Head to Göreme, Check-in at the Cave Hotel

Sunrise view - Sultan Cave Suites, Cappadocia, Turkey
Sunrise view – Sultan Cave Suites, Cappadocia, Turkey

From Kayseri Airport or Nevşehir Airport, get on a taxi to arrive at Göreme, the loveliest part of Cappadocia.

Cappadocia is massive and has around 10 towns (or villages). They are all special but I recommend you stay in Goreme. It is super lively and you can walk to the main town center from most parts. Prepare to spend the night at one of the cave hotels in Goreme.

To make your Göreme travel experience truly unique, please do yourself a favor and book a cave hotel.

While Göreme has several amazing accommodation options to choose from, we’d definitely recommend the Sultan Cave Suites. The unique hotel offers cave rooms perched on top of Aydinli Hill. 

Over the last few years, Sultan Cave Suites has become crazy expensive because it is Instagram famous. You can look at some other nearby hotels too, they are all pretty decent, and Turkish hospitality standards are amazing.

Apart from Sultan Cave Suites, I recommend the following hotels:

Göreme doesn’t have a shortage of cave hotels and remember you will still have an amazing experience if your choice of hotel isn’t available.

Derinkuyu Underground City, Ihlara Valley, Pigeon Valley

Inside a cave in Cappadocia, Turkey - Green Tour
Inside a cave in Cappadocia, Turkey

Now that you’ve found your nest, it’s time to explore the wonder of Cappadocia. There are many different tours that are available in Cappadocia because there’s so much to see. However, I joined the Green Tour.

One of the best things I did in Göreme was the green tour because it covered the things I wanted to do at a nice pace and also a traditional Turkish dinner in a lovely garden restaurant.

The reason why I picked this tour was because it includes places that I knew I couldn’t reach myself by walking.

The Green Tour takes you to explore Derinkuyu underground city, Ugrup Panorama Point, Ihlara Valley, and Pigeon Valley. Let me talk about them briefly below

Selime Monastery

Cappadocia has caves everywhere

As a part of the Green tour, we visited the Selime Monastery which was unlike anything I had ever seen before.

Selime Monastery is a historical and abandoned rock-cut construction and the largest religious structure in the Cappadocia. It has a cathedral-sized church cut directly into the volcanic rock. All these are caves too!

Inside, our guide showed us frescoes and some were damaged by the weather over the years but they still looked amazing.

Three Sister Rocks Ugrup

Three Sister Rocks or Three Beauties in Ugrup, Cappadocia
Three Sister Rocks or Three Beauties in Ugrup, Cappadocia

The three sister rocks are three tall fairy chimneys at Ugrup Panorama Point. This was actually the first stop on our green tour.

The three tall fairy chimneys are slanted and are called three sister rocks or sometimes “the three beauties” as per the legends.

Ugrup Panorama Spot, Cappadocia
Ugrup Panorama Spot, Cappadocia

You can stand at this point and just marvel at the beauty around you because you will see the views all around.

This spot tends to get windy so make sure you carry a jacket even if it is a warm day.

Derinkuyu Underground City

Cappadocia's underground city
Cappadocia’s underground city – Derinkuyu

Derinkuyu Underground City is the most shocking thing that I have seen in my life. Imagine an entire city that is built underground but is yet airy and it somehow manages to stay hidden for years.

It is so large that it sheltered 20,000 people as well as their livestock and food storage. It had rolling stone doors that could close the city from the inside. And this is one of the many underground cities, that are connected via tunnels. (Mindblown!)

Derinkuyu Underground City Cappadocia
Derinkuyu Underground City Cappadocia

They were discovered in 1963 when a local found a mysterious room behind a wall in his house while renovating.

There are many levels inside the Derinkuyu Underground City and I remember visiting at least 4 before feeling claustrophobic.

Inside Derinkuyu underground city, Cappadocia
Inside Derinkuyu underground city, Cappadocia

As per the experts, the Derinkuyu underground city thrived in the Byzantine era and was used as protection from the Arabs during the Arab–Byzantine wars of 780–1180 AD. They were also used by Christian natives in the 14th century, as a refuge for Cappadocian Greeks and Armenians.

Thankfully visiting it was an experience because I had a guide since I booked the green tour. I would. be so lost here without a guide.

Sunset Point in Göreme

Sunset point in Göreme, Cappadocia, Turkey
Sunset Point in Göreme, Cappadocia, Turkey

After the Green Tour, go back to the comfort of your hotel for a well-deserved rest and get ready to see a spectacular sunset. Wear comfy shoes to walk to Göreme Sunset Point before dinner and bed.

Göreme’s sunset point the the place in Cappadocia that will make you feel like you are on Plant Tattoine from Star Wars!

On my first day in Göreme after I came back from the Green Tour, one of the locals took me to the Sunset Spot after I mentioned I loved sunsets and clicking amazing photos.

Stunning viewpoints in Cappadocia, Turkey
Stunning viewpoints in Cappadocia, Turkey

The walk to the sunset spot is short but I remember that there is a steep climb that comes at the end of the walk right before arriving at the sunset spot.

The sunset spot in Göreme is an elevated area on top of a hill which is pretty big. You will see loads of hills, caves, and rock formations in all directions.

There are multiple possibilities of places where you can stand and admire the view. You know me, I love viewpoints so I kind of went crazy here.

Dinner and Sleep Early

On your way back from the sunset point, eat dinner in Göreme city and sleep as early as you can before you have to wake up early to experience the most famous thing to do in Turkey.

Day 3: Hot Air Balloon Ride in Cappadocia + Göreme Sightseeing

Hot air balloon ride in Cappadocia, Turkey
Hot air balloon ride in Cappadocia, Turkey

Let’s face it – people visit Cappadocia from all over the world to experience the famous hot air balloon ride over the fairy chimneys. Many people visit Turkey just to do this, and this is how you will start your day today.

On your third day in Turkey, you get to tick off one of the most iconic activities in the region – flying above the ground in a hot air balloon ride in Cappadocia. Because of this, the Lonely Planet says – “Turkey is Balloon filled skies”.

Hot Air Balloon Ride in Cappadocia

Fairy Chimneys in Göreme, Cappadocia, Turkey
Fairy Chimneys in Göreme, Cappadocia, Turkey

Waking up early is hard and is a complete hell when it is as early as 4:30 a.m. But trust me, it is worth it because around this time you will get picked up by the balloon company. (Yes, they pick you up from your hotel when you book this, how convenient!)

You don’t need to eat breakfast because this usually includes a lavish buffet-style breakfast right before the balloon ride. Just make sure you carry a thick jacket because it gets very cold up in the air.

Sunrise with Balloons in Cappadocia, Turkey itinerary
Sunrise with Balloons in Cappadocia, Turkey itinerary

Prepare yourself for the magical experience that is to come as you watch the incredible sunrise while flying 3000 feet above the ground.

Needless to say, you will click 100s of pictures of the fairy chimneys, volcanic spires, and unique architecture of the buildings below. 

When the balloon ride is over, it lands on the back of a moving jeep that takes everyone for the champagne and certificate ceremony, which is thankfully a quick one.

You’ll get dropped off at your hotel in the mid-morning, giving you enough time for a nap and relax before grabbing lunch. I remember I slept for two hours straight after the balloon ride!

Lunch in Göreme

After your nap, walk to the Göreme city center for a nice lunch and the rest of your day in this cute city.

Göreme Open Air Museum

Me inside Goreme Open Air Museum, Cappadocia
Me inside Goreme Open Air Museum, Cappadocia

Walk to Göreme Open Air Museum. Here you will see even more amazing rock formations that you may have seen before.

Goreme Open Air Museum is a UNESCO World Heritage Site. It includes the most magnificent rock-cut churches, beautiful frescoes, and rock-formed architecture. 

Göreme Open Air Museum Opening Hours8 am to 5 pm
Göreme Open Air Museum Ticket Price for 2023 & 2024480 TL (around €16)
Dark Church Ticket Price for 2023 & 2024 (additional)130 TL (around €4)

The ticket window closes at 5 p.m. but you can definitely stay inside for much longer. I have seen people with sunset photos inside, and I’m sure that was in winter.

Goreme Open Air museum, Cappadocia
Goreme Open Air museum, Cappadocia

I was here without a guide and I wished I had someone to tell me all the amazing facts and stories. You can book a guided walking tour here which is highly rated and lasts for 75 minutes.

There is a cobbled walking path that’s hilly and goes over the entire Göreme Open Air Museum. The highlight is “The Dark Church” which has an additional entrance fee.

You will spend easily 1 hour here exploring the beauty of this place. I think I spent a bit more because I clicked a lot of photos.

Zemi Valley, a.k.a., Love Valley

Zemi Valley in Goreme, Cappadocia
Zemi Valley in Goreme, Cappadocia

I asked my guide for the Green Tour about easy-to-do attractions in Göreme that are unmissable, and he told me to go hike Zemi Valley and go to the Göreme Open Air museum one after another since they are right next to each other. I don’t know why Google Maps doesn’t show it like this.

Goreme cycling : hiking map - Cappadocia, Turkey
Goreme cycling or hiking map – Cappadocia, Turkey

Zemi Valley is also known as Love Valley because of its penis-shaped structures – more politely called the fairy chimneys. The entire Zemi Valley hike is 3.3 miles and is strenuous at times but you will be able to enjoy the surrounding view. 

Zemi Valley Hike - 10 day Turkey itinerary
Zemi Valley Hike – 10 day Turkey itinerary

The entire Zemi Valley trail stretches between Uchisar and Ortahisar. There are many hiking loops inside but you can pick a shorter one.

You don’t have to do the entire Zemi Valley hike, it is long and time-consuming but you can do a part of it. I did a part of it too because I was alone and I wanted to get back to the main street before it got dark and head to a sunset spot.

Just because I didn’t go further in, I don’t have better photos of Zemi Valley but it is one of the loveliest spots in Cappadocia, so please don’t miss it based on my bad photos.

Pottery Shop on the way to Zemi Valley, Goreme, Cappadocia
Pottery Shop on the way to Zemi Valley, Goreme, Cappadocia

It is worth mentioning that on the way to Zemi Valley from Goreme Open Air Museum is a beautiful open-air pottery store that looks out of this world. It has trees decorated with evil eye stones, an alien and a bunch of other amazing things.

Red Valley Panorama Lookout for Sunset

Red Valley Sunset Spot, Cappadocia, Turkey
Red Valley Sunset Spot, Cappadocia, Turkey

Another local took me to the sunset spot in Red Valley and I was so thankful because it was unreal. It is so different from Goreme’s sunset spot and is totally worth it.

There are no fairy chimneys here in Red Valley but miles and miles of reddish-pink hills that look better than any place that I have ever seen before when the sun sets.

These red hills with rock formations made the sunset landscape look even redder than normal. Seriously, I had to remove the warm tones a bit from my photos to prevent them from looking too red, and I usually do the opposite.

Just Married - Bride and groom in Red Valley, Cappadocia, Turkey
Just Married – Bride and groom in Red Valley, Cappadocia, Turkey

In order to reach the Red Valley sunset spot, you have to get in a taxi or drive your rented car to “Red Valley Panorama Lookout”. It is in Ortahisar and the drive from Goreme to here will take you 15 minutes.

This place was so stunning that I saw three newly married couples here for their wedding photoshoots. Looking back, I have realized that some of my best Cappadocia photos turned out at this spot.

The Stunning Red Valley in Cappadocia, Turkey itinerary
The Stunning Red Valley in Cappadocia, Turkey itinerary

So, end your day by catching the sunset in Red Valley, which also happens to be my choice for Instagram-worthy spots in Cappadocia. This promises to be the perfect way to end your day before returning to sleep in Ottoman Cave.

Day 4: Uchisar in Cappadocia

Uchisar in Cappadocia, Turkey
Uchisar in Cappadocia, Turkey via Unsplash

Today is the day when you will head to Uchisar, but first there’s another fun early morning activity.

You will hate me for including another early morning activity in your Cappadocia itinerary, but you will totally thank me when you see the view.

The thing is, Cappadocia isn’t the place for a late-night, late-morning kind of trip. The nightlife is pretty nonexistent, thanks to the early morning hot air balloon rides. Cappadocia’s sunrises and sunsets are epic, so make sure you wake up early every day.

Day 4 of your Turkey 10-day itinerary starts off brightly by catching yet another epic sunrise.

Photoshoot with a view of Balloons in Cappadocia

Sunrise view from Sultan Cave Suites, Göreme, Cappadocia
Sunrise view from Sultan Cave Suites, Göreme, Cappadocia

If you are already staying at Sultan Cave Suites then this will be easy for you. Otherwise, you need to walk here early morning to enjoy the sunset at Sultan Cave Suites with a view of balloons.

Now depending on the season, the balloon time is different and can be as early as 5:30 am, so please call Sultan Cave Suites in advance and ask.

Sunrise Photoshoot in Goreme with Hot air balloons, Cappadocia
Sunrise Photoshoot in Goreme with Hot air balloons, Cappadocia

Sultan Cave Suites is the most Instagrammed place in Cappadocia, thanks to the Do You Travel and Gypsy Lust duo. The location is perfect because of the nearby fairy chimneys. Moreover, the sky looks amazing as it gets flooded with hundreds of hot air balloons while the sun rises.

Sultan Cave Suites has been saying to to those who aren’t staying here, so, in that case, I recommend you book a professional photo shoot in Cappadocia with balloons at sunrise time, which is surprisingly affordable!

If I go back to Cappadocia, I’d ditch Sultan Cave Suites but book a professional sunrise photoshoot in a different location instead.

Arrive in Uçhisar at Kale Konak Cave Hotel

Kale Konak Cave Hotel in Uçhisar, Cappadocia
My Suite Window at Kale Konak Cave Hotel in Uçhisar, Cappadocia

Uçhisar is the highest point in Cappadocia, and the main feature is a massive cone rock. On top is the Uçhisar castle, where you will see the sunset. Under it is a network of numerous underground passageways and rooms which are now blocked.

If you are in Cappadocia with a car, then you will not need to change your hotel. I changed mine from Goreme to Uchisar because I wanted to be close to the attractions here.

The view from my balcony at Kale Konak Konak Cave Hotel, Uçhisar, Cappadocia

I recommend staying at the Kale Konak Cave Hotel. The hotel itself is so stunning that exploring it felt like I was sightseeing. I actually took it away and relaxed a little at Kale Konak Cave Hotel because I had a super amazing cave suite and I wanted to pamper myself a bit.

I also found a hammam inside the Kale Konak Cave Hotel and enjoyed half an hour there. After relaxing, I got out to conquer the beauty of Uçhisar with my fully charged cameras.

Quick Walk in Uçhisar

Uçhisar Streets and roadside shops, Cappadocia.
Uçhisar Streets and roadside shops, Cappadocia.

Uçhisar has a lot of slanted streets and antique shops. Spend a few minutes to know your surroundings in Uchisar and take note of any interesting restaurant or cafe that you might want to visit later.

I didn’t walk much here but I ate an egg Pide and then an ice cream before deciding to head back.

After a while, it gets a tad difficult to walk here because of the slopes. Save your energy for a hike in Pigeon Valley if you are up for it.

Pigeon Valley Hike (Uçhisar to Goreme)

Pigeon Valley Hike between Uchisar and Goreme
Pigeon Valley Hike between Uchisar and Goreme via Unsplash

Once you are in Uçhisar, explore the area around by walking. There is a hike between Goreme and Uçhisar through the Pigeon Valley that takes 2 hours. I will suggest it as an optional thing to do here.

The Pigeon Valley hike between Uçhisar to Goreme takes 2 hours and you can take a taxi to come back after doing one way.

Pigeon Valley is special because many pigeon houses have been carved into the sides of the valley over the last few years. Pigeon droppings were used for Pigeon guano – a fertilizer. The droppings were also used to deepen the color of the frescoes of the cave churches.

If you did the Green Tour, you would have already seen a glimpse of the Pigeon Valley but a hike here is definitely a deeper experience.

Gumusler Monastery (Optional)

If you have the time or a rented car, then drive to Gumusler Monastery. I didn’t do this but I heard amazing things from people who visited, so I’d like to mention this as an option for you.

Turkey was the center of the Byzantine Empire, and the Gumusler Monastery is a cave monastery that reflects this history. It is carved out of a large rock and is considered one of the best-preserved in the region. 

Uçhisar Kalesi (Uçhisar Castle) for Sunset

View from the top of Uchisar Castle, Cappadocia
View from the top of Uchisar Castle, Cappadocia

The last thing for today is to head to Uchisar Castle or Uçhisar Kalesi, which is estimated to be around 60 million years old. (Yes, you read that right – 60 million)

The castle is a fascinating rock citadel that is perched on a rock spur. The views from the top are out of this world. It is a man-made castle carved out on a volcanic hill.

Sunset at Uçhisar, Cappadocia
Sunset at Uçhisar, Cappadocia

Yes, this castle is famous for its underground caves but you would find that aspect not as impressive after seeing the Derinkuyu underground city. The reason for your visit is the panoramic view from the top.

Uçhisar at Sunset time, Cappadocia
Uçhisar at Sunset time, Cappadocia

If you want to see the sunset here then I recommend that you get there around 5:30 pm or 6 pm so that you can explore before watching the sun dip behind the fascinating rock formations. 

Of course, it makes sense to check the sunset time in your weather app and then arrive here at least 30 minutes before. Once you arrive, it doesn’t take much time to reach the top of the Uçhisar Castle.

So you think three days are too much for Cappadocia? Not at all. Cappadocia is massive and has so much to see that even three days are not enough. There are at least 10 villages and so many valleys and they’re all different. I spent 4 days here but I was literally crying while leaving because I did not want to leave such a pretty place.

Dinner in Uchisar

While you are in the area, choose from the many wonderful Turkish restaurants and enjoy dinner before heading back for the night at Kale Konak Cave Hotel

Day 5: Cappadocia to Denzili, Pamukkale

How to Reach Pamukkale from Cappadocia?

Having wrung every ounce of goodness from Cappadocia, it’s time to fly to Denizli. You can choose to fly to Denizli from either Kayseri or Nevsehir Airport.

Pegasus flies from Keyseri to Denzili but it isn’t direct. If you’re lucky to find a direct flight, it shouldn’t take you longer than an hour and 15 minutes but it seems there aren’t any direct flights operating anymore in 2023.

Denizli city is slightly more industrial but is surrounded by beautiful valleys and natural sites. When you arrive in Denzili by flight, it is very easy to reach Pamukkale because there are shuttles from the airport after every flight.

These shuttles typically cost 15 – 20 TLs. The trip is short and shouldn’t take longer than 15 minutes to half an hour. Pamukkale village will be your home for the night.

Arrive in Pamukkale. Check-in at Ozbay Hotel.

Directly translated, Pamukkale means “cotton castle” in Turkish. It is a mineral-rich natural site that boasts thermal waters that flow over white calcite travertines (terraces).

The area is regularly frequented by day travelers who travel to dip into the pools, but we would definitely recommend that you spend the night here, explore the small village, and visit the thermal pools in the morning without crowds like I did.

My dorm room was like a private double room at Ozbay Hotel, Pamukkale, Turkey
My dorm room was like a private double room at Ozbay Hotel, Pamukkale, Turkey

I highly recommend booking a room at Ozbay Hotel, Pamukkale. It is literally a 1-minute walk from the calcium pools.

It is a pretty hotel and absolutely loved their breakfast. Yum! Staying the night will also allow you to enjoy the rest of the village, further exploring the ancient ruins in the area.

Explore Pamukkale Village and Market

Colorful Local Market in Pamukkale, Turkey
Colorful Local Market in Pamukkale, Turkey

The white travertine pools are the main highlight of Pamukkale but we will leave that for tomorrow morning. I have made this 10 day Turkey itinerary post based on how I spent my time. My travel from Cappadocia to Pamukkale took almost an entire day so I visited the travertine pools the next day.

Today is the day to walk around and explore Pamukkale’s little market. This market is a good place to buy handmade souvenirs because it is much cheaper as compared to other places in Turkey.

The village of Pamukkale, Turkey and the local market
The village of Pamukkale, Turkey, and the local market

Dinner in Pamukkale

Eat a nice meal in Pamukkale’s town. Sleep early so that you are rested after a day of travel. You will wake up early tomorrow, eat breakfast, and then visit the most famous attraction here.

I found Pamukkale to be much more authentic and affordable as compared to Cappadocia in terms of eating out.

Day 6: Expore Pamukkale

White Travertine Thermal Pools with Blue Water - Pamukkale, Turkey
White Travertine Thermal Pools with Blue Water – Pamukkale, Turkey

Pamukkale Thermal Pools

Having spent a large portion of the day before traveling, your sixth day in Turkey is dedicated to exploring the surreal environment and travertine thermal pools of Pamukkale.

Start your day early and reach Pamukkale’s travertine pools by 9 a.m. to avoid crowds. I had a nice breakfast at my hotel and then I ventured out for the day.

Walking on Travertine Terraces - Pamukkale Thermal Pools, Turkey
Walking on Travertine Terraces – Pamukkale Thermal Pools, Turkey

The beautiful, white, terraced waters invite travelers to indulge in the offerings of the ‘spa town’. The pools offer a great way to unwind and relax while enjoying the beauty of the surroundings. 

Walk around Pamukkale’s mineral-rich formations, sit inside one of the pools, and take dozens of pretty photos. Spend enough time here so that you can check out the other attractions within this complex. 

Trying to bathe in Pamukkale's Thermal Pools without taking off my clothes
Trying to bathe in Pamukkale’s Thermal Pools without taking off my clothes

If you exit Pamukkale’s travertine complex, then you can’t reenter without buying another ticket so spend a few hours here to satisfy yourself before you leave.

I did see a few travelers who were in the travertine pools in swimsuits but somehow I didn’t feel comfortable since I was traveling in Turkey as a solo female traveler.

Cleopatra’s Pools

Cleopatra Pools in Pamukkale, Turkey
Cleopatra Pools in Pamukkale, Turkey

While you’re exploring Pamukkale’s travertine complex, there’s another famous pool that you can enjoy here – the Cleopatra’s Pools, also known as the Antique Pool. 

Unlike the other pools in the area, Cleopatra’s pool is privately owned and has a fee of 700 TL as of 2023 and needs to be paid upon entry. 


Hierapolis – a beautifully preserved ancient Roman site - Pamukkale, Turkey
Hierapolis – a beautifully preserved ancient Roman site

As tempting as it is to wallow in the ‘healing waters’ of the hot springs all day, you also need to see Hierapolis, the ancient Roman city.

Don’t worry – everything is right next to each other in the same complex. The settlement boasts a fascinating history, and iconic attractions such as the Hierapolis Theatre, Necropolis, and Museum. 

Lunch in Pamukkale

Get out of the Travertine complex and check out of your hotel. Leave your luggage there or carry it with you to the market where you can spend some time in a restaurant.

Enjoy a nice Turkish lunch in Pamukkale before you head to the ancient city of Ephesus. Actually, you won’t be staying in Ephesus but in the nearby town of Selçuk. 

Pamukkale to Selçuk

Pamukkale and Selçuk are just 2.5 hours away from each other by road, so this journey is very easy if you do it in a rental car or entirely on a taxi. If you’re two or more in number, then a taxi makes sense and the cost isn’t so high when you split it up. The taxi journey will cost you around $60.

Another way of reaching Selcuk from Pamukkale is by hopping on a bus from Denzili. By now you surely know that Denzili town isn’t far from Pamukkale, so you can get here by taxi. From Denzili, get on a Kamil Koc bus to Selçuk.

Check-in at one of the below-mentioned hotels in Selçuk:

Day 7: Explore Ephesus

Celsus Library, Ephesus - Turkey Itinerary
Celsus Library, Ephesus – Turkey Itinerary

Selçuk to Ephesus

Having spent one week in Turkey, Ephesus introduces a new and exciting adventure to your trip. Depending on where your hotel is in Selcuk, you can choose to bicycle or walk to Ephesus over a distance of roughly 4 kilometers (2.5 miles). 

Explore Ephesus – the Walled Ruins

Ephesus Ruins - Celsus Library - Itinerary for Turkey
Ephesus Ruins – Celsus Library – Itinerary for Turkey

If you want to make the most of your Turkey itinerary 10 days in, then we suggest you get an early start. The lost city of Ephesus has a lot to explore, and you want to get the most out of it before all of the day-trippers arrive.

Alternatively, you can visit it right before the complex closes when it isn’t so crowded. The complex closes at 7 p.m. during summer months and 5:00 p.m. during winter months. You may want to check the official website for more information.

Enter Ephesus at the lower gate, which is closer to Selcuk town. The entire city of Ephesus is a World Heritage Center and a shining example of Greek and Roman architecture and history.

Ephesus Entry Fee 2023700 TL Per Person
House of Mary Entry Fee250 TL Per Person
Terrace Houses320 TL per person
St. Jojn’s Basilica130 TL per person
Sirince VillageFree
Ephesus Museum220 TL Per Person

Whether or not you are a history-lover, Ephesus is sure to leave you in awe at the marvelous ruins that tell stories of centuries gone by in the ancient port city. 

Some key sights to include on your agenda are the Library of Celsus and Ephesus Amphitheater – arrive at these places early to avoid the queues.

Ephesus Outside the Walled Ruins

There are things to see outside the walled ruins too. These attractions are close to the Lower Gate. The Temple of Artemis, Basilica of St. JohnIsa Bey Mosque, Ayasoluk Castle, and Ephesus Archaeological Museum among many others. 

Evening in Selçuk

After soaking up as much history and culture as you possibly can, spend a relaxing evening with a beer and cool off at Denis Bar or Dplphin Bar. Both these bars are in the main town center.

Prepare to leave the next day for Istanbul on a flight. Alternatively, you can also catch an overnight bus to Istanbul from Selçuk by Varan Bus lines.

Day 8: Arrive in Istanbul, Cruise over Bosphorus

Sunset cruise over Bosphorous, Istanbul itinerary
Sunset cruise over Bosphorus, Istanbul itinerary

So it is the second time you are arriving in Istanbul. I suggest one of the above-mentioned hotels for an amazing experience:

Hamam in Istanbul

If you chose to spend the previous night resting in Selcuk, then the morning of your eighth day in Turkey will start off with a morning flight from Izmir to Istanbul.

If you take the bus, you’ll also arrive sometime in the morning. Check into your Istanbul hotel of choice, and head straight to a Turkish hammam for a one-of-a-kind experience

Turkish Hamams - Turkey travel tips
Turkish Hamams – Turkey travel tips

These hammams are all over the city and offer a variety of services. Some are touristy and as expensive as EUR 50 per person.

There are historical hammams in almost every area and some are frequently visited by locals. They may not look fancy and clean but because of the heat and marble, these are germ-free. If you ask a local, you might get a good recommendation.

If you want to book a high-end hammam with a massage, check this option that costs EUR 49 and you will have to go to the Hilton Doubletree Hotel for this.

You can choose from a self-service option, a traditional hammam that offers the real Turkish bath experience, or other styles which include aromatherapy massages, reflexology, and facial clay masks. 

Sunset cruise over the Bosphorus Strait

View from the Bosphorous Cruise with Galata Tower, Istanbul
View from the Bosphorus Cruise with Galata Tower, Istanbul

After your hammam experience, you should feel rested and revived. Make your way to the Bosphorus Strait, which is sometimes called a sea or even a river but is a strait that separates the continents of Europe and Asia. 

Kick back, relax, and enjoy a sunset cruise on the Bosphorus River, taking in the unique perspective of the city. I have shortlisted some tours for you to book and they all offer something different:

The Bosphorus Cruise that I went for lasted 2 hours. It also had live commentary that I wasn’t interested in but the views on each side of the Bosphorus Strait were unmatched.

After a day of walking around Istanbul city during summer days, the Bosphorous cruise felt pretty amazing because I got to sit back and relax to just enjoy the view. It did get a bit chilly later in the evening.

Nightlife in Istanbul – Bosphorus Strait Area

Unlike most of the trip – you won’t need to wake up early for the next 2 – 3 days so take time to explore Istanbul’s party scene.

A tabby cat in Istanbul at night
A tabby cat in Istanbul at night Unsplash

One of the most popular and scenic spots for nightlife in Istanbul is the Bosphorus area. Here you will find many places where you can enjoy your food and drinks with a view of the Bosphorus Sea.

Head to Beer Point or Taps Bebek for good beer. If you want to get fancy, head to Sortie – the most lively (and expensive) place to party in Istanbul.

Day 9: Historical Istanbul (and Dan Brown’s Istanbul) + Map

Istanbul - the Epic Turkish Itinerary
Istanbul – the Epic Turkish Itinerary

Istanbul has got so much to offer, and as your trip draws to a close, it’s time to put on your comfortable walking shoes and prepare to explore the historical Istanbul. If you are a fan of Dan Brown’s Inferno, you’ll recognize a lot of these attractions from the adventures of Robert Langdon.

In order to save money and avoid standing in lines in Istanbul, you can buy a multi-day museum pass.

There are a few must-see attractions that can’t be missed and need to be added to your Istanbul itinerary. These are all located near one another and can be explored in one go. 

I have made a map for today’s locations. The ones that are not a short walk away can be reached by tram. I have mentioned tram details before each destination that’s a bit far.

Save the above map as an offline map on your phone to avoid getting lost without the internet.

Hagia Sophia

Hagia Sophia - 3 days in Istanbul Itinerary
Hagia Sophia – 3 days in Istanbul Itinerary

Many first-time visitors are surprised to know that Hagia Sophia was once a Greek Orthodox church, was later also a mosque but is now a museum.

As of now, it is one of the greatest surviving architectural examples of the Byzantine Empire. It has been restored a few times and new structures have been added. The minarets were added during the Ottoman time. 

There is a lot to see inside Hagia Sophia but I will mention a few things for you to notice and possibly photograph. See the minarets, the dome, the inscriptions, the marble door, the imperial door, the beautiful door, the hammam (bathhouse), the Omphalion, lustration urns, and calligraphic roundels among other things.

The entry fee for Hagia Sophia was 72 Turkish Liras but was removed after 2020 because it functions as a mosque. So as of today, it is free to visit. Set aside one hour for Hagia Sophia.

Basilica Cistern

Basilica Cistern in Istanbul, Turkey
Basilica Cistern in Istanbul, Turkey

If you are a fan of Dan Brown’s books then for sure you have heard of Basilica Cistern. It is just 500 meters away from Hagia Sophia and is definitely worth visiting.

Basilica Cistern is unlike any place that you would see. It is an ancient giant well cavern below the city streets of Istanbul. There are water ducts and massive columns.

Historically the ducts fed this Cistern with water for general use like drinking, washing, bathing, etc. These water ducts were supported by columns that are said to be 35-40 meters tall.

There are carved faces of Medusa at the bottom of some columns. Meduse is from Green Mythology with hair of snakes. As per the legend, if one looked directly at Medusa they’d turn to stone.

The entry fee for Basilica Cistern in 2023 is 350 Turkish Lira and isn’t included in the Museum pass. It is open from 9 am to 7 pm.

Set aside 30 minutes for Basilica Cistern and perhaps take a break after it before you head to the next place on the itinerary.

Topkapi Palace + Lunch at Museum Cafe

Inside Topkapi Palace, Istanbul
Inside Topkapi Palace, Istanbul Unsplash

Just 450 meters away from Basilica Cistern is the Topkapi Palace. You can visit this place on your own but will definitely be more interesting with a guide. It is a UNESCO World Heritage Site.

For almost 400 years, the Topkapi Palace was the Ottoman Empire’s royal residence. Today it attracts thousands of tourists as they glimpse the history while enjoying the beauty of this lavish palace.

The museum cafe overlooks the water so is an amazing place to eat lunch.

Topkapi Palace Entry Fee750 Liras
Topkapi Palace, Harem, and Hagia Irene Combined Ticket950 Liras
Harem Ticket Inside Seperately350 Liras

Set aside a few hours to spend at Topkapi Palace because it is huge. There are pavilions, massive courtyards, and rooms with an impressive collection of artifacts.

The tile work and the decoration will wow you! There are some rooms where you can’t click photos so keep your eyes out for the sign.

Inside is also Hagia Irene, one of the few churches that wasn’t ever converted into a mosque in the Ottoman area.

View from Topkapi Palace courtyard in Istanbul
View from Topkapi Palace courtyard in Istanbul Unsplash

One of the courtyards overlooks the “Golden Horn” (where the Sea of Marmara meets the Bosporus River waters), so you will get amazing views and photos. Many people say that it is the best viewpoint to see the golden horn of the old quarter of Istanbul, overlooking the Bosphorus Strait and Galata Tower.

There is also a harem inside the Topkapi Palace with 400 rooms but you have to buy an additional ticket to see it. Also, there is a hamam inside with an entry fee of 100 liras.

Set aside two hours for Topkapi Palace, especially if you will be eating lunch here.

Come back to your Hotel to Freshen up

The Blue Mosque, Hagia Sophia, Hippodrome, and Basilica Cistern are a stone’s throw away from one another, so you can do them all together and come back to your room to freshen up for the evening.

Get ready to head to the Galata area for sunset and nightlife. The Galata Bridge and Tower is slightly further away, but still walkable and definitely worth a visit.

Sunset at Galata Bridge and Tower

Galata Tower and the Observation Deck, Istanbul
Galata Tower and the Observation Deck, Istanbul

Walk over the Galata bridge and get on top of the tower to enjoy the sunset. The walk from Sultanahmet Square to Galata Tower is around 3 kilometers. It goes over the Galata Bridge from where you will see amazing views.

Walking isn’t necessary and you can also arrive at the Galata Tower by getting onto a tram from Sultanahmet Square. Get on T1, ride 4 stops till Karaköy, and from there you will be 600 meters away from Galata Tower.

The Galata tower has 9 floors but the lift will only take you till the 7th – so wear comfortable shoes. There is a 360-degree observation deck on top which will give you breathtaking views of Istanbul city.

Entry Fee for the Galata Tower in 2023650 Turkish Liras / Included in Museum Pass
Galata Tower Opening Hours8:30 am to 10 pm

If you see a queue of people outside you can just skip it. Instead, the sunset from the Galata bridge is pretty amazing as compared to having to wait in line.

Drinks and Dinner in Galata District

Galata District at night Istanbul Unsplash

Galata District is a good spot to enjoy the nightlife in Istanbul. You have had to wake up early on many mornings but the next will start late.

Head to Riddim or Mojo in the Galata district to enjoy good music. I like this list by Culture Trip that mentions the best bars for epic nightlife in the Galata district.

Day 10: Bazaars of Istanbul + Map

Grand Bazaar, Istanbul - 3 days in Istanbul Itinerary
Grand Bazaar, Istanbul – 3 days in Istanbul Itinerary

While Istanbul is rich in history, it is also buzzing with a lively atmosphere and super-rich culture that you should experience.

At the center of this culture are a large number of bazaars and markets that can be found in the city. Istabul’s Bazaars are world-famous and you can not leave Turkey without visiting at least one of them.

From the sharp and sultry aromas of the Spice Bazaar to the Turkish lanterns and carpets at the Grand Bazaar, the hustle and bustle of the city is unrelenting. 

In order to reach the market area, get on a tram from Sultanahmet station to Eminönü station. From there it is a 3-minute walk that you will enjoy.

I have made a map for you to tackle the day. Save it as your offline map before you start the day.

If you suffer from social anxiety and can’t handle crowded places, then you may want to avoid the below two bazaars altogether.

Spice Market (Misir Carsisi)

Spice Market – Misir Carsisi is one of the largest bazaars in Istanbul and is in the Faith District. It has 85 shops that sell spices, tea, dry fruits, nuts, and more. It is not to be confused with the Grand Bazaar, which you will visit right after this.

Inside Misir Carsisi, the Spice Bazaar in Istanbul
Inside Misir Carsisi, the Spice Bazaar in Istanbul via Unsplash

Before you visit Misir Carsisi, it is important to know how to say “no thank you” because you might get haggled by pushy salesmen. As an Indian, I’m pretty used to this and I don’t mind it at all. For me visiting a place like this is worth the hassle of dealing with pushy salesmen.

Misir Carsisi is something that you have to see while you are in Istanbul whether you want to buy it or not. This visit is about experiencing the smells, sounds the people – and all the sensory overload that you can imagine.

The spice market is cheaper than the Grand Bazaar, so if you see something you’d like to buy, just go for it.,

Walk through the endless maze of stalls inside the Egyptian spice market. You can stop for local Turkish snacks and tea or coffee.

This market is in a building that’s lovely from the inside with arches. The spice market joins the textile market and uphill to the Grand Bazaar with a 10-minute walk.

Grand Bazaar

Turkish Delight and Food in Grand Bazaar in Istanbul - 3 days itinerary
Turkish Delight and Food in Grand Bazaar in Istanbul – 3 days itinerary

Grand Bazaar is the grandest of all bazaars in Istanbul. It is a covered market with 41 streets. It is the largest and the oldest covered market in the world. Whatever you want to miss in Istanbul, but do not miss the Grand Bazaar because it will offer you the most memorable sights. 

There are shops that sell home decor, leather goods, clothes, food, Turkish delight, lamps, and just about anything. Remember this is one of the places where you have to haggle. In some ways, it reminded me of Bangkok’s Chatuchak market because that also has sections for everything.

Inside Grand Bazaar Istanbul
Inside Grand Bazaar Istanbul via Unsplash

Again, this isn’t a shopping visit but more of an experience. Buying things in the Grand Bazaar is now super expensive because a lot of tourists visit it from all over the world.

The Grand Bazaar also has a bunch of cafes, so you can eat a snack or lunch here. It is also located in the Faith district and is easy to reach from the Spice Bazaar.

When you are done snacking on the Turkish delight treats and bargaining the price of shiny trinkets, make sure that you visit Süleymaniye Mosque, an iconic landmark in Istanbul.

Süleymaniye Mosque

Süleymaniye Mosque in Istanbul from the Bosphorus Sea
Süleymaniye Mosque in Istanbul from the Bosphorus Sea

The most visited Mosque in Istanbul is the Blue Mosque but it is the Süleymaniye Mosque that’s the grandest. One of the locals suggested that I visit the Süleymaniye Mosque, so I did.

Again, I’d like to remind you to dress appropriately – cover your shoulders, your legs, and your head in order to visit religious sites in Turkey.

The Süleymaniye Mosque is located on top of one of the hills of Istanbul. To reach here is quite a climb but it doesn’t have the queues of the Blue Mosque that you visited on your first day. Inside are also the tombs of Hurrem and Suleiman.

You will also be able to see the view of the Bosphorus and Golden Horn when you are up at the Süleymaniye Mosque‘s gardens. Take some time and sit in the gardens, you won’t want to leave.

the view from Süleymaniye Mosque, Istanbul
the view from Süleymaniye Mosque, Istanbul Unsplash

If you are a cat lover, then you will be happy to know that there are quite a lot of them roaming around the Süleymaniye Mosque.

The Ottoman imperial mosque is staggering in size and quite a sight to behold. It is Istanbul’s second largest mosque – you will see it from your Bosphorus cruise and maybe even from the airplane when you land.

Come back to your hotel for a break

After spending more than half of your day at different bazaars and Süleymaniye Mosque, I’m sure you are itching to shower, freshen up, and just relax a little before you head out. I did the same too.

Since you have already seen a bunch of sunsets in Istanbul, it is up to you if you’d like to see one today too, or just enjoy street food at one of the most famous spots in Istanbul where locals go.

Street Food at Istiklal Street

Istanbul Street Food - Turkey itinerary
Islak Burgers – Istanbul Street Food – Turkey itinerary Unsplash

Assuming your hotel is close to Sultanahmet Square (mine was), get on the T1 tram in the direction of Kabataş from Sultanahmet tram stop, and ride 5 stops till Tophane. Get off at Tophane, walk for 500 meters and you will arrive at Istiklal Street, the famous street food hot spot in Istanbul. It is near Taksim Square.

If you like experimenting with food, you will lose your mind at Istiklal Street. You won’t just see kebabs but also Islak burgers, pide, lahmacun, borek, and many more interesting things.

The food options are not just limited to one street but also smaller streets that are crisscrossing.

Closing Thought – Turkey Itinerary 10 Days

After a whirlwind adventure through Turkey, enjoying the taste of the intricate culture, your Turkish trip has come to an end.

From the fascinating, sweeping views of Cappadocia, the ethereal hot springs of Pamukkale, the ancient ruins of Ephesus, and the vibrant culture of Istanbul – what more could you ask for? You can now enjoy one of the best Turkey itineraries 10 days long, and full of adventure.

Flying out of Istanbul on day 11 will leave you with a light heart and a mind full of memories. No amount of Turkey travel blogs can fully describe the magnificence of this country, you simply have to go on this adventure and experience it yourself. 

Is Turkey Safe to Travel?

Many people warned me before I traveled solo to Turkey and said it wasn’t safe. They also said I should be careful of unwanted male attention.

Honestly, I did not face any issues with “unwanted male attention” because many Turkish people helped me, and some were men. Interestingly a few of them had a protective “brotherly” vibe when they were helping me, which is something I have only seen in India apart from Turkey.

I still remember how a stranger helped me find my shuttle from Denzili to Pamukkale. On a hot afternoon in Istanbul, a shopkeeper gave me free bottles of cold water while I was hunting for my hostel. 

Just when I was about to leave Turkey, I was stranded in Istanbul during the military coup. Bad timing! During this time, a lot of strangers helped me with information, support, and more. My suggestion to you – please read the latest travel advisory before traveling to Turkey. 

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