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1 month in turkey

If you find yourself in the enviable position of having a whole month to explore this beautiful country then check out our jam packed itinerary below to ensure you get to check off as much as you can!  The East of Turkey is unexplored for us to date, so if you have any tips then we're all ears!

For information on each of the individual places please refer to the specific place pages.

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Days 1-3: Istanbul

3 days isn't long in Istanbul, but it's long enough to check off pretty much all of the must -sees!  Take an Uber from the airport to save yourself a tonne of time and get sightseeing straight away!

Getting there

Chances are you'll be starting your Turkey adventure in Istanbul as the largest airports are here.  Whether you land at IST or SAW, take an Uber or the metro into the centre.

Where to stay

For ease, we recommend staying near Sultanahmet Square - you'll be within easy reach of most of the big name places here.  There's lots of hostels and hotels available to suit all budgets - we stayed at Istiklal Hostel, it's in a great location but has a slightly strange set up of being spread over different buildings so may not suit everyone.

What to see

Day 1

  • Check off the Grand Bazaar and Egyptian Spice Bazaar 

  • Wander the market lined streets and enjoy some street food

  • Head to Nevizade Street in Taksim for dinner (one of the busiest nightlife areas with so many great spots, we recommend the Ritim Bar!)

Day 2

  • Start your day at Topkapi Palace and the Harem apartments - these will take you a good few hours to complete  

  • From here you can check off the Hagia Sophia on your way out and Sultanahmet Square 

  • Grab a quick lunch around here (more expensive touristy pricing but good food!)  

  • Wander over to the Cistern Basilica and spend an hour or so checking this out

  • Freshen up after this ready for tonight - there's so much to choose from but a Bosphorus Dinner Cruise may be a good option! (We planned to do this but ended up back in Taksim!)

Day 3

  • Check out the famous Umbrella Street and Rainbow Steps 

  • Spend the afternoon walking Istiklal Avenue (great lunch spots)

  • Head back and get inside the Blue Mosque between prayer times

  • Dinner and drinks on the Galata Bridge

The Galata Tower wasn't open for entry during our stay but you could easily fit this in at night on Day 1 or on Day 3! 


Days 4-5: Bursa

Turkey's 4th largest City and one of the most conservative; Bursa doesn't make it into everyone's itinerary but we thought it was a great stop!  

Getting there

From Istanbul, grab the 10.30am Budo Ferry from Eminöyu Pier to Mudanya.  From here you'll need to jump on the M1 Bus to the Emek Metro stop, and then change and take the metro into the City centre.

Where to stay

We can recommend the Waha Hotel on Cemal Nadir Cd - we found this to be a great location, the hotel is very nice and is also budget friendly! 

What to see

Day 4

  • Wander the area close to the hotel and get a feel for the City

  • See the Imperial Gate and old City Walls 

  • Walk up to the Tophane Clocktower and enjoy the incredible views over the entire City at sunset

  • Give an Iskinder Kebab a try for dinner at one of the restaurants near the Clocktower with the amazing views

Day 5

  • Explore the old Ottoman village of Cumalikizik - grab lunch at the cafe here! (Directions: take the number 2 metro line to Cumalikizik station and then jump on one of the clearly marked dolmas vans to the village of Cumalikizik and reverse to get back)

  •  Once back in Bursa, walk over to the Muradiye Complex to see the mausoleum's of the Sultan's and their familieis

  • Check out the Grand Mosque (Ulu Camii)

  • Wander the night street markets and explore the Koza Han for dinner


Days 6-8: Izmir

The youngest City in Turkey and one of our favourites!  There's a great vibe here and even better food!

Getting there

From Bursa, take the number 38 bus to the Bursa main bus terminal and then take a Pamukkale bus to Izmir.  From the Izmir bus terminal you can take a free shuttle bus by Pamukkale to the train station in the centre of Izmir.  It's a long journey, this will basically be your day 6.

Where to stay

The lively area of Alsancak is where we would recommend to stay - lots of bars, restuarants and lively atmosphere with the main promenade just around the corner!

What to see

Day 6

  • Make it to Izmir, check in and go for a wander around your local area

  • Check out Cafe Del Mundo for dinner - highly recommended! 

  • Grab drinks at one of the many bars in the area around Cafe Del Mundo

Day 7

  • Walk through town to the Agora Open Air Museum and explore the ruins

  • Stop for lunch in the bazaar on your walk back to Alsancak

  • Treat yourself to dinner at Tavaci Recep Usta on the seafront - the best kebab in Turkey!

Day 8

  • Take the day to explore the main town, do some shopping and check out the promenade

  • Get an early night for a busy next day!


Day 9: Ephesus

Get ready for a crazy packed adventure travel day, packing in one of the must sees of Turkey with a fair sized commute to your next destination; Pamukkale!

Getting there

From Izmir, catch the 7.45am train from Alcancak train station to Tepekoy (end of the line).  There you'll need to change and jump on the 9am train to Selçuk.  Walk across the road to the bus and dolmas station and buy your bus tickets for later in the day to Pamukkale.  (They'll also let you store your bags in the bus office for the day). We caught the 3.30pm bus which gave us plenty of time.  Now hop on one of the many waiting dolmas' over to Ephesus.

What to see

Day 9

  • Make it to Ephesus by 10am and explore the ancient city (100TL entry per person)

  • We paid an additional 45TL once inside for entry to the terraced houses and thought this was worth the extra

  • If you go in summer, be prepared - this is a HOT day!

  • Grab some lunch in the little town back near the bus station before your log bus ride

  • Settle in for your bus ride to Pamukkale


Days 9-10: Pamukkale

It's a long day, but it's worth it!

Getting there

As mentioned above, from Selčuk (Ephesus) catch the 3.30pm bus on to Pamukkale (via Denizli).  Once you reach Denizli you'll then need to hop in a 30 minute dolmas to get up to Pamukkale.

Where to stay

Aim for a pansion near the top of the town, as close to the entrance to the pools as possible.  We stayed at Mustafa Pension Hotel and this was fine for a night.

What to see

Day 9

  • Reach your pansion in Pamukkale and get an early night as it's an early start!

Day 10

  • You want to be one of (if not the) first into the travertines to enjoy them with only the dogs for company before the masses arrive and ruin the vibe!

  • Make sure you check out the natural travertines around the back too - there'll probably be no one there and the views are incredible!

  • Don't forget to stop at the Hierapolis ruins, they'll also be empty but really worth seeing.


Days 10-12: Bodrum

Time for a little break after a couple of busy days!

Getting there

Aim to finish up at the Travertines by late morning and catch a midday dolmus back to Denizli main bus terminal.  There's a number of bus operators all running frequent buses to Bodrum from here so choose whichever you can haggle to the best price and jump on that bus.  P.S - they'll probably tell you it's a 4 hour journey when in fact it's closer to 6 hours! 

Where to stay

We would suggest staying in central Bodrum to be within walking distance to everything.  We stayed at Mavi Pension and would happily return! 

What to see

Day 10

  • Check in to your spot and grab dinner and drinks in the town.

Day 11

  • Spend the day wandering the bazaar, coffee hopping and relaxing in the countless oceanside bars!  Little tip - don't be tricked into eating at Blanco Restaurant, it's extremely over priced, poor quality of food, bad service and a well oiled scam!  We suggest checking TripAdviser before deciding on a 'nice' dinner as there seems to be several spots running the tourist scams unfortunately! 

Day 12

  • Check out the Bodrum Castle and the amphitheatre if you're up for it

  • Spend the afternoon chilling on Bodrum beach with a few drinks!


Days 13-15: Fethiye

Another adventure packed couple of days filled with hiking, paragliding and valleys!

Getting there

From Bodrum have a fairly sharp start and catch the 9.30am bus from the terminal to Mugla, where you'll then need to change and grab a dolmas heading to Fethiye.  You should arrive in town around 1.30am.

Where to stay

We stayed at El Camino Hostel and loved our time there!  The views were incredible and the restaurant food was great.  The only downside is that it's a little outside of town and up a rather steep hill, so if as long as you don't mind getting those steps in with a little cardio work to burn off the booze then we highly recommend it!  If that doesn't sound like you're thing then we'd recommend choosing a place closer to the centre of town and the marina promenade.

What to see

Day 13

  • Check in and get comfortable before heading into the Old Town for a wander around the shops and some lunch

  • Walk up to the top end of town to check out the Lycian Amyntas Tombs set into the mountainside at sunset.

  • Grab dinner in the Old Town or by the marina promenade

Day 14

  • Prepare yourself for a crazy day!  Be up and out the door to catch the 9am dolmas to Kayaköy Ghost Town

  • Explore the ruins for a few hours and then head of the backside to hike the 6km over the mountain into Ölüdeniz! We suggest having available for this hike as it has the route marked.  It's aa tough hike if you do it over summer months so make sure you have enough water and a hat! 

  • Once in Ölüdeniz choose a paragliding operator from the main street and book yourself in for some more adventure - because today hasn't been enough already! 

  • Launch from the mountains around the town and fly over the Blue Lagoon and beach - we recommend letting your person know if you get airsick so they can skip the acrobatics at landing, we heard some unfortunate stories of those who didn't!

  • Post recovering from your flight catch one of the many dolmas back into Fethiye

  • Enjoy dinner on the promenade before some well earned sleep

Day 15

  • Another fairly early start, catch the 9.30am dolmas to Saklikent Park

  • Hike through the valley to the first gorge and then haggle with a guide to take you up to the furtherest waterfall - it gets a little tough so the tourists drop by 95%+!

  • Take a dolmas back into Fethiye and enjoy your last night in the town


Days 16-17: Kabak Valley

After another couple of full on days it's time to take some time and chill out in one of Turkey's lesser known areas.

Getting there

From Fethiye make your way to the main bus station and find a dolmas heading to Kabak Valley.  Don't worry about an early start as it's not a crazy journey.

Where to stay

The options in Kabak range from hostel camping up to pretty luxurious hotels!  We opted to spend a little money and stay at the Kabak Armes Hotel which we would highly recommend if you're looking for amazing views and the perfect place to chill!

What to see

Days 16 & 17

  • There's no crazy itineraries for your time in Kabak - this is about chilling by the pool and the beach and relaxing!

  • If you're still up for some adventures you can take a dolmas over to Butterfly Valley for a different beach experience.


Days 18-20: Kas

Kas really is the spot for beaches - the town has a great energy, beautiful beaches and plenty of good spots to eat!  It's not an adventure spot, but it's one not to be missed!

Getting there

From Kabak Valley you'll have to take a dolmas back into Fethiye - aim for the 9.30am bus.  From Fethiye you'll then need to change and take another dolmas (hopefully the 11am) over to Kas.  You should arrive around 1pm.

Where to stay

We found a great little spot called Zakkum Pansion which had large, clean rooms and served such a good breakfast each morning!  Although we loved it, it is a little out of town and involved another walk up a long and continuous hill!  So if that isn't for you then we'd recommend a spot somewhere close to the centre so you're easy walking distance to all.

What to see

Day 18

  • Check into your place and then head into town for a drink and some beach time

  • The town has a beach called 'little pebble beach' - quite simply because it is absolutely tiny with no sunlight and will be packed!  There are beach clubs that you can enter with a minimum spend, however the rocks that line the shore make a great place for tanning and cliff jumping if you prefer somewhere a little quieter!

  • Head into town for dinner and some drinks - there's endless great spots in this time for food and the little bar street is packed with endless options! 

Day 19

  • Enjoy breakfast at your hotel or somewhere in town and then jump on one of the water taxi's over to the beaches out of town.  We hit Delos Beach and spent the afternoon chilling over there, but there are endless options for beaches to suit your mood!  

  • Spend some time wandering the streets of Kas and browsing the little shops

  • After a day at the beach head back to town and check out some more of the food and drinks in Kas! 

Day 20

  • If you're feeling a little like you need to do something today then check out one of the many boat tours you can do to sights such as the sunken city of Simena or a snorkelling tour.  

  • Once night falls take a walk over to the old amphitheatre and spend some time taking in the views


Days 21-23: Olympos

One of Turkey's lesser known destinations, but with possibly the clearest, bluest waters we've ever seen! 

Getting there

Catch a dolmas from the main dolmas stop in Kas (they ran every hour on the half hour in August 2020) to the top of Olympos hill.  You'll then need to wait for another dolmas to take you down the hill into the town - there didn't seem to be any kind of schedule for this dolmas, it was just a sit in the restaurant and wait for it to fill up!

Where to stay

Olympos is basically one road that runs from the top of the hill all the way to the beach and is lined with various eco-style villages.  We stayed at Kadirs Treehouse Hostel but honestly wouldn't recommend it - it's had it's heyday but seems to have lost it's way a little!  The walk to the beach was also pretty long from here so we'd recommend one of the spots closer in.

What to see

Day 21

  • You probably won't get to check in to your spot much before sunset by the time you play the dolmas game today, so once you're settled take a stroll to the beach and watch the sunset (you'll need to buy a pass for the beach access as it's through the ruins)

Day 22

  • Enjoy some time on the Olympos beach - it's pebbley but quiet with great water

  • Grab lunch from one of the tiny local restaurants along the main road

  • Spend some time exploring the ruins - don't just walk past them on your way to the beach!

  • Grab dinner at your spot and then head out to see the Chimera Flames.  Tours leave around 8ish and get you back by 11.30pm.  

Day 23

  • Get yourself on one of the many boat tours offered from the town that pick you up from the main beach area and spend the day at various incredible swimming spots off the coast - if you're lucky you might see Caretta Turtles!

  • Enjoy dinner and drinks at any of the spots around the town 


Days 24-25: Antalya

From the least known to possibly the best known!  Antalya has been one of Turkey's holiday hotspots for a number of years.  We didn't get the chance to explore as much as we'd have liked due to illness, but you could easily pass a couple of days in the town! 

Getting there

From Olympos getting back up to the top of the hill will be your biggest challenge - the dolmas is infrequent and fills up quickly, so you might have to wait a while.  Once you're back to the restaurant at the top another bus will pass which is heading to Antalya.  The journey is along coastal roads that are pretty windy so if you struggle you might want to have some tablets handy!

Where to stay

We stayed in the middle of the new part of town at Hostel Vague (this place was ok, but was certainly nothing special).  The area was well connected with the city tram line though which made life easy!

What to see

Day 24

  • You should hopefully arrive by mid afternoon and check in.  We spent the afternoon wandering the streets of the new town and coffee hopping the numerous cafes.

  • You can't go wrong for dinner in Antalya, your choices are endless!

Day 25

  • Spend the morning checking out Antalya's unique waterfall that falls straight in to the ocean - Düden Falls.  It's a little out of town but public transport will get you there

  • Once back in the main town head to Mermerli Beach and spend some time relaxing for the last time on the beach!

  • Dinner in the old town is a perfect way to round off your time here

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Days 26-29: Cappadocia

Saving the best until last - Turkey's most famous skyline, the fairy chimney's of Cappadocia! 

Getting there

Cappadocia is in Central Turkey and although there are buses that do run there, they take a vary long time!  It's much more convenient to fly from Antalya straight into Keyseri Airport.  You could also fly into Nevsehir airport.  Once in the region, your options are to hire a private driver or to rent a car - the latter obviously being the more affordable!  Car rental from Keyseri airport was quick and easy and the 1 hour drive over to Göreme was full of incredible scenery!

Where to stay

Some people choose to stay in Uçhisar as this is highest point in Cappadocia, however Göreme is the town surrounded by the famous fairy chimneys and where you'll get that insta-famous sunrise balloon photo!  We stayed at Travellers Cave Hotel and couldn't recommend it highly enough!  The roof terrace had incredible views over the town and was perfect for balloon spotting! 

What to see

Day 26

  • You probably won't arrive in Göreme until sunset or dark after the flight and car journey, so check in, get comfy and then enjoy an evening wander around town and dinner amongst the chimney's!

Day 27

  • Have your balloon flight booked for sunrise this morning - we used Royal Balloons who were great but there's a wide choice! 

  • You'll be back in town after floating over the chimney's in time for a late breakfast

  • Spend the rest of today exploring the underground cities of Kaymakli and Derinkuyu

  • Head back into Göreme and take a sunset wander around one of the various valley's - we chose Pigeon Valley however one of the more famous is Love Valley!

  • Enjoy a well earned dinner after your hectic day!

Day 28

  • Spend the morning checking out the Göreme Open Air Museum (don't forget to add on the Dark Church!)

  • From there, head over to the Twin Fairy Chimney's to check those out - this is just a viewpoint and doesn't take long

  • Head on to Uçhisar and explore the castle here as the views over the entire of Cappadocia are incredible! 

  • Stop at Love Valley on your way back to Göreme

  • Choose the perfect spot to enjoy a last dinner in Cappadocia and Turkey and enjoy the sunset

Day 29​

  • Wake up shortly before sunrise and be ready to watch the balloons floating over Göreme - you'll find most of the town is up too so find a good spot for watching and photos and claim it!

  • We had an early flight so headed straight for Keyseri airport after the balloons, but if you have some time enjoy one last breakfast in this incredible place before heading on!

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