Julie Itinerary, Turkey 58 Comments

Turkey is an amazing country to explore. With 10 days, you can tour Istanbul, explore the fairytale land of Cappadocia, and visit the ancient Roman ruins of Ephesus. Highlights of this Turkey itinerary include a visit to the Hagia Sophia, shopping in the Grand Bazaar, hiking in Cappadocia, and a magical hot air balloon ride, if you so desire.

A visit to Turkey is an extraordinary combination of history, dramatic landscapes, delicious food, and life changing experiences.

Turkey Itinerary: Day 1

Arrive in Izmir

Most international flights arrive in Istanbul. From Istanbul, take a short flight to Izmir. You will spend one night in this area, just enough time to visit the ancient ruins of Ephesus and the nearby sites.

It’s a quick visit because we are saving time for the really good stuff, Istanbul and Cappadocia.

I recommend renting a car at the Izmir airport. This is the easiest way to get around Izmir and Selcuk.

If you have free time (and energy) in the afternoon, you can make the drive out to Cesme, a pretty city on the coast. Off in the distance you will be able to see the Greek island of Chios sitting in the Aegean Sea.

Drive to Selcuk and get settled into your hotel.

Where We Stayed: Saint John Hotel in Selcuk. This is a charming, small hotel just a short drive from Ephesus.

St Johns Hotel

Saint John Hotel | 10 Day Turkey Itinerary

Turkey Itinerary: Day 2

Ephesus, Temple of Artemis, & Sirince

I find it amazing how many historical sites are packed into such a small geographical area in Selcuk. In this one small spot you can tour six historical sites and visit one charming small town. It’s a busy day, but since some of these visits are quick, you can visit all of these places in one day.


The highlight of the day, without a doubt, is Ephesus. If you only visited Ephesus, it would be a great day.

Ephesus (Efes in Turkish) was an ancient Greek city that later became a Roman city. During the beginning of the Roman period, around 100 BC, Ephesus had a population of 250,000, making it one of the largest cities in the Mediterranean world.

During your visit, walk down the Street of Curetes, see the iconic Library of Celsus, and take in the view from the top of the Great Theater. It’s worth a visit to the Terraced Houses, excavated “houses of the rich” that are decorated with frescoes and fine mosaics.

Turkey Itinerary 10 days

Library of Celsus | 10 Day Turkey Itinerary



View of Ephesus

Ephesus is a rather large archaeological site. A visit here can last anywhere from 2 hours to 5 hours. We followed Rick Steves’ walking tour. His tour, plus a visit to the Terraced Houses, took us about two hours.

I recommend getting here at 8 am, opening time. By getting here early you will miss the crowds (many people arrive midday, visiting Ephesus on a quick, whirlwind day trip from Istanbul) and you will still have plenty of time for the other sites around Selcuk.

Website: Get updated hours and pricing here.

House of the Virgin Mary

Just a short drive from Ephesus is the House of the Virgin Mary. This is the place where Mary may have spent her last days. She may have come here with Saint John, who spent several years in the area to spread Christianity. This is now a place of pilgrimage for Christians and has been visited by several Popes.

Cave of the Seven Sleepers

This rather morbid looking site has a fascinating history. What looks like tombs are actually the beds from an ancient dormitory. According to Christian and Muslim tradition, in the third century AD, a group of young men sought refuge in this cave to escape religious persecution. They emerged 300 years later. 

Cave of the Seven Sleepers

Cave of the Seven Sleepers | 10 Day Turkey Itinerary

Lunch in Selcuk

The afternoon is spent visiting a few quick sites in Selcuk. Grab a quick bite to eat in town before moving on.

Temple of Artemis

Your next stop is the Temple of Artemis, or better stated, what remains of the Temple of Artemis, which isn’t much. Behold one of the Ancient Wonders of the World. One pillar out of 127 remains standing in a boggy marsh. It was built around 323 BC as a shrine to the Goddess Artemis.

Temple of Artemis

Temple of Artemis | 10 Day Turkey Itinerary

A visit here is quick. Simply drive up, take in the view, and then continue on with your day.

Isa Bey Mosque

Located in the town of Selcuk, the Isa Bey Mosque is a mosque that was built between 1374 and 1375.

Isa Bey Mosque

Isa Bey Mosque | 10 Day Turkey Itinerary

St. John’s Basilica

Sitting next to Isa Bey Mosque is St. John’s Basilica. This was built in the 6th century AD at the believed burial site of John the Apostle.



The mountains next to Selcuk are called the “Tuscany of Turkey.” Drive to Sirince and enjoy the views of the green mountains, wander the cobblestoned streets, and have an early dinner here.


Learn more about a visit to Selcuk: 7 Experiences to Have in Ephesus

Evening Flight to Istanbul

It may seem like a whirlwind of a day, and it is, but end the day with an evening flight from Izmir to Istanbul.

To get to your hotel, this private airport transfer service gets rave reviews.

Where We Stayed in Istanbul: Hotel Uyan. This small hotel is located within walking distance of the Hagia Sophia and the Blue Mosque. We stayed in the Blue Mosque Corner Room, a room that is relatively large for a European hotel. We had plenty of room for our family of four. From the windows we could see the Blue Mosque and the top of the Hagia Sophia. Every morning we awoke to the sound of the muezzin from the Blue Mosque. The hotel has an upper deck with awesome views over Istanbul.

10 days in Turkey

The view from the upper deck of Hotel Uyan | 10 Day Turkey Itinerary

Turkey Itinerary: Day 3

Istanbul: The Blue Mosque, Basilica Cistern & the Grand Bazaar

Blue Mosque

Start the day in Sultanahmet Square. Stand in the middle and slowly rotate 360 degrees. This beautiful square is home to both the Blue Mosque and the Hagia Sophia. It’s a gorgeous spot and the kind of place that can give you goose bumps. Just like in Selcuk, there is so much history here waiting to be explored.

Start the day with a visit to the Blue Mosque.

Blue Mosque

The Blue Mosque | 10 Day Turkey Itinerary

Built in 1616, the Blue Mosque is famous for the intricate blue tile work the covers the interior of the building. It is free to enter, and if you have never been inside of a mosque before, this is a good one to start with. Remove your shoes, if you are a woman you must cover your head, and quietly enter the mosque. Walk on the carpeted floors, stare up at the tiled ceilings and walls, and take in the grandeur of this place.

Blue Mosque with Kids

The Hippodrome

Just a short walk from the Blue Mosque is the Hippodrome. Built in the 4th century AD, this was a venue for chariot races. The centerpiece of the Hippodrome is the Egyptian obelisk. It was carved 3,500 years ago and brought to Istanbul in the 4th century AD. What you see here is only the top third of the original obelisk.

Hippodrome Istanbul

The Hippodrome | 10 Day Turkey Itinerary

The Basilica Cistern

Descend underground to one of Istanbul’s ancient reservoirs. Here it is dark, chilly, and mysterious. The highlight is seeing the two giant medusa heads. 

Istanbul Itinerary

Basilica Cistern | 10 Day Turkey Itinerary


There are a lot of great lunch spots around the Basilica Cistern. Two we recommend for Turkish food are Fuego Restaurant and Beso Restaurant Bistro.

The Grand Bazaar

Four thousand shops in the world’s oldest shopping mall…what fun!

Spend the afternoon wandering through the Grand Bazaar. It can be overwhelming at first. It’s crowded, it’s colorful, and it’s very easy to lose your sense of direction. But that’s just all part of the experience.

Grand Bazaar

Grand Bazaar | 10 Day Turkey Itinerary


Turkish Lanterns

For sale are Turkish rugs, ceramic dishes, lanterns in a kaleidoscope of colors, clothing, and antiques. What starts off as being overwhelming and intimidating becomes more fun as you learn your way around and get better with bargaining.


End the day with dinner and drinks. If you are looking for a highly rated restaurant with fabulous rooftop views over Istanbul, consider Olive Anatolian Restaurant.

Turkey Itinerary: Day 4

Istanbul: The Hagia Sophia & Topkapi Palace

The Hagia Sophia

Our day starts at Sultanahmet Square once again. Today you get to visit the jaw-dropping Hagia Sophia.

This cathedral was constructed in 537 AD. For 900 years it was the seat of the Orthodox Patriarch of Constantinople. The Hagia Sophia was the single greatest architectural achievement of the Byzantine Empire. In 1453, when the Ottomans took over Constantinople, the Hagia Sophia was turned into a mosque. It functioned as a museum until July 2020. Now it is a mosque. 

Step inside this amazing wonder. The Hagia Sophia still retains the elements of Christian and Islamic religions.

Hagia Sophia | 10 Day Turkey Itinerary

Inside the Hagia Sophia | 10 Day Turkey Itinerary

Allow about two hours to tour the entire building.

The Hagia Sophia is open daily. Avoid prayer times, especially noon on Fridays. The weekends also tend to be busy.


Lunch spots near the Hagia Sophia and Topkapi Palace include La Safran Restaurant and Gulhane Sark Sofrasi.

Topkapi Palace

Spend the afternoon touring Topkapi Palace. Topkapi Palace was the administrative center of the Ottoman Empire. This Palace was used for 400 years until Dolmabahce Palace was constructed in the mid 1800’s.

One of the best places to visit in Topkapi Palace is the Harem, where the mother of the sultan, his wives, and his concubines lived.

Topkapi Palace

Topkapi Palace | 10 Day Turkey Itinerary

Topkapi Palace is a beautiful spot in Istanbul. Room after room is covered in exquisite tile work. If you are here in the springtime, the gardens are filled with tulips and hyacinths. Plus, the views of Istanbul from here are amazing.

More Information: For updated hours, pricing, and the full schedule of closing dates, click here.
Skip-the-Line Tour: If you want to take a guided tour of Topkapi Palace and skip the line, here is a tour that gets great reviews.


Have dinner near Topkapi Palace and the Hagia Sophia. Another restaurant with great reviews is the Old House Restaurant.

Sunset in Sultanahmet Square

I think it’s worth spending one evening in Sultanahmet Square at sunset. As the daylight fades, the Blue Mosque and the Hagia Sophia become illuminated. The Square becomes a gathering of people, a mix of locals and tourists. The muezzin plays one final time, a melody that is beautiful, comforting, and somewhat forlorn.

Turkey Itinerary Travel Guide | 10 Day Turkey Itinerary

Turkey Itinerary Day 5

Bosphorus Cruise

Istanbul is the only city in the world to span two continents. Istanbul sits in Europe and Asia with the Bosphorus Strait dissecting it almost down the middle.

One of the must-have experiences in Istanbul is a cruise on this river. It’s also a great thing to do mid-trip. If you’re feeling a bit tired or low on energy, this is perfect timing. Take a break from the busy days of sightseeing and enjoy this relaxing, scenic boat trip up the Bosphorus River.

This trip takes a full day, leaving at around 10 am and returning to Istanbul around 4 pm. On this cruise you sail up the Bosphorus River all of the way to the Black Sea. Midday, you have several hours to tour the fishing village of Anadolu Kavagi and visit Yoros Castle.

Bosphorus River Cruise

Yoros Castle

Yoros Castle | 10 Day Turkey Itinerary

If you have no desire to spend 6 hours on this cruise, you can book a short cruise, which lasts only 2 hours. You do not sail all of the way to the Black Sea or stop an Anadolu Kavagi.

There are several companies offering cruises on the Bosphorus Strait. We used Sehir Hatlari and had a good experience.

Hamdi Restaurant

It’s a bit early for dinner, but if you’re hungry, consider dining at Hamdi Restaurant. This spot serves good Turkish food and baklava and it is famous for its views over the Golden Horn.

Eminonu Istanbul

View from Hamdi Restaurant | 10 Day Turkey Itinerary

Galata Bridge

Take a stroll across the Galata Bridge. This is another spot we fell in love with during our visit to Istanbul. This is real Istanbul…the fisherman on the bridge, the views of the mosques and the Golden Horn, and the general liveliness of the area.

Fisherman Galata Bridge

The View from Galata Tower

There may be a line but it’s worth the wait. From the top of the Galata Tower you have one of the best views of Istanbul. If you can time your visit for sunset it can be magical.

Galata Tower View

View from Galata Tower | 10 Day Turkey Itinerary

Istiklal Street

If you still have energy, consider a stroll up Istiklal Street, a famous street in the New District of Istanbul. It’s a popular shopping street and it can get quite crowded, but it’s worthwhile if you want to explore another part of Istanbul. However, if you are running low on energy, give this one a pass and end the day with the view from the Galata Tower.

Istiklal Street | 10 Day Turkey Itinerary

Istiklal Street

Turkey Travel Guide

Turkey Itinerary Day 6

Istanbul: Mosques, Ancient Walls, and Colorful Neighborhoods

Eyup Sultan Mosque

Eyup Sultan Mosque is located in a quieter, more conservative neighborhood in Istanbul. This mosque is a very sacred place for Muslims, joining the list of Mecca, Medina, and Jerusalem. This mosque marks the burial site of Eyup al-Ansari, a close companion of Muhammad, who was killed in battle.

You can visit the mosque and the mausoleum of Eyup al-Ansari.

Eyup Sultan Mosque

After your visit to the mosque, stroll uphill to the Pierre Loti Cafe. This walk takes you through a beautiful cemetery and from the hilltop you will have fabulous views over the Golden Horn of Istanbul.

Istanbul view

If you don’t feel like walking, there is a cable car (Eyup Teleferik) that can whisk you to the hilltop and save you some steps.

Chora Church

From the Eyup Sultan Mosque, we took a taxi to the Chora Church. This church was built around 1100 AD and is famous for its mosaics and frescoes. These mosaics portray the life of Jesus Christ.

Chora Church

Ancient Walls of Constantinople

These giant walls were built in the 5th century. They stretch for 3.5 miles from the Sea of Maramara to the Golden Horn. Designed to keep invaders out of Constantinople, these walls were only breached twice: first in the Fourth Crusade in 1204 and later by the Ottoman invasion in 1453.

Constantinople Walls

Walls of Constantinople | 10 Day Turkey Itinerary


View from the Walls

While in Istanbul, you can walk a portion of these walls. From here, you are overlooking the neighborhoods of Fener and Balat, getting a unique perspective of the city. After walking the walls you have the option to stroll through the neighborhoods of Fener and Balat.

Fener and Balat

We followed Rick Steves’ City Walls and Neighborhoods Walk in his Istanbul guidebook. It took us about 2.5 hours, starting at the Chora Church and ending at the Greek Orthodox Patriarchate.

From the Greek Orthodox Patriarchate we took a taxi to our next destination. In this case, next up is the amazing Mosque of Suleyman the Magnificent.

Mosque of Suleyman the Magnificent

This mosque gets our vote for the most beautiful mosque in Istanbul. It was renovated in 2010, which accounts for its sparkling interior. This mosque is actually older than the Blue Mosque, but only by 60 years. It was built by the sultan Suleyman the Magnificent during the Golden Age of the Ottoman Empire.

Suleyman Mosque | 10 Day Turkey Itinerary

Sunset Cruise on the Commuter Ferry

For the best, cheap experience in Istanbul, take the commuter ferry from Eminonu across the Bosphorus to Kadikoy. This round trip excursion takes about an hour and when we did it, it cost just $1 per person.

Mix in with the locals and enjoy the views back to the Blue Mosque and the Hagia Sophia. If you are traveling with kids, bring some bread to feed the seagulls that follow the ferry. This is a great activity to do at sunset because the views back to the Sultanahmet District are amazing.

Istanbul at Sunset

You can catch the ferry right from Eminonu Square near the Galata Bridge.

Turkey Itinerary Day 7

Cappadocia: Goreme Open Air Museum and Love Valley

Catch an early morning flight to Cappadocia. Airports are located in Kayseri and Nevsehir and airport shuttles will connect you from the airport to your hotel. Here are three transfer services in Cappadocia.



Check into your hotel and spend the rest of the day touring Cappadocia. You can rent a car or hire a driver. We hired a driver because we did several point-to-point hikes and did not want to have to work out the difficult logistics of getting back to our car. We hired a driver through our hotel but this private driver service gets rave reviews.

Today, visit Uchisar, the highest point in Cappadocia, the Goreme Open Air Museum, Monks Valley, Devrent Valley, and go on the short, memorable hike through Love Valley.

Goreme Open Air Museum

Goreme Open Air Museum | 10 Day Turkey Itinerary


Love Valley Cappadocia | 10 Day Turkey Itinerary

Love Valley | 10 Day Turkey Itinerary


Monks Valley

Monks Valley


Turkey is Gorgeous

The view form Cavusin | 10 Day Turkey Itinerary

Where We Stayed: I highly recommend staying in a cave hotel in Cappadocia. It’s a very unique experience and still remains one of our favorite hotel accommodations, ever. We stayed at Yunak Evleri Hotel in Urgup and had a perfect experience. The staff was friendly, attentive, and met all of our needs. Our room was quiet and comfortable and had plenty of room for our family of four. I would stay here again on a future visit to Cappadocia.

Yunak Evleri

Yunak Evleri Hotel 

Turkey Itinerary Day 8


Hot Air Balloon Ride over Cappadocia

Seeing the unique scenery of Cappadocia from the vantage point of a hot air balloon is an unforgettable experience. If you do one thing while in Cappadocia, a hot air balloon ride gets my vote. It may be painful paying the fee, but the memories and photos you will have make it worthwhile.

Your day will start very early. We were picked up at 5 am at our hotel by Royal Balloon and at 6:30 am we were floating up into the air.

During the flight you will ascend 300 meters into the air (that is REALLY high!!) and then down into Love Valley. We got so close to the ground that our basket almost brushed the treetops.

To say the experience was amazing would be an understatement.

Cappadocia Itinerary

Cappadocia Balloons | 10 Day Turkey Itinerary

Soganli Valley

Located a half hour south of Urgup, this valley is filled with churches carved into the mountains. It’s similar to the Goreme Open Air Museum, but this area typically gets fewer visitors so it can be a nicer experience.

Cave Churches Cappadocia | 10 Day Turkey Itinerary

Soganli Valley | 10 Day Turkey Itinerary


Cave Churches Cappadocia

Lunch at the Old Greek House

The Old Greek House, recommended in tour books and by our driver, is a great place for a lunch break. Located in Mustafapasa, this is a great pit stop on the way back to the heart of Cappadocia.

Rose and Red Valleys

Spend the afternoon hiking the Rose and Red Valleys. This is another short, easy hike and the views are amazing.

Turkey Hiking Sign

Rose and Red Valley Cappadocia | 10 Day Turkey Itinerary

Sunset Point, overlooking the Rose and Red Valleys, is the most popular spot to watch the sunset in Cappadocia. Enjoy the view and then end the day with dinner in town.

Turkey Itinerary Day 9

Cappadocia: Derinkuyu and Ihlara Valley

Underground City of Derinkuyu

Derinkuyu is the largest of the underground cities in Cappadocia. Believed to have been built in the 7th and 8th centuries B.C., this city could accommodate 20,000 people on its 16 levels. Derinkuyu was inhabited until the early 20th century but is now on display as a museum.


It takes about an hour and a half to tour Derinkuyu.

Ihlara Valley Hike

About an hour away from Cappadocia is the Ihlara Valley. This hike is a 4-mile point-to-point hike through the Ihlara Valley. It is a flat, easy hike that can be done quickly, as there are few climbs or obstacles. The follows along a river, with chances to explore more caves along the way.

Ihlara Valley Hike Turkey | 10 Day Turkey Itinerary

The hike ends at Belisirma Valley. A collection of restaurants are located on the river. At the advice of our driver we ate at Aslan Restaurant. The food was very good and we enjoyed sitting next to the river while we ate our lunch.

Selime Cathedral

While in the area, visit the Selime Cathedral, the largest church in Cappadocia.

Selime Cathedral

The Silk Road

From Selime Cathedral, the highway that takes you back to Urgup is the same path as the Silk Road took hundreds of years ago. Located on the side of the road is a caravanserai, a large stone building that was an overnight stopping point for people transporting their goods along the Silk Road.

End the day with dinner at your hotel or in town.

Get more details about this 3 day Cappadocia itinerary in our post:

3 Days in Cappadocia, Turkey

Day 10: Fly Home or Continue Your Journey

Today you will begin your journey home. Most likely, you will fly from Cappadocia to Istanbul to your hometown. Or, for those with more time, continue your journey.

With More Time

  • Visit the terraces of the calcium-rich thermal springs in Pamukkale.
  • Go paragliding from Babadag in Oludeniz.
  • Visit the historical sites and beaches in Antalya.

Best Time to go to Turkey

Spring (April, May, and June) and autumn (mid-September through mid-November) are the best times to visit Turkey. The days are warm and the nights are cool with little rainfall. The spring months are peak season for tourists, so expect higher prices and large crowds. Summer is hot and dry and can also be crowded when people take their summer holidays. The winter months can be cold and wet.

We visited Turkey at the end of March into early April during Easter Break. We had a mix of cool, cloudy days with a touch of rain, and warm, sunny days. Even though we visited during Easter, most places seemed surprisingly empty.

Tips to Have the Best Experience

Dress Conservatively

Turkey is a Muslim country. Women should keep their knees and shoulders covered. I recommend bringing a scarf to wear as a head covering when you visit the mosques. Most places will provide one for you but I prefer having my own.

Julie and Kara in Turkey

Is the Museum Pass Worth It?

The Museum Pass is a card that covers your admission to several of the main museums in Istanbul. It is valid for 5 days and with this card you can skip the ticket lines. It costs 1750 TL.

If you follow this itinerary, you will visit three of the museums that are covered (Galata Tower and Topkapi Palace and the Harem) for a grand total of 1450 TL. If you follow this itinerary, the Museum Pass has no savings, although it does allow you to bypass the ticket lines. In my opinion, it is not worth it to purchase the Museum Pass.

Click here to learn more about the Museum Pass.

If you have any questions about this Turkey itinerary, comment below.

More Information for Your Trip to Turkey:

ISTANBUL: For things to do on a visit to Istanbul, read our article Best Things to Do in Istanbul.

CAPPADOCIA: In our 3 Days in Cappadocia itinerary, learn how to plan your visit here, with daily itineraries, hotel and restaurant recommendations, and helpful tips. For short, thrilling hikes to do, read our Cappadocia Hiking Guide.

SELCUK & EPHESUS: In our guide to Selcuk, we cover the best things to do in Selcuk and how to plan your visit to Ephesus.

TRAVEL PHOTOGRAPHY: For more information about the camera gear we carry, check out our Travel Photography Gear Guide.

TRAVEL INSPIRATION: Here are 15 fairytale destinations to visit around the world. For more great travel destinations, check out our article 10 Cool Travel Spots to Put on Your Wish List.

Planning a trip to Turkey? Read all of our articles in our Turkey Travel Guide.


10 Day Turkey Itinerary Complete Guide

Turkey Travel Itinerary with Istanbul Cappadocia


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Comments 58

  1. Avatar for Brad Moretz
    1. Avatar for Julie Post
  2. Avatar for Brad Moretz
    Brad Moretz

    At what location did you climb the steps up the Theodosian Wall ?

    Amazingly, there are currently no tours that focus on the Theodosian Wall. All the tours just quickly pass by.

    1. Avatar for Julie Post
  3. Avatar for Janet Avallone
    Janet Avallone

    Hi there, thanks for this great suggested itinerary to visit Turkey. Just wondering what you paid for your trip, and if you have any idea what this trip might cost these days? Just so we can plan accordingly.

    1. Avatar for Julie Post

      We did this trip in 2012 so prices have changed quite a bit since then. It’s hard to give a rough estimate, since the time of year and budget level (budget, mid-range, or luxury) has a big impact on cost. I recommend looking at Booking.com for estimates on hotel costs. The website budgetyourtrip.com is another place to get a rough estimate of what a trip will cost, but I have found their estimates to be on the low side. Cheers, Julie

  4. Avatar for Ram

    Hello Julie,

    Love your website and the itineraries! Always makes me want to travel more!

    We are planning a trip during the Christmas holidays. We will have an 18 month old at that time (14 months now). Just wondering how much buggy friendly Turkey is? Would we be able to go on the hikes in Cappadocia? It is going to be difficult to carry our baby all the time, so are there any items on your itinerary we should drop? We are looking to travel from London.

    Also, which thermal spring would you recommend? Pamukkale or Oylat?


    1. Avatar for Julie Post

      Hello Ram. It’s been about 10 years since we have visited Turkey so my recollection of what the sidewalks are like for a buggy is a bit hazy. Istanbul and Izmir shouldn’t be a problem but if I recall correctly, the small towns in Cappadocia are hilly and the sidewalks are narrow. I don’t think you can take a buggy on the hiking trails here so your toddler would have to walk and/or be carried. As for what the sidewalks look like, you could use Google street view in the Cappadocia towns so you get a better idea of what things look like, in order to make your decision. We never made it to any of the thermal springs so I don’t know which one is better, so you’ll have to do a little more online research for that as well. I hope this helps and have a great time in Turkey! Cheers, Julie

  5. Avatar for Bev Rotman
    Bev Rotman

    I am going to Turkey in July for 10 days. This will be the 1st time visiting Turkey and we are pretty well following your itinerary with stops in Istanbul, Izmer and Cappodicia. We have 3 days on the front end in Istanbul and then 1 day on the back-end. Your posts are fabulous, so let me start my saying thanks!

    I have been looking into hiring a private guide in Istanbul for 1, possibly 2, days but it is very expensive! So I wanted to get your opinion and whether you think a private guide is necessary? I recognize that it is very much a personal choice. My friend and I are big walkers and adventurous, and have done a fair bit of European travel (both from a work and leisure standpoint). I never would have thought of hiring a guide, but Turkey, in particular Istanbul seems a bit overwhelming and we want to ensure we get the most out of our visit, I welcome your thoughts on this subject and/or any recommendations on the Guide front (fyi I have been looking at ‘Tours by Locals’ as well as ‘Get Your Guide’. Many thanks!

    1. Avatar for Julie Post

      Hello Bev. If you have been to Europe a lot in the past and are adventurous, I think you will be fine in Istanbul on your own. We used the Rick Steves Guide for a lot of what we did and it was wonderful. Our visit to Turkey was 10 years ago and at that time, had only visited Europe 3 times beforehand for 7 to 10 days each (basically Paris, London, and the French Riviera). We had very limited travel experience at that time and LOVED Istanbul (and our visit was without a guide). We thought it was overwhelming at times, but the people are so friendly and welcoming and we enjoyed every minute of it. I think that the overwhelming part of Istanbul is also one of the things that we really enjoyed. Since then, we have also traveled with guides in other places around the world and I know what value they can also bring. I think it would be nice to have some time on your own plus some time with a guide (preferably to take you to neighborhoods or places you wouldn’t feel comfortable going on your own, or to teach you more about the culture). We have done a bunch of GetYourGuide tours in other places and always had a positive experience. But I think you will be fine without a guide, but go with what your comfort level tells you. I hope you have a wonderful time in Turkey like we did! Cheers, Julie

      1. Avatar for Dd

        hi Julie, im from Malaysia and will be visiting Turkey for the first time this mid September.
        Just wanted to ask, is the Rick Steves Guide a free audio guide ? How does it actually work ? download and play for free while exploring the historical sites ?

        1. Avatar for Julie Post

          We used his book Turkey Travel Guide book and read the walking directions in several neighborhoods, using this is our guide. Since our visit to Istanbul, he has also come out with audio guides. You could check the official Rick Steves website for audio guides and see if he has one for Istanbul. Cheers, Julie

  6. Avatar for carmen guerrero
    1. Avatar for Julie Post

      We don’t run tours. This itinerary is here for you to use to plan your trip. You can set everything up independently or share it with a travel agent who can make reservations for you. Cheers, Julie

  7. Avatar for Zenaida Zozikyan
    Zenaida Zozikyan

    We will be in Istanbul on Oct 20 till Nov 10 my husband if from Istanbul and we will stay on his cousin can u guide us with thus period we would like to do santorini Athens and Istanbul as to Turkey do I need to get a package I don’t know where to start I am interested in capadocia or book your own much cheaper thanks

    1. Avatar for Julie Post

      There are package tours that you can look into, which would take a lot of the work out of planning your trip. Intrepid Travel is a reputable company…we have not used them personally but other travelers I know have and they had good experiences. We have a Greece itinerary and information about visiting Santorini and Athens that you could use to help you book your travel, if you choose to do it independently. If you only choose to do Athens and Santorini in Greece, you will need about 7 days (this includes transportation time to and from Istanbul. 3 to 4 days in Cappadocia would be nice and you can fly here from Istanbul. And then use your remaining time to tour Istanbul. Cheers, Julie

  8. Avatar for Shoubhik Mukhopadhyay
    Shoubhik Mukhopadhyay

    Can I club Antalya into the trip? I won’t mind extending the trip by another day or two in that case. Meanwhile, will it be wiser to club Bulgaria with Turkey for 3/4 days or should I leave it this time?

    1. Avatar for Julie Post

      We haven’t been to Antalya yet, or Bulgaria, so I don’t know how much time you would need in either of them. If you added Antalya, you would probably need 2 days at a minimum, to account for travel time to get there and onto your next destination. Cheers, Julie

  9. Avatar for Nour

    First of all thank you so much for your effort,
    We are a bit tight on time as we only have 3 full days in Istanbul so we are thinking about combining the blue mosque, hagia sophia and the topkapi palace in one day and visiting the bazaar in the evening. Do you think that is too much?
    Thank you

    1. Avatar for Julie Post

      I think that all of those places could be combined into one day. The Blue Mosque is relatively quick (about an hour if you photograph the outside and spend a little bit of time inside). The Hagia Sophia needs at least an hour since there is a lot to see on the inside and its such a marvelous building that it shouldn’t be rushed (so plan on 2 hours here). And the Topkapi Palace takes on average 2 hours. So yes, all that can be done in one busy day. Cheers, Julie

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