Home » The Best Two Week Turkey Itinerary- How to Spend 2 Weeks in Turkey

The Best Two Week Turkey Itinerary- How to Spend 2 Weeks in Turkey

If you’re looking for unusual landscapes, fascinating ancient history, fantastic beaches and gorgeous seaside towns, Turkey needs to be on your travel bucket list. I recently spent two weeks exploring Turkey and the trip ended up being the best adventure possible. So since so many people have asked how I planned the trip, I thought I’d share my 2 week Turkey itinerary!

I’d been to Turkey as a child and had fond memories of climbing over huge ancient ruins and sailing on deep blue seas. And although Turkey is known for its gorgeous beaches and excellent resorts, there’s so much more to see throughout the country. I most recently went to Turkey alone for a 2 week adventure, and I was surprised to find that travelling around Turkey as a solo female traveller was completely safe and fine.

My Turkey itinerary ended up including (in order): the lively beach town of Bodrum (two days), the ancient ruins in Ephesus (one day), the natural wonder of Pamukkale (one day), before a magical adventure sailing on a traditional Turkish Gulet boat (three days). The second week was spent with one day in Istanbul, before heading to the out of this world landscapes of Cappadocia (four days).

I travelled across Turkey solo and entirely on public transport, using buses, trains and planes. You can read all about this in my detailed guide to public transport in Turkey.

So this guide to a 2 week Turkey itinerary guide will cover where to go, how to get between destinations, where to stay and all of the best things to see and do. I’ll attempt to cover everything you might need to know for your own Turkey adventure, so read on and start planning your own 2 week Turkey itinerary!

2 Week Turkey itinerary: Essential things to know

How long to spend in Turkey?

I’d recommend an action-packed 2 week itinerary for Turkey. Or at least of a minimum of 10 days in Turkey. This is ample time to visit the main sites and get a really good feel for the country.

However, if you have less time, for example just one week in Turkey – I’d recommend perhaps visiting just two or three destinations from this guide.

A three week Turkey itinerary could include an additional location perhaps. or more time in Istanbul to really learn about its fascinating history and mix of cultures. Alternatively, a 3 week itinerary in Turkey could be spent entirely along its beautiful coastline. You could hike the country’s famous Lycian Way which traverses beautiful craggy mountains, pine forests and weaves through typical Turkish coastal villages. The options in Turkey are endless – it is a country that really encompasses so much!

When is the best time to visit Turkey?

Quite an important question when planning your trip is deciding when to visit Turkey. The summer months (May to September) are the peak times to visit with long sunny hot days and little rain. But if you’re not keen on this, then the shoulder months (April and October) would also be a good time to visit.

If you were to visit Turkey in the winter, you might even experience Cappadocia as a winter wonderland!

However, if you’re planning on sailing the Turquoise Coast in Turkey or visiting any other coastal places, it would definitely be advisable to go in the summer months. As with many beach areas in Europe, many restaurants and hotels often do not open until early May.

2 week turkey itinerary
Exploring the fairy chimneys of Cappadocia

Getting around Turkey

Although Turkey is a vast country, I find Turkey very easy to get around by public transport. Using the buses, trains, dolmuş (minibus services) and domestic airlines, public transport made for an efficient and convenient way to explore the country.

I found most public transport ran mostly on time, was very affordable, could be booked at the last minute and was clean/comfortable. I really enjoyed the independence that using public transport in Turkey afforded me. You can read my guide to using public transport in Turkey here.

What to take to Turkey?

What you should bring to Turkey really depends on the time of year that you visit. If you’re visiting in the summer months, you’ll need some good walking shoes for all of the sightseeing and exploring. I would also recommend a sunhat, plenty of suntan lotion and sunglasses!

As Turkey is mostly Muslim, there are some places where you need to cover up – particularly in religious buildings in Istanbul. However, the country on the whole is fairly relaxed and not too strict.

Streets of Bodrum, Turkey
Charming streets in Bodrum, Turkey

Is it safe to travel to Turkey?

Turkey has experienced periods of political unrest over the past decade, as well as several attacks. But of recent, Turkey has been declared safe to travel.

In fact, most governments around the world still advise travellers to not go near the border area with Syria. Which is understandable.

Fortunately, most of the major tourist attractions in Turkey, and all those included in this Turkey itinerary are nowhere near.

I found the Turkish people to be nothing but kind and hospitable throughout the country. The only city to use some extra caution would be Istanbul, just as with any other city in Europe.

Itinerary Planning for 2 Weeks in Turkey

Turkey is a popular summer tourist destination for countries across Europe. Therefore, its coastal towns have large airports so you might not have to start your trip in Istanbul.

You could for example fly into Bodrum, Izmir, Antalya or Dalaman Airports, all of which are on the coast and mean you wouldn’t necessarily need start your Turkey itinerary in Istanbul.

As mentioned, Turkey is one of the best countries to travel around independently. It has a very comprehensive, well-priced and convenient public transport system in place. So no matter where you start your Turkey trip, it’s likely you’ll be able to travel to your next destination with ease.

top things to do in Istanbul
Beautiful Istanbul in bloom

Useful tips for travelling in Turkey

  • Check visa/entry requirements to enter Turkey. Visa costs depend vary depending on nationality. You can apply for your visa ahead of time on the official Turkish government e-visa website here.
  • Currency. The main form of currency is the Turkish Lira (often referred to as TL). ATMs are widely available.
  • Language. Turkish is the most spoken language in Istanbul. Most people, especially those in hospitality or food & beverage, speak English very well so you shouldn’t have a problem with communication.

The Museum Pass 

This excellent pass is a great buy if you are visiting several places in the city, especially for many of the destinations in this two week Turkey itinerary. It covers your entry to many attractions and archaeological sites across Turkey, including Ephesus, Pamukkale and Istanbul. You can buy it online here, or at any of the attractions that offer it.

Example route for 2 weeks in Turkey


I travelled in late August and chose to fly from London to Bodrum as this was the most affordable flight. It actually worked out to be a brilliant first stop.

I knew I was interested in visiting Ephesus and as soon as I realised the public transport would be straight forward to get there, I decided Bodrum would be a great place to start my Turkey itinerary.

Bodrum was charming, lively, interesting and beautiful. It was such a pleasant surprise and Bodrum town centre has none of the large all-inclusive resort hotels I expected. The big resort hotels are located just out of town, leaving the centre of Bodrum to be a delightful car-free place. You could easily spend just one or two days in Bodrum, or a whole week soaking up the sun and enjoying the beaches. I’ve written a longer guide on what to do and in see in Bodrum, which will give you everything you need to know before deciding whether or not to include Bodrum in your Turkey itinerary.

Bodrum Turkey

Where to stay in Bodrum

There are plenty of brilliant budget hotels in Bodrum, as well as more luxury options. I stayed at the excellent Eskici hotel (you can check rates here at Booking.com).

A few suggestions for some other great budget hotels in Bodrum: 

In terms of luxury hotels in Bodrum, there are many to pick from. I’ve listed some of the best below:

The best things to do in Bodrum

From wandering its charming streets and visiting the historic Bodrum Castle, to sampling the best of Turkish cuisine in the atmospheric restaurants, there’s plenty of attractions to see and things to do in Bodrum.

If you’re only visiting for a short time, one idea could be to book a local tour. I’ve suggested a few with GetYourGuide below covering all of the must-see attractions in Bodrum:

Exploring Bodrum
Charming laneways
the best turkey itinerary
Exploring Bodrum
best attractions in Bodrum
Bodrum waterfront in Turkey

Ephesus and Selçuk

Next stop, Ephesus and the nearby town of Selçuk. Travel time: 2h30 on public bus direct from Bodrum.

The ancient ruins of Ephesus are definitely one of the top things to do in Turkey. Located relatively nearly Izmir and also the cruise port of Kusadasi, the ruins are popular with cruise day-trippers. Huge crowds arrive at Ephesus everyday. I’ve written a long guide you can read here covering how to visit Ephesus without the crowds.

I chose to visit Ephesus and the adjacent town of Selçuk after Bodrum, as I realised it was a straight forward bus from between the two. I spent a full day exploring Ephesus, before spending the night in Selçuk.

visiting ephesus in turkey
Standing outside the Library of Celsus

Where to stay near Ephesus

As I mentioned, Selçuk is the nearest town to Ephesus. There are several mid-range hotels here to choose from, all catering for tourists visiting Ephesus. I stayed at the Saint John Hotel, which was about a five minute walk to the train station and offered a really pleasant stay. 

The lovely hotel is family-owned and run, and they made me feel right at home. You can check rates for Saint John Hotel here.

visiting ephesus in turkey
Standing in the Amphitheatre at Ephesus
visiting ephesus in a turkey itinerary
Some of the ruins at Ephesus
exploring ephesus
Meeting the cat population of Ephesus!

What to see at Ephesus?

The main archeological sites include the Library of Celsus, the Temple of Artemis and the amphitheatres. At the entrance you can pick up a map, and there is signage throughout, so you could give yourself a self-guided tour through Ephesus. However, you can arrange a tour through a local tour company in town, or book on a tour with GetYourGuide advance:


Next stop: Pamukkale. Travel time from Selçuk to Denizli: 3hr30 by direct train.

This spectacular natural wonder is unusual and distinctly different to anything else in Turkey. I’d highly recommend including a visit to Pamukkale on any Turkey itinerary. Not only can you submerge yourself in these pools, but you also explore Hierapolis at the top. Here are some more fantastic ancient ruins, which are perhaps even more spectacular than Ephesus – and definitely more overlooked.

We took the train from Selçuk to Denizli, which was just over 3 hours. From Denizli, we took the local bus to Pamukkale which was really straightforward.

However, a day trip to natural wonder of Pamukkale does require a bit of pre-planning. It’s almost essential to try and arrive before the day tripper crowds arrive. It’ll make for a much better experience and you can enjoy an hour or more of the pools to yourself.

Visiting Pamukkale can be done as a day trip from nearby Denizli (and other towns in Turkey). You see many tours offering this and I’ve popped a few suggestions below:

However, I strongly recommend spending the night before in the town of Pamukkale for a less hurried experience. My guide to visiting Pamukkale is well worth a read if you’re planning on going.

However, one full day and one night is sufficient time to explore Pamukkale.

visiting pamukkale
A doggie enjoying the terraced pools
turkey itinerary
Enjoying Pamukkale

Where to stay in Pamukkale

If you choose for the convenience of an overnight stay in Pamukkale, there are several mid-range hotels to pick from. I stayed at the Melrose House Hotel which was the perfect base from which to explore Pamukkale. You can check rates for this great hotel here.

If you’re looking for something a little more fancy, you could choose Doğa Thermal Health & Spa or Richmond Pamukkale Thermal.

visiting Pamukkale in a day
Views over Hierapolis
turkey itinerary
Standing at the edge of the amphitheatre at Hierapolis

Sailing the Turquoise Coast

Next stop: Fethiye for a gulet cruise. Travel time from Denizli to Fethiye: 2hr40 by direct bus

Sailing along the Turquoise coast is a magical way to spend time in this beautiful country. If you can include a gulet cruise in your Turkey itinerary, you will definitely not regret it. The stunning coastline is lined with deep emerald green pine forests, craggy rock faces, charming Turkish villages and fascinating history. It is also where you can go paragliding above Ölüdeniz.

turkey itinerary
Paragliding in Ölü Deniz

Spending a few nights on board a traditional Turkish wooden gulet cruise boat is a fantastic and authentic way to sail the coastline. The gulet boats tend to sail between Fethiye and a town near Antalya called Olympos. I departed from Fethiye for my gulet sailing trip.

I’d say I definitely wouldn’t choose to return to Fethiye for a longer trip on another occasion as I found it to be over commercialised and the total opposite of quaint.

There are plenty of local companies to pick from for your sailing trip in Turkey. I would definitely recommend local company Alaturka Cruises who I found online in advance of my visit. The gulet boat was great, the team fantastic and their email support before the gulet departed was brilliant.

I’ve written a much longer and extensive guide to sailing the Turquoise Coast in Turkey here. I’ve covered everything you’d need to know including when to go, how to get to the departure points, what to take on the sailing trip and what to do in each of the ports.

sailing in turkey
The incredible translucent waters at Kekova
Traditional ice cream in Turkey
Trying the local ice cream!


The sailing trips along the Turkish coastline tend to finish in a small town called Olympos. A unique town in itself as it offers treehouse stays in a densely forested gorge. However, instead of staying here, I took a quick domestic flight from Antalya to Istanbul.

Travel time from Olympos to Antalya airport on a bus: 1h30. Flight from Antalya to Istanbul: 1hr.

Istanbul is a city like no other. Straddling two continents, Asia and Europe, it is a true melting pot of religions, cultures, backgrounds and traditions. I only had one day in Istanbul but I felt I visited a good number of the best attractions in the city. I’ve written a detailed guide on all of the top things to see and do in Istanbul if you only have one day or maybe a weekend to spend in the city. However, if you’re looking for a slightly longer guide to the city, then do check this two day guide to Istanbul here.

An absolute must visit destination in any 2 week Turkey itinerary, Istanbul offers a mesmerising experience. From its Grand Bazaar, one of the biggest indoor markets in the world, to the fascinating Hagia Sofia, a religious structure that has been used by Christians and Muslims through time.

best things to do in Istanbulbest things to do in Istanbul
The beautiful gardens

Where to stay in Istanbul

Istanbul has thousands of hotels to choose from, covering budget bases to ultra-luxurious palatial stays.

I enjoyed an excellent stay at the Intercontinental Istanbul, which was well located and adjacent to Taksim Square. It offered the most impressive breakfast and had a lovely pool to enjoy after a long day of sightseeing in the city. You can check rates for this hotel here

Some of the other best luxury hotels in Istanbul include: 

If you’re looking for somewhere as more of a comfortable base, these are some of the best value for money hotels in Istanbul: 

top things to do in Istanbul
The Galata Tower


Travel time from Istanbul to Kayseri: 1hr flight

From Istanbul, it’s a quick and easy flight to Kayseri, which is the nearest airport to Cappadocia.

I think a visit to this surreal town withits magical fairy chimneys and mesmerising sunrises, is essential on any Turkey trip. Most of the best attractions and sites in Cappadocia can be visited in a two or three day visit. Plus, with regular flights from several Turkey airports, it’s pretty easy to include Cappadocia on any Turkey itinerary.

turkey itinerary
Enjoying one of the public areas at Sultan Cave Suites

I spent four days in Cappadocia and thought it was one of the best places I have ever visited in the world. Staying at a cave hotel is an absolute must-do whilst in Cappadocia – we stayed at the beautiful Sultan Cave Suites. This cave hotel has become super famous thanks to Instagram and its incredible terrace, which is the perfect place to capture a Cappadocia sunrise photo.

The best cave hotels in Cappadocia

There are so many cave hotels in beautiful Cappadocia to choose from, so it isn’t an easy decision to decide where to stay.

Sultan Cave Suites is one of the most popular cave hotels to stay in Cappadocia. You can read my full guide to staying at this amazing cave hotel – it was incredible! Check rates for the Sultan Cave Suites here!

However, if it is fully booked, there are still so many other amazing cave hotels from which to pick.

Some of other best cave hotels in Cappadocia include:

the best photo locations in Cappadocia
Sultan Cave Suites

The best attractions in Cappadocia

One of the very best things to do in Cappadocia is to witness one of the incredible sunrises. If you can, do it twice. Once from a beautiful viewpoint, such as the terrace at the Sultan Cave Suites hotel (you must be a guest) and once from a hot air balloon ride.

sunrise in Cappadocia
Enjoying a hot air balloon flight

But that’s not all there is to do in Cappadocia. Some of the other main attractions include the visiting the Göreme Open Air Museum, exploring the nearby village of Uçhisar and some of the incredible rock formations at Pasabag and Devrent. This detailed guide here covers all of the best things to do and see in Cappadocia.

2 week Turkey itinerary
The amazing Cappadocia landscape

If you’re short on time, it’s best to see all the top attractions in Cappadocia on an organised day tour. You can arrange this through your hotel, or you can plan your time in advance by booking a tour through GetYourGuide:

Turkey Itinerary

So that’s my 2 week Turkey itinerary. The perfect mix of historical sites, a sailing adventure, a cosmopolitan and cultural city, and the otherworldly magic of Cappadocia. As mentioned, I got around purely by public transport in Turkey which I found to be safe, especially as a solo female traveller, as well as cost efficient.

I do hope this guide for a 2 week Turkey itinerary is useful. Naturally, the more time you have, the places you can visit. Although some places, such as Pamukkale, you really you don’t need to spend more than one day in.

Feel free to drop me a line if you would like any advice or further recommendations? If you’ve enjoyed this post, please do share using the below links!

Wanna see more? Check my Instagram here, my Facebook here or my Twitter here!

Disclaimer: This visit to Turkey was entirely paid for by myself and there was no involvement from the tourism board or a hotel. This is an independent guide.

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  1. Chittra M
    December 11, 2017 / 7:42 pm

    looks amazing! especially pamakullae pics. so white. I have seen pictures which usually seem so crowded but this one shows the actual beauty

  2. December 12, 2017 / 2:06 am

    Wow! Your pictures confirm how Turkey is one of the best places to visit in the world. And your itinerary help a lot for us who has never been there and plan to make a visit.

  3. December 12, 2017 / 9:03 pm

    Thanks for this great overview of the best escapes in Turkey; really liked the layout of this post. We didn’t visit it on our last trip in that part of the world, but hopefully we’ll visit this gem on our next vacation. We love your photos too much!!

  4. December 13, 2017 / 6:36 am

    your pictures are amazing, they took me right there. What time of the year did you go? Great Itinerary for people who are getting ready to visit.

    • December 18, 2017 / 2:08 pm

      Thank you! I went in late August, early September! Hot but perfect! x

  5. December 13, 2017 / 10:16 am

    This is perfect timing! Im hoping to go here soon and this blog is a fabulous and full of great info! I should have went with you!
    If you only had a week, what 2 places were your favorite?
    Thank you for sharing!

    • December 18, 2017 / 2:08 pm

      Ah awesome!! Definitely visiting Cappadocia which was a bit surreal to be honest, and then also sailing along the turquoise coast! 🙂 x

  6. Silvana
    December 17, 2017 / 12:10 am

    Wowowow!! Turkey is on my bucket list from such a long time!! Reading your post I was asking myself why I didn’t visit it yet.
    Answer was because I didn’t know where to start from.
    Now I have a very good starting point!
    Thanks for sharing ??

  7. December 17, 2017 / 12:51 am

    Thank you for sharing your amazing experience. This country is absolutely beautiful. I’ve wanted to visit for awhile, definitely considering a trip to the coast.

    • December 18, 2017 / 1:57 pm

      Thanks for your kind words! It is an amazing country, I hope you get a chance to visit! x

  8. December 17, 2017 / 5:01 pm

    I love all of the Blue on the buildings in Bodrum. We love exploring ruins like the ones you saw in Ephesus. Kitty!!!!
    There is so much o do in Turkey it seems. You captured so much and it looks so beautiful!

    • December 18, 2017 / 1:56 pm

      I know, the buildings were so cute! Definitely wasn’t expecting that 🙂

  9. December 17, 2017 / 5:44 pm

    Great timing for us. We have been looking at planning a trip to Turkey and seems like a perfect itinerary has come our way. Istanbul and Cappadocia is definitely going to be there. I love all the images but the last one against the balloons with hands up in the air- lovely!

    • December 18, 2017 / 1:46 pm

      Ah so glad to hear it! Do let me know if I can help with any of your planning, it really is the most amazing country!! x

  10. hetal
    December 13, 2018 / 4:13 pm

    perfect itinerary. trying to do the same. thanks so much for beautiful pics and guides.

  11. Jessica Gonzalez-Rubio
    April 9, 2019 / 3:17 am

    Hi There, Do you have an itinerary on how many days you stayed In each place? I am also planning on traveling to Turkey late august early September.
    We are looking at Istanbul, Cappadocia, Bodrum, Izmir – Ephesus – Selcuk, Pamukkale, and I am not sure if Antalya fits in here. We are going for 14 days.

  12. May 21, 2019 / 7:07 pm

    This has been immensely helpful and has great suggestions! Thank you!

  13. William Shourov
    October 27, 2019 / 8:31 am

    Could you please tell how much was the tour cost except the airfare.

  14. Shelby
    November 17, 2019 / 6:34 am

    Hey! Just wondering if you tracked how much this trip cost? I am working on a budget for two weeks in Turkey. Any advice would be great!

  15. shannon davey
    February 13, 2020 / 12:55 am

    hi we did your turkey itinerary but back to front, with very few exceptions and we LOVED it! Everything was beyond our expectation except Pammukale. The blue cruise was fantastic, we were on the revenge. Cappadoccia was out of this world and the sultan suite caves was perfect. So thank you for your wonderful advice.

    • June 18, 2020 / 1:53 pm

      Hi Shannon,

      Ah thank you that’s amazing feedback! It’s such a special country – so glad you enjoyed the itinerary!

  16. Tahir
    March 19, 2021 / 8:56 pm

    Looks amazing. Can you please let me know how many days did you spend at each place your visited?

    • March 25, 2021 / 10:43 pm

      Hi Tahir! I’ve updated my post to make that more clear, sorry about that! These are the timings of my itinerary: Bodrum (two days), the ancient ruins in Ephesus (one day), the natural wonder of Pamukkale (one day), sailing on a traditional Turkish Gulet boat (three days). The second week was spent with one day in Istanbul, before heading to Cappadocia (four days).

  17. David C
    May 6, 2021 / 7:53 am

    Hi, Claire.

    I just happened onto your website today. As I’m getting ready to plan a 2-week family vacation in Turkey myself, this is a great read and thank you so much for all the suggestions.

    Originally, I was thinking about driving and doing a road trip, from Istanbul, east to Cappadocia, then circle westward thru Konya to Bodrum, Izmir on the west coast. However, in the name of saving time, I’m now leaning towards just flying from one major town to the next (namely, IST -> Kayseri ->Antalya ->Bodrum/Izmir->IST), and rent a car locally if necessary. May I know on what website you booked the domestic flights?

    Are Konya and Antalya charming places to visit, in your opinion? Or, perhaps I should just do the east (Cappadocia) and west (Bodrum, Ismir, Ephesus)? I’m very interested in lingering in Istanbul, so am budgeting at least 5 days in the city out of the 2 weeks.

    Any suggestion is much appreciated. Thank you.

    • May 6, 2021 / 9:27 am

      Hi there.
      Glad you found the post helpful! I would say that the driving distances are vast, and as domestic flights (or trains/buses) are so easy and so straight forward, it would be easier to use public transport in a 2 week trip.

      The route you mention is almost mine in reverse. I booked all my flights directly on the airlines’ websites (Turkish Airlines or Pegasus). Both are great but Turkish is especially good for domestic, I loved it.

      I didn’t go to Konya so I cannot comment sorry, and I didn’t spend too long in central Antalya, but I think going Istanbul > Cappadocia > direct to Bodrum/Izmir/Ephesus is perfect and if you only have 9 days after Istanbul, you can easily spend 9 days in those places. I squeezed a bit more in, but I was travelling solo so didn’t have to factor in others’ needs or preferences haha. I hope that’s helpful!

  18. Lottie
    January 27, 2022 / 10:51 am

    This looks like an incredible trip! Do you
    mind giving a rough idea of the budget you were on? The total cost for the two weeks and general accomodation cost?

  19. Lina
    September 13, 2022 / 5:49 am

    Taxi is too pricy . From bus station to hostel by Dolmus. Is there any space to fit my carry on 9X14X22 with wheels in Dolmus?

  20. myturkeyvisa
    January 13, 2024 / 4:12 pm

    This is an amazing travel blog! It easily takes readers to a variety of locations with engrossing stories, striking images, and useful ideas A priceless source of real experiences.

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