So if you’ve made it this far, chances are you really want to visit Turkey. Here are 10 things to do once you get there.
1) *Spend 4-5 days in Istanbul. Days 1-2: walk around Old City. Visit Sultanahmet (Blue Mosque), Hagia Sophia, and the Basilica Cistern.
2) Day 3: Take the ferry across the Bosphorus Strait to the Asia side. Walk around Asia for a couple hours. Grab a meal. Come back to the Europe side. In the evening, check out Taksim Square for nightlife.
3) Day 4: Walk across the bridge to the Galata Tower. Go up the tower. The views are incredible. Hang out and grab a meal in the neighborhood around Galata Tower. It has loads of cute cafes and shops.
4) Day 5: Visit the Grand Bazaar before your afternoon flight to Kayseri. It’s super touristy but you can’t leave Istanbul without seeing it.
5) Days 5-6: The moment you land in Kayseri and arrive to your accommodation (probably in Goreme), sign up for the hot air balloon in Cappadocia. The balloon is frequently canceled due to poor weather. I waited 6 days for it!
6) Days 6-8: No worries if your balloon is canceled due to poor weather. Wait for it and fill your time with the Red and/or Green Tours. Both of them are awesome in their own right and take you to some very unique geological formations.
7) Days 9-10: Take the overnight bus to Fethiye (you have to change in Antalya) and go paragliding. If the weather is poor, wait at least 24 hours for a better day. If you have time, stop in Antalya. I skipped it, but I hear it is quite nice.
8) Day 10: Before you leave Fethiye, check out the Lycian Rock Tombs. I think many people miss this but they are worth seeing! After the tombs, catch a bus to Pamukkale for the famous terraces made of calcium carbonate. They are some of the largest in the world! Stay overnight in Pamukkale.
9) Days 11-12: Catch an early morning bus to Selcuk. Take a day tour to Ephesus. Walk around Selcuk and climb the hill to the castle. I literally had to the castle to myself when I went!
10) Days 13-14: Take the train to Izmir. Hang out 1 or 2 nights. Walk along the waterfront, visit cute vegan cafes, check out the Saat Kulesi (Clock Tower). Fly back to Istanbul from Izmir and change flights to your next destination.
*If you are from Australia or New Zealand, you will probably want to visit the Gallipoli peninsula, where the Battle of Gallipoli happened. You can do this from Istanbul. It is a full day trip.
This was more or less my time in Turkey. I stayed 6 days in Goreme/ Cappadocia waiting for the hot air balloon due to weather. It was totally worth it and one of the highlights of my trip!
I highly recommend Turkey for its diverse landscape, delicious food, hospitable people, and budget travel. It’s one of the cheapest, most rewarding places I’ve traveled.
If you have a nervous personality (like me) and want to visit Turkey, follow these simple steps:
- ignore the media
- don’t accept tea or meals from strangers
- be wary of large crowds
- keep your wits about you
This should also be applied to any travel destination. ENJOY