Here’s How to Plan a Memorable Trip to Turkey.

The reasons abound to visit Turkey, a transcontinental nation straddling Eastern Europe and Western Asia with cultural connections to many European countries. The country has so many magical spots the world hardly knows about.

11 Nights and 12 Days spent there and we still feel there is a lot more we could have done. It offered us so much and left us craving for even more. Sumptuous meals, scenic beauty, marvelous architecture and a huge coastline- you get everything you want on a holiday! Turkey is a must visit!

A lot of time, approximately 2 months, spent on planning this trip and picking the options which suited our interests the best was completely worth it and makes us all nostalgic about our trip. The credit for research work goes to dear husband and for making the trip so memorable to everyone who traveled along (The members of our Turkish delight group!).

Hot air balloons in Cappadocia, Paragliding in Fethiye or Pamukkale and Bosphorous River Cruise in Istanbul- all this must be sounding familiar. Planning a trip, however, from North to South is definitely not easy. To make it easier and convenient for my readers to plan a trip to Turkey, I am sharing the details of our itinerary here:

Day 1: Istanbul

We checked in our hotel in the evening and decided to explore the happening harborside area of Karaköy. Funky cafes, street art and Ottoman-era buildings- your first evening can’t be disappointing.

Sania Gupta Istanbul Travel Blog
It’s always magical to be in a new place! (Karakoy, Istanbul)

Day 2: Istanbul

We started our day early and headed straight to Galata Tower which was in close proximity to our Hotel Momento Golden Horn.

The best time indeed to enjoy the scenic beauty of the place and skip long queues is MORNING. After enjoying the breathtaking views from the top of Galata Tower, you wish to laze around in one of the many chic cafes in the area. Not to be missed is Tiramisu at Pop Up Store and Café!

Top of Galata Tower, Istanbul
When you’re proud of being an early riser on a holiday! (Top of Galata Tower, Istanbul)
The Famous Galata Tower
The Famous Galata Tower

Post-lunch we took a tour with a local guide from AirBnB who made us explore the old city of Istanbul and we covered all the major tourist attractions including Sultanahmet, Hagia Sophia, the Blue Mosque, Grand Bazaar, Süleymaniye Mosque and a few other local places. Personally, I didn’t enjoy the tour much as it was a lot of walking under the sun for a long period of time. All the places except Süleymaniye Mosque (which was quite beautiful and a highlight in the movie Argo) could have been covered on our pace sometime in the evening. We decided to end our eventful day at Istiklal Street, a cobblestone street which attracts tourists in large numbers. You can walk its length to enjoy the many restaurants, vintage tram, cafes and shops and reach the center of Taksim Square.

Outside the Blue Mosque
Outside the Blue Mosque
Istiklal Street, Istanbul
And when your travel companions are more than AMAZING! (Istiklal Street, Istanbul)

Day 3: Istanbul

After a much tiring previous day, this one had to be relaxing and planned around doing things that would help us enjoy the epic grandeur, and sheer magnitude of the city that spans itself across two continents.

We marked the beginning of our day with Turyol Bosphorus 90-minutes River Cruise. There are extended cruise options available to the Black Sea as well.

You simply can’t miss this relaxing tour as it makes you cruise along the Bosphorus between Asia and Europe. You’ll admire the beauty and charm of the place as you discover where Asia and Europe meet as you cruise past Ottoman palaces, wooden mansions, and modern villas.

Way back on the round-trip, we got off at Uskudar district to explore the Asian side of Istanbul. A rare sight but the Asian side of the magnanimous city was even more beautiful than the European side. The neighborhood areas must-visit include Moda and Kadikoy.

Inside the Moda Park
Inside the Moda Park

Since we didn’t have enough of Taksim District the previous day, we thought of having our dinner in the same area at one of the restaurants we had read a lot about.

Day 4 & Day 5: Cappadocia

Even after roaming around so much, there were many areas left untouched and unexplored. It was time, however, to move to our next destination Cappadocia. A good thing was that we had three more days in Istanbul on the way back!

Heard that Cappadocia is only for a hot air balloon ride? We heard exactly the same thing. But believe me, there is a lot more to this whimsical fairytale town. Cavern architecture, fairy chimneys, honeycombed hills, fantastical topography, rock-cut churches and cute little markets- it’s difficult not to reminiscence a dreamy place like this.

Cappadocia Istanbul
A few places you keep reminiscing about! (The Cave City @ Cappadocia)

Our 2-Night stay at Aydinli Cave Hotel was delightful. The beauty of rooms surpassed our imagination and we had an amazing time enjoying the splendid view of the city from the terrace right outside our room.

The City of Fairy Chimneys and Balloons Cappadocia
The City of Fairy Chimneys and Balloons, Cappadocia

Our top experiences in Cappadocia included:

  • Hot Air Balloon Ride
  • The underground city of Kaymaklı
  • Goreme Village
hot air balloon ride Cappadocia
Trying to get that perfect picture clicked right after the hot air balloon ride @ Cappadocia

Day 6: Antalya Old Town

The journey continues. Our flight from Cappadocia to Antalya got canceled and the only option left was 10-hour bus ride. More than the number of hours, it was the unavailability of food options that made us hate this road journey. But as soon as we entered the old town of Antalya, the place stole our heart and we seemed to have forgotten everything else.

Antalya Old Town
When there is beauty all around! (Antalya Old Town)

We had earlier planned to take a day tour from Belek (our next destination) to Antalya Old Town. Due to flight cancellation and change in travel plans, we got to spend one night in this charming town.

A walk through the Turquoise coastline is refreshing and quite relaxing.

Day 7, 8 and 9: Belek

And we were super-excited for the most relaxing leg of our trip.

It was time to give our adrenaline a rush, soak up some sun, enjoy gourmet food and experience traditional Hamam. The turquoise coastline has a number of all-inclusive hotels in a row. We booked Kaya Palazzo Golf Resort given that it had the highest rating for being a kid-friendly property.

Kaya Palazzo Golf Resort, Belek
Kaya Palazzo Golf Resort, Belek

Located on the beachfront, this upscale resort offered free parasols, sun loungers and everything else a tourist would ask for. We were in complete awe of the hospitality and services of the place.

Day 10 and 11: Istanbul

It was time to get back to the city from where we began this memorable trip of ours. This time we had booked the Renaissance Hotel in Besiktas district to enjoy the Bosphorus view and explore the wealthy neighborhoods of Ortaköy and Nisantasi.

We spent the last 2 days enjoying different cuisines, roaming around and shopping at Zorlu center.

Read Also: Travel Diaries and 5-Day Dubai Itinerary

Last Few Words:

It’s incredible to think of how every city you visit in a country could offer experiences which are completely different, unique and awe-inspiring.

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