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Easter in Turkey: 10 days travel itinerary

A journey through the iconic beauties of Turkey ... Istanbul, Cappadocia, but also Pamukkale and the ruins of the Ancient city of Ephesus .. a mix of nature, history and culture .. very different panoramas that will enchant you!


Looking for quick tips to plan your next trip in Turkey? Check out our Itinerary and some practical info that can be useful to inspire you in organize your travel!

Cappadocia landscape with bizarre rock formaions of the iconic Love Valley
Cappadocia - Love Vallley
 

Our travel itinerary:

  • DAY 1Arrival in Istanbul (direct flight Turkish Airlines (Anadolujet): Bergamo – Istanbul (SABIHA GOKCEN AIRPORT :SAW) 12.40/16.25) - Basilica Cistern

Night in Istanbul in Anthemis Hotel


  • DAY 2Istanbul (Aya Sophia, Blue Mosque, Topkapi Palace, Galata Bridge and Tower)

Night in Istanbul in Anthemis Hotel


  • DAY 3Istanbul (Suleymaniye Mosque, Spices Bazaar, New Mosque/Yeni Camii)- Flight Istanbul SAW -Kayseri/Cappadocia (Turkish Airlines (Anadolujet) 19.35/20.50 rescheduled because the original flight was 7.35/8.50)

Rent and drop off the car at Kaysery Airport for 3 days

Night in Göreme in Vista Cave Hotel


  • DAY 4Cappadocia (Göreme Open Air Museum/ Black Church and Göreme Panoramic Viewpoint - Love Valley - Pasabag (fairy chimneys) - Zelve Open Air Museum - Devrent Valley - Sunset View Hill)

Night in Göreme in Vista Cave Hotel

  • DAY 5Cappadocia (Kaymakli Underground City - Ilhara Valley - Selime Monastery - sunset at Uchisar Castle )

Night in Göreme in Vista Cave Hotel

  • DAY 6Flight Kaysery – Izmir (Sunexpress 8.25 - 9.55) – 220 km - Ancient City of Hierapolis - Pamukkale at sunset

Rent and drop off the car at Izmir Airport for 3 days Night in Pamukkale in Pamukkale Melrose Viewpoint Suites


  • DAY 7 – 90km Afrodisias Ancient City - 150km - quick stop in Silkuc (Fortress and ruins of the Temple of Artemide) -The Ancient City of Ephesus

Night in Kusadasi in Eliada Hotel


  • DAY 8 –40km Milli National Park in Dilenk Peninsula - 100 km Izmir – Flight Izmir – Istanbul SAW (Turkish Airlines//Anadolujet 18.50/19.55)

As an alternative to the Dilenk Peninsula, we suggest you to evaluate to visit the

Ancient City of Pergamum (Bergama) approx 200km north from Kusadasi


Night in Istanbul in Great Fortune Hotel&Spa


  • DAY 9Istanbul (Grand Bazaar, Boat tour on Bosphorus - Sehzade Mehmet Mosque - Dervishes Whirling dancing show )

Night in Istanbul in Great Fortune Hotel&Spa

  • DAY 10flight Istanbul – Italy (direct flight Turkish Airlines (Anadolujet) : Istanbul SAW - - Bergamo: 9.55-11.50)

 

PLACE BY PLACE: Our Turkey travel itinerary


ISTANBUL

Here is a list of things that you cannot miss in Istanbul :


1. Mosques: Aya Sofia, Blue Mosque, Suleymaniye Mosque, New Mosque/Yeni Camii, Ortaköy Mosque

2. Basilica Cistern, the oldest and largest Byzantine underground cistern still visible

3. Topkapi Palace and the Dolmabahçe Palace, the opulent awesome residences of the Ottoman sultan and his court

4. A ferry trip on the Bosphorus

5. Lose yourself among the colors and smells in the Spice Bazaar and among the local handicraft stands in the Grand Bazaar

6. Climb the Galata Tower, for a great view of the city from above

7. The sunset view from the Galata Bridge, which separates the two European (modern-ancient) parts of Istanbul

8. For history lovers, a visit to the Istanbul Archeology Museum

9. Taste the specialties of the Turkish cuisine: in particular do not miss, the Gözleme (the handmade Turkish bread filled of vegetables and/or cheese); the Pottery (or Testi) Kebab (a stew of meat and/or vegetables prepared in a clay pot served flambéed and with natural boiled rice); the Baklava served with the Turkish tea (the typical dessert made with layers of phyllo dough stuffed with dried fruit and dipped in a honey syrup)

10.Have a drink or a tea in one of the many cafes with a panoramic terrace: for example the Seven Hills Restaurant&Cafè near the Blue Mosque, the MimarSinan Teras Café near the Suleymaniye Mosque, the Konak Restaurant&Cafè near Galata Tower


For more detailed info about these attractions in Istanbul as well as some useful practical info on how to get around, how to get from the airport to the city, have a look to our post dedicated to Istanbul


CAPPADOCIA


Cappadocia is certainly one of the most famous and romantic areas in all Turkey … with its villages carved into the rock, the underground cities, but above all with its high cone-shaped rock formations, it offers wonderful unique panoramas.


General Practical Info:


· We reach Cappadocia with an internal flight: Istanbul Sabiha Gokcen -Keyseri (Turkish Airline operated by anadolujet) and then we rent a car for 3 days at the airport (the best and easier way to explore this area).


· Our base: Vista Cave Hotel in Göreme

· Cappadocia is famous for the hot air -Ballons at dawn, but bear in mind that they fly only if it is not windy and thus not all days (in average 260 days in a year/ best months: from June to September ). In fact, we didn’t see the hot- air ballons because was always windy in the days we were there. Anyway, even if you are not lucky to see the hot -air balloons, it definitely worths to visit Cappadocia for its unique and scenic panoramas !


· To visit the Cappadocia highlights at least 2 full days are necessary, but if you can, plan in this area 3 full days


· Cappadocia Pass (1000LT/50 euro)valid for 3days: if you plan to visit ALL the main sites is convenient to save some money and to avoid the queue at the ticket offices (otherwise, it is cheaper to pay the several entrance tickets )


· If you don't have a car, from Göreme you can take part to an organized tour to see the main attractions and sites of Cappadocia: for example, near the Vista Cave Hotel (our base), there was an agency that offered 2 tours lasting each of a full day which in 2 days allowed to see practically everything.


· Restaurants in Göreme: Seten Restaurant and Turkish Ravioli Restaurant, both nice (especially Seten) and perfect to taste the Turkish specialties at honest prices. We suggest to try the Pottery Kebab and the Turkish Ravioli.


Main attractions in Cappadocia


Göreme


Göreme is an extraordinary village carved out of the typical cone-shaped rock formations (fairy chimneys) surrounded by Cappadocia’s most magnificent valleys.


A very good base to explore Cappadocia and see the hot-air baloons at dawn. For a lovely experience, we suggest you to opt. for a cave hotel (our choice: Vista Cave Hotel)


Highlights:

-Göreme Open Air Museum + Black Church (superb frescoes)

-Göreme Panoramic Viewpoint and Sunset view Hill for one of the best panorama on the Cappadocia valleys and Göreme


Göreme Open Air Museum


An ancient village carved into the beige tuff rock andtransformed into a wonderful open-air museum where you can see ancient churches, caves, houses..


Buy also the separate ticket for the Black Church to see it’s perfectly preserved and superb frescoes: you will not regret !


Practical info:

Göreme Open Air Museum + Black Church: open every day (8-18) / Ticket LT 300 +100 for the Black Church (approx 15+5euro)


The most beautiful Cappadocia Valleys


Get ready to see particularly spectacular rock formations, rock-cut churches with superb frescoes, breathtaking panoramic views!


1.Love Valley: when you will see the particular rock formation of this valley, you will understand why it is called “Love” valley 😉

2. Rose Valley

3.Zemi Valley

4. Devrent Valley o cd Imagination Valley: here you can find various animal rock formations: the most famous is the camel.

5.Pigeon Valle

6.Red Valley (Kizilcukur Viewpoint)


The best way to see these valleys?

Explore them on foot, walking along the panoramic paths (consider 1 to 3h to visit each valley and therefore it is possible to combine 2-3 valleys in one day).


The best moment?

At dawn or at sunset when the warm, rosy light of the sun creates a magical atmosphere.


Zelve Open Air Museum and the fairy chimneys in Pasabag


Zelve was an ancient village and monastic center carved into the pink tuff rock. Today it is uninhabited and it has been transformed into a picturesque open-air museum where you can see ancient churches, caves, galleries, houses and pigeon houses.


Differently to Göreme Open Air museum, in Zelve there are no coloured frescoes , but it deserves a visit, as well without doubts!


Nearby Zelve, don't miss Pasabag to see its unique multi-body and multi-headed fairy chimneys: one of the most beautiful of all Cappadocia!


Uçhisar Castle


An ancient town carved into the rock, dominated by a huge tuff peak perforated by numerous cavities carved into the rock and surrounded by the typical fairy chimneys ( so called Uchisar Castle ) which offers a breathtaking view.. ideal at sunset!


Kaymakli Underground City


the large, well-lit caverns and not too steep tunnels make it the most photogenic underground city and the easier one to be visited)


There are several underground cities in Cappadocia, but if you only have time to see one, this is probably the best!


Practical info:

-opening hour: 8am-18pm (open every day)- ticket LT 250/approx 12 euro)


Ilhara Valley and Selime Monastery


If you have time, we suggest to visit also the Ilhara Valley approx 90km from Göreme for a walk in its deep canyon crossed by a river.


Nearby, visit also the Selime Monastery to see its spectacular rock formations and its fairy chimneys!


Practical info:

-opening hour: 8am-18pm (open every)- ticket LT 200/10 euro)


THE AEGEAN COAST AND WESTERN ANATOLYA


Pamukkale and the ancient spa-city of Hierapolis


A series of terraced thermal pools in which the white of the travertine contrasts with the turquoise water and creates a very particular effect, hence their name Pamukkale which in Turkish means "cotton castle'' and it is a Unesco site.


The photos that you tend to find on the internet are a little accentuated in contrast as the water is not actually so turquoise... but the panorama undoubtedly remains scenic!


To have the best light for photos and less people around, we suggest going there at dawn or at sunset.


Behind Pamukkale, don't miss the ruins of the ancient spa-city of Hierapolis, famous for its ancient baths and the spectacular Roman theater that could hold up to 12,000 spectators.


Practical info:

-opening hour (every day) 8-20 ; ticket Pamukkale + Hierapolis 400LT(approx 20euro)


The Ancient Roman City of Afrodisias


An ancient Roman city beautifully preserved 90km from Pamukkale: less know than Ephesus, but if are around it surely deserves a visit !


Don't miss:

- the Temple of Afrodite

- the impressive Stadium

- The Theater

- Agora

- Adrian’s Bath

Consider at least 2 hours for the visit.


Practical info:

- opening hour (every day): 8- 19 – ticket: 150LT (approx 7,5 euro)


The Ancient Roman City of Ephesus


One of the best preserved and largest ancient Roman city in the world (UNESCO) and an highlight of any trip in Turkey.


In the site, do not miss:

· The Library of Celsius, the third-largest library in the ancient world after Alexandria and Pergamon

· The Great Theatre that could hold up to 25000 spectators

· Terraced Houses (where the whealty locals lived), hewn of marble and adorned with mosaics and frescos


For the visit consider at least 2 hours.


To avoid the crowds of tourists and for the best light for the photos, we suggest to visit the site early morning or late afternoon.


Practical info:

-opening hour (every day): 8.30- 19.30 (from Nov to March 17.30) – ticket: main site+terracedhouse: 400LT+170LT (approx 20 euro+8,50 euro)

Dilenk Peninsula (Tilli National Park)


The National Park is accessible from nearby Kusadasi (namely on your navigator put Zeus Magarasi to arrive to the main entrance of the park).


Here you will find scenic walking trails in the pine forest as well as stunning vistas on bays with sand or pebbles beaches bathed by an incredible azure-blue sea: in front of you the near Greek Islands … a perfect place to spend a few hours or a day in the nature!

Acropolis of Pergamon(Bergama)


Another ancient Greco-Roman city perched on a hill and beautifully preserved (UNESCO): one of the most impressive archaeological sites in Turkey!

In the Acropolis, don't miss:

- the Temple of Trajan

- The Theater

- the Altar of Zeus (the magnificent frieze are now in the Pergamon Museum in Berlin)

- the fantastic floor mosaics of Building Z


Consider at least 2 hours for the visit.


There are 2 ways to access to the Acropolis: by driving to the paid parking in the upper city or by the cable car in the lower city (there is also a paid parking here)


If you still have time, in addition to the Acropolis, you can also visit the Asklepion (the most important healing center in the Roman world) and the Red Basilica.


 

Other Practical info


Passport and Visa


To enter into Turkey, passport with at least 5 months of residual validity or identity card valid for expatriation is required. An entry visa for tourism is not required for Italian citizens for stays of less than 90 days.


Transports


For info on transports in Istanbul, refer to our post dedicated to Istanbul where we explain in details the several options.


In general, to move around Turkey, we recommend internal flights for long distances and to rent a car (outside Istanbul) for short-medium distances (the conditions of the roads are very good)


To save money, we suggest to rent and return the car in the same place, because the costs to return the car in a different city are very high.


For instance, we have rent a car for 3 days to visit Cappadocia (car rent and return at Kayseri Airport with Sixt) and then others 3 days to visit Pamukkale, Efeso and the Aegean coast and western Anatolia( car rent and return at Izmir Airport with Sixt)


Period


A good period to visit Turkey is from April to October (however to be considered that in July and August is quite hot). From November to March is the low season with low temperatures (even with the snow in some regions, as for instance in Cappadocia) as well as some of the attractions are closed


Cleaning and safety


Turkey surprised us as we found it very clean and safe on average (exercise common sense of vigilance and do not go within 10km of the border with Syria) . Obviously to be kept into account that in recent years there have been terrorist attacks, although with less intensity than in the past.


Costs


Life in Turkey for us Europeans is not very expensive (especially eating, gasoline, rent a car, internal flights) and even for sleeping there are solutions for all budgets. The major costs that you will have to take into account is the eventual cave hotel in Cappadocia, the eventual air-balloon flight and the international flight (avoiding the pic- season and buying airline tickets well in advance allows you to save a little)


The costs for the ticket entrance for many attractions tend to be not cheap, as you can expect: in fact, there is a different cost for Turkish and foreigners.

 

To discover more about these places read also our article dedicated to Istanbul and have a look to our posts and stories dedicated to Turkey dated April/May 2023 on our Instagram page @2intour


Did you enjoy our article? Read the other articles and for more photos and videos follow our IG page @2intour

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