10 Days in Turkey: Top 4 Itinerary Ideas

By Carper | Updated Nov. 27, 2023

Turkey is a country with rich tourism resources. Its exotic food, clean and stunning beaches, and unique geographical features make it perfect for families and couples to travel to.

Typically, 10 days are enough to appreciate the main highlights in Turkey at a relaxed pace, which usually include Istanbul, Cappadocia, Ephesus, and Pamukkale.

However, deciding where to go and connecting the destinations could be difficult. Read on to discover 10-day itinerary ideas for both classic and novel routes to make the most of your time in Turkey.

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Itinerary List

Itinerary 1: 10-Day Turkey Classic Highlights Tour

Bosphorus bridge, Bosphorus Strait, Istanbul, TurkeyThe Bosphorus Bridge across the strait in Istanbul, Turkey

This itinerary contains the most popular places and activities in Turkey, which are perfect for first-timers hoping to get to know the country's highlights.

Your trip would start from Istanbul (this city served as the capital of multiple empires), through Cappadocia (see the "fairy chimneys") and Ephesus (an ancient city with Roman ruins), and finish at Pamukkale (for natural hot springs and travertine terraces).

Below is the itinerary breakdown:

  • Days 1–4: Istanbul (Hagia Sophia, the Blue Mosque, the Grand Bazaar, Istiklal Avenue, and a Bosphorus sunset cruise)
  • Days 5–7: Cappadocia (Love Valley, Goreme Open-Air Museum, Derinkuyu underground city, and a hot-air balloon ride)
  • Days 8–9: Izmir (a day trip to Ephesus for the Roman ruins and a city tour)
  • Day 10: Pamukkale (travertine terraces, the ruins of Hierapolis, and Cleopatra's Pool)

During your 4-day stay in Istanbul, we suggest reserving 1 day to overcome jet lag.

Additionally, spend 1 day exploring the old city of Fatih, including must-see sights, such as Hagia Sophia and the Blue Mosque.

Allocate another day to discover the vibrant new city of Beyoglu, where you could stroll along Istiklal Avenue and enjoy a Bosphorus cruise. Unlike typical large-group tours that utilize big vessels, we would offer a luxury yacht for your Bosphorus cruise. It would be a more intimate experience for you and your loved one.

Lastly, reserve 1 day to savor Turkish cuisine while visiting the Grand Bazaar and Spice Market.

Next, you would fly to Cappadocia for the volcanic rock formations known as "fairy chimneys" and moon-like valleys. Embark on an exhilarating hot-air balloon ride to welcome the sunrise and delve into the stories of the underground city and its dwellings.

Continue your journey to the picturesque port city of Izmir, where you could admire the enchanting harbor scenery. Don't miss an incredible day trip to Ephesus, a UNESCO historical site boasting well-preserved Roman ruins dating back to the 10th century BCE, for an immersive historical experience.

Pamukkale is where you conclude your trip. It is known for its travertine terraces and natural hot springs. You could spend your day soothing your body in the water or exploring the nearby ruins of Hierapolis and Cleopatra's Pool.

Thinking about planning your own itinerary? Your trip could be creatively designed by experts. Contact us now — we would customize a private tour that meets all of your needs.

Itinerary 2: 10-Day Thrilling Turkey Vacation for Families with Teenagers

Father and son tourists on the background of Duden waterfall in Antalya, TurkeyFather and son are admiring the Duden Waterfalls in Antalya, Turkey

This itinerary would take you from the vibrant bustling city of Istanbul to Antalya's stunning and tranquil Mediterranean beaches to the diverse landscapes of Cappadocia. With various activities and adventures, this itinerary is perfect for families with teenagers.

Below is the itinerary breakdown:

  • Days 1–3: Istanbul (the Grand Bazaar, the Spice Market, a food tour, a cooking class, and a sunset Bosphorus cruise)
  • Days 4–6: Antalya (free days for water fun, Duden Waterfalls, a sunset horseback riding adventure, and a city tour)
  • Day 7: Izmir (a day trip to Ephesus for the Roman ruins)
  • Days 8–10: Cappadocia (an ATV tour, a hot-air balloon ride, Goreme Open-Air Museum, and a stay in a cave hotel)

Get ready for 3 days of adventures after arriving in Istanbul. Try tasty Turkish snacks at the Grand Bazaar, explore Istanbul's beauty on a Bosphorus cruise, and join a family cooking class to learn how to make authentic Turkish dishes.

Then, you would catch a flight to Antalya for stunning beaches and water activities. Enhance your trip with day trips to visit the breathtaking Duden Waterfalls, explore the Ottoman houses in the Kaleici district, and ride horses along the coastline to catch the sunset.

Next, transfer to Izmir for a day trip to explore the well-preserved Roman ruins of the UNESCO ancient city, Ephesus.

Finish your trip in Cappadocia for its stunning scenery and exciting outdoor activities. Embark on an ATV ride through the valleys, take a private hot-air balloon ride for a panoramic view, and enjoy a unique stay in a cave hotel with magnificent views.

Before leaving Cappadocia, we want you to be energized. We have carefully selected a family-friendly Turkish hammam, where you could not only enjoy the traditional experience but also educate your kids about Turkey's history and customs.

Planning a family trip can be exhausting, so why not reach out to us at Global Highlights? Let the professionals handle the planning and provide you with a personalized private tour.

Itinerary 3: 10-Day Turkey History Tour — Discover Ancient Cities

Snowy landscape with cable way in early morning in Bursa, TurkeySnowy landscape with cable way in early morning in Bursa, Turkey

Turkey is a destination that has a rich history and this itinerary would take you from Istanbul (which once served as the capital of multiple empires) to Bursa (the first capital of the Ottoman Empire), then Izmir (for Ephesus with its Roman ruins), and, finally, Antalya (site of ancient amphitheaters).

Not only is it perfect for history enthusiasts, but this itinerary could also include various outdoor activities depending on your interests, such as skiing in Bursa, fishing in Side, and taking a cable car ride up Mount Olympos in Cirali.

Below is the itinerary breakdown:

  • Days 1–3: Istanbul (Hagia Sophia, the Blue Mosque, and the Topkapi Palace)
  • Days 4–6: Bursa (Uludag National Park, the Green Mosque, and a day trip to the ancient city of Troy)
  • Day 7: Izmir (a day trip to Ephesus for the Roman ruins)
  • Days 8–10: Antalya (day trips to Side and Cirali)

One of the highlights of this itinerary is that you could visit three famous ancient cities in a single trip. You could explore Troy, which preserves the ruins of an ancient battlefield, Ephesus, boasting the largest archaeological park in Turkey, and Side, known for its ancient Greek amphitheater.

Each of these city ruins holds its own significance in Turkish history and even mythology. To ensure your thorough experience, our knowledgeable local guides would take you to explore the little-known stories behind the spectacular ruins and show you the best angles to marvel at these remnants of history.

Another highlight not to be missed is the natural beauty of Turkey. Embark on a trek through Uludag National Park, a picturesque expanse of forests that is also a well-known skiing resort. For breathtaking vistas of the Mediterranean coast, take a cable car ride up Mount Olympos (Tahtali Dagi) without waiting in lines and marvel at the views of the Cirali coastline.

If the day trips mentioned above don't capture your interest, you could also enjoy some leisure time at Antalya's beautiful beaches. With activities like scuba diving, windsurfing, and swimming, there are plenty of options to explore the region and unwind at your own pace.

If this itinerary doesn't meet your requirements, please feel free to contact us. We would be happy to personalize a private tour for you, ensuring a hassle-free and tailored experience.

Itinerary 4: 10-Day Off-the-Beaten-Path Tour in Turkey's Black Sea Region

Long Lake, Uzungol in Trabzon, TurkeyThe Long Lake, Uzungol in Trabzon, Turkey

If a normal itinerary in Turkey would no longer satisfy you as a return traveler, check out this itinerary focusing on the Black Sea region of northern Turkey for the rich history and natural beauty that is unknown to most travelers.

Below is the itinerary breakdown:

  • Day 1: Istanbul (a food tour for beating jet lag)
  • Days 2–3: Bolu (Yedigoller National Park, Lake Golcuk, and a day trip to Safranbolu)
  • Day 4: Ankara (Ankara Citadel — the Hisar, the Temple of Augustus and Rome, and Anitkabir)
  • Days 5–6: Ordu (the Ordu castles, Ulugöl Nature Park, and Boztepe via a cable car ride)
  • Days 7–8: Trabzon (Sumela Monastery, the Pontic Mountains, Uzungol Lake, and visit a Turkish tea plantation)
  • Days 9–10: Rize (the Ayder Plateau, Gelin Tulu Waterfall, natural thermal springs, and taste some Ayder honey)

You would begin your adventure in Istanbul with a delightful food tour, exploring lively markets and beating the jet lag.

The next day, you would transfer to picturesque Bolu, surrounded by lush forests and rolling hills where you could immerse yourself in a natural oxygen bar in the Yedigoller National Park (Seven Lakes). An optional day trip to the UNESCO site Safranbolu would increase your understanding of the Ottoman Empire's history.

Then head to Ankara, the capital city of Turkey, for a cultural exploration. Visit iconic landmarks, such as the Temple of Augustus and Anitkabir, immersing yourself in Turkey's fascinating history.

Experience the enchanting charm of Ordu, nestled on the Black Sea coast. Explore breathtaking landscapes and savor the sea breeze by riding a cable car up to Boztepe Hill for panoramic views.

Continue your journey to Trabzon for the Byzantine architecture and visit the remarkable Sumela Monastery hidden in the mountains. Conclude your adventure in Rize, known for its stunning highland landscapes and tea plantations.

To enrich your experience, we would arrange a tea-tasting tour in carefully selected tea gardens, allowing you to savor the most authentic flavor and learn how to roast tea leaves. Feel free to enjoy a leisurely stroll on the Ayder Plateau, and resonate with the world in the embrace of nature.

For a personalized hassle-free private tour, contact us.

Get Inspired with Some Popular Itineraries

7-Day Turkey Classical Wonders Tour (Istanbul–Ephesus) 13-Day Natural Highlights of Turkey 10-Day Turkey Honeymoon Tour (Istanbul to Cappadocia) 16-Day Turkey Great Circle Tour

More Travel Ideas and Inspiration

7 Days in Turkey — 5 Top Itinerary Ideas 10 Days in Turkey: Top 4 Itinerary Ideas How to Plan a Trip to Turkey in 2024 How to Plan a Trip to Turkey and Greece in 2024
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