How to Plan a Family Trip to Turkey in 2024

By Carper | Updated Nov. 9, 2023

Turkey is a vast and historical country that blends the cultures of Europe and Asia. It offers excellent opportunities to strengthen family bonding, including rich culture, vibrant cities, stunning natural landscapes, and various family-friendly activities.

However, planning a family trip for a vacation can be stressful. Read on to learn about things you need to know prior to your trip.

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1. The Top 7 Things to Do in Turkey for Families with Kids

Among lots of activities in Turkey, we recommend the following top seven things to do to enjoy yourselves for both adults and children.

1) Be the Captain of a Bosphorus Cruise to See a Sunset in Istanbul

Dad and son Tourists watching the ferry boat crossing Bosphorus in Istanbul, TurkeyDad and son are watching the Bosphorus scenery in Istanbul, Turkey

Compared to a long cruise, your kids may prefer a short one, especially an enchanting Bosphorus cruise in Istanbul, which spans two continents. It's perfect for a few hours of enjoyment and we could arrange a private yacht for you and your family, ensuring an exclusive experience. 

As you and your partner soak up the romantic scenery and have a soft drink, your children could even play captain and steer the boat toward a romantic sunset, as long as the conditions are good and there is no sea traffic close by. 

With ancient landmarks, natural beauty, and vibrant shores, it's an unforgettable experience for the whole family.

2) Hop on a Private Hot-Air Balloon Ride to Appreciate the Beauty of Cappadocia

A boy watching colorful hot air balloons flying over the valley at Cappadocia, TurkeyA boy is looking at hot air balloons flying over the valley at Cappadocia, Turkey

The sunsets in Cappadocia are gorgeous and even more impressive from the air. Your kids would be thrilled to embark on this adventure.

Unlike the normal big group balloon trips, we would arrange a private hot-air balloon journey so that you and your family could have more room to enjoy some quality time together, appreciating the breathtaking aerial views of valleys, towering "fairy chimneys", and the landscape glowing orange at dusk.

After the aerial trip, we would prepare champagne for you to celebrate the stunning sunset scenery, savoring the happiness and concluding this magical day.

3) Explore the Landscapes of Cappadocia on an ATV

Tourists on safari in Cappadocia with ATV, TurkeyFamilies on safari in Cappadocia with ATV, Turkey

Driving an ATV and venturing into the wild is a thrilling way to appreciate the beauty of nature.

No kids could resist such an adventure. As you explore, you would be in close proximity to picturesque valleys and mushroom-shaped "fairy chimneys". The exciting experience would bring you closer together, with excited yells and laughter filling the air. 

Feel the wind against your face and watch the stunning golden sunset slowly embrace you, creating a truly magical day. Whether you're seeking adventures or looking to create lasting memories, this ATV adventure promises an unforgettable experience for the whole family.

4) Soak Your Feet in a Natural Hot Spring Pool of Pamukkale

Couple in love in Pamukkale, TurkeyStrolling around in Pamukkale, Turkey

Pamukkale, also known as Cotton Castle, is famous for its ivory-white travertine terraces and azure water. 

Pamukkale is a perfect place for a family adventure. Your kids could burn off energy while exploring, and you could all enjoy the rare experience of walking barefoot on the terraces before taking a dip in the hot spring pools.

Moreover, within minutes, you could visit the nearby ruins of Hierapolis and the Cleopatra Pool. This gives you and your family the opportunity to immerse yourselves in a fascinating history lesson.

5) Marvel at the Wonders of the Ancient City of Ephesus on a Leisurely Stroll

The boy exploring ruins of Ephesus ancient city, Selcuk, TurkeyA boy is exploring the ruins of Ephesus ancient city, Turkey

Ephesus is one of the most important ancient cities in the world.

As you wander through its well-preserved ruins, you would be transported back in time, surrounded by impressive monuments and breathtaking architecture. 

The Library of Celsus and the Great Theater would leave you in awe. Accompanied by your knowledgeable local tour guide, you and your family would discover the history and significance of each fascinating site together, feeling the stories bring the past back to life. 

6) Ride a Horse Along the Beach of Antalya to See a Sunrise

Couple riding horses on tropical beachRiding a horse along the beach

Antalya is renowned as a popular beach resort on the Turquoise Coast and a paradise for family vacations. 

Riding a horse along the coastline with your family could be a unique adventure offering a magical connection with nature and a rare opportunity to witness the beauty of a new day dawning. 

Imagine the gentle sea breeze caressing your face and the soothing sound of the waves crashing against the shore, painting a picturesque scene against the breathtaking sunrise.

7) Enjoy a Traditional Turkish Bath to Relax in Cappadocia

family resting in hammam, Turkish bath, traditional bath, traditional spa, Turkey, IstanbulFamily resting in Hammam, Turkey

How could you visit Turkey without experiencing the traditional Turkish bathing culture?

Although you could have this almost everywhere in Turkey, after a few days of traveling and outdoor sightseeing, it would be an amazing opportunity to try a hammam (a traditional Turkish bath) to relax before leaving Cappadocia. 

Don't be afraid of new and exciting activities as we would assign an experienced attendant to guide you once you enter the hammam. Let your weary body feel soothed as you recline on heated marble slabs, covered in a cloud of foam that leaves your skin feeling refreshed. 

Typically, male and female sections are separated. However, if taking a relaxing bath together is of great importance, inform us in advance and we will arrange for a hammam that could offer services for the whole family.

2. Best Times to Visit Turkey for a Family Vacation

 Tourists father and son looking at hot air balloons in Cappadocia, Turkey Father and son are looking at hot air balloons in Cappadocia, Turkey

The best times to visit Turkey are April to May (spring) and September to October (autumn) due to fewer crowds and better conditions. Taking a family vacation during this season is a very good choice for both the elderly and children when the sun is shining, the climate is pleasant, and you can breathe the fresh air of nature blossoms.

The summer season from June to August is the high season to visit Turkey, with hot temperatures reaching an average high of 32°C (90°F), sometimes even exceeding 40°C (104°F), which is perfect for a beach vacation but hard for outdoor sightseeing due to crowding. 

June may be the best option if you're planning a family vacation with kids in the summer. Since the peak crowds and heat have not yet arrived, you could explore the country in relative comfort without dealing with such long queues or inflated prices.

November to March is the winter season in Turkey and also the low season due to the cool/cold weather and occasional rain and snow. Although this is the cheapest period to visit Turkey, you may still encounter a temporary rise in prices in the festive season around Christmas and New Year.

To plan a hassle-free family trip, try to avoid these times by arriving prior to or later by about 2 weeks, such as arriving before December 12th or later than January 10th, to save a lot in price rise expenses.

Suggested reading: Best and Worst Times to Visit Turkey>>>

3. How Long to Spend in Turkey

couple admiring cave formations in Cappadocia, TurkeyAdmiring cave formations in Cappadocia, Turkey

Typically, we suggest you spend at least 10 days in Turkey to view the main highlights at a relaxed pace for a well-planned family vacation, including Istanbul (3–5 days), Cappadocia (2–4 days), Ephesus (1 day), and Pamukkale (1 day). 

  • Istanbul: We suggest spending at least 3 days in Istanbul, 1 day for an old city tour with historical sites, 1 day for the Grand Bazaar and a Bosphorus cruise, and 1 day for a new city tour with museums and theme parks. Feel free to start a food adventure or join a cooking class and many more great options if you have more time for your family trip.
  • Cappadocia: A minimum of 2 days is needed in Cappadocia. 1 day for the underground cities and hidden churches, and 1 day for a hot-air balloon ride with outdoor sightseeing. Activities like hiking into the wild or joining an ATV tour are also very popular with families.
  • Ephesus: 1 day is enough to explore this ancient city for families, including the Temple of Artemis, which is recognized as one of the Seven Wonders of the Ancient World.
  • Pamukkale: You could spend 1 day fully exploring Pamukkale's main highlights, including the ruins of Hierapolis and the Cleopatra Pool. If a day trip is too tight for your timings, spending a night there would also be a good choice.

With a 2-week vacation and a more flexible schedule in Turkey, we recommend you add a coastal city for beach fun (2–4 days). Antalya is among the best, boasting Blue-Flag-Award-winning beaches and well-developed tourism amenities, which is perfect to act as your last stop for your family vacation. 

Whether you prefer spending quality time with your family on the shores or venturing out on day excursions to discover the natural beauty of the surrounding areas, Antalya has it all.

Below is our handpicked itinerary, for inspiration to plan your family trip.

2-Week Highlights of Turkey for Family Vacations

A loving couple among the balloons in Cappadocia, TurkeyAppreciating the hot air balloons in Cappadocia, Turkey

This itinerary offers a perfect balance of activities to strengthen family bonds, appreciate historical sites, experience the beauty of nature, and catch a glimpse of local life. It is especially suitable for families with teenagers.

  • Days 1–4: Istanbul (city tours, a Bosphorus cruise, a food tour, and a cooking class)
  • Days 5–7: Cappadocia (a hot-air balloon ride, an underground city, an ATV tour, and staying in a cave hotel)
  • Days 8–9: Izmir (a day trip to Ephesus and a city tour)
  • Day 10: Pamukkale (travertine terraces, the ruins of Hierapolis, the Cleopatra Pool, and Salda Lake)
  • Days 11–14: Antalya (water activities, Duden Waterfalls, Hadrian's Gate, horseback riding on the beach, and an old town tour)

4. How Much Does a Family Vacation in Turkey Cost?

Toast on the Bosphorus in Istanbul, TurkeyHave a drink on the Bosphorus in Istanbul, Turkey

Typically, a private family tour in Turkey would start at a cost of $350 per person per day based on a group of four people. 

Prices include a private guide, private car, domestic transfer fares, a full-day itinerary, tickets for attractions, and 4-star hotels. International flights are not factored in.

However, this is only for reference since it may vary depending on the time of year. For instance, during the peak season between July and August and festivals like Christmas, prices may rise 50% higher with more crowds.

It's recommended to book your flights and hotels 3–6 months prior to your journey to get the best deals. Or simply reach out to us at Global Highlights and we will customize a hassle-free private tour to meet your budget.

5. How to Get Around in Turkey

The Blue Mosque at dusk in Istanbul, TurkeyThe Blue Mosque at dusk in Istanbul, Turkey

Turkey is a large country with rich tourism resources for planning a family trip. While major cities like Istanbul have good public transportation, intercity travel could be inconvenient with limited options, such as domestic flights, buses, and highways.

Most intercity flights in Turkey take about 1½ hours but they may be limited to one daily direct flight or none at all between certain cities. In such cases, travelers have to transit through Istanbul or Ankara.

When traveling to Turkey, Istanbul is the most common entry point for most visitors. For a well-planned family itinerary, we recommend considering Cappadocia as your next destination as it could be conveniently included in your travel plans and it's also popular with families for embarking on some outdoor activities.

Izmir, on the other hand, is often associated with day trips to Ephesus and Pamukkale, while Antalya is best saved for the last leg of your journey, offering a great opportunity for relaxation at its beautiful beaches.

However, if you're visiting places without direct flights, such as Canakkale or Pamukkale, it's recommended to choose private transfers for a more enjoyable and stress-free family trip in Turkey.

Reach out to us at Global Highlights and we will relieve you of the burden of route planning and navigating, creating a customized private tour for you.

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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