How to Plan a Trip to Turkey in 2024

By Carper | Updated Nov. 9, 2021

Turkey bridges the European and Asian continents and was home to various civilizations, including the Romans, Byzantines, Latins, and the Ottoman Empire.

The country offers an array of attractions and experiences that capture the essence of Turkish culture, including staying in a cave hotel, embarking on a cruise through the Bosphorus Strait, and marveling at the enchanting fairy chimneys of Cappadocia. 

Turkish cuisine is also a highlight, since it is renowned worldwide for its flavors and variety across multiple civilizations. Start a food adventure, and you would be amazed by the mouthwatering dishes, such as kebabs, baklava, and Turkish tea.

Read on to find out everything you need to know while planning your trip to Turkey.

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1. Top 5 Places to Visit in Turkey

Among the various attractive destinations in Turkey, we highly recommend the following five places that first-timers must visit.

1) Istanbul — Capital of Four Empires

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

As the largest city in Turkey, Istanbul is also a diverse city that combines ancient and modern features.

Istanbul has served as the capital of four empires, boasting historic treasures like Hagia Sophia with an architectural style that blends multiple cultures and the city's centuries-old glorious history. 

This vibrant city also displays modern marvels, such as the Bosphorus Bridge, which is one of the longest suspension bridges in the world. 

With such a diverse range of attractions, Istanbul offers an abundant array of experiences for you to immerse yourself in. You could embark on a Bosphorus cruise to witness the stunning sunset and Istanbul's cityscape — an experience that would stay with you for a lifetime. Or you could start a food adventure to savor delicious Turkish cuisine.

2) Cappadocia — Magical Land of Fairy Chimneys

Hot air balloons flying above the mountains of Cappadocia, TurkeyHot air balloons flying above the mountains of Cappadocia, Turkey

Cappadocia is a magically scenic area located in the middle of Turkey, known for its unique landscape featuring hills resembling honeycombs and rocks resembling mushrooms, ancient underground cities, and cave dwellings. 

With its enchanting scenery, Cappadocia offers various outdoor activities that are perfect for families with teenagers, such as hiking through the valleys, exploring hidden churches and caves, and taking a hot-air balloon ride, making it a paradise for adventurers and nature lovers.

3) Pamukkale — Natural White Terraces with Mineral Hot Springs

Pamukkale the cotton castle, TurkeyPamukkale the Cotton Castle, Turkey

Pamukkale means 'cotton castle' in Turkish. It is comprised of white rocky terraces and mineral-rich hot springs. The contrast between its azure water and ivory-white terraces creates a breathtaking sight that should not be missed during your visit to Turkey.

Moreover, exploring the Hierapolis ruins offers a chance to immerse yourself in the ancient glory of the area, or you could indulge in the clear waters of Cleopatra's Pool to relax and enjoy the royal treatment that the legendary queen herself once experienced.

4) Ephesus — Ancient City Full of Wonders

Library of Celsus in Ephesus, TurkeyLibrary of Celsus in Ephesus, Turkey

Ephesus is one of the most important ancient cities in the world, listed as a UNESCO World Heritage Site and renowned for housing the Temple of Artemis, one of the seven wonders of the ancient world.

Surrounded by well-preserved ancient wonders, you could easily feel the history of every brick and stone you pass by. 

Wander in wonder in the Library of Celsus, which was the third-largest library in the world and held thousands of scrolls. Praying in front of the House of the Virgin Mary's wishing wall, you would join the hopes of thousands that dreams can come true.

5) Antalya — Beach Paradise

Antalya, TurkeyAntalya, Turkey

Antalya, the largest city on Turkey's Turquoise Coast, is a renowned international sea resort boasting over 300 days of sunshine per year! 

Surrounded by the Taurus Mountains and awarded the Blue Flag status, Konyaalti Beach boasts a long stretch of coastline and tranquil seawater, making it perfect for enjoying various beach activities, such as sunbathing and swimming. 

Besides the natural landscapes, you could take a leisurely stroll in the Kaleici district to appreciate the colorful but narrow streets, take photos with Ottoman houses that have stood for centuries and now intermingle with modern buildings, and savor authentic Turkish cuisine at one of the cozy cafés, where you could truly indulge in the local flavors.

Thinking of planning a family trip? Check out this article for inspiration: How to Plan a Family Trip to Turkey>>>

2. Best Times (and Worst Times) to Visit Turkey

Cappadocia, a young man is admiring fairy chimneys in TurkeyCappadocia, a young man is admiring fairy chimneys in Turkey

Generally speaking, the best times to visit Turkey are from April to May (spring) and September to October (autumn), when the weather is clear and dry, with pleasant temperatures of about 18–25°C (64–77°F) that are perfect for outdoor activities and sightseeing. 

In spring, you could appreciate the beauty of tulips during the Istanbul Tulip Festival, while autumn offers the opportunity to admire the beautiful foliage and fall colors in Cappadocia with fewer visitors and shorter queues.

The summer season in Turkey lasts from June to August, with average high temperatures of 30–34°C (86–93°F) in most places. If you're planning to visit Turkey in summer, June offers more comfortable weather with average highs ranging from 26 to 30°C (79 to 86°F). It is a good time to avoid crowds as July and August are more popular for summer vacations.

November to March is generally considered the worst time to visit Turkey due to the occasional rain or snow and cold temperatures of lower than 10°C (50°F). However, you could benefit from the cheapest prices and the fewest crowds as it is the low season. Touring in cities like Istanbul wouldn't be affected much as most sightseeing takes place indoors, and you could try Turkey's ski resorts. 

Early November and late March are warmer than other winter months and may be better choices combining low-cost/crowding with milder weather.

3. How Long to Spend in Turkey

Relaxation on the hot marble bed Turkey hammamA man enjoying Turkey hammam on the hot marble bed

Turkey is a vast and diverse country with much to offer. Most of our clients choose to spend 10–14 days in Turkey for a well-rounded experience and a relaxed pace.

The following is a 12-day itinerary that provides a balanced mix of historical sites, natural wonders, and leisurely activities. It is perfect for couples or families. 

  • Days 1–4 in Istanbul (the Hagia Sophia Mosque, the Blue Mosque, the Grand Bazaar, the Topkapi Palace, Galata Tower, a food tour, and a sunset cruise across the Bosphorus Strait)
  • Days 5–7 in Cappadocia (Goreme Open-Air Museum, Red Valley, Love Valley, Kaymakli Underground City, take a hot-air balloon ride, and join an ATV safari venture into the wild)
  • Days 8–9 in Izmir and Denizli (the ancient city of Ephesus and Pamukkale)
  • Days 10–12 in Antalya (Konyaalti Beach, the Kaleici district, Hadrian's Gate, and enjoy a traditional Turkish spa)

If you have a vacation period of over 2 weeks, consider including Greece to complement your travel itinerary. Experience ultimate relaxation on the islands of the Aegean while indulging in delicious local cuisine and beverages.

Moreover, walk into the fascinating world of ancient Greek and Roman mythology, getting a firsthand glimpse into their rich history.

Please feel free to contact us for a private tour uniquely planned for you and a hassle-free experience.

For more itinerary ideas, check out: How Long to Spend in Turkey>>>

4. How Much Would It Cost for a Trip to Turkey?

The Hagia Sophia Mosque in Istanbul, TurkeyThe Hagia Sophia Mosque in Istanbul, Turkey

Overall, the typical cost for a private tour starts from US$400 per person per day based on a group of 2–4 people. This includes a private guide, private car, domestic transfer fares, full-day itinerary, tickets for attractions, and 4-star hotels. International flights are not factored in.

Prices of flights and accommodation may vary depending on the time of year. During the high season from July to August and the festival periods, such as Christmas and New Year, prices start from 50% higher and there are more crowds. 

It's advisable to depart at least 2 weeks prior to or after the peak period to save money. For example, flights to Istanbul from New York before December 10th or after January 9th would be 70% cheaper than the flights during Christmas and New Year.

Book your tours and flights 3–6 months in advance for an early-bird discount. Travel effortlessly with Global Highlights. Our professional consultants would tailor-make your trip and make sure it is hassle-free.

5. Do I Need a Visa to Visit Turkey?

Applying for a visa won't take longApplying for a visa won't take long

Travelers from most countries need to obtain a visa prior to visiting Turkey, including the United States, the United Kingdom, Australia, and Canada.

We recommend you obtain an e-visa through the official Turkey e-visa website by taking a couple of minutes to fill out the application form. Once approved, the e-visa will be sent directly to you by email.

The fee for applying for an e-visa varies depending on the country of origin. For instance, US citizens are charged $50 while Canadians pay $60 for their e-visa.

Get Inspired with Some Popular Itineraries

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