10 Days Turkey Itinerary

Turkey is a true cultural crossroads of Asia and Europe, where the East meets the West. Between cultural wealth and breathtaking natural landscapes, Turkey is a fabulous blend of natural beauty, ancient ruins, remarkable architecture, and hospitality. Each landscape of Turkey bears a trace of the passage of different civilizations on its lands. From Istanbul, a city with a thousand faces built between East and West, through the lunar landscapes of Cappadocia and the gentleness of the Aegean and Mediterranean coasts, discover this 10 days Turkey Itinerary.

10 Days Turkey Itinerary

Turkey is a vast country. Distances between destinations can be very long. Fortunately, Turkey has a good network of domestic flights. So we decided to alternate car journeys with cheap domestic flights between Istanbul & Cappadocia, and Antalya & Istanbul. If you have more time on site, you can also consider the bus, the network is very well developed.

Read also: 16 Tips For Renting A Car In Turkey


ISTANBUL

Istanbul

Visiting Istanbul is like going back in time and diving into a city between East and West. A land of contrasts, Byzantium, Constantinople, and Istanbul are both modern and full of history. With its minarets flirting with church steeples, Istanbul, the only major metropolis to span two continents, is a meeting point of civilizations. Istanbul is immense – 2 days are not enough to visit this city full of history, which alone deserves a trip to Turkey.

With only two full days on site, we had to organize ourselves accordingly and book in advance all the places of interest we wanted to visit, such as Topkapi, Hagia Sophia, or the Basilica Cistern. We still had a nice overview of Istanbul.

The advantage of Istanbul is that the historic district of Sultanahmet is home to most of Istanbul’s must-see historic buildings. So this is where we set down our bags to explore this district full of history.

THE BLUE MOSQUE

 Sultanahmet Mosque In Istanbul

And what better way to immerse yourself in the history of the city than to discover the Blue Mosque, one of the most beautiful mosques in Istanbul? The Blue Mosque or Sultanahmet Mosque is one of the oldest mosques in the city and a true architectural marvel.

Built in 1616, during the reign of Sultan Ahmet I, it is particularly known for the predominantly blue ceramics that adorn its interior walls. During the Ottoman Empire, the Blue Mosque was the starting point for Muslim pilgrims to Mecca. Note that the Blue Mosque is the only mosque in Istanbul to have 6 minarets, only Mescid-i Haram Camii in Mecca has 7.

You can also admire it from the Seven Hills restaurant’s rooftop which has a 360 view of the Sultanahmet district.

Did you know that Istanbul was called the city of 3000 mosques? We continued our walk to the Suleymaniye Mosque, a magnificent mosque that offers a splendid view of the entire city of Istanbul and the Bosphorus. Suleiman affirmed the influence of the Ottoman Empire.

THE BOSPHORUS CRUISE

The Bosphorus Cruise In Istanbul

To soak up the atmosphere of the city a little more, we board one of the many boats that offer trips on the Bosphorus. The Bosphorus is a strait connecting two seas, the Black Sea to the north and the Sea of ​​Marmara to the south. The Bosphorus has always been used for the transport of goods and trade. This is why Istanbul’s location has always been strategic for all the people who have conquered it. 2700 years of history, 365 km² of surface area, Istanbul is the only city in the world to extend over two continents.

Taking a cruise on the Bosphorus is the best way to appreciate the size of the city – it is simply immense. At any moment, our eyes switch from Europe to Asia without realizing it. Or how to switch from Europe to Asia in a few kilometers of boat ride. During the ride, you can admire the Galata Tower, the Topkapi Palace, the Dolmabahçe and Beylerbeyi palaces, or the great mosques such as Hagia Sophia and Ortakoi, located very close to the July 15 Martyrs Bridge.

I recommend the 90-minute cruise with Turyol. Meet at the Eminonu pier, at the foot of the Galata Bridge, on the Golden Horn side. Boats leave every 30 minutes and take you to Rumeni Hisari, the Ottoman fortress built at the narrowest point of the strait. The cruise costs 8.5 euros per person. A must-do trip at sunset.

TOPKAPI PALACE

 Topkapi Palace

In the historic district of Istanbul, there is a Palace that dominates the city: the Topkapi Palace. This 15th-century Ottoman building is one of the most emblematic monuments of Istanbul. Built on the site of the acropolis of ancient Byzantium, it was the residence of the Ottoman Sultan from 1465 to 1853, then transformed into a museum in 1924. The visit to the Palace begins with the Harem, the place of all fantasies. The word Harem derives from the Arabic haram which meant illegal. It then took on the meaning of “reserved”. It was the private residence of the Sultan where his mother, sisters, wives, and concubines lived.

The rooms follow one another, the colors are very bright, and the mosaics are incredible. It is very busy but very beautiful.

The visit then continues in the different enclosures of the Palace. The exteriors are just as pleasant. The end of the park even allows us to contemplate a clear view of Istanbul and the Bosphorus.

Topkapi Tour – The Topkapi Museum and Harem tour costs 41 euros with skip-the-line access and an audio guide. We had booked our tickets in advance online .

THE BASILICA CISTERN

The Basilica Cistern

The cisterns of Istanbul were built so that the city would have sufficient water reserves in case of enemy attacks. The Basilica Cistern of Istanbul, nicknamed the “buried palace”, is an incredible underground cistern. Built in the 6th century to supply water to the Byzantine palace, it was then located under a basilica, of which nothing remains today.

Today, people walk inside the cistern on specially designed footbridges. Previously, the inhabitants traveled there in boats.

Basilica Cistern Tour – The guided tour of the cistern, including the skip-the-line ticket (always useful during busy periods) costs 29 euros. It is possible to combine this ticket with the visit to Topkapi or Hagi Sophia (free). The guide will tell us the mystery of the Medusa heads, whose story is taken from Greek mythology. You can book your tickets online HERE .

HAGIA SOPHIA

Hagia Sophia Mosque

The Hagia Sophia Mosque is the jewel of Istanbul.

We put on a scarf, take off our shoes, and enter the doors of this must-see building in Istanbul. It is the only place of worship in the world where the traces of two religions have coexisted for centuries. Biblical scenes have coexisted with Islamic medallions since 567. A church until 1453, then a mosque until 1934, it was then converted into a museum, to become a mosque again in 2020.

Practical information: Since Hagia Sophia has become a mosque again, admission is free. It is open 24 hours a day, except during prayer times. You can, however, buy a skip-the-line ticket to avoid the long lines. But quite honestly, it is not worth it.

RELAX IN A HAMMAM

 Traditional Hammam In Istanbul

After long hours of walking, we would enjoy a good moment of relaxation. And then, it is impossible to leave Istanbul without going at least once to the Turkish baths famous throughout the world. Indeed, the Ottoman Empire is the birthplace of the hammam, and there are magnificent traditional hammams everywhere in the city.

Built in the 18th century by Sultan Mahmut I, the Hammam Cağaloğlu is probably one of the most beautiful traditional hammams in the city. With its rooms all in white marble and its immense domes letting the rays of the sun shine through, this hammam is the ideal place for a relaxing moment.

Cağaloğlu Hamam – Time seems to stand still during our stay in this magnificent traditional hammam. Upon arrival, we have access to a private cabin with all the necessary comforts (bed, bottle of water, skincare creams, towels, hairdryer, etc.), a dedicated masseuse who is smiling and attentive, all in an exceptional setting. I took the most affordable treatment: Istanbul Dreams. At 60 euros , the treatment includes 15 minutes of rest in an isolated and warm room, followed by 10 minutes of scrubbing with a bath glove and 20 minutes of massage with foaming soap (Turkish bath). After the session, Turkish tea and Turkish delight are offered. Nothing better to recharge your batteries, everything was simply perfect! You can book online on the official website of the hammam.

GALATA

Galata Tower Istanbul

On the other side of Istanbul, the atmosphere is a little different. There are still just as many people, but the atmosphere is more local. The Galata district is a hill on the west bank of Istanbul, at the entrance to the Golden Horn. This part of the city is nicknamed “the new Istanbul” because it is outside the limits of the old Constantinople. We found this district much livelier than the historic part of the city.

Famous for its tower, topped with a witch’s hat roof, the Galata district is home to many cafes and restaurants. Not far from Taksim, it is in this very young and lively district that we will spend our last evening in Istanbul.

Read also: 10 Best restaurant near Galata Tower and 10 Best Things To Do In Galata Istanbul 

STROLLING THROUGH THE BAZAARS OF ISTANBUL

 Grand Bazaar Istanbul

It’s time for shopping! We push open the doors of the Grand Bazaar, to bring back some souvenirs. The Grand Bazaar is one of the oldest bazaars in the world. It is a large shopping arcade where you can enjoy tea, eat a great pastry, or stroll in front of the jewelry shops. It is a pretty bazaar with stone paths.

We then discover the Egyptian Bazaar, just as lively. It is also called the Spice Bazaar for the multitude of choices of spices found there, but you can find everything there: jewelry, lokoums, caviar, dried fruits. The Egyptian Bazaar is located near the New Mosque on the main square of Eminönü.

Read also: Spice Bazaar Istanbul Ultimate Guide

WHERE TO EAT & DRINK IN ISTANBUL

Otantik – A good place where we could taste the meat dishes cooked in clay pots. The restaurant also offers many traditional Turkish dishes in an authentic setting.

Meal At Otantik Istanbul

Oriental 1741 : The best place we have tried to enjoy pide, the elongated Turkish pizza. Located next to the Cağaloğlu hammam, it completes the gastronomic experience with its authentic atmosphere.

Meal At Oriental 1741 In Istanbul

Seven Hills Restaurant– The bar restaurant is ideally located on Sultan Ahmet Square, the restaurant is located inside a hotel. The best view of Istanbul! You can book a table HERE to be sure to have a table with a breathtaking view of the Blue Mosque.

Seven Hills Restaurant

Street Food – You can definitely eat for just a few euros in Istanbul and still eat well. Just take a stroll along the Fisherman’s Promenade in the Galata district to discover the street food specialties. We tried the Balik Durum, a fish sandwich – pretty good. You can also find gözleme, a traditional Turkish bread, made of hand-rolled sheets brushed with butter, filled with various fillings such as minced meat, cheese, or spinach, and cooked on a hot plate.

Street Food In Istanbul

Mahzen : the restaurant is located in a beautiful passage in the Taksim district. Inside, it is the vaults and the stone that charm us. They serve traditional Turkish cuisine, and many tapas, such as mussels stuffed with rice, paella style. A treat!

Mahzen Istanbul

Wom Live brassserie – located in the Taksim district, this trendy bar hosts live bands. You can have a good time with the locals. There is singing and dancing in a very good atmosphere.

Wom Live Brasserie

WHERE TO STAY IN ISTANBUL

We stayed 3 nights in Istanbul, 2 nights upon arrival, and 1 night at the end of our trip. So rather than staying overnight in the same neighborhood, we chose to stay both in the historic district of Istanbul, Sultanahmet; and in the much livelier Galata district; which allowed us to easily discover these two unmissable districts of Istanbul.

Sultanahmet Black Pearl Hotel – Located in the center of Istanbul, the hotel is 700 meters from the Blue Mosque and the Basilica Cistern, which can be admired from the hotel’s rooftop terrace. An ideal location for exploring the historic district on foot.

Sultanahmet Black Pearl Hotel

Hotel des Arts – Located in the Galata district, Hotel des Arts is ideally located just steps away from the Galata Tower and just a 10-minute walk from the Galata Bridge and Karakoy. Decorated in a modern chic style, this small hotel is full of charm. And the bonus? It has direct access to the rooftop terrace of the building next door, where you can enjoy stunning views of the Galata Tower, the Bosphorus, and the historic district.

Hotel Des Arts Istanbul

Read also: 10 Best Boutique Hotels in Istanbul


CAPPADOCIA

Istanbul – Cappadocia – 1h25 flight

After spending two days in the ancient Turkish capital, we fly to Kayseri, to discover Cappadocia. This is also where we start our road trip!

Cappadocia is truly a world apart. In the heart of Turkey, these strange geological formations, which give the landscape a fantastic appearance, have attracted me for a long time. This region of Turkey is composed of volcanic tuffs in white, yellow, orange, and red colors, … erosion has shaped unexpected reliefs made of undulations, “fairy chimneys”.

GOREME

Goreme In Cappadocia

This is where we stayed during the 3 days spent in Cappadocia. A central base to discover the surroundings. This valley is one of the canyons that connects Uchisar to Göreme, the open-air museum that makes Cappadocia famous. This museum is part of the UNESCO World Heritage. The violent eruptions created surreal landscapes, bristling with impressive rock cones. Cave dwellings were then dug into the rock. Many rock churches in the Göreme valley bear witness to this. In the fairy chimneys where the churches built during the Byzantine period are dug, we discover frescoes that represent the life of Jesus, from the nativity to the ascension.

Göreme Open Air Museum – The Göreme Open Air Museum is located just a 20-minute walk from the city center of Göreme. There is an entrance fee. The single ticket costs 300 TRY but you can buy a combination ticket if you want to visit other iconic places in Cappadocia.

THE RED VALLEY AND THE PINK VALLEY

The Red Valley And The Pink Valley Cappadocia

From the Goreme Museum, we start a hike to reach the Pink and Red Valleys. The Pink Valley and the Red Valley are very beautiful and can be observed from a plateau that separates the two valleys. From red to white to pink, from yellow to green, all the colors seem to be present. We will stay there until sunset, even if the sun remains hidden that day.

THE PIGEON VALLEY

Goreme Cappadocia

The Pigeon Valley, near the village of Uchisar, gets its name from the thousands of pigeon shelters dug into the rock. The carrier pigeons were intended to convey messages from the cave dwellers. Today, dozens of pigeons can be found there, generously fed by passing tourists.

You will also enjoy a visit to Uçhisar, which is one of the most beautiful cave villages in Cappadocia. Some of the cave houses are still inhabited today. It is also possible to enter the castle, which is crossed by a complex network of galleries and caves dug 1500 years BC. It is also the highest point in the region with a height of 179 meters.

We spent a few hours at the Dream Spot , a bar restaurant located on the heights of Uchisar and benefiting from a very pleasant terrace, with an extraordinary view of the castle.

KAYMAKLI, THE UNDERGROUND CITY

Kaymakli, The Underground City Cappadocia

Kaymakli is one of the largest historical underground developments in Cappadocia. The underground cities of Derinkuyu and Kaymakli were once used as a refuge to protect against invasions. Those who set about building them were the Hittites 2000 years BC, the first civilization to enter Anatolia. The region was highly coveted because it was located at the crossroads of the great empires of the time. For centuries, many Christians migrated to this place to escape the Romans.

These underground cities could extend over several kilometers. The circuits also connected the inhabitants’ homes to allow them to take refuge as quickly as possible in the event of an attack. We visited this underground city dug more than 80 meters deep. Today, only the first 4 floors are open to the public, a descent of more than 20 meters below ground level. They form a labyrinth of narrow tunnels that lead to churches, kitchens, and even wine presses. Be careful, the ceiling is quite low at times, so you will have to bend down.

Entrance to the underground city costs 250 TRY per person.

THE LOVE VALLEY

The Love Valley Cappadocia

From the top of the ravine, the scene is surreal: The Love Valley, a phallic landscape, straight out of a Dali painting. But how were these very particular reliefs created that captivate travelers so much? These conical formations were born from volcanic eruptions millions of years ago. Erosion then eroded the volcanic rock to generate soft and malleable tuff. The result is quite unexpected: some rocks have taken on the shape of mushrooms, giving them a phallic appearance, thus giving the “Love Valley” its name. These rocks sometimes reach up to 40 meters in height – impressive! We discover landscapes with a fantastic appearance.

ATTEND A WHIRLING DERVISH CEREMONY

A Whirling Dervish Ceremony

This surprisingly diverse country was once a stop on the Silk Road. The caravanserais welcomed merchants and pilgrims along the roads. They allowed them to take a break during long journeys. Built in the 13th century, the Sahuran Caravanserai is a building that is worth the detour. If the Caravanserai is already a beautiful stop in itself, it is also the only place in Cappadocia to offer performances of whirling dervishes.

It is not a show, it is a ceremony. And even if it is a bit long for a layman, it is still a mystical experience to live once. The ceremony begins and the dervishes engage in a dance called the sama. The sama takes place after the prayer and begins with the reading of a poem. When the dervishes turn, the palm of their right hand is facing the sky, while the left remains facing the ground. It would seem that the dervishes turn and turn, making one dizzy, to get as close as possible to God.

Entrance to the Caravanserai is charged but is included in the price of the ticket to attend the whirling dervishes ceremony, which costs 620 TRY or 30 euros per person.

WHERE TO EAT & DRINK IN CAPPADOCIA

Old Greek House – This restaurant is a family business with a lot of charm. It is an old traditional Greek house, which has a unique atmosphere. Not only is the food delicious, but the welcome is impeccable. The Old Greek House is located in the village of Mustafapasa, in the heart of Cappadocia, and is full of history. The manager is happy to show us around his house.

Old Greek House Mustafapasa Cappadocia

Göreme restaurant – A lovely time spent in this authentic restaurant in Göreme. We eat there sitting on the floor, barefoot, around a large round table where tasty dishes are served. The best address we found was in Göreme. The manager was very welcoming, the ambient music put us in the mood, and everything was perfect.

A Meal In A Göreme Restaurant

The Hangout – This atmospheric bar offers cocktails, draft beers, snacks, and hookahs of all flavors. It also hosts live music on select nights of the week.

The Hangout Pub Cappadocia

Fat Boys – We went there because the restaurant belongs to the manager of the hotel where we stayed. Good surprise, we ate very well!

Fat Boys Restaurant Cappadocia

Quick China – No, it’s not an Asian fast food restaurant, although I must admit that it’s not the name that made us want to go through the doors of this restaurant. We loved Turkish food, but we wanted to change things up a bit. It’s the perfect place to change the scenery. The restaurant offers dishes of Japanese, Thai, Korean, and Chinese origin. The restaurant’s decor is modern, and the dishes are simply delicious, the best of Asian cuisine.

Quick China Cappadocia

Dream Spot – Located in Uchisar, this is really the best spot to admire the village and its castle with a good drink in your hand. You can also taste very good local specialties there.

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WHERE TO STAY IN CAPPADOCIA

Taskonak Hotel – this hotel, located in the historic district of Göreme, in the heart of Cappadocia, was, by far, our most beautiful hotel of the trip. It must be said that the owner gave us a nice gift by upgrading us upon our arrival. This boutique hotel offers stone troglodyte rooms. Rooms combining the natural beauty of the cave and stone, to discover the authentic life of the village. The beautiful rooftop of the hotel also offers a superb viewpoint to enjoy the sunrises and sunsets over Rose Valley.

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Read also: 10 Best Hotels In Cappadocia For Every Budget and 7 Best Cappadocia Boutique Hotels.


KONYA

Goreme to Konya – 3h drive

Konya

Located halfway between Cappadocia and the Lake District, Konya is the perfect place to take a break on the journey. We only had a quick stop in Konya but I have very good memories of it.

Konya is the first spiritual city in Turkey. It is known as the birthplace of the whirling dervishes. A holy city for Muslims, the city has several beautiful mosques as well as the famous Mevlâna Museum dedicated to the whirling dervishes. It is in this museum that is located the tomb of the founder of the order, Djelâddin Rûmi, a Persian Sufi poet and mystic, whose texts and poems are adored by Muslims.


LAKES REGION

Lake Region Cappadocia

Konya to Egirdir – 2.5 hours drive

From Konya, the roads we take offer us magical landscapes. The closer we get to the lake region, the more we are amazed. We want to stop everywhere to admire the beauty of the mountainous landscapes and these grandiose lakes.

We arrive in Egirdir in the rain and discover the surroundings in the sun the next morning. Here, time seems to have stopped, even more so no doubt at this time without the slightest tourist.

I fell under the spell of Egirdir. This small, quiet town has a pretty historic center that lets us discover its caravanserai, its castle, its ramparts, and its small port. Located on an unreal peninsula in the heart of a lake that is said to have 7 colors, Egirdir does not leave you indifferent. Its waters have the reputation of changing shade depending on the sun, which earned it this nickname. Lake Egirdir is a wonder of nature that is even better observed from the heights, especially from the Laventa Gül Bahçeleri viewpoint.

On the road to Pamukkale, we come across 3 magnificent lakes, including the amazing salt lake Salda Lake. This salt lake, located in the province of Burdur, is certainly one of the most beautiful lakes in the region. It is considered the deepest lake in Turkey. When you approach the lake, you immediately fall under its spell. The water is turquoise in places and the place seems so calm. Here, the crowds of tourists from Pamukkale and Cappadocia seem very far away.

WHERE TO EAT & DRINK IN EGIRDIR

Selanik Cafe – This was one of the few restaurants in Egirdir open when we were there. But we were lucky. The food is fresh, the owner is very welcoming, and the portions are big.

Selanik Cafe Egirdir

WHERE TO STAY IN EGIRDIR

Fulya Pension – This family-run pension is located in the historical part of the city, surrounded by picturesque mountains and the beautiful Egirdir Lake. What could be more relaxing than waking up to an incredible view of the lake? Absolutely magical.

Fulya Pension Egirdir

SAGALASSOS

Sagalassos

Egirdir to Sagalassos – 1h15 drive

Also located in the Burdur region, the ancient city of Asia Minor, located on the foothills of the Taurus, Sagalassos is located at an altitude of between 1,450 and 1,700 meters. The occupation of the place is ancient, but Sagalassos developed mainly under the Roman Empire, between the 2nd and 7th centuries; before being definitively deserted following a major earthquake.

The walk on the site of Sagalassos allows you to discover its innumerable treasures, such as the villas, the impressive imperial baths, the triumphal arches, the theater, the agora, which allow us to enjoy a plunging view of the valley and the surrounding mountains

Entrance to the site costs 75 Try.


PAMUKKALE – HIERAPOLIS

Sagalassos to Pamukkale – 2h45 drive

We had booked our balloon excursion in Cappadocia but unfortunately, our flight had to be cancelled three times because of the weather. Disappointed? Clearly! But you can’t control the wind, so we had to accept it. Luckily, we realised that they offered the same excursions in Pamukkale, in the west of Turkey. We went there by car a few days later!

FLY OVER THE PAMUKKALE IN A BALLOON

Balloon Flight Pamukkale

This time, it’s happening for real! The flight is confirmed. So we get up at dawn to discover the first rays of the sun in the sky of Pamukkale from our big balloon. A vehicle comes to pick us up in front of our hotel door, and a few minutes later we find ourselves on the take-off strip of the hot air balloon group. The place is unique, the excitement is very present. We then board a 16-person basket, where an instructor gives us safety instructions on the progress of our flight. We then watch the balloons being inflated – the moment is quite incredible to experience.

A few minutes later, that’s it – we’ve taken off! We then discover a magical postcard setting. We can see the famous limestone springs, as well as the ancient site of Hierapolis which adjoins them. The experience is quite exceptional. The calm which reigns within the gondola is impressive. The landscapes that pass before our eyes are simply magical. We soon reach 1000 meters in height. This is the maximum height authorized.

The hot air balloon flight in Pamukkale  lasts between 45 min and 1 hour. This magical spectacle allows you to have the best panorama over the white limestone pools of Pamukkale. After the balloon flight in the sky of Denizli, a flight certificate is given to us, then a glass of non-alcoholic sparkling wine is offered to us by the company.

Info: The flight costs 100 euros for a basket flight with a maximum of 16 people, with Excursion Mania . Everything can be booked directly online, but you can also contact the company directly via WhatsApp, they are very responsive!

Read also: Cappadocia Hot Air Balloon: 12 Tips For A Great Balloon Ride

PAMUKKALE, THE GEOLOGICAL CURIOSITY

Pamukkale

The 160-metre-high terraces of Pamukkale are one of the wonders of Turkey. The Pamukkale site owes its reputation to its white basins formed by the flow of highly calcareous water that spread along the walls and solidified in the form of stalactites. The photos found on the internet, and particularly on social networks, are unfortunately somewhat misleading. If the site was once filled with water, it is now difficult to see more than 6 submerged basins at a time. These basins are only filled by human hands. The reason is simple: to protect the basins from algae and moss – the travertines cannot therefore be filled permanently. Once again, mass tourism has taken its toll on this beautiful site.

We still let ourselves be tempted by a little swim in the artificial pools to enjoy the place. Quickly, we have to take off our shoes so as not to damage the site. Be careful, the ground is quite sharp, so you have to be careful where you put your feet.

HIERAPOLIS, THE ANCIENT CITY

Hierapolis Open Air Museum In Cappadocia

Pamukkale is above all a very well-preserved ancient site, set there, in the middle of the mountains. It is there that the Attalid dynasty, kings of Pergamum, created the thermal spa of Hierapolis, in the 2nd century  BC. This thermal city was also built next to the limestone terraces because they had noticed their benefits on the body.

The site still houses today the remains of the Greco-Roman era such as baths, temples, a monumental arch, churches, a large necropolis, and a theater, all very well preserved – which make Hierapolis an extraordinary ancient city. The site is magnificent and quickly makes us forget the absence of water in the limestone terraces.

We continued this walk with a little swim in Cleopatra’s pool, where we were able to enjoy a bath in incredibly clear, warm water, splashing above ancient ruins.

Visit to the Pamukkale – Hierapolis site: The entrance ticket to the Pamukkale – Hierapolis site cost 400 TRY the day we went. Note that the price varies day by day and that they increase or decrease the price of the entrance ticket to the site depending on the abundance of tourists on site… The day before our arrival, the entrance cost only 200 TRY. Be careful, the entrance to Cleopatra’s pool is not included in the combined ticket and costs 130 TRY per person. The locker is included in the ticket price, it is possible to change on site.

RELAX AT THE POLAT THERMAL HOTEL

Polat Thermal Hotel In Cappadocia

And since Pamukkale is also famous for its benefits… After all, we are in Turkey, you have to know how to treat yourself! We enjoyed a moment of relaxation in an exceptional spa, located a few kilometers from Pamukkale, at the Polat Thermal Hotel. The establishment offers a whole range of massages and treatments in its wellness center. We negotiated our package at 50 euros instead of 60 euros. For this price, we have access to the indoor and outdoor thermal pools, and to a dedicated masseuse who first offers us a soap massage (the famous Turkish bath) and then a 30-minute massage in a dedicated room. A real moment of relaxation that we did not regret! The little extra? It is open until 11 p.m.

WHERE TO EAT IN PAMUKKALE

The White Pamukkale – We landed in this restaurant a bit by chance, but it offered us some nice surprises. The blue and white setting is very cute, and the owners are adorable. The dishes are cooked with fresh products and are delicious.

White House Pamukkale

WHERE TO STAY IN PAMUKKALE

Melrose House Hotel – To be honest, it is not easy to find a nice hotel in Pamukkale. Luckily, we came across a charming family hotel. Located just a 5-minute walk from the city center of Pamukkale, this hotel offers comfortable rooms, excellent cuisine, and a very nice setting. 

Melrose House Hotel

ANTALYA

Antalya

Pamukkale to Antalya – 3h drive

Turkey benefits from an exceptional maritime environment. Antalya is one of those little seaside gems, full of places to stroll or party. It’s hard to take a road trip to Turkey without discovering its kilometers of blue coastline. So it’s in Antalya that we put down our bags for this last part of the trip. Antalya is not just a seaside town, its old town is full of charm. Divided between tradition and modernity, Antalya brings together Roman and Islamic monuments. The atmosphere is peaceful, the sun is omnipresent.

It is a good place to live and you can take the opportunity to stroll through the lively streets of the historic center of Kaleiçi, which is home to many Roman, Byzantine, and Ottoman buildings. If you continue your stroll, you can access the old port either by going down the streets from Republic Square or by elevator. In 860, the port was a naval base for the Arab conquests. When the Seljuks took control of the city, the port became an important position for trade.

One of the best ways to see Antalya from above is to take the Tünektepe cable car. A spectacular view of Antalya awaits us, with a 360 view of the city, the mountains, and the sea.

Info: The round trip to the top costs 200 TRY – the view is worth it. You can also get there by car, but we preferred to leave the car parked at our hotel and explore the city on foot.

ANTALYA WATERFALLS

Antalya Waterfalls

There are also many canyons and waterfalls in the surroundings of Antalya. Ideal for recharging your batteries far from the hustle and bustle of the big city. The day after our arrival, we take the road towards the Kursunlu Waterfall – located in the heart of a soothing and beautiful green setting. A true haven of peace just a few kilometers from Antalya.

Info: Entrance to the site costs 35 TRY. The walk can last from one to two hours on a marked trail.

We then continue our route to the cliff-side Duden Waterfalls – located 30 minutes by car from the center of Antalya.

Read also: 43 best things to do in Antalya and 6 best beaches in Antalya

WHERE TO EAT IN ANTALYA

Seraser Fine Dining Restaurant : In an atmosphere of subdued lighting, the restaurant welcomes us on the terrace or inside in an elegant setting. The restaurant’s menu invites you to share a taste experience by mixing Mediterranean cuisine with traditional Turkish cuisine, all accompanied by good wines and cocktails.

Seraser Fine Dining Restaurant

Grand Friends Fish & Steak Restaurant : This restaurant located in the heart of the historic Kaleiçi district offers a sunny terrace and offers as many fish and seafood dishes as meat dishes. Not cheap but their seafood pasta is excellent.

Grand Friends Fish &Amp; Steak Restaurant

Big Chef: Located on the coast near the Duden Waterfalls, Big Chef is a Turkish restaurant chain. The restaurant is a local-friendly establishment, but the menu is varied and offers a selection of Turkish and international dishes.

Big Chef

Old House bar : a relaxing place to drink a cocktail on the terrace in a colorful and trendy setting.

Old House Bar

Buda Café: a bar where you can listen to live music groups on the terrace, with a shisha.

Buda Cafe

Pio Gastro Bar & Bistro : One of the best addresses in Antalya. Here, you can enjoy excellent Spanish tapas, meat, or hamburgers, while sipping a beautifully crafted cocktail.

Meal At The Pio Gastro Bar &Amp; Bistro

WHERE TO STAY IN ANTALYA

The Atelya Art Hotel , a beautiful hotel with traditional Ottoman decoration, is located just 500 meters from the sea and a 5-minute walk from Hadrian’s Gate. Probably one of the most beautiful hotels we stayed in on this trip. Small downside: the noise. The rooms are not soundproof.

The Atelya Art Hotel

Read also: 10 best hotels in Antalya