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Amazing Places to Visit in Turkey – the Ultimate Guide

Turkey is one of those countries, it is so beautiful it is difficult to believe it is real. Amazing food, spectacular sites and awesome beaches. In this travel guide we discuss the best places to visit and things to do in Turkey, see why it is one of our favorite countries in the world and why we will keep coming back. Some seem to think Turkey is still a dangerous country to travel, what is our opinion at the time of updating this article (2020), we suggest a travel itinerary and give some travel tips.

The transcontinental country Turkey, packed with history, ancient monuments and magic natural wonders connects Asia and Europe. Turkey is located on the Anatolian peninsula in Western Asia and the Balkan peninsula in Europe. Traveling here the breathtaking things to do and places to visit in the 81 provinces of Turkey never stop surprising us.

It is an amazing country to visit as a digital nomad, combining work and travel. The weather is great, the food is fantastic and at the beautiful beach towns with crystal clear, warm water is an absolute pleasure to visit.

We have traveled overland to Turkey from Georgia. If you have time this is another amazing article to include in your travel itinerary, see our comprehensive Places not to miss in Georgia article.

Cappadocia with it's its unique cone-shaped rock formations or “fairy chimneys,”
Cappadocia with it’s its unique cone-shaped rock formations also called fairy chimneys.

Why Go to Turkey?

Being on the edge of the Islamic world and the European Union, it is a very easy and touristic way to experience Islamic culture and architecture. It really is a unique country with some of the most spectacular and different landscapes I have experienced around the world. If you like an active holiday there are plenty of unique activities, hike a part of the Lycian Way, float over the fairy chimneys of Cappadocia in a hot air balloon or go paragliding over the beautiful Mediterranean sea. Turkey has plenty of fantastic beaches with crystal clear, warm water, great for swimming and a massive range of ocean activities; from scuba diving to parasailing and riding on jetskis.

Must Do Things in Turkey

  • The ferry chimneys in the rock valley of Cappadocia is a photographer’s dream. This surreal, lunar landscape is difficult to explain, you have to see it yourself!
  •  The pure white travertine terraces of Pamukkale’s “Cotton Castle” are  a highlight of Turkey.
  • Ephesus is Europe’s most complete classical metropolis, this well preserved  large archaeological site includes the massive Theater, the Temple of Hadrian and the magnificent Celsus Library.
  • Istanbul is the only city in the world spanning two continents. Impressive architecture and historic sites including the Hagia Sophia, Blue Mosque and Topkapi Palace.
  • Go to the beach! with coastlines along the Aegean and Mediterranean seas Turkey has plenty of amazing beaches not to miss. In this article we will tell you about some of our favorite beaches on the Turquoise coast.
travertines of Pamukkale
One of the most spectacular sites in Turkey, the amazing salt travertines of Pamukkale.

Is Turkey Dangerous?

Turkey has been the victim of a number of high-profile terror attacks and political events in the recent past. The situation is now calm (2020) and a state of emergency has been lifted. More than 2.5 million British citizens visited Turkey in 2019 mostly trouble free. With the Covid19 pandemic Turkey was one of the first countries allowing tourists with the wearing of a mask compulsory. We were very impressed with how the country balanced tourism and safety during the Covid crisis. No tests were required, but massive laboratories were set up to do Covid PCR tests quick and cheap if tourists required them. If going to Turkey, please check current FCO travel advice before organizing your trip.

Turkey budget travel – How much will it cost?

Currency Turkish Lira (TRY) -TRY 7.70 – USD 1

Hostel dorm rooms start at TRY50 ($6.50) per night. Private double rooms start around TRY 150 ($20) per night, we usually paid around TRY 200 ($27) for a comfortable room with good location.

Typical Daily Turkey travel budget per person :

We are budget travelers and stayed in nice, budget hotels with AC and good breakfast included. We usually make a sandwich for lunch and eat at a local restaurant with one or two beers for dinner. I discuss food later in the article. Your budget can obviously vary a lot from this.

  • Accommodation – TRY 100 ($14)
  • Breakfast – Included
  • Lunch – TRY 30 ($4)
  • Dinner – TRY 40 ($5)
  • Coffee – TRY 12 ($1.50)
  • Beer – TRY 25 ($3)
  • Total – $28
Konyaalti Beach
Swimming in the warm, crystal clear water of the Turquoise Coast.

Turkey tour packages

There are so many amazing sites not to miss in Turkey, I know getting around can be a mission, don’t feel like planning everything yourself? Let reputable company  take care of the hassles. G-Adventures have some excellent tour packages including all our favorites for really good deals!

This G-adventures comprehensive tour of Turkey combines history and beaches, man-made wonders and natural phenomena, as well as a vibrant and welcoming culture. Experience all our favorites; Istanbul, Cappadocia, Ephesus and Pamukkale on this tour containing all our favorites, some nice touches like sleeping one night aboard a boat under the stars on the Mediterranean Sea and spending a night in a converted Ottoman mansion.

Limited on time? Best of Turkey, 8 day Istanbul to Istanbul. This trip is ideal for the traveller who is short on time but wants to experience as much of Turkey’s stunning scenery and fascinating history as possible. Begin the journey at the WWI battlefield of Gallipoli, then leap into Greek myths and explore the remains of the legendary city of Troy before strolling along the streets of Ephesus. Don’t miss the remarkable white cliff pools of Pamukkale before boarding a comfortable and convenient flight back to Istanbul. Return refreshed and ready to explore the city’s bazaars, mosques, and tea houses.

Best time to visit Turkey

  • tourist high season is from June through August, everything is crowdy and more expensive.
  • Summer is hot and winter cold
  • Spring season (April to May) and autumn season (September to October) are the best times to visit.

Insurance or traveling to Turkey

World Nomads gives you a quote and gets you covered in minutes where ever you are. Check it out and get a quote! World Nomads Insurance

Best Things to Do in Turkey

Turkey has a amazing variety of places to see, we will definitely be coming back. These were our favorite places to visit.


Cappadocia was one of our favorite places to visit in Turkey. The country many amazing, distinct landscapes, but the arid valleys of Cappadocia with its unique cone-shaped rock formations or “fairy chimneys”, located in central Turkey is truly unique. The open air museums, large rock cones and underground cities can keep you busy for days exploring this fascinating area.

The fascinating fairy chimney, stone houses of Cappadocia
The fascinating fairy chimney stone houses of Cappadocia.

Activity not to miss in Cappadocia!

Cappadocia is known around the world as one of the best places to fly with hot air balloons. This Cappadocia hot air balloon flight is definitely a bucket list adventure! The spectacular surrealistic landscapes combined with excellent flying conditions allow hundreds of balloons to take off every morning!

Hot air balloons floating over the spectacular landscapes of Cappadocia at sunrise.

What is Cappadocia?

How were these unusual rock formations created? Centuries ago a group of ancient volcanoes, erupted  layers of ash and sand, mixed with hot gases to cover the countryside in a thick layer of tuff. Over the centuries the rivers, wind and rain eroded the soft rock layer to form spectacular gorges and leave behind the spectacular Cappadocian moonscape.

Things to see in Cappadocia

There are so many fascinating things to see in Cappadocia that you could spend weeks here discovering new places. The main ‘must-see’ attractions are the two  open-air museums and the underground cities. Don’t miss Goreme Open Air Museum with it’s cave churches and Zelve Open Air Museum a cave town with churches. The underground cities are another must see. Kaymakli Underground City, the largest underground city and Derinkuyu Underground City the deepest underground city are spectacular. We really enjoyed this, it was a fantastic tour!

For a well rated private full-day tour of Cappadocia at a good price. Visit the Goreme Valley, the Uchisar Castle Panorama, stroll through the Valley of the Pigeon Lofts and enjoy some wine in Pasabag Valley among the mystical earth pillars.

Huge phallic formations in ‘The Love Valley’ of Cappadocia were formed by natural erosion of volcanic rock.

Discover Cappadocia on a private full-day tour of the remarkable area. Visit the Goreme Valley, the Uchisar Castle Panorama, stroll through the Valley of the Pigeon Lofts and enjoy some wine in Pasabag Valley among the mystical earth pillars.

Accommodation in Cappadocia

Staying in the cave hotels in Cappadocia is one of the best things to do traveling in this area in Turkey.

Sultan Cave Hotel is a luxury hotel with beautiful cave suites, rooms are well designed, great combination of caves with all modern luxuries, great deck for sunrise, awesome spot for photos.

Looking for unreal accommodation, not too expensive? Osmanbey Cave House located at a restored mansion in Goreme National Park,  beautiful rooms, awesome location, super friendly staff, a terrace and a garden, good breakfast.

Delux rooms

Artemis Cave Suites, excellent location great view of Goreme, awesome food, very knowledgeable staff. Deluxe rooms are big, huge beds, coffee machine, mini bar, toiletries etc.

On a budget?

Ali’s guesthouse very nice is a social place, the rooms are in a cave house which is kind of awesome but dark inside the dorm. Budget dorms and nice double rooms. Ali’s Guest House is located in Göreme, just 3.2 km from Capadokya. all day coffee and tea included.

We stayed at Kose Pension for some days, a nice family run hostel with a great swimming pool, super friendly staff, awesome location and a good breakfast.


Pamukkale is a town in western Turkey known for the mineral-rich thermal waters flowing down white travertines (terraces) on a nearby hillside. Swimming in the mineral pools of Pamukkale is another amazing thing to do in Turkey. The gleaming white calcite terraces look like snowy slopes on photos and the warm mineral rich waters form gleaming blue pools that you can swim in. Pamukkale means cotton castle in Turkish and the name is self explanatory if you look at photos. The terraces neighbors Hierapolis, an ancient Roman spa city founded around 190 B.C. Ruins there include a well-preserved theater and a necropolis with sarcophagi that stretch for 2km.

Pamukale before tourists arrive
Still alone at Pamukkale, early in the morning before flocks of tourists arrive in tour buses.

TIP This Unesco World Heritage site gets thousands of daily visitors arriving in tour buses. The gates open at 6am. We arrived when the gates opened and had this entire amazing site to ourselves for over 2 hours, when hundreds of tourist buses started arriving. Here you can book a tour to Pamukkale with an english speaking guide that picks you up at your hotel, the tour is well reviewed, read the reviews before booking, we went on our own very early in the morning. If you plan to explore this site independent my advice would be to arrive early and walk around as much of the site as you can for the first 2 hours taking beautiful photos in the soft light with few tourist, then go and enjoy swimming in the pools when the masses arrive.

Accommodation in Pamukkale

We stayed in Hotel Dort Mevsim, nice budget hotel with dormitories and private rooms, breakfast buffet included, swimming pool, walking distance from the travertines, budget double rooms. Venus Suite Hotel – Neat, new hotel with big rooms, plenty of facilities, excellent food, free shuttle to the travertines, great breakfast.

The snow white travertines of Pamukkale
The snow white travertines of Pamukkale


Ephesus was an ancient Greek city on the coast of Ionia. Today what remains of the best-preserved Roman city in the Mediterranean region is close to the city Selçuk in İzmir Province.

The spectacular city was built in the 10th century BC during the Classical Greek era and began to flourish after it came under the control of the Roman Republic in 129 BC. 

The Library of Celsus
The Library of Celsus is one of the most well restored ruins in Turkey.

Some of the highlights of this city:

  • Temple of Artemis – once the biggest temple on Earth and one of the Seven Wonders of the Ancient World.
  • Library of Celsus – one of the most impressive buildings in the Roman Empire this library stored over 12,000 scrolls, destroyed by an earth quake and set on fire by the goths
  • Odeion (used for music performances)
  • Temple of Hadrian,-Varius Baths, State Agora, Temple of Domitian, Hercules Gate and many more

Tip Stay late! At 18:00 the last tour guides started leading out their flocks of  tourists and we had the whole ancient city to ourselves, the light was soft and perfect for photos. Walking alone in that ancient city really felt like you were part of the Roman world.

Book a private, half-day tour of the ancient city of Ephesus from either Kusadasi or Izmir. In Kusadasi? Consider going for an authentic Turkish bath and massage, unfortunately we never got around to it.

To walk around alone in the spectacular Ephesus the secret is to stay late.

Accommodation close to Ephesus

Amazon Petite is located in Selcuk, close to to Basilica of St John and the Temple of Artemis. It offers air-conditioned rooms with a minibar, flat-screen TV and free Wi-Fi, nice breakfast and friendly helpful staff.

Ephesus Palace, good value for money, friendly host, car and bicycle hire available, located 3 km from Great Theatre of Ephesus. Good budget deals.

Things to do in Istanbul

Split between east and west this ancient, culturally rich city has a crazy amount of places to visit. Many travelers never get further than Istanbul when visiting Turkey, with such a huge variety of highlights I can understand why. After about 10 days in Istanbul we only scratched the surface of what one of the world’s great cities has to offer. The best of Istanbul can not be listed in this short space, but I will just mention a couple of our favorite things to do in Istanbul.

Hagia Sofia

Turkey’s most famous domed monument went from church to mosque to museum. It is filled with Christian and Muslim artifacts. Over the years under various rulers it served as temple or mosque until it was converted to a museum. You can not miss this spectacular building that is said to have changed the history of architecture. One site not to miss! Buy tickets for Blue Mosque and Hagia Sophia here! get picked up by a driver, skip the long lines do a morning tour with a local guide.

Hagia Sophia, Istanbul
Hagia Sophia, Istanbul

The Blue Mosque (The Sultan Ahmed Mosque)

Another iconic mosque in Istanbul, located close to Hagia Sofia. The Blue Mosque is not blue, it’s name is derived from the famous blue tiled roof inside the building.  The mosque is still used for worship, but tourists are welcome.

The Basilica Cistern

This was my favorite site in Istanbul. The Basilica was a huge underground water storage facility that was fed by aquaducts to the Black Sea 20 km away. It is made spectacular by 336 stone columns and two enormous stone Medusa heads.

The impressive Basilica Cistern.
The impressive Basilica Cistern.

The Bosphorus Strait

The Bosphorus Strait (Istanbul Bogazi) is the dividing line between Europe and Asia and connects the Black Sea with the Sea of Marmara. Most sights are concentrated in the old city on the peninsula of Sultanahmet, It is awesome standing on the Bosphorus bridge with Europe on the one side and Asia the other, when we were in Istanbul there was a swimming race across the Bophorus from Europe to Asia. Reserve your seat on to see both the European and Asian sides of Istanbul on a 2.5-hour boat cruise of the Bosphorus Strait.

The Topkapi Palace

The Topkapı Palace is a large museum in Istanbul, Turkey. This massive palace was the Imperial residence of Ottoman sultans for about 400 years. Much of the palace is not accessible, the  tours of the Sultan’s Harem was interesting.

Istanbul Whirling Devishes

Looking for some evening entertainment you are only going to see in Istanbul? Don’t miss the famous Mevlevei Sema ceremony in Istanbul. Known for its whirling dervishes and dances, enjoy a complex musical repertoire called ayin and go on a mystical journey representing man’s spiritual ascent through mind and love to perfection.

The Grand Bazaar

The colorful and chaotic Grand Bazaar has been at the center of Istanbul for centuries. The Grand Bazaar is one of the largest and oldest covered markets in the world. The Bazaar covers 61 streets and it has up to  400,000 visitors daily! Something not to miss if you visit Istanbul.

 The Grand Bazaar, Instanbul.
Buying some Turkish delicacies at The Grand Bazaar, Instanbul.

How to explore Istanbul

  • If you are on a budget the cheapest is to use Google Maps and explore the city on foot.
  • For a little bit more taking  a hop on hop of bus tour is a great option. You can get around a your own pace and see all the famous landmarks, from the Hagia Sophia and Blue Mosque to the splendors of the Ottoman Empire, including Dolmabahçe Palace.
  • Pressed for time, don’t feel like standing in lines? do a full day guided tour to all the sights with a knowledgeable guide, don’t miss anything!

Accommodation in Istanbul

  • Where you stay will depend mainly on what you wish to get out of Istanbul.
  • Sultanahmet is historic, beautiful, very atmospheric, very touristy and quiets down around midnight.
  • Mid Range Hotel Sphendon offers easy access to many local attractions, located in the heart of historical Old City of Istanbul, 300 m from the Blue Mosque, walking distance to most main attractions. Friendly staff assist with arranging car hire, daily city tours, tickets and activities in the city. wi fi, air con, good buffet breakfast.
  • Luxury The White House Hotel small cosy hotel, perfect location, luxurious rooms, beautiful place.
  • On a budget? Sultan Hostel & Guesthouse awesome hostel great location. Dormitories and Private Doubles
  • Taksim is the more modern area of the city, with a mix of tourists and locals, many of good restaurants/clubs/bars, alive until morning. This is the more expensive area.
  • Luxury in modern day IstanbulGeorges Hotel Galata, ultra comfort remodelled old building, real luxury – even espresso machine in some of the rooms, marble bathrooms, spectacular views over the Bosphorus.
  • BudgetWorld House Hostel, awesome hostel, cool location in Taksim, 24 desk, good breakfast.

Turkish Beaches to Visit on the Mediterranean Coast

The Turkish coastline is more than 8000 kilometers long and is bordered by four different seas; the Mediterranean Sea, the Black Sea, the Aegean Sea, and the Marmara Sea. With more than 450 blue flag rated beaches it is no surprise that Turkey is home to some of the most fantastic beaches in the world.

Turkey’s Mediterranean shore is called the Turquoise Coast, this 1600 km coastline is known for its beautiful beaches with stunning mountain backdrops. We loved swimming in the crystal clear, warm water of these lovely Mediterranean beaches.

We loved the beaches, the small hotels and the food everywhere we went on the Turquoise coast, but did not like all the towns filled with package tourists.


Antalya was our favorite city on the Mediterranean and we stayed in this beautiful city, packed with things to do, for a couple of weeks. The beach city is capital of the Turquoise coast and a great place to start your trip with a large airport and great facilities. Antalya has a charming Old Quarter overlooking a yacht-filled Old Harbor with a modern city and fantastic swimming beaches spreading out from here. Staying in some budget hotels close to the beach I couldn’t get enough of the relaxed, active vibe and the beautiful beaches and we are even exploring moving here! Running on the promenade and walking everyday for hours, swimming kilometers and spending a lot of time between floating in the ocean, reading on the beach, sitting in coffee shops and ending the day in our hotel sauna.

Things to do in Antalya

Konyaalti Beach – Antalya is known for awesome beach activities and the highlight was swimming and hanging around the awesome, 7km long Konyaalti Beach. This rocky, pebble covered beach winds next to the main road. The water is crystal clear and a warm 30C. The long beach is lined by nice coffee shops a walking road and a cycling track. We loved here, a mix of locals and tourists on the beach, the beaches are not covered in beach chairs and Konyaalti was not filled with package tourists coming straight from the airport to a resort. There are always people training, walking, swimming, cycling and rollerblading all along this vibrant coastline. If you walk along the beach there are plenty of places to go parasailing, rent jetskis or go waterskiing and wakeboarding.

Lara Beach – located in the south of the city is a nice white sandy beach. This is the beach in Antalya with more package tourists and can be very busy in season.

The Old Town (Kaleiçi) – the old town is a neighborhood filled with restaurants, souvenir shops and hotels. The main square (Kale Kapisi), has a clock tower and a fortress gate close to the beautiful 18th-century mosque.

Antalya’s old harbor with great views over the Mediterranean from the surrounding cliffs has several bazaars, boutiques, bars and cafes. Stroll around the narrows alleys of this interesting area before ending the day with a sunset drink with a view over the beautiful blue ocean.

Experience the highlights of Antalya from the sea and air with a unique walking tour including a cable car ride, and boat tour.


Kemer is a small seaside town in the Antalya province located about 45 minutes drive from the city Antalya. The coastline and beaches are beautiful and there is a lot of activities around Kemer. This is however a real resort town filled with package tourists on all inclusive holidays. There are less explored, more quiet beaches surrounding the town, but in the beaches in the town itself are packed with beach chairs almost to the waters edge.

Things to do in Kemer

The Pirate Boat Cruises is a very popular activity to do from Kemer. On this cruise you will explore the ruins of the ancient city of Phaselis. Music plays on the boat for a party vibe and regular stops for swimming and snorkeling breaks. You will be picked up at your hotel and treated to a BBQ lunch on board

There is a lot of watersports around Kemer including waterskiing, wakeboarding and parasailing.

Kemer is known for Scuba diving and dive trips from Antalya usually come here. If you are an experienced diver check with the company that the trip does not take unqualified divers. Many of the dive days take new divers along on a training dive which can be frustrating for qualified divers.


Bordered by the beautiful Taurus Mountains, the city is located on a peninsula with an iconic 13thcentury castle overlooking stunning beaches. We spent a couple of days in the Mediterranean seaside town Alanya  on the southern coast of Turkey.

Things to do in Alanya

The medieval Alanya castle with the red tower overlooking the sea is a must visit. It is interesting to walk from the castle to the red tower and the shipyard. The castle and red tower both have a small entrance fee. Tersane Beach below the castle was our favorite beach. We spent days swimming in the crystal clear water of this beautiful, small, hidden beach close to the dock yard.

Our favorite sm.all beach in Alanya
Tersane Beach, our favorite small ‘off the beaten track’ beach in Alanya

Kleopatra Beach (Kleopatra Plajı) located on the west side of the peninsula near the Damlataş Caves is one of the most popular beaches in Alanya. The name comes from the legend saying that in ancient Egypt between 69-30 B.C, queen Cleopatra sunbathed on the beach’s golden sands and swum in crystal blue waters of this beach. The sandy Kleopatra Beach is a Blue Flag beach, confirming the high standards for water quality, health, cleanliness and safety. The two-kilometer stretch of beach is very popular with tourists and is located in the city center. Kleopatra Beach is clean and tidy, there are plenty of sun loungers to rent on the beach. There are showers and toilets at convenient locations on the beach. The views of the mountains, cable cars and castle and castle is really beautiful from here. Beach goers can enjoy sunbathing, swimming, snorkeling, and other water activities. If you need a bite to eat, there are plenty of nearby cafes and restaurants serving a variety of Turkish and international dishes. Some other popular activities in the area are to explore the Damlataş Caves and wander through the old town.

Explore Sapadere Canyon, a popular spot to visit from Alanya, around a 45min drive, nice river, waterfalls and a couple of beautiful swimming spots. A 7-hour sightseeing tour of Sapadere Canyon from Alanya. Wooden paths, stunning waterfalls cascading through the mountains, and jump in for a cold refreshing swim.

Go Paragliding over the ocean, very popular activity at many sites in Turkey, fly over the ocean for some unreal views!

Go on a boat trip to discover the coastline of Alanya , awesome 6-hour boat trip. Sailing from the harbor see all the main tourist attractions of Alanya, including the Red Tower, Old Shipyard, and Alanya Castle. Then visit Pirates’ Cave, Lover’s Cave, and Phosphorus Cave.

Rent a paddle board and paddle around the flat ocean or go paragliding or scuba diving.


The picturesque seaside town of Kas with its whitewashed houses and Bouganvillea flowers is known for it’s laid backed life style, quaint harbour and lively beach cafes.

Kas is a resort town with lots of adventure activities to lure travelers. Scuba diving is very popular with many dive sites including shipwrecks, a plane wreck and nice marine life including big fish and turtles. There are plenty of opportunities for hiking, mountain biking, paragliding, canyoning, and kayaking in the surrounding mountains.

The Lycian Way hiking trail, one of the most famous things to do in Turkey, passes by the town.

Coastline of the beautiful town Kas in Antalya province.
Coastline of the beautiful town Kas in Antalya province.

Adventurous things to do in Turkey.

  • Hike the Lycian Way, a 540 km hike along footpath in Turkey around part of the coast of ancient Lycia.
  • Go and dive at Kas, one of Turkey’s top dive sites.  The area has caves, reefs, wrecks and nice marine life.
  • Explore the remote Taurus Mountain range located in the Mediterranean region of Turkey. This rugged limestone area of cascading waterfalls and underground rivers and has some of the largest caves in Asia.


Flights – Flying is a great and very affordable way of getting around Turkey with several airports around the country. Flying from Istanbul to Antalya with extra luggage cost us around $30 per person.

Busses – Long distance bus travel is comfortable, the bus system in Turkey is amazing, bus stations are big and look like airports, the buses are fancy with personal LCD screens showing movies on the back of every seat like an airplane, the only negative here is that all movies are translated into Turkish. Snacks and drinks get served on the bus.

Uber or BiTaksi – Uber works, there are rumours that it is illegal. BiTaksi is a good app for getting taxis for about the same price as Uber.

Hitchhiking– On our first visit to Turkey we were traveling budget backpacker style and hitchhiked from Georgia. Our experience hitchhiking in Turkey was not great. Some of the drivers asked us money, we had one ride from a very sketchy truck driver after which we stopped hitchhiking. I would not recommend for girls to hitchhike alone and definitely cover up arms, legs and hair, you will just feel more comfortable with less staring.

Turkish Food

The food is one of our favorite things when traveling in Turkey, a mix of Central Asian, Middle Eastern and Balkan style cuisines.

Turkish cuisine is amazing for meatlovers, the quality of meat and style of cooking is delicious. We ate a lot of Kebaps and Kofte during our stay in Turkey. Kebap – meat cooked on a skewer over a charcoal fire is called a Kebap. This can be lamb, beef or chicken and is very common all over the country.

Döner Kebap means rotating kebap and it is a dish of beaten pieces of meat seasoned with suet, local herbs and spices, skewered on a large rotating spit and is grilled vertically. Thin pieces of meat are shaved of the outer layer while it is rotating. The doner kebap can be served with various accompaniments, the most common is stuffed into a pita with tomato, lettuce, cabbage and onion. Versions of the doner kebap is found all over the world and is also known as shawarma or gyros.

Köfte — is a Turkish version of meatballs and they come in all shapes and sizes, often long and flat and sometimes served in a pita. We often bought one doner and one kofte and shared it half half.

They have some amazing vegetable dishes in Turkey, we loved Karnıyarık, consisting of fried eggplants and minced meat with parsley, garlic and tomato filling. 

If you are vegetarian, look for zeytin yağlı, it is vegetarian dishes cooked in olive oil.

Turkish coffee is something not too miss if you are a coffee lover, read all about us drinking coffee around the world! Got a sweet tooth? Turkey has an amazing variety of unique sweets, check out some desserts to try in Turkey!

Buying food (and coffee) at supermarkets is cheap, so if you are on a backpacker budget find a hostel with a kitchen. You can buy kebabs with lamb or chicken everywhere and quality differs a lot depending on where you buy, but the real thing is amazing. We ate at cafeteria style places often around Istanbul, food was great, soup and a meal was a good deal.

Turkish breakfast is very typical and is usually made up of bread, butter, olives, eggs, tomatoes, cucumbers, jam, honey and cheese. At hostels you usually get a mix of this and it is served as a buffet. Even McDonald’s serves a Turkish breakfast with egg, tomato, bread and olives!  

Turkey Packing list

Here are a couple of items that we found particularly handy during our Turkey trip.

  • The Pashima for the ladies is so useful! Head covering for mosques is important to have. Very chic in the evenings and useful on the plane as a blanket or pillow! Reversible Paisley Pashmina Shawl Wrap
  • A good umbrella is amazing to have when you get caught by an unexpected rainstorm! Good quality windproof, waterproof, easy to operate and light to pack in your day pack. Repel Windproof Travel Umbrella
  • Pack-able Day pack – Small and light in your luggage, very handy to have a good, small pack to carry camera, waterbottle, sunglasses etc. in exploring the city. Venture Pal Ultralight  Packable Daypack

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Saturday 10th of October 2020

Hi there! Loved your article on Turkey 😊 My husband and I are planning on going for our anniversary from Oct 31-Nov 21. We fly into Istanbul and will take a plane to Cappadocia to spend our actual anniversary there. We're thinking 4-5 days there and then start making our way around. We'd love to see Pammukale, Ephesus, as well as the coastal side; such as Kas, and the blue lagoon etc... We'd like to end our adventure in Istanbul let's say from Nov 16-21. Any suggestions as to the best way to plan our trip, how long in each place, getting from one place to another with luggage etc....?? TIA

Stingy Nomads

Thursday 15th of October 2020

Hi, I am glad our article is helpful. The easiest way will be to fly and rent a car. You can fly from Cappadocia, Kayseri Erkilet Airport (ASR), to Antalya for less than $30. We enjoyed staying in Konyaalti Beach in Antalya not super exotic or romantic, but modern area long prominade, rent electric scooter, nice for easy swimming and water activies - couples parasailing was fun. You can rent a car in Antalya and drive to Kas, from Kas to Oludeniz (great for tandem paragliding) on to Pammukale from here drive to Selcuk (Ephesus) and fly from Izmir to Istanbul. All the driving days will be around 2 to 4 hours each, you can check the exact distances on Google Maps. All these days can also be done by bus. The main sights at all these places take a full day, but there are many more things to see in each area. With Air Turkey you pay a bit more for luggage, but not crazy, local flights really affordable. You have time, but it is a lot to fit in and I would reccommend you try not to spend too much time during your honeymoon on transport. Congratulations and enjoy your honeymoon!

mohit agarwal

Friday 14th of February 2020


we need to plan a 4 nightd 5 days trip to turkey for 2 couples.

please guide us .

Stingy Nomads

Friday 14th of February 2020

Hello Mohit, Cappadocia was my favorite place and Pamukkale and Ephesus were also really spectacular. There is enough to see in Istanbul to keep you busy for a week, so 5 days is a short trip, but can be done. You can do all Istanbul, Cappadocia and Pamukkale by either flying or overnight buses, see the itinerary below. You are going to spend a lot of your time on transport. You can also go to Cappadocia by flying to Kayseri and spend your trip between Istanbul and Cappadocia, details on things to do in these places can be found in the blog post, safe travels


Thursday 10th of October 2019

Dear, I plan a trip for my family. We have 16 persons here including 1 infant. We play travel Turkey for 8 days. Any local tour that reliable and good to recommend?

Stingy Nomads

Friday 11th of October 2019

For a well rated private full-day tour of Cappadocia at a good price, see the tour recommended in the article, also see the Pamukkale tour a place not to miss.

Hester Hall

Sunday 6th of October 2019

Me, my husband and daughter plan to travel to Turkey for about ten days in May 2020. So glad I found your website with all the usefull information. We like to do our own thing and not be part of a group. Looking forward to more information from you.

Stingy Nomads

Monday 7th of October 2019

Hello Hester, thanks for reading, I am glad our post was helpful, enjoy your trip to Turkey and safe travels!


Tuesday 6th of August 2019

It is the great info which you have given us. It'll be very helpful to make our tour memorable.

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