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Turkey in 10 days – the ultimate itinerary

Set off on a 10-day journey through Turkey, one of Flight Centre’s most popular destinations for South African travellers. From the busy streets of Istanbul to the surreal landscapes of Cappadocia and the coastal charm of Kas, here’s how to make the most of your Turkish adventure.

Day 1-3: Istanbul – Where Continents Collide

No itinerary to Turkey would be complete without exploration of the capital city. In fact, your adventure starts as soon as you touch down at Istanbul airport after your non-stop flight with Turkish Airlines. The airport is modern and sleek, packed with restaurants and boutiques, including a bazaar with authentic Turkish food and snacks, and plenty of clothing stores from Prada and Mont Blanc to affordable brands like LC Waikiki.

Day 1: Arrive in Istanbul

Check in to your hotel – we recommend staying in Sultanahmet – and fight off the urge to take a nap. You won’t regret it, after a day spent exploring some of the city’s must-visit iconic sights. In one day, you can squeeze in a visit to both the Hagia Sophia and the Blue Mosque.

Day 2: Cultural Immersion
Spend your second day at the Topkapi Palace, once the primary residence of the Ottoman sultans. Afterwards, enjoy an evening cruise on the Bosphorus River. Take in both sides of the Istanbul skyline from the water as you cruise along the river that separates Asia and Europe .

Day 3: More Sights and Travel to Antalya Spend the morning at the Grand Bazaar and do a little bit of shopping in one of the largest and oldest covered markets in the world. Remember to haggle – it’s expected here! Stop for a bite of lunch overlooking the Bosphorus. In the afternoon, catch a flight to Antalya, a gateway to the Turkish Riviera, to start your beach experience. Drive to the town of Kaş after landing in Antalya and settle in for the night.

Days 4 and 5: Kaş – Sun, Sea, and Sand

Turkey might strike you as a food and culture destination first and foremost, but their coastlines are incredible. So incredible that hotels and resorts are in fierce competition to claim the best spots on their sandy white beaches and clear blue waters. Think Greece or Croatia – Turkey’s beaches are much the same!

Day 4: Beaches and Old Town: Spend some time relaxing on Kaputaş Beach, a picturesque spot nestled between cliffs. Enjoy a swim in clear blue waters or just soak in the sun from the beach. Afterwards, explore the charming historical town of Kas, where you’ll find whitewashed houses and colourful bougainvillea. Visit the Lycian tombs, which are carved into the cliffs and mountainsides surrounding the town and date back thousands of years.

Day 5: Beach Day and Water Activities

Kaş is also known for its excellent diving opportunities. Explore underwater Lycian rock tombs and a variety of marine life. consider a boat tour to nearby Kekova Island to see sunken ruins. For those who prefer to stay on land, visit the ancient ruins of Xanthos and Patara, along with Patara Beach, one of the longest in the Mediterranean.

Day 6-8: Cappadocia – Hot Air Balloons and Fairy Chimneys

Even if you’ve never been to or considered Turkey as a holiday destination, you’ve almost definitely seen photos of this place all over Instagram. It’s famous for its otherworldly landscapes, fairy chimneys, and cave dwellings.

Day 6: Travel to Cappadocia Fly from Antalya to Nevşehir and drive through to Capadoccia. Begin with a tour of the Göreme Open-Air Museum, a complex of medieval painted cave churches carved out by Orthodox monks around 1000 AD.

Day 7: Balloons and Exploration Risse early and start your day with an absolute must-do in Capadoccia; a magical hot air balloon ride over the valleys and volcanic formations at sunrise. After landing, head to the underground cities of Derinkuyu or Kaymaklı, ancient hideouts used during periods of invasion and unrest.

Day 8: Hiking and Traditional Pottery Spend your day hiking through the Rose Valley or the Ihlara Valley, exploring the natural beauty and hidden cave churches. Visit Avanos to experience traditional pottery making, using the red clay from the Kızılırmak River.

Day 9-10: Return to Istanbul and Departure

Before you head back to South Africa on your Turkish airlines flight, spend your last day exploring more of Istanbul and shopping for spices and clothes to bring home. Did you know Turkey produces huge amounts of textiles? The clothes here are well-priced and well made too!

Day 9: Final Explorations Return to Istanbul. Spend your day visiting the Spice Bazaar, tasting Turkish delights and other sweets. Take the opportunity to visit the Istanbul Modern Art Museum or stroll through the historic neighbourhood of Galata and climb the Galata Tower for panoramic city views. Finish off with dinner overlooking one of the mosques or the river.

Day 10: Departure On your final day, enjoy a leisurely breakfast at your hotel, and perhaps a last stroll around your favourite part of the city. Depending on your flight time with Turkish Airlines, you might squeeze in some last-minute shopping in Nisantasi, take a quiet stroll in Yıldız Park, or make a quick visit to one of Istanbul’s lovely cafes for a last Turkish coffee before heading to the airport.

Itching to hop on a plane now? We don’t blame you! With Flight Centre‘s expert touch in tailoring itineraries and handling all your travel details, you’re guaranteed a smooth, memorable journey across Turkey. Get in touch today to book your dream itinerary!