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1 week in Turkey

Turkey is vast and complex and offers you fascinating history, beautiful landscapes and remarkable train journeys. If you only have 1 week in Turkey, and you have the means to treat yourself to some luxuries along the way, then this fast-paced, diverse itinerary will have you covered.

 

Itinerary highlights

Historical and cultural splendour of Istanbul; archaeological marvels at Pamukkale; the ancient Aegean port of Ephesus; the world famous Cappadocia.

Days 1 - 2: Istanbul


    Topkapi palace
Topkapi palace
  • Take a cruise along the Bosphorus, that divides the European and Asian side of Istanbul.

  • Tour Topkapi Palace, the main residence of the Ottoman sultans.

  • Explore the famous Grand Bazaar and the Spice Market.


 

Arriving by plane at Istanbul Atatürk Airport? Local transport will connect you to the centre of Istanbul in 30 minutes.

Days 3 - 4: Pamukkale


    Natural travertine pools and terraces in Pamukkale
Natural travertine pools and terraces in Pamukkale
  • Tour the travertines and bathe in the calcium-rich water.

  • Check out the incredible ancient theatre of Hierapolis.

  • Travel back in time when you visit the ancient city of Laodicea on the Lycus.


 

Prepare for a day of epic train travels! First, take the new high-speed train from Istanbul to Eskisehir. In Eskisehir, transfer to the Pamukkale Express - a spectacular train ride into Goncalı. It only runs once a day at 3:30 PM, so make sure you arrive on time!

Day 5: Ephesus


    Library of Celsus at Ephesus
Library of Celsus at Ephesus
  • Walk the ancient port city of Ephesus, and behold the Temple of Artemis, one of the Seven Wonders of the Ancient World.

  • Don’t miss the Terrace Houses - they offer an insight into family life during the Roman period and date back to the 1st century BC.

  • Looking for more history? Take a look around the revamped Ephesus museum.


 

There are trains running to the coast throughout the day. It's a quick and scenic 3 hour journey.

Day 6: Konya


    Mevlana museum and Mevlana square
Mevlana museum and Mevlana square
  • Visit the Tomb of Mevlana, the mausoleum of Jalal ad-Din Muhammad Rumi that's a globally important sacred site.

  • Walk up to the citadel of Konya for panoramic views, and enter the beautiful Alâeddin Mosque.

  • Next to the citadel is the Karatay Medrese, a beautiful structure famous for various interior and exterior architectural feats.


 

There’s a fantastic overnight sleeper train that will connect you directly from nearby İzmir to Konya. It’s called the Konya Mavi train, and you can book a private berth for maximum comfort. The sleeper train departs from İzmir at 9 PM.

Day 7: Cappadocia


    Hot air balloons over the rocky mountains in Goreme national park
Hot air balloons over the rocky mountains in Goreme national park
  • Arrive early enough to take a once in a lifetime hot air ballon ride - there are several companies in the area that take off at sunrise and include a champagne breakfast on landing.

  • Want to stretch your legs? Take a hike or mountain bike through one of the region’s dramatic valleys.

  • If time allows it, visit the underground city of Kaymaklı - this is a truly architectural marvel well worth exploring.


 

There is no train connection to Cappadocia. You can reach the region by bus, but many choose to do so via car - either with a rental or as part of an organised day tour. The journey by road is approximately 3 hours.

Is 1 week in Turkey enough for me?

1 week in Turkey will stretch your itinerary to the limit, but new high-speed trains and better connections allow you to see a lot of this vast country. Where you decide to go is totally up to you - simply pick up your Eurail Pass and start exploring!