Are you looking for the best Turkey itinerary for your family? There are many different factors to consider when planning your trip including:
- Why do You want to go to Turkey?
- What is the best way to Travel?
- What are the top destinations in Turkey?
Our ultimate Turkey itinerary will help you plan an epic family adventure to make memories and enjoying exploring together.
Table of Contents
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Why Travel to Turkey?
Turks are known for their hospitality and for welcoming you into their homes, shops & local communities. They will serve more tea and food than you can possibly finish – it’s all in the name of curiosity and enjoying their guests. If you can sit and drink cay with a local while you’re in Turkey – say Yes! You might learn a thing or two.
Mediterranean cuisine is influenced by Centra Asia, Middle Eastern and Balkan cuisine. You’ll find delicious kebabs, mouthwatering eggplant dishes, baklava, and many different breads that will be the best you’ve ever eaten. You’ll find different specialties in different regions of the country. We highly recommend eating your way through Turkey on your trip.
History and Culture
Turkey sits between Europe and Asia and has a rich history dating back thousands of years. It’s a melting pot of all the civilizations that have risen and fallen throughout Turkey. Therefore, having a better understanding of the past and modern Turkey.
While adventure is not the first thing you think of when considering going to Turkey, it’s something that will make your trip magical. From hot air balloons in Cappadocia to canyoning in Antalya, paragliding in Olu Deniz or hiking the ancient Lycian way, you have many opportunities to satisfy your adventurous spirit.
10 Day Ultimate Turkey Itinerary Overview
Additional 2-4 days:
If you’re looking for adding some beach time to your trip you may want to head to Antalya on the Mediterranean coast for a few days. There are plenty of outdoor adventure activities for your family.
The Classic 10-Day Turkey Tour is Perfect For:
- Visiting Classic Historical Sites
- Visiting Major Cities
- Unique Landscapes
What to See in Turkey in 10 Days + Map
The best 10-day Turkey itinerary with your family will include the top travel destinations. If this is your first trip to Turkey, the following places are the classic sites in Turkey that are recommended for a well-rounded experience.
Following are the most visited places in Turkey:
A bustling city of over 16 million people where Europe meets Asia. In this area, you’ll learn the history of the Ottomans and modern Turkey, and experience Turkish culture. In addition, you can find foods from all the regions of Turkey to enjoy.
Cappadocia is in the Central region of Turkey, made of several small towns. See magical landscapes as well as enjoy outdoor adventures. See our Cappadocia destination guide for everything you need to know about the Cappadocia region of Turkey.
Located in the Aegean region of Turkey, this UNESCO World Heritage site is visited by over 2 million people every year. Moreover, you’ll want to visit the Ephesus Museum, House of the Virgin Mary or a quick day trip to Sirince or Pamukkale.
Located in the Aegean region is another UNESCO World Heritage site Pamukkale, known for its thermal springs and calcite-laden waters, a white landscape of petrified waterfalls, mineral forests, and basins. Also, you can visit Hierapolis, an ancient 2nd century B.C. thermal spa with ruins of baths, temples, and a great amphitheater to explore.
The largest city along the Mediterranean coast has many water activities and adventures for families. Most importantly, get out of the city to enjoy some slow leisurely days by taking a boat trip or hanging out one of the favorite local beaches. See our guide for things to do in Antalya with kids for fun activities for your family.
Next, we’re going to look at the best way to travel and enjoy time with your family on your trip.
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Best Way to Travel with Family
What’s the best way to travel with your family in Turkey? Traveling solo versus traveling with family are two completely different scenarios. We’ll cover the best type of travel and ideal number of days for the perfect family Turkey trip.
Pace of Travel
First, we recommend a mix of fast paced travel and slow travel for different parts of your trip. When you’re traveling with family, everyone has their likes and dislikes. Also, what are the ages of the kids traveling with you – younger or older? It is important to take this into account when thinking about what to do and see in Turkey. Take the time to get input from everyone’s expectations and things they’d like to do.
Historical vs. Adventure Travel
Secondly, are you looking for more options than visiting historical sites and want to add some adventure travel into the mix? There are many adventurous activities, especially when you are visiting the regions of Cappadocia and Antalya. From hot air balloon rides, paragliding, horseback riding, kayaking, rafting, and swimming – activities for making memories together. On a scale of 1 to 10, where do you fall on the adventure scale?
How Many Days to Travel
Lastly, you need to consider how many days you have to travel in Turkey. We recommend a minimum of 7-10 days to visit the classic sites. If you have more flexibility, you can explore more of the off the beaten path experiences or go visit other regions of Turkey.
Ultimately, you need to evaluate what works best for your family, how many days you have to travel and gauge where you land on the adventure scale. Once you’ve taken all of this into account, you can create the best Turkey itinerary for your trip.
Best Turkey Itinerary: 10 Days
Day 1: Arrive Home – Istanbul
Arrive in Istanbul and enjoy then a slow evening with a delicious meal and then head to bed to rest up for your first full day in Istanbul.
Day 2: Istanbul – Hagia Sophia, Blue Mosque, Basilica Cistern
Start the day with your first Turkish breakfast and then head out to visit the Hagia Sophia, Blue Mosque & Basilica Cistern all within the Sultan Ahmet district. You’ll be doing lots of walking today so wear good walking shoes.
Day 3: Istanbul – Bosphorus Cruise
Head out on the Bosphorus to see the sites from the water. You’ll see magnificent palaces, ancient castles, and fortresses and well as luxury residences and cruise under the Bosphorus Bridge. There’s something about seeing Istanbul from the water that is spectacular – AND it’s a kid friendly activity – don’t miss it!
Day 4: Istanbul – Topkapi Palace, Dolma Bahce Palace & Grand Bazaar
Visit Topkapi Palace built in 1465. Take a tour of the gardens, enjoy the architecture & see the harem. It’s all fascinating to learn the history of the Ottoman Sultan’s and get a glimpse into Turkish culture.
After that head over to Dolma Bahce Palace to see Ataturk’s residence and view one of the largest crystal chandeliers in the world. Bonus is the palace is on the Bosphorus with some amazing views.
Later, head over to the Grand Bazaar. With over 4,000 shops, its one of the largest and oldest covered markets in the world. If you’re going to do some shopping, be ready to bargain – its part of the experience and is expected. So have fun!
Day 5: Cappadocia – Arrive in Cappadocia, Goreme Open Air Museum & Love Valley
Catch a morning flight to Cappadocia. Upon arrival, you can drop your luggage off at your hotel and then head over to walk through the Goreme Open Air Museum. Starting here will give you a great understanding of the history of the area before you venture off over the next few days. If you have time, you can head over to Love Valley for a short hike through the unique landscape.
Day 6: Cappadocia – Sunrise Hot Air Balloon Ride
Wake up early for a sunrise hot air balloon ride. If you’re not one for flying, you can always enjoy the view of hundreds of balloons in the air. Either way, be ready for amazing views.
Spend the rest of the day doing any number of activities – whatever fits your family best –
- Make pottery in Avanos
- Explore Zelve Open Air Museum
- Take a local cooking class
- Go horseback riding
- Go hiking and exploring in one of the valleys
- See views from Uchisar Castle
Make this a day to explore!
Day 7: Cappadocia – Underground City of Derinkoyu & Ihlara Valley
Today you’ll go 8 stories underground and learn about the maze of underground cities in the area.
Afterward, head over Ihlara Valley to hike through the canyon that is 15km long and up to 150m deep. There are 16 cave churches that are open to visitors within the first 1km of the trail.
Day 8: Ephesus – Arrive in Izmir
Today you’ll fly out to Izmir. Depending on the time of the year, you may be able to get a direct flight from Cappadocia to Izmir. We recommend staying in Kusadasi as it’s not too far from Ephesus. If you are wanting a unique experience, stay at the Nisanyan Hotel in the village of Sirince.
Day 9: Ephesus – Ephesus, Temple of Artemis, Selcuk & Sirince
Head out to tour the ancient city of Ephesus. If you are interested in history, we highly recommend hiring a guide to take you through the site. There is so much to see and learn.
After visiting Ephesus, you can visit the Temple of Artemis and the House of the Virgin Mary. Later head back to Sirince to enjoy food and wine in the village – relax and get to head home the next day.
Day 10: Fly to Istanbul – Home
Catch your flight to Istanbul to connect and head back home.
How to Plan Your Trip
When you’re planning your ultimate turkey itinerary there are a few options for how you can travel: independently, small group tour or a mix of both. We’ll look at the pros and cons of each these.
Independent Family Travel
For families that want to explore or get off the beaten path, planning your trip is the way you want to go. You will have a lot of flexibility to change plans at the last minute and not be on anyone else’s schedule. When we’re exploring in the Mediterranean, we tend to like this option because there are so many great beaches and hiking places to explore. We like to do this on our own time. We recommend this type of travel for adventurous families.
Small Group Tours
If you want someone else to plan the details of your trip from in country flights, tours, transportation and meals, a small group tour makes it easy. Typically, a small group will be no more than 8-12 people and is a great option for a family traveling together. Generally, there will be scheduled time, but then free time to explore on your own each day.
TRAVEL TIP: We recommend a small group tour when you’re in the Ephesus area – there is so much to see and the locations are not within walking distance. You either need to hire a driver or you can join a tour.
A Blend of Independent & Small Group Tours
This can be a great option for families that want some flexibility and tour options. In many locations, you can book a one day tour or activity for your family without have every day planned out for you. We find the biggest challenges families have is how to get around when they are traveling independently – booking small group tours for certain days can help with this. Ultimately, we recommend a mix of both with for adventurous families that want to be efficient with their time and energy during their trip.
All in all, you must decide what works best for your family and how you like to travel together. Enjoying both independent family travel and small group tours can be a great way to put on your adventure pants to explore and see as much as possible without worrying about all the details.
The best 10 day Turkey itinerary will give you enough time to enjoy the classic sites with your family. Start your planning with deciding what your goals are for your trip and what everyone enjoys doing. This will help you plan an unforgettable family trip to Turkey.
Private Tours for Families
If you want to skip the small group tour but still want someone to plan the details for you, a private customized tour might be exactly what you need.
When you’re traveling with kids or will have a multigenerational group, your trip needs are different than a typical tour. A slower pace of travel, hands-on experiences and built-in time to explore are essential to keep everyone engaged while you travel.
You can hire a licensed family-friendly tour agency to plan your trip based on your needs and what you want to do and see. They’ll plan everything out to a tee, creating a family itinerary that you love!
This is a great itinerary and Turkey looks so beautiful. I will definitely be saving it for future reference!
Turkey is beautiful! Definitely a place to visit in the future. 🙂
I love that Turkey has a mixture of history and adventure, active and slow travel. I always travel solo and love the idea of joining a day tour. I’ve found this is the best way to learn the history.
Yes, a day tour is a great way to learn more about the history of Turkey. It makes it easy to have the flexibility for the rest of your trip.
It’s a great itinerary to Turkey. It includes sightseeing, monuments, culture, and learning about local cuisine. I am happy to use your tips when planning a trip. On my bucket list are Hot Air Balloon Ride and Underground City.
We just finished up a trip to Cappadoccia and the hot air balloon ride and underground city were two of our favorite things. 🙂
My brother has been to Turkey, but I haven’t. This looks like an interesting place to visit. I agree that slow travel and fast paced travel is the perfect combination.
Turkey is a wonderful place to visit with so much to do and see! You need to have some rest days in the mix.
Are visitors still allowed to tour Hagia Sofia? I was sooooo glad I visited when I was there, because I thought the recent news suggested that it would be restored as a mosque and no longer a secular museum. I would love to explore more of Turkiye beyond Istanbul one day. Such a gorgeous country!
Hi Sage! Yes, you can still visit the Hagia Sofia, but as of now, only the first floor.
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