Perfect 5 Days In Turkey Itinerary – Best 2024 Trip

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Post author SJ

Written by our local expert SJ

Sarah-Jane has lived in Croatia for 10+ years. SJ, as she is known, has been traveling the Balkans & beyond since 2000. She now shares her passion for traveling with her husband & kids.

If you’re looking for an exciting 5 day Turkey itinerary that will take you to some of the most amazing places in the country, then this is the perfect article for you!

We’ve got ideas for exploring Türkiye in five days. We’ll suggest some of Turkey’s most popular tourist destinations and some off-the-beaten-path spots that are definitely worth a visit.

Turkey Travel Blog_5 Days In Turkey Itinerary_Istanbul & Beyond

Planning to explore Istanbul and beyond is no easy task, as Türkiye is big. Giant, in fact. So. you may not know where to start, but we’ve got you covered with many ideas on how best to spend five days in Turkey!

We’ll take you on a journey through the vibrant streets of Istanbul, introduce you to places in Türkiye rich in cultural heritage, and show you ancient sites. These 5-day itineraries have something for every kind of traveler. 

So pack your bags, put on comfortable shoes, and prepare for the adventure of a lifetime as we plan to go through Turkey’s most iconic sites.

5 Day Turkey Itinerary Ideas – How To Spend 5 Days In Turkey

Hierapolis Turkey - Arches of Gate Of Domitian

These itinerary ideas include extraordinary destinations that will make your trip truly memorable.

 Option 1 – Turkey In 5 Days

Day 1: Arrive in Istanbul & explore

Day 2: Visit Topkapi Palace and the Grand Bazaar

Day 3: Travel to Cappadocia

Day 4: Explore Göreme National Park and the Underground Cities

Day 5: Historical Sites in Ankara

Option 2 – Experience The Best Of Turkey

Day 1: Istanbul – Hagia Sophia and the Blue Mosque

Day 2: Istanbul & Bosphorus Cruise

Day 3: Gallipoli Peninsula

Day 4: Cappadocia

Day 5: Explore Göreme National Park and the Underground Cities

Option 3 – Rich History

Day 1: Laodicea & Hierapolis Pamukkale

Day 2: Ruins of Pergamon 

Day 3: Izmir

Day 4: Ephesus & Kuşadası

Day 5: Izmir

Option 4 – Istanbul And Cappadocia 

Day 1: Istanbul

Day 2: Ankara

Day 3: Magical landscapes of Cappadocia

Day 4: Valleys of Cappadocia

Day 5: Ephesus & Izmir

Option 5 – Antalya & Beach Bums

Day 1: Fethiye

Day 2: Oludeniz

Day 3: Kas

Day 4: Antalya

Day 5: Antalya

Option 6 – Pamukkale & Ephesus 

Day 1: Explore Istanbul’s Historic Sites

Day 2: Experience the Local Culture in Istanbul

Day 3: Fly To Izmir & explore the ancient ruins of Ephesus

Day 4: Drive to the Pamukkale Hot Springs

Day 5: Pamukkale-Hierapolis

Option 7 –  A 5-Day Adventure

Day 1: Istanbul – Asian and European sides

Day 2: Istanbul

Day 3: Cappadocia

Day 4: Ephesus & Kuşadası

Day 5: Ancient City of Troy

Option 8 – Highlights Of Istanbul & Beyond

Day 1: Istanbul Galata district and visit the Grand Bazaar. End the day with a Bosphorus sunset cruise

Day 2: Hagia Sofia, Blue Mosque, and Basilica Cistern. Visit Kadikoy in the evening for nightlife

Day 3: Balata’s colorful houses and many cafes. Set off for Cappadocia in the late afternoon – fly or take the bus

Day 4: Cappadocia hot air balloon flight and visit Goreme Open Air Museum, Devrent Valley, and Uchisar Castle

Day 5: Visit the underground city of Derinkuyu and check out Ihlara Valley


Here are just a few highlights from the 5-day turkey itinerary samples above, plus some links to travel guides we have written on each site so you can better plan your detailed itinerary. 


Istanbul is one of the most vibrant and cosmopolitan cities in the world. Be sure to visit the Blue Mosque, Hagia Sophia, and the Grand Bazaar. In the evening, enjoy the Whirling Dervishes & a delicious Turkish meal.

Read more about Istanbul here ↳


It is an ancient city with well-preserved ruins that will transport you back in ample time. Walk along the main street, explore the amphitheater, and climb to the Temple of Artemis. Afterward, you can take a pottery class and explore Selcuk.

Read more about Ephesus here ↳


Cappadocia is a unique landscape of rock formations, fairy chimneys, and cave dwellings. Explore some of the underground cities or go on a hot air balloon ride for breathtaking views.

Read more about Cappadocia here ↳


Ankara, Turkey’s capital city. Tour Anitkabir, Ataturk’s Mausoleum, and see other important landmarks such as the Kale Fortress and Aslanhane Mosque. In the evening, enjoy a delicious kebab dinner.

Read more about Ankara here ↳

Pamukkale & Ancient Site of Hierapolis

Pamukkale, where you can soak in thermal pools surrounded by beautiful white travertine terraces. Hierapolis is an ancient city located on the same site – so it’s a two-for-one deal, saving travel time.

Read more about Pamukkale-Hierapolis here ↳


Izmir is a beautiful city in Türkiye full of life and culture with a laid-back vibe home to 4 million people and a bustling bazaar.

Read more about Izmir here ↳


The city of Troy was one of the most important cities of the ancient world. The city was made famous by the Trojan War, which was fought between the Greeks and the Trojans. The city was also home to the famous Trojan Horse, which allowed the Greeks to victory.


Fethiye is located in southwestern Turkey. From there, you can explore the ancient city of Lycia, the Rock Tombs of Lycia, and, of course, all of its famed, beautiful beaches.

Read more about Fethiye here ↳


Oludeniz is known for its azure Mediterranean coast. The name Oludeniz means “Dead Sea,” but it is not dead and is a popular spot for tourists who want to swim, sunbathe, and windsurf.

Read more about Oludeniz here ↳


Kas is a beachside town in Türkiye that is definitely worth a top to rest and recover. 


Antalya has many beach resorts and is a great place to base yourself and day trip the Turkish Riviera. 

Read more about the Turkish Riviera here ↳

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Turkish Public Transport Options – The Best Ways To Travel While In Türkiye

Turkish Airlines Plane - Istanbul Airport

Because (as we already mentioned) Türkiye is so huge that it is essential to know how best to travel in Turkey and what the upsides and downsides of the transport system across Turkey are.

There are many different transport options available when traveling in Turkey. The most popular option is to use the public transport system, which includes buses, trains, and trams. However, several private transport companies offer services to tourists.

Some of the best ways to travel while on your 5 day Turkey trip include:

  • Using the public transport system: This is the most popular option for travelers as it is efficient and relatively cheap. You can use the metro, bus, or tram system to get around Istanbul and other major cities in Turkey.
  • Utilize the vast domestic airways network: Turkish Airlines is the national flag carrier airline of Türkiye, and it has a broad network of options to crisscross the country easily.
  • Hiring a car: This is an excellent option if you want the freedom to explore at your own pace. Many rental car companies are located across Türkiye, and the freeways and highways are of an excellent standard.
  • Taking a taxi or booking private transfers: Taxi drivers are widely available in all major cities and towns in Turkey. They are generally reasonably priced, although it is always best to negotiate the fare before getting into the taxi.

Is 5 Days In Turkey Enough

Five days in Türkiye is definitely enough time to get a taste of this fantastic country! There’s so much to see and do from the stunning mosques, incredible natural landscapes, the local cuisine, and ancient sites. But, as we have already said, okay, repeated… Turkey is a vast and varied country, so choosing where to spend just five days is difficult.

Why 5 Days In Turkey Is Not Enough

Turkish breakfast table.

Spending just 5 days in Turkey is okay – after all, it’s better than nothing, but if you have the time and budget, you might want to reconsider and add a few extra days to your vacation in Türkiye.

While 5 days may seem like enough time to explore a country, Turkey is so vast and varied that you’ll only scratch the surface if you try to see it all in such a short amount of time. From the bustling city of Istanbul to the stunning Turkish Riviera, there’s so much to see and do in Türkiye that you need at least a week or two – preferably more – to do it justice.

Most flights to Turkey land in Istanbul, so it makes sense to explore this huge metropolis, which is home to over 15 million people (making it one of the largest cities in the world). There’s too much to see and do here in just a few days – from exploring the ancient Hippodrome and Hagia Sophia to bargaining for trinkets in the Grand Bazaar, you could easily spend a month just in Istanbul and not get bored.

Then there’s the Turkish Riviera. With its beautiful sandy beaches, clear blue waters, and stylish resorts, this coastline is unsurprisingly one of Türkiye’s most popular tourist destinations. But even if you stick to one resort town like Bodrum or Antalya, 5 days is nowhere near enough time to relax and soak up the Mediterranean atmosphere properly – you’ll want to return for more as soon as you leave.

And that’s not even talking about the natural landscapes of Pamukkale and Capadoccia or the archaeological sites like the Ancient City of Ephesus, or even checking out one of the Turkish UNESCO sites or other cities like Ankara and Izmir.

See what we mean: 5 days in Turkey really is not enough. That said, if all you have is five days, here are several itinerary ideas on how best to spend those five magical days in Türkiye. 


What are the best places to visit during a 5-day trip to Turkey?

Turkey offers a wealth of attractions, but for a 5-day itinerary, consider visiting Istanbul, Cappadocia, and Ephesus, which offer a mix of history, culture, and natural beauty.

How should I divide my 5-day itinerary between Istanbul, Cappadocia, and Ephesus?

A popular itinerary is to spend two days in Istanbul, two days in Cappadocia, and one day in Ephesus. However, you can adjust the distribution based on your preferences and interests.

Is five days enough to explore these three destinations in Turkey?

While five days will give you a taste of each destination, it won’t be enough to fully explore all the attractions. However, it can be a well-rounded introduction to Turkey’s highlights.

How can I travel between Istanbul, Cappadocia, and Ephesus?

For an efficient itinerary, consider taking domestic flights between these destinations. Turkey has a well-connected network of domestic airports, making it easy to travel between major cities.

What are the main attractions in Istanbul for a 2-day stay?

During a 2-day stay in Istanbul, make sure to visit the Hagia Sophia, Blue Mosque, Topkapi Palace, and Grand Bazaar, and take a Bosphorus Strait cruise to enjoy the city’s highlights.

What are the top activities to do in Cappadocia?

In Cappadocia, take a hot air balloon ride to witness the stunning landscapes, explore the underground cities, hike in the valleys, and visit the Göreme Open-Air Museum.

What is the best way to get from Cappadocia to Ephesus?

The most convenient way is to take a domestic flight from Cappadocia to Izmir and then arrange a transfer or join a guided tour to visit Ephesus.

Can I customize my 5-day Turkey itinerary based on my interests?

Absolutely! A 5-day itinerary is flexible, and you can tailor it to match your interests, whether it’s history, nature, or cuisine.

What are the best accommodation options for a 5-day trip in Turkey?

For a comfortable stay, consider staying in well-located areas like boutique hotels that offer easy access to major attractions in each destination.

Is it necessary to book guided tours for each destination?

While guided tours provide valuable insights, you can also explore independently if you prefer more freedom. It’s a personal choice based on your travel style.

What are some recommended local dishes to try during the trip?

Remember to try Turkish delights, kebabs, baklava, mezes, and an early morning traditional Turkish breakfast during your 5-day journey in Turkey.

Do I need a visa?

Some countries need an e-visa to visit Turkey, and you can find that information by visiting this site: If you don’t need a visa, you will have your passport stamped on arrival and leaving, and you can visit for 90 days out of a rolling 180

What is the best way to get from Istanbul to Cappadocia?

It really depends on how much time you have. The bus is cheaper but will take you 10-11 hours. Both Kamil Koc and Metro offer these services. If you choose to fly, you can take a domestic flight from either Sabiha Gokcen on the Asian side or the new Istanbul Airport on the European side.

The flight will take you to Nevsehir and will take just over 1 hour and 15 minutes. You will then take the shuttle bus to Cappadocia itself.

Where is the perfect place to stay in Istanbul?

It depends on what you want to see! However, if you want to check out the sights we’ve mentioned, staying in the Sultanahmet area is best. You’ll find countless hotels in this region catering to different budgets, and you’re never far from any main tourist hotspots.

Should I change my money in my home country or Turkey?

You will always get a better rate if you change your money in Turkey. However, change a small amount beforehand if you want to have some Turkish lira with you for when you land. You can use your debit and credit cards in most places in Istanbul; however, you may need some change for small markets and taxis. There are also countless ATMs.

Should I book a guided tour?

Guided tours are useful if you want to know more about the place you’re visiting and you don’t have the time to wander around and learn for yourself. However, they will cost you more. You can probably do without guided tours in Istanbul, as it’s pretty easy to read up on what you’re seeing, but Cappadocia is probably a worthwhile spot to splurge a little on a guide.

Is hot air ballooning in Cappadocia worth it?

Undoubtedly, it’s the number one thing to do in Cappadocia, but don’t be fooled into thinking it’s the only thing! It can be a costly experience, especially if you are a large group, and if you visit during the winter months, your trip may be canceled due to poor weather. However, if you can, it’s definitely something you should do – it is an unforgettable experience.

Now that you have our 5 days in Turkey itinerary, ideas tell us how far you’ll explore Istanbul & beyond.

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