Our Ultimate 2-Week Turkey Road Trip Itinerary

Plan the best road trip in Turkey with our detailed 2-week itinerary, featuring top attractions, hidden gems and our personal insights.
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Arijana & Matej
Arijana & Matej

Croatian-Slovenian full-time travel duo, photographers, bloggers and travel journalists for over 4 years. We write in-depth travel guides about destinations we have personally visited, providing practical travel tips and recommendations.

Our Ultimate 2-Week Turkey Road Trip - road tripping in Turkey - Turkey Road Trip Itinerary - 2 Week Turkey Itinerary

We spent almost a month road-tripping in Turkey and designed the best possible itinerary that is easy to follow and adjust to cater to your specific budget and needs.

The recommended itinerary we detail in this guide will allow you to see the best of Turkey, from coastal cities and towns to beautiful beaches, world-famous landmarks, important historical sites, and more. Places visited on this two-week road trip itinerary include destinations on the Western Coast of Turkey, top historical sites and landmarks like Ephesus and Pamukkale, the stunning Turquoise Coast of Turkey (bays, beaches, history), and the otherworldly Cappadocia.

But the biggest part of the road trip and a definite highlight is along the Turkish Riviera (Turquoise Coast). It’s the best place for beaches, boat trips, scuba diving, and other water sports. And in between all the fun stuff, you have countless impressive historical sites to explore.

CURRENCY NOTE

Due to the volatility of the Turkish Lira, in this road trip guide, we use EUR and USD when listing prices, as those usually stay the same, while the Turkish Lira changes a lot.

Things to know before going on a Turkey Road Trip

Before we proceed with the itinerary, let’s cover some essentials for making a Turkey road trip.

What it’s like driving in Turkey

Driving in Turkey is similar to driving in most European countries. The roads are in excellent condition in 90% of the places you will visit as a tourist. We were actually surprised at the quality of the roads. They were better than some roads in our countries (Croatia and Slovenia). That was a pleasant surprise, even for many of the side roads.

The road to Aspendos, Turkey - Turkey Road Trip - Turkey 2 week itinerary
Rainy morning near Aspendos, Antalya

The country’s roads are easy to navigate, so don’t worry about finding your way around while on a road trip around Turkey. We used Google Maps the whole time and never had a problem. The estimated driving durations were accurate, and we never got led on weird roads, always on the best route.

We had a few situations like that in other countries, where Google Maps wanted us to take side roads which ended up being a far worse option. We had no such problems in Turkey.

Travel tip: If you can, always take the coastal roads, especially on the Turquoise Coast of Turkey. The views are worth it, even though you might drive for 10% longer.

Tolls

Turkey has tolls on their highways, and as a tourist, your rental car will already come with an HSG sticker (highway toll sticker). So, you only need to slowly drive through the toll booths on your road trip and pay the rental company after you drop off the car. It’s super convenient.

If you’re coming to Turkey in your own car, then you can just buy the HSG sticker or a card at a petrol station or post office upon arrival. You can then top it up with enough money for the roads you will travel through. Some toll roads have toll booths where you can pay by card or cash, but don’t count on it.

Note: If you don’t pay your outstanding toll balance (in case you don’t have enough money in your account), you can make a late payment within 15 days. Otherwise, you need to pay a fine of five times the fine plus the toll.

Speed limits

The speed limit in Turkey is 120 km/h on the national highways, 90 km/h on the main roads outside cities, and 50 km/h in the city and town boundaries. Speed cameras are present in Turkey, especially on the main roads into and out of cities.

Parking

Finding parking while on a Turkey road trip is simple. Most tourist destinations and landmarks have large parking lots, some free and some paid, typically about 1 USD per hour. We had no issue finding parking spaces in any Turkey destination, even cities.

Roadside parking on Turkey road trip - Kaputas Beach, Kas
Roadside parking near Kaputas Beach in Kas

Safety

Turkey is a safe country to visit in general, and going on a road trip doesn’t pose any extra risks beyond the standard risks of driving on the road, of course. While some people say that Turkish drivers are a bit more aggressive, we really haven’t noticed that after driving over 3000 kilometers in Turkey. So we’d say going on a road trip to Turkey is very much safe.

You will likely come into a situation or two where some local will overtake you on a bit more dangerous part of the road, but honestly, that’s the case all over the world. So just keep an eye out for that, and you’ll be fine.

Also, Turkish people are very welcoming, and we always felt welcome no matter the place, from the laid-back coastal towns to more conservative places like Konya.

TRAVEL RESOURCES

BEST EXPERIENCES

  1. Paragliding in Oludeniz
  2. Cappadocia Hot Air Balloon Ride
  3. Bodrum Orak Island Boat Tour
  4. Kas Kekova Boat Tour
  5. Koprulu Canyon Rafting and Canyoning

TRAVEL INSURANCE: Check our recommended travel insurance and save 5% on getting covered.

TRANSPORT

  1. Affordable domestic flights – find domestic flights
  2. Car rental with full insurance – check deals
  3. Long-distance buses – check bus lines

DATA: Get a Turkey eSIM to stay connected and navigate with ease.

Where to rent a car for a Turkey Road Trip

You should rent a car in Istanbul for our recommended “Best of Turkey” road trip. Preferably, you should rent your car at the airport to avoid driving in Istanbul, Turkey’s largest city, where the traffic can be quite intense.

Visiting top attractions like Hagia Sophia, Blue Mosque, the Grand Bazaar, and Topkapi Palace is best by public transport, which is extremely good and connects every place you could possibly want to visit in the city by tram, bus, ferry, and metro.

Red Tram on busy Istiklal Street, Istanbul - getting around Turkey road trip
Istiklal’s famous red tram connecting busy Taksim and Galata in Istanbul

We rented our Peugeot 301 (manual diesel) at the Istanbul Airport (IST) on the European Side. But if you’re arriving at Sabiha Gokcen (SAW), you can rent a car there as well. Both airports have lots of car rental options.

To find the best car rental deals in Turkey, we recommend using DiscoverCars. You can find a two-week one-way rental with full insurance for about 750+ EUR (800+ USD) there. Alternatively, you can always compare deals on LocalRent, which also operates in Turkey. If you don’t want to pay a deposit or don’t have a credit card, check LocalRent, but the price will be about 150 EUR higher.

The one-way rental fee is between 150 and 300 EUR, depending on the car rental company. So, if you have days to spare, it’s sometimes worth driving back to where you picked it up.

Turkey Road Trip Budget

A two-week Turkey road trip can cost as little as 1500 EUR for the car rental cost (one way), budget accommodation, gasoline, and tolls.

As of 2024, car rental in Turkey is more expensive than in other nearby destinations. For example, a similar two-week one-way rental in Croatia would cost about 40% less.

Car rental cost: As mentioned, renting a car for a two-week Turkey road trip costs around 800 EUR for one-way rentals or 500 EUR if you return the car to the pickup spot.

Toll costs: In addition, for the road trip we detail below, you can expect to spend a maximum of 50 EUR on toll roads. At the end of the road trip, we also drove to Ankara and back to Istanbul, paying just under 50 EUR in total for over 3000 kilometers.

Gasoline costs: Turkey has slightly cheaper gasoline prices than the rest of Europe, about 1.2 to 1.3 EUR per liter.

Accommodation costs: Accommodation in Turkey is quite affordable. Basic rooms cost upwards of 30 EUR, and apartments and hotel rooms start at 40 EUR.

Best time to do a Turkey Road Trip

Going on a road trip in Turkey is possible in all seasons, but it’s best from April to November (spring, summer, and autumn).

We did our big Turkey road trip in autumn, from mid-October to mid-November, and it was perfect timing. We still had ideal weather and temperatures for swimming and relaxing on the beaches, and it was less hot for exploring landmarks and tourist attractions.

However, making a road trip in Turkey in the winter is an option if you’re not interested in swimming on the beaches, water sports, or adventure activities. It’s also much more affordable, as prices are generally lower for car rental and accommodation.

Hot air balloon flying in Cappadocia - best time to do a Turkey road trip
Sunny October day in Cappadocia

We included a lot of information from our personal experience, and we hope it will make your road trip planning a breeze. In addition to the must-visit places, we added lots of information on alternatives you can do, so make sure to check those as well.

And to make it easier to choose which things you want to do in each destination, you can read our dedicated Turkey travel guides:

2-week Road Trip Itinerary

Day 1 – Drive from Istanbul to Bursa

On Day 1 of your 2-week Turkey Road Trip, pick up your rental car early in Istanbul and drive to Bursa, your first destination, about two hours and 200km away.

We recommend flying into Istanbul on an early flight so you can start your day as early as possible on the first day. Plan to visit Istanbul attractions at the end of your road trip, or come to Istanbul a few days before the Turkey road trip.

Once near Bursa, visit Cumalıkızık, a 700-year-old Ottoman Village. It’s an excellent place for a short visit, as you get to see a village that dates back to the birth of the Ottoman Empire.

Cumalikizik ottoman village in Bursa - day 1 of 2 week Turkey road trip itinerary

After exploring the Ottoman Village, it’s likely already afternoon, so you can continue your drive or see a few historical sites in the old part of Bursa. Places like Tophane Clock Tower, Grand Mosque, and Koza Han (Ottoman silk market) are all close to one another, so if you have time, it’s worth visiting.

Bursa Koza Han Ottoman Silk Market - Turkey road trip itinerary

Continuing the drive from Bursa, your last stop of the day is Ayvalik, a quaint seaside town about a three-hour drive (about 270km) away, where you will sleep.

Where to stay in Ayvalik

In Ayvalik, we recommend staying at the Kidalyo Hotel, a 120-year-old historical Greek building located right on the seashore. It’s well-positioned for exploring some main spots and has parking lots nearby.

Day 2 – Drive from Ayvalik to Izmir (via Pergamon Ancient City)

Next morning, on Day 2 of your Turkey road trip, explore a few places around Ayvalik, try the local food, such as the Ayvalik toast (grab it for breakfast), walk through the Old Town, and visit Cunda Island (reachable by car).

Then, continue the drive towards Izmir, and if you want, stop at Pergamon Ancient City. The drive from Ayvalik to Pergamon is only one hour, and it’s on the way.

Pergamon Ancient City is a vast site known for the Theatre of Pergamon, one of the steepest theatres in the world. It was once a major cultural and political center known for its library, theater, and healing center.

Pergamon Ancient City - turkey road trip itinerary

At this point, you decide whether to visit Izmir, where you can stroll through the bustling markets, visit the famous clock tower, walk along the promenade, and grab a bite of some traditional food.

Many people skip Izmir, and while we personally liked exploring it, we understand why people skip it if they don’t have enough time.

Izmir bazaar - turkey road trip
Izmir Bazaar

If you’re not going to Izmir, we recommend driving down to Selcuk or Kusadasi right away and sleeping there instead of Izmir.

A good stopping point on the way is Foça, a picturesque Aegean coastal town built on an ancient Ionian settlement site with many beautifully restored houses. It’s mostly visited by Turks and has a more local, laid-back vibe. But it’s perfect for getting dinner (fish restaurants are the highlight there) and watching the sunset.

Eski Foca Turkey - Old Aegean Town - sunset and dinner spot on a Turkey road trip
Restored houses of Foça

Where to stay near Ephesus

To explore Ephesus on the next day, you can stay in Izmir, Kusadasi, or the closest town, Selcuk, which is also the gateway to the ancient city.

We stayed in Deka Evleri in Izmir for a few nights and it was a great base to explore the area. In Kusadasi, Villa Konak is the perfect choice, and in Selcuk, we recommend staying in Akanthus Hotel Ephesus (9.9 rating with over 300 reviews).

Day 3 – Ephesus Ancient City

Day 3 of your Turkey road trip begins with an early morning drive to Ephesus Ancient City. Plan to arrive 10 minutes before the site opens so you can be one of the first visitors. This way, you avoid crowds plus spare yourself from going around at the hottest part of the day.

Ephesus, a UNESCO World Heritage Site, is one of the best ancient city ruins in Turkey and one of the most visited sites in the country. It is also one of the best-preserved ancient cities in the world.

Visiting Ephesus Ancient City on a Turkey road trip - Library of Celsus
Library of Celsus at Ephesus Ancient City

Some of the best things to see in Ephesus are the Library of Celsus, the amphitheater, and the various streets you pass while exploring. Nearby the city of Ephesus is also the Temple of Artemis, once a mighty building, of which only small ruins remain.

Visiting Ephesus Ancient City Amphitheater on a Turkey road trip

Plan to spend two to three hours at Ephesus, as there is lots to see. We highly recommend buying the ticket that includes the terraced houses. They are a newly excavated part of Ephesus and one of the highlights for us.

Visiting Ephesus terraced houses on a Turkey road trip
Inside of terraced houses of Ephesus

Depending on what you did on day two, after you’re done with Ephesus, you can visit Izmir (if you haven’t yet) or continue your Turkey road trip towards Bodrum. If you listen to our advice and start this day very early, you should be done at Ephesus sometime after 11 pm. If you head straight for Bodrum after Ephesus, you can still get there in the middle of the afternoon.

The drive to Bodrum from Ephesus is around two and a half hours (170km). On the way, you can stop at this Picnic place with birdwatching at Lake Bafa, where you can see flamingos if you’re lucky.

TRAVEL TIP

In May 2024, they extended the opening hours of Ephesus until midnight so that you can experience the ancient ruins by night. They also installed special lights to illuminate the site. This was a great move since the opening hours were too short, especially in the summer when it’s extremely hot in that part of Turkey.

Now, you can easily explore Ephesus by night and not miss out on anything. Honestly, it looks even better by night!

Read our complete guide to Ephesus for all the information needed to plan your visit.

Day 4 – Bodrum

Your road trip’s day 4 should be all about Bodrum, from either lounging on one of the beautiful beaches or exploring attractions like Bodrum Castle and Mausoleum at Halicarnassus, one of the Seven Wonders of the Ancient World.

Bodrum Castle - Mugla - Turkey road trip itinerary - Turquoise Coast

If you’re interested in a boat trip, Bodrum is a great starting point. We recommend booking the Bodrum Orak Island Boat Tour (including lunch), which will take you from Bodrum to explore the bays around the peninsula, including a visit to Orak Island for swimming and sunbathing. It starts in the morning, and ends in the afternoon, giving you still enough time to go somewhere for sunset.

Bodrum Boat Trips on Turkey road trip - clear Turquoise water

Bodrum is Turkey’s premier vacation spot, where celebrities come during summer. So you can find plenty of luxurious amenities, like fancy beach clubs and upscale restaurants. Bodrum’s ultra-luxurious Yalıkavak Marina is where some of the biggest yachts dock, and luxury shops, bars, and restaurants line the shore.

But beyond the luxury of Bodrum, you can also easily enjoy it on a budget, and there’s lots to do for a fun short visit.

Where to stay in Bodrum

In Bodrum, we recommend staying near the city, so you have everything close. Things outside the city, like more remote beaches on the Bodrum Peninsula, should be a maximum 30-minute drive away. We recommend the stunning Roas Hotel, which is centrally located but in a quiet part and has a nice swimming pool.

Arijana Tkalčec on Kekova boat tour in Turkey

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Day 5 – Pamukkale

Day 5 of your two-week Turkey road trip begins with yet another early morning drive of about three and a half hours to Pamukkale to arrive by 9 am (opens at 8 am).

Alternatively, you can stay in Bodrum until checkout time, drive to Pamukkale, check in to your Pamukkale hotel, and explore the site in the afternoon. However, we highly recommend an early morning start to avoid crowds and heat.

Pamukkale, or Cotton Castle, is a stunning natural landscape with unique white travertine terraces and one of Turkey’s most unique places to visit. You can even bathe in some of the designated pools above Pamukkale and at Cleopatra Antique Pools.

Pamukkale Cotton Castle travertines and pools - turkey road trip

We especially loved roaming around the ruins of the ancient city of Hierapolis, which was a great addition to seeing the unique landscape of Pamukkale. The ticket includes the ruins, which are located right above Pamukkale.

Hierapolis ruins, Pamukkale - Turkey road trip itinerary

Where to stay in Pamukkale

To explore Pamukkale and nearby attractions, base yourself in Pamukkale town. We recommend staying in The Cotton House Hotel with comfy rooms and walking distance to the site & restaurants.

Day 6 – Pamukkale to Fethiye (via Lake Salda)

On day 6, you leave Pamukkale and drive about 3 hours to Fethiye and Oludeniz. On the way, you can choose to make a short detour to Lake Salda, which adds about 1 hour to the total drive time.

Lake Salda, also known as Turkish Maldives, is a vivid blue crater lake known for containing lots of minerals and holding some of the world’s oldest fossils. While it’s a protected area and soon to be a national park, you can still swim in some designated areas.

Aerial view of Lake Salda - turkey road trip

When arriving in Fethiye, check into your hotel and spend the afternoon on one of the beaches around Oludeniz. We recommend Kidrak Beach, but central Oludeniz Beach is also a great choice.

Where to stay in Fethiye and Oludeniz

Fethiye is the best place to base yourself. We stayed in F48 Apartments in Fethiye. Although it wasn’t really close to the town center or the beach, it was well-equipped with everything we needed for a comfortable stay, including a kitchen.

Otherwise, a great choice is Ten Apart Hotel with great apartments and a shared swimming pool, and Jiva Beach Resort, an ultra-all-inclusive resort on Calis Beach.

In Oludeniz, we recommend CC’s Butik Hotel (budget), Villa Symbola (mid-range), and for luxury The Pearl Ölüdeniz.

Day 7 – Fethiye and Oludeniz

On day 7 comes the best thing to do on this Turkey road trip: paragliding in Oludeniz. While this isn’t for everyone, we highly recommend paragliding here because it’s one of the best paragliding spots in the world.

It’s a fantastic experience as you take off from Babadag Mountain at almost 2000m, then glide through the clouds above Oludeniz Bay, observing the fascinating landscape of the bay and the Blue Lagoon. You can read more about it in our guide here.

Best experience on a turkey road trip - Paragliding in Oludeniz, Fethiye

We recommend booking paragliding in advance online to secure your spot, especially if you’re traveling during the summer months.

After paragliding, you still have plenty of time left in the day to explore some nearby attractions like the abandoned village of Kayakoy, drive to the Butterfly Valley Viewpoint, or simply enjoy your time on the beach.

Kayakoy Abandoned village - exploring historical sites on a turkey road trip

If you don’t plan to go paragliding, the next best thing to get great views of Oludeniz is to take the cable car to the top of Babag Mountain. There, you can enjoy a drink in one of the restaurants with lovely views of Oludeniz Bay and observe paragliders taking off and filling the sky.

Babadag Cable Car in Oludeniz - best views of the turkey road trip
Babadag Cable Car in Oludeniz - best views of the turkey road trip
There’s also a chairlift that takes you all the way up to the top

Arijana Tkalčec and Matej Špan on a hot air balloon flight in Cappadocia

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Day 8 – Fethiye to Kas (via Saklikent and Tlos)

Day 8 begins with a drive to one of our favorite places in Turkey and a highlight of this Turkey road trip, the charming coastal town of Kas. This day’s drive from Fethiye to Kas is only about 1 hour and 45 minutes, a stark contrast to previous days.

On the way to Kas, we highly recommend visiting the two best attractions near Fethiye, Saklikent Gorge and Tlos Ruins. If you start your day early, you can see both Tlos Ruins and Saklikent Gorge in just a couple of hours so that you can arrive at Kas right at check-in time.

In Saklikent Gorge, you can walk for a few kilometers through the gorge in ankle-deep water and observe the interesting landscape or enjoy a drink in one of the waterside bars/restaurants. At Tlos Ruins, make sure to climb up to the top of the citadel and walk around the hill to find ancient Lycian rock tombs.

Saklikent Gorge, Saklikent National Park - turkey road trip

Just before you reach Kas, you will pass by Kas’ most famous beach and tourist attraction, the stunning Kaputas Beach. You can stop at the side of the road and check out the viewpoint above it or go for a few hours to enjoy the beach before driving the last 25 minutes to Kas.

Visiting famous Kaputas beach in Kas on a turkey road trip
Visiting famous Kaputas beach in Kas on a turkey road trip

After arriving in Kas, you should still have enough time to enjoy a sunset at Kas Amphitheater and dine in one of the great restaurants.

Where to stay in Kas

There are several different areas in Kas where you can stay: down near the marina, up the hill, or on the peninsula nearby. We stayed at White House Apart, a few minutes’ walk from the square. The rooms were relatively small but cute, and we had a nice view from the balcony. Nowadays, they also have bigger studio rooms available.

Otherwise, we recommend Belinda Hotel, which offers hotel rooms with sea view, pool and breakfast and Happy Kas Apart with similar amenities plus private parking.

Day 9 – Kas

On day 9 of the two-week Turkey road trip, we highly recommend going on the Kas Kekova Boat Tour, the absolute highlight not only in Kas but likely in the whole Turquoise Coast of Turkey.

You depart Kas harbor and sail towards Kekova Sunken City and Simena Castle, and on the way, stop in beautiful bays for which Kas is known for some swimming and relaxing.

Kas Kekova Boat Tour - boat trips on turkey road trip in Turquoise Coast
Simena Castle on Kas Kekova Boat Tour - turkey road trip

We absolutely loved the boat trip to Kekova, and if there’s one boat tour you should do, it’s this one! You can read more about it in our guide and review.

Optionally, you can go on a Sea Kayaking Tour, a great alternative to the shared boat trip. And if you’re traveling as a bigger family or group, you can also find private boat tours.

No matter which one you choose, make sure to book tours in advance online so you don’t miss out on a spot, especially during the summer season.

After the boat trip ends in the late afternoon, you still have some time to finish with a sunset at the harbor and go for a lovely dinner.

Kas harbor and marina - turkey road trip

Car rental in Cappadocia

Where to find the best car rental deals

We recommend using DiscoverCars, where you can easily compare prices from top car rental companies and buy full insurance for a really good price (no hassle, no hidden fees).

Don’t have a credit card? Check LocalRent (also has options for no deposit)

Day 10 – Kas to Antalya

Day 10 of the 14-day Turkey road trip marks the end of the best part of the Turquoise Coast. On this day, you check out in Kas and drive to Antalya, a 3-hour drive away (190 km).

Old Marina of Antalya, Turkey Road Trip Itinerary
Old Marina of Antalya

On the way to Antalya, you can visit the ancient city of Olympos and stop for lunch at one of the seaside places, like Kemer.

On arrival, we recommend first driving to Lower Duden Waterfall, which flows right into the sea. After that, check in to your hotel and spend a few hours in the afternoon in Kaleici, the historical area of Antalya, and stroll through the Old Marina.

Turkey road trip from Turquoise coast to Antalya - Lower Duden waterfall

For sunset, you can go to Konyaalti Beach, the most famous beach in Antalya. The beach starts not far from the old town, and there’s a big parking lot at the entrance.

Konyaalti Beach in Antalya - turkey road trip itinerary

Where to stay in Antalya

The best option with free parking, which is hard to find in the old town of Kaleici, is the Adalya Port Hotel, centrally located right above the old marina of Antalya.

Another charming stay in Kaleici is the Lykia Old Town Hotel – but you need to find a nearby parking lot. And if you plan to add more days in Antalya for a proper vacation, one of the beach resorts like Calista Luxury Resort is a good choice.

Day 11 – Antalya

Day 11 is when you decide to enjoy your last day on the coast by either relaxing at the beach or driving around the Antalya area to some interesting sites.

There are several different beaches in Antalya. You can stay close to the old city and go to Mermerli Beach, which is accessed by rocky steps with lovely views. There are a few of these “cliff beaches” along the coast towards Lara Beach.

City beach in Antalya, Turkey Road Trip

But if you don’t want to bother with finding the best spot, Konyaalti Beach is always a great choice since it has free showers, toilets, changing rooms, lots of picnic areas, nearby restaurants, beach clubs, and even a few basketball courts.

On the other hand, if you’re up for a day of exploring, Antalya is also a good base from which to visit nearby attractions like Aspendos Theater, Termessos Ruins, and Köprülü Canyon and go on boat trips.

Aspendos Theater in Antalya, Turkey Road Trip
Koprulu Canyon, Antalya, Turkey Road Trip
Köprülü Canyon

It’s also perfectly positioned for day trips to the ancient city of Side and the resort town of Alanya.

Unique beach in Alanya on Turkey road trip
Unique beach in Alanya

The site of Termessos, a scenic ancient city on top of a mountain, is among the highlights near Antalya. However, exploring it requires a few hours of walking, so it might not be the best option if you’re not up for lots of walking.

Visiting Termessos Ancient City on a turkey road trip

Adventure Activities

If you’re looking for a bit of adventure, Alanya is the best choice. You can get your adrenaline pumping on an adventure-filled day of canyoning, rafting, and ziplining at the nearby Koprulu Canyon National Park. And there’s also the possibility of going paragliding and scuba diving

Rafting in Alanya on a turkey road trip

Day 12 – Antalya to Cappadocia

Finishing off at the coast, day 12 of the Turkey road trip involves getting to the heart of inner Turkey, the magnificent historical region of Cappadocia.

Depending on what you value most (time or money), you have many options for getting from Antalya to Cappadocia. You can drop off your car in Antalya, then fly to Cappadocia (check flights to Kayseri Airport), or do what we recommend and simply drive to Cappadocia.

Having a car in Cappadocia is essential, so we highly recommend just taking the car you already have for the end of the road trip.

The drive from Antalya to Goreme, the center of Cappadocia, is 6 to 7 hours at 500km. While it’s a long drive, it’s really the best choice if you want to explore Cappadocia right away.

Camper at Love Valley, Cappadocia - Turkey Road Trip - Turkey 2 week itinerary
You need a car to get to spots like these in Cappadocia! (viewpoints above Love Valley)

If you start driving early, say 5 to 6 a.m., you could visit the first stop on the way, the Derinkuyu Underground City, already at around 1 or 2 p.m. Since Derinkuyu is the furthest away spot from Goreme (40 min drive), it’s a great idea to do it right away.

Derinkuyu Underground City, Cappadocia, Turkey Road Trip

Then, once you’re done at Derinkuyu, drive to Goreme, check in at your hotel, and then walk up Lovers Hill to enjoy a sunset above the town.

Where to stay in Cappadocia

Stay in a Unique Cave Hotel in Goreme or in excellent hotels and guest houses in the nearby towns of Uchisar (Cappadocia Pyramid Stone House), Ortahisar (Turkish Cave House), and Urgup (Rose Mansions – restored Greek mansions surrounded by green gardens).

Day 13 – Cappadocia Hot Air Balloon Ride

Book your hot air balloon ride for Day 13 of your two-week Turkey itinerary. We highly recommend going on a balloon ride in Cappadocia as it’s the top thing to do in Turkey for a reason. The landscape above which you fly is stunning!

Hot air balloon flying above unique landscape of Cappadocia - Turkey Road Trip - 2 week Turkey itinerary

The balloon flight is a great way to truly see the interesting landscape, and if you’re lucky you can get really close to some fairy chimneys inside the valleys of Cappadocia. You can read more about our flight experience and all you need to know about Cappadocia Hot Air Balloon flights in our complete guide.

Hot air balloon flying in front of Uchisar castle in Cappadocia - Turkey Road Trip - 2 week itinerary
For us, this was an absolute bucket-list experience in Turkey!

If the balloon flight is not within your budget or you’re not interested, you can do the next best thing and catch the sunrise. In the morning, the sky above Goreme fills up with hundreds of balloons, and you can go to our recommended sunrise spot to watch the sunrise with balloons flying right above.

After the morning flight or sunrise mission, check out some of Cappadocia’s main spots, like the open-air museum of Zelve, a site of once one of the largest communities living in an excavated village, or one of the stunning castles like Uchisar Castle or Ortahisar Castle.

Zelve Open Air museum, Cappadocia - Turkey Road Trip Itinerary

Later in the day, walk through one of the many stunning valleys like Love Valley or Red Valley to see the fascinating landscape full of fairy chimneys and other interesting rock formations. And for sunset, hike up to the Red Valley Viewpoint for a fantastic view of Cappadocia’s exciting landscape.

Red Valley viewpoint in Cappadocia - Road tripping in Turkey
Red Valley for sunset
Sword Valley Cappadocia - Turkey Road Trip
Sword Valley, Cappadocia

TRAVEL TIP

Another benefit of arriving in Cappadocia on Day 12 with a car is that on Day 13, you already have a car from the morning. So, once you’re done with the balloon ride on Day 13, you can immediately explore the rest of the area.

Day 14 – Last day in Cappadocia

Day 14 marks the end of the two-week Turkey road trip. Drop off your rental car in Nevsehir or Kayseri, then fly out home or back to Istanbul. Or continue the road trip by driving back to Istanbul via Ankara. Read more about these options in the next section.

Route Alternatives

1. Pamukkale as a day trip

You can do as we did and only visit Pamukkale on a day trip by driving there early in the morning, visiting the site, and then driving back to where you’re staying in the afternoon or to your next destination. You can do this from all the coastal places like Bodrum, Fethiye/Oludeniz, Kas, and Antalya. This allows you not to spend a night there, saving time and money.

2. Antalya to Cappadocia via coastal road towards Adana

On the way from Antalya to Cappadocia, we assume you will drive through Konya, which is the fastest route. But you can also drive along the coast to the east, passing by Alanya and Mersin, before turning north to Cappadocia just before Adana.

This route takes about 11 hours to drive, a sizeable difference compared to the quicker route of 6 to 7 hours. But if you have time, it’s worth it as you pass through some stunning scenery.

Places worth visiting on the way include Mamure Castle (which looks absolutely amazing), Gilindire Cave, Caves of Heaven and Hell, and Maiden’s Castle on an island in Kizkalesi. 

3. Bursa to Cesme instead of Ayvalik

When leaving Bursa on day 1, you can drive to Cesme near Izmir instead of Ayvalik if you’d like to have a beach day on day 2 and don’t want to visit Pergamon. Many people choose to skip that part, as this is a good option if you want more beach time. We recommend staying in the Alya Mou Butik Hotel, which is perfectly located and has great rooms.

Extending your Turkey Road Trip

Option 1 – Drive to Ankara and then back to Istanbul

If you have time to spare or plan to skip some destinations in our recommended itinerary, an excellent option for finishing the road trip is to drive from Cappadocia to Ankara for a night and then back to Istanbul. This way, you can save money on the one-way rental fee and add another destination – the charming capital city of Ankara.

While Ankara is not as famous as Istanbul and has fewer things to do, it’s still very much worth visiting, at least for a day or even half a day. You can visit Ankara Castle, check out the old town streets, visit the Anitkabir Mausoleum, and one of the great museums.

Anitkabir Mausolem in Ankara, resting place of  Mustafa Kemal Atatürk - Turkey Road Trip
Anitkabir Mausoleum, the resting place of the founder of the Turkish Republic, Mustafa Kemal Atatürk
Ankara Castle on a Turkey road trip
View from Ankara Castle

A highlight of our Ankara visit was the Rahmi M. Koc Industrial Museum, which contains some beautiful items from the history of transport, industry, and more. It also holds some material of the founder of the Turkish Republic, Mustafa Kemal Atatürk. But the highlight were the beautiful vintage cars!

Ankara Rahmi M Koc Industrial and Transport Museum - Turkey Road Trip
Rahmi M. Koc Industrial Museum of Ankara

Where to stay: The best area to stay in Ankara is Ulus, the historic center. We recommend staying in Divan Cukurhan, a beautiful and unique hotel in a restored caravanserai built in the 16th century – an Ottoman inn with a marketplace in the courtyard.

Option 2 – Continue from Cappadocia to Mesopotamia

If you have even more time, extend your road trip to Mesopotamia in eastern Turkey and visit places like Mount Nemrut, Gobekli Tepe, and Mardin. These are less visited but still among Turkey’s best places to visit.

To do this, take the coastal road from Antalya to Mersin and Adana, then continue to Gaziantep, the UNESCO City of Gastronomy and Turkey’s food capital. Gaziantep is then the starting point for the Turkish Mesopotamia and Far East road trip.

Spice Bazaar Gaziantep - Turkey Road Trip
Spice Bazaar in Gaziantep
Harran Beehive Houses in Mesopotamia - Turkey Road Trip
Harran Beehive Houses

Where to stay: Stay in the heart of the Old City in Gaziantep in one of the restored caravanserai or Anatolian houses, like the Anadolu Evleri – some of which are over 150 years old.

Map of the road trip route

We created this practical Turkey Road Trip Map, which you can use to plan your route and see what’s where easier.

We were able to find great hotels and apartments all over Turkey for quite affordable prices. In coastal places, you can find amazing hotels and resorts, as well as apartments with full kitchens, so you can make some food yourself if that’s what you prefer. However, we recommend eating out, as you can mostly find great, affordable, and tasty Turkish and international food.

Our recommended hotels for a Turkey Road Trip

Final thoughts on doing a Turkey road trip

When we were planning our Turkey road trip, we planned for a nice, leisurely two weeks, but in the end, we extended it to almost a month. And we had such a great time. It’s really the best way to see Turkey.

We’re already planning our return! We’ll likely pick up a car in Gaziantep and do a road trip in the eastern part of Turkey, through Mesopotamia, all the way to the border with Armenia and Georgia, passing by Lake Van, and then along the Black Sea Coast towards Istanbul. Stay tuned for the guide!

Turkey Road Trip - 2 week Turkey itinerary - Shipped Away
Bon Voyage!


Thank you for reading our Turkey Road Trip Guide. We hope we helped you plan your trip. If you have any questions, feel free to leave a comment below.

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Arijana & Matej
Arijana & Matej

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We're Arijana and Matej, a couple and travel blogging duo from Croatia and Slovenia who thrive while slow-traveling. And we have been doing it for over 4 years.

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