A 10 day Trip to Turkey

“We travel, initially, to lose ourselves, and we travel, next, to find ourselves. We travel to open our hearts and eyes. And we travel, in essence, to become young fools again—to slow time down and get taken in, and fall in love once more” – Ray Bradbury

Our experience in Turkey was quite varied, charming and unforgettable and hence penning it in just one blog post won’t be possible. So we have decided to create a series on planning the trip to turkey in which we will cover all aspects of our trip in detail. This is the part 1 of our series on Turkey and more will follow

Do you remember that dialogue from the movie UP where Charles Muntz says “Adventure is out there”. This is how we felt during our holiday in this beautiful country. We spent 10 days in this gorgeous country and the time flew by before we could realize but we came back with some unforgettable memories to be cherished forever. Turkey has a rich history with its strings strongly tied to the ancient Greek, Roman, Byzantine and Ottoman empires. The country has an abundantly rich history which thoroughly reflects through its Art & Architecture, Food and People. Ankara may be the capital of Turkey but it is Istanbul where Turkey’s heart resides. Here’s an overview of the itinerary that we followed

  • Day 1: Walk around & start to absorb the vibes of Istanbul
  • Day 2-3: Visit the whimsical fairy chimneys and fly in hot air balloon in Cappadocia  
  • Day 4-5: Explore ancient treasures in Antalya and unwind in Kaleici
  • Day 6-7: Get adventurous in Oludeniz
  • Day 8-10: End it with the best, Istanbul

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Visa Process

Visa process for Turkey becomes extremely simple if you have a valid US, UK or a Schengen Visa. Since, we both had a valid US visa, we could apply for Turkish E-Visa online. We filled the form online, paid around 5K INR and that’s it. We had the e-visa in our mailboxes half an hour later. For others, you may have to visit the Turkish embassies to get the visa done. For more information, you can click here

Getting to Turkey

Instanbul is well connected to any other city in the world and has two international airports, Ataturk International Airport and Sabiha Gokcen International Airport. We flew with Emirates with a brief layover at Dubai & really enjoyed their top notch hospitality. We were pretty happy with their in-flight entertainment & yummy food. We chose to land at Ataturk International Airport (IST) as it is closer to the European side of the city as well as all the major attractions.  The airport was quite swanky and looked like a lifestyle destination in itself. From the airport we took the airport bus shuttle service to the Sultanahmet Area – The Havas bus from the bus terminal (G-1 floor, gate number 20) and paid 18 Turkish Lira per person

View of the magical Istanbul from our descending flight

Ataturk International Airport (IST)

Tips for the Trip

  • Buy Istanbulkart: This single card (similar to the metro card in India) enables you to pay for multiple types of public transportation in Istanbul: buses, metros, ferries, funiculars, and tramways (yes, even the nostalgic one running on Istiklal Street). Also you can use just one card to buy multiple tickets
  • Carry the Turkish Lira notes: Most of the local shops/vendors in Turkey only accept Tuskish Lira currency notes. So make sure to carry some cash along. Get some lira currency notes at the airport to buy and load the Instanbulkart card from the counters to be able to pay for the Havas bus
  • Book Hot Air Balloon: Book your seat in the Hot Air Balloon in Advance preferably through the hotel. Also ensure that you go in the 1st ride of the day as during that time the maximum balloons take off filling the skies  
  • Wear Comfortable shoes: Be prepared to walk a lot especially in Istanbul so wearing comfortable footwear is a must
  • Stay near Taksim Square: Taksim square is one of the most popular neighborhoods of Istanbul. It is very close to all the major attractions in Istanbul and becomes quite lively during the evenings

Day Wise Itinerary

DAY 1: Istanbul

If we are asked to go back to a place, we would definitely answer Istanbul in a split second where we left a piece of our hearts. Istanbul is the city where East meets West. It is a melting pot of different cultures flaunting its modernity yet nurturing its traditions. Our hearts will forever be filled with the memories from this beautiful city

On Day one, we visited the Emigran Park to view the manicured Tulip gardens in its full glory followed by a visit to the not so popular, the Ortakoy Mosque (or known as Büyük Mecidiye Camii), but located at one of the most picturesque settings in Istanbul before taking the evening flight to Capapdocia

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DAY 2-3: Cappadocia

The beautiful sceneries of the hot air balloons popping up during the Sunrise was what made us go to Cappadocia and watch the magic ourselves. Cappadocia is located in central Anatolia what is now known as Turkey and the most popular part of this region is Goreme. The other parts where tourism is popular are Nevsehir, Urgup & Uchisar. Since we had limited time in Cappadocia, our first choice was Goreme & we must say that we loved every single bit of this region

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Crossing the Fairy Chimneys while on the Green Tour

There isn’t any dearth of accommodation in Goreme as there are hundreds of cave hotels around and sleeping in one is one of the most popular bucket list items for visitors traveling to Cappadocia. We chose the Local Cave Hotel for its beautiful cave rooms fitting our budget and its proximity from the city center. They also took care of our pick up from the airport via a shuttle bus at a nominal charge and the hot air balloon ride. Would definitely recommend this place for the stay

DAY 4-5: Antalya and Kaleici

After spending time in the magical land of Cappadocia, it was time to head to the stunning Turquoise Coast of Turkey. We picked Antalya as our next destination as this charming city is on the Turquoise Coastline and is surrounded by some stunning views and has some marvelous ruins like Aspendos and Thermsessos in its vicinity

the beautiful ruins of Termessos

We flew with Turkish Airlines from Cappadocia (Kayseri Airport) to Antalya. Do plan and book the flights in advance as there are limited flights in number which fits your itinerary. Again, bus services are available & one can explore this option as well. Car rental & road tripping is another option that can be explored if you have more time in hand. We picked Kaleici for our stay as it had the beautiful vibes of an old town where the streets were laden with bougainvilleas, the roads cobbled and the road side cafes and pubs added to the hustle and bustle of the city

DAY 6-7: Oludeniz

After a bit of leisure vacation in Antalya, it was time for some adventure. And so we chose Oludeniz. Oludeniz is a resort village on the southwest coast of Turkey and attracts tourists from all over the world for its blue lagoon, Saklikent National Park and the white Belcekız Beach. Overlooking the village is the Babadağ mountain from where para gliders take to the skies. 

Time for some sun and sand in Oludeniz

View from our Balcony at the Boutique Maya Resort. Wish they had given a slide into the pool 🙂

Taking off into the skies

DAY 8-10: Istanbul

Now we headed back to Istanbul, the last leg of our trip. Istanbul is quite a geographically interesting city and is one of a handful of cities that straddles two continents. The western half of the city is situated in Europe while the eastern half is located in Asia. The Asian side is largely residential so you’ll find most of the city’s major attractions clustered within two districts on the European side – Sultanahmet and Beyoğlu. We spent three memorable days in Istanbul roaming around the beautiful streets, visiting places, ticking the restaurants and dishes off our food itinerary (yes we do have one for every trip) and catching the dramatic sunsets

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Hope you enjoyed this post. Let us know in the comments or by sharing it with the social media links! We’d love to keep sharing travel tips so feel free to subscribe by e-mail. You can also follow us on Instagram and Facebook 

  • Ali Taabish Nomani
    November 1, 2019 at 5:35 pm

    What a comprehensive review/ itinerary.

    Will be of great help to me when planning a trip.
    A friend is traveling soon and have shared the blog with him.

    Keep up with the amazing work .

  • thetravellerlens
    September 14, 2019 at 2:32 am

    Hey thanks a lot. Would love to hear from you. Please write to us at thetravellerlens@gmail.com

  • Pranav
    September 1, 2019 at 7:30 am

    Definitely visiting Istanbul now! Please add details of time of visit and trip expenses (budget traveller here).

  • Sachin
    September 1, 2019 at 7:22 am

    Great post guys.. looking forward to hearing about each day in detail in your follow-up posts!

  • Sagar
    August 29, 2019 at 1:01 pm

    Hi Shivani/ Rohit,

    Just finished the blog of Istanbul. I think it’s amazing to travel to Istanbul. I like the narration. I have few questions about this trip which I may have missed while reading.
    – Period when you travelled to Istanbul
    – If you can suggest places you stayed during this trip.

    Once again thanks for this blog.


    • thetravellerlens
      August 30, 2019 at 5:09 pm

      Hi Sagar, glad that you enjoyed reading our Turkey Itinerary. To answer your questions:
      – We went to Turkey in April end (we timed our visit with the Tulip Festival) – thanks for asking this, will add this point in the blog
      – We will cover the places where we stayed in Turkey in our upcoming blog posts but to give you an idea
      – Istanbul – Ada apartments (airbnb)
      – Capadocia – Local Cave Hotel
      – Antalya – White Garden Hotel
      – Oludeniz – Boutique Maya Resort
      Will recommend all of them. Hope the information helps 🙂