Explore ancient wonders of the world, swim in blue waters, ride in a hot air balloon & so much more at this underrated travel destination

by Kylynn Seng

Whenever I’m trying to plan my next holiday, I usually find myself struggling with the same question — should I go for a beach getaway, focus on sightseeing, or marvel at architectural wonders? 

If you can relate, this destination is perfect for you. While it isn’t a go-to vacation spot for most Singaporeans, you should definitely consider adding it to your bucket list. No more gatekeeping, everyone — this unique country is none other than The Republic of Turkey

To make things even easier for you, we’ve come up with a list of things to do in Turkey for a ten-day trip. Use it as a rough guide or follow it to the tee — it’s up to you!

Day 1 – Istanbul

things to do in Turkey
Photo: Pexels

Assuming you’ve booked your flight destination as Istanbul, this’ll be the best place to start your journey. Spend your first day diving right into the local scene with the Grand Bazaar, one of the oldest and largest covered markets in the world that boasts over 4000 stalls. You’ll find a smorgasbord of goods including ceramics, rugs, clothing and so much more, so be sure to allocate enough time to exploring the market (especially for all you thrift shoppers). 

Photo: Hurrem Sultan Hammam/google images

Feeling tired from all that shopping? It’s time to head to a Turkish bath (hammam) for some much needed rest. 

Day 2 – Istanbul 

things to do in Turkey
Photo: Pexels

Dedicate an entire day to touring the city’s highlights, like the famed Sultan Ahmed Mosque (The Blue Mosque), Hagia Sophia, the Hippodrome of Constantinople and the Topkapi Palace Museum. These attractions are mostly situated within walking distance of each other, so they’re pretty easy to get to. 

Photo: Pexels

End off your day with a beautiful sunset cruise on the Bosphorus, a strait that literally separates Asia and Europe, and take in the full views of the beautiful city. 

Day 3 – Canakkale

things to do in Turkey
Photo: Shutterstock

Head to Canakkale to explore the Ancient City of Troy to learn about the famous Trojan War — history buffs will be delighted to find that some structures even date back to the Bronze Age, and the Greek and Roman periods. 

Photo: @varurat_yung/instagram

If you’re familiar with the story, you’d probably remember the important role the Trojan horse had to play. Spot the structure at the entrance of the site, a reconstructed version of what the Greeks used to enter the fortified city and eventually win the war. 

Day 4 – Kusadasi

things to do in Turkey
Photo: Enis Sucu/google images

It’s time to switch things up with a little more R&R as we head to the popular beach resort town, Kusadasi. You can expect to find clear blue waters at beaches like the famous Ladies Beach (it’s not reserved for ladies anymore, sadly), and lots of great food and shopping. It’s the best time to soak up some sun and frolic on the sand! 

Photo: @alp.aslan.london/instagram

You can also take a stroll to Pigeon Island, the symbol of Kusadasi. It’s a small island linked to the mainland via a causeway, and even has a castle you can visit. Plus, you’ll also be rewarded with panoramic views of the main island! 

Day 5 – Ephesus 

things to do in Turkey
Photo: Pexels

Located only about a 30-minute drive from Kusadasi, the ancient Greek city of Ephesus is one of the most significant archaelogical sites — defo a must-see on the list of things to do in Turkey. However, do come prepared with comfortable hiking shoes, because the site rests atop a hill and there’s a lot of area to cover! 

Photo: Pexels

Be sure to make a stop at the Temple of Artemis, which was built around 550 BC and is one of the seven wonders of the ancient world. 

Day 6 – Pamukkale

things to do in Turkey
Photo: Unsplash

There are two main highlights you absolutely have to visit in Pamukkale (meaning “cotton castle” in Turkish) — the picturesque white lime terraces, and the Roman Spa City, Hierapolis. These natural terraces cover a large area about 3km long, and have the bluest pools, of which some are open to swimming. Don’t miss the opportunity to take a dip in the mineral-rich thermal waters, and even snap an IG-worthy photo while you’re at it. 

Photo: Pexels

After visiting the terraces, head over to the ancient Roman and Greek city of Hierapolis. There, you’ll find the ruins of an extensive Necropolis, a huge theatre and so much more.

Day 7 – Antalya 

things to do in Turkey
Photo: Pexels

Bring out those bathing suits once again, because it’s time for another beach day. Take your pick from what Antalya has to offer — stone beaches, waterfall tours, and so much more.

Photo: Pexels

Plus, you should definitely explore the attractions like Hadrian’s Gate and Old Town’s cobbled streets, which simply exudes nostalgia. 

Day 8 – Antalya

things to do in Turkey
Photo: @iraida_cosmetolog/instagram

What’s a vacation without a stop at a theme park? The Lands of Legends theme park is a short 35-minute drive from Antalya, so be sure to book your tickets and get ready for a day of wholesome fun! 

Photo: The Lands of Legends theme park

Day 9 – Cappadocia 

things to do in Turkey
Photo: Pexels

It’s a pretty long journey to Cappadocia (unless you’re taking a flight), so you might want to allocate more time to travelling there — but it’s definitely the perfect ending to your journey. 

You might not have a lot of time to explore the region, but one of the attractions you should visit is the Goreme Open-Air Museum. Located in the centre of the valley, the museum comprises a vast complex of monasteries, each housing its own church. 

Day 10 – Cappadocia 

Photo: Pexels

Of course, you can’t miss this iconic experience when you’re in Turkey — a hot-air balloon ride overlooking Cappadocia’s beautiful rock formations. There’s definitely a reason why this tourists flock to the area. Just look at that view! Do note that it’s a seven hour drive back to Istanbul (or a ten-hour bus ride). Alternatively, you can also choose to take a domestic flight from Ankara.

Ten days in Turkey are bound to fly by in the blink of an eye, but this itinerary allows you to make the most of your trip. The best time to visit is also largely dependent on the activities you enjoy, but it’s generally recommended to head down during the months of April, May, September, and October for warmer weather conditions. 

Convinced yet? Even though the country is relatively unknown to Singaporeans as a holiday destination as compared to favourites like Thailand, Japan, or Korea, there are tons of things to do in Turkey. Ready for your next adventure?

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