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How to spend 10 days in Turkey as a solo traveler

May 22, 2024 by The Go Ahead Tours Team

The world is full of great solo travel destinations, but one we’re loving right now is the magical country of Turkey. Our Turkey tours are stacked with all the sights, sounds, and flavors that make for a memorable trip. Exploring ancient ruins, discovering otherworldly natural landscapes, and sampling delicious meals are just some things to do in Turkey that will leave you speechless. On our brand-new 10-day Turkey for Solo Travelers: Istanbul, Ephesus & Cappadocia tour, you’ll get to experience all that this magnificent country has to offer, making life-long friendships along the way.

Why travel solo to Turkey?

Well, why not? We love the idea of taking a Turkey Solo Tour, because for many of us, traveling solo allows us the opportunity for deeper immersion. Going to a destination by ourselves makes us hungrier for adventure—to see the world and go beyond our limits a little bit more than usual. Plus, there’s nothing quite like making new friends on a trip as you cross off these bucket list moments in Turkey together.

To do all of that in a country like Turkey, which is so full of history and rich in unique culture, where the atmosphere of adventure is dialed up even higher, makes for a trip that’s not just immersive but also unforgettable. Read on to discover the perfect 10-day itinerary for a Turkey solo trip.

Day 1: Overnight flight

Grab your headphones, your favorite book, and your travel pillow, and get ready to settle in to the first leg of your Turkey adventure: the flight there! After reading for a bit and watching an in-flight movie or two, you’ll touch down in Istanbul and meet your expert Tour Director at the airport.

Days 2-3: Istanbul

Like with many other travelers, your once-in-a-lifetime, 10-day itinerary in Turkey begins in the historic city of Istanbul. There’s nothing quite like seeing this intoxicating metropolis for the first time. Not only is Istanbul big (sitting in both Europe and Asia), it’s quite bustling, too: Over 15 million people call it home. And everywhere you go, you’ll be immediately reminded of its vast history. Pre-Roman, Roman, Byzantine, and Ottoman civilizations have all settled in and left their marks on this city. So for these two days, soak it all in and prepare to be thoroughly enthralled.

Your Turkey tour will be filled with discoveries, so your first day in Istanbul will be all about settling in. If you’re feeling up to it, this could also be a great time to stroll around the neighborhood near your hotel and pop into a local bakery for a baklava. Every Turkey Travel Guide will tell you: No trip here is complete without a few too many bites of this flakey, honey-soaked treat. Eating baklava is one of the tastiest things to do in Turkey!

It’s on day two of your 48 hours in Istanbul when the adventure level ramps up: Your Tour Director will guide you through Istanbul’s immense history—which dates back to 600 B.C. as it’s one of the world’s oldest cities. You’ll marvel at the stunning architectural details of the Hagia Sophia, perhaps the world’s most famous mosque, and then stroll through Sultanahmet Square. Once a social center of the Byzantine Empire, it’s now full of ancient artifacts—including an Egyptian obelisk. Break for a lunch of local delicacies before touring the Blue Mosque (known for its six piercing minarets) and Topkapi Palace, the 400-year home of the Ottoman sultans.

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Days 4-5: Ephesus

A Turkey solo trip can easily be filled up with Istanbul alone, but our Turkey for Solo Travelers: Istanbul, Ephesus & Cappadocia tour offers so much more. You’ll spend two nights in the Ephesus region, which is best known for its impressive collection of beautifully preserved Greek and Roman ruins.

Located in the country’s western region, Ephesus has long stood out as one of the most significant things to see in Turkey because it was once a thriving commercial center. Today, you’ll find countless remnants of this expansive heritage. Your Tour Director will lead you through some of the most sought-after sites of the region, including the Library of Celsus (one of the ancient world’s great libraries that still exists), the 2,300-year-old Great Theatre, a 25,000-seat performance venues that’s still used today, and the House of the Virgin Mary, a religious shrine for Mary, mother of Jesus. Legend has it that this is where she spent her final days. For many, seeing this is one of the most moving things to do in Turkey.

Following a busy stretch of sightseeing, we recommend adding the optional Traditional Turkish Meyhane Dinner excursion to visit a traditional Turkish wine house. A lively dinner featuring classic local dishes in the city of Izmir is the ideal way to get to know your new travel buddies better! You’ll share mezes (Turkish small plates), sip raki (a type of Turkish brandy), and exchange travel stories. We can’t imagine a better way to cap off a fantastic day in Ephesus.

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Days 6-7: Turkish Lake Region

Halfway into your 10-day Turkey trip itinerary, you’ll take a break from history and ancient ruins in favor of more natural delights. First up are the whitewashed terraces of Pamukkale in southwest Turkey. Nicknamed “cotton castle,” Pamukkale’s collection of travertine terraces are made of limestone deposits from hot springs; the water following down these terraces may look like alien waterfalls. The photogenic setting is one of the country’s most popular attractions and soaking in these hot springs is a beloved Turkish bucket-list activity included on our Turkey for Solo Travelers: Istanbul, Ephesus & Cappadocia tour. It sounds like UNESCO agrees as Pamukkale was named a World Heritage Site in 1988.

On Day 7, you’ll venture a bit off the beaten path with a few hours in the ancient city of Sagalassos. Perched 9,000 feet above sea level on the slopes of the Taurus Mountains, it’s one of the oldest and richest cities in the region. Sagalassos was conquered by Alexander the Great in 333 B.C.—at which time it had already built up some 7,000 years of history. Your Tour Director will show off some of Sagalassos’ storied past with a visit to the Upper Agora to take in views of the Antonine Nymphaeum and its decorative statues of Greek gods Dionysos, Nemesis, and Asklepios.

Then, you’ll hear stories of the Antonine Fountain: It’s 2,100 years old, but it still collects water from a nearby aquifer. Shrines dedicated to heroes, Roman baths, elaborate temples, and a high-altitude theater are just a few more examples of why Sagalassos is one of the most surprising stops on the 10-day Turkey for Solo Travelers: Istanbul, Ephesus & Cappadocia tour.

If you take your trip in July or August, you may have the opportunity to add more excitement to your day in the Lakes Region. Join Tour Director on an optional excursion to the Isparta Province’s gorgeous lavender fields. You may have never heard of this sweet-smelling destination, because these fields are among Turkey’s best-kept secrets.

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Days 8-9: Cappadocia

On Day 8, you’ll explore another under-the-radar lakeside destination. The charming village of Egirdir is located on a peninsula in Lake Egirdir with the towering Mount Sivri looming in the background. It’s as picturesque and bucolic as it sounds, and as you can imagine, Turkish travelers love retreating here for their own vacations.

But in addition to its good looks, Egirdir has plenty to offer culture enthusiasts. Your Tour Director will lead a visit to Egirdir Castle. Legend has it that the Lydians first built this architectural beauty way back in the 6th or 7th century B.C. before the Romans, Byzantines, and Seljuks eventually expanded on the original blueprint. You’ll also pop into the Dündar Bey Madrasa. Formerly a medieval Islamic school, it’s now a lively bazaar full of colorful shops—you’ll spend a bit of time in one, tasting a variety of local treats before striking out for your next destination.

What Turkey tour would be complete without the fairy-tale landscape of Cappadocia? On Day 9 of our Turkey for Solo Travelers: Istanbul, Ephesus & Cappadocia tour, you’ll head to Central Anatolia to explore the unusual and historic beauty of Cappadocia’s surreal topography, which has been shaped by thousands of years of volcanic activity. In short: Cappadocia is iconic.

During your visit to the Göreme Open-Air Museum, you’ll want your eyes and cameras ready to take in the jaw-dropping collection of rock formations that may look like sky-piercing chimneys. In reality, they’re churches and homes, and some even boast networks of tunnels that could make up an entire neighborhood. Some of these formations soar as high as 130 feet. Then, you’ll stop in Avanos—a town of just under 15,000 people—to discover a craftwork that has typified the area since 1650 B.C.: red clay pottery. This is a great spot to pick up a souvenir or two.

Your 10-day Turkey itinerary has been full of culture and nature so far, but wine lovers should opt to add the Cappadocia Valley Walk & Wine Tasting excursion. You’ll set off on a special hike through the Göreme Historical National Park that will culminate with a wine tasting at a local vineyard. Did you know that Cappadocians have been making wine since the Neolithic era?

Days 10-11: Istanbul

If you didn’t get a chance to pick up a souvenir in Cappadocia, fret not. You’ll have plenty of time to shop when you return to Istanbul on your final night in Turkey. We know we often say that a Turkey tour isn’t complete without this or that activity, excursion, or destination (that’s because this country packs in so many bucket-list attractions), but you definitely can’t miss walking through the legendary Grand Bazaar on your final day in Istanbul. It’s so big that in its entirety, it spans 61 streets, accommodating 4,000 vendors. Your Tour Director will give you the lay of the land and some interesting stories about the history of the Bazaar, and then it’s off to the races to shop your heart out.

Before your Turkey for Solo Travelers: Istanbul, Ephesus & Cappadocia tour ends, however, there is one final special moment to cherish with your new travel buddies: a cruise on the Bosphorus where you’ll get the best views of Istanbul’s unique skyline. We think it’s one of the best experiences you can have in Turkey, but you and your friends can chat about your favorite moments from this Turkey tour when you sit down for your farewell dinner.

Ready to experience the endless wonders of Turkey? Shop our 10-day Turkey for Solo Travelers: Istanbul, Ephesus & Cappadocia tour.

About the author | The Go Ahead Tours Team
We’re a team of passionate travel experts, dedicated to helping people explore the world. From inspiring stories to tips for an amazing trip, the topics we cover are all about getting you out there and making discoveries.

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