If you plan on visiting Turkey soon, below are top 5 cities you must visit. There are easily reached on your own and are pocket friendly — suitable for budget traveler.
The capital city of Turkey,formally known as Constantinople, is famous for it’s Sultan Ahmed Mosque (Blue mosque), Sophia Hagia, Topkapi Palace, Grand Bazaar, Galata tower, Taksim Square and Bosphorus river cruise. If you are on a tight schedule 2 full days should be enough to visit all the tourist attractions. However, to fully enjoy all the culture, art, delicious food and experience the local taste, minimum of 3 full days are required so that there is no need to rush. The transportation system in the city is very developed and most of the tourist attractions are well connected via tram or buses. English is quite well spoken thus it is very convenient to explore the city on your own. On the third night you can catch the night bus to Goreme (stop directly at Goreme bus station which is walking distance to most of the hotels) or take a 1 hour flight (from Istanbul either from Ataturk or Sabiha Gökçen airport to Kayseri or Nevşehir) and enjoy sleeping at a cave hotel before riding the hot air balloon the next morning.
It is a town in Cappadocia located among the Fairy Chimneys famous for its hot air balloon trips and cave hotels. 2 days 1 night trip should be sufficient as there isn’t much entertainment during the night time. During the day you should take a hot air balloon ride (starting at 5 am for about 1 hour), visit the open air museum, hike on the red valley. There are tours available that do all this within one day. You may stretch the activities into 2 days and you would have much free time to enjoy the lovely sunset on top of the highest point of the city or to have lunch with fantastic view of the fairy chimney and red valley. On the night of your second day, you could then catch a bus (normally the bus runs at 9pm or 10pm) to Pamukkale which will arrive at 7 or 8 the next morning.
To see more photos, click here: http://lifestylehappens.asia/ballooning-at-cappadocia-turkey/
To see more video, click here: http://lifestylehappens.asia/royal-balloon-vs-voyager-balloon/
Turky is rich in beautiful landscapes including Pamukkale which literally means “cotton castle” in Turkish. From afar it looks like a mountain covered in snow but is in fact terraces of carbonate minerals left by the flowing water. Once you arrive with your night bus, you could drop your luggage off at local restaurant for a small fee (or free) and directly walk your way to the Pamukkale. There is no need to shower first because you will enjoy dipping yourself at the natural pools and hot springs. I recommend that you wear slippers and leave your shoes behind if you want to keep them dry. Don’t forget to put on your swim suit and wear sun block — it’s pretty hot up there. Enjoy the rest of the day there and return on the afternoon for lunch and then catch a train / minivan to Selcuk to visit Ephesus. There is no need to stay a night in Pamukkale unless you really love chilling at the natural pools.
For more photo of Pamukkale, you can check out my other post: http://lifestylehappens.asia/pamukkale-turkey/
Ephesus is an ancient Greek city ruin that additionally has the statue that was the inspiration behind the original Nike logo. It is very hot there and I strongly suggest that you wear a hat and sun block when visiting. It is merely a 15 minute walk from the bus stop of the main road to the lower entrance to the ancient city. Be aware of taxi drivers that over-charge to take you to the top entrance. They will claim that it is very far — 30 kilometers or so. However, they will never tell you that you can enter from the lower entrance as well and it is only 1 kilometer away. It only take around 3 hours to finish exploring Ephesus. For the rest of the day you can explore Selcuk or chill in one of many beaches in Kusadasi. The two cities are around 20 minutes away by dolmus (mini bus).
Kusadasi is one of the famous Turkey resort town. It is a good idea to visit this city last as a relaxing break from your travels. Sun bathing or eating hot corn (mesir in Turkish) on the beaches by the day and sipping the authentic Turkey coffee prepared on hot sand by the sea side restaurant at night. I would recommend at least 2 days to enjoy Kusadasi. The longger the better hahahaha
From Kusadasi you can catch train to Izmir Airport to fly to Istanbul and then fly back home. To make 1 round trip to these 5 cities you will need at least 8 days.