Turkey is home to countless gems, from epic coast lines to massive mountains and historic sights and ruins. A road trip across Turkey promises to supply you with amazing locations and memories all around. Taking the car across the Aegean coast is not only an epic road trip, but also an amazing mix of history and fun. Follow the PackitUp Turkey Road Trip below and work off your Turkey bucket list!
Istanbul is a heavy weight among the backpacking destinations. This gorgeously chaotic city is home to culture, fun, history and food! You should spend a few days in Istanbul and get to know the city a bit. Sights you should definitely see are the Blue Mosque, Hagia Sophia and the Grand Bazaar.
If you plan on renting a car, do it at the end of your Istanbul stay or leave it in the parking lot of your accommodation. Istanbul is notoriously hectic, parking very scarce and public transportation or cabs are widely available and cheap enough to cover your needs in Istanbul.
The next stop on our Turkey Road Trip is the coast of the Aegean sea. There are many places you can and should stop here. The Aegean coast is always gorgeous, regardless of season and an absolute backpacker favorite. If you want to enjoy the ocean, you should probably plan your trip during summer. Whether you choose to start in the south or north is up to you, the area between Izmir and Antalya lends itself perfectly to a road trip by car as not only the stops are beautiful, but also the scenery when driving.
There are countless historic ruins, beautiful cities, pretty islands and inspiring landscape to discover. Cities like Izmir, Ephesus, all the way down to Antalya promise to provide you with enough nightlife and culinary experiences to make your road trip perfect.
Izmir is full of history, as it has been part of the Greek, Roman and Ottoman empire. If you are a history or archeology buff, this city will blow your mind.
There is the Roman Agora of Smyrna, the hilltop Kadifekale and the Velvet Castle.
Between lounging on beaches, traveling back in time in ancient ruins and feasting on Turkish delicacies, Izmir is just perfect for your Turkey road trip.
Another highlight for archeology buffs and fans of ancient history. Make sure to visit Selçuk on your way to Ephesus. Things to do in Ephesus include visiting the ancient city, the terraced houses, the archeological museum and the Basilica of St Johns. When visiting the ruins, you can take a ride up the hill or just hike up, it is an easy 1 mile stretch and won’t take too much out of you.
There are many resorts and beach towns around Bodrum, which makes it a perfect, quiet stop on your Turkey road trip.
A highlight of Bodrum is the Bodrum castle, which is a medieval fortress partly built out of stones from the Mausoleum at Halicarnassus, one of the Seven Wonders of the Ancient World. You should also make sure to enjoy the beautiful beaches around the city and look into doing some activities on the water.
Cunda, Bozcaada, Foca and Gökçeada are the Turkish Islands in the Aegean Sea and definitely worth a visit!
If you are into calm, turquoise beaches and traditional Turkish culture, make sure to plan for a stop on the Turkish islands. Read more about them right here.
The area around Antalya is known the the Turquoise Coast and it becomes evident why that is pretty quickly. Antalya is filled with resorts, expensive yachts and gorgeous beaches.
There are many resorts to choose from but you will also be able to find more affordable backpacker accommodations all over the city.
After Istanbul, this is the second most-visited city in Turkey, so there are plenty of touristy things to do. Depending on how interested you are in this, you can decide if you want to stay just a short period or for a few nights. If you are into discovering a crazy nightlife, you will have plenty of chances to do so in Antalya. From mega discos, to more quiet pubs and bars, anything goes here.
Fethiye is a more quiet harbor town with an easy day-tour access to some smaller islands. It is still part of the Turquoise Coast, so beaches and coves with beautiful waters are easy to find.
Among the things to do in Fethiye are visiting Butterfly Valley, visting the ruins of Olympos and visiting the sheltered lagoon beach of Ölüdeniz.
A definite highlight on your Turkey road trip is Cappadocia. We are now off the coast paths but if you can, plan on getting into the Cappadocia region and discover the famous “fairy chimneys”, cone-shaped rock formations which dot the landscape in Monks Valley, Göreme and some other places.
Cities to stop in are Caesarea Mazaca (Kayseri), Nyssa (Nevşehir). While you are in the region, make sure to catch some of the world-famous hot air ballooning events where dozens or hundreds of hot air balloons ascend into the air.