Photos

Bergama Theatre Bergama Trajan Temple Dalyan Lycian Tombs Kaprulu Kanyon Afrodisias Tetrapylon Demre Beach Ortahisar Volcanic Plug Goreme Sunset View Yoruk Turquoise Treasures and Volcanic Vistas draw Travellers to Turkey
All photos copyright © 2014 Terra Encounters All Rights Reserved

Destinations and Seasons

When to Go and Where to Go

Best places to see in Turkey, Where to Go, Best time to go to Turkey, When to Go, best Itinerary for Turkey, Destinations
This page provides an overview of the best times (seasons) to go and a rule of thumb for calculating how many places you can see in the time you have.   The places you select as your primary destinations depends on the season and your interests.  The best places to go, in our opinion, can be found on our Turkey Itinerary page.
 

Seasons

 
Spectacular Demre
As our trip was in March it was not a beach holiday though the Turquoise Coast was pleasantly warm.  For off-season beach travel go in the fall when the Mediterranean Sea has been warmed up all through the summer.  But March was fine for travelling, except for the cloudy and cool weather (6°C) in Istanbul.  March may be low season but there are plenty of tourists in Istanbul, Ephesus and Goreme

Season also affects the direction of the itinerary.  Because it was March, our itinerary from Istanbul headed south first and we left Cappadocia (Goreme) and Safranbolu for the end in the hopes that it would be warmer – and we were in luck.  It was sunny with temperatures in the 15 to 20°C range.  In the fall we would probably reverse the direction of our itinerary below.  April, May, September and October are the best months to go.  June to August is too hot for Cappadocia and the south (30-40°C) but is probably the best time for the East.  In the winter there is snow, especially at higher elevations.
 

Destinations


Turkey has a lot of places to see in a very large geographical area.  Our itinerary had a focus on culture and cuisine, architecture and archaeology, hiking and photography.  We did visit beaches to see what they were like, but it was too cold for swimming.  By far, Patara was the best and a world-class beach with Iztuzu Beach (Dalyan) second.  Kaputaş Beach (Kaş) and Kızkalesi are also nice but we wouldn't want to go there in high season as they are small.  Çıralı Beach is mainly gravel near the water.  There was also a lot of garbage on some of the beaches. 

The coast between Demre and Finike had the most beautiful turquoise water as well as beaches.  Ölüdeniz Beach does not look as nice as in the photos, where the turquoise colour is oversaturated.  We had Ölüdeniz all to ourselves (i.e. zero tourists) -- we would not go there in high season when it is wall-to-wall tourists.  Also, who wants to spend TRY 25 plus parking or mini-bus to go to a beach.  If you want a beach holiday, go to New Zealand and Australia. 
 

Itinerary Planning


We travelled 3700 km with 13 stopovers in 31 days.  We did not feel rushed but it would have been nice to stay longer at some places.  Excluding Istanbul, you need as a rule of thumb 2 days per stopover.  So if you only have 14 days then you should be selecting less than 7 places.  That's because you need to spend at least 3 to 4 nights in Istanbul.   In fact, you should plan for at least one place like Goreme to spend more than 2 nights to have a rest from constantly moving around.  Reduce the number of places if you want to spend time at a beach, go hiking or do another activity.

Your itinerary also depends on the number of days you want to spend in key destinations that deserve lengthy stays.  For instance, in TR that would include Istanbul and Goreme (Cappadocia).  If you have a car, you can also use Selçuk as a base for the surrounding area.  We spent 4 nights in Istanbul on arrival, another 4 nights before departure and 4 nights in Goreme.  This really means 3 full days of sightseeing since the first night is a travel day.  You can easily spend more time but for a shorter trip you can reduce the number of days - you need about 3 nights minimum for each place. 

In each major city be sure to allow time to see the most important sites.  For instance, in Istanbul make sure you allow sufficient time for Hagia Sophia (Aya Sofya), Topkapi Palace and the Istanbul Archeology Museums.  These links are to posts that explain why those places are significant. 

One possible itinerary can be found in our Turkey Itinerary page.