The Ultimate Summer Road Trip Itinerary for Turkey

The Ultimate Summer Road Trip Itinerary for Turkey

Are you planning the ultimate summer road trip? If you would like to do a road trip across Turkey, make sure to check out all the destinations we listed on this itinerary; which includes some spots undiscovered by tourists. 

A road trip is the perfect vacation idea for travelling with family or a group of friends. Since Turkey is a big country with lots of history and culture to take in, renting a car and travelling across the Aegean and Mediterranean Coasts can be quite fun and convenient. Road trips in Turkey are popular mostly amongst local tourists, and driving routes are usually quite easy to navigate thanks to Yandex or Google Maps. 

If you are driving from Europe with your own car, you can plan your road trip from Greece to Turkey and enjoy the amazing beaches in both countries. 

Tips on travelling to Turkey by Car 

Road Trip Route: İzmir - Seferihisar - Ephesus - Akyaka - Pamukkale - Burdur - Antalya (Olimpos, Demre, Kaş, Fethiye)

Driving Duration:
18 hours 

Mileage/Kilometres: 750 miles/1200 km 

Suggested Length of Stay: 7 days or up to 2 weeks 

If you are flying to Turkey and plan to rent a car once you’re there, book your flight to Izmir Adnan Menderes Airport. You can pick up your rental car at the airport and make your way to your first destination: Seferihisar, which is only about an hour away. 

Where should you stay during your road trip to Turkey?

We recommend booking your stay before you arrive in Turkey. The best towns to stay in during your road trip are Sığacık, Akyaka, Pamukkale, and Kaş. Except for Pamukkale, the rest of these towns are very tranquil, small towns. You can find many boutique hotels and bed and breakfasts as well as all-inclusive hotels. You can spend 2 days in Sığacık and Pamukkale, 1 night in Akyaka and 3 days in Kaş. 

Things to do at the Aegean Coast of Turkey 

Things to do in Sığacık and Seferihisar 

Seferihisar is a beautiful, calm town in the district of Izmir. It’s the first ‘cittaslow’ (slow city) in Turkey, perfect for travellers who would like to start their trip by relaxing and getting accustomed to their surroundings. The Cittaslow movement aims to protect local tastes, historical and cultural sites, and support local farmers who grow food using sustainable methods. 

- Visit the Ancient City of Teos and Teos Ancient Theatre to see beautiful ancient Greek structures including Temple of Dionysos (built in 2nd century B.C). You can visit the Sığacık Castle, which was built over 500 years ago, and repaired during Suleyman the Magnificent’s reign. 

- Akkum Beach: This Blue Flag awarded beach is one of the most beautiful sanded beaches in the Mediterranean and it’s on the Sığacık coast. 

- Take a boat trip: Discover the bays and small islands on the Sığacık coast. 

- Visit the local market: Every Sunday, there is a market in town where local farmers sell fresh vegetables, fruit and baked goods. You must get olives and satsumas if they are in season. 

You might want to stay in Sığacık forever, but we think 2-3 days are enough depending on the length of your holiday. There are many other amazing destinations to see, and the next on the list is Ephesus. 

Things to do in Ephesus 

Ephesus is home to Turkey’s most visited archaeological sites; encompassing the Ancient City of Ephesus, Celcus Library, Temple of Artemis, Hadrian Temple, Gate of Hercules and more. Built in the 10th century BC, Ephesus has been on UNESCO World Heritage list since 2015. The ancient city has been inhabited for almost 9000 years (during the Hellenistic Era, Roman Period, Byzantine Era, the Period of Principalities and the Ottoman Era). 

We recommend going there with a guide, as there are so many fascinating stories about what this city used to be like in the Roman era. The guide can also help you avoid the crowds and find the best photo opportunities. It can be quite crowded during rush hour, so we would recommend you to either arrive very early or a few hours before closing time. 

You will end up spending a good few hours exploring this beautiful historical place and might feel exhausted to do anything else afterwards. Once you finish sightseeing, head to Akyaka.

Ephesus Library

Things to do in Akyaka

Akyaka is another slow city that is away from the tourist crowds. This little tranquil village is not too far from Marmaris or Dalaman airport so you can even start your road trip there. 

Akyaka is still out of sight, but definitely not out of mind. Everyone who visits once tends to come back to this little piece of heaven. The houses were built in unique Ottoman fashion, and they always have wood engravings. 

- If you are up for some adventure, you can kitesurf or try paddleboarding 

- Ride the canoe on the Akçapınar river 

- Taste delicious local food 

Since it’s a small town, you can spend a day or two here before moving onto Pamukkale-Hierapolis. 

Things to do in Pamukkale (Cotton Castle) 

Although it’s still beautiful, over-tourism has hurt the natural balance of Pamukkale’s travertines and its blue pools. The restoration works continue and hopefully, the travertines will make full recovery. In the meantime, you can still go there early to avoid the crowds of people taking pictures and enjoy the beautiful scenery. 

If you find the Cotton Castle too crowded, you can always visit the ancient city of Hierapolis and the Cleopatra Pools first. The Greco-Roman-Byzantine city of Hierapolis is famous for its hot springs that were used as a spa. 

- Enjoy the view of amazing natural travertines 

- Visit the ancient city of Hierapolis that is still in great condition 

- Swim in Cleopatra Pools Visit the painted mosques near Pamukkale 

There are many spa hotels in Pamukkale, so you can treat yourself and your family to a relaxing stay for a few days. 

Pamukkale (Cotton Castle)

Things to do in Burdur

Tucked away from the coast, Burdur is not your typical tourist hotspot but you shouldn’t head back to the Mediterranean before you stop here. The ancient site of Sagalassos is still being excavated and as years go by, there is more and more to see here. The city sits on top of a steep mountain slope and looks over beautiful scenery. 

If you are into philosophy, you’ll be happy to hear that there is a sculpture of the great Roman philosopher Marcus Aurelius here. If you visit during July, you can stop by Lavender Village and walk around a field of lavenders that will make you act like you are in a fabric softener commercial. Don’t forget to visit Lake Salda, an incredible crater lake with white sands and piercing blue waters. 

- Visit the ancient city of Sagalassos 

- See Burdur Lake, one of the largest lakes in Turkey that hosts a range of winter birds

- Visit Turkey’s first cave to open to public 

- Visit Lake Salda, known as the Maldives of Turkey Head over to Lavanta Kokulu Köy (Lavender Village in Kuyucak) to walk in between fields of purple 

When you are tired of seeing all these amazing sites, make your way to your final destination on the Mediterranean coast. 

Things to do in Antalya 

A rental car comes very handy in Antalya, as there are many places worth visiting on the coast that can be quite difficult to reach with public transport. Antalya is a vast district, but we recommend staying in Kaş because it’s relaxed but it still presents many opportunities for cultural discovery as well as fun activities.

When you are staying in Kaş, you can continue your road trip in Antalya to see the many ancient sites and famous nature spots. You can spend your mornings or early evenings at a different beach every day. After sundown, you can choose from the many restaurant and bar options for dinner and some live music or dancing. 

You can take a day trip to the city of Antalya; Kaleiçi is full of picturesque houses, cute cafés and bars. When you are not at the beach sunbathing, you can be more adventurous and participate in the many outdoor sports or nature activities Antalya has to offer. 

- Dive with the Caretta Carettas 

- Try Canyoning in Goynuk Canyon or rafting at Köprülü Canyon 

- Hike along the Lycian Way

- Visit the Ancient City of Olympos 

- See the Myra Ruins 

- Swim in the clearest, bluest bays including Kaputaş Beach, Kabak Bay, Patara Beach and more with a boat tour 

- Reconnect with nature at the Düden and Kurşunlu Waterfalls 

Kaputaş Beach

Top 10 Beaches near Antalya 

As Right Holidays, we specialise in all-inclusive holiday deals, family holidays and group holidays in Turkey and Northern Cyprus. We have close connections with airlines flying between Europe, Turkey and Cyprus and offer flight deals as well. 

You can always seek our advice when you are planning your holiday to Turkey. Holidays you book with us are ATOL protected and we promise a smooth holiday throughout which you can receive professional support when you need it.


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