Backpacking Turkey

Turkey is not only the geographical bridge between Asia and Europe but also the cultural one, which makes it a great travel destination. You probably already know about the endless beaches, which are very popular with tourists from Western and Central Europe. But Turkey – which borders on Armenia, Azerbaijan, Georgia, Greece, Bulgaria, Iraq, Iran, and Syria – has so much more to offer. Apart from the metropolis of Istanbul and the country’s other beautiful cities, you should spend some time discovering the regions of Anatolia and Cappadocia and their fascinating landscape.



Have fun exploring the perfect itinerary for an unforgettable trip through Turkey!


Important Basics

Official Language

Turkish

Basic Vocabulary
EnglishTurkish
YesEvet
Nohayır
Thank youteşekkürler
Helloselam; merhaba
Goodbyeeyvallah; hoşça kal
Capital City

Ankara

Form of Government

Parliamentary Republic

Phone Country Code

+90

Currency

Turkish Lira

Climate

Highest temperature by day: 7–32 °C

Highest temperature by night: -1–19 °C

Summer: June to September

Winter: December to February

Fun Fact

Turkey’s traditional national sport is oil wrestling.

Cities

Istanbul

Your journey starts in the unofficial capital of Turkey, Istanbul. The city on the Bosporus is the link between Europe and Asia and is therefore a melting pot of cultures. The city has a lot to offer, so it is a must on any trip to Turkey.

The first stop in the city is the Hagia Sophia, the city’s main mosque, which is over 1,500 years old. It is THE landmark of the city and has seen a lot of changes. First it was a Christian cathedral, then it became a mosque and finally a museum. In 2020, the Hagia Sophia was turned into a mosque again.

The next sight on your list is the Grand Bazaar. With more than 4,000 shops and traders and more than 50,000 visitors every day, you might not only run the risk of forgetting the time but also of getting lost. The Bazaar is also the perfect place to practice your negotiation skills, so that you don’t pay the tourist price for your souvenirs. The first nights of your trip will be spent at one of the city’s many hostels. A night in a 6-bed dorm is about €20 per person.

As you continue to explore Istanbul, you’ll come across the Galata Bridge, from where you can take a boat trip around the Bosporus. Seeing the city from the water will give you an entirely different perspective!

On your last night in Istanbul, take the night bus to Göreme. With tickets starting at around €19, this is an inexpensive but comfortable way of traveling around quickly.

Göreme

After an eight-hour bus ride (and hopefully a good night's sleep), you’ll wake up in the Asian part of Turkey in the municipality of Cappadocia.

But the long bus ride is definitely worth it, because this is where you can find the incredible Rock towns of Göreme, which are a UNESCO World Heritage Site. The rock formations in the Göreme Historical National Park were formed over millions of years by natural forces, before early Christians settled here. Take as much time as you need to explore the elaborate temples and dwellings in the rock, some of which were even built underground.

To get the best view of the breathtaking landscape, you need to go up high. Luckily, Cappadocia is a hotspot for hot air balloons. Are you read for take off?

There are several hostels available in Göreme. A bed in a dorm will cost you around €9 per night.

Mersin

The easiest way to get to Mersin, a city on the coast of the Mediterranean Sea, is by bus. The trip takes about four hours and costs €15.

In Mersin, you’ve finally reached the beach! But the city also has a lot of culture to offer. One of its most exciting sights is the Roman hammam. You can also find remains of temples, theaters, and graveyards all over the place.

As one of the largest port cities in southern Turkey, Mersin is also an important commercial center. It’s furthermore a university city, and you’ll therefore see a lot of young people around. The city is fully committed to its own development and to becoming more than just a port city.

Spending the night in a hotel here will cost about €16. On your last night in Mersin, take the night bus to Pamukkale for €24.

Pamukkale

As you wake up, you’ll be greeted by the gently rolling landscape that surrounds Pamukkale. The biggest highlight here is also just outside the city. The white limestone terraces with countless naturally formed pools are the only ones of their kind. The terraced pools have developed over thousands of years. Due to the evaporation of the water in the thermal springs below, the limestone remains intact and forms deposits. It also means that the water is pleasantly warm and perfect for you to relax in. This is a great place to recover from the first half of your trip.

Of course, Pamukkale has a lot more to offer, which is why you’ll sadly have to get out of the water eventually. The restored amphitheater, the Temple of Apollo, and the City Gate will make you feel like you're in the movie Gladiator. You can also find a place for the night in Pamukkale, where a double room usually is around €19 per night.

Ephesus

Continue your journey to the east coast of the country. A bus (€14) will take you to Ephesus, one of the most important cities in antiquity.

You simply cannot miss this city while you’re in Turkey. After all, the ruins of the Temple of Artemis are the last remaining ancient Wonder of the World. We recommend taking the whole day to visit the many ruins. Historians estimate that the temple originally consisted of around 117 columns.

Equally impressive is the Temple of Hadrian, which was built in honor of its namesake, the Roman emperor. Save some of your energy to reach the top of the ancient theater of Ephesus. From there you’ll have a magnificent view over the ruins and the Mediterranean Sea.

After a day full of impressive experiences, you can get some rest in one of the nearby hostels. A night in an 8-bed dorm will cost you around €12.

Bodrum

From Ephesus, a bus will take south to the city of Bodrum, which is located on the Aegean Sea. Here, you’ll find everything that usually comes to mind when you think of Turkey: clear, deep blue water, white sand, and a charming little town. Bodrum’s nickname as the “White City” is no accident, as the bright buildings immediately stand out from the rocky coast of the peninsula.

After working on your tan on one of the nearby beaches, it’s time to discover everything Bodrum has to offer. The landmark of the city is the castle St. Peter. You cannot miss it on your walk across the marina, as it towers above the boats in the harbor.

In Bodrum, you’ll be able to enjoy some of the best food in Turkey. Don’t miss the city’s nightlife either! Enjoy the live music in the bars along the marina and have a drink in a relaxed atmosphere to round off your trip. Once you’re tired, catch some sleep in one of Bodrum’s hostels. A night in a 6-bed dorm is only about €8 here.


Istanbul

Istanbul

Your journey starts in the unofficial capital of Turkey, Istanbul. The city on the Bosporus is the link between Europe and Asia and is therefore a melting pot of cultures. The city has a lot to offer, so it is a must on any trip to Turkey.

The first stop in the city is the Hagia Sophia, the city’s main mosque, which is over 1,500 years old. It is THE landmark of the city and has seen a lot of changes. First it was a Christian cathedral, then it became a mosque and finally a museum. In 2020, the Hagia Sophia was turned into a mosque again.

The next sight on your list is the Grand Bazaar. With more than 4,000 shops and traders and more than 50,000 visitors every day, you might not only run the risk of forgetting the time but also of getting lost. The Bazaar is also the perfect place to practice your negotiation skills, so that you don’t pay the tourist price for your souvenirs. The first nights of your trip will be spent at one of the city’s many hostels. A night in a 6-bed dorm is about €20 per person.

As you continue to explore Istanbul, you’ll come across the Galata Bridge, from where you can take a boat trip around the Bosporus. Seeing the city from the water will give you an entirely different perspective!

On your last night in Istanbul, take the night bus to Göreme. With tickets starting at around €19, this is an inexpensive but comfortable way of traveling around quickly.

Göreme

Göreme

After an eight-hour bus ride (and hopefully a good night's sleep), you’ll wake up in the Asian part of Turkey in the municipality of Cappadocia.

But the long bus ride is definitely worth it, because this is where you can find the incredible Rock towns of Göreme, which are a UNESCO World Heritage Site. The rock formations in the Göreme Historical National Park were formed over millions of years by natural forces, before early Christians settled here. Take as much time as you need to explore the elaborate temples and dwellings in the rock, some of which were even built underground.

To get the best view of the breathtaking landscape, you need to go up high. Luckily, Cappadocia is a hotspot for hot air balloons. Are you read for take off?

There are several hostels available in Göreme. A bed in a dorm will cost you around €9 per night.

Mersin

Mersin

The easiest way to get to Mersin, a city on the coast of the Mediterranean Sea, is by bus. The trip takes about four hours and costs €15.

In Mersin, you’ve finally reached the beach! But the city also has a lot of culture to offer. One of its most exciting sights is the Roman hammam. You can also find remains of temples, theaters, and graveyards all over the place.

As one of the largest port cities in southern Turkey, Mersin is also an important commercial center. It’s furthermore a university city, and you’ll therefore see a lot of young people around. The city is fully committed to its own development and to becoming more than just a port city.

Spending the night in a hotel here will cost about €16. On your last night in Mersin, take the night bus to Pamukkale for €24.

Pamukkale

Pamukkale

As you wake up, you’ll be greeted by the gently rolling landscape that surrounds Pamukkale. The biggest highlight here is also just outside the city. The white limestone terraces with countless naturally formed pools are the only ones of their kind. The terraced pools have developed over thousands of years. Due to the evaporation of the water in the thermal springs below, the limestone remains intact and forms deposits. It also means that the water is pleasantly warm and perfect for you to relax in. This is a great place to recover from the first half of your trip.

Of course, Pamukkale has a lot more to offer, which is why you’ll sadly have to get out of the water eventually. The restored amphitheater, the Temple of Apollo, and the City Gate will make you feel like you're in the movie Gladiator. You can also find a place for the night in Pamukkale, where a double room usually is around €19 per night.

Ephesus

Ephesus

Continue your journey to the east coast of the country. A bus (€14) will take you to Ephesus, one of the most important cities in antiquity.

You simply cannot miss this city while you’re in Turkey. After all, the ruins of the Temple of Artemis are the last remaining ancient Wonder of the World. We recommend taking the whole day to visit the many ruins. Historians estimate that the temple originally consisted of around 117 columns.

Equally impressive is the Temple of Hadrian, which was built in honor of its namesake, the Roman emperor. Save some of your energy to reach the top of the ancient theater of Ephesus. From there you’ll have a magnificent view over the ruins and the Mediterranean Sea.

After a day full of impressive experiences, you can get some rest in one of the nearby hostels. A night in an 8-bed dorm will cost you around €12.

Bodrum

Bodrum

From Ephesus, a bus will take south to the city of Bodrum, which is located on the Aegean Sea. Here, you’ll find everything that usually comes to mind when you think of Turkey: clear, deep blue water, white sand, and a charming little town. Bodrum’s nickname as the “White City” is no accident, as the bright buildings immediately stand out from the rocky coast of the peninsula.

After working on your tan on one of the nearby beaches, it’s time to discover everything Bodrum has to offer. The landmark of the city is the castle St. Peter. You cannot miss it on your walk across the marina, as it towers above the boats in the harbor.

In Bodrum, you’ll be able to enjoy some of the best food in Turkey. Don’t miss the city’s nightlife either! Enjoy the live music in the bars along the marina and have a drink in a relaxed atmosphere to round off your trip. Once you’re tired, catch some sleep in one of Bodrum’s hostels. A night in a 6-bed dorm is only about €8 here.

Turkey Route Map

Itinerary and Stops.

Tag
Route/Station
Transport
Unterkunft
1. Home – Istanbul
Home – Istanbul
Flight
80
6-bed dorm
20
2. Istanbul
Istanbul
-
6-bed dorm
20
3. Istanbul
Istanbul
-
6-bed dorm
20
4. Istanbul – Göreme
Istanbul – Göreme
Night bus
19
5. Göreme
Göreme
-
Dorm
9
6. Göreme
Göreme
-
Dorm
9
7. Göreme
Göreme
-
Dorm
9
8. Göreme – Mersin
Göreme – Mersin
Bus
15
Private Room
16
9. Mersin
Mersin
-
Private Room
16
10. Mersin
Mersin
-
Private Room
16
11. Mersin – Pamukkale
Mersin – Pamukkale
Night bus
24
Double Room
19
12. Pamukkale
Pamukkale
-
Double Room
19
13. Pamukkale
Pamukkale
-
Double Room
19
14. Pamukkale – Ephesus
Pamukkale – Ephesus
Bus
14
8-bed dorm
12
15. Ephesus
Ephesus
-
8-bed dorm
12
16. Ephesus
Ephesus
-
8-bed dorm
12
17. Ephesus – Bodrum
Ephesus – Bodrum
Bus
12
6-bed dorm
8
18. Bodrum
Bodrum
-
6-bed dorm
8
19. Bodrum
Bodrum
-
6-bed dorm
8
20. Bodrum
Bodrum
-
6-bed dorm
8
21. Bodrum – Home
Bodrum – Home
Flight
80

Total price.

Flights 160,00
Transportation 84,00
Tours 0,00
Accommodation 260,00
Total504,00

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deine eigene

Reise erstellen?

Du möchtest deine

eigene Reise erstellen?

Dos and Donts, Food & Drinks, Costs.

Breakfast

Acuka: this is a type of spread that comes in many varieties, such as chili or nuts. It is usually eaten with flatbread.

Menemen: the dish consists of tomatoes and scrambled eggs..

Soups

Green lentil soup: lentil soup is a favorite of many Turkish people. It’s usually very spicy.

Kelle paça çorbası: for this soup, you need different parts of a lamb’s body, like the brain and the tongue. They are then cooked into a soup.

Bulgur çorbası: this soup is made mainly from bulgur and onions. It has a very creamy consistency.

Main courses

Kebab: of course you already know the doner dish, but in Turkey it tastes just that little bit better. You also have the choice between several alternatives here and can try something new with every meal.

Kofta:  köfte are Turkish meatballs, which are served with flat bread or fries and potatoes.

Biber Dolması: the stuffed peppers are roasted and filled with meat or couscous.

Mantı: these dumplings are filled with meat or vegetables and are served with a creamy yogurt sauce.

Ali Nazik:  this is a purée, served with eggplants. Usually, you’ll have it with lamb or with some vegetables.

Flatbread:  in Turkey, you cannot go without flatbread. Whether you have it with a tasty dip or as a side dish to a main course – it just always tastes great!

Drinks

Ayran: this yogurt drink is perfect for hot summer days.

Rakı: this brandy, made from grapes and anise, is served alongside most main meals. 

Beer: Efes and Tabs are the most popular beer brands in Turkey and also firm favorites with many backpackers.

Turkey

The exchange rate for 10 Turkish Lira (₺) is around €1.42 (as of March 2020). See prices for certain products and the cost of living below.

Cost of Living

Food

Free Time

Personal Hygiene

Dos

Reserved greetings: Turkish people usually shake hands when they meet each other, and this greeting is generally pretty reserved. This is especially the case when women are present.

Simple clothing: bright colors and flamboyant outfits? You won’t see any of these in Turkey, because people here tend to stick to plain and simple clothing.

Respect Ramadan: if you’re visiting Turkey during Ramadan, you should respect the tradition and not eat in front of other people. This is a basic rule for all trips to predominantly Muslim countries during this time.

Islam: Turkey is the perfect place to learn more about Islam. Take the opportunity to immerse yourself in this fascinating religion!

Don'ts

Wearing your shoes inside: before entering someone’s house, take off your shoes. You’ll often even be provided with your own slippers, so don’t worry about getting cold feet!

Nudism: public nudity is forbidden in Turkey, and you won’t find any beaches where this behavior is allowed.

Visa, Visa, Passport & Vaccinations

Passport

Yes

Temporary passport

Yes

National ID

Yes

Temporary national ID

Yes

Child’s pass

Yes

Visa

(Not necessary)

Vaccine

Robert-Koch-Instituts

Additional Remarks.

Please make sure all of your travel documents are valid for the duration of your trip. Please also find out about the current entry regulations regarding COVID. You can find further information at your country’s Foreign Office.

The team at Backpacker Trail wishes you lots of fun and an unforgettable trip!

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