The Ultimate 5-Day Western Turkey Road Trip

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Advisor - Taylor Grager
Curated By

Taylor Grager

  • City Travel

  • Nature Escapes

  • Road Trip Travel

  • History

  • Architecture

  • Outdoors

  • Local Food

anciet ruins
Curator’s statement

Turkey is the History Buffs playground. From WWI battle sites to perfectly preserved Ancient Greek cities you'll be able to get a little bit of everything plus great beaches and spas.

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Day 1: Gallipoli - WWI History and coastal beauty

The Ultimate 5-Day Western Turkey Road Trip - Day 1: Gallipoli - WWI History and coastal beauty

About 3.5 hours west of Istanbul is the Gallipoli peninsula - one of the entry points to the Dardanelles Strait and famed sight of WWI’s Gallipoli campaign - start by heading to Anzac cove to take in the sights and commemorative monuments.

Above the cove you can also visit the Lone Pine monument and the Respect to Mehmetçik Monument while taking in impressive views of the coast. There are tons of other museums and monuments to visit on the peninsula - but you can also take a ferry over to the small town of Çanakkale where you will stay the night before heading on.

Day 2: Ancient wonders - Troy to Pergamon

The Ultimate 5-Day Western Turkey Road Trip - Day 2: Ancient wonders - Troy to Pergamon

Check out of your hotel in Çanakkale and head to Troy, which is only about 30 minutes away. Troy is a UNESCO world heritage site but is best known as the setting for the Greek myth of the Trojan War. You can take a short tour around the city which is divided into many archaeological layers. From Troy you will drive about three hours south to Pergamon where you can take in the famed amphitheater and Asclepion. After walking around the sites of Pergamon I recommend heading to the coast to stay the night in the hip coastal town of Izmir or you can continue on to the town of Kusadesi which will be your base for the next couple of days.

Day 3: Epic journey from Troy to Ephesus

The Ultimate 5-Day Western Turkey Road Trip - Day 3: Epic journey from Troy to Ephesus

If you decide to stay in Izmir you will head down to Kusadesi to take in the sites of Ephusus - a remarkably intact ancient Greek city. Here you will be able to see the Library of Celsus and the Temple of Artemis. Seeing the entire city of Ephusus is a full day affair so head back to your hotel and get some rest.

Day 4: Exploring Şirince and ancient sites

beautiful Şirince

Head about 30 minutes east to the quaint village of Şirince - cars are prohibited on many of the roads so you can walk around take in the local bazar and try the famed fruit wine of the region If you didn’t see these sites the day before I’d recommend stopping at the Basilica of St. John and the House of the Virgin Mary on the way back to Kusadesi.

Day 5: From Aphrodisias to Pamukkale's thermal springs

Beautiful beach

We are heading to Pamukkale, an area famous for its Carbonite minerals left by thermal hot springs. On the way I recommend getting off the beaten path and stopping at Aphrodisias - a small but stunning ancient Greek city named after Aphrodite. After exploring the ancient city, finish your road trip off in Pamukkale where you can relax and take advantage of the spas and thermal hot springs all around the city.

Advisor - Taylor Grager

Travel Advisor

Taylor Grager

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For more travel tips, check out Fora Advisor Ellie Zade’s guide, History, Architecture and Fine Dining in Istanbul. This guide is part of our ongoing series on travel to Türkiye.