Turkey is a country with a lot to offer. Between the main cities, rugged desert and Aegean coast there is so much natural beauty to see. Turkey is a great deal larger than the other European countries visited on The Gap Map itinerary so it’s necessary to factor in a decent amount of time here. Keep in mind that distances are longer so travelling between points can take many hours.
For this reason the best mode of transport in Turkey are the overnight coaches. These modern and clean buses are comfortable and have routes running all over the country. An overnight bus may not provide the best nights sleep but it saves money on accommodation for a night and also means that you’re not wasting a whole day sitting on the bus when you could be lying on the beach! Most of the buses even have wifi so you can keep yourself entertained with movies if you can’t manage to get any shut-eye.
Following the suggested European Gap Map the route begins with Istanbul, Turkey as the very first stop. Fly in via Istanbul airport and take the bus to the city centre. Be sure to ask the hostel for directions and bus information in advance.
This map shows the most cost and time effective route for travel around Turkey.
Read more about each location below.
Turkeys Capital is a must see with lively market places, grand temples and a busy harbour there is much to explore. See more Istanbul details .
A dry, desert like area of central Turkey, this is a magical place unlike any other. It was chosen as the set for some scenes in the Star Wars films for its unique landscape. The area is dotted with rock ‘ice cream cone’ formations making it look much like another planet. These formations are also known as ‘Fairy Chimneys’ and are scattered as far as the eye can see. Unbelievably, these were once used as houses and churches in the village of Goreme. Take the opportunity for a couple of active days packed with walking, exploring and activities. See more Cappodoccia details .
This little town has made a name for itself since tourists started coming to visit the famous travertines. The natural hot water springs look like white puffy clouds holding shallow pools of bright blue water. This is where Pamukkale got it’s name meaning ‘cotton castles’. The gleaming white formations are created by the calcium carbonate in the water. It is now declared a Unesco world heritage site and lies along side an ancient Roman city Hierapolis. The baths were once used in ancient times as a health centre because the water was believed to contain healing qualities. Today, the springs continue to draw crowds, hosting over 1.5 million tourists each year. See more Pamukkale details .
This hippy village is the perfect place for a chilled out Gap Mapper wanting to soak up the natural atmosphere. With only one dirt road that runs through the town lined with tree house hostels and a few restaurants, there is not much to do but chill out and go to the beach. See more Olympos details.
The laneways in the small port town of Fethiye are packed in summer with tourists ducking in and out of shops, bars and kebab stores. If you’re keen to party, stay in the town where clubs stay open till late. If you’re looking for a more relaxing stay the Calis beach area about a 15-20 minute bus ride from the town offers a tranquil contrast from the town. The mini bus or Dolmus runs until midnight giving easy access to restaurants and bars in town. See more Fethiye details .
A few nights in Bodrum to explore is optional. Alternatively, move straight on to Greece. There is also the opportunity to do a day trip from Bodrum to Gümüşlük coastal area, a picturesque seaside village recommended by @tuulavintage
To get from Turkey to Greece, ferry prices often vary depending which company you book through. The cheapest route is usually Brodrum to Kos. Visit the ticketing offices in person if you have time to get quotes but always check online aswell. The below two sites often have the cheapest tickets:
Bodrum to Kos Bodrum Express Lines 17 Euro
Bodrum to Kos Feribot 17Euro