Summer Roadtrip Through Turkey

Wearing: 1/ Asos dressMatisse sandals.  2/ VAVA by Jon Ham off shoulder top, Mango denim shorts (similar here).  3/ Mango dress (similar here), Sol Sana sandalsAntik Batik clutch.  4/  Zimmermann bikini set.  5/ Asos off shoulder top, Asos shorts, Sam Edelman sandals.  6/ Mango dress, Isabel Marant sandals.

During late July and early August last year I did a two week road trip through Turkey. After spending a few days in Istanbul, I flew South to the seaside town of Fethiye where we rented a car and it all started. This road trip was my favourite experience of all travels last year, and cemented Turkey as my favourite country to travel through so far. This country never stopped surprising me with its rich culture, colour, history, food, landscapes and hospitality.

I have a genuine fear of flying, which sparked the alternative idea of driving through Turkey as opposed to the regional flights on small planes. Our hotel helped us organise a last minute car rental with Avis and we were driving off, learning the coastal freeways twenty minutes later. There are endless benefits to driving if you have the available time, but being able to pull over at any given chance to watch a sunset, take in a seaside or mountain view, sing along to Turkish radio with your feet on the dashboard, or buy fruit from a street vendor makes all of the difference.

I’ve listed the below recommendations by city, in the order that I visited them. If you have any more tips for my other readers visiting, please share in the comments section.

Fethiye is a seaside city, and one of Turkey’s most popular tourist destinations in the summer thanks to its climate, natural beauty and less expensive lifestyle.
How to get there: I flew from Istanbul to Dalaman with Turkish Airlines, where the hotel then picked us up for the 1 hour drive along the Coast to the hotel in Fethiye.
Where to stay: I stayed at Hillside Beach Club. I’d previously stayed here the summer before and was just as blown away the second time around. Simply styled villas line the hills overlooking the glistening secluded bay, with hidden private beaches and pontoons. The hotel was at full capacity but I always felt like a world away. They also had an orchestra play on a pontoon at sunset, creating a surreally romantic atmosphere.
What to do: Turkey boasts some of the clearest water I’ve ever swam in, so it only makes sense to spend all available time on or in it. If possible take a boat out for the day or sunset.

Bodrum is a port city in southwestern Turkey. Millions of tourists flock to its beaches, boutique hotels and clubs each summer. I hate to compare, but it did have similarities to the nearby Greek Isles.
Where to stay: I stayed at Doria Hotel, Bodrum. I would advise doing more thorough research than I did, expecting the hotel to be beachside rather than 20 minutes drive to their “private beach”. Was good enough for a last minute booking on Expedia!
What to do: I personally didn’t match with Bodrum. The town seemed to be overrun by British tourists, and the locals were acting and selling whatever they thought would appeal to them. Unfortunately the recommended sight Castle of St. Peter was closed due to a public holiday the one day we were there. Instead we drove to Gümüşlük, a quieter and picturesque seaside village and fishing port thirty minutes drive from Bodrum.
Where to eat: While in Gümüşlük I ate at Gumuscafe Fish Restaurant and can highly recommend it. Obviously seafood is the number one thing to eat while here, in a beautiful setting perched over (or some tables were literally in) the water.

Where to stay: Or should I say, where not to stay! I booked Le Bleu Hotel & Resort last minute on Expedia again, but had my first bad experience from the moment we tried to check in. From telling me I was lying about having a booking and I wasn’t welcome, to the room literally falling apart, I was very happy to leave. There are plenty of other hotels around with sea side views that would be better options than here.
What to do: While I stayed in Kuşadası I didn’t explore the city, instead using it as a base to visit Ephesus and nearby Dilek Peninsula National Park.
In this blog post from last year I introduced Ephesus after shooting and exploring there. It was an ancient Greek city in Turkey’s İzmir Province, built in the 10th century BC. The run down, but beautiful ruins are visited by thousands of tourists and I suggest arriving as soon as the park opens at 8am.
Dilek Peninsula National Park was a last minute decision to visit, and took me by complete surprise. This is an absolutely stunning area of seemingly untouched woods, and sparkling turquoise waters. Turkish holidaymakers pour in to the National Park and park their cars anywhere possible, finding their favourite nooks on an array of beaches and coves spread over a few miles. The Cave of Zeus was a cool sight, but the crowds were far too overwhelming to attempt getting close for a view let alone swimming. Make sure to pack a picnic, or keep your eyes peeled for the below…
Where to eat: While driving back from Dilek Peninsula National Park I spotted a roadside organic market stall, that doubled as a basic eatery. There were dozens of Turkish women either making fresh Spinach and Feta Gözleme (traditional Turkish flatbread) in the open fire ovens, or washing the fresh fruit and vegetable produce taken from the farmland surrounding. Unfortunately I couldn’t see or understand the name.

Pamukkale is an unreal landscape made up of mineral forests, petrified waterfalls and a series of terraced basins. You can read my full blog post from Pamukkale here.
Where to stay: I didn’t stay in Pamukkale, and am under the impression that not many travellers do. Hoards of tourists visit the main site of Pamukkale thermals and hot springs before passing on to their next destination, so make sure to get there right on opening time. I continued on driving to the town of Akşehir (where no one spoke a word of English) en route to Cappadocia.

Cappadocia I had been dreaming of visiting Cappadocia for years, its otherworldly landscape reminding me of Star Wars. It is surreal driving through the barren depths of Turkey to suddenly come across Cappadocia… with fairy chimneys, looming boulders and honeycombed rock formations suddenly jutting out of the Earth.
Where to stay: I couldn’t recommend Hezen Cave Hotel highly enough. From the moment we finally found the hotel (I did not mind being lost at all as I felt like we were exploring another planet) I was in awe. The hotel itself is absolutely beautiful, with stunning views over the town of Ürgüp. The traditional Cave rooms are built in to the hill, and have individualised Turkish personality and colour. But it was the above and beyond service from every single staff member that made the biggest difference. When welcomed we were given a thorough outline of the areas unique landscape and history, and genuine recommendations of where to eat and what to see. By far the best hotel I’ve experienced in a long time, and I would go back purposely to stay again.
What to do: Simply driving or walking through Cappadocia is an experience. Apart from the landscape in general the main reason people visit is for the Hot Air Ballooning. On the first morning I watched the sunrise from a cliff top and saw hundreds of the hot air balloons rise and float through the skies, and the following morning I was on one myself. I went with the Kapadokya Balloons, and will be posting a full blog post soon.
Derinkuyu Underground City is an ancient multi-level underground city that has a depth of 60metres. Great to explore but not recommended for anyone with claustrophobia.
Where to eat: Ziggy’s was recommended to us by the Hezen Hotel staff, and was definitely the best meal of the trip. Incredible views, hospitality, and the desert was so good I ordered seconds of it.

  • Love these pics 🙂 I’m planning a trip to Turkey and Greece in September so it’s really helpful to hear about some of the towns that are a must-see. Looks like you had the most perfect weather too!

  • mariel

    impeccable photos Jessica, I always drown in the amazingness of your photos and they never fail to make me wanderlust <3 Turkey looks so lovely

  • Megan

    Looks absolutely amazing! I am so jealous of your travels!


  • fashionillustrationsbymc

    Amazing locations! I have been to Turkey before and loved it!

  • Love Turkey. It’s amazing!!!

    The Pink Candy

  • The pictures are amazing <3

    Luise |

  • Whitney V

    I’m dreaming of Turkey so badly… I hope I can go soon, this album is a dream, every photo tells a story, it all looks so very gorgeous and also so romantic! Have you been to my Costa Rica? I bet you’d love a road trip there!! 😉


  • Saša Rakovec

    Gorgeous photos! And I love this yellow top you are wearing!



  • Kimberly Ann

    These are GORGEOUS pictures! That sounds like such an amazing trip!

    Kim .. MARRIED!

  • Absolutely stunning shots. Turkey is a country I’m truly itching to explore. And top of my list is hunting down those table and chairs in the water — what an amazing place for a cold drink and getting lost in your thoughts.

    michelle marie

  • Wonderful place! 🙂

  • Natalia

    I’m in love with the pictures!

  • Rae

    What an amazing place! Definitely adding it to my list!


  • Tailored and true

    These photos are absolutely stunning! I just want to visit Turkey!

  • Christina Marie

    Great post and great photos!! Turkey is close to the top for my travel list!

  • Natali

    Breathtaking photo diary and such an informative post! Now I have no other choice but to visit Turkey and experience all of this beauty as well. 🙂

  • Turkey was in my top 10 for visits this Summer, but it is now in my top 3 because of this post! It looks amazing ! Thanks for sharing where to stay and not to stay; so helpful!

  • These are such beautiful photos, it looks like a great time! You look beautiful too!

  • lavieenliz

    Turkey seems like such a beautiful place — I definitely have to visit! I love these pics

  • monkeyshines
  • Andrea Ryan

    Turkey looks amazing. It looks like a lot of the signs are in English at that supermarket. I didn’t realize it was so convenient.

  • WOW, how stunning are these pics. Now I really want to visit Turkey again!
    And your outfits are also very beautiful!

  • Kblossoms

    Gorgeous stunning photos! Makes me want to visit Turkey one day. Beautiful outfits

  • Jessica

    I love that you post so many photos and you actually tell us where you went! That means a lot, I know that if I need any advice regarding any of the places you have visited, I can always refer back to your pictures. Amazing photography and your simplistic fashion style is amazing! THANK YOU THANK YOU THANK YOU! I read a lot of blogs such as Kayture and GaryPepperGirl and your blog definitely stands out because you not only post about fashion but about travel too! 🙂 keep doing what you do!

  • This is so beautiful. I honestly want to do this! Thank you! Have you done a post like this on America?

    Petite Side of Style

  • The pictures look really good, and the water is so clean. 🙂

    Did you true coffee, do you like it? its also very popular in my country?

  • wow, the pictures look so amazing and beautiful! And thank you so much for all the travel tips, about where to stay, go and what to do! Your blog is definitely my favorite one when it comes to travel advice! <3
    Jeany |

  • This is amazing. Just the most stunning photos. The last few with the hot air balloons literally took my breath away <3

    xo Kristen

  • Amazing<3

    Shall We Sasa

  • Wow. I don’t think I’ve ever had photographs make me want to visit a place more.

  • Alex

    your photos are always breathtaking! <3

  • Beautiful photos! Love your sandals 🙂


  • Stunning photos. Looks like you had a truly enriching experience!

  • Another paradise!! I could always spend hours scrolling through your photos, always so so beautiful!

    Shot From The Street | Fashion Blog

  • Honestly just breathtaking! Would love to visit Turkey and do a roadtrip at some point. It looks like heaven! 🙂

    xx, Mel

  • Nico

    These shots are breathtaking!!

    How to wear boho-chic, folk and ethno styles in TOWN on
    lb-lc fashion blog

  • Such beautiful photos <3 I'd really love to see those balloons once, I saw them before on your blogs and it must be one of the most magical things ever!

  • Anna

    Stunning!! That last picture tho <3

  • vonny

    such a breathtaking blog post! all these photos are amazingly beautiful 🙂

  • beautiful trip. I´ve travelled to Turkey, but only Istanbul. But I´m looking forward to visit Cappadocia, I didn´t know about the balloons, it´s an awesome experience!

  • TheItalianGlam

    Turkey is really stunning

    great dress

  • I remember when you went on this trip. It certainly put Turkey on the map for me since I hadn’t thought to travel there previously. These images are stunning.


  • SweetMona

    wow amazing post!!!

    new look on my blog,

  • Feyi A

    breathtaking! x


  • Cappadocia looks so breathtaking and will have to put it on my list and make sure that I make it at sunrise! Your pictures are perfection.

  • Stunning photos! They make me want to go back and explore Turkey x

  • Joy Shiness
  • Julia

    These photos are so stunning Jessica, the balloon sunrise shot still takes my breath away. Turkey is on the bucket list for sure, even more so after seeing all of these stunning photos 🙂


  • shelby
  • Total awesomeness … Fantastic views, beautiful traditional architecture. The exquisite & timeless culture definitely shines in these charming images. Nice shots! 🙂

    La Bijoux Bella | by mia

  • Turkey looks absolutely gorgeous! Love the photos. Wishing to go here some day! X

  • Joanne

    These are such breathtaking photos! Especially the last one. I adore all your outfits, and these look so vibrant and fun and adventurous! I’m obsessed with this post. Xoxo


  • it’s like a dream..wishing to visit there some day:)
    love all the photos, so beautiful!!

  • Hi Jess. Love your blog. I have wanted to visit turkey as long as I can remember and I am doing europe come July. hope I get the chance to do it properly. Was there any time you felt unsafe or out fo your depth re driving? And are internal flights within turkey expensive? your photos are incredible. X

  • Thank you for such a detailed and images enriched post!!

  • banu
  • Rhea

    Such a stunning travel diary! So much hard work has gone into this. Really appreciate your work!

  • This is an amazing collection of photos. I love the hot air balloon shots especially, remember those from your instagram!
    Hugs Adele xoxo

  • Mónica Sors

    No words, we have a lovely planet, and you bring us a little of that, every day 😉




  • Wow, so incredibly beautiful! This has me bumping Turkey up on my travel list!

  • Such amazing sights, especially of the clear aquamarine waters in many of the pictures! Love all your casual chic yet feminine outfits too, you look beautiful!


  • I hadn’t considered road-tripping through Turkey before, but i’m definitely considering it now! Stunning photos!

  • Wow is all I can say. These photos are breathtaking. I’d been contemplating a European getaway but sticking mostly to the far west. I feel like I need to reconsider this and look further into Turkey. What a dream!


  • Marisa Fonseca

    Europe has so many amazing countries to visit!! I never thought Turkey was so beautiful!! xo Marisa

  • Utterly incredible images packed full with so much colour – Tuula Vintage just gets better and better!

    Gabrielle | A Glass Of Ice


  • Chrissabella

    This pictures are so beautiful and colourful! Love all your amazing outfits!

  • I’m heading on your around Turkey in July that heads to all these places! So excited! Seems you did the right thing by going by car and properly experiencing the place. Your photos are absolute magic.

  • Paula

    I read in an oldder post the câmera and lense she uses but forgot to write it down, anyone know?! These photos are simply amazing! All her photos are!

  • This is absolutely an amazing photo story. It must have been magical to drive through a city and experience the culture and Turkish life firsthand. I always look forward to your posts and your recommendations, and your fashion!

    Characters & Carry-ons

  • Lorena

    Nice experience. Lovely pics!


  • Elizabeth

    this photo diary from Turkey is so great! love hearing about your trips!

  • ouiam

    this post is like a story I was travelling through your pictures , your words
    Thank you so much for this incredible post

  • Excellent! Love this!

  • Amazing! I have visited Turkey several times…and your post reminded me a lot about that beautiful time


  • Oh wow this makes me miss Turkey so much. Pamukkale was one of the most amazing, surreal places I’ve seen! Stunning photos as always 🙂

  • Hey!

    I just started a blog, and I in no way expect it to be as successful as yours. However I was wondering if you had any tips for me. I have 2 posts up, but really i’ve just written them for my self, as I have no followers lol

    I really just want one other person to read a post and maybe get a fashion tip or something as my friends are tired of my unsolicited fashion advice.

    If you, or anyone else could help me out, I’d greatly appreciate it! At this point, I don’t even know how to find it on bloglovin, so it’s really just for fun, and a bit of a struggle

  • What an amazing set of photos! Absolutely gorgeous!

  • Ebony

    I don’t normally comment, but I really loved this post! I gasped at a few photos as they were so beautiful and I instantly wanted to be transported there. I am going on my own trip to Europe and New York from June – early August, and I’ve already started trying to figure out what I should pack. As a seasoned pro, I was wondering whether you have any guidelines/tips that you should share about packing? E.g. a type of bag, shoes, types of materials that you find work best. What about beauty/hair products? Also, perhaps a little vain of me to ask, but what clothes look best in photos? I always look bland in photos, but you just pop and look amazing every time. Thanks!

  • Melanie

    Beautiful photos! I especially love the last one! My wanderlust is getting intense… haha! I’m hopefully planning a Europe trip next year so this post is great for ideas and advice 🙂 Thanks for the post!


  • Jint

    Wauw great post, the very first pic with the balloons is my all time favorite!


  • such an awesome place awesome pictures!

  • Debora H

    Thank you for all these gorgeous pictures and advice I’ve always been craving to visit Turkey!!

  • This place is great, exotic, and classical culture, out of the ordinary seaside scenery!ブランド靴新作

  • Evi

    Amazing photos! What a beauty!

    Evi xoxo

    Notebook of a Fashion Lover

  • wild nettle


  • Dreaming Turkey now! My husband flies Hot Air Balloons over the Masai Mara plains in Kenya & I work with some amazing Artisans, hand crafting jewellery and sharing it with Australians! Tuula, you should add Kenya to your travel list! We would love to look after you in the Masai Mara Game reserve! Thanks for your great posts! You live a life less ordinary!

  • Inga

    so many photos and every single one is beyond stunning.
    can’t wait to visit turkey again 🙂
    xx inga

  • hi jess – amazing photos! i always love your trip recaps. i’ve only been to epheseus and kusadasi..definitely felt the same about the latter.

    it seems like you’re a big fan of driving around on your own to fully explore places and i would love to do the same but i have to ask – how do you get around? presumably turkey’s signs / driving conditions are pretty foreign or in a different language. do you ever get lost or perhaps you just hire a driver?


  • Wioletta M.

    Beautiful photos! <3

  • Albert Wijaya

    I love to see your beautiful photos in every post!

    Best, Albert | Palming Pebbles

    • She always posts so many beautiful pictures. She’s amazing!

  • Djaniella Dimayuga

    These photos are so beautiful – feels like I was in Turkey as well! Do you have more recommendations for the food spots to visit there in Turkey?

    Sincerely, Dj |

  • Christian from Squeeze Pod

    Amazing photos of Turkey. Very interesting place. The food, the view…everything! Thanks for sharing!

  • FabMums

    Love Istanbul so much but never been to the rest of the country. I was planning a road trip this summer and this will definitely be my starting point in my research now. Many thanks!! Oh, and the photos are simply amazing!!!

  • cristina


    NEW LOOK. What do you think? I am waiting for your comments. Kisses. Nice Weekend

    • Looks good! Clean crisp and modern. I like it, keep up the amazing work.

  • I am truly blessed and will never stop
    being thankful for all the experience this life has granted me. Here’s
    to always believing in your dreams and pushing to achieve them. Life is
    an adventure worth pursuing. Believe anything is possible and you will
    achieve it. ~Namaste

  • Beautiful photos!!!


  • Diana Arias

    Everything looks so perfect!!! Nice pictures 😀


  • Veena

    Your pictures are so beautiful! Turkey is definitely next on my list. Thanks for the really interesting notes and comments on Turkey!

    ♡ veena |
    twitter/instagram: @veenamccoole

  • Michèle

    watching my way down through your photos I felt more and more like just stepping into an airplane and explore the whole world. such amazingly beautiful photos, Jess

  • Cynthia

    Such an amazing post! It makes me want to be there! so inspirational!

  • Sumeyra

    I am an Aussie with Turkish origin and was lucky enough to take a 5 week trip there in 2012. I definitely would recommend an island-hopping day cruise in Fethiye. Not only was it one of the most fun day day trips ever but it was also ridiculously cheap with lunch included! Another recommendation that was also an amazing experience was the Green Tour in Cappadocia. A lot of companies offer the same tour route which takes you underground to Derinkuyu Underground City and also to the the picturesque Ihlara Valley where lunch is served on a beautiful river after a mini trek, as well as several other locations.

    I would love for you to check out my blog in which I posted about my experience hot air ballooning in Cappadocia!

    P.S. I absolutely love your blog and your pictures!!!! Fuels my wanderlust even more!

  • Jennifer Kaya

    Nice post, beautiful photos! Thanks for sharing!!!

  • Denise

    Wonderful pics! Im from East Turkey and I you should see also this side of Turkey – a lot of mountains and the life of the farmers.

  • The Fashion Panda

    What an amazing trip ! Looks really so so beautiful !

  • Loved reading this post! You have inspired me to travel.

  • incredible photos and informative post! will take your tips as I plan my future Turkey trip!


    Never have I been this intrigued to visit a country!
    Thanks for the tips:)

  • La Travelera

    Love Turkey, I go every spring to my apartment and everything around is so beautiful. The markets, colours, mosques, castles, the coast…
    I’m glad you liked it

  • Check out the amazing leather bags by Ellen Vicius:

  • Your pictures are always so beautiful! What camera do you use and what lens? Thank you,

  • Anne-Mari

    Everything looks so divine! That Vava by Jon Ham top is very pretty 😀

  • Yağmur

    Welcome to our beautiful country Jessica.. I am very pleased that you enjoy your trip.. Photos are so beautiful and so are you … 🙂

  • Jus monde

    I love Istanbul so much 🙂

  • Alexandra

    Thank you for the tips. Your posts always inspire me to travel)

  • Clara

    Your photos and tips are such an ispiration for planning my travels!

  • olivia

    Once again, what a fantastic visual diary of turkey, very alluring. You have a good eye for photograph and these photos are absolutely beautiful and inspiring.

  • Simkelyte

    Wow that view is wonderful, i jealous a bit, i always dream about this kind of journey!

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  • Heart Cquek

    what a splendid view out there

  • Leanne

    Oh wow. Before reading your blog over the past couple of years I actually knew very little about Turkey. I knew only about Istanbul but this is a whole new take on the beautiful country. I’ve added a couple of these cities to my bucket list. It looks like you’ve had extraordinary experiences here.

    Love from South Africa

  • Charlie

    Hi, I was wondering, what camera do you use? Your photos are stunning!

  • Such beautiful photos ! Have a serious case of wanderlust for Turkey now

  • jovana citic

    Seems like it was a wonderfull jouney.
    Love the pictures,

  • Lilly Heinz

    I have never been
    to Turkey, but I have seen documentaries about that place on tv. It is such a
    beautiful place, full of culture and good food. And the hot air baloon trip
    looks like so much fun.

  • idil aktihan

    Such a beautiful photos, it seems then you discovered our country better than us 😀 Can I ask you where is the place that you took photo two table and chairs in to the sea, thanks a lot

  • Sarah Kline

    Whoa! This post is like a story. I was travelling through your pictures ,your words. Thank you so much for this incredible post.

  • these photos are breathtaking! x, kenz

  • Photos are really beautiful. Look like Turkey is definitely a place worth visiting on vacation.

  • We are going to make a road trip to Turkey by a rental car too ( will you this service Thank you for your list of recommendations, we’ll take into consideration.

  • we were at the Kapadokya balloons this year! It was amazing!

  • Cappadocia seems like a fairy tale place with all these balloons