15 days in Turkey & United Arab Emirates Itinerary

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Istanbul, Turkey
— 4 nights
Goreme, Turkey
— 3 nights
Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates
— 2 nights
Dubai, United Arab Emirates
— 4 nights


Istanbul, Turkey — 4 nights

Queen of Cities

A physical and cultural bridge between Europe and Asia, the transcontinental city of Istanbul serves as a living reminder of the Roman, Byzantine, and Ottoman empires.
Hagia Sophia Mosque and Basilica Cistern will appeal to history buffs. Bring the kids along to Sultan Ahmed Mosque and Ortakoy. There's lots more to do: take an in-depth tour of Topkapi Palace, contemplate in the serene atmosphere at Suleymaniye Cami , admire the striking features of Dolmabahce Palace, and contemplate the long history of Historic Areas of Istanbul.

Before you visit Istanbul, use our trip planner to discover what you can do and see there.

Kolkata (Calcutta), India to Istanbul is an approximately 14.5-hour flight. The time zone changes from India Standard Time (IST) to Turkey Time (TRT), which is usually a -2.5 hour difference. Traveling from Kolkata (Calcutta) in December, expect nights in Istanbul to be a bit cooler, around 7°C, while days are colder, around 7°C. Wrap up your sightseeing on the 5th (Mon) to allow time to fly to Goreme.
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Goreme, Turkey — 3 nights

Famed for its landscape of unusually shaped stone formations and churches cut into the natural rocks, Goreme sits in the central part of the country, an area originally settled during Roman times.
Kick off your visit on the 6th (Tue): look for all kinds of wild species at Ekwo Travel & Outdoor, then take a stroll around Kapadokya Sanat ve Kultur Muzesi., and then look for gifts at Alaturca Taner. Get ready for a full day of sightseeing on the 7th (Wed): trot along with a tour on horseback, see Off-Road Tours, and then get to know the fascinating history of Goreme National Park.

For reviews, ratings, traveler tips, and more tourist information, you can read our Goreme trip planner.

Traveling by flight from Istanbul to Goreme takes 3.5 hours. Alternatively, you can drive; or do a combination of train and bus. Traveling from Istanbul in December, plan for slightly colder nights in Goreme, with lows around -3°C. You'll have a few hours on the 8th (Thu) to wrap things up before traveling to Abu Dhabi.
Side Trips
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Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates — 2 nights

Take a trip to Abu Dhabi to discover a modern metropolis built on a strip of land jutting out into the Persian Gulf.
Start off your visit on the 9th (Fri): contemplate in the serene atmosphere at Sheikh Zayed Grand Mosque, then enjoy the sand and surf at Corniche Beach, then browse the different shops at Marina Mall, and finally steep yourself in history at Heritage Village. On your second day here, take an in-depth tour of Louvre Abu Dhabi, take in the pleasant sights at The Corniche, and then contemplate the long history of Qasr Al Hosn.

To see photos, other places to visit, traveler tips, and other tourist information, refer to the Abu Dhabi tour planner.

You can fly from Goreme to Abu Dhabi in 10.5 hours. Traveling from Goreme to Abu Dhabi, you'll lose 1 hour due to the time zone difference. Plan for much warmer temperatures traveling from Goreme in December, with highs in Abu Dhabi at 30°C and lows at 20°C. Finish your sightseeing early on the 10th (Sat) to allow enough time to drive to Dubai.
Museums · Beaches · Outdoors · Historic Sites
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Dubai, United Arab Emirates — 4 nights

City of Gold

Take a holiday in Dubai to experience a mix of excitement, entertainment, and relaxation.
Do some cultural sightseeing at Dubai Museum & Al Fahidi Fort and Bastakia Quarter. Visiting Jumeirah Public Beach and Safaris will get you outdoors. Next up on the itinerary: browse the different shops at The Dubai Mall, let your taste buds guide you at a local gastronomic tour, get a new perspective on things with Boat Tours & Water Sports, and explore the activities along Dubai Creek.

For reviews, ratings, more things to do, and other tourist information, use the Dubai trip itinerary tool.

Getting from Abu Dhabi to Dubai by car takes about 1.5 hours. Other options: do a combination of bus and subway; or fly. In December, plan for daily highs up to 31°C, and evening lows to 21°C. Wrap up your sightseeing on the 14th (Wed) to allow time to fly back home.
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Turkey travel guide

Rich in culture and customs and brimming with hospitality, natural beauty, and historical heritage, Turkey serves as a crossroads between Asia and Europe. The landmass known as Anatolia on which Turkey thrives has been home to numerous civilizations and their faiths and cultures, as attested by the 13 World Heritage Sites and countless religious sites you'll find here. Relive the ancient world through the ruins, customs, and traditions that are among the nation's most precious heritages. Adventure-seekers have plenty do to here, including mountain climbing, scuba diving, rafting, and skiing. A holiday to Turkey is incomplete without a cup of Turkish coffee, the pinnacle of Turkish cuisine inscribed on the Intangible Cultural Heritage List.

United Arab Emirates travel guide

Observation Decks · Fountains · Shopping Malls
Though most people associate United Arab Emirates only with Dubai, nicknamed the "City of Gold," the federation of seven emirates boats a surprisingly rich historical and cultural heritage and provides a good starting point for visitors interested in discovering the Middle East. A trip to United Arab Emirates reveals a modern nation with a dynamic atmosphere and a landscape that quickly changes from futuristic cities to remote deserts, mysteriously silent places where only the shifting sand dunes mark the passage of time. Add the eastern coastline to your United Arab Emirates itinerary to find a string of outstanding beaches and some of the finest diving and snorkeling opportunities in the region.