I spent three weeks free spiriting around Turkey this past November on a solo jaunt. I spent my first 3 days in Istanbul, flew to Cappadocia, flew to Antalya, decided to nix my Izmir/Ephesus plan as they had just had the earthquake and pivoted to Pammukale/dDenizli by bus then flew back to Istanbul for my last 4 days. I think you might be a little light on the days for Istanbul specially if you’re working through jet lag.
I booked my intra-Turkey flights just a day or two ahead of departure as I love serendipitous travel. I think my most expensive flight was 30 dollars. When looking for flights to Cappadocia check both Nevsehir and Kayseri airports. I stayed at Stone House Cave Hotel in Goreme which was right in town and walking distance to the open air museum. I booked direct. They arranged R/T airport shuttle service, the full day “Green” tour and a hot air ballon ride easy peasy for a great rate. I had a huge room with a view and nice breakfast for about $45/night. Eat at the Pumpkin Goreme restaurant.
What puts Konya on your travel itinerary? Is it the whirling dervishes and studying up on Rumi? Yeah that was on my bucket list too. I was able to satisfy that wish right in Istanbul by going to Hodjapasha . I really enjoyed it and it didn’t gobble up travel time. For a one night stand, Konya adds a lot of travel time on a bus and plane to your itinerary that might be better served elsewhere. By the way, buses are very nice there with plush seats, in seat entertainment and even a bus attendant that brings you drinks and snacks.
In Istanbul, I stayed at Hotel Amira right in the shadow of the Blue Mosque and would highly recommend it. Their breakfast was outstanding and included a local woman making gozleme to order on a traditional flat iron grill. I think was referred by another person on this forum to them. My intent was to stay on the Asian side when I returned to Istanbul for my last few nights but had such a wonderful experience at Hotel Amira, I came back to them. I’m glad I did. They upgraded me to a suite with private balcony overlooking the Sea of Marmara. at no charge. Then when they realized I had just had my birthday a few days prior (from my passport at check in, I assume) the staff sent up a glass of wine, strawberries with chocolate fondue, nuts and a hand written note wishing me a happy birthday. All of that for less than $100/night.
You can buy several different museum passes depending on areas of Turkey/length of stay but I skipped buying one. I didn’t encounter any lines when I was there. I did buy the Istanbul card for public transit and loaded it with money whenever I needed to. It’s super easy and convenient to use. (Same with the Antalya transit card). CityMapper is a great app to navigate in Istanbul with. Elsewhere, I would recommend the Moovit app to negotiate public transit with. Google maps is totally lame there for public transit. Also consider downloading WhatsApp for texting and phone calling there. You’ll find everyone uses it for phone calls there instead of their cell coverage because of cost.
Finally, I would really recommend the YouTube channel “Bery Istanbul Tips” for great information. If you like to play in the kitchen like I do, “Refika’s Kitchen” is another winner.
If you need a “return to the USA” Covid test, they can be had easily and conveniently for around $35 arranged and taken at your hotel with quick turn around time.
Have a wonderful trip and enjoy! Drink the tea, smoke the hookah and listen to the call to prayer. Best wishes, ObjectivelyLori.