A bridge between continents, a country of unparalleled history. Majestic views of the sun-soaked Mediterranean await its visitors alongside awe-inspiring war monuments from turbulent pasts. A country filled with warm, inviting people and irresistible pots of tea, the wonders of Turkey never cease to amaze. Join us as we discover the top things to do in Turkey as well as the most incredible places to visit in this exotic destination.
Delight in Turkish Tea
Bolt down a Baklava
Witness the Football Madness
Bargain at the Grand Bazaar
Revere in the presence of Whirling Devishes
A hotspot for tours and activities in Turkey and a photographer’s panoramic dream, think hot air balloons flying high above dry arid cliff sides. Sounds like fun? There’s more! Located smack in the middle of Turkey (8-hour drive from Istanbul), Cappadocia is also home to a plethora of caves and underground tunnels (some going as deep at 10 levels) built by persecuted Christians centuries ago. This all-in-one location further boasts not just an incredible view, but also a captivating albeit tumultuous history. Be sure to spend an evening here to observe the awe-inspiring sunset over Cappadocia’s unforgettable panorama.
If nature-architected cotton-like castles and ancient Roman ruins tickle your fancy, then Pamukkale definitely belongs on your Turkey trip planner. Its biggest highlight? Snow-white calcite terraces (travertines) sloped into the mountains overlooking the sleepy Pamukkale village below. Mineral-rich water pools atop the slopping travertines here, providing an unearthly turquoise-white contrast that emits its cotton-like appearance. Above this natural spectacle lies the ancient city of Hierapolis – a former Roman spa city now home to magnificent ruins and the intriguing Hierapolis Archaeology Museum. Further touted as a health tourism spot, Pamukkale is undoubtedly a top highlight for incredible travel deals in Turkey.
What Turkey travel planner can be complete without a little bit of mountaineering? Standing at 2,134m above sea level, visitors can rest easy in knowing that the most part of this route can be covered by vehicular transport. Massive statues of Greek and Persian gods dating back to 62 BC await at its peak. 2m high heads and a 50m burial cone stare out over the mountainside, courtesy of an exquisite tomb project put together by then ruler, King Antiochus. The best time to visit this archaeological wonder is at sunrise as the first rays of sunlight illuminate these imposing figures amidst the creeping shadows of dawn.
Arguably Turkey’s grandest and best preserved ruin, Ephesus was once a 7 wonder of the ancient world. An eye-opener for tourists curious about life in the ancient times, this majestic ruin was in fact a bustling trading city for over 250,000 inhabitants and a place of worship for the fertility goddess – Cybele. It is therefore unsurprisingly that present-day Ephesus is Europe’s ‘most complete ancient metropolis’. A multitude of ‘attractions’, ranging from several Roman terraced houses to temples, tombs, theatres and the incredible Library of Celsus can be visited here, though keep in mind that early mornings or late afternoon visits are best to avoid the crowd.
Standing over a thousand years as the world’s largest enclosed space, the Hagia Sophia can be found right in the middle of Istanbul’s sprawling cityscape. No distant trains, no flights, no long drives whatsoever! Initially constructed as a basilica, the Hagia Sophia was in fact a target in the fourth crusade, before its conversion to a mosque in the 15th century. A testament to exquisite ancient Roman architecture, visitors will observe delicate minarets lining its exterior, its elegant frescoed interior beckoning to tourists and locals alike. The locale has since been converted to a museum – steeped in archaeological and architectural history. Entrance fees go for 30 Turkish Liras (5 USD), a small price for this ‘must-visit’ attraction on anyone’s Turkey trip planner.
Planning on visiting anytime soon? Here is a list of top travel deals in Turkey for you to explore!
Coolest months range from April to June for exploring/trekking. For beach lovers, pop by between May and October for a healthy dose of Turkish sun.
Be sure to carry cash for the smaller towns, avoid drinking from the tap, beware of public displays of affection and refrain from any forms of drug use (Turkish law is very strict).
Turkey is famous for all manner of cuisine, architecture and panoramic views. Arguably the most famous of them all would be pictures of hot air balloons flying above the jagged outcrops at Cappadocia.
The people’s hospitality. Stroll by any shop or the likes and an invitation to tea is more than likely to surface.
Absolutely. As is the standard precautions for women traveling alone, avoid alleyways and empty neighbourhoods. Turkey is in fact considered as of the safest big cities in Europe so as long as caution is exercised, all should go well!
Coaches and Dolmus (mini-buses) are the most frequent modes of transport when getting from one town to another. Trams are also commonplace in the bigger cities like Istanbul for example with high speed trans-city train networks projected for completion in 2023.