Many of my friends from Europe always went to Turkey for holiday. I could never understand why, but now I do. Turkey has something for everyone. Whether you want to visit ancient cities, ride hot-air balloons, chill at beautiful beaches, or enjoy mouthwatering cuisine, you will not get disappointed. It might be difficult to cover everything in one trip, especially if you are on a short vacation. Here are our favorite things to do in Turkey:
Hot Air Balloon Over Cappadocia
Cappadocia is one of the most enchanting and magical locations in Turkey. People often call it a unique location on the earth. You can find hundreds of hot air balloons floating in the morning and people enjoying the view from 3,200 feet above the ground.
Even underground, you can find historical and creative uses of land in Cappadocia. Cities from the Roman Empire are present with up to eight levels underground. Tourists can visit only a few of them. Above the ground, you can witness the fortresses dug into tall steep-sided hills.
The Ancient Treasures of Istanbul
Istanbul has an endless list of destinations. You can visit the famous monuments like Topkapi Palace, the Blue Mosque and Hagia Sophia. Some other things that you can do here are the archaeological museum, roam the grand bazaars, enjoy massages at hammams, cruise on the Bosphorus, visit the cistern-basilica and go to the top of the Galata tower.
The magic, culture and vibe of Istanbul come along to give you a unique experience. The more you stay here, the more you will learn about it.
The Ancient City of Ephesus
The ruins of the ancient city of Ephesus take you back to the era around the time of Jesus Christ. It boasts some incredible structures and is known to be one of the world’s best-preserved examples of an ancient city. The best time to visit this place is in the low light of the late afternoon when there are fewer tourists around.
In the middle of the Ephesus and Selçuk are the ruins of one of the old Seven Wonders of the World, the great Temple of Artemis. Currently, you can only find the remains of one reconstructed pillar and a few pieces of foundation. It was majorly destroyed and rebuilt many times between 550 BC and 391 AD.
The Travertine Pools of Pamukkale
Pamukkale, translating to ‘Cotton Castle’, is one of the UNESCO World Heritage Sites. It offers a unique landscape created by volcanic activity. The main attraction is “travertines” are made from calcium deposits that look like melting glue down a large hill towards the town.
You are not allowed to walk or sit on a large portion of the naturally formed pools as they are trying to preserve the beauty of this fragile site. They have assigned dedicated wooden boardwalks to walk around the travertines while letting you enjoy a great view. The thermal pools here are known to have healing power and make you feel relaxed.
Snow-Capped Mountains of Mount Ararat
Witnessing the warm and sun-drenched climate makes it difficult for people to associate Turkey with Snow-capped peaks like Mount Ararat. This mountain is 5,137m tall and is higher than any Alpine peak.
Mount Ararat actually owns two peaks, with Little Ararat measuring 3000m tall. It is best known as the Old Testament site where Noah’s Ark finally reaches land after the Great Flood. Situated in the extreme east near Armenia, these mountains could not be further from the western beaches but are well worth a detour.
Sail up the Coast of Turkey
The Turquoise Coast, or the Turkish Riviera, located on the southeast coast of Turkey is known for its charming coastal towns, white sandy beaches and turquoise-blue waters. No matter what you call it, it is undoubtedly a paradise which is best explored by boat.
You can charter a boat yourself or book a tour aboard a traditional gület (wooden yacht) to reach this place. Sailing on this bright stretch is surely the highlight of the Turkey that you will remember for a lifetime.
Party the Night Away in Bodrum
The city of Bodrum is an idyllic beach destination on the turquoise blue Aegean coast. Dubbed the “St. Tropez of Turkey”, it is a summer hot spot, and there is no shortage of nightlife here. You can enjoy everything here ranging from club-hopping to live music. After the party, you can spend your time at one of the infinity pools in the area or soak up some rays on the beach.
If you are not a party person, you can visit the mediaeval fortress completed in the 4th century B.C. It is one of the Seven Wonders of the Ancient World and was built from the stones of the Mausoleum at Halicarnassus. The ruins can still be seen in this area. Alternatively, you can get a taste of the local culture by trying traditional food or fresh seafood.
Kayak Over the Ruins of Kekova
Turkey has a large amount of ancient ruins. The South Coast that forms the Lycian Trail is an area with a high concentration of ruins. You would not witness a whole city with recognizable homes and storefronts, but the transparent water allows you to see the ruins of the town that was flooded after an earthquake.
Some ruins can still be seen at the shore and remind everyone that the place was home to people in the ancient days. This place can only be reached by kayak. Here, you can enjoy the town’s famous goat milk ice cream, snorkel with turtles, hike to some hilltop ruins and enjoy a leisurely lunch.
Explore Magical Butterfly Valley
If you want to step into a storybook paradise, you must visit the magical butterfly valley. Located near Ölüdeniz, you can climb down here either by using ropes or take a 20-minute boat ride from Ölüdeniz.
This enchanted valley will take you amongst wildflowers, fruit trees and wild goats. If you feel bored, you can relax on the pebble-strewn beach that is lapped by crystal blue waters. The best way to enjoy the beauty of this valley is by spending overnight in a tent or at the basic accommodation available here.
Our Final Word
Turkey is a great holiday destination. We love going to places that are just not a beach, or just historic ruins, but has it all. Turkey fits the bill perfectly. Ancient cities, beautiful beaches, fun activities fill this country with unforgettable experiences and memories. Put Turkey on your must-see list and start planning now.