Istanbul city sunset view

Top 5 places to visit in Turkey

Looking to visit one of the most exotic spots in Europe? Look no farther than the cultural melting pot that is Turkey – delivering a unique blend of spices, bustling bazaars packed with treasures, dreamy coastlines, harams of old, fantastical mosques, castles, and cobbled streets. With mixed influences from Europe, Africa, and Asia – Turkey is the perfect cultural fusion.

Unveil the treasures of this bridge between continents with a sunrise hot air balloon ride, sail the blue waters of the southwest coast, take a dip in otherworldly thermal pools or sleep in centuries-old cave hotels. Your adventure travel bucket list would not be complete without Turkey!

Istanbul

1. Istanbul 

Set your sights on the Mediterranean ancient metropolis that is Istanbul, now being the cultural heart of modern Turkey, this bustling city holds serious historical weight, long ago being the capital of the Byzantine and Ottoman Empires. Visit Hippodrome, where the Byzantines held sporting events, marvel at Hagia Sophia, once the mother church of Orthodox Christianity. Next door, feast your eyes on the jaw-dropping Blue Mosque with its six minarets or meander through the Grand Bazaar, packed with over 3,000 stalls of handcrafted jewellery, textiles, and books, along with the renowned Spice Market. 

On our adventures, you can also explore the stunning Turkish baths built in the 16th century and relax and recharge. With us, you can also tour Topkapi Palace, an incredible warren of royal apartments, and wander along the waterfront of the Golden Horn towards restaurants where you can steep your senses in the aromas and tastes of traditional Turkish cuisine. If you'd like to fully appreciate Istanbul's beautiful setting, journey across the beautiful Bosphorus waterway by boat for some of the best views of the city. Istanbul’s magic and history are truly a traveller’s delight.

Cappadocia

 2. Cappadocia

As if pulled from a storybook, Cappadocia’s landscape is a geological phenomenon - the rock formations, rock-hewn churches, cave dwellings and underground cities are otherworldly. Venture to the town of Goreme where fairy chimneys are sliced from the earth and shaped by centuries of erosion in the Pasabaglari Valley. Shaded in dusky orange and cream, these landscapes are the stuff psychedelic daydreams are made of.

Walk along the Melendiz River, and immerse yourself in traditional village life as you stroll through the beautiful Ihlara Valley. Make your way through Byzantine cave chapels decorated with exquisite biblical frescoes, discover the stunning Castle of Uchisar, and dive deep into Turkish history and culture at the UNESCO World Heritage Site of Goreme Open-Air Museum, a monastic complex composed of churches, rectories, and magnificent dwellings. Visit local pottery workshops, learn about traditional carpet weaving, and in the mystical nature of Turkey, watch a ritual performed by Whirling Dervishes on our Premium Adventure! Top this cultural experience off with a unique stay in a cave hotel carved into a mountain cliff, dating back to the fifth century to truly take in the essence of Cappadocia.

Ephesus, Turkey

 3. Ephesus

Unveil the mysteries of ancient settlements buried by volcanic ash, and step back centuries in Greco-Roman history and architecture to the ruins of Ephesus. With 80% of the remains still being unearthed, there are secrets of the past around every corner. Ephesus is the most prestigious and best-preserved of Turkey's hundreds of ancient cities.

Being a UNESCO World Heritage Site, it is the most authentic and captivating spot in the Mediterranean to get a taste of a bygone lifestyle. Wander through the heavily restored Library of Celsus, the third-largest library in the ancient world. After visiting the ruins, stop by the Ephesus Museum to admire the grandeur of carved statues of Artemis. Travel to Ephesus and take a glimpse of Turkey’s past.

Pammukale, Turkey

 4. Pamukkale

Journey to southwestern Turkey and soak in the gleaming white calcite and flowing warm mineral water pools on the mountain above the village of Pamukkale, which means “cotton castle” in Turkish. The restorative thermal pool's temperature ranges from 35°C to 100°C and is called ‘Cleopatras Pool’, thanks to legends of these waters being a firm favourite of Cleopatra the Egyptian Queen. At the end of the 2nd century B.C. the thermal spa of Hierapolis was established.

The ruins of the baths, temples and other Greek monuments can be seen at the site. This spectacular spot is tucked away in the hills of the Denizli Province. Here, you can listen to the history of the “Sacred City,” Hierapolis, tour the Roman theatre, and the on-site museum for a look into the glorious past of Pamukkale.

Lycian Way, Turkey

 5. The Lycian Way

Follow in the footsteps of Roman soldiers and Lycian pirates while enjoying the panoramic views of coastlines, canyons, and rivers in southern Turkey. Acclaimed as one of the top-10 long-distance walks in the world, the Lycian Way follows pilgrimage paths around the Teke Peninsula, historically known as Lycia to the province of Antalya.

The route was once used by the Lycians as a footpath and mule trail and runs 500km through forests and beneath mountains rising almost 3000m. For incredible views and thrilling explorations, why not try canyoning or abseiling to discover gorges, waterfalls and pools, before journeying by kayak towards a sunken city in the Mediterranean Sea. The impressive Saklikent Gorge and Patara National Park are Turkish gems to discover where you can admire Roman ruins and bask in the sun on gorgeous beaches. Looking for more adventure? Try scuba diving, paragliding, and mountain biking!

Is wanderlust taking over? View our trips to Turkey here!

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