If you’re searching for a country to visit where you can get the most out of your holiday money, then Turkey is your best bet. It is culturally rich, beautiful, and friendly. What’s more, it is modern enough to give you a comfortable vacation, yet traditional enough to be interesting. As one of the top travel destinations, Turkey welcomes more than 35 million visitors per year.
Are you a fan of travelling back in time by strolling through ancient ruins? Perhaps you’re the type who enjoys exciting outdoor adventures. On the other hand, you may be someone who always travels for food. Well, you will never run out of things to do, sights to see, or food to devour in Turkey. Here are our top ten recommendations:
Imagine yourself flying over lush, fertile valleys and deep canyons. Well, in Cappadocia, you can enjoy a balloon flight and let the gentle winds carry you over places that could never be reached by foot. Expect a fantastic adventure as you float over the wonderful Cappadocian landscapes. And don’t worry, because you’re in the hands of experienced operators who have been flying balloons for over two decades. Enjoy the experience of a lifetime that is complete with a traditional celebration party involving cakes and champagne.
Also known as Gelibolu in Turkish, the peninsula of Gallipoli is a magnificent landmass in the European part of the country. Its unique long stretch of land between the Dardanelles Straits and the Aegean Sea is not the only big thing about this place. For many nations—especially Australia and New Zealand—Gallipoli is hallowed ground. Every April, thousands of visitors go here to attend the ANZAC Day service in remembrance of the historical battles of the Great War. So, if you’re Australian, you should consider including Gallipoli on your bucket list.
Indeed, Troy does not have the most dramatic ancient sites in Turkey. That said, it remains a testament of the value of legend to the human experience. Find yourself reconstructing the former glory of the city in your mind. Of course, your guide will show you the place that set the scene for Homer’s Illiad. Aside from the ruins of Troy, you can also enjoy touring its museum to discover over four thousand years of history. The highlights of your visit include a spectacular Greek sarcophagus and 24 fine examples of gold jewellery that dates back to around 2400 BCE.
Antalya can easily pass as one of the unique summer destinations in the world. You won’t be disappointed with its stunning natural landscape and rich history. For instance, you can visit Çıralı and lounge in the area’s non-touristy beaches. Oh, and the city of Olympos is just a stone’s throw away from this place. So, after a day of lying on the beach, you can spend the afternoon walking among the hauntingly beautiful ruins.
Are you a fan of Christmas and the whole spirit of giving gifts and love? Well, if you want to learn the roots of Father Christmas himself, then you should pay a visit to Demre. It was once the home of St. Nicholas, who went on to capture the imagination of the Western world in his role as Santa Claus. His body was eventually laid to rest in Demre’s Church of St. Nicholas, making it a star attraction for tourists and pilgrims. Unfortunately, St. Nicholas’s body is no longer residing here because Italian merchants opened his sarcophagus and stole his remains. That said, you will still find interesting mosaic floors and Byzantine frescoes in the church, which are sure to keep you entertained.
6. Saklikent Gorge
Are you up for a challenging outdoor adventure? If you have the energy and passion for fighting the currents of ravaging waters and traverse rough terrain, then you should visit Saklikent Gorge. As one of the top attractions in southern Turkey, this place attracts visitors from all over the region. That said, you should know that this adventure is not for everyone. You need to be in good shape, and you must have the mental strength to conquer the outdoor challenges. On the other hand, if you are searching for a unique, blood-pumping experience, then Saklikent Gorge is one of the most incredible things to see while you’re in Fethiye.
You may wonder why we included this quaint village on our list. Trust us when we say that this place has a unique and charming flair that you won’t find anywhere else. This mountain village has been aged by wonderful Turkish history and Greek influence. Everywhere you look is ‘Instagrammable’—from the stucco homes featuring red tile roofs to the open markets lining the cobblestone roads. Architecture geeks will swoon over the beauty of this place. Don’t forget to try Sirince’s fruit wines! They’re divine!
Locally known as Bergama, the ancient city of Pergamum was once a great place that served as the residence of the Attalid dynasty. Tourists may flock Ephesus year-round, but Pergamum is different. For the most part, it is a site of quiet classical splendour. You’ll love the extraordinary beauty of its ruins, particularly the Acropolis and Asklepion. Of course, you shouldn’t miss the 10,000-seater Hellenistic theatre, Building Z’s whimsical mosaic floors, and the Altar of Zeus. It is also worth your time visiting the small but impressive artefact collection in Bergama’s museum.
Feeling intellectual or Biblical? If so, then pay a visit to Assos, just south of Ayvacık. St. Paul visited this place while Aristotle used to live here. Now, it features a good selection of boutique hotels for people who want to experience an Aegean-coast seaside retreat against stunning, ancient ruins. While it is officially named Behramkale, people still call it by its ancient name. This is also where Aristotle married Pythia, King Hermeia’s niece.
History buffs would never miss the chance to visit Aphrodisias if they’re ever in Turkey. Named after Aphrodite during the Roman period, this village has a wealth of beautiful ruins that take you to a journey through time. Some of the sights to see include the Temple of Aphrodite and the massive yet well-preserved Stadium.
Which of these places would you love to visit next? Let us know in the comments below!