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10 Best Things to do in Turkey
Turkey is a destination that is enormously bestowed with all! People are drawn to as much for its magnificent beaches, towering mountains and Mediterranean vibe as they are for its striking cities, ancient landmarks and inspiring culture and heritage. But if you find it all overwhelming or don’t know what to include in your travel program, here is our run down of top things to do in Turkey. 1. Discover Istanbul Start your Turkey holiday at Istanbul! It’s the country’s both largest and the most unique city as it’s spread over two different continents;one side of the city is in Asia and the other in Europe. The two sides are separated by a 30 kilometer long waterway (known as the Bosphorus strait) which links the Black Sea and the Sea of Marmara. But that’s all about its distinct geographical features. The city is more than that; relish its historical past in every direction, being the city once the capital of four prominent empires (the Byzantine, the Roman, the Ottoman and the Latin empires). Add to this its mix of striking monuments, museums, and colorful bazaars. Must-experiences include: Hagia Sophia: Take any list of Turkey attractions; this imposing age-old structure tops the list. Dating back to the 6th century, it was first a church, later a mosque, and now an amazing museum. Topkapi Palace Museum: This 15th century palace stands as a glorious illustration of the lavish Islamic art and architecture in the region. Grand Bazaar: This colossal traditional shopping centre is fully covered and is considered the first shopping mall in the world. In fact, it’s one of the ultimate places for shopping in the country. Blue Mosque: Officially known as Sultan Ahmed Mosque, it has remained the city’s main attraction since 16th century, thanks to the thousands of Iznik or blue tiles that grace the interiors of this intricately designed mosque. Basilica Cistern: This represents the biggest surviving Byzantine cistern in the region. The palatial style underground hall comprises over 330 columns; interestingly they were used to store the water supply. Istanbul Archaeology Museum: The massive museum complex holds three unique museums; they together have on display a vast collection of arts and artifacts from both Turkey and all over the world. 2. Travel to Bodrum Placed on the country’s western coast and encompassing a vast part of the Aegean Coast, the marvelous Bodrum Peninsula is frequented for its unique European feel. It’s hard to digest that this vibrant tourist spot was just a cluster of sleepy hamlets a few decades ago. But this coastal destination is now for all; so it doesn’t matter you’re here for a laid-back romantic retreat, good food, or even for partying. It has everything by truck load. Take a boat cruise along its unspoiled turquoise waters and take in the stunning bays, coves and beaches that dot the Turkish coastline. You can take to its hill to see the age-old windmills and further tour its main attractions such as Bodrum Castle, Bodrum Amphitheater (dating back to 4th century BC), Zeki Muren Arts Museum, and Bodrum Museum of Underwater Archeology. 3. Enjoy a dip in Pamukkale’s Hot Water Springs Visiting this ancient spa town and taking a dip in its thermal pools is a must-do for anyone on their Turkey holiday. With its dreamlike landscape complemented by mineral enriched forests, frozen waterfalls, and a vast network of terraced basin, Pamukkale forms a phenomenal sight and is a UNESCO listed heritage site! It is rightly called the Cotton Castle mainly due to its white terraces that resemble the cotton plantations found in the central part of the country. So be sure to enjoy a swim in its terraced pool containing therapeutic milk-like mineral waters. It’s unmissable as it gives you an illusion of spending time in a snow-covered hill. There are a total of 17 pools and the temperature of water ranges from 35 degree Celsius to 100 degree Celsius. Located in Denizli Province, a trip to Pamukkale also lets you experience the ancient Hierapolis remnants. 4. Hot Air Balloon Ride over Cappadocia When one thinks about a hot air balloon ride, Cappadocia is undoubtedly the first destination that comes into the mind. So make sure that you include this iconic experience in your travel program. Now if you wonder what makes it so special, this is because it gives you the chance to soar and float above an otherworldly vibrant landscape carpeted all over with the magical fairy chimneys (limestone formation) and lush vineyards. You can try this any season, but expect to take in a totally distinct view in every ride, from the snow-covered rock formations in the winter to the multitude of colorful flowers in the spring time. 5. Explore the Underground City of Derinkuyu Did you know that this antiquated underground city once used to host over 20,000 people? Engraved into a volcanic rock, it’s found in the Cappadocia area and is the deepest of all cave cities in the region. Fascinatingly, it’s thought to have been excavated as early as Hittites era in 1200 BC and served as the region’s most significant defense structure till the 13th century. So get ready to lose in time as you tread theintricate network of corridors, passages, ventilation shafts, meeting halls, communal spaces, and water wells, which encompass this multilevel cave city with eight floors. 6. Journey back in time at Ephesus Follow the footsteps of ancient Roman and Greek soldiers as you stroll around this spectacular city that was developed as early as the 10 century BC. Located in Selçuk, this used to be one of the complete European cities during the classical era and is now declared as a UNESCO World Heritage Site. An aura of mystery and magic will surround you as explore its prehistoric Greek writings, meticulously sculpted age-old pillars, terraced houses (probably of 1st Century BC), and many other intriguing ruins including the Library of Celsus and the Amphitheater. 7. Stay in a Cave Hotel Don’t miss this! It is something unique to Turkey, and a stay in one of its cave hotels, particularly in the towns of Göreme and Uçhisar, is unexpectedly lavish, rustic, tranquil, historic and mindblowing. If you don’t know how to choose one, take a look at some of our top suggestions. With over 30 cave rooms and suites, Museum Hotel Cappadocia is ideal for those seeking a luxurious hideout in the lap of nature. For traditional Turkish comforts, choose Ottoman Cave Suites. If it’s a historic venue that lifts and invigorates you, a stay in Kayakapi Premium Caves is unbeatable. There are more options by way of Fresco Cave Suites and Mansions, Sultan Cave Suites, Cappadocia Cave Suites, and Aren Cave Hotel. 8. Go on a food tour and join a Turkish Culinary Course We’ve added this especially for our foodie readers! Turkish cuisines are famed all over for its scrumptious diversity influenced by many cultures and cuisines, predominantly the European and Middle Eastern flavors. In fact, it’s well worth a trip to Turkey for its culinary delights alone. You can take a food tour and further choose to sign up for a cooking class which introduces you to some authentic Turkish delights, ingredients and recipes. This surely makes a wonderful and everlasting keepsake of your holidays in Turkey. 9. Visit the ancient town of Hasankeyf Before it Submerges This is a 12,000 year old city, lying in the country’s southeastern part, along the banks of the Tigris River. Al though well preserved, this ancient town is slowly disappearing due to the rising level of water from the colossal hydroelectric Ilisu Dam. So make it a point to travel to this charming, endangered spot before it completely submerges. After all, it is probably one of the world’s oldest continually inhabited settlements. Hundreds of medieval monuments, several natural caves, and its marvelous old world vibe – all combine to promise you an appealing getaway far from the rest of the country. 10. See the Eternal Flaming Rocks of the Chimera This is an eerily charming natural wonder that can be seen up in the rocky mountain of southwestern Turkey, close to the town of Çıralı, in Antalya Province. Locally known as Yanartas, these eternal flames have been burning continuously for over 2500 years. The relevant studies reveal that this rare phenomenon is fed by abiotic methane; the flames seep to the earth’s surface as a result of the chemical reactions between the region’s rocks and the water deep beneath the ground. But the region’s legend has it that this flame is due to the fire-spitting Chimera, a ghastly mythical creature with the body parts of several animals. You can easily reach this spot with a pleasant three kilometer long hike up to the mountain. Conclusion So from our top ten above picks, what would you like to add on your Turkey bucketlist? Whether you pick just one or two or even all, they all promise you an unforgettable holiday accompanied by the most treasured moments. So start your Turkey holiday planning right away; obtain your Turkey visa, get your Turkey accommodation ready in advance and finally set out for a getaway like no other.