Turkey is many things… It’s a strong coffee sipped in the shade as you hear the call to prayer echo across the rooftops; it’s epic tales of Romans, Byzantines and Ottomans; it’s balloon-filled skies over fairy tale landscapes; it’s the scent of spices in curious bazaars; and it’s golden beaches that seem to stretch endlessly into sparkling seas.
But with so many experiences to enjoy, where on earth do you start? The very best way to sample all the highlights that this incredible country has to offer is to book a package that includes all of these amazing Turkish delights…
No trip to Turkey is complete without a visit to Istanbul. With one arm in Asia and the other in Europe, this is the only city on earth that straddles two continents. Over the years it has served as the capital of three empires—the Roman, the Byzantine and the Ottoman—so you can expect to be blown away by the historic wonders that lurk around every single corner of this glorious city.
Don’t miss the opportunity to wander around the incredible Hagia Sophia, which is often referred to as the Eighth Wonder of the World. At more than 1,500-years-old, this architectural gem features some jaw-dropping mosaics from the 9th to 12th centuries.
PURE DELIGHT: Catch the cable car to the top of Pierre Loti Hill and watch the sun sink into the sea behind the Golden Horn.
In stark contrast to the proud palaces and magnificent mosques of Istanbul, Turkey’s capital is a dynamic, modern city with a hip vibe and a booming restaurant scene. With its state of the art museums and colorful café culture, this is a city that’s definitely looking towards the future.
Go shopping along Tunalı Hilmi Caddesi, visit the monumental mausoleum of the founder of modern day Turkey, Mustafa Kemal Atatürk, or spend the evening listening to live Turkish pop music in Kızılay. Alternatively, lose yourself in the winding streets in the Citadel area, and then sample some traditional pide (Turkish style pizza) and take in the incredible views from Zenger Paşa Konağı Restaurant.
PURE DELIGHT: Don’t miss the chance to spend a day at the incredible Museum of Anatolian Civilisations. This beautiful museum is the best place to get a good grasp of Turkey’s ancient past, and you’ll even get to see the famous mother goddess sculptures from Çatalhöyük—one of the most important Neolithic sites in the world.
Prepare to be amazed by the mystical panoramas of Cappadocia. Millions of years of volcanic eruptions and wild weather have created this out-of-this-world landscape on the Silk Road. With its bizarre conical structures—some reaching as high as 45 meters into the sky—Cappadocia has to be seen to be believed. The locals call these amazing rock formations ‘fairy chimneys’, and it’s easy to see why.
Don’t miss the opportunity to explore this psychedelic daydream of a landscape, be it by hiking through the beauty of Rose Valley or wandering down the back streets of the Old Village in Ürgüp
PURE DELIGHT: Take the time to stop at the amazing Göreme Open-Air Museum, which is a UNESCO World Heritage Site. This monastic settlement features some mind-boggling rock-cut churches and chapels.
Chances are that you’ve seen nothing else on earth like Pamukkale. This UNESCO World Heritage Site is an incredible site to behold: a hot spring where soothing waters cascade over brilliant white calcified terraces. Take your swimsuit, because there are five thermal springs with mineral-rich, glistening waters to enjoy.
Known to the locals as the ‘Cotton Castle’, this natural wonder sits right beside the ruins of the Roman and Byzantine spa city of Hierapolis. There’s a spectacular Roman theater to see there, as well as a 2nd-century agora, which is believed to be one of the largest ever discovered.
PURE DELIGHT: During the day Pamukkale can be overcrowded with day-trippers, so if you can, spend a night in the area. Visiting the springs in the early evening means that you can stay there for the sunset, which is simply spectacular.
The Greco-Roman world really comes to life in Ephesus, which is one of Turkey’s best-preserved ancient cities. You’ll be staggered at the sight of the Library of Celsus, the Great Theater, the Temple of Hadrian, the public baths, the agoras, the merchant shops—and yes—even a well-preserved brothel.
Gaze in awe at the Library of Celsus, which was the third-largest library in the ancient world and capable of holding 12,000 scrolls, and explore the Great Theater, which could hold up to 25,000 people. It’s said that St Paul preached there.
PURE DELIGHT: Don’t miss the chance to visit the only pillar that remains of the Temple of Artemis, which was one of the Seven Wonders of the Ancient World. This temple was huge and originally featured 127 columns.
The powerful ancient city of Pergamum is now the chilled-out town of Bergama. Pergamum’s acropolis sits on a hill just outside the town center and is home to the Temple of Trajan, the Altar of Zeus, the Temple of Dionysus and an impressive 10,000-seat Hellenistic theater. As the theater was built directly into the hillside, it boasts some spectacular views.
PURE DELIGHT: Bergama is also home to the fascinating Asklepion, which was one of the most important healing centers of the Roman world. Its amazing to think that in its day it was home to temples, baths, a library, bathrooms and a selections of treatment centers. The patients there were treated with a blend of herbs and ointments, enemas, dream analysis and mud baths.
Do you dream of taking a dip in the mineral-rich waters of Pamukkale? Of seeing the ‘fairy chimneys’ of Cappadocia? Of soaking up a sunset from Istanbul’s Pierre Loti Hill? Yes? Then come with us to Turkey. Not only will you have the experience of a lifetime, but you will have a sophisticated itinerary that has been lovingly-created by Indus’ Turkey experts. To find out more about our tours to Turkey, please feel free to contact us at any time.
About the Writer: Vickie Sam Paget
Vickie is a freelance writer and editor based in Vancouver, BC. When she’s not creating dynamic travel or tech content, globetrotting or gazing at the North Shore Mountains, you can usually find her curled up with a good book or sipping a pint of the good stuff in her local Irish bar.