Turkey is crowned as one of the most beautiful countries in Asia from rugged high mountains to the blue Mediterranean coast. You may not have heard much about the beauty of the country that connects Asia with Europe. But be rest assured, even one whole month will not be enough for exploring Turkey.
There are many historical places to visit in Turkey. Turkey’s rich heritage comes from different groups of people who have ruled the country at some point in time. From the Byzantines to the Ottomans, to the Greco-Romans, each of them has a share of its story inscribed in the big book of Turkish History.
Ankara is the country’s capital. However, Istanbul has always remained one of the most significant cities in Turkey. Istanbul used to be the capital of the Byzantine and Ottoman Empires. It is the same Constantinople that your history teacher taught you while talking about the Roman Empire.
There are a few things that you cannot miss on your first trip to Turkey. It is best to give at least fourteen days, if not more, to experience the country’s beauty. Here are a few places to visit in Turkey where you must go on your maiden trip.
Istanbul, the city that bleeds History, has a lot to offer. Once called Constantinople, the streets of Istanbul have buckets full of surprises for you. There are many historical places to visit in Istanbul. It will be a sin to miss the towering buildings, the historic murals of structures like Hagia Sophia, Topkapi Palace. Other iconic places are Galata Tower, Basilica Cistern, Dolmabahçe Palace, Suleymaniye Mosque that you must visit.
Istikal Avenue is one of the busiest streets of Istanbul. At one end of the road is Taksim Square, which has witnessed many revolutions that took place in the country. Don’t miss the tram ride down the lane. The oldest market place, Grand Bazaar, is situated just at the heart of the city. Adjacent to that is Spice Bazaar. Visit Grand Bazaar to see how energetic a 600-year-old market looks in real life. The market is full of traditional Turkish items like ceramic pots, Turkish lamps, evil’s eye goodies. Turkish delights, sumac, and other spices, Turkish tea are mostly available in the Spice Bazaar.
You cannot leave Istanbul without a soothing Bosphorous boat ride amidst the flying seagulls and blue water.
If you have a particular corner in your heart reserved for ancient History and the world that we have left behind, visit Ephesus. Situated in the Aegean Coast of Western Turkey near a small city called Selcuk, Ephesus is one of the best-preserved ruins of the Roman Empire. The iconic Library of Celsus is located here. The huge city was built long back in the 10th century BC. Ephesus used to be a residence of about two lakh people.
During the summer months, from April to October, Ephesus is open from 8 AM to 7 PM. However, during winter, it is open till 5 PM.
Researchers could excavate only about 20% of the city, and yet there is so much to see. The iconic locations include the marble Temple of Artemis, Basilica, amphitheater, apart from the famous Library of Celsus. In Turkey, tourist places are generally very well managed. They will provide you with an Audio guide, if you wish to know a bit more about the historical sites.
One of the most touristy and Instagram-able cities of Cappadocia used to be the habitat of Byzantine Christians. Cappadocia has unique for its rugged terrain caused by the volcanic lava. It is most advisable to stay in any of the hotels at Goreme.
Visit Turkey to see the beauty of this dome-shaped mountains. There are two conducted tours, Red and Green. The red tour is more about Cappadocia’s culture and heritage while the Green tour covers the scenic beauty of the valley. There are other tours as well, but these two will cover the most. The red tour takes you through Fairy chimneys, Uchisar Castle, Ugrup, Goreme Open Air Museum. Green tour will let you explore Ilhara Valley, Anatolian Churches, Goreme, and more.
Cappadocia has many underground cities located in and around the city. Not all are excavated. One of the largest among the excavated ones is Derinkuyu Underground City, one of the must-do activities.
A hot air balloon ride is one magical experience waiting for you at Cappadocia. Summer months are best to experience the magic. But if you plan to see the snow-covered Cappadocia, there is a chance that you might have to let go of the hot air balloon ride.
The mermaid city of Turkey, as you may call it, Antalya, is a beautiful city by the Mediterranean Sea. The beauty of this city lies within the lush green mountains surrounding the teal blue sea, Antalya is undoubtedly one of the most mesmerizing places to visit in Turkey. Antalya’s old town is the most happening part of the city. Relaxed cafes rub shoulder with beautiful Yivli Minare Mosque. The Turks have preserved the old town quite elegantly. You cannot give this ancient town a miss.
There are many places in and around Antalya that you should not miss. The ancient ruined city of Aspendos is stated about 40 kilometers away from Antalya. It has one of the best-preserved ancient theatres.
Lower and Upper Duden waterfalls is yet another enchanting experience that you cannot miss. A short trip in a boat will take you to these waterfalls. Sailing along the Mediterranean coast will give you a different kind of chill.
The two main attractions of Pamukkale are the Hierapolis and the travertines. You can plan just to spend a day at Pamukkale and that will be enough.
Pamukkale is a small city near Denizli. If you are fond of historical ruins and if Ephesus was not enough, visit Hierapolis. However, the adjacent travertine is one of the beautiful landscapes that you have ever seen anywhere.
The word Pamukkale means cotton castle. It is quite evident why it is called so. Stretched over a mile, the white travertines are a standout amidst the lush green countryside. The hot spring of calcium carbonate looks terrific. Immerse your feet for some time here at the cotton castle.
The above list of five cities are not all of Turkey; there is much more to it. However, if you have a time crunch, this list will help you a lot. These are a few of the important places to visit in Turkey.
Visit Turkey; it is worth it.