5 WAYS TO EXPERIENCE TURKEY
Situated where East meets West, Turkey is a fascinating country that blends influences from Central Asia, Europe and the Middle East. It’s long been a hub for trade and boasts ancient ruins and stunning architectural landmarks that are a testament to the influential groups who’ve come and gone. It’s a destination where you can relax on magnificent coastlines, explore legendary bazaars and float above otherworldly landscapes. No matter what you’re looking for, Turkey has something to offer and here are just five ways you can experience it.
1. Discover the intoxicating history of Istanbul
Straddling both Europe and Asia, Istanbul’s history is fascinating, with monuments that date from its years as the beating heart of Constantinople and the Byzantine Empire. The Bosphorus Strait is littered with opulent Ottoman-era mansions while the mesmerising Blue Mosque and Hagia Sophia in the centre of Istanbul are not to be missed. You can wander amidst the ancient monuments of the Hippodrome, delve into the history books at the Topkapi Palace or tour the underground passages of the Basilica Cistern.
“A panoramic view across the city of Istanbul with its soaring minarets”
2. Cruise along the Turkish Riviera in a traditional gulet
Stretching along the Aegean and Mediterranean Seas in Turkey’s southwest, the Turkish Riviera is a spectacular coastline of hidden coves, charming towns and idyllic offshore islands. Traditional gulet yacht cruises are the best way to explore, stopping at sunken ruins and enticing swimming holes along the way. Spend your days snorkelling in the crystal clear waters before watching the sunset and falling asleep to the sound of waves lapping at the boat.
“Cruising through the azure waters of the Turkish Riviera”
3. Watch sunrise from a hot air balloon over Cappadocia
With its spectacular rock formations and richly coloured valleys, Cappadocia is high on the list of most travellers’ Turkey itineraries. But aside from exploring its rock-hewn churches and underground dwellings, it’s a deservedly popular destination to take to the skies for a sunrise hot air balloon flight. Watching the day’s first rays illuminate this majestic landscape is not to be missed, giving you a bird’s eye view before you hit the trekking trails below.
“Dozens of hot air balloons floating above Cappadocia at sunrise”
4. Bathe in the therapeutic waters of Pamukkale
It was the Romans who first discovered the healing qualities of Pamukkale’s spring waters, inspiring them to build the spa town of Hierapolis at the top of the hill. Glistening white travertine terraces cascade down the slope below, creating what is now a UNESCO World Heritage-listed landscape. While there are strict regulations in place to preserve this surreal site, visitors can follow in the footsteps of the Romans and still experience the therapeutic benefits of Pamukkale’s waters during a soak in the thermal baths.
“Snow-like travertine terraces cascade down a hillside in Pamukkale”
5. Tour the ancient ruins of Ephesus
The ancient ruins of Ephesus are considered among the best-preserved in the world and home to one of the Seven Wonders of the Ancient World - the Temple of Artemis. Join a guided tour to gain an insight into the lives of Ephesus’ residents as you explore the Celsius Library and Terrace Houses, then wander along the main thoroughfare of Curetes Way. Ephesus is also just a short drive from where the Mother of Christ is believed to have lived out her final days at the House of the Virgin Mary.
“The ruins of the Celsius Library at Ephesus”