Turkey is a large, varied country which lies at the crossroads of Europe and Asia and is bordered by four different seas. It has unique landscapes, natural wonders, snowy mountains, beaches, delicious cuisine and lots of ancient buildings and ruins to explore.
Turkey is a great choice if you’re looking to combine a beach holiday with adventure and culture, and you can also get some good deals on flights to Turkey with companies such as Thomson.
However, with such a vast area to cover, it can be difficult to know where to go and what to see while you’re there, so here’s a list of the 5 must-see places in Turkey.
Situated on a high, dry plateau in Central Turkey is Cappadocia- an area known for its moon-like landscape, ‘fairy chimneys’, ancient troglodyte homes and underground churches. Thousands of years ago, humans started carving a network of houses and tunnels into the soft rock, which eventually became an underground city. This is definitely worth putting on your itinerary. Stay in a cave hotel, take a hot-air balloon ride over the surreal landscape, hike the volcanic valleys and admire the incredible examples of Byzantine art.
No trip to Turkey would be complete without visiting the city of Istanbul, which straddles the continents of Europe and Asia. Visit Istanbul’s two most famous landmarks- the Blue Mosque and Hagia Sofia- and haggle for souvenirs in the Grand Bazaar. In the evening sample the Ottoman cuisine and discover why Istanbul is considered one of the best party cities in Europe.
Pammukale is another fascinating landscape and one of Turkey’s greatest natural wonders. Meaning “cotton castle” in Turkish, Pammukale is a city containing hot springs and dazzling white travertine terraces. The hard, white mineral deposits actually look a lot like snow, and are caused by the high mineral content of the water that cascades down the cliff. This UNESCO World Heritage Site is extremely popular with tourists, who come to bathe in its pools. Not only does it look unusual, the baths here are known for their therapeutic properties.
Ephesus was a an important city and commercial centre in ancient times, and the ruins are a very popular tourist attraction in modern day Turkey. This large archeological site is home to the the Great Theater, Basilica of St. John, the House of Virgin Mary and Temple of Artemis- one of the Seven Wonders of the Ancient World.
Think of Troy and you’re mind will immediately recall the epic tale from Homer’s poem Iliad. Well Troy is actually a real place in Turkey, and is also where the legendary Trojan war took place. Here you can explore the ancient ruins and see a replica of the famous Trojan Horse. In the Iliad, the Greeks came up with a cunning plan to win the Trojan war. They pretended to leave and left the Trojans with a giant wooden horse that appeared to be a peace offering. The Trojans dragged it inside the walled city, but while they were sleeping, the Greeks emerged from inside the horse’s belly, killing the Trojans and winning the war.