Providing a link between Europe and Asia, Turkey is a unique country with influences from both the East and the West. History and culture seem to be around every corner, while some of its landscapes are unlike anywhere else in the world. Add to this a wonderful cuisine and fantastic shopping opportunities, and you have a destination which should rank highly on your travel bucket list.
If you are planning on visiting this part of the world, it is worth looking into a Turkey e visa application to make sure that you can pass into the country smoothly. To give you some ideas of what you should see and do while you are here, check out some of the top attractions which the country has to offer.
Most visitors to Turkey will inevitably pass through Istanbul, and there is every reason that you will want to hang around once you get here. A hive of activity, part of the appeal of being in the capital city of the country is simply walking around and taking it all in. Named one of the most stunning buildings in the world to see, the Hagia Sophia is stunning to behold both inside and out. It is a remnant which reminds you just how powerful the Ottoman Empire once was. Another stunning building which is certainly worth a visit is the Blue Mosque. As for shopping, the Grand Bazaar is a maze of shops and stalls selling all types of trinkets and treasures.
You would struggle to take a bad picture of Cappadocia with its cliff ridges, sprawling houses, and hot air balloons floating over the top of the landscape. The rocks have formed surreal-looking pinnacles after centuries of being shaped by the wind and water. You can see a lot of the area on foot, which is a great way to get up close and personal with the historical landmarks. Otherwise, you could take a hot air balloon ride to get a totally different view.
If you are a fan of natural landscapes and unique wonders of the world, Pamukkale needs to be on your list. In English, this place translates to ‘Cotton Castle’, and the pure white terraces piled one on top of the other are something which you have to witness for yourself. At the top of this natural wonder are the Roman ruins of Hierapolis. There is plenty to explore here. Make sure that you time your trip properly to be at the end of the day, so that you can see the travertines glow as the sun sets over them.
The perfect antidote to the overcrowded and over-photographed Colosseum in Rome, Aspendos is a huge amphitheatre which was built during the reign of Marcus Aurelius. You can walk all over the ruins and get the feeling of what it would have been like to stand in front of a crowd of thousands. You can easily spend a couple of hours wandering around here. Many visitors come here on a day trip from the nearby town of Antalya, where you can get lost in the labyrinth of the Old Town, stroll by the picturesque harbour, and visit the museums which give you an overview of the history.
Turkey is famed for its stretches of beautiful sandy beaches, and one of the finest is certainly Patara. At over nine miles, there is plenty of room for sunbathers. However, it is in a very secluded location and is only backed by Lycian and Roman ruins. These have helped to protect the beach from over development, as well as this being a location where the protected Loggerhead turtles come to lay their eggs.
Library of Celsus
Head over to the west coast of the country and you will find the ruins of Ephesus. This was a place which was once most famous for being home to one of the seven wonders of the ancient world, the Temple of Artemis. And while many of the buildings were destroyed centuries ago, some of them can still be seen including the Great Theatre and Library of Celsus. The latter was carefully reconstructed during the 1970s using the original pieces.
One of the most unusual attractions in Turkey, the top of Mount Nemrut was once home to some colossal statues which now lie battered and broken. It is strange to see now, but it does provide a unique atmosphere as you wander around the mountaintop. If you wake up early enough, you can see the statues appear from the darkness as the sun comes up. As an added bonus, the summit of the mountain provides a fantastic view of the surrounding peaks too.
Part of the fun of going to Turkey is heading over to the secluded landmarks - a couple of which we have already talked about. Another one is the Sumela Monastery, which is an interesting attraction situated along the Black Sea Coast. Once a busy religious complex, it has been long since abandoned, but it still remains a vibrant building to wander around. One of the main features that will strike you about visiting here is the sense of isolation that you get from it. Try to picture what the lives of the monks were like who chose to inhabit this part of the country.
As you can see from the diverse range of sights and attractions that we have chosen to discuss in this blog post, Turkey is the kind of place which offers a wide range of reasons to visit. Added to everything that we have already discussed is the warm and open nature of the people who live here. You are bound to come away with plenty of memories and more than a few stories to tell after a trip to Turkey.