Filled with hundreds of years of history, a colourful and traditional culture, and plenty of natural and man-made wonders, Turkey is a stunning and exciting country to explore. From age old statues, mosques, and natural wonders, to delicious cuisines and dishes perfected over the centuries, there are endless adventures to be had across the entire country of Turkey. While many tourists and visitors flock to Istanbul, the historical and modern metropolis city which offers incredible sightseeing, nightlife, and shopping, there are many other hidden spots located around the country. From the furthest eastern corners where the mountains are snow capped to the dream-like fairytale lands of Cappadocia and Goreme, the landscape of Turkey is ever changing and beckons to be explored. Check out these five amazing destinations to visit in Turkey, which include both natural and man-made sights, and both lesser known destinations and popular attractions.
Located near the center of the country, Cappadocia can only be described as a fairytale land that is unlike any other natural landscape in the world. Cappadocia consists of natural caves that are made of rock and shaped like cones or chimneys. For hundreds of years, locals in the area have built homes, shops, and businesses into the caves, which are incredible pieces of natural architecture. Shaped by the arid conditions of the land, and by the weather, the fairy chimneys of Cappadocia draw in thousands of visitors year round. The entire region is a historical site in Turkey, and perhaps the best way to see it is from a hot air balloon. Hot air ballon rides leave before the sun rises, allowing visitors to see the sun rise over the beautiful natural landscape. It is also easy to explore the region on foot or by motorbike, ATV, or bicycle. Don’t miss checking out the nearby city of Uchisar. From afar, this city is incredible and the little maze streets are perfect for a days adventure.
In the west of Turkey, south of the big cities of Istanbul and Izmir, Pamukkale is another incredible natural landscape that must been seen when visiting Turkey. Although it is quite a trek from other touristic spots, it is very accessible if you are vacationing in the south of Turkey near the beach destinations of Antalya or Fethiye. Pamukkale is a vast region that is known for its travertine pools filled with mineral rich thermal water. The travertine terraces hold the beautifully coloured water, which seems to flow as far as the eye can see. Nearby, there are many ancient Roman ruins located in the region that was historically known as Hierapolis. Constructed in 190 B.C., the ruins include an incredibly well preserved theater, a necropolis, and other distinguishable ruins. Both of these regions can be explored in the same day, ensuring an incredible adventure.
If you are looking to take a break from the many touristic areas and bustling cities that can be found across the country, head to the south of Turkey where there are turquoise waters and plenty of beautiful beaches. While many tourists and locals head to the busy beaches of Oludeniz, Fethiye, and Antalya, there are many secluded beaches and valleys that provide the ultimate peaceful getaways. Butterfly Valley is one of those regions where you can relax in nature, socialize with a few chilled out people, and live a very simple and easy life. Butterfly Valley is so secluded because it can only be reached by boat from the nearby beaches in Fethiye. Once on the tiny beach, there are plenty of little walks to explore the valley, which lead to an incredible waterfall. Many of the accommodations are very simple including huts, hostels, and tents. Once you have spent a few days relaxing and swimming at Butterfly Valley, return to the land by boat and travel to the top of the valley to enjoy the most incredible views of your home for the past few days. Looking down into the paradise, you can see how it is so secluded and one of the lesser known places in Turkey.
Located in the southeast of the country near the city of Adiyaman, Mount Nemrut is also one of the lesser explored and seen sights of the country, due to its more remote location. Located on top of Nemrut Dagi, a small mountain in the region, the statues of Mount Nemrut are truly incredible. With statues situated on both the eastern and western sides of the mountain top, which greet the sun when it rises and see it off when it sets, the statues have been erected at the top since the 1st century BC. With both seated statues and heads situated on the ground, there are many interesting ruins located on the mountaintop. The heads range in variety from eagles to ancient gods. Be sure to visit the site at sunrise or sunset, where you will have a deeper understanding of why the statues were placed exactly where they still remain. You will also have a deeper appreciation for the incredible work of art that is situated on the mountain top. In the nearby city of Adiyaman, there are many incredible markets, restaurants, and museums, which are explored by tourists to a lesses degree. Adiyaman is a great place to stay while visiting the nearby mountain of Nemrut.
Although Ephesus is one of the most commonly visited historical areas in Turkey, it should definitely not be missed or over-looked when visiting the country. These ancient Greek ruins were built in the 10th century BC and are incredibly well preserved, considering their ancient age. The Library of Celsius is one of the most beloved ruins in the Ephesus complex. Housing thousands of books back in the 10th century, the library’s facade is still intact, and helps historians understand the ancient culture that once existed in the area. Ephesus includes other ruins which demonstrate the complex civilization of the Ancient Greeks. The complex includes an amphitheatre that was capable of holding up to 25,000 spectators at a variety of different events. Nearby, the ruins of one of the Seven Wonders of the Ancient World, the Temple of Artemis, can be found.
While many holiday goers head to Istanbul, the capital city of Ankara, and the beautiful southern and western beach towns of Turkey, there are many hidden wonders and lesser known destinations that are worth visiting in Turkey. While it can be difficult to travel quickly and efficiently across Turkey to sightsee, the country has airports located in and around most of the cities across the nation. With cheap internal flights, it is worth it to spend some extra time and money adventuring across the nation to explore these top five destinations. Buses service the entire country as well, so if you are on a budget and have more time, check out the many bus companies that offer cheap rates.