Turkey is a country of contrasts that unites the culture of East and West. It is a country full of natural wonders such as Cappadocia or Pamukkale that combine perfectly with archaeological sites from the Roman Empire such as Pergamon and Aphrodisias. Passing through cities full of bazaars and mosques like those of the beautiful Istanbul. To make a tour of Turkey about 10 days are recommended if you don't want to miss anything or want to visit everything calmly. In our case we have traveled to Turkey twice. The first time we only visited Istanbul and Cappadocia in 6 days and since we wanted to know more places in the country, we have returned two years later to continue touring every corner and this time we have dedicated 8 more days going at a good pace.
After two trips to the country, this is our list of the 12 most essential and beautiful places to see in Turkey.
THE 12 MOST BEAUTIFUL PLACES TO SEE IN TURKEY
Istanbul is one of the essential places to see in Turkey. And, in addition, it is a city with many things to see and do. Give it at least 3 days. It is known as the city of the thousand and one nights or of the seven hills, although all the names are few to describe this fantastic city, located between Asia and Europe and that perfectly mixes the traditions and culture of the East with the modernity of the West. . The best way to enjoy Istanbul is to get lost in the crowded neighborhoods, haggle in one of its markets, enter one of the most impressive mosques in the world such as the Blue Mosque or Hagia Sophia...
2. Pamukkale, a natural wonder that you cannot miss in Turkey
Pamukkale, cotton castle in Turkish, is one of the most amazing places to see in Turkey. This place is declared a World Heritage Site and is an area known worldwide for its white pools located on the side of a 160-meter-high hill, which were formed thanks to tectonic movements that made several sources of rich thermal waters appear. in minerals. This water has been forming white layers of limestone and travertine as it runs down the mountain. From a distance it looks like a huge waterfall of frozen water.
For a time, as a result of the proliferation of hotels and little tourist control, many terraces dried up and Pamukkale was put in danger, although in recent years, thanks to the actions of Unesco and the government and the global break due to the covid-19, Pamukkale is recovering.
In Pamukkale there is also Hierapolis, an ancient Hellenistic city of which the ruins of great buildings such as the Temple of Apollo, the Theater and the Necropolis are preserved and which is another of the essential visits in the area and which I will tell you more about ahead.
In Hierapolis are the remains of the ancient Greco-Roman city, built as a spa. It is located right in Pamukkale, the white limestone mountain from where thermal water gushes.
To visit this area and get to know the natural pools and the remains of the ancient city, I recommend at least 1 full day and 1 night. There are day trips that come and go to the accommodation destination, but a lot of time is wasted on journeys.
4. Cappadocia, the most essential place to see in Turkey
Cappadocia is a region located in the center of Turkey. The region is home to the provinces of Kayseri, Nevşehir, Aksaray and Niğde. It is known worldwide for its geological formations (especially its fairy chimneys), cave churches, underground cities... and for this reason, one of the best ways to visit it and be able to contemplate everything is to do it in a balloon flight.
Going through Rose Valley and Red Valley to enjoy a movie sunset is one of the best things to do in Cappadocia.
5. The Lycian Tombs of Myra
The Lycian tombs of Myra from the 4th century BC, are carved into the rock, due to the belief that the dead would be carried to the afterlife by a winged creature. They are quite impressive and it is a very interesting place to see in Turkey. The set of cave tombs are divided into two necropolises, of which the most famous is the one found on the vertical walls of a mountain near the Demre Cay River, known as the Dalyan Rock.
In addition to the tombs in this area, you can visit a well-preserved Amphitheater and the beautiful Byzantine-style church of St. Nicholas. The tombs are located near Antalya.
The coastal city of Antalya, located in the southwest of Turkey, is perfect for a relaxing stop on your trip. It is an area with beautiful beaches and crystal clear water. Near the city are the Düben waterfalls, which fall directly into the sea. The historic center of the city has a lot of charm. With stone and white wooden houses with wooden windows and balconies full of flowers. The port is a very nice place to take a walk and have something to eat in the evening.
7. Mount Nemrut, a very interesting place to see in Turkey
Mount Nemrut with 2,150 meters of altitude is a very interesting place to see in Turkey. It is known for the giant heads that remain from the burial mound that King Antiochus I had built in 62 BC, on top of the mountain. These heads belonged to huge statues of different gods sitting on their thrones, which were later damaged by iconoclasts. This archaeological site is declared a World Heritage Site by UNESCO and you cannot miss it. It is located near Turkish Kurdistan, very far from Istanbul and therefore one of the least popular places among tourists. The great advantage is that you can visit it alone or with hardly any people. It is advisable to visit Mount Nemrut when the weather conditions are more favorable, in summer or spring. And to get there you must take a flight to Adiyaman airport and from there move to Kahta, the best area to stay in the area. To get to the parking lot located 600 meters from the statues, you can hire a car with a driver or take a bus.
Ephesus is one of the best preserved ancient cities in Asia Minor and is a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Most of the ruins are located along the Avenida de los Curetes, which links the Puerta de Hércules with the impressive Biblioteca de Celso. Other essential places to see in Ephesus are the Great Theater and the Odeon, the Fountain of Trajan, the Temple of Domitian, the gate of Mazaeus and Mithridates, the Agora of Commerce and the Temple of Trajan.
Aspendos is one of the best preserved Roman theaters in the world. This huge theater with a capacity of 15,000 spectators was built during the time of Emperor Marcus Aurelius between 161 and 180 AD, by the Greek architect Zeno and still retains the wall behind the stage. In addition to preserving the entire stage and the stands, this theater has a rich decoration and perfect acoustics, which is why all kinds of concerts are still held.
Aphrodisias is one of the best preserved Greek-style archaeological sites in the world. It is declared a World Heritage Site by UNESCO and is one of the places you cannot miss in Turkey. This ancient city was named Aphrodite after the Greek goddess of love, whose statue was inside the Temple of Aphrodite, the most important site on the site. In addition to this temple, there are other interesting buildings such as the Tetrapylon gate, the theater from the 27th century BC, the stadium, the baths of Hadrian, the Sebasteion…
The ancient Greek city of Pergamon was, together with Alexandria, the main cultural centers of antiquity thanks to their respective libraries. The library, of which only a few structures remain, had more than 200,000 parchment rolls made in the city itself and hence the origin of the material's name. In addition, there are the remains of the Theater with capacity for 10,000 people and what remains of the spectacular Altar of Zeus, of which the original is in the Pergamon Museum in Berlin. You can also visit the ruins of Asclepion, one of the most important healing sanctuaries of ancient times.
The best option to end the trip to Turkey. Ölüdeniz is a coastal area surrounded by emerald green mountains that stand out with the deep blue color of the sea. Its waters are calm and it is an incredible option if you like the beach to end the trip. It is one of the most expensive areas in Turkey, but you can find accommodation of all kinds.
If you dare to get to know the Lycian coast of Turkey, you cannot miss visiting the Ancient Lycian city of Telmessos, the Fethiye necropolis and the abandoned city of Kayaköy.
PLAN YOUR TRIP STEP BY STEP
I hope you enjoy your trip to Turkey very much and that this article has been useful to you. You can continue reading many more related articles on the blog.
If you liked this article, subscribe to the blog so you don't miss the next destinations, curiosities, travel tips and inspiration for your trips.
A hug and see you soon!