Awash in the deep blue of the Mediterranean on its southern coast and hemmed in by the staggering Pontic mountains on its northern coast, Turkey boasts even more astounding scenery in-between. It's the perfect backdrop to gripping adventures and unforgettable activities.
Here’s a list of Travelous’ top 7:
Thermal baths in Pamukkale
Forget about soaking in a tub when you can unwind in the pools of Turkey’s “cotton castle,” - the literal translation of the thermal site’s name. This breathtaking natural wonder, carved out by calcareous hot springs, will offer you boundless, turquoise-colored basins to bathe in. It was formerly known as the healing center of Hieropolis, which was founded as early as the 2nd century BCE. Make sure you take some time to explore its ancient ruins after a round of decompressing. Side note: if you’re into exceptionally warm baths, appoint yourself king of the castle and scamper up the dazzling limestone shelves to the very top, where you’ll get incredible views to boot. Travelous will provide you with Turkey's best travel guides who’ll ensure you get the royal treatment.
Hot air balloon in Cappadocia
Soaring over fairy chimneys and underground cities in a hot air balloon in Cappadocia, the sky ablaze in colour as the sun rises over the horizon, you may think you’re dreaming. No worries about getting light-headed at this dizzying height - a cool drink up in the clouds or a glass of wine, once you get back on your feet, will undoubtedly solve the issue. In fact, as you drift up higher and higher, you’ll be so swept away by the vastness of the river valleys and cliffs, you won’t feel anything besides sheer awe. Awe at the incredibly unique land surface - sculpted entirely by erosion - and the fact that once upon a time, cave dwellers made their home in this ethereal place. If you prefer to do this with a group of friends or as a romantic soiree rather than a sunrise ride, just let us know. Travelous makes any kind of tour possible for families with kids to couples who are seeking a little more romance and everything in-between.
Snorkel in Sarigerme
It may take you by surprise, but this area of Turkey’s Coast is known for its eerie underwater caves, ancient shipwrecks and vibrant seafloor. You’ll swim by exotic fish as you navigate the warm, turquoise waters, searching for antique treasures that were lost at sea by merchants and traders. After frolicking on the sunny beach and discovering the hidden treasures around the coral reefs, head over to the lively village of Sarigerme for a pick me up - some Turkish coffee paired with a gorgeous dessert, or perhaps indulge in some shopping on the main strip. Hilton Dalaman Sarigerme Resort & Spa, an all-inclusive Aegean beach resort that is one of Turkey’s best resorts for couples, is right around the corner. If you stay there, you’ll get twenty-three glorious restaurants to choose from for dinner. Perfect way to pamper yourself after a day out on the water, it’s the place to go.
Go back in time at Ephesus
Whether you’re a history buff or not, you are going to be astounded by the well-preserved ruins at Ephesus, once the capital of the Eastern Roman Empire and, unreservedly, Turkey’s most beautiful city. Picture yourself walking through the Library of Celsus 2,000 years ago, the marbled shelves holding thousands of scrolls, the tables crowded with youthful scholars. Head down the winding paved streets (you’ll be wondering what kind of machinery they used to build this level of infrastructure so many thousands of years ago!), continue on by the squares, baths, and find youself in the amphitheater, equipped to seat 24,000 people. This is where crowds of Ephesians chanted “Great is the goddess Diana of Ephesus!" and drove the Apostle Paul out of the city. The terrace houses, legendary home of the Virgin Mary and the Basilica of St. John, dating back to the 6th century and built over St. John’s tomb, will also blow you away.
Bosphorus Cruise by Night in Istanbul
Immerse yourself in the pulsating energy of the Bosphorus strait, connecting the great continents of Europe and Asia, the place where East meets West! There are an unbelievable number of remarkable sights as you cruise along: palaces, castles, fortresses and lavish waterfront homes built by the Ottomans. You’ll even get to catch a glimpse of the sprawling Hagia Sophia Mosque, a UNESCO World Heritage Site that was once an Orthodox Church in the 4th century. Not to mention the fiery sunset, the dazzling starlit sky, the beautiful banquet of food laid before you. This is the best way to see Istanbul’s waterfront, in an architectural display of antiquity and modernity.
Pub-crawl in Antalya
Enjoy an evening out in Antalya’s bustling Old Town, where a pub-crawl is heaps of fun - with minimal effort! But first, I highly recommend jumping on a gondola, the Tünektepe Teleferik, to bask in stunning views of sea, mountains, and city at golden hour. Climbing up to a height of almost 6,000 feet, this cable car isn’t just exhilarating to ride, it’ll give you a bird’s eye view of your next stop: Kaleiçi. Kaleiçi is where the party is at - the area in Antalya that is not just known for its gorgeous historic center, but also best known for its nightlife. Choose between hearing the latest rock, pop or Turkish music performed live. And these musicians are really good! From Sheffield’s Pub to Tudor’s Arena and from the Queen’s Pub to the Sponge Pub, you'll have guaranteed fun times. The best part? They’re all within a stone’s throw of one another.
Revel in the mystery at Göbekli Tepe
This UNESCO World Heritage Site is older than Stonehenge, (by 6,500 years!) and absolutely worth the drive into Turkey’s Anatolia Region. Over 12,000 years ago, hunter-gatherers gave future generations insight into their intricate artisanship and funerary practices by making beautiful artistic carvings on shockingly symmetrical stone blocks that weigh tons upon tons. You might have some serious questions about the quality of the engineering practices you see here, they’re exceptionally advanced. And the animal carvings on the stone are unusually detailed. Were they aided by extraterrestrial visitors or another form of intelligence? Draw your own conclusions as you explore one of the world’s oldest archeological sites.
These are our top seven favorite things to do in Turkey, combining adventure, culture, history, and nature for one unforgettable adventure. I could easily suggest seven other incredible and just as varied activities, but we’ll save those for your trip back, because you will be back!