Up to the rafters with ancient masterpieces left behind from a number of historical figures, and enriched with panoramic landscapes that never fail to fascinate, Turkey is a magnificent destination that stretches both Asia and Europe.
Its lively culture, outstanding food, and immense history astonish all who venture here, while its splendid views from the sun-entranced Mediterranean to the towering mountains and Anatolian steppe are marvels in themselves.
Whether you want to revel in the Ottoman and Byzantine richness of Istanbul on a city trip, relax on the beach, dive into history roaming through ruins like Ephesus, or see some of the planet’s most illusory vistas in Cappadocia and Pamukkale, this country has a galore of highlights!
For more ideas on what to do when vacationing in Turkey, read on!
But first things first…
First off, Be Cautious the Covid Spread
The outbreak of coronavirus disease is nothing short of explosive. Began in Wuhan, China, in late 2019, COVID has now found its way to over 203 countries as of today and has been formally declared a global level-A threat.
A multitude of countries, including Turkey, were crippling with their encounter with the first wave of the coronavirus epidemic. But now, with unprecedented healthcare systems in place, the social spread of severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2) seems to be decreasing.
According to Natvisa, Turkey is trying to revive its tourism sector.
However, this doesn’t mean you start roaming Turkey’s beautiful streets without face masks or violate social distancing! COVID is contained there but is still very much a dreadful threat.
Turkey’s Ministry of Culture and Tourism recommends that everyone follow the below-mentioned rules so as to restrict the spread of viruses, in particular, COVID-19:
- Keep your hands disinfected by regularly cleaning them with soap and hot water, or an alcoholic solution such as a sanitizer.
- Sneeze or cough only into your elbow.
- Blow your nose only in a throwaway tissue. And, promptly dispose of it after use.
- Wear a medical-grade surgical mask at all times.
Grasping the above guidelines and being cautious of COVID, you can visit the following most attractive tourist spots in Turkey:
Cappadocia — Hot Air Ballooning Paradise
The ethereal and captivating rock valleys of Cappadocia are every shutterbug’s dream. Hill crests and cliff ridges are home to the mind-bending spectacles of fluttery rocks or rippling-shaped pinnacles that have been shaped by millennia of water and wind action.
And if hiking for the views sounds too much for you, know that Cappadocia is one of the world’s prime destinations to take an eye-popping hot air balloon ride!
On top of that, the lunarscape here is truly one of a kind. Even if that isn’t enough to entice you, the rock-cut churches painted in a fresco of the Byzantine Era are also nuzzled in these valleys! Don’t miss out on them!
The Cotton Castle — Pamukkale
One of the country’s most celebrated natural wonders, the sheer white travertine terraces of Pamukkale, which translate to Cotton Castle in English, descend down the slope looking like an offbeat snowfield crystallized amidst the surrounding flourishing green landscape.
Even though the travertines are in themselves the centerpiece of a Turkey tour, the immense and sprawling ruins of Roman Hierapolis, an ancient spa town, rest on the summit of this calcite hill, offering another reason to visit!
For the best shots, arrive at dusk when the travertines gleam in the radiating rays of the sun as it sinks below the horizon.
Breathtaking Sumela Monastery
With its striking but remote setting, and mounted into a cliff front, Sumela Monastery, also known as the Monastery of the Virgin Mary, is the lead attraction for travelers along the Black Sea Coast.
Sauntering around this deserted religious complex, with its church halls and galleries adorned with elegant and artistic frescoes, is a must for anyone who takes out the time to make the lengthy journey to Turkey’s northeast.
This monastery was established during the Byzantine period and was only rendered inoperative in 1923. Today, roaming around its empty cells, it’s fascinating to visualize the isolated lives of the monks that once dwelled here.
Giant Stone Head at Mount Nemrut
The most eye-catching sensation of Eastern Turkey, Mount Nemrut’s peak funerary mound is rambled with the broken remains and relics of once gigantic statues that safeguarded it.
This mysterious and uninhabited place has to be one of Turkey’s most eccentric archaeological sites! The colossal stone heads of the long-forgotten gods gaze out from the summit, pitching an uncanny and eerie atmosphere over the desolate mountaintop.
The best time to visit this mysteriously fascinating place is at sunrise, so you may watch the statues as they majestically emerge out of the dark.
Ephesus — The Unworldly Ancient Roman Highlight
Absolutely not to be missed, the majestic ruin of Ephesus is a town of staggering marble-columned roads and enormous monuments.
One of the most intact, complete, and stably-standing Roman cities in the Mediterranean zone, this is the place in Turkey to experience what the days must have been like throughout the golden age of the Roman era.
A sightseeing excursion here will, at the very least, take half a day to cover the major attractions and highlights and longer, if you truly want to explore!
So make sure you visit Ephesus on the day you don’t feel rushed for an unequivocally memorable experience.
Ani — The Ancient Silk Road City
The forsaken and relinquished structures of the once-sturdy Silk Road city of Ani sit deserted on the plains close to Turkey’s modern-day border with the neighboring country of Armenia.
Formerly the Armenian capital, Ani’s golden era came to a conclusion in the 14th century following Mongol invasions, earthquake devastation, and trade route skirmish — all of which played their role in the city’s dwindling.
The elegant red-brick structures and buildings still decaying away amid the prairie grass leave a riveting impact on all who visit.
Lastly, make sure you don’t miss out on visiting the Church of St. Gregory and the Church of the Redeemer, decorated with their ornate stone handiwork and fresco remains still evident.