Turkey is one of those countries you have to see to believe. With so many amazing cities and attractions, you could spend well over a month here and barely begin to scratch the surface.
After our time exploring Turkey on our long-term trip, we wanted to take a moment to look back at our three favorite destinations.
Is yours on our list?
What is there not to love about Cappadocia? This remote location in Turkey is like something out of a science fiction movie with rugged landscape, whimsical fairy chimneys, and numerous cave hotels to sleep in.
We were blown away by the number of activities to do in Cappadocia. To be honest, we didn’t know what else was there other than hot air ballooning over the landscape and hiking through the Love Valley to see the chimneys that give the valley its name.
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So what is there to do after these? Well, there are numerous day tours including the Red tour, Blue tour, and Green tour which head out to see the Ilhara valley, several massive underground cities, the Goreme open air museum, and the ancient dwellings and churches in Soganli and Selime- and those are just the most popular options!
In fact, even though Goreme is on the smaller side of cities we’ve visited, we ended up staying here longer than other comparably sized ones purely because there is too much to see.
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This is one place we’re planning on returning to very soon.
The coastal city of Fethiye has everything that a visitor could ask for: a rich history, gorgeous beaches, and the largest gorge in Turkey.
Although the beaches of Fethiye are nice (but a bit cramped in August), one of the features we loved the most about Fethiye are the Lycian rock carvings on the cliffside above town. The reason these tombs are so famous is because they are over 2,000 years old and is one of the largest remaining relics of the ancient town of Telmessos that used to reside in the region.
Although these tombs are small, they are quite reminiscent of other tomb carvings from around the world – most notably the Treasury and Monastery of Petra, Jordan. Although it may be a stretch to say that these are related, I always love seeing how regions were shaped throughout time. Fethiye was one of those for me.
What is there not to love about Istanbul? This city has just about every side of Turkish life you would expect, and in being the point where east (Asia) meets west (Europe), the city has grown immensely over the ages.
My love of Istanbul comes from the numerous experiences we were able to have during our few brief days there. From exploring the famous Blue Mosque and Hagia Sofia, getting a traditional massage at a world famous hamam, and buying a Turkish rug in Istanbul at a shop of a family friend just outside the massive Grand Bazaar, we certainly saw a wide spectrum of what the city has to offer.
For those looking to get a taste of Middle Eastern culture, Istanbul is a wonderful starting place as there is a visible mix of many cultures from around the world influencing the history of the city. Now in modern times, the same trend is apparent as well as cosmopolitan features have merged beautifully with the traditions of old.
Even though we spent a month here on our first visit there were so many places we didn’t see- like the northern coast and famous cities like Gaziantep and Diyarbakir. I guess that means we have to go back.