Turkey is situated in Anatolia, also known as Asia Minor. Anatolia has a significant role in the history of humanity where important civilisations have existed for centuries. Some of the civilisations that settled down in Anatolia are Greek city-states, Hittites, Assyrians, Phrygians, Cappadocians, Armenians, Romans, Byzantines, and Turks.
Turkey is the one and the only country that connects two continents (Europe and Asia) and as you can imagine, there are tonnes of things to explore in this beautiful country.
The Best Things to See in Turkey
Without a doubt, Istanbul is the Jewel of Turkey. It’s the most crowded and the most attractive city among the Turks. However, Turkey is not only about Istanbul. The rest of Turkey offers great things for its visitors too.
If you come to Turkey for a short time, let’s say for a week, your best holiday plan would be staying three days in Istanbul, two days in Ephesus and Pamukkale, and two days at Cappadocia.
The cities mentioned above are only a few of the spots to hit in Turkey. There are many other beautiful places to visit in every corner of Turkey, but, in my opinion, these destinations should be at the top of your list during your stay in this amazing country. If you have more time, or if you want to come back to Turkey in the future, you should also definitely visit Troy, Bodrum, Marmaris, Fethiye and, Antalya too.
City Tour in Istanbul
Istanbul is the pearl of Turkey. It has an amazingly rich history which dates back to 638 B.C. Istanbul was a minor Greek colony when it was founded, named Byzantium back then. When the city became a part of the Roman Empire, it began to be named as Constantinople, after Emperor Constantine. Then, it became the capital of the Ottoman Empire and the city began to be called Istanbul and it has remained the same since then.
Istanbul has always been a meeting point of civilizations. The city bridges Asia and Europe, as the city falls on both continents and it is divided into two by the Bosphorus Strait. This is one of the many things that makes Istanbul so special.
It’s a big challenge to list all the places worth visiting in Istanbul, however; if we should make a short-list, these spots should be on every traveler’s list when they visit Istanbul: Hagia Sophia, Blue Mosque, Grand Bazaar, Topkapi Palace, Chora Church, Galata Tower, Taksim Square & Istiklal Avenue, and Bosphorus villages. We should also include a Bosphorus cruise tour to your list. It’s something that you can’t miss. For the further reading about Istanbul, you may find useful articles in the Turkey Private Tour Guide blog page.
Ephesus Ancient City
As I mentioned above, Anatolia has been home to various important civilizations throughout its history. Ephesus is a heritage site from the Greek and Roman eras that deserves to be visited. We can easily say Ephesus is the number one place in Anatolia worth visiting. It’s a huge ancient city and a very well preserved one.
The most striking things to see at Ephesus are the Library of Celcus and Temple of Artemis. In addition to these amazing historical works of art, there are a couple of artefacts worth seeing, such as the House of Virgin Mary.
Ephesus Guided Tours
The most common way to visit Ephesus is via cruise ships. In this sense, Kusadasi Port at Izmir plays an important role for tourists that wish to visit Ephesus. Cruise ships usually come into this port for Ephesus. However, in spite of the huge interest from tourists, it’s really hard to find an experienced and knowledgeable guide in this city. Therefore, I definitely suggest you book an private Ephesus guide prior to your visit.
Pamukkale Travertines & Hierapolis Ancient City
Another important place worth seeing in Turkey is Pamukkale. As it is not far from Ephesus, Pamukkale is an ideal choice for travellers who have visit Ephesus before on their journey. A day trip to Pamukkale will suffice to discover its beauties.
Pamukkale is famous for its incredible snow-white travertine (a type of limestone) that can’t be compared to anything you’ve seen before. Don’t miss this fairy-like travertine as its beauty diminishes day by day due to the huge interest from visitors.
It’s not just the travertine you can visit when you are at Pamukkale. This city also houses another amazing ancient city named Hierapolis. It’s smaller and less attractive than Ephesus. However, it’s still worth visiting as it is preserved really well. In addition, there is a pool that is decorated with ancient columns and artifacts. It’s definitely an interesting experience to swim in such an atmosphere.
The Fairy Chimneys of Cappadocia and Hot Air Balloon Tour
It is not an exaggeration to state that Cappadocia is the most unbelievably beautiful place in Turkey and probably one of the most unique ones in the world. You will agree with me when you see the amazing natural creations that emerged after volcanic eruptions. These fairy chimneys are truly breathtaking and it’s once in a lifetime experience for every traveller in the world.
The beauty of Cappadocia is not limited to its chimneys, though. Cappadocia was an important centre for the early Christians. Since the Roman Empire was against the spread of Christianity and pressured its followers in the beginning, Christians had to pray secretly and to this end, they built huge underground cities in the valleys of Cappadocia. Therefore, you can visit a lot of historical and mystic churches during your visit to Cappadocia.
Needless to say, a hot air balloon trip is a must do, if you visit Cappadocia. Moreover, a visit to cave houses, staying at a cave hotel and visiting ancient castles are among many other things to do while at Cappadocia. There are so many things to do and see at Cappadocia that a couple of days will definitely be inadequate to fully discover it.
Cappadocia Guided Tours
I should say that a Cappadocia private tour guide is definitely needed to explore Cappadocia properly. Cappadocia lies in a huge area and in every part of Cappadocia, there is something worth seeing and you will most probably need an experienced guide to help you discover Cappadocia thoroughly.