The former center of the Ottoman Empire is associated today mainly with resort towns such as Antalya and Alanya, five-star hotels with an all-inclusive system and a relaxing vacation at sea. But once you go beyond the hotel complex, you will see miracles worthy of tales of "One Thousand and One Night". There are cave towns and mountain tracks, modern metropolitan areas and ancient ruins in Turkey. Travellizy Team is confident: this country is clearly worth getting to know it better, even if for the sake of this you have to abandon the buffet.
Capital rhythm of Ankara
Ankara is not as popular as Istanbul, and some do not even know that it is the capital of modern Turkey. But still, there are a couple of interesting places in Ankara.
If you are interested in the history of Turkey, then you should definitely visit Anitkabir, or the mausoleum of Atatürk. The first president of the country is buried in the majestic building, and the change of guards in front of the mausoleum is a very interesting and original show.
Are you interested in a more ancient history? Then you need to get to the Hisar Fortress. On the way to it, you can buy various souvenirs and take a walk along the streets of the old center, and from the walls of the fortress itself, you can see the best view of the Turkish capital.
Are you more interested in mosques, not fortresses? You will find Kocatepe, the largest mosque in Ankara, whose gilded domes rise above the city. There are also many parks, good shopping centers and interesting museums. 2-3 days will be enough to get acquainted with the Turkish capital, and after that you can go inland.
Hot-air balloons over the caves in Cappadocia
You will not find the town or village called Cappadocia on the map, because this is not the name of the settlement, but the area in central Turkey to the north-east of the city of Nevsehir. Cappadocia is the country's second most popular tourist destination after Istanbul, and the landscapes of these lands will be remembered forever.
The landscapes of Cappadocia are small white cliffs and narrow gorges between them, countless caves and mountain temples. In order to properly see the unusual landscape, you should go flying in a hot-air balloon. However, if you see dozens of balloons flying over the Martian-like landscapes, this will be very impressive from the ground. Get up early for the best views and shots, as the cliffs of Cappadocia are stunningly beautiful at dawn.
While balloons soar above the cliffs, there are a lot of interesting things beneath them. In Cappadocia, there are as many as 6 underground towns, and about 20 thousand people lived in Derinkuyu, the largest of them. You can wander through the cave labyrinths all day, or you can even spend the night there. Many hotels in Cappadocia are also located in caves.
Volcanic soup along the Lycian Way
The Lycian Way is considered to be one of the best hiking trails in the world among the hikers. In order to walk along it, special training and equipment are not necessary; comfortable shoes, a tourist backpack and tents with a sleeping bag will be enough in the warm season. And you can even do without a tent, small villages are scattered along the path, in which there are cozy hotels for travelers.
The full route through the Lycian Way is about 500 kilometers and about a month on the road (depending on your rhythm and physical fitness). But if you don’t have a month at your disposal, then it’s okay, as there are routes for a week or two. Walking through the territory of the ancient kingdom of Lycia, you can admire the mountain peaks and a 20-km beach, go through the canyon and see the ruins of the castle. Those who walk along the trail with a tent and a bowler will have a truly unique opportunity - to cook camp porridge over a fire that flows out directly of the ground.
Having tea while overlooking the fjords of Karadeniz
The landscapes that will open in front of you in the Karadeniz region, in the north-east of Turkey, are not associated with this country. Walking around tea plantations and looking at the fjords in the Chorokh valley, you can imagine yourself somewhere in Norway.
In Karadeniz, there is the highest dam of Turkey called Deriner, and there are picturesque monasteries on the banks of the Chorokh River. What is noteworthy, they are Georgian, because Chorokh carries its waters from Turkey to Batumi, where it flows into the Black Sea.
Another attraction of the region is Kackar Mountains National Park. This is a real paradise for lovers of mountain hikes, you will see here waterfalls as well as lakes and glaciers. Old stone bridges over mountain rivers await lovers of spectacular insta-photos, while numerous family cafes await fans of hearty Turkish cuisine.
In the Aladaglar National Park, which is also on the territory of Karadeniz, you can get to know Kapuzbasi waterfalls closer. This is a group of seven waterfalls, which effectively flow from sheer cliffs. And, if you come to the national park in winter, then you will find an unforgettable sight - waterfalls made of ice.
Noah's Ark parking place: Ararat
The biblical Mount Ararat belongs to two countries simultaneously - Armenia and Turkey. From the Armenian side, you can admire it only from afar, but from the Turkish side, you can make a full-fledged ascent.
The main attractions of the national park on the slope of Ararat are glacial caves, in one of which, according to legend, the icy remains of Noah’s Ark still remain. Even at the foot of Ararat, there are interesting stone monasteries, and melting glaciers nourish the numerous green valleys that bloom very beautifully in spring.
Snow-white terraces of Pamukkale
Pamukkale is a real miracle of nature. From afar, it may seem that these are glaciers, but in fact, the white steps, reminiscent of the rice terraces of Asia, are limestone, salt and calcium. Each terrace is also a small natural pool, the water from which flows to the platforms below, forming a stunningly beautiful cascade.
The waters of Pamukkale are mineral, which means healing. Near the terraces, there are many pools, baths and hospitals, where you can perfectly improve your health, relax your body and soul. And the most popular pool is called the Cleopatra Basin, and the water in it is warm all year round.
The most convenient way to get to Pamukkale is from the city of Marmaris, on the coast of the Aegean Sea. The way will take about 2 hours.
City of myths: Ephesus
Once upon a time, the majestic Temple of Artemis, one of the Seven Wonders of the World, stood in Ephesus. Nowadays, there is only one column left from the temple, and even it was collected from the fragments excavated by archaeologists, but even without it there is something to see in ancient Ephesus.
The Celsus Library (not to be confused with Celsius) was the second largest library of the ancient world, after Alexandria. In the III century AD, it burned down, but the impressive facade with columns and sculptures has perfectly preserved. Not far from the library, there is the Great Amphitheater, and here, without any second places, it is the largest open-air theater in the world. At one time, it accommodated up to 25 thousand spectators, and gladiators fought in the arena and actors performed.
On the outskirts of Ephesus, there is Mount Bulyubyul with a modest stone house at the top. It is in this house, according to legend, the Virgin Mary spent her last years.
Near the house, there is a spring, whose water is considered healing, and a wall of desires, where you can attach a patch with a request.
In the vicinity of Ephesus, you can take a walk in the coniferous forest or even swim in the Aegean. Good comfortable beaches are in Kusadasi, the nearest major city. If you need not only ancient ruins, but also developed tourist infrastructure, then you can stay there or in the city of Selchuk. Ephesus itself is located 50 kilometers south of Izmir.
The birthplace of water cats: Van
Lake Van is located near the border of Turkey with Iran. This is the largest salt lake in the world, whose water is saturated not only with mineral salts, but also with soda. It is surrounded by beautiful mountains, and in the city of Van, there are many salt, mineral and mud baths.
The shore of Van has few beaches, but there are many excellent and almost deserted beaches on numerous islands, which can be reached by ferry or a rented boat. But the main attraction of the lake is the Van cats. Where else will you see cats, happily jumping into the water, swimming in it and catching fresh fish for lunch? By the way, you can also try fish from Van in one of the cafes in the city of the same name.
Turkey is not only Istanbul and hotel rest. It is also rich in history, diverse nature, hospitable people and delicious cuisine. The country is clearly worth a visit not only as part of a last-minute offer, and only then will it be revealed to you in all its diversity.