As a meeting point of various empires and a crossroads between two continents, Turkey is a country brimming history.
Add to that a vibrant culture and a tourist-magnet of a coastline and you have a recipe for one of the world’s most popular destinations. With so much to enjoy there are countless reasons to consider Turkey holidays, but we’ve condensed it down to the top 11.
Two continents in a day
How many cities let you have breakfast in Europe and enjoy lunch in Asia? A visit to Istanbul lets you do just that, as the teeming cosmopolitan city spans across the Bosporus strait and stretches across two continents.
The Ruins of Ephesus
Turkey has been blessed with innumerable historical sites thanks to the influences of multiple civilizations over the millennia.
Greek, Roman, Byzantine, Persian, and Ottoman empires have all left their marks in the country, and one of the best-preserved reminders of the past is at Ephesus.
Originally a Greek settlement this city later became one of the most important Roman centers in Turkey. Well-preserved and endlessly fascinating this ruined city was home to one of the Seven Wonders of the World, the Temple of Artemis.
One of the most famous buildings in Turkey, the Hagia Sophia in many ways represents the country’s history over the last two millennia.
Originally a Greek Orthodox church for a thousand years, then a mosque for five hundred and now a secular museum, this stunning Byzantine building is a must see for any visitor to Turkey.
The Blue Mosque
The Sultan Ahmed Mosque, also known as the Blue Mosque was built in 1616 and remains the most important religious site in Istanbul.
Considered the city’s most beautiful building, this UNESCO World Heritage Site is popular among visitors to the city. But keep in mind that it closed to tourists for half an hour five times a day for prayer.
This natural wonder remains one of Turkey’s most popular tourist attractions. The Name means “Cotton Castle” and refers to the beautiful travertine terraces, hot springs, and striking white-colored ground.
Not only that, but it also contains the ruins of the Greco-Roman Spa city of Hieropolis, letting you bath in the natural springs in the same surroundings as people have for millennia.
The Aegean Coast
Turkey is home to some of the most scenic stretches of the Mediterranean. Found in the southwest of the country, the “Turkish Rivera” as it’s known, plays host to numerous world-class resorts and stunning white sandy beaches and a pleasant climate.
With such natural beauty on display, it is no wonder that seaside towns like Oludeniz, Fethiye, and Antalya are some of the most popular destinations in Europe for those seeking some sunshine.
At the crossroads of so many cultures, it is no wonder that Turkish cuisine is full of flavor. Distilling the best parts of Asian, European, and Middle Easter cuisine has made Turkish gastronomy one of the country’s most successful exports. But to enjoy the perfect shwarma, kofte, or kebab, you have to visit the country for yourself.
This unique region is blessed with geology that gives it a truly other-worldly ambiance that has to be experienced in person. With its magical rock formations like the “fairy chimneys,” and its shelters carved into the soft volcanic rock Cappadocia is like visiting another planet. And it’s another planet that you can even explore by hot-air balloon, too.
Bazaars are found throughout the country, but Turkey’s best example is the Grand Bazaar in Istanbul.
This massive sprawling complex offers an almost overwhelming array of things to buy. From ceramics, spices, antiques, clothes, to Turkish delight, you will not want for souvenirs of your trip after a visit here.
Turkey may not be the first place you think of when you picture a ski holiday, but the country has some of the best ski resorts around. Take a look at the Palandöken Ski Centre in the southeast of the country if you are seeking to hit the slopes.
The Black Sea
Turkey’s Aegean and Mediterranean coasts may be its most famous, but the country’s northern coast is just as striking, and far from the throngs of mass tourism.
While it may not claim as many white sandy beaches, it offers its fair share of natural beauty, and the Byzantine harbor town of Amasra is one of the most picturesque places on either coast.