Think Turkey – 25 Fun Things to Do in Turkey
Turkey has always been an attractive country for visitors from all over the world due to its unique geographical position, the variety of climates and holiday spots it offers, its cuisine and of course its rich history. With Istanbul already covered on Europe a la Carte, here are my travel tips for some fun options of what to do in Turkey.
Discover the Saklikent (Hidden City) Canyon
Before you head over to Fethiye to swim in the famous Oludeniz (Dead Sea), you might want to visit the Saklikent Canyon that is about 50km away from Fethiye. This canyon is a great way to cool down as the river running through has very cold water- your feet might get cold even In the summer. This nature gem is Turkey’s biggest canyon. However the town of Saklikent has one hotel, so you might consider booking beforehand.
Swim in Oludeniz, Fethiye
Fethiye is one of the most popular holiday destinations in the Aegean Region. It is connected to the city of Mugla, and it is best known for its part of called Oludeniz. Oludeniz is about 12km from Fethiye, and its sea water consists of two parts: the wavy part and extremely calm (Oludeniz mean Dead Sea in English- it is that calm) part. The calm part is the beautiful color of turquoise and it is very clean and clear. You can enjoy a good swim, as well as a variety of water sports. It’s also possible to charter a plane to take in the gorgeous view from above. The plane ride takes about 30 to 45 minutes and costs $100. Sadly I have been to Oludeniz only once as a kid, but I look forward to going back.
Visit Anitkabir- the Mausoleum and Museum of Ataturk in Ankara
As well as being the capital of Turkey, Ankara also houses the mausoleum of one of the world’s most respected leaders, Ataturk. As many Turkish and international authors keep writing about the founder of Turkish Republic, thousands of Turkish and foreign visitors visit Anitkabir to see a large collection of memorabilia.Â It is also unique in its design and architecture and consists of 4 main parts: the Ceremonial Plaza, the Road of Lions, the Hall of Honor (where Ataturk’s tomb is) and the surrounding Peace Park. The museum offers a big library, personal effects and belongings, gifts from world leaders, clothing and more. If you are in Ankara, you absolutely should not miss Anitkabir.
Enjoy the beauty of Yedi Goller (The 7 Lakes) in Bolu
Yedigoller National Park does in fact contain 7 beautiful lakes and gorgeous scenery surrounding it. Â Despite having seen the area less than a month ago, my friend couldn’t resist a second visit last week. The park is also a heaven for photography enthusiasts as it is possible to catch different colored leaves in one shot. It is all about nature and you’re strongly advised to have your picnic basket ready. It is also a lovely hiking spot. It takes about four hours to drive there from Istanbul.
Explore Edirneâ’s Sultan Bayezid IIâ’s Health Museum
If you are in Edirne, you are probably aware of the fact one of Turkey’s most famous mosques Selimiye is there. Built by the most famous Ottoman Empire architect Mimar Sinan, the mosque is quite different than others with its design, heating system and indoors decorations. So instead of recommending the very obvious, I’m suggesting you also visit Sultan Bayezid IIâ’s Health Museum (whose full English name is Trakya University Complex of Sultan Bayezid IIâ’s Health Museum). This health museum is not exactly a little known gem as it was given the 2004 Museum Award by the European Council and has won several other international awards. The museum offers old medical equipment (dating back quite a few centuries) and lots of other medical memorabilia. You can call the museum at +90 284 224 09 22 for more information.
Sip your coffee in Izmir Kordon
One of Turkey’s most popular and modern cities Izmir has a lot to offer, but my favorite is the seaside Kordon. There are lots of cafes where you can enjoy your coffee watching the sea. You can also opt for lovely hikes or you might even get on a carriage. You get to pick your pace. However, Izmir, especially seaside can be extra windy during all seasons so make sure to bring a jacket. Even if it’s summer.
Walk Inside the Karklareli Dupnisa Cave
Karklareli Dupnisa Cave is a nice wonder consisting of enormous stalactite and icicle galleries. It also has a river running inside with ice-cold temperature. The cave, formed about 3-4 million years ago, is located in Sardere Village, in Demirkoy.
Windsurf in Alacati, Cesme Peninsula
Alacate is the ultimate Turkish windsurfing haven, home to many contests and training favorite of professional windsurfers. Beginner windsurfers also find an enormous area suitable for their first lessons as well.
Soak your feet in the Pamukkale Travertines
Pamukkale (Cotton Castle) is a gorgeous site consisting of hot springs and travertines,Â Pamukkale is one of Turkey’s most unique places- as well as one of the major tourist magnets, both Turkish and international. I visited Pamukkale when I was a kid, and I was really impressed. Soaking your feet in the cotton-colored mini-pools is an amazing feeling.
Visit the Sumela Monastery in Trabzon
Sumela Monastery, also known as Virgin Mary (Meryem Ana) among the locals, is one of the beauties of this Black Sea city. Located in Altindere village, the monastery was built 300 m up from the valley. It takes a long uphill long, and it is not recommended for people with fear of heights. However if you don’t mind the heights, it is quite the memorable experience.
Experience the Apricot Festival of Malatya
Southeastern Turkish city Malatya has been home to many civilizations during its rich history. However despite this rich history, Malatya is most famous with its production of apricots, and its people have been celebrating this with an annual apricot festival since 1978. The festival offers lots of fun events including apricot contests, concerts, sport activities and more. Make sure to be a part of this colorful event if you are in Malatya during July. However check the festival period, just in case, as it may be subject to change.
Kayseri is one of Turkey’s lesser known gems as Inka highlights Kayseri’s attractions; drinking a coffee on Hilton hotel’s rooftop, shoppingat the bazaar and seeing the caslte. If you’re traveling by bus, the terminal is bound to surprise you with its modern design.
Selcuk will appeal to your eyes, stomach and interest in history. Visit the archaeological site, see the house Virgin Mary lived in and died and taste the wines, take in the mountain views and buy craftwork in the village of Sirince (8 kilometres east of Selcuk).
Be Mystified by Lake Bafa
In addition to being a popular holiday destination, driving to Didim gives you the chance to fish from Lake Bafa and be taken by the wonderful mountain views. It is also close to the sacred Heraklia town.
See if You Can Spot the Lake Van Monster
While Scotland has Loch Ness monster, Van has the Lake Van Monster. While the monster bit is a fun myth, the beauty of the Lake Van isn’t. Â If there is one thing about the city of Van that is as famous as the lake and (its alleged monster), it’s the special breed of Van cats.
I am lucky to have family residing in Kusadasi so I always have an excuse to come to this wonderful Aegean resort town. From bazaars to markets, mosques to beaches, museums to restaurants and more, you can find a lot of things that you will enjoy no matter what you are interested in. Ladies Beach, Ephesus Museum and the caravanserai are especially recommended. You should also visit one of the aqua parks for a fun day of exciting water rides.
Datca is another vacation spot loved by both tourists and Turkish people alike. It is full of beautiful coves and bays. One of the most spectacular views Datca has to offer however lies in the ancient city of Knidos, which is surrounded by the Aegean Sea on one side, and by the Mediterranean Sea on the other. If you climb to the top, you can see the line where two seas are separated as the color changes.
Fly over Cappadocia in a Hot Balloon
Two of my friends got married recently and went on their honeymoon in Cappadocia. Cappadocia is most famous for its fairy chimneys, uniquely-carved pillars by the locals). Of course you might choose to do your sightseeing in the air from your hot balloon.
Ski in Uludag
Do you like skiing or snowboarding? Uludag, the highest mountain in Marmara, is one of the best spots for winter sports. You can choose from a huge variety of hotels, take skiing lessons and eat Iskender (Iskender is the famous Turkish kebab type presented with yoghurt) for lunch after burning up all your energy during skiing and snowboarding.
Roll in Mud in Gokceada
Part of Canakkale, Gokceada is Turkey’s biggest and one of most famous islands. Interestingly enough, the town center is not by the sea but inland. It has wonderful beaches and wines, but it is also famous for its health-restoring mud. The water of the island’s salty lake turns dries up and turns black in the summer. This black mud contains several rich minerals and is thought to cure conditions such as rheumatism, psoriasis and more.
Ayder Plateau (about 1350 m high) is great for taking in the nature with its waterfalls, plateau houses and pine trees. If you keep walking up however, you will reach the height that is not ideal find an ideal place for trekking. Nature? Check. Sports? Check. Great for photos? Check. Ayder Plateau is in Rize in the Black Sea Region of Turkey.
Holiday in Bodrum
It is hard to find a time when Bodrum isn’t crowded, especially during warm weather. It is the preferred location for a lot of people, Turkish celebs and tourists included. It has an endless supply of summer houses and hotels, resorts and holiday villages. It has great bars appealing to all music tastes. An American friend of mine was recently there and she is absolutely in love with the white sand around the beaches. Bodrum is for the ultimate daily combination of sun, sand and sea- to be complemented at night by bar-hopping. Don’t forget to take a lovely boat trip to the gulfs and bays surrounding the Aegean Sea.
Take a walk around Samandere Waterfall in Duzce
Black Sea’s Duzce is famous with its waterfalls, with the most notable one being the Samadere Waterfall. This waterfall is located in the Samadere village (that was named after the Waterfall), about 30 km away from the city centre of Duzce. The waterfall is surrounded by three other waterfalls, a cave, a creek and an area looking like a crucible (hence named The Crucilble). It is a couple of hundred of kilometres from Istanbul, but the beauty is worth the longdrive if you are in the area.
Go Rafting in the Coruh River in Artvin
Rafting is one of the most exciting sports around, and Artvin’s Coruh River is considered to be among the top rafting spots in both Turkey and the world. It has a racecourse of 169kms and it consists of 4 different levels, separated according to difficulty. The River housed the rafting championship in 1993. If you’d like to complete the racetrack, you need a 10-day camping trip.
Explore 7 different civilization in Amasya’s Archaeology Museum
Amasya is a lovely riverside town in the Black Sea Region and is the home of one of the most efficiently decorated museums. Amasya Archaeology Museum only has two floors, but it displays a rich collection of antiques, jewelry, crafts and more that the city has inherited from several cultures including the Ottoman Empire and the Hittites. The museum is open every day from 9 to 6 with the exception of a one hour break from 12 pm to 1 pm.
I hope that you’ve enjoyed our tips on what to do in Turkey.
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