- Kariye Mosque in Istanbul is usually ignored by the tourists so it makes for a perfect off the beaten path visit.
- Also in Istanbul, walk the city walls, spanning for about 6.5 km. They represent the largest Byzantine structure still standing in the city.
- Visit the ancient site of Priene, located close to Kusadasi, and away from the usual tourist trail.
- In Hasankeyf, climb the hill to see the ruins of an early Arab town.
- Sagalossos is another ancient site which is off the tourist trail. It’s close to today’s Aglasun.
- Take a day trip from Bodrum to Rhodes in near-by Greece.
- Hike in Çoruh River Valley. Or go to Mount Ararat in Eastern Turkey and try those trails.
Why you should add Turkey to your RTW travel listOf course visiting Turkey wouldn’t be complete without seeing some of the sights the country is famous for. Here are some ideas on what to do if you’ve never been there or plan on staying for a while.
- In Istanbul, visit Hagia Sofia, the former Byzantine church which was turned into a mosque by the Ottomans and now it’s a museum.
- Also in Istanbul, the Mosque of Sultan Ahmet , or the famous Blue Mosque, is a symbol of the city recognized by everyone. It is a working mosque so mind your visit.
- Visit Topkapı Palace, the residence for the Ottoman sultans for nearly 400 years.
- Try the Turkish food. Stop for some coffee and don’t forget the baklava or Turkish delight.
- See the cave dwellings in Cappadocia.
- Visit the ancient site of Ephesus, near Selcuk.
- Visit the legendary city of Troy.
- See the ancient site of Hieropolis and take a dip in the hot springs at Pamukkale.
- Spend some time checking out the bazaars in Istanbul.
- If you fancy some days on the beach, there are plenty to choose from in Antalya.
- Enjoy some down time in one of Ankara’s parks.
Why you should not add Turkey to your RTW travel list
- The country is very popular with tourists, which means the coasts get crowded when Europeans have their vacation time (July and August). If you don’t have sunbathing on your mind, then plan your trip in spring or fall.
- Pay attention to costs. Turkey was once a cheap destination but things are changing. Istanbul has become more expensive lately and it takes some detective work to find good bargains at the sea-side (unless you fancy packages).
It is where Asia and Europe come together. Turkey is a mixture of both the East and the West - modern day influences mixed with old world charm, some say this is the clash of civilizations. With such famous cities as Troy, Constantinople (modern day Istanbul), and Ephesus, Turkey boasts numerous biblical, historical and magical sites for history and architecture buffs - underground cities, underwater ruins, preserved Roman cities, and supposedly the house of the Virgin Mary and the final resting ground of Noah's Ark.
What to do
Turkey isn't all mystique, however. With close proximity and cheap flights from Europe, tourists flock to the picturesque villages that sprinkle the Turquoise coast, a famous area on the Aegean Sea known for sun, clear water, and scenic harbors. In these coastal areas that are dripping with history, you will feel part of a large crowd of humanity. If you are more adventurous and seek a path less taken, head to the eastern part of the country where tourists are few and far between.
Because of its proximity to Western Europe and the ultra cheap beach vacations that are offered, airfare to Turkey can be quite reasonable. You could also fly to somewhere else in Europe and take a train to Istanbul to begin your journey.
Where to stay
Turkey also is a country that lends itself to some outstanding adventure trips.