Seeing hundreds of hot air balloons cruising over Cappadocia never gets tiring but that’s just one of the country’s many highlights. East meets west in Turkey and that mix of culture, religion and tradition leaves a long legacy of historical sites throughout the land. Toss in their legendary hospitality and some of the most captivating natural wonders in the world and it’s easy to see why travellers flock to Turkey. Need some visual proof? We’ve got ten dreamy snaps of places you can see or experience for yourself on tour.
1: Admire Istanbul’s skyline including the Galata Tower
Whether you’re taking it in from the water or wandering the bustling backstreets, Istanbul impresses with a melding of tradition, modernity, architectural marvels and lively bazaars.
2: Count minarets at the Blue Mosque and Hagia Sophia
Istanbul boasts two of the world’s most impressive structures in spitting distance. One was built by Sultan Ahmet to best its neighbour by including six minarets to Hagia Sophia’s four.
3: Float high over fairy chimneys in Cappadocia
Opt to wake early and rise with the sun as hundreds of hot air balloons take to the sky over Cappadocia. See surreal landscapes including hoodoos (aka fairy chimneys) from above.
4: Now picture it all covered in a soft blanket of snow
Turkey continues to enthrall even in the winter months. In Cappadocia, you can still go up in hot air balloons, explore underground cities and step into cave churches carved by monks.
5: Get swept up watching the Whirling Dervishes
From Göreme, you can opt to head to Avanos to witness the spellbinding ritualistic dance of the Mevlevilik Sufi order. It’s believed that the meditative motion brings them closer to God.
6: Cruise the Mediterranean coast to see Simena Castle
Crystal clear waters await on an overnight boat trip around Kekova Island and the coast. Later, head uphill to explore an ancient city and medieval castle used by the Byzantines.
7: Soak up the sun on idyllic Mediterranean beaches
Some of the most beautiful stretches of sand are found on the southwestern coast of Turkey. Take a 20-minute taxi from Kaş to dip in the stunning turquoise waters at Kaputaş Beach.
8: Explore the icy-looking calcite pools of Pamukkale
Spoiler alert: the cascading white cliffs aren’t actually made of ice. It’s a calcium buildup from the area’s hot springs that hardened over time to create the photogenic thermal pools.
9: Tour the ruins of ancient Ephesus in Selçuk
Get a feel for life in Turkey during Roman times by exploring the Library of Celsus. The rebuilt two-story library was erected in AD 125 and originally held nearly 12,000 scrolls.
10: Start or end your Turkish adventure on the Bosporus
There’s no greater way to kick back and take in Istanbul than cruising the scenic waterway that separates Asia from Europe and unites the Black Sea with the Sea of Marmara.
Ready to get swept up by the sights, sounds and experiences of Turkey? Here are a few tours that'll get you there: