Turkey - Hierapolis

The 2nd century BC amphitheatre at UNESCO heritage-listed Hierapolis is one of several historic sites.

guest post by travelsupermarket.com

Turkey is a vast and varied nation filled with plenty to explore – from the striking beaches of the Aegean and Mediterranean coastlines to the mountainous regions around Mt Ararat in the far east of the country. Scanning the highlights of the country, we’ve selected our opinion of five of the best travel-wonders in Turkey.

Cappadocia

CappadociaThe volcanic rock formations at Cappadocia are located within the Goreme National Park and are a popular tourist attraction in the region. Around 4,000 years ago, people started carving cave dwellings into the bizarrely shaped mounds of volcanic rock that were deposited by now extinct volcanoes. What remains is a remarkable and unique network of caves and tunnels, such as those at Derinkuyu, that stretch over 11 floors to a depth of around 85 metres.

Today you can still explore part of the Derinkuyu cave complex for a fascinating and truly unique glimpse into history. It’s also possible to take a hot air balloon ride above the Cappadocia area to view the rock formations from an alternative angle.

Hierapolis and Pamukkale

Turkey - PamukkaleAround a 3 hours drive east from the popular holiday resort of Kusadisi Kuşadasi or 4 hours drive north of Antalya, you will find the ancient city of Hierapolis. Founded in the 2nd century B.C. Hierapolis is a UNESCO World Heritage Site whose name translates as “Sacred City” and is a beautiful and unreal landscape. A trip to Hierapolis rewards tourists with a selection of historic remains of the city, including the amphitheatre (top photo), the tombs of the Necropolis and the remains at the Temple of Apollo (the Greek God of the Sun).

The area is also famous for the Pamukkale hot springs, which appear white, due to the calcium deposited by the waters. Visitors to the springs can bathe in the warm waters which were once believed to have healing properties. Entrance to the springs and Hierapolis costs 20 Turkish Lira (approximately £9)*.

Istanbul

Istanbul is the largest city in Turkey, and the only city in the world that sits on two continents, Asia and Europe. Istanbul has a rich history that can be seen all over the city. Sightseeing opportunities are everywhere – from the majestic Blue Mosque and the Topkapi Palace (centre of the Ottoman Empire for more than 4 centuries) in Istanbul’s old city, to the thousands of shops and stalls at the Grand Bazaar, the worlds largest covered market.

Ephesus

Turkey - EphesusLocated just a short 25 minute drive north of Kusadisi, the ancient city of Ephesus houses the largest collection of Roman ruins in the eastern Mediterranean region and was once home to the Temple of Artemis – one of the seven wonders of the ancient world. Ephesus dates from the 13th century B.C. and was once a major port city with a large population. But when the port silted up, most of the citizens left, abandoning the city in a short space of time. Today many of the ruins still stand in surprisingly good condition. Visitors can still see the remains of the amphitheatre and library, along with many other ruins and relics. The Ephesus site will take a full day to see properly and entrance costs 20 Turkish Lira (approximately £9 or US$12.50)*.

Sumela Monastery

Turkey - SumelaSumela Monastery in the Trabzon province of North East Turkey is an amazing sight. The monastery is built in the most impressive, impossible and inaccessible location, in a hollow of a sheer cliff face a thousand feet above the valley floor, and it seems a miracle that the building manages to cling on to the rock. The monastery dates back to the 4th century when it was founded by a Greek monk known as blessed Barnabas. For those wanting to visit Sumela monastery and take a look around inside to see the monks living quarters and various relics and frescoes left behind, a 40 minute hike through thick woodland is necessary and an entrance fee of 8 Turkish Lira (about £3.50 or US$5)* is payable, but it is certainly worth the effort.

* Note: Prices correct at time of publication

Written and photographed by the Turkey holidays team at travelsupermarket.com

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43 Responses to Top 5 Places to Visit in Turkey

  • BarbaraW says:

    Turkey is part of a dream vacation for me that would take me in a semi-circle around the Mediterranean, visiting Greece, Turkey, Jordan, and Israel, so I was totally fascinated by these places in Turkey. Thanks!

  • Heather on her travels says:

    I linke the sound of the monastery but in Greek Monasteries women are often not allowed and I wondered if it was the same in Turkey

  • holidays turkey says:

    I completely agree to that top 5 places list.According tomy opinion this are really best among all the other places.They are famous and awesome.You will really like the things to see over there and enjoy the atmosphere.So dont forget to visit there.

  • Anil says:

    Sinop and the north coast is also very underrated and often missed by tourists.

  • farm and cottage holidays says:

    I went to turkey a few years ago, had a great time, went over to greece as well for the day.Some beautiful places to visit , true history

  • Arlene says:

    Turkey has been on my list of places to visit. But after reading this it has moved up a notch. These places and your photos were top notch.
    Glad to see you on the travelblogroll!

  • Mark H says:

    @BarbaraW: I think the author has done a great job hitting the highlights of this historic country.

    @heather: Women can visit the monastery but the walk isn';t for the feint-hearted. Quite an effort to get to the top.

    @holidays turkey: Thank you.

  • Mark H says:

    @anil: Thank you for your extra suggestions. More secret places are always wonderful additions to a list.

    @farm&cottage holidays: Greece for a day!!

    @arlene: Thank you (the photos are the guest author's and not mine)

  • cheap holidays to dubai says:

    turkey is a great entertaining holiday destination for me and its really beautiful

  • Mark H says:

    @dubai: Turkey is a stunning travel destination.

  • Tim says:

    You might want to check the spelling of Kuşadası, Kusadasi if you ignore the Turkish characters but definitely not Kusadisi.

    • Mark H says:

      Tim, thank you for pointing out an error. The guest article has been updated with the corrected spelling.

  • emma says:

    hi just wondering where the nicest places are in kusadies in turkey to visit..

  • Pingback: What are the best places to visit in Turkey? - Quora

  • John says:

    Turkey is beautiful country indeed, thanks for sharing those places, bookmarked.

  • Yuszlita says:

    Hi,
    i am visiting Turkey in 1 wek time, mid November. I have only 3 days to spend in Turkey. How to you suggest my vacation would be, in terms of places. Will i be able to cover all 5 places you recommend in 3 days? yr advice plse. Yuszlita

    • Mark H says:

      Yuszlita, the itinerary in this article would take many mor days than three. If you only have three days, I’d suggest that you visit Istanbul and enjoy the many sights in this exotic and eciting city.

  • Gunjan says:

    Hi,

    I am planning a trip to Turkey next year. I surely plan to visit the places you mentioned. However, I would like to know is it ok to visit the monastery with children. I have 2 kids aged – 9 and 4 years – would the hike be too steep for them? My children are quite active and adventurous but I would like to avoid any hectic schedule for them.

    Also for the places you mentioned, is it recommended to go with a tour package or book things yourself.

    Look forward to hearing from you.

    Thanks & Regards,
    Gunjan

    • Mark H says:

      Gunjan, Sumela Monastery is a pretty decent climb (maybe 45 mins walking slowly from the lower car park) requiring a vertical rise of around 250 metres. It is a fair walk for a 4 year old but there is a great prize at the top and the walk is through forest. Persoanlly, I avoid most tour packages and the places are popular and accessible via transport. It depends on how you prefer to travel for your selection of whether you go under your own steam or via a package tour.

  • Latha says:

    Hi

    I’m planning for my honeymoon in Turkey. Want to known if Jan last week is a good time.

    Also cud anyone suggest places I cud cover in 7 days.

    I love beaches, shopping and night life. My partner loves adventure.

    Regards,
    Latha

    • Mark H says:

      In seven days, I’d suggest picking Istanbul and maybe one or two other places. Istanbul is a lively city that offers everything. One suggestion is to go ballooning in Cappadocia which has a nice mix of honeymoon and adventure.

  • Kirti says:

    Stayed in gum bet near bod rum beautiful cove and clean beaches with very friendly people loved every minute of it must see pamukkale .

  • Arun G says:

    Hi,
    Great list.
    Im visiting Istanbul between 26th Mar and 4th Apr. I have a good 8 days. Wondering where to go in addition – Hierapolis and Pamukkale (good in April?) or Cappadocia. Also suggestion on how to book cheap flights (any local website?) is welcome.

    Arun

    • Mark H says:

      Your approach is good. Istanbul takes about half the time and then dedicate the other half to one other area. Personally, I’d go for Cappadocia for its unique architecture (base yourself in Goreme and visit Kayseri and Nevsehir on a day trip) but if natural wonders and ancient ruins take your fancy then Pamukkale, Hierapolis and Ephesus (and Bodrum) are all excellent to see.

  • FM says:

    I am planning to visit with my two kids 10 and 8 years and elderly parents In May. would like to know what would be the ideal time to cover these spots and how much time would each location require. would a 7 day tour suffice.

    Thanks

    • Mark H says:

      Seven days won’t suffice for all these places. Istanbul is a hectic city that requires a few days to visit (absolute min of two but really a minimum of three) which only leaves half a week to visit one other area. Either Ephesus/Pamukkale or Cappadocia region would be the best choices in my view, without knowing your tastes.

  • miss N says:

    hello..my frens and i planned going to turkey this summer about 7 days..which we determined to visit istanbul. Cappadocia and also Pamukkale..so can we know how to go to Caapadocia/pamukkale? by bus or what which is better and how long? thanks..:)

    • Mark H says:

      Most economical way from Istanbul to Cappadocia is overnight bus (especially if you one who can sleep on them). From memory it is around 12 hours. At times there are good air fares which is obviously a faster and more comfortable journey, but typically a fair bit more expensive.

  • Sadia says:

    Hi dear I will in in Istanbul for good 3 days I need to kow some good places to visit in Istanbul, iam more interested in some natural beauty that

    • Mark H says:

      Istanbul is one of the most exciting and lively cities in the world. Great natural sights include a Bosphorus River cruise, Camlica Hill (for city views and surprising amounts of birdlife) and Sile and Agva near the outlet of Istanbul towards the Black Sea. Make sure you check out the Blue Mosque and superb bazaars (Egyptian and Grand especially).

      Discover Golden Horn by ” The Sultan’s Boat ” while you are enjoying the city,

  • kristina says:

    Hi. Thanks for the great info! I want to see all of these! What is the transportation system like? Thanks!

    • Mark H says:

      It is fairly easy to get around between the major cities but some of the far flung small villages are more difficult and take some planning.

  • Elizabeth says:

    We are going to Turkey next week and doing as Insight Tour – we are very excited to be goin g to such an interesting country – we will actually be in Gallipoli for Anzac Day and for us that’s a real bonus. We are having extra time in Instanbul after the tour and are really looking forward to that experience too.

    • Mark H says:

      As a fellow Australian, Gallipoli is one of the most treasured places we can visit – and on Anzac Day (the 98th anniversary). Have a great time.

  • brunilda musikant says:

    we are going to be in Istanbul, Turkey and have two free days.
    What do you recommend would be the best use of our time considering
    we are going to be staying in Istanbul?
    Thank you
    Brunilda

    • Mark H says:

      Brunilda, the main thing with Istanbul is to experience the city – wander the streets (especially Sultanahmet, spcie market, Grand Bazaar) and soak up the character and culture of Istanbul. Visit a couple of the mosques and see sunset at the Galata Tower. There are so many choices, two days will fly by.

  • I enjoy what you guys are up too. This type of clever work
    and reporting! Keep up the terrific works guys I’ve included you guys to my blogroll.

  • mukesh mehta says:

    I’m planning an 8 day trip to turkey with my friends from 27th December to 3rd January. Planning to visit 3 cities : Istanbul, Cappadocia and one more. any suggestions?

    • Mark H says:

      Depending on your interests, I’d opt for either Ephesus (superb Roman history and ruins) or Pamukkale for its limestone “cotton candy” natural cliffs. Both are on the western side of Turkey.

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Welcome to Travel Wonders
My name is Mark and I’m a keen traveller. In fact, over the last 25 years, I’ve travelled to every continent and over 80 countries. This blog is about the most memorable destinations – the places I regard as the travel wonders of the world. I’m also a keen photographer, and have taken nearly all the photos you’ll see. During my travels, I’ve met some incredible people, seen inspiring places, viewed extraordinary wildlife and scenery and had some amazing experiences, and I’m writing these stories not only to entertain but primarily to inspire others to discover their own travel wonders.
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