Sumela Monastery

Founded in 386AD and nestled in a steep cliff at an altitude of about 1,200 metres, Sumela Monastery is a true hidden gem of Turkey

by James Brewer

Beautiful Turkey is one of the world’s top-ten most visited countries, being ahead of other highly popular holiday destinations such as Greece, Mexico, or Thailand. A holiday in Turkey is a unique and fun-filled experience that you won’t forget, especially if you visit its hidden gems. If you are in need of some inspiration, continue reading to find out more about Turkey’s best kept and most fascinating secrets.

Safranbolu

Safranbolu Kazdaglıogl Mosque

Historic Kazdağlıoğl Mosque features in Saframbolu’s UNESCO world heritage listed town centre

Despite being a UNESCO World Heritage Site, the picturesque town of Safranbolu is not on the tourist trail. The first thing you will notice about Safranbolu is its stunning mountain location. Once in the town, get ready to be wowed by the gorgeous Ottoman architecture, cobbled streets, and bustling craft markets. The word charming doesn’t even begin to describe this town.

Sumela Monastery

Turkey Sumela Monastery Frescoes

Sumela Monastery’s frescoes date from more recent times than the monastery itself.

Few tourists make it as far east as the Trabzon region, but those who do will be rewarded with unique and unforgettable views and with the opportunity to experience a very different and non-touristy Turkey. Trabzon itself is a very pleasant city, so you can use it as your base to explore the surrounding area. Make sure not to miss a day trip to Sumela Monastery, an architectural jewel set in a truly spectacular location. Sumela is surrounded by eerie mountain landscapes and impossibly perched on a 1,000-feet tall cliff. To reach the monastery, you will need to walk for 40 minutes through lush forested areas. Guided tours can be arranged in Trabzon.

Sagalassos

Sagalassos

Sagalassos was invaded by Alexander the Great in 333BC and hit by an earthquake in the 6th century and makes for a quiet and remarkable archaeological site

You will be spoilt for choice if you want to learn more about Turkey’s rich historical legacy during your stay in the country. However, if you want to stay away from crowded archaeological sites like Ephesus and Hierapolis, Sagalassos makes for a refreshing side trip from Antalya, a popular seaside resort on the shores of the Mediterranean. The drive to Sagalassos itself makes the trip worth it, as you will go past imposing mountains and scenic lakes. Sagalassos was one of the Greek Empire’s wealthiest cities, and you can appreciate that today too, as excavations have restored the ruins to their former glory.

Skiing near the Black Sea

Although Turkey is mostly a sun and beach destination, winter sports enthusiasts will have plenty of things to do too. The resort of Kartalkaya is Turkey’s premier skiing destination, as it offers both cross country and alpine skiing and is conveniently located half-way between Istanbul and Ankara. The powdery snow also presents great opportunities to improve your snowboarding skills. Kartalkaya is located in the Bolu province, which is known for being an outdoors paradise dotted with lakes, hot springs, and beautiful valleys.

These are only some of Turkey’s hidden gems, and chances are that you will discover your very own during your stay in this wonderful and ever-exciting Mediterranean country. Whether you are after glorious beaches or remote mountain villages, you can be sure that you will find what you are looking for in beautiful Turkey.

Photo Credits: monastery, mosque, fresco

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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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