Relax on Mediterranean beaches, hike in hilly hinterland, marvel at epic ancient remains and haggle at noisy outdoor markets in this wildly diverse country.
Thought to be the site of the civilization of Troy and packed with archaeological sites, Turkey is a delight for lovers of ancient history. Its coastline features white sand beaches, mountainous headlands and balconies where diners overlook stunningly blue waters.
Istanbul, Turkey’s capital, presents a meeting of Western and Eastern traditions that gives the beautiful city its own unique atmosphere. Explore the museum of Hagia Sophia, picnic in green parkland and shop at the famed Grand Bazaar, a souk of ceramics, art and spices that spreads out over 60 streets. Head underground to the Basilica Cistern, a third-century Roman church used for water storage during Ottoman rule.
Go into the countryside and national parks to enjoy Turkey’s natural beauty. Cappadocia is one of the most incredible sites in Turkey and is home to the UNESCO-listed Göreme National Park. Find sandstone “fairy chimney” formations, carved Christian Byzantine sanctuaries and underground cave cities throughout the park. You’ll also find ancient Greek and Roman cities such as Iotape, Aphrodisias and Harput nearby.
Gaze upon the gods at Mount Nemrut National Park in eastern Turkey. This artificially created mountain is thought to be the tomb of Zoroastrian cult leader King Antiochus and is littered with huge stone statues of the gods and animals. Nearby at Eski Kâhta, visit the 13th-century Mamluk fortress.
A visit to Turkey is not complete without a stay on the country’s southwest Turquoise Coast. The incredibly blue waters and soft white beaches of this stretch of coast are surrounded by lush mountains. Wander through the ruins of Hadrian’s Gate, enjoy fresh seafood dishes and laze in the Mediterranean sun on the beaches of Antalya. Take a boat tour to the Sultaniye Hot Springs, hike the Lycian Way through ruins and coastal villages or dive among ancient shipwrecks and colorful corals in Kaş.
Turkey’s warm Mediterranean climate lets you enjoy open-air museums, al fresco dining and natural beauty year-round.