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Top recommended experiences

Aya Sofya

Renowned as one of the most beautiful buildings in the world, the spellbinding Byzantine glory of the Aya Sofya Museum (Hagia Sophia) is not only one of the top things to do in Istanbul, but also in Turkey. The staggering bulk of its exterior is rimmed by the delicate minarets added after the Ottoman conquest, while...

Cappadocia

The surreal, swooping rock valleys of Cappadocia are every photographer's dream. Cliff ridges and hill crests are home to rippling panoramas of wave-like rock or wacky-shaped pinnacles that have been formed by millennia of wind and water action. And if you don't feel like hiking for the views, this is one of the world's top destinat...

Ephesus

Not to be missed, the mighty ruin of Ephesus is a city of colossal monuments and marble-columned roads. One of the most complete, still-standing Roman cities in the Mediterranean region, this is the place to experience what life must have been like during the golden age of the Roman Empire. A sightseeing trip here w...

Topkapi Palace

Sumptuous beyond belief, the Topkapi Palace takes you into the fantastical, opulent world of the sultans. It was from here that the sultans of the Ottoman Era carved out an empire that would extend up into Europe and down through the Middle East and into Africa. The interiors, with their decadently exuberant tiling and lavish jewele...

Ani

The derelict buildings of the powerful Silk Road city of Ani sit abandoned on the plains close to Turkey's modern border with Armenia. Once the Armenian capital, Ani's golden age came to an end in the 14th century after Mongol raids, earthquake destruction, and trade route tussling all played their part in the city's decline. The be...

Pamukkale

One of Turkey's most famous natural wonders, the pure white travertine terraces of Pamukkale ("Cotton Castle" in English) cascade down the slope looking like an out-of-place snowfield amid the green landscape. Although the travertines are themselves a highlight of a Turkey trip, the vast and rambling ruins of Roman Hierapolis, a...

Mount Nemrut

The top sightseeing drawcard for Eastern Turkey, Mount Nemrut's summit funerary mound is scattered with the broken remnants of once mammoth statues, which guarded it. This weird and lonely place has to be one of Turkey's most peculiar archaeological sites. The giant stone heads of long-forgotten gods stare out from the summit, casting ...

Sumela Monastery

With its stunning, lonely setting, built into a cliff face, Sumela Monastery (Monastery of the Virgin Mary) is the star attraction for visitors along the Black Sea Coast. Wandering around this abandoned religious complex, with its church interiors crammed with dazzling and vibrant frescoes, is a must for anyone who makes the long journ...

Aspendos

Just south of Antalya, the jaw-dropping mammoth bulk of the Roman Theater of Aspendos celebrates the pomp and ceremony of Marcus Aurelius' rule. Considered the finest surviving example of a classical age theater still standing in the world, it is one of antiquity's star attractions. Although the theater is the main reason for a visi...

Pergamum

Turkey has an abundance of Greco-Roman ruins, but none can be so romantically placed as ancient Pergamum in modern-day Bergama. Once home to one of the ancient world's most important libraries, Pergamum's remaining temple remnants now preside dramatically on a hilltop. It's an incredibly atmospheric place to explore, with an Acropol...

Ölüdeniz

Impossibly turquoise-blue water. Check. Lush green forest tumbling down a cliff to a white-sand beach. Check. The sheltered inlet of Ölüdeniz, just a short journey from Fethiye, is Turkey's most famous beach, and with scenery that might as well have fallen off a perfect postcard, it's easy to see why its popularity has...

Antalya

This bustling Mediterranean hub has something for everyone. The two beaches outside of town are sun-sloth heaven in summer and attract holidaymakers from across Europe. While the Old Town, snug right in the center of town, with its cobblestone alleyways rimmed by creaky Ottoman-era mansions, is a wonderful place to ...