Planning A Trip to Turkey? Here's A List Of Things That You Must Add to Your Travel Bucket List


When you think of Turkey - the first things that you'd probably think of are - the Blue Mosque, the pistachio-filled baklava, the hustle and bustle around Aya Sophia - but there's so much more than just Istanbul!

Most of the travelers exploring this wonderland stick to the same-old cities and resorts in and around Istanbul. But, Turkey is home to some of the most beautiful places in the world, including the alien-like landscapes of Cappadocia, the breathtaking beaches of Kaz & Antalya, and the ancient god-worshipping statues on top of Mt. Nemrut to name a few.

If you want to experience something more beautiful – you got to add these 6 amazing things to do in Turkey to your bucket list!

1) Enjoy a hot-air balloon ride in Cappadocia

To put it in the words of Lonely Planet, “Cappadocia is like landing on another planet.”

You must have seen innumerable photographs of Cappadocia, taken from above, where the landscape looks absolutely postcard-like with volcanic rock, pigeon houses, vineyards, and orchards. Well, there can be no better way of getting a bird’s eye view of this historic city that includes Bronze Age homes carved into valley walls by troglodytes (cave dwellers) and later used as refuges by early Christians. Cappadocia, undoubtedly, is one of the world’s most active hot air balloon hubs.

According to a survey, the number of tourists that took part in hot air balloon tours in the skies of Cappadocia in the central Anatolian province of Nevşehir increased by 87% (approximately 226,000 people) in the first half of this year compared to the same period of 2017. So you can well understand the popularity of this, and why it should be there on the top of your travel bucket list, while you’re off to Turkey!

2) Exploring the ‘cotton castles’ of Pamukkale

To put it in the words of Lonely Planet, “Pamukkale is a surreal calcite city.”

Pamukkale has been a ‘spa town’ since the Romans arrived in the ancient city of Hierapolis. Pamuk means ‘cotton’ in Turkish, and hence, the name of the place! Miles and miles of white calcium cliffs with multi-level pools look as if Mother Nature had created them for her children to bathe in!

To say the least, Pamukkale’s thermal pools and travertines will surely leave you spellbound and take your breath away! You gotta take a dip in the mineral-rich pools and hot spring water that has been used as spa from centuries. There’s no chance to miss out this gorgeous UNESCO World Heritage Site while you are there in Turkey. If you are addicted to Instagram, you’ll surely find some great content for your feed!

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3) Cruise along the Bosphorus Strait

Did you know that the Bosphorus strait separates the European part from the Asian part of Istanbul? Well, now that I’ve triggered your general knowledge, you must be excited to add this to your bucket list! The stunning Bosphorus Strait connects the Black Sea with the Mediterranean Sea and it’s one of the best cruise rides that you should experience during your Turkey adventures!

Hop on a yacht and gaze at the beauty of Istanbul during dusk, and the setting sun paints everything in golden hues. While most people opt for a half day tour, you can choose the full day cruise, even better if you go for the night cruise, when you can absorb the beauty of the glittery city of Istanbul.

You will see top attractions like Galata Tower and the Bosphorus Bridge as you cruise into the Black Sea. Plus, discover the old fortress remnants at Anadolu Kavağı and even stop for a dip into the Black Sea at Poyrazköy, a charming seaside village.

4) Explore the ruins of Ephesus

For the history buffs, Turkey has a treat at every corner! But among all, the unmissable one surely is Ephesus, an ancient Greek city on the coast of Ionia. It’s considered an important site for Christianity, and some think the Gospel of John may have been written here. One of the largest Roman archaeological sites in the eastern Mediterranean, the ruins today are vast and impressive, making for an awe-inspiring trip.

The ancient city Ephesus is located in Selcuk, a small town 30 km away from Kusadasi, and this, also, is a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Make your checklist and don’t forget to visit the temples like the Odeon Theatre, the Temple of Hadrian, Temple of Domitian, and the Temple of Artemis.

Walking around the ruins, I felt as if I'm experiencing some sort of time travel - and the stories from the pages of my history book turned to be real.

Photo of Planning A Trip to Turkey? Here's A List Of Things That You Must Add to Your Travel Bucket List by Riyanka Roy

5) Explore the beautiful coastal town of Kekova

Get off the touristic track and explore the hidden gems of the country! A small Turkish island near Demre district of Antalya province, Kekova is a pristine island that’s perhaps best known for its curious attraction – the remains of a sunken ancient city visible below the waves. These are the ruins of a trading post, Simena, destroyed by earthquakes in the 2nd century.

You can kayak on the still waters or go snorkeling/ scuba diving to take a closer look of the ruins underwater! You can also choose to go for a cruise and spend a night sleeping on the deck, under the starlit sky and experience the bliss.

Not just the sunken city in the iridescent turquoise waters, Kekova is also gaining popularity among travelers for its countless coves & bays as well as the Kaleköy village with its historic fortress. The waterfront restaurants adorned with flowers, the small houses with terracotta roofs, and narrow streets are also standouts in this idyllic village by the water.

Photo of Planning A Trip to Turkey? Here's A List Of Things That You Must Add to Your Travel Bucket List by Riyanka Roy

6) Soak in the vibes of Fethiye and explore the Butterfly Valley

If you plan a backpacking trip, then you gotta tick this off! Fethiye is one of Turkey’s well-known tourist centers and is especially popular during the summer. The Fethiye Museum, which is very rich in ancient and more recent artifacts, displays and testifies to the successive chain of civilizations that existed in the area, starting with the ancient Lycians. Fethiye is also home to the Tomb of Amyntas, a large tomb built in 350 BC by the Lycians.

Some of the other historical sites worth visiting are Kadyanda Ancient City, Kayaköy- old Greek town, Afkule, Gemiler, and Aya Nikola. And of course, you have to spend a day at least, in the Butterfly Valley which takes its name from a large number of butterfly species found here. You’ll surely feel like you’re in some dream world!

Photo of Planning A Trip to Turkey? Here's A List Of Things That You Must Add to Your Travel Bucket List by Riyanka Roy

While most of the people are more driven towards exploring the popular countries like France, Spain, Greece or Croatia, I would like to suggest you to head off to Turkey and experience the goodness!

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