"The undiscovered country from whose bourn no traveler returns"-William Shakespeare
1. Mount Nemrut Bestriding
This is remote religious complex above a 7000ft high mountain top in southeast Turkey is the sanctuary of King Antiochus I. It has the weathered statues of the king and the various Gods that he associates himself with. Antiochus’ tumulus is so large that it is in the Guinness Book of Records. The heads are huge and make for some fantastic photos, we definitely recommend paying a visit to this magical mountain top.
2. Lake Egirdir
This mountain-ringed lake is situated in the southwest, hidden away in the Western Taurus Mountains. Lake Egirdir is a great place to visit during the summer months as it is cooler and less humid than many other hotter areas in the country. It is the second largest freshwater lake in Turkey and covers 425 square kilometers.
You can stay on a very small island in the lake and do various outdoor activities such as swim, hike on the St Pauls Trail and visit the Greek-Roman sites such as Sagalassos and Antioch in Pisidia. A great alternative to a day at the beach and there's snow and, therefore, good skiing to be had here in winter.
3. Sumela Monastery
The Sumela Monastery is on the side of a cliff surrounded by a valley behind The Black Sea coast. Near Trabzon and founded in the 4th century AD, it is an abandoned Greek Orthodox monastery and has recently been restored. With a new lease of life, the monastery looks simply stunning, with colourful frescoes all around the church.
4. Amasya Amasya
Amasya Amasya is set in the narrow green valley of the Yesilirmak River northeast of the Turkish capital of Ankara. The Pontic king’s tombs are around the cliffs above the river, along with half-timbered Ottoman houses, many of which have been turned into boutique hotels.
A more modern Turkey resides further south.
5. Lake Van
Introducing Turkey’s largest high altitude soda lake, which you can swim in and explore its charming Armenian churches and palaces. Lake Van is the largest body of water in the country and the second largest in the Middle East. At its widest, it is over 74 miles wide and triangular in shape! Van also has a famous breakfast, which is made up of clotted cream, Goat’s cheese stuffed with herbs and eggs fried with lamb.
6. Butterfly Valley - Faralya
Hailed as one of the best beaches in the world, Butterfly Valley is located in the small hamlet of Faralya, where you see butterflies fluttering away in the canyon. There is also a gorge to explore and lots of walking trails as an alternative to lying in the sunshine.
You won’t find luxury eateries and hotels here though but self-service food shacks, hut, and pop-up tents. It is also home to the Jersey tiger butterfly who will most likely be your sunbathing or walking companion in the area.
This is Istanbul’s neighbour and is a great idea for an affordable and fun city break. Bursa is known for its beautiful mosques, early Ottoman architecture, silk filled bazaars and thermal spa baths. In the late 1200s to the early 1300s, it was the first capital of the Ottoman Empire and its now home to the country's textile trade. You can walk through the almost 600-year-old Koza Han market, where you can pick up some one-of-a-kind silk goods.
Besides the silk history, Bursa is also the birthplace of the Iskender Kebap, which is quality lamb served on freshly baked bread and served with yogurt, tomato sauce and lots of butter.
8. The Datca Peninsula
This is a fantastic place to visit if you have hired a car. The Datca Peninsula is tucked away on the Turquoise Coast and has the pristine beach of Ovabükü and ancient Greek ruins of Knidos in the west and the harbour village in the centre. There are many fresh fish dishes to be enjoyed here too, made from recipes passed down through the ages, as well as thousands of almond and olive trees by the roadsides if you get a little peckish!
Mardin is located along Turkey’s south-east border with Syria and is country’s answer to Jerusalem, an ancient city that has limestone houses, vistas and a mosaic of people from all religions and walks of life.
According to local hearsay, the city dates back as far as the flood. It sits on the side of a slope looking down towards the Mesopotamian plains and is in a volcanic area, so many of its buildings and houses are carved from the rock.
At first glance, Cappadocia looks like some kind of abandoned alien landscape frozen in time. On second glance, you can see the beautifully carved houses and churches carved into the rock formation. The rock formations were caused by volcanic eruptions, wind, and erosions. There are over 200 underground structures within the area, many of which connect to one another via tunnels. Definitely worth a visit as you will never have seen anything like it.