There is so much to see and do in Turkey that we couldn't keep it to the traditional top ten list so we've made it a top fifteen! Currently, there's also a 16th reason - we're offering up to £200 off all our small group adult tours to Turkey for one week only.
Cappadocia is located in the centre of the Anatolian region of Turkey, made distinctive by its valley, canyon, hills and unusual rock formation. Created by eroding rain and wind, these iconic formations can be found between the volcanic mountains Erciyes, Melendiz and Hasan. While exploring this region, you'll also be met by troglodyte dwellings carved out of the rock and cities dug into the underground.
Topaki Palace, Istanbul
This opulent palace carries a wealth of historic 'revelations' about the Ottomans who occupied its residence between 1453 and 1839. There's Selim the Sot, who drowned after drinking too much champagne; to İbrahim the Mad, who lost his reason after being imprisoned for 22 years by his brother Murat IV; and Roxelana, a former concubine who became the powerful consort of Süleyman the Magnificent. Give yourself a few hours here to see the Harem, the Treasury and the rooms around the İftariye Baldachin.
The Blue Mosque, Istanbul
Possibly Turkey's most famous landmark. With six beautiful minarets surrounding it, this distinctive landmark dates back to the early 1600s and today it's not only still a place of worship, but a popular destination for visitors to Turkey.
Grand Bazaar, Istanbul
This is one of the largest and oldest covered markets in the world. Be sure to haggle - you have a choice of around 4000 shops to look around!
Located in Istanbul, Hagia Sophia is a great architectural beauty and an important monument both for the Byzantine and Ottoman Empires. Once a church, later a mosque and now a museum, Hagia Sophia covers what was for over 1000 years, the largest enclosed space in the world. Today, it's one of the top attractions in Turkey.
Fethiye, Turkey's Turquoise Coast
This beautiful port offers breathtaking views of the island-studded bay, as well as plenty of cafes, restaurants and shops to relax in and take in the stunning surroundings. Take a gulet (traditional wooden sailing boat) and cruise around the area, catching the afternoon sun.
Walking and Trekking
Whether its sedate ambling through the epic landscape of Cappadocia, or something more hardcore such as summiting Mount Ararat (at well over 5,000m) Turkey has some incredible walking and trekking. Check out the Lycian Way or St Paul Trail for stunning walks or explore the dramatic Taurus mountain range.
Koprulu Canyon National Park
The adventure playground of Turkey! The spectacular scenery of Köprülü Canyon National Park lends itself to all manner of outdoor activities, from white-water rafting, to walking, cycling or mountain-biking, safaris, abseiling and horse riding. A great place to spend a day exploring.
Explore Turkey's beautiful coastline and enjoy activities such as:
- Sea kayaking and passing over underwater ruins
- Visiting the ancient city of Xanthos, a UNESCO World Heritage Site, and then canoeing downstream through unspoilt backwaters to Patara Beach. At 14 kilometers, Patara is one of the longest stretches of sandy beach found anywhere on the Med.
- Visit the Greek Island of Meis on a day trip
- Go scuba diving or snorkelling
- Or try mountain biking along the coast - offering spectacular views of the mountains and ocean.
Meaning 'cotton castle' in Turkish, Pamukkale is a spectacular landscape in the west of the country, famous for its white terraces (made of sedimentary rock with a high mineral content), hot springs and travertines. This mineral water spa has been used for bathing for thousands of years.
Bodrum Castle and the city of Bodrum
This imposing fortress was built by the Knights Hospitalier in 1402, to help defend the region against attack by the Selcuk Turks. Today it houses Turkey's Museum of Underwater Archaeology, an impressive collection of artefacts and relics harvested from a number of ancient shipwrecks excavated from the Aegean since the 1960s. While in Bodrum, also take time to explore the city's numerous markets and bazaars, selling everything from Turkish carpets and handmade jewellery, to designer clothing and Turkish coffee.
A small village on the Aegean Sea, Oludeniz has a sandy beach and a stunning blue lagoon - famous for its shades of turquoise. It's one of the most photographed beaches on the Mediterranean and is regarded as one of the best places in the world to paraglide due to its unique panoramic views.
Visit the site of the great Greco-Roman city of Ephesus. Once visited by Mark Anthony and Cleopatra, and also by the evangelist St. Paul (which inspired the Epistle to the Ephesians), this famous old Asia Minor seaport reached its zenith in the 2nd century AD. Ephesus became one of the main cultural and economic centres of the ancient world until it went into decline after the 7th century. These impressive ruins include a theatre, gymnasium, agora and baths as well as the famous Library of Celsus. A very popular tourist attraction for anyone visiting the west coast.
It was here that the ill-fated Allied campaign, after much bloody hand-to-hand fighting and loss of life, was forced to concede victory to the Turks and withdraw during the First World War. Involved in the fighting on the Turkish side was Mustafa Kemal - later known as Ataturk, the 'Father of the Turks'. Visit Anzac Cove, Lone Pine Australian Memorial and Cemetery and the Kabatepe War Museum.
Troy and Pergamon
Archaeological excavations at Troy revealed nine separate periods of settlement including ruins of city walls, house foundations, a temple and a theatre. Explore these ruins, before travelling on to Pergamon, today known as Bergama, one of Turkey's finest archaeological sites. The striking acropolis above the modern day town contains the remains of a library, a theatre, temples to Athena, Trajan and Demeter, an altar to Zeus, a gymnasium and an agora.