Welcome The Attraction: The Top 8 Tourist Hotspots In Turkey
With stunning landscapes, incredible history, and truly delicious cuisine, Turkey has so much to offer, and is home to some of the world’s most exciting tourist hotspots. Here, we take a look at eight of the destinations every visitor should enjoy on a trip to the Eurasian nation.
- Sultan Ahmed Mosque
Of course the natural place to start would be in Istanbul and at the most iconic piece of architecture in the country, the Sultan Ahmed Mosque. Built in 1616, it sits proudly in the country’s largest city and is at the centre of every postcard picture.
Inside, the mosque is lined with over 20,000 Iznik ceramic style tiles, featuring more than 50 unique tulip designs, whilst the upper levels are awash with blue paint giving the building the nickname, the Blue Mosque.
- Galata Tower
Another of Istanbul’s masterpieces is Galata Tower, a medieval stone tower and is a reminder of the country’s historic past. Dating back to 1348, the tower replaced the old Tower of Galata and was used to control the entrance to the Golden Horn – the primary waterway into the city.
By the 1700s it was used for spotting fires in the city whilst today the upper floors have a restaurant and café offering unrivalled views over Istanbul and the Bosphorus.
- Mount Nemrut
Located in eastern Turkey, Mount Nemrut is a truly unique place. The UNESCO World Heritage Site dates back to 62 BC when King Antiochus I Theos of Commagene built a series of tombs towards the peak of the mountain, including a range of Greek, Armenian, and Iranian gods, as well as a 30ft high statue of himself.
Trips can be taken from the nearby town of Adiyaman, as well as Malatya and Kahta where overnight tours run from, watching the sun rise over the monuments, just as thousands of generations had before.
- Grand Bazaar
The Grand Bazaar is one of the oldest covered markets on the planet and a must-see for anyone visiting Istanbul. Attracting up to 400,000 shoppers every day, you couldn’t find a more bustling marketplace anywhere in the world. Construction dates back to 1455, and houses over 3,000 shops, from traditional Turkish trinkets to textiles and fashion.
Last year it was the most-visited tourist attraction in the world, with over 91 million people being wowed by the grandest of markets, and you have to be sure to flock to it on a trip to Turkey.
The name Pamukkale translates to “cotton castle” and that couldn’t be a more perfect definition for one of Turkey’s true wonders. An hour’s flight from Istanbul, the city of Pamukkale is home to a wealth of hot springs and travertines, and has seen thousands flock to its pools for many, many years.
Located alongside Hierapolis, an ancient city and World Heritage Site dating back to 2 BC, there are 17 hot water springs, and is certainly one of the most calming places in the whole of Turkey, and a far cry from Grand Bazaar.
Efes may be one of Turkey’s premier beers, but you won’t find anything tingling the taste buds as much as the mouth-watering ancient city of the same name. Named Efes in Turkish and Ephesus in Greek, the city lies on the coast of Ionia and was once home to the Temple of Artemis; one of the Seven Wonders of the Ancient World.
Today it’s most famed monument is the Library of Celsus pictured above, built in the honour of Roman Senator Celsus, and once housed over 12,000 scrolls. It has a long and fascinating history and is thought to be the city of the Seven Sleepers, as well as once being the location of the largest outdoor theatre in the ancient world.
- Hadrian’s Gate
In the year 130, Roman Emperor Hadrian visited the city of Antalya, and to commemorate his stay Hadrian’s Gate was built; a triple arched portal in what was a booming port town and now a tourist hotspot.
It has an intriguing history with many local tales regarding the gate, the most famous stating the Queen of Sheba is thought to have passed through the gates on her way to visiting King Solomon. It’s stayed in remarkable condition for its age and you get a real sense of something special passing through into what was once the most important city in Pamphylia.
- Duden Waterfalls
Turkey really isn’t short of natural wonders, and just six miles north of Hadrian’s Gate lays one of the most beautiful waterfalls on the planet. The Duden Waterfalls and the stretch of the Duden River that stretch into Antalya and off a rocky cliff into the Mediterranean Sea are quite stunning and in a country which is largely dry, its greenery is truly splendid.
It’s just a shame unlike Pamukkale you can’t go for a dip here.