Best ancient cities of Turkey

Vying for attention amongst the vibrant modern day cities, are the ancient cities built by our forefathers, each speaking a different story. On the map of Turkey you see all the development of the technological age intertwined with spectacles of the past; you simply cannot miss it. If you started counting the number of civilizations that once habited this region you’ll be amazed. From the Hattians to Phrygia and Lydia, the Seleucids, Romans, Byzantines, Seljuk, and finally the Ottoman Empire, the legacy is astounding.

 

 

Having said all this, it’s quite hard to decide which ancient cities are the best. Though it’s impossible to cover them all, here are the best ancient cities of Turkey!

 

 

Aphrodisias was an ancient Greek city in Caria. It’s about 90 kilometers from Aydin town center and very well preserved considering that it was a prehistoric settlement from before 5000 BC! Here you can marvel at the famous Temple of Aphrodite, a grandiose council house and stadium, and the imposing buildings that stand witness to the grandeur of another era.

 

 

I’m also quite taken by Konya, which although these days is one of the major cities of Turkey, has a heritage dating back to the Late Copper Age, and was also a capital of the Seljuk Sultanate. It was known as Iconium in Latin. The important sites include the Mevlana Museum, mosques dating back to the time of the Seljuk Sultanate and an ethnography museum. But I’m very much taken by the fact that it was the backdrop of the famous events in the life of the poet Jalal al-Din Rumi, who inspired the whirling dervishes that are a sight to behold, and his tomb is also located here.

 

 

Ephesus, bordering modern day Selcuk also has some well preserved Roman and Greek ruins. It’s ironic that there are more Greek and Roman ruins in Turkey than in Greece and Rome! You can see the library of Celsus, the Temple of Hadrian, and an awe inspiring cave of the seven sleepers, where it is believed that seven Christian boys sought refuge and slept, only to wake up centuries later. The impressive Isabey Mosque should not be missed out if you happen to be in the area.

 

Ephesus Best ancient cities of Turkey

The library of Celsus, ancient city of Ephesus

 

While you are in Ephesus you may also visit the ancient cities of Priene and Miletus, the former being an ancient city lying between Kusadasi and Bodrum, with Miletus nearby. Although it’s a smaller city, it’s the place to go if you want relative peace and quiet. Here again, ancient ruins are in abundance, like the Roman baths, the Temple of Athena, and other relics of the Hellenistic era that you can imbibe by taking a walk around the city.

 

 

Another Carian city called Kaunos may also be a competition if one sees the ever so elegant rock tombs with facades resembling temples that are destined to take your breath away. The quality of the masonry is unrivalled, and there are also ancient city walls, and temples, but these rock tombs are definitely the eye catchers!

 

 

Other best ancient cities in Turkey to visit include Hierapolis, Bergama, and the underground cities in Cappadocia, Myra, Olympos and many others. Well if you really want to decide which are the best ancient cities in Turkey I’d suggest a tour to Turkey. After all, wonders can only be seen, not described.

Cooking classes in Turkey

There is an old saying that goes “When in Rome, do as the Romans do”. But I believe now it is more apt to say “When in Turkey, do as the Turks do” because you’ll never run out of things to do here. Travel is a combination of experiencing the culture and cuisine, and as far as the latter is concerned Turkey provides enough to load the palate. But it is not solely about tasting the food, rather being a part in creating a dish using local recipes and ingredients that makes the whole experience so rewarding.

 
There are many cooking classes organised in various cities catering specially to tourists, particularly in Istanbul. Most of these classes last about 4-5 hours, wherein you are taught to prepare a five course meal and later on can enjoy the fruit of your own labour in the form of lunch or dinner (depending on the class you choose). Sample it and also prepare some extra for the other diners. Personally, I am thrilled at the idea of returning from one of my travels and surprising my family with my adeptness at making a Turkish five course meal!

 
Of course, the chefs don’t promise to make you an expert within a single class. It all depends on your previous experience and the skills you bring to the table. The environment is laid back and hassle free, and it depends on team work, with tasks like chopping and cutting divided. However, everyone is made privy to the crucial steps of preparing any dish. The local ingredients generally include, but are not confined to, lamb, eggplant, vine leaves, yogurt, mint, chili, cumin, lentils, figs and walnuts.

 
Cooking Alaturka is a popular class, focusing on Anatolian dishes. The chefs provide hands on training, which means you are actually doing the cooking, not just watching the pros do it. Many classes in the area focus on the culinary heritage of the Turkish and Ottoman dishes. You can also boost up your knowledge by visiting the renowned Spice Bazaar, as well as the Wednesday Market in the streets around Fatih Mosque for full immersion in the local culture and what makes them tick.

 
For confirmation, at least two people are required, and the classes may extend up to ten members. It is not advisable to have many members as that could create hindrance towards learning. The classes cost about €65, which is totally worth it for one whole day spent among people experienced in local cuisine, picking up tips and tricks from them. Moreover, many of these classes also arrange for refreshments like tea, coffee and soft drinks as well. Needless to say, aprons and kitchen tools are provided.

 
I think whoever came up with the idea must have had a brilliant insight, because what more is travel but a new sensation for all your senses; sight, hearing, smell, touch and taste! So make sure you enroll for this class, which is mostly available from Monday to Saturday, and therefore ensure that you take a part of Turkey home with yourself.

Explore Pamukkale for a Truly Memorable Holiday

Pamukkale is located 11 miles north of Denizli and it is the main natural mineral bath spa of Turkey because of its calcium-rich hot water spring that comes from under the ground and cascading over the cliff. As the water cools they form into travertines of brilliantly white coloured hard calcium pools.

 
The Cotton Fortress
Pamukkale is also called the Cotton Fortress and it has offered natural spa since the Romans had built Hierapolis (spa city) around the considered sacred water spring. Today, that antique pool is still in existences and is beautifully littered with the pieces from the Temple of Apollo’s marble columns. Swimming in the water spring costs a small fee and lockers are available for all of your belongings.

Pamukkale Explore Pamukkale for a Truly Memorable Holiday
Reaching Pamukkale
Pamukkale can be reached by bus, train, car or through the air. Most tourists consider this place as an ideal overnight stop between Marmaris, Kusadasi, Ephesus, Izmir or Selcuk and Cappadocia, Konya or Antalya.

 
Day Tour
You can book for a day tour going to Pamukkale from Selcuk or Fethiye. This tour will take you to the historic ruins of Hierapolis and it also will allow you to climb the seats of the magnificent Roman Theater.
Other activities you can do while on the day tour include; splashing along the permitted areas of the travertines, soaking in the marble column littered Antique Pool, and visiting the exhibits displayed at the Archeological Museum.

 
Four Significant Locations to Visit
In Pamukkale, there are four important locations that should be visited. These are Laodicea, Pamukkale Town, Karahayıt, and the Pamukkale Plateau.
Laodicea is located four miles of Denzil and it is a very old city that is being reborn through extensive archeological restoration. From Denzil, Laodicea can be reached by car in less than three hours.

 
The Pamukkale Town is located at the foot of the famous travertines and it boasts of small hotels, restaurants, pensions and a bus ticket office. If you want to indulge in a private mineral water dip, you can go into one of the pensions that offer their own warm water pools.
On the north is the Karahayit and it is a village once known for the rusty-red calcium and iron riched mineral waters it produced. This place is now filled with developed huge luxury spa lodgings like the Colossae and the Richmond.
The Pamukkale Plateau is the place where the Roman Hierapolis was built. It has three main entry ways and entering here also requires a small admission fee.

Best Beaches in Turkey

Turkey is normally not known to be a destination that would spring to mind the moment one talks about visiting exotic beaches or holidaying in the Mediterranean. For most people, its always about Spain, Italy and the Greek Isles. However, for those in the know Turkey offers an exciting and enriching experience that can transform the way you look at holidays. If the sun and sand are what you desire, Turkey definitely ranks among the very best. Why restrict yourself to Europe and Asia. Add the Caribbean into the mix and the beaches of Turkey would still manage to stand out on their own. Here is a list of some of the best beaches in Turkey.

 

Butterfly Valley
Butterfly Valley is located between two majestic cliffs and stretches out in a v-shape that ends with one of the most pristine stretches of sand. The best way to visit Butterfly Valley  is via a boat from Fethiye or Oludeniz. However, you should know that Butterfly Valley is mostly famous among the adventure travellers because of the surrounding natural beauty that offers ideal options for trekking, the lack of crowds and development, the option to camp along the trees and the lack of any form of electricity or construction. In other words, a trip to Butterfly Valley takes one away from all forms of civilisation.

Butterfly Valley Best Beaches in Turkey

Butterfly Valley, one of the best beaches in Turkey

Marmaris
Those looking for the best beaches in Turkey are known to flock to the port town of Marmaris by the drives. Beer, fast food, sunshine and hoardes of travellers are what define Marmaris, but it is also known to be an ideal base to explore the breathtaking coastline, catch a ferry to Greece, check out sea turtles at Dalyan or charter a yacht.

 

Kaputas Beach
The Kaputas Beach boasts of having one of the best locations that offer tourists with some breathtaking photography opportunities. Calm waters, secluded areas, yellow sands, ample sunshine and stunning backdrops are what await you at the Kaputas Beach. In short, visiting the Kaputas Beach is nothing short of visiting paradise.

 

Iztuzu, Dalyan
Sea turtles and travellers join hands to lap up the waves at the Iztuzu beach. The Iztuzu Beach is a protected stretch of sand that extends to approximately 4.5kms. It is most famous for its sea turtles who drag themsels ashore in order to lay their eggs. The vast marshy areas beyond the beach is also known to be teeming with wildlife.

 

Ovabuku Beach
No list of the best beaches in Turkey can ever be complete without mentioning the The Ovabuku Beach. The Ovabuku Beach is located in the Datca peninsula and is known for its lush beauty that is beautifully carved out by oak, carob and myrtle trees. A trip to the Ovabuku Beach is not just about the beach itself – it is about the entire scenery – a secluded environment, a feeling of peace and tranquility, enchanting sceneries and a sense of escape. Come to Turkey for the best beaches!

Enjoy the Best Sunsets of Turkey

Turkey offers sunsets with picture perfect scenes and this is because of the country’s natural beauty and the fact that it boasts the magnificence of the Mediterranean and Aegean Coasts. The best sunsets of Turkey can be seen and enjoyed in some of the most popular locations in this magical place.

 
Sunsets are all about the sun setting to say goodbye to the day and to give way to the evening. What makes sunset truly amazing is that it offers a great chance for a lot of people to appreciate the beauty of nature and the grandness of the world. Watching the sun go down is a real wonderful experience and if you can do this from a place where you can truly enjoy the glowing orange-red sky either behind a mountain or far from the sear, you are one lucky individual.

 
The Best Sunsets of Turkey from the Town of Akbuk
Akbuk is an idyllic town in Turkey that offers a unique Mediterranean retreat to those who are tired of their busy city lives. Most people come to this place to lounge in the long sandy beaches, admire the pine-covered hills and to watch the reddish sky during sunset.

 
The Best Sunsets of Turkey from Yalikavak
If you want a different kind of sunset scene you should go to Yalikavak, where the horizon turns bluish with purple tint when the sun goes down. Yalikavak may not be as popular as the other Turkish resorts, but when it comes to magical sunsets, this is surely the place to see and enjoy them.

Yalikavak Sunset Enjoy the Best Sunsets of Turkey

Yalikavak Sunset

The Best Sunsets of Turkey from Bodrum
One advantage that Bodrum has is that it is ideally located around a bay and sunsets here give out the picturesque scene of the sun going down behind the mountains. This is a truly picture perfect sunset scene that also provides that expected reddish-orange horizon.

 
The Best Sunsets of Turkey from Rose Valley
If there is one place in Turkey where photographers gather to take shots at sunset, it is Rose Valley in Cappadocia. The best time to come here if you want to see the unique pure red sky is during summer time.

 
Sunsets are indeed great to watch. They represent the end of the day and a promise of a better tomorrow. For some people sunsets are very symbolic in a way that it provides that feeling of completeness. It is said that if you enjoy watching the sun go down, you had a really good day because you are happy to see the day end beautifully. So, enjoy your day and have a great experience by watching the best sunsets of Turkey.

Best beaches in Turkey

There are countless beaches in Turkey, each one vying for attention, each one surpassing the other in beauty and history. Turkey is a land richly bestowed with tourist destinations, thanks to its magnificent and vast coast of the Mediterranean, populated with beaches, bays, quaint towns and busy cities, coupled with its unique history of the Carian, and Lycian periods, dating back to many centuries ago. Many of these are still un-spoilt and crowd free, with very little human population, places that specialise in and thrive mainly because of tourism.

These beaches are easily accessible via gulet cruises and private yacht charters that are arranged during the peak tourism season along the Turkish Riviera.

Butterfly Valley is one such spot located amid two gigantic cliffs on two sides, rounded up on the third side by pristine waters. Camping is allowed in the valley but there is no electricity or roads, adding to its serene charm. Gulet cruises are available from Fethiye and Olympos. As the name suggests, it is known for its vast varieties of butterflies in the region, adding to the rich flora and fauna.

Butterfly Valley Best beaches in Turkey

Butterfly Valley, one of the best beaches in Turkey

Then there is Marmaris, surrounded by pine forests and a view of two sets of mountains. Add to it the plus point of a history that dates back to the 4th century, with influences of Persian, Roman, Ottoman eras, and a thriving night life. Closely situated is the Daylan area near Iztuzu Beach, where turtles lay eggs and jasmine gardens are abundantly situated.

Oludeniz beach is simply breathtaking, with a long sandy and pebble beach opening to a blue lagoon at the base of the Taurus Mountains. No doubt people want to have a bird’s eye view from atop, by paragliding over this famously photographed spot. Its beauty can simply not be put in words; but for those who want to experience it, gulet cruises are available as well as road access or a beautiful walk from Kaka Koy.

Antalya is yet another tourist destination along the Mediterranean, a highly visited spot for those who want to immerse in culture, history and beauty all at once. Its history has moulded the area in Hellenistic, Byzantine, Roman and Selcuk colours, and given it such quaint locations as the Kaleiçi area with Ottoman era houses, Hadrian’s Gate constructed in the 2nd century by Romans, Iskele Mosque and the Clock Tower. The population is also varied and ranges from Greeks, Muslims, Jews and Christians who give this place a diverse cultural ambience.
Another popular beach is in Bodrum on the Turquoise Coast; in the Aegean Sea with its many resorts, the home town of Greek historian Herodotus, and the place housing one of the seven wonders of the ancient world, the mausoleum of Mausolus. It is esteemed for its many luxurious hotels, cafes and boutiques, where the rich come and enjoy the natural beauty coupled with manmade opulence and charm to relax and refresh.

Other beaches include Patara, Kabak, Pamucak, Kleopatra and the Black Sea coastline to name a few. This list does not cover them all. No need to say, there are so many choices as to befuddle a traveller, and all these are made easily accessible thanks to gulet cruises and private yacht charters for tourists. When the options are so inviting and hassle free, and the marvels to visit so great, one should simply not miss the chance. So gear up for the next visit; let the next destination be Turkey, at the beach of your choice, and let it be sooner rather than later.