Turkey is an exciting destination when planning a holiday—full of stunning beaches, wonderful culture and history, mouth-watering cuisine, and friendly locals. From the seaside city of Istanbul in the north to the ancient ruins of Ephesus in the south, there’s something for everyone to enjoy. Here are six things you can’t miss when planning your holiday in Turkey:
1. Take a Cruise on the Bosphorus
Cruising the Bosphorus is a must-do activity when planning a holiday in Turkey. This legendary waterway stretches for over 30 miles (50 kilometres), connecting the Black Sea to the Sea of Marmara and separating Europe from Asia. The Bosphorus cruise offers travellers stunning views of historical monuments and modern facilities as it meanders around Istanbul’s European and Asian sides, making it one of Turkey’s most popular tourist activities. In addition, taking an evening cruise on the Bosphorus will give you an unforgettable view of the cityscape as you cruise past illuminated domes and minarets of ancient mosques.
This cruise experience will take you past some of Istanbul’s grandest sights, such as the majestic Dolmabahce Palace, which was once home to six Ottoman sultans; Ortakoy Mosque; Rumeli Fortress; Beylerbeyi Palace; and several other architectural wonders. It also provides breathtaking views of the city’s skyline, where you can witness some of Europe’s tallest towers and Istanbul’s iconic bridges—including the Bosphorus Bridge that connects Asia to Europe.
2. Visit the Blue Mosque
The Blue Mosque is one of the most iconic landmarks in Istanbul, and it’s a must-see for visitors planning a holiday in Turkey. It was located in Sultanahmet Square and constructed in 1609 by Sultan Ahmed I, making it the last imperial mosque of the Ottoman Empire. The majestic domes and minarets are adorned with thousands of tiles ranging from soft blue hues to brilliant turquoise – hence its nickname, ‘The Blue Mosque’.
Although both Muslims and non-Muslims may visit the Blue Mosque, there are certain rules to be aware of before entering. Visitors should dress modestly (no shorts and sleeveless shirts) as well as take off their shoes upon entering. Inside, you’ll find exquisite marble columns, intricate stained-glass windows, and calligraphic inscriptions that adorn the walls. The Blue Mosque is also famous for its incredible acoustics and is home to a 76-voiced choir that sings the Quran every night during Ramadan.
3. Explore Cappadocia
The surreal landscape of Cappadocia is made up of honeycombed hills, smooth rocks shaped over time by the wind, and valleys carved out by rivers and gorges that are home to some fascinating wildlife. This beautiful region has an incredible history as it was once home to chasing Hittite tribes and ancient Greek civilizations. The area has been inhabited since Neolithic times, and some remarkable rock-cut churches remain.
Cappadocia also offers many activities for visitors to experience. From hot air ballooning and horseback riding to hiking in the valleys or exploring underground cities, there is something for everyone. Visit Göreme National Park and Museum, where you can marvel at the unique fairy chimneys carved into the rock and learn about the fascinating history of this area. Or why not take a trip to Pasabag Valley, where you’ll find whimsical shapes of mushroom-like chimneys formed by erosive forces?
4. Visit Ephesus
Ephesus is a must-see destination for anyone planning a holiday in Turkey, and with good reason. Located on the country’s west coast near Izmir, it was once one of the most important cities in the ancient world and still contains some remarkable monuments from its long history. Visitors can explore archaeological sites such as the Library of Celsus, which housed nearly 12,000 scrolls at its peak or take a walk through the historic streets of Ephesus to get a glimpse into what life was like during Roman times.
For those looking to learn more about Greek mythology, there are plenty of tales associated with this city – including that of Artemis, goddess of hunting and childbirth, who had her temple constructed here.
5. Shop at the Grand Bazaar
Located in the heart of Istanbul, The Grand Bazaar has been trading since 1461! With more than 3,000 shops selling everything from carpets to jewellery, it’s a great place to pick up a souvenir. Be sure to haggle for the best price – it’s all part of the experience!
6. Soak up the sun on the Mediterranean Coast
With its stunning beaches, crystal clear waters, and endless sunshine, Turkey’s Mediterranean coast is a great spot for some R&R. Whether you’re looking to relax on one of Bodrum’s secluded coves, explore ancient ruins in Antalya or party until sunrise in Marmaris, there’s something for everyone along this stretch of coastline.
Turkey is a country full of beauty, culture, and history—and the perfect destination for an unforgettable holiday. From the bustling city of Istanbul to the stunning Mediterranean coast, there are endless opportunities to explore this beautiful country. Whether you plan to visit one or all of these places above, Turkey promises a truly unique experience that will stay with you forever! Start planning your trip today and get ready to discover what makes this wonderful nation so special.