Sightseeing

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Turkey has an incredible range of sightseeing opportunities, ranging from the outdoors and historical spots. The Aegean Coast mixes both coastal vistas and ruins. Though it’s not as dramatic as the Mediterranean, it makes a nice detour while you’re getting your history fix.

You can see the ruins of the famous cities of Troy, Ephesus and Pergamum, and the battlefield sites of Gallipoli. Cappadocia, in central Turkey, offers excellent sightseeing. The bizarre, towering rock formations here make the area famous, so you won’t find any boutique hotels or world class cities.

It’s all about the scenery here, as well as the churches, small towns, and excellent wine. For another ruin-and-coast combo, hit up Selcuk and its interior. The charming coastal city is home to some nice beaches, and nearby there’s Pamukkale, a popular tourist spot for its travertine terraces and mineral springs. In this region there’s also Afrodisias, built to honour Aphrodite. The ruins are quite a treat.

The Mediterranean Coast is quite a crowd-pleaser. The “Turkish Riviera,” as it’s also called, is extremely popular, especially with vacationing Europeans in summer. It’s not all holiday bustle here, though. The beaches in Patara, Olympos & Çirali are less crowded, surrounded by quaint towns, and filled with ancient ruins. Just inland from the coast, the region abounds with other ruin sites.

There’s the Roman fortress city of Anazarbus, just northeast of Adana, and a range of Hittite and early Christian sites, too. Mt. Nemrut National Park in eastern Turkey includes the big peak of Mt. Nemrut, with its strange pre-Roman statues at the summit. The park combines some of the country’s best scenery with a collection of historical sites, making it a nice day trip to get your fill of both the outdoors and history.

The Black Sea area is beautiful but not at all built up. No fancy resorts here, but that means the region’s natural beauty is in full force. The lush mountain forests are stunning, and you’ll probably have the roads all to yourself. Nearby, the steppe region of northeastern Anatolia is remote but worth a look. Palaces, castles, and mosques abound, and the scenery is unbeatable.