Turkey things to see and do

Tourist offices

Turkish Tourism Office in the USA

821 United Nations Plaza, New York City, NY 10017, United States
Tel: (212) 687 2194.
Opening Hours: Mon-Fri 0900-1800.
www.goturkeytourism.com

Turkish Culture and Tourism Office (TCTO) in the UK

4th Floor, 29-30 St James's Street, London, SW1A 1HB, United Kingdom
Tel: (020) 7839 7778.
Opening Hours: Mon-Fri 0900-1800.
www.gototurkey.co.uk

Things to see and do

Ankara

The Turkish capital is overlooked by many visitors but has some excellent museums. The superb Museum of Anatolian Civilisations (www.anadolumedeniyetlerimuzesi.gov.tr) is currently undergoing renovations but some exhibits are still on display. The Ethnographic Museum in Ankara (www.etnografyamuzesi.gov.tr) gives visitors a great insight into Turkish culture.

Antalya

Experience the charm of the Mediterranean city of Antalya, with its atmospheric old town and harbour, Kaleiçi. Visit the superb Archaeological Museum and tour the many historic sights surrounding the city.

Balloon flight

Take an early morning hot-air balloon flight over the stunning, other-worldly moonscape of Cappadocia in central Anatolia. Choose from several private companies operating in the area including Kapadokya Balloons (www.kapadokyaballoons.com).

Black Sea boat trip

Explore the northern suburbs of Istanbul by ferry-boat, criss-crossing the Bosphorus to visit villages that stretch up to the mouth of the Black Sea.

Black Sea coast

Escape the foreign tourist hordes and join holidaying Turks at one of the small Black Sea coast towns like Ünye or Giresun - less crowded, cooler and greener than the Mediterranean coast.

Boat cruise

Charter a gulet, a traditional wooden boat (www.boatingturkey.net), for a leisurely cruise along the Aegean or Mediterranean coast. Itineraries of a week or more are possible, with a variety of destinations and ports of call.

Bodrum

Visit Bodrum , site of one of the Seven Wonders of the World, the Mausoleum of Mausolus, and now Turkey's finest Aegean resort. Dominated by the Castle of St John, the town is renowned for its shopping, dining and nightlife.

Cappadocia

Do not miss Cappadocia. Marvel at the spectacular landscape of rock cones, pinnacles and ravines. There are cave houses, underground cities and subterranean churches to explore, plus visitors can stay in a cave hotel too.

Caves and bazaars

Wander through the very Middle Eastern-feeling bazaar at Şanliurfa in the southeast, close to the Syrian border, and pay a visit to the cave where Abraham is said to have been born.

Explore the Kaçkar mountains

Go trekking in the wild Kaçkar mountain range of Turkey's northeast, close to the Georgian frontier. Take a trail through dense pine forests and scenic pastures, before hitting heights of almost 4000m (13,123 ft). Routes across higher altitudes are only open during the summer months unless trekkers are equipped for snowy weather.

Gallipoli Peninsula

Tour the WWI battlefields and the memorials commemorating the 250,000 British, Turkish and ANZAC troops that died on the Gallipoli Peninsula. Cross the Dardanelles, the straits dividing Europe and Asia, and visit the ruins of ancient Troy.

Istanbul's Galata Bridge

Sip tea or smoke a nargile (also known as a shisha) as you watch the sunset at one of the traditional cafés beneath Istanbul's Galata Bridge.

Istanbul's Old City

Discover Istanbul's Old City which was the capital of the Christian Byzantines and then the Islamic Ottoman empire. Highlights include the Blue Mosque, the Topkapi Palace, Aya Sofya Museum and the city's Archaeological Museum.

Lake Van

Use the far eastern city of Van as a base to travel along the south shore of Lake Van and catch a boat out to the 10th-century Armenian church on Akdamar island, famous for its intricate stone reliefs depicting biblical scenes.

Mount Ararat

Look for fragments of Noah's Ark, reputed to have washed up here, on the slopes of 5,165m (16,945ft) Mount Ararat in Turkey's far eastern region.

Prince's Islands

Take a ferry from the Eminönü dock in Istanbul to the Princes' Islands, a tranquil summer getaway popular with Istanbulites where cars are banned and horse-drawn carriages and bicycles are the transport of choice.

Sumela Monastery

See the spectacular 14th-century Greek Orthodox Sumela Monastery (www.sumela.com), 54km (34 miles) from Trabzon. Set into a sheer cliff, 300m (1,000ft) above the valley floor, it contains some magnificent frescoes.

Therapeutic waters

The incredible pools at Pamukkale near Denizli attract tourists and locals alike who come to bathe in the warm therapeutic waters that fill the natural travertine terraces. The pools, together with the ancient ruins of the city of Hierapolis nearby have been declared a World Heritage site.

Trek the Lycian Way

Trek the Lycian Way, which stretches for 500km (311 miles) between Fethiye and Antalya, providing a month's walking through some of Turkey's most spectacular scenery (www.lycianway.com).

Turkish bath

Relax in a steamy Turkish bath, known as a hammam, and have a scrub and massage. In Istanbul, the most popular historic baths are the Galatasaray Hammam in Beyoğlu and Cağaloğlu Hammam in Sultanahmet, though local baths are often just as good.

Whirling Dervishes

Catch a ceremony by the renowned Whirling Dervishes who are members of the Mevlevi Order and who perform the famous whirling dance known as Sema. Their amazing ceremony can be seen in Konya, where the Order originated, or in Istanbul.

White-water rafting

Experience white-water rafting on the Dalaman River, the Köprülü River, the Zamanti River or the Coruh River, which is rated by professionals as one of the top rafting descents in the world.

Edited by Jane Duru
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