A richly historical land with some of the best cuisine you will ever taste, scenery from beaches to mountains and the great city of Istanbul.
The best thing about sampling Turkey’s delicious specialties – ranging from meze on a Mediterranean harbour to a pension breakfast featuring ingredients fresh from the kitchen garden – is that they take you to the heart of Turkish culture. For the sociable and family-orientated Turks, gathering together and eating well is a time-honoured ritual. So get stuck into olive oil–lathered Aegean vegetables, spicy Anatolian kebaps and dishes from Turkey’s many other corners – and as you drink a tulip-shaped glass of çay and contemplate some baklava for dessert, remember that eating is deepening your understanding of Turkey.
From the ancient port city of Ephesus (Efes) to the soaring Byzantine dome of Aya Sofya, Turkey has more than its fair share of world-famous ruins and monuments. A succession of historical figures and empires – including the Romans, Byzantines and Ottomans – have all left their mark on this former stopover along the Silk Road. Experiencing their legacy takes you from the closeted quarters of the sultan and his harem in Istanbul’s sprawling Topkapı Palace to the romantic and mysterious Lycian ruins on Mediterranean beaches.
Turkey’s diverse landscapes, from Aegean olive groves to eastern steppe, provide a lyrical setting for its many great ruins. The country’s most magical scenery is to be found in Asian Anatolia, where beautiful vistas are provided by the vertiginous Mediterranean coastline, Cappadocia’s otherworldly ‘fairy chimney’ rock formations and wavy valleys, the alpine pastures of the Kaçkar Mountains, and golden beaches such as 18km-long Patara. Whether you settle down with a çay to enjoy the view across mountain-ringed Lake Eğirdir or explore the hilly hinterland on the southwest coast’s many peninsulas, Turkey’s landscape will leave a lasting impression.
Turkey offers activities to suit every temperament, from outdoors adventure to cultural enrichment. Watery fun includes diving, windsurfing, rafting and canyoning in mountain gorges, kayaking over Kekova’s sunken ruins and traditional gület cruises on the Mediterranean and Aegean. Or take to the air with Ölüdeniz’ thrilling paragliding flights or a hot-air balloon ride over Cappadocia. For a fresh angle on stunning Turkish scenery, trek to highland pastures or walk part of the Lycian Way trail. In town, take a culinary course, soak in the hamam or hit İstanbul’s Grand Bazaar to buy a carpet or flat-weave kilim rug.
Take a hot air balloon flight over Cappadocia
Float above surreal landscape of fairy chimneys and other unusual geological formations. Admire the changing colors as the sun rises over the cliffs.
Spend a romantic night in a Cave
Experience the troglodyte life and sleep in a low ceilings room where the light is dim. Some of these « cave hotels » are rudimentary, others very luxurious; but all are cool in summer and warm in winter.
Shop ’til You Drop
Istanbul bazaars are a dream for shoppers; you will find rugs, kilim, glassware, tiles, furniture, antiques, decorative items, jewelry, hammam towels and more.
Relax in Thermal Pool
Turkey is like one big open-air spa. Some of the pools are enclosed in a 700-year-old original hamam. This is a unique experience.
Four Seasons Hotel at Sultanahmet
Set in an former jailhouse built in 1919, this elegant hotel is within a 10 minute walk of the Ayasofya, a museum in a former church and mosque, Topkapi Palace and the 17th-century Blue Mosque.
Featuring neoclassical decor and marble bathrooms, the polished rooms offer free Wi-Fi and flat-screens, plus sitting areas, minibars and espresso machines. Palatial suites add terraces, original artwork and/or extra bedrooms. Room service is available 24/7.
Dining options include a refined restaurant with a glass-enclosed courtyard, a bright piano bar and a rooftop lounge with city views. There’s also a gym and a chic spa with an outdoor pool.
Cappadocia Cave Resort & Spa
Set on a hill overlooking Güvercinlik Valley, this high-end hotel is 9 minutes’ walk from Uchisar Castle and 5 km from Al Nazar Church.
Featuring vaulted or beamed ceilings, the elegant rooms and suites have free Wi-Fi, whirlpool tubs and satellite TV, as well as minibars, and tea and coffeemakers; some add fireplaces. Plush suites provide sofas and heated floors. Opulent upgraded quarters come with private pools and/or marble floors.
Breakfast is free. There’s also an international restaurant, a 24-hour bistro and a terrace bar offering panoramic valley views. Other amenities include a wine cellar, indoor and outdoor pools, a gym and a spa.
Kempinski Hotel Barbaros Bay
Set on a cliff-top overlooking Barbaros Bay, this upscale seasonal hotel is 16 km from Bodrum Castle and 18 km from the Mausoleum at Halicarnassus.
Featuring balconies or terraces with bay views, the airy rooms come with free Wi-Fi, flat-screen TVs and minifridges; some have sofas. Suites add sitting areas or separate living rooms. Upgraded suites provide whirlpool tubs. Room service is available 24/7.
Breakfast, yoga sessions and parking are complimentary. There are also 3 restaurants, as well as a poolside bar/cafe. Other amenities include a spa, a gym, an infinity pool and a private beach area. Diving, sailing and boat tours are offered.
Argos in Cappadocia
Once a monastery, the award-winning Argos offers individually appointed rooms spread over several natural stone buildings. Each room offers free Wi-Fi. Some have breathtaking views of Pigeon Valley or private outdoor area. All rooms feature original details, including elaborate stone carvings and antique furnishings. Each has a private bathroom, while many offer an open fireplace and an iPod docking station. Some rooms are accessed by underground tunnel and feature vaulted ceilings.
The hotel’s Seki Restaurant serves a variety of local and international dishes, either indoors or al fresco accompanied by views of Güvercinlik Vallet and Erciyes Mountain. A wide selection of wines, produced from the property’ own vineyards and stored in an underground cellar, is available. The property offers airport shuttle services at an extra fee to and from the nearest airports. Guests can join sightseeing tours. Hot air balloon rides are available. ATV and horse riding tours are also available.
Argos In Cappadocia is just few minutes’ walk from the centre of Uchisar, with its many restaurants and shops. Uchisar’s soaring rock castle offering magnificent views is also just steps away.
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