11 Unique Things To Do in Turkey

7/30/2021

10 Minute

Turkey, very rich in historical and natural beauties, has treasures worth discovering in almost every region. Did you know that there are many unique experiences you can have in Turkey, which offers a magnificent harmony of ancient cities with natural beauties in every part of the country? We have listed just some of them for you. Let's take a look at them together. 
 

1. Swim at Cleopatra Beach

Historical Sedir Island with deep-blue sea

We start our list with the famous Cleopatra Beach of Sedir Island (Kedreai) in Marmaris. One of the features that make Cleopatra Beach so well-known is its golden sands. The sands have emerged through geological formations and are under protection. Actually, they are limestone droplets that are formed in a special way. Cleopatra Beach is also home to many legends. The most famous of these is that these special sands were brought from Egypt by ships to meet the Egyptian Queen Cleopatra, who gave the beach its name, and the Roman commander Mark Antony. Especially when diving underwater with goggles, the natural beauties, and creatures of the underwater world will fascinate you. Cleopatra Beach awaits you with its golden sands and turquoise waters. And for those looking for some history, there’s an ancient city next to the beach waiting to be explored! Kedreai archaeological site is an important Carian city and there are many monuments worth seeing today. Click here to learn about Sedir Island.
 

2. Balloon Ride at Cappadocia

perfect harmony of Cappadocia and hot-air balloons

Cappadocia is a wonderful region where nature and history are intertwined. Thus, the area is on the UNESCO World Heritage List as a natural and cultural heritage. The most important feature that makes Cappadocia so valuable is undoubtedly the unique landforms of the region. These natural wonders, called fairy chimneys, combined with the history of the region, offer an extraordinary view to visitors. This region, which has been inhabited since the Chalcolithic period, carries traces of many civilizations. When you visit Cappadocia today, there are many heritages you can see from its nature to its history, but perhaps one of the best ways to explore this geography is to take a hot air balloon ride where you can watch the region from a bird's eye view. The balloons on the sunrise will give you a breath-taking view of Cappadocia's fascinating valleys and the harmony of other balloons in the sky. When you come to Cappadocia, you should definitely try this unique experience. Must-see locations in Cappadoccia include the Göreme National Park.
 

3. Learn about Whirling Dervishes

Interior decoration of Galata Mevlevi Lodge

The Mevlevi order is a sect of Sufism that was developed after the death of the great Islamic philosopher and poet Mevlana Celaleddin Rumi. There is much to learn about the Mevlevi order, one of the most valuable cultural heritages of Anatolia, which left traces in religion, art, music, and architecture. One of them is the Mevlevihane, which should definitely be seen in Turkey. The Mevlevihane, or Mevlevi Lodge, is the place where members gather and perform their rituals. The most famous of these structures is the Galata Mevlevi Lodge Museum in İstanbul. It’s one of the most important Ottoman structures in the neighborhood. The architecture inside the building is a work of art that you can explore closely for hours. Another important part of the Mevlevi culture is undoubtedly the Sema ceremonies. These ceremonies, which have been performed for centuries, are on the UNESCO Intangible Cultural Heritage Representative List. It will be an unforgettable and unique experience for you to watch the whirling dervishes, who will take you on a mystic journey into the past with their Sufi traditions.
 

4. Dip Your Feet in Pamukkale

Stunning landscape of Pamukkale travertines

Pamukkale is one of the best-known natural wonders in Turkey but is also a unique region with the magnificent Hierapolis archaeological site right next to it. Hierapolis has been an important healing and belief center in every period of history, with many Roman monuments surviving until now. This important city, together with the Pamukkale Travertines next to it, has been included in the UNESCO World Heritage List as both a cultural and natural heritage. The region, which has been visited by people seeking health and beauty from different parts of Anatolia since ancient times, continues to be visited today with its healing thermal pools. You can dip your feet in the healing waters where the people of the ancient periods used to swim thousands of years ago and enjoy the magnificent view of the cotton white travertines. Pamukkale, which has a privileged location with its many features, is waiting to impress you. When you’re done with your healing journey, don’t forget to visit the Hierapolis Museum right next to it to explore the artifacts uncovered at the ancient city of Hierapolis. 
 

5. Swim among Ancient Monuments at Kekova

Lycian Tomb,partly underwater from Kekova

Kekova is a region consisting of Üçağız (Teimioussa), on the coast of Demre district of Antalya, Kaleköy (Simena) where transportation is provided only by boats, and Kekova (Dolkisthe) Island just across it. There are many historical monuments in this region, which were within the borders of Lycia in ancient times. Especially on the northern coast of Kekova Island, there are the ruins of a sunken city, most of which are underwater. The stairs leading into the sea which are still visible today, the house foundations and tombs on the island which are partially submerged, are definitely worth seeing. With this feature, the area is of great importance in terms of underwater archeology and also one of the attractive addresses of “blue cruises” with its natural and historical beauties. In Kekova, you can have an unforgettable experience by swimming in the deep blue waters of the Mediterranean, accompanied by the fascinating historical structures of the region. Kekova, where the sea and greenery blend seamlessly, will impress you with its history both above and below the water.
 

6. Explore an Underground City at Derinkuyu

one of the room of Derinkuyu underground city

 The Cappadocia region fascinates its visitors with its natural beauties and history, but there is more than meets the eye. Under the beautiful sceneries of Cappadocia are countless cities right beneath your feet! These engineering wonders, which were carved out of the soft tuff rocks of the region, provided a safe living space for many civilizations. The biggest and deepest of these settlements is Derinkuyu Underground City. Derinkuyu, which has eight floors, consists of rooms that will accommodate a large community and meet their needs. The underground city has many areas such as a barn, well, cellar, winery, dining hall, church. All of these areas are connected to each other by narrow tunnels. Definitely worth a visit, the missionary school is located on the second floor of the city. The city also has an incredible ventilation system. Derinkuyu, which is one of the attractions ​​you should definitely visit during your visit to Cappadocia, will take you to a completely different world with its mysterious atmosphere and narrow corridors. 
 

7. Camp at Olympos

Stunning location of Olympos near the sea

Olympos, the city of the gods, is an important Lycian settlement in the Kemer district of Antalya. It is so important that it was one of the six largest cities of the Lycian League, and was also favored by pirates! This port city fascinates its visitors with its magnificent seaside location. Most of the surviving remains of the city belong to the Hellenistic, Roman, and Byzantine periods. Today, the city, which attracts more attention especially with its impressive tombs, actually has much more to explore. Yanartaş (Chimera), known as the eternal fire of Olympos located in its immediate vicinity, is a natural beauty definitely worth seeing. Here, you can witness the flames coming out of the stones right next to the greens and blues of the Mediterranean. One of the best ways to experience Olympos is to pitch a tent.  There are many opportunities for camping at Olympos. You can take as many nature hikes as you want in the lush greenery and explore the impressive history of the ancient city. Of course, let's not forget its close location to the deep blue waters of the Mediterranean. 
 

8. Take a Picture with the Famous Troy Horse

Legendary Trojan Horse

Listed as a UNESCO World Heritage Site, Troy is located in the province of Çanakkale. The city is one of the most famous ancient cities in the world. The most important reason why Troy is known historically by everyone is that the city was the subject of the epics of the Iliad and Odyssey by Homer, the most famous poet of the ancient period. There are 10 different building layers in the city, which has witnessed many destructions and wars due to its strategic and geographical location. Just before visiting this epic city, the replica of the Trojan Horse at the entrance is almost as popular as Troy. The famous Trojan Horse in Homer's epics is a huge wooden horse in which Achaean soldiers hid in order to conquer the city of Troy. Thanks to this trick, the Trojans took the horse into the city as a votive gift to Athena, and the soldiers hidden in it opened the gates of the city. This wooden horse was recreated by a Turkish artist in 1975. You can see this symbol of Troy at the entrance of the city and immortalize the moment by taking a wonderful souvenir photo in front of it.
 

9. See Two Continents at Once at Rumeli Hisarı

Rumeli Hisarı with lighting

Rumeli Fortress, one of the most iconic symbols of İstanbul, is located on the European side of Istanbul at the narrowest point of the Bosphorus. It was built by Fatih Sultan Mehmet in order to prevent possible attacks from the north of the Bosphorus before the conquest of İstanbul. The Rumeli Fortress has the biggest bastions of that period. The bastions, Zağanos Pasha Tower, Çandarlı Halil Pasha Museum, Saruca Pasha Tower were built by the 3 viziers of Fatih Sultan Mehmet. Today, the vegetation in the fortress is as impressive as the history of the building. With pine nuts, redbud trees, and wild plants, a small section of the typical flora of the Bosphorus comes to life in the Hisar garden every season. At Rumeli Fortress, you will get your fill of history, culture and nature. The magnificent view from the fort is absolutely breathtaking. You can also have the chance to see two continents at the same time, with the Anatolian side right across feeling close enough to reach over and touch!
 

10. Witness the Zero Point of History at Göbeklitepe

Megalithic structures of Göbeklitepe

We continue our list with Göbeklitepe, one of the most important discoveries in the world of archaeology. The location, dimensions, dating, and monumentality of Göbeklitepe, which is dated to 11,600 years ago, are truly astonishing. The emergence of structures requiring such advanced technical and architectural knowledge in such an early period proves that Göbeklitepe is one of the most unique archaeological sites in the world. There are multiple temples in this area, which were not used as a residential area but served only religious purposes. In this respect, it is considered not only the oldest in the world but also one of the largest centers of worship. So, who built these structures? What was the purpose of these temples? How were such magnificent structures constructed? There are many questions to be answered and many mysteries to be discovered in Göbeklitepe. The only thing that is certain is that Göbeklitepe is a discovery that changed history. When you visit Şanlıurfa, you can witness the zero point of history at Göbeklitepe and get lost among the magnificent structures.
 

11. Ride a Horse in the Lycian Way

Lycian Way with Ölüdeniz view behind

The Lycian Way, one of Turkey's longest-distance hiking trails, starts from Fethiye Ovacık and ends in Antalya's Geyikbayırı settlement. The Lycian Way connects the cities of the Lycian civilization, which ruled in the Mediterranean region in 3000 BC. It is known that some parts of these roads were used by the Lycians for trade and transportation. The road, which continues among the magnificent nature of the Mediterranean, also serves as an open-air museum to history and nature lovers. The road passes through untouched small coves, mountain slopes, forested areas, and important cities of the Lycian civilization, offering incredible beauties to trekking enthusiasts. However, there is another option you can experience on the Lycian Way. These trails, which are generally used for trekking, will give you a completely different experience when you ride a horse. You can embark on a journey into the depths of nature and history establishing a bond with a horse in one of the most beautiful geographies of Turkey. Here are the some ancient cities you can discover on this path: XanthosLetoon, Patara, Simena, Andriake, MyraOlympos, Phaselis

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