|Cappadocia Cave Spa and Resort
It’s been many years since I went to Turkey. But the glory of the Bosphorus and the cool Mediterranean air, the connect between the East and the West, it still remains so fresh and alive in my mind.
Turkey is like a mosaic. Surrounded on three sides by warm seas, it falls in the temperate climate zone that witnesses pleasant weather year round. Summers in Turkey are long, almost eight months in some areas. Here’s 10 things you can enjoy doing this summer in Turkey:
Home of Bazaars
There are designer boutiques and shopping malls, but bazaars are still where most locals shops house traditional Turkish flavours and goods. All markets in Turkey usually open at dawn and close at dusk. Some of the best bazaars of Turkey include Bakircilar Çarşisi, Urfa’s bazaar, Grand Bazaar, Spice Bazaar, Kemeraltı Bazaar, Tarlabaşi, Kadiköy, Bakirköy, Beşiktaş, Sahaflar, Yeşilköy, Inebolu and Çarşamba.
Turkey has always been at the crossroads of civilizations. Ephesus is one of the world’s great historic sites, with its large number of excavated buildings dating back to the Roman times. Similar sites run along the Aegean coast including Pergamum, which has some of the best well-preserved remains and the hugely famous Troy. Evidence of Turkey’s long past and importance in world history can be found at three remarkable spots – Hattuşa, capital of the Hittite Empire; Çatalhöyük, a 9000-year old Neolithic settlement and Göbekli Tepe, believed to be the world’s oldest place of worship. Hierapolis is another extremely well known archeologically impressive site.
The landscapes of Cappadocia are world-famous and enjoyed best on hot air balloon flights over its fairy chimneys. Cappadocia presents a beautiful dreamy slice of central Turkey that is lined with rock formations formed by volcanic eruptions that led to sculpted sinuous valleys and pointy chimneys. Local Cappadocians have chiseled beautiful homes into the soft rocks and make a perfect vacation for experiential travelers. Cappadocia also houses exclusive boutique fairy-chimney hotels. Pamukkale has beautifully compelling and blindingly white terrace pools filled with therapeutic waters. The Turkish Riviera or the Turquoise Coast is an integral part of Turkey’s tourist visits. It has beautiful beaches, headlands and coves which are best enjoyed on a gület (sailing ship) cruise. Other options are the impressive Kaçkar Mountains that give tourist’s plenty of great hiking options, peaceful Lakes such as Lake Van, mythical beauty of Chimaera and the Caves of Heaven and Hell.
A summer holiday in Turkey entail hidden arcs of sand, pretty shingle bays, un-spoilt villages, simple authentic restaurants and beach resorts scattered among the mountainous peninsulas. Most beaches in Turkey can only be reached by car or boat making them rarely busy even during the peak summer season. Some of Turkey’s most beautiful crowd-free beaches comprise of hidden bays to pristine secluded coves like Ovabuku, Butterfly Valley, Amos, Gemiler, Cirali, Kaputas, Hisaronu Bay, Ortakent, Gunluklu, Kabak, Saros Bay, Alktinkum, Aydıncık, Patara beach, Mermerli beach, Iztuzu Beach and Kabak Bay.
One more place well worth a visit in the summer is Marmaris. On the southwest coast of Turkey, this city has it all – Flawless beaches within easy reach, great shopping opportunities, and a nightlife. There are also many excursions available that include a trip around the beautiful peninsula ‘Paradise Island’, boat rides to the Greek island of Rhodes and coach trips to some very interesting Turkish towns and villages.
The food in Turkey is prepared using fresh fruit and vegetable locally produced that make delectable gastronomic delights. All coastal resorts and major towns have restaurants to suit every palette – from traditional Turkish cuisine to modern global food. A lot of traditional Turkish food is based on the old ancient Ottoman cuisine and is inspired from Arab, Armenian, Greek and Turkish cuisines combined. The top Turkish foods include Adana Kebab, Testi Kebab, Sac Kavurma, Menemen, Kofte, Dolma, Borek, Lahmacun, Pide, Manti and Mezes. The wide range of delicious sweets includes Baklava, Kadayif, Burma and Sobiyet.
Popular establishments range from over 30-years old extremely exclusive clubs to new up to date party hotspots. Istanbul alone has immense party options divided between the Asian and European sides including Kadıköy district, Şişli district, Beşiktaş district or Taksim, Istiklal Street and Beyoğlu district.
The existence of seismic faults makes Turkey one of the richest countries in the world for thermal resources with almost 1,300 springs. The temperature of these hot springs varies between 20-110 degrees Celsius and their flow is between 2-500 liters per second. The ancient Romans discovered the therapeutic powers of Turkey’s many thermal springs scattered throughout western Anatolia. The best natural springs are found in Ankara, Afyon, Balikesir, Bingol, Bolu, Bursa, Canakkale, Eskisehir, Izmir, Konya, Kutahya and Mugla.
With multiple natural, cultural and historical attractions, Turkey is a country that has plenty of options to celebrate. Some of the most popular wedding destinations include Kaleiçi and Antalya, Bozcaada, Islamlar and Kalkan, Blue Lagoon Islands, Olu Deniz, Dalaman. Ideal honeymoon destinations are Istanbul with its Horse backed carriage rides, Aya Yorgi and Bebek Park, hot air balloon tours of Cappadocia, exploring the Turkish Riviera through romantic cruises on gullets, healing in the hot springs and natural pools of Pamukkale. There are several luxury hotels and resorts in Turkey including Çirağan Palace Kempinski, The Marmara Taksim, Conrad Istanbul, Mardan Palace, Gloria Serenity Resort, Kempinski Hotel The Dome, Cappadocia Cave Resort and many more that offer unique experiences.
Turkey is blessed with majestic mountains and valleys, lakes, rivers, waterfalls and grottoes perfect for summer tourism and sports of all kinds. There is ample scope for aero, aqua and terrestrial adventure tourism activities. Mountain climbers, trekkers, hikers, hunters and skiing fans have ample opportunities to enjoy and take back unforgettable experiences and memories.
With such a long coastline along the sea, Turkey offers all water sports ranging from swimming, boating, water rafting and canoeing, yachting, hiking, biking, banana boating, kayaking, water skiing, kite boarding, zorbing, speed boat cruises, power-sailing, scuba diving and snorkelling. Water sports are available in just about every beach resort in Turkey.
For the active tourists, Turkey has many mountains that offer sport activities like skiing, mountain climbing and hiking including climbing sites such as Agri-Mount Ararat, Kayseri-Mount-Erciyes, and Rize Kacker Mountain Ranges. Turkey has approximately 40,000 caves and caverns to explore from the Caverns of Antayla to the Caves of Zongulduk. This sport is known as spelunking. Turkey also presents to mountains lovers an incredible variety of interesting climbing opportunities that are sure to satisfy the most demanding hikers, climbers, and winter sports fans. In Turkey, mountains come in all sizes, geo-morphological and tectonic structures and boast abundant wildlife and forests teeming with diverse flora and fauna. Popular Climbing Sites are Kaçkar Mt. Range, Antalya-Beydağlar, Mt. Erciyes, Niğde Aladağlar, Mt. Ararat, Mt. Süphan, Bolkar Mountains and Mercan Mountains. Some of the popular skiing destinations include Bolu, Kastamonu, Ankara, Antalya, Bingöl, Elaziğ, Erzincan, Gümüşhane, Isparta, Izmir, Ludağ Ski Centre, Palandöken Ski Centre, Erciyes Ski Centre and Arikamiş Ski Centre.
The popular air sports found in Turkey are hang gliding, parachuting, plane gliding, and para gliding. The summer weather for air sports is inviting and stable. Some of the well-known flight zones include Ölüdeniz (Babadağ), Denizli, Ankara, Bolu, Eğridir, Kayseri, Antalya/ Aksu, İnönü and Efes.
For centuries, Turkey has catered to the beliefs of almost all religions. Many religious devotees can find a site, a shrine, a monument, a tomb or a ruin connected with their faith or belief. Turkey is considered to be one of the richest countries in terms of archaeology and is the biggest ‘open air museum’ of the world, a repository of all the civilizations.