#01 Hot-air ballooning over Cappadocia

A lighter-than-air float gives an unrivalled perspective on the “fairy chimneys” and other features of the landscape.

Cappadocia, Turkey during Winter to view the sultan cave from the mountain© Shutterstock

#02 İshak Pasa Sarayı

Strategically set astride the Silk Route, this architecturally eclectic seventeenth-century palace is one of eastern Turkey’s most emblematic sites.

#02 Ishak Pasa Sarayı

#03 Monastery of Sumela

Dramatically built into the side of the Pontic mountains, this Byzantine monastery is adorned with beautiful frescoes.

Things not to miss: Sumela Monastery, Trabzon, Turkey.© MehmetO/Shutterstock 

#04 Whirling Dervishes

Members of a sect founded by the Konya-based Sufi mystic Celaleddin Rumi conduct “turning” ceremonies to effect union with God.

where to go in December Whirling Dervishes, Konya, Turkey© Shutterstock

#05 Ancient Ephesus

This ancient city, addressed by Saint Paul in one of his epistles, is the best preserved of its kind in the Eastern Mediterranean.

Celsus Library in Ephesus, Turkey © muratart/Shutterstock

#06 Nemrut Dağı

Extraordinary mountain-top temple-tomb complex that’s the outlandish legacy of an obscure, ancient kingdom.

Nemrut Dag, TurkeyNemrut Dagi in Turkey © Waj/Shutterstock

#07 Shopping in a bazaar

You may not get a bargain, but you can’t beat the banter, especially at Istanbul’s Grand Bazaar.

Mosaic Ottoman lamps from Grand Bazaar in IstanbulGrand Bazaar, Istanbul © Berke/Shutterstock 

#08 Roman Theatre at Aspendos

Anatolia’s largest and best preserved Classical theatre hosts an opera and ballet festival in summer.

#08 Roman Theatre at Aspendos

#09 Mardin

Medieval houses, historic mosques and churches, and boutique hotels mingle in this hilltop eyrie, high above the Mesopotamian plain.

Things not to miss in Turkey: Mardin is an old city, Turkey.© akimov konstantin/Shutterstock

#10 Haghia Sophia, Istanbul

The seemingly unsupported dome of Haghia Sophia is one of the architectural marvels of the world.

Hagia Haghia Sophia interior at Istanbul TurkeyHaghia Sophia interior at Istanbul Turkey © Tatiana Popova/Shutterstock

#11 Hittite capital of Hattusa

The ancient capital of the Hittites still impresses, with its extensive perimeter walls.

Things not to miss in Turkey: The lion gate of The Hattusa that is The capital of the Hittite Civilization, Corum, Turkey.© Nejdet Duzen/Shutterstock

#12 Selimiye Camii, Edirne

This sixteenth-century mosque is the masterpiece of the greatest Ottoman architect, Mimar Sinan.

Things not to miss: Interior of Selimiye Mosque, Edrine, Turkey.© MDOGAN/Shutterstock 

#13 Kaçkar Dağları

Lying just inland from the Black Sea, this glacially sculpted granite mountain range, spangled with dozens of lakes, is Turkey’s premier trekking venue.

Things not to miss: Kackar Mountains, Turkey.© UBC Stock/Shutterstock 

#14 Zeugma Mosaic Museum, Gazıantep

A fabulous collection of mosaics from ancient Zeugma, a Hellenistic/Roman frontier city now under the waters of a reservoir on the nearby Euphrates.

#14 Zeugma Mosaic Museum, Gazıantep

#15 Visiting a hamam

One of the traditional sensual comforts of Turkey, hamams (Turkish baths) make a wonderfully relaxing (and cleansing) way to round off a day’s sightseeing.

#15 Visiting a Hamam

#16 Patara beach

This unspoiled beach, one of the longest in the Mediterranean, is the perfect coda to a visit of the nearby, eponymous ancient city.

#16 Patara beach

#17 Kariye Museum, Istanbul

The finest collection of Byzantine mosaics and frescoes in Turkey, adorning an attractive church near the city’s land walls.

Things not to miss: chora church in Istanbul, Turkey.© Teo Stuivenberg/Shutterstock

#18 Baklava

The favourite dessert of the sweet-toothed Turks, rich, buttery baklava, in which thin layers of filo pastry are stuffed with pistachio or walnuts, is best enjoyed with a strong, black Turkish coffee.

Baklava-Greek-foodBaklava © korkut kazcin/Shutterstock

#19 Gallipoli cemeteries and memorials

Moving and unexpectedly beautiful legacy of one of the fiercest campaigns of World War I.

Things not to miss in Turkey: Canakkale Martyrs Memorial, Gallipoli, Turkey.© Sadik Gulec/Shutterstock

#20 Cruising the southwest coast

The deeply indented coastline between Bodrum and Finike is the venue for multi-day cruises on a gulet, or traditional wooden motor-schooner.

Things not to miss in Turkey: English Harbor in Gokova Gulf Bodrum, Turkey.© nexus 7/Shutterstock

#21 Acropolis of Ancient Pergamon

Pergamon was one of the chief Roman cities of Anatolia, and extensive ruins remain; shown here is the sanctuary of the restored Trajan temple.

#21 Acropolis of Ancient Pergamon

#22 Lycian Way

This well-marked path, suited to all abilities, follows some of the most scenic portions of the Turquoise Coast.

Things not to miss: Gelidonya lighthouse on Lycian Way, Turkey.© Quinn Martin/Shutterstock 

#23 Byzantine frescoes, Cappadocia

Cappadocia's many rock-hewn churches contain superb early Christian frescoes.

Things not to miss: Frescos and murals, cave church, Goreme ,Cappadocia ,Turkey.© Jan Miko/Shutterstock 


#24 Museum of Anatolian Civilizations, Ankara

Home to finds of native cultures from the Stone Age onwards, this superb museum is the capital’s one must-see attraction.

Things not to miss: Museum of Anatolian Civilizations, Ankara, Turkey.© zebra0209/Shutterstock

#25 Ani ruins

Medieval Armenian capital in a superb setting at the Turkish border, scattered with fine churches.

Things not to miss: Church of the Redeemer, Ani, Turkey.© Fat Jackey/Shutterstock 

#26 Churches of the Georgian valleys

The medieval churches northeast of Erzurum are among northeastern Anatolia’s most striking monuments.

Things not to miss: Osvang Church, Tortum Erzurum, Turkey.© zaferkizilkaya/Shutterstock

#27 Lake Van

The cobalt-blue expanse of Turkey's largest lake is at its most scenic in late spring or early summer.


Things not to miss: Last light at The Armenian Church, Van, Turkey.Last light at The Armenian Church, Van, Turkey © B Studio/Shutterstock 

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