Istanbul is Turkey’s economic and cultural capital, spanning both Europe and Asia and offering an intoxicating blend of Orthodox and Oriental. The Old City of Istanbul is home to most of the major attractions with draw cards such as the dazzling Blue Mosque, beautiful St Sophia and the expansive Topkapi Palace.
Located four hours north of Istanbul is the Gallipoli peninsula where the ANZAC soldiers fought in WWI. To truly uncover the ANZAC story, a visit to Chunuk Bair, the moving ANZAC Museum and ANZAC Cove, where a memorial is held each year, is a must for all Australians and New Zealanders.
Turkey’s capital, Ankara, is an engrossing city and home to the famous Museum of Anatolian Civilisations, as well as the informative Mausoleum of Ataturk, a man considered father of the nation.
Cappadocia is a highlight of any Turkey tour with a spectacular and unusual landscape, vistas of ‘fairy chimneys’, incredible underground cities and cave churches. Best seen from the air, a hot-air balloon ride is the most enthralling way to explore the vistas.
The magnificent ruins of Ephesus and the famous Temple of Artemis – one of the Seven Wonders of the Ancient World – lie just out of Kusadasi, a town that beckons with beautiful Turkish carpets, ceramics and jewellery.
Heading inland from the Mediterranean coast, Pamukkale is famous for its white calcified terraces with mineral-enriched waters seeping down to form pools. Nearby, the therapeutic hot springs at Hierapolis provide a relaxing break from touring.
Turkey’s Mediterranean region abounds with exquisite beaches, crystal clear waters, thick forests, and beautiful mountains. Popular resorts such as Fethiye, Bodrum and Oludeniz offer lazy days and water sports while the resort town of Antalya is renowned as the capital of the ‘Turkish Riviera’ and is a trendy summer retreat.
To get off the beaten track, head east along the Black Sea Coast to Trabzon and into Turkey’s interior to the unique sights of remote Dogubayazit, scenic Van and holy Sanli Urfa. The new Eastern Turkey tour covers this and more.