Turkey is one of the most beautiful places in the world to travel around, whether you’re traveling solo or in a group. In this land of the spices, there are some fine places to visit. We’ve picked out some of the best so that you can just get down to exploring once you’ve stepped off those Turkey flights. The destination is sure to delight.
Antalya is much about the history, with sights such as Hadrian’s Gate, built to honor the visit of emperor Hadrian to the region, and the Atatürk House Museum, dedicated to the visits of the founder and president of the first Republic of Turkey, Kemal Atatürk. If you want more than history, make the most of the opportunities to relax provided by Antalya’s two famous beaches: Lara Beach and Konyaalti Beach. The latter is a particularly good place to escape the tourists. The beach stretches for miles and is frequented by locals more than by tourists.
If you’re looking to let your hair down at night, try the Ceyn Athena nightclub. This gay and lesbian friendly nightclub welcomes locals and tourists with open arms. The atmosphere is relaxed and there are various shows on during the week. The club is open from 9.00 pm through to 6.00 am.
The best way to enjoy Pamukkale is to stay overnight and then make the most of the following morning to visit the famous ‘cotton castle’. The day trippers don’t normally arrive until the afternoon, leaving you to soak the morning away in these famous pools in relative tranquility. This absence of tourists is also your chance to explore the village of Pamukkale itself. If you want to expand your horizons, take a day trip out to the ancient ruins of Afrodisias, dedicated to the Greek goddess Aphrodite, and Laodicea, a city which was built on the river Lycus.
Capadoccia is a part of Turkey that has to be explored. First, there’s the Göreme Open-Air Museum, a collection of churches, chapels and monasteries. The artistry in them is fantastic and they display a range of frescoes. Visit the Tokali Kilise, across the road and 50 meters down the hill towards Göreme. This church has an underground chapel and the frescoes adopt a more narrative style instead of a liturgical one.
The second site to explore is the Kaymakli underground city. Just what it says, this is a labyrinth of tunnels and rooms below the ground, and they’re carved eight levels into the ground (although only four are open). The chances are you’ll want to beat the crowds, which makes early July your best bet. Curiously, the lunch hour between 12.30 midday and 1.30 pm is also a good time to take a look around, while all the crowds are eating their lunch!
Of course, don’t forget to explore the skyline! The most popular things to do in Capadoccia is to take a hot air balloon ride, and there are plenty of companies that will make this possible. Check out discount sites to save some money on the prices. The balloons normally take to the sky at sunrise. This is a tremendous activity to do in a group, so book a basket for eight to twelve people and enjoy the sky!
Standing on the way to Selçuk, 82% of the classical city of Ephesus is still yet to be unearthed, and that’s despite some 150 years of excavation, which rumbles on today. So far, excavators have uncovered a gladiatorial cemetery near the stadium and there is talk that there might be a Roman-era synagogue behind the library. There’s scope for visitors to Ephesus to arrive by boat; the dream of the Turkish authorities is to clear all the silt and create a canal to this once illustrious trading center.
It’s always a touch unnerving to travel solo wherever you go, but women can travel just as safely as men by exercising a little caution. Don’t accept drinks from strangers or use unlicensed taxis, keep your handbag closed and don’t walk in isolated areas (no matter how rewarding the view might seem).
Pack a door wedge in your luggage. Most hotels will have internal locks, but the door wedge will provide extra reassurance if the door of your hotel room doesn’t have one. Ideally, you should only book a stay in a recommended hotel. Always ask for the hotel business card when you arrive so that you can contact someone if you get lost.
Pay attention to your location. While you’re out and about, remember that resorts on the coast are used to seeing tourists in bikinis, etc., whereas further inland the style of dressing is a little more conservative. If you’re travelling inland, you may also encounter fewer English-speaking people, and if anyone starts to hassle you when you’re shopping tell them no firmly but politely and then walk away. Don’t be frightened to walk away at any time.
Make the most of your time in Turkey. Blending history and modernity, this destination dazzles, and the above is just a selection from the many places you can visit. Don’t be surprised if you find yourself returning for another visit.