“Bedroom of the Mediterranean.” Further up the coast awaits the sparkling Aegean Coast, housing the sun-bleached ruins of some of the ancient world’s most powerful cities: Bergama Foça, and Ephesus.
THE BEST OF TURKEY (3 WEEKS)
Begin in İstanbul, the traditional gateway to Turkey. Bargain for baubles, bangles, and beads at the Grand Bazaar, marvel at luxurious Ottoman palaces, and stand in awe at the magnificent Aya Sofia. For evening sweets, tea, and backgammon, head to one of Istanbul’s hippest waterfront cafes. Need a break from the city? The Bosphorus ferry lets you kick back and admire the behemoth burg from a distance, stopping for fresh fish sandwiches and fried mussels along the way. Next, head into the heartland to Turkey’s bustling capital, Ankara, to gawk at Atatürk’s immense mausoleum and spend hours sipping çay in student cafes. A little further south will bring you to the surreal moonscapes and fairy chimneys of Turkey’s number one tourist attraction, Cappadocia. Bum around Göreme and Nevşehir and get your post hippy groove on with the thousands of travelers who descend every summer to just like chill, man. Then shake off any lingering relaxation by entering the frenzied world of the Turkish Riviera, where backpackers and jetsetters rub shoulders under the spinning lights of all-night discos. Move up the coast from backpacker friendly Fethiye to Bodrum, the legendary “Bedroom of the Mediterranean.” Further up the coast awaits the sparkling Aegean Coast, housing the sun-bleached ruins of some of the ancient world’s most powerful cities: Bergama Foça, and Ephesus.”Bedroom of the Mediterranean.” Further up the coast awaits the sparkling Aegean Coast, housing the sun-bleached ruins of some of the ancient world’s most powerful cities: Bergama Foça, and Ephesus.
OFF THE BEATEN PATH: OUTDOOR ADVENTURES (2 WEEKS)
Start with a laid-back trip up Bursa’s Mt. Uludağ Move further inland to take in the surreal landscapes of Cappadocia as you hike amid the other worldly fairy chimneys of the Rose Valley, the underground cities (pof Kaymaklı and Derinkuyu, and the breathtaking beauty of the church dotted Ihlara Valley. Marvel at the spectacular frescoes in the Byzantine cave churches in Göreme. After a hike up Erciyes Dağı, the tallest mountain in central Turkey, soothe yourself in the hot springs of Balıklı, where friendly flesh eating fish bring new meaning to exfoliation. Feeling better? Go for another adrenaline rush of white water rafting along the rivers of the Çoruh Valley, near Yusufeli and trek through the pristine Kaçkar mountains. Then head back west to Trabzon, a thriving Black Sea port town. Perched on a cliff outside of this city, the awe-inspiring Sumela Monastery may cause monk-envy. Give up those dreams of celibacy and follow the Black Sea coast to the pristine Çambaşı Yayla (highland plateau) outside of Ordu, and further to Ünye, where you can pamper yourself with a divine bath and massage at a hamam (Turkish bath) that was once a Byzantine church. End your adventure with a camp out on the stunning beaches of Sinop before going back to İstanbul.