Pamukkale, Denizli Province


Best time to travel: April-May, Sept-Oct
Walk difficulty: Moderate
Ease of travel: Hard
Cost ($-$$-$$$): $$$

  • Ancient city located on hot springs used as a spa since the 2nd century BC
  • Also contained a bath, library, and gymnasium

Devrent Valley, Göreme Historical National Park

Best time to travel: April-June, Sept-Oct
Ease of travel: Moderate
Cost ($-$$-$$$): $$

  • National park in central Turkey, located in Nevşehir Province
  • The park features a rocky, water- and wind-eroded landscape with a network of ancient, interconnecting underground settlements
  • The National Park is located in the volcanic region of Mount Hasan and Mount Erciyes, and consists of plateaus and high hills, dissected by streams and river valleys carved out by water, the valleys having steeply sloping sides

Hagia Sophia, Istanbul

Best time to travel: March-May, Sept-Oct
Ease of travel: Moderate
Cost ($-$$-$$$): $

  • Late Antique place of worship in Istanbul, designed by the Greek geometers, and it has been described as an architectural and cultural icon of Byzantine and Eastern Orthodox civilization
  • Built in 537 as the patriarchal cathedral of the imperial capital of Constantinople, it was the largest Christian church of the eastern Roman Empire (the Byzantine Empire) and the Eastern Orthodox Church, except during the Latin Empire from 1204 to 1261, when it temporarily became a Roman Catholic cathedral
  • After the Fall of Constantinople to the Ottoman Empire in 1453, it was converted to a mosque by Mehmed the Conqueror and became the principal mosque of Istanbul until the 1616 construction of the Sultan Ahmed Mosque
  • Upon its conversion, the bells, altar, iconostasis, ambo, and baptistery were removed, while iconography, such as the mosaic depictions of Jesus, Mary, Christian saints and angels were removed or plastered over
  • The complex remained a mosque until 1931, and it was re-opened in 1935 as a museum under the secular Republic of Turkey, and the building was Turkey’s most visited tourist attraction in 2015 and 2019
  • In 2020, the 1934 decree was ruled to be unlawful under both Ottoman and Turkish law as Hagia Sophia’s waqf, endowed by Sultan Mehmed, had designated the site a mosque; proponents of the decision argued the Hagia Sophia was the personal property of the sultan

Mount Erciyes, Cappadocia

Best time to travel: Jan-March, Nov-Dec
Ease of travel: Hard
Cost ($-$$-$$$): $$

  • Large stratovolcano surrounded by many monogenetic vents and lava domes
  • The last eruptions occurred during the early Holocene and may have deposited ash as far away as Palestine
  • The volcano was glaciated during the Pleistocene, now one regular glacier still exists, but is receding

Blue Mosque, Istanbul

Best time to travel: March-May, Sept-Nov
Ease of travel: Moderate
Cost ($-$$-$$$): $

  • Ottoman-era historical imperial mosque located in Istanbul
  • It is a functioning mosque, that was constructed between 1609 and 1616 during the rule of Ahmed I
  • Its Külliye contains Ahmed’s tomb, a madrasah and a hospice
  • Hand-painted blue tiles adorn the mosque’s interior walls, and at night the mosque is bathed in blue as lights frame the mosque’s five main domes, six minarets and eight secondary domes

Ölüdeniz, Fethiye

Best time to travel: June-Sept
Ease of travel: Moderate
Cost ($-$$-$$$): $

  • Due to its calm waters even during storms; it is a small neighborhood and beach resort in the Fethiye district of Muğla Province, at the conjunction point of the Aegean and Mediterranean sea
  • It has a sandy bay at the mouth of Ölüdeniz, on a blue lagoon, and the beach itself is a pebble beach

Grand Bazaar, Istanbul

Best time to travel: March-May, Sept-Nov
Ease of travel: Moderate
Cost ($-$$-$$$): $

  • One of the largest and oldest covered markets in the world, with 61 covered streets and over 4,000 shops
  • The Grand Bazaar at Istanbul is often regarded as one of the first shopping malls of the world