#59 best destination in the world

Historic Areas of Istanbul


  • Historically known as Constantinople and Byzantium
  • On the cusp of what separates Europe and Asia
  • Largest European city
  • Founded in 660 BC
  • UNESCO World Heritage Site

Basilica Cistern


  • Largest of several hundred ancient cisterns that lie beneath the city of Istanbul (formerly Constantinople)
  • The cistern, on the historical peninsula of Sarayburnu, was built in the 6th century during the reign of Byzantine Emperor Justinian I

Dolmabahçe Palace


  • Palace was ordered by the Empire’s 31st Sultan, Abdülmecid I, and built between the years 1843 and 1856
  • Previously, the Sultan and his family had lived at the Topkapı Palace, but as the medieval Topkapı was lacking in contemporary style, luxury, and comfort, as compared to the palaces of the European monarchs, Abdülmecid decided to build a new modern palace near the site of the former Beşiktaş Sahil Palace, which was demolished
  • The construction cost the equivalent of $1.5 billion in today’s values
  • The construction was financed through debasement, by massive issue of paper money, as well as by foreign loans
  • The huge expenses placed an enormous burden on the state and contributed to the deteriorating financial situation of the Ottoman Empire, which eventually defaulted on its public debt in 1875, with the subsequent establishment in 1881 of financial control by the European powers
  • The palace was home to six Sultans from 1856, when it was first inhabited, up until the abolition of the Caliphate in 1924

Selimiye Mosque (Edirne)


  • Ottoman imperial mosque commissioned by Sultan Selim II, and was built between 1568 and 1575
  • It was considered by architect Mimar Sinan to be his masterpiece and is one of the highest achievements of Islamic architecture and Ottoman architecture
  • UNESCO World Heritage Site



  • Historical market formed originally around a long street
  • In medieval times, it was called Street of the Mevlevis, in reference to the presence of a “dergah” (a building designed for gatherings of a Sufi brotherhood)
  • During the 17th Century, this street was filled in, which allowed the bazaar to extend
  • Today, the street, now called Anafartalar Caddesi, winds to complete the circle of the shallow inner bay



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

Tomb of Amyntas


  • Ancient Greek rock-hewn tomb
  • Modern Fethiye is located on the site of the Ancient Greek city of Telmessos, with the Tomb of Amyntas located in the south side of the city in the mountainside, in the base of the mountain
  • Built in 350 BC
  • Built by the Lycians, the people who lived in this area of Turkey at the time
  • The Lycians were never members of a specific country, but rather a tightly-knit confederation of independent city-states



  • Ancient Greek town in Lycia, which was renamed Demre in 2005
  • In 1923 its Greek inhabitants had been required to leave by the population exchange between Greece and Turkey, at which time its church was abandoned



  • Historic city center of Antalya, that until modern times, almost the entire city was confined within its walls
  • It has structures dating from the Roman, Byzantine, Seljuk, Ottoman and modern Turkish republican eras
  • Most of it dates to the late 18th and 19th centuries

Kleopatra Beach


  • Long, sandy beach with deep water, lounge chair rentals, and an adjacent promenade



  • Was a very large Neolithic and Chalcolithic proto-city settlement which existed from approximately 7100 BC to 5700 BC, and flourished around 7000 BC
  • The prehistoric mound settlements were abandoned before the Bronze Age
  • A channel of the Çarşamba River once flowed between the two mounds, and the settlement was built on alluvial clay which may have been favorable for early agriculture
  • UNESCO World Heritage Site



  • Mausoleum of Mustafa Kemal Atatürk, the leader of the Turkish War of Independence and the founder and first President of the Republic of Turkey
  • Designed by architects whose proposal beat 48 other entries from several countries in a competition held by the Turkish Government in 1941 for a “monumental tomb” for Atatürk

Bulak Mencilis Cave


  • Cave network that has a 1,312 ft route open to the public
  • The actual caverns stretch for 3.75 miles
  • The deepest section reveals stalactites and stalagmites with anthropomorphic names



  • Capital of the Hittite Empire in the late Bronze Age
  • Constructed in 1600 BC
  • UNESCO World Heritage Site

Göreme National Park


  • Town located among fairy chimney rock formations in Cappadocia
  • Population 2,000 people
  • UNESCO World Heritage Site
  • Possibly settled during the Hittite era, 1800-1200 BC
  • Natives escaped political turmoil by using the tunnels in the rock

Göbekli Tepe


  • Archaeological site of a tell (artificial mound)
  • The tell includes two phases of use, believed to be of a social or ritual nature by the site discoverer and excavator, dating back 10,000 BC
  • Circles of massive T-shaped stone pillars were erected, the world’s oldest known megaliths
  • More than 200 pillars in about 20 circles are currently known
  • Each pillar has a height of up to 20 ft and weighs up to 10 tons
  • They are fitted into sockets that were cut with a tool out of the bedrock
  • The site was abandoned and younger structures date to classical times
  • The details of the structure’s function remain a mystery and large parts still remain unexcavated
  • UNESCO World Heritage Site

Van Fortress


  • Massive stone fortification built by the ancient Armenian kingdom of Urartu
  • Built in 750 BC
  • Used for regional control rather than against foreign armies
  • One of the oldest buildings in the world


Number of Days: 40 days

Best Time To Fly: April-May, Sept-Oct

Airline tickets: $2,141

Seattle -> Instanbul (one way) $923
Istanbul -> İzmir $17
Kayseri -> Şanlıurfa (one way) $62
Şanlıurfa -> Van (one way) $61
Van -> Seattle (one way) $1,078

Food: $10/day x 40 days = $400

Rental car: $48/day x 33 days = $1,584

Gas: $123

Entertainment/tours: $672

Airbnb: $57/day x 38 days = $2,166

TOTAL: $7,086