August 30, 2020
Best of Turkey
If I were given a chance to travel to Turkey again, I would book my flight tickets right away in a blink of an eye. There is so much more diversity in sights, so much history, culture and wine in the country that will surely make you feel like going again if you have been there, and if you haven’t, then I will list out some places for you from my last visit to Turkey in June 2018 that will guide you during your stay there.
Visa – Getting a visa is very easy for Indians. If you have a Schengen visa, you can obtain an e-Visa but if you are an Indian passport holder without a Schengen visa then you have to apply for a sticker visa. Me and my fiance were busy with our individual work trips so we got it done from an agency, all we had to do was handover our documents – Flight tickets, hotel reservation, travel itinerary for the entire stay duration, copy of your bank account from the last 6 months. We booked Air Astana which had 2hrs of layover in Kazakhstan, I highly recommend it. We visited Turkey in 2018, check with Embassy for current document requirements.
Turkey is a beautiful and hence 6th most visited country in the world, for connecting two continents and for amalgamation of European and Turkish culture. We went to 10 different cities in Turkey while touring with Intrepid Travel and our local guide, Tolga Kinas did a fantastic job in showing his country to us. Here are some highlights from my experience that might help you in picking destinations if you are planning a trip to Turkey.
Istanbul – The capital of Turkey and also our first city when we entered the country. Istanbul connects two continents together – Asia and Europe which is depicted so well by the vibes of street and lifestyle of people. Beautifully carved by the Bosphorus river, Istanbul is home to some beautiful museums and mosques like Hagia Sofia and Blue Mosque and various view points where you can admire the panoramic view of city, one of them is Galata Tower. The list of things to do in Istanbul is endless but I have listed it all in my previous blog, here is the link – http://soulfulsafarnama.com/?p=339
Selcuk – Pronounced as Seljuk, this city is a treat to Historic buffs. Selcuk is home historic ruins including the wonder of the ancient world, The Temple of Artemis and the Ancient city of Ephesus with magnificent Roman theaters and the House of Virgin Mary. Apart from the evidences of past, selcuk sides a ’Tuscany’ with the view of green mountains and cobbled street. Sirince, also known as the ‘Wine town’ of Turkey as majority of home produces local wine. We went there for Wine tasting and picked up some really good local wine for our journey ahead. After roaming around the touristy side of Selcuk, you would love some peace and fresh air at Selcuk.
Pamukkale – The most magical sunset I have ever witnessed was in Pamukkale. Known for the mineral rich thermal water flowing down white travertine gives this an illusion of cotton castle which is what Pamukkale means in Turkish. Because of the thermal pools, this seems like a pilgrimage for tourists from all over. You think after seeing the photos it might be underwhelming in real but the first sight of it would be enough to prove you wrong. It is even more beautiful in real than what it looks in pictures. While walking up to it we explored Hierapolis ruins and came across this breathtaking amphitheater from 2nd century which has suffered many earthquakes but it still looks striking. You can not miss Pamukkale if you are in Turkey.
Kayakoy – Mystery town on the beach of Fethiye is worth a visit. We stayed at a homestay and explored around the village where the Turkish-Greek population exchange took place in 1923. Now popularly known as Ghost town and acts as a museum for people. We hiked around a mountain early next morning and enjoyed the wilderness overlooking the ocean and honestly, this was the highlight of our trip. It took us 6 hrs to reach Fethiye beach from Kayakoy (1-2 hrs in bus) where we sighted people enjoying surfing and paragliding. The fact that this town had very less crowd of touristy people is refreshing to see.
Antalya – Mini Europe on the coast of Mediterranean also the most talked about city after Istanbul. The city is divided between old and new centre surrounded by two walls. The old square is where the charm of the city is where locals enjoy their evenings with trams and horsecars running simultaneously. And the new square running alongside harbour is built on ancient city, where you will find numerous pubs and cafes and a lot of tourist. The New part of Antalya really lights up in the evening with people enjoying their drinks and dancing on streets. With Antalya, we ticked off one major city of Turkey too.
Cappadocia – Mesmerizing is one word for this natural wonder of Turkey. Who thought volcanic eruptions could be this beautiful. Set on the lines of a fairy tale, this town feels like another planet with Its distinctive cone shaped rock formations, fairy chimneys and castles. Cappadocia is famous of Hot air balloon and its sunrise view of so many balloons in the sky with the background of Sun waking up from clouds. You will find various content creators like me finding places to take the magical photo of this city. You can take a guided tour around the city (there are plenty of places which offer this) and explore the valleys, castles, the open air museum and the underground city. We had two days here so we decided to do the Hot Air Balloon on Day 1 and explore the rest of the city on Day 2. Cappadocia looks like a dream in winters and that is on my wish list to visit again.
My visit to Turkey was amazing and quite memorable as I did not expect Turkey to be this diverse not just in terms of culture but geography and landscape too. If things are fine within couple of years, I would definitely want to visit again and cover the rest of the country. I hope this helps you in shaping your itinerary if you are planning in near future. For more information, shoot me a mail on firstname.lastname@example.org
PS – Baklava and Apple Tea will make you like every city, if not then, their local wine is a good company to have.