Turkey is one of the most popular countries in the world in terms of tourism. This large nation straddles Europe and Asia and offers a unique mix of culture, history, adventure, and cuisine. For people who want to step outside of Europe and see and do unusual things, Turkey is a great destination. It is easy to reach for most Europeans, so is an ideal choice for a weekend break. With beaches, natural attractions, some of the world’s most well-preserved ancient ruins, and atmospheric towns and cites, Turkey has plenty of options for tourists.
If you want to experience this amazing country, but only have a couple of days to spare, you can consider these ideas for weekend breaks in Turkey.
Sightseeing in Istanbul
Istanbul is one of the best cities in the world for sightseers. It spans two continents (Europe and Asia) and features historic buildings, atmospheric neighborhoods and seemingly endless shopping options. The famous Grand Bazaar is both a historic site and a place to find a truly unique experience that will delight all of your senses. The Blue Mosque, meanwhile, is an impressive sight that finds its way onto many sightseers’ itineraries, while there are also a number of other historic religious buildings to explore. With so much to see, a weekend can easily be filled with sightseeing excursions, while the cosmopolitan eating and nightlife scenes of Istanbul mean that tourists can find fun after dark as well.
Visiting the Ancient Cities on the Aegean
The Aegean coastline of Turkey is home to some of the most interesting historic sites in the region. Great scenery, wonderful beaches and quaint small seaside towns make this a great region to spend a weekend in. Sites like the 2500 year old Ephesus are examples of the deep history that is found in this part of westernmost Asia. Many of the sites in Ephesus are still being excavated, so they lack the touristy vibe that is found in similar ancient attractions in Europe. With its ruins and beaches, Turkey’s Aegean region is a great place for a weekend of ruins tours with some serious beachside relaxation mixed in.
Cappadocia is one of many ancient sites in Turkey, but it stands out as one of the most interesting. Is it worth spending an entire weekend here? It depends on your level of interest, but there is certainly nothing comparable to the ancient chimney-like dwellings and extensive tunnel system that have been discovered here. These structures are carved out of the rock and it is possible to tour the inside of the complexes as well as appreciating them from the outside. Hiking opportunities in the scenic Rose Valley, hot air balloon rides to see both the scenery and the ancient structures from above, and a host of other attractions make it easy to find excitement during a weekend in Cappadocia.
Adventure and Nature near the Black Sea
The Black Sea region of Turkey is known for its natural beauty. This region boasts dense forests and tall mountains and is filled with opportunities that will delight nature-lovers and those seeking a weekend of adventure. Yes, hiking through the wonderful scenery of Eastern Karadeniz is a great way to spend a weekend, but there are also atmospheric historic villages, Greek ruins, and even tea plantations to explore. This is a relatively un-touristed section of Turkey, so it is perfect for people seeking an off-the-beaten-path weekend getaway.
Beaches and Water-Sports in Mediterranean Turkey
Turkey is surrounded by water on three sides, so it is easy to access scenic coastal areas throughout much of the country. It is also possible to find world-class beaches. Few of these have the typical resort scenes found in other part of the Mediterranean, but there are plenty of places to come if you want to enjoy the beach and maybe try some water-sports during your weekend break. You can try your hand at sailing or windsurfing or simply lounge on the beach in historic destinations like Antalya, a city on the Mediterranean coast of Turkey that has many historic sights and some great beaches.
Have you spent time in Turkey? What can you add to our list of the best ideas for weekend breaks in Turkey? Let us know in the comments section.