Tuesday, July 5

Turkey in 15 days: Istanbul, Cappadocia, Pamukkale and much more

Turkey deserves a great trip. A trip of those in which we have enough time not only to soak up a different culture, discover new places and try surprising flavors, but also to disconnect. Disconnect for real. Forgetting about our day to day by being able to put the five senses in everything that surrounds us. No distractions.

That is why it is recommended that, if you want to get a good idea of ​​the main attractions that a country like Turkey offers, you dedicate at least 15 days of your time. With a couple of weeks you can go through Istanbul, where you will surely return if you have not already been, through the landscapes and history of Cappadocia, through natural wonders such as Pamukkale, through the spectacular ruins of Ephesus and Pergamum, which are from the best preserved in the world, and along the Lycian coast, to end up resting on one of its turquoise beaches.

With time there are many other places in Turkey where it would be interesting to stop, but if you have 15 days, this route will help you get to know some of the most outstanding places in the Turkish country. And also, it will surely leave you wanting to return.

Istanbul, the city of mosques

Regardless of this 15-day tour of Turkey, the city of Istanbul deserves a trip all by itself. There is so much to see and so much to feel, that the best thing to do is always repeat. It is a large city of more than 15 million inhabitants, but its historic area is easy and comfortable to see. There are many mosques, but the Blue Mosque or the Sultan Ahmed Mosque, the most beautiful, the Suleiman Mosque, the largest of all, and the Hagia Sophia, which was a cathedral, mosque, museum and since 2020 a new mosque, are the essentials .

Then, between the Topkapi Palace, the Grand Bazaar, the Galata Tower, the Spice Bazaar, the Basilica Cistern, the Golden Horn and the Bosphorus, you have at least four days to dedicate to which it can also claim to be the only city in the world located on two continents at the same time: Europe and Asia.

Cappadocia, where civilizations lived in caves

Cappadocia is one of the great tourist attractions of Turkey. Either because of its geological formations and its landscapes, or because of the ancient civilizations that left their mark here forever, the fact is that dedicating at least three days to tour it in our air is absolutely recommended. The forms that the land has acquired after thousands and thousands of years of erosion have left peculiar columns and rocky pinnacles, but also various cultures have excavated caves over the centuries as houses or places of worship, so their valleys are authentic open-air museums.

We can base ourselves in Göreme, where the Valley of Love, full of ‘fairy chimneys’ has something magical about it. Zelve, a ghost town carved into the rock, is worth a visit, as well as the Ihlara Valley or the cities of Derinkuyu and Kaymakli, which are just two of the 37 underground cities in the region. Or also the Salime Cathedral, also excavated in the mountain since the 8th century and with frescoes from the 10th and 11th centuries. In addition, Cappadocia is one of the best places in the world to take a balloon trip, the best way to really appreciate its unique orography.

Pamukkale, the cotton castle

Pamukkale surprises anyone. Here, where hot springs rise to the surface, minerals have created a snow-white formation of limestone and travertine. When falling down the side of a hill, different terraces have been formed, where the water accumulates, giving rise to beautiful natural pools.

It is best to stay in the city of Pamukkale, which by the way in Turkish means ‘cotton castle’, and visit the entire travertine area on foot, barefoot. The surface is rough and a thin layer of water runs over it. At the top of the hill, and within the same enclosure, are the ruins of the Roman city of Hierapolis, built at the time to enjoy these hot springs. In fact, in the 2nd and 3rd centuries it was already a place of Roman rest and retreat. Its theater, with a capacity of about 20,000 people, is in a magnificent state of preservation. In Pamukkale, between when we arrive, visit and leave, with a couple of days we will have enough.

Smyrna, with Ephesus and Pergamum

It is important to go to Izmir if we want to visit the most famous ruins in all of Turkey. Known in Turkish as Izmir, the city itself is interesting for having had its moment of splendor as part of the Silk Road thanks to the strategic location of its port on the Aegean Sea. But really Izmir will serve us as a starting point to visit the ruins of the cities of Ephesus and Pergamum, since it is located exactly between the two. So we could spend three days.

In Ephesus there was the Temple of Artemis, one of the 7 Wonders of the Ancient World, but in addition to its remains, its Great Theater, the Temple of Hadrian, the Odeon, the Fountain of Trajan, the Temple of Domitian, the Hercules gates and Celsus’s library. For its part, Pergamum had one of the most important libraries in the ancient world, which had up to 200,000 volumes. Here you can also see its Acropolis, the Theater and the remains of the Altar of Zeus, although the original is in the Pergamon Museum in Berlin.

Costa Licia, beaches to rest

And if we want to finish our 15-day trip through Turkey enjoying the sea, the beaches and the sun during the remaining days, we will not have to go very far either. Antalya will be our starting point as beaches such as Mermerli, Konyaalti or Kaputas are among the most beautiful in the country. It is also curious to see the Düden waterfalls that fall directly into the sea. In addition to dreamy landscapes with turquoise waters in the background, if you still want to explore archeology, you can always visit the impressive Roman theater of Aspendo or the Lycian Tombs of Myra carved out of the rock of the mountain.

If you are a hiking lover, you will also find the Lycian Route here. A trail of just over 500 km that runs between the provinces of Mugla and Antalya passing through mountains, forests, cliffs and fishing villages. A route that is considered one of the most beautiful in the world.