A country steeped in history and natural beauty, Turkey boasts as a perfect location for vacation. Whether you desire a fairytale setting, history, the beach, or the mountains, Turkey has it all.
Do you want to walk through ancient ruins and 1000 year old buildings? Or do you prefer to sit on the beaches and dig your toes into the sand? Do you prefer a guided tour with knowledgable guides that can answer every question you have or do you prefer to stand in the majesty of the history and take it in alone? Do you prefer to bundle up next to a fire tucked in the mountains as the snow falls?
Whatever your preferences, Turkey has the perfect location for you.
1. Erzurum, Turkey
Where can we even start with Erzurum? Erzurum boasts so many places to see and things to do that even most locals have not done them all.
Erzurum is home to some of the best skiing and snowboarding in Turkey. The city recently updated many of its amenities and infrastructure ensure you enjoy your time in Erzurum stress-free.
Other short day trips from your hotel could include apple picking in the fall, visiting waterfalls, going to a lake to zip line and take boat rides, and so much more.
Sample Day (Not on the Slopes)
Start your day by exploring the 18th Century Aziziye and Mecidiye Fortress, dating back to the Ottoman-Iranian War. Here, you will hear the history of this fascinating place as you are captivated by stunning views of the city and mountains that surround it.
After a quick drive into the city center, you’ll visit the ancient Erzurum Castle, whose inner structures were built in the year 415! Pause for a photo op on top of the castle’s clock tower and scout out the sights below.
For lunch, sample local cuisine that is sure to impress and don’t forget to look up! This ornate ceiling creates an atmosphere that will have you feeling like a local during the Ottoman Empire.
Walk from the restaurant down the small winding road to a domed Saltuk Tombs and the historical Great Mosque.
All that sight seeing calls for a break, and as the locals say “It’s always tea time.” Sip your glass of Cay in a far eastern setting you have to see for yourself to believe. This old street of houses from the Ottoman period which is now a museum, is the perfect way to get the full experience while recharging with some caffeine.
From there you’ll head to a Caravan Saray (the most ancient form of a truck stop--think tired camels!) along the Silk Road. Stock up on locally made souvenirs and learn about the region’s famous black jetstone which is used to make prayer beads throughout the country.
Finish the evening with Cag-Kebap and leave room for the area’s famous sweet and delicious dessert that puts Erzurum on the map!
2. Van, Turkey
Whether you want to take a ferry to a secluded island with a 1100 year old church, eat lunch on the seaside, or picnic under a canopy of trees with a view of a gorgeous waterfall, you will not regret a decision to include Van in your vacation.
One tourist attraction that the locals love is the Turkish Cat Research Center. Van is famous for their rare white cats with one green and one blue eye. For animal lovers, you can use the chance to see, cuddle, and play with some unique and gorgeous cats.
We would suggest that you start your day with a large and fun Turkish khavaltı (breakfast) at a locally owned restaurant that serves delicious local honey other local delicacies found throughout Van. From your table, you can get a view of the largest lake in Turkey. After breakfast, cross the street to walk on the seaside until you are ready to jump onto a ferry and head over to the island with the ancient church. You'll feel like you step back in time with all the views and history the island provides. Finish the day with a delicious dinner at a restaurant that offers quesadillas, beef or lamb steak, hamburgers, and so many other delicious options.
Other options include some of the best European style coffee shops in Eastern Turkey. So if you want your European coffee and have Turkey too, Van is a great and beautiful location.
3. Kars, Turkey
Do you want to build a snowman? How about ride in a one horse open sleigh? In the winter months, travelers can ride across a frozen lake in a sleigh with sleigh bells ringing.
For the more historically interested travelers, Kars lays home to the ruined medieval city of Ani, the home of 1001 churches, and is a world UNESCO site.