Turkey delights with colorful markets, ancient ruins, fabulous food and the crazy rock formations of Cappadocia, one of my favorite destinations in the world.
On a 2 week trip to Turkey in April/May of 2012 we started with a 2 day blitz through Istanbul before flying to Izmir. In Izmir we rented a car and drove to Selcuk (2 nights) to see the famed Ephesus ruins, to Pamukkale (1 night) to see the travertine pools and finally to the Turquoise coast (3 nights) where we visited the ruins of Pinara and Tlos and took a boat ride to see the sunken city of Kekova and Kalekoy Island. We then drove to Antalya and flew to Kayseri, Cappadocia, and spent 3 days hiking among the crazy rock formations the area is known for.
Blitz through Istanbul Part I – Day 1 includes Aya Sofya, the Cistern Basilica, the Grand Bazar, the Blue Mosque and dinner in the Beyoglu shopping district.
Istanbul Blitz Day 2 – Day 2 includes Topkapi Palace, and a Bosphorus Cruise along the strait of Istanbul that separates Europe and Asia.
Sights of Selcuk – City tour includes the Ephesus Museum, the Temple of Artemis, the Isa Bey Mosque and the ruins of St John’s Basilica.
Beating the Crowds to Ephesus – An early morning visit to the most spectacular ruins in Turkey followed by lunch in the mountain village of Sirince and a visit to the ruins of Priene, about an hour’s drive from Selcuk.
Selcuk to Pamukkale – A visit to the ancient city of Hierapolis including a swim in the Antique Pool and a visit to the museum before walking along the famed travertine pools at sunset.
Pamukkale to the Turquoise Coast – A tour of the mountain village of Bezirgan followed by a visit to the ruins of Letoon and Pinara.
Picnic at Pinara – Hike through the ruins of Pinara and Tlos.
Sunken City of Kekova – Boat trip out of Ucagiz to visit the sunken city of Kekova and the ruins of Kalekoy Island.
From Kalkan to Antalya – Drive from the town of Kalkan up the coast to Antalya with stops at the Chimaera eternal flames outside of Cirali. Day ends with a tour of Kaleici, Antalya’s historic district.
Turquoise Coast to Cappadocia – First views of Goreme and the Kekebek Hotel and Cave Pension.
Hot Air Balloon over Cappadocia – An early morning balloon ride over Cappadocia followed by visits to the underground city of Derinkuyu, and the Goreme Open Air Museum.
More Photos from Cappadocia – Stunning views of Pigeon Valley at sunrise followed by a hike through Red Valley and Rose Valley.
Yet More Photos from Cappadocia – Another early morning, this time with hot air balloons over Pigeon Valley followed by a tour of the Pasabaglari , Devrent and Love Valleys.