Exploring Turkey The Different Sides

Turkey has many associations, all different depending on who you ask. Some think of crazy partying and beach life, others think of ancient theaters and exotic belly dancers.

Exploring Turkey

Exploring Turkey

I have visited Turkey several times, and it offers so much for many types of people, from newly-weds looking for romantic honeymoons – to the crazy adventurer, and the lazy beach lover.

Whatever you’re looking for, you can probably find here; history, nature and culture are all mixed together.

When you search for turkey holidays online you find some of the most amazing ideas – from amazing crystal clear water, long stretching beaches, romantic restaurants and beautiful nature. But try a Mediterranean cruise. You won’t be disappointed.

The typical tourist hubs Alanya and Antalya makes it possible to be in Turkey wihtout really realising it, but if you’re looking for more than fake label clothes and cheap “fish bowl” drinks, you don’t have to travel very far to experience the real Turkey.

Exploring Turkey


If you want to see some of the most impressive remnants of Turkey, I really recommend a visit to Ephesus.

Ephesus is the best preserved ancient city in the Mediterranian, and you can really get a feel for the way they used to live.

Established in 6000 BC, the city was built around a temple, and in the 1st century BC it was the second largest city in the world.

Ephesus has a really interesting history, and it’s fascinating walking around the ancient remnants of the library, temples, theater, latrine and even brothel!


If you’re looking for some adventure holidays, there is a place about half an hour from Ephesus where you can try sky diving for a reasonable price.

However, one of the most fun adventure things to do in Turkey is, in my opinion, white water rafting.

There are plenty of places to do this, and you can choose yourself where you want to go depending on how dangerous you want the ride.

The rafting here varies on a scale from 3 to 5.


A night at a restaurant with Turkish belly dancing show will definitely be a memorable one.

Turkish belly dancing is influenced by Arabs and Egyptians, although the Turkish style is much more playful.

In Turkey they’re known for their energetic, athletic style – and for having very revealing costumes…

But really, these women can move in ways few people can, to a difficult but rythmic beat using finger cymbals, and if you’re a girl who loves all things of glamour and glitter, you’ll love their outfits!

Another way to experience the Turkish culture and traditions is to try a traditional Turkish bath / Hamam – it’s similar to a sauna, but more related to the ancient Roman bathing practices.

They even have these cushions exfoliating your skin with foam, splashing hot and cold water over your body – what fun!

Cultural Attractions in Turkey

Turkey is an incredible country to explore, being the gateway between the east and the west. There is a fascinating blend of cultures within the country, which means there are lots of fascinating historical and cultural attractions in Turkey to explore.

We’re going to give you a bit of information about some of the best places to see while you’re travelling in Turkey – if you need any assistance with booking a getaway to the country see our Istanbul Turkey Travel Video

Hagia Sofia, Istanbul

There are many outstanding landmarks in Istanbul, with the city displaying a staggering array of architectural styles across its many buildings which is why there are many cultural attractions in Turkey

The Byzantine and Ottoman empires have both controlled Istanbul in the past and it is these two societies that have had the biggest impact on its development.

Hagia Sofia

Hagia Sofia

Hagia Sofia is a fantastic example of how Turkey’s cultural heritage blends into one. The building was originally constructed in the 6th century as a church, was later converted to a mosque and now serves as a museum.

Inside are some breathtaking mosaics, while next to the main building are several tombs belonging to Ottoman sultans and their families.

Museum of Anatolian Civilisations, Ankara

This museum is also housed in historical surroundings – namely two buildings dating from the time of the Ottoman Empire that are located in the ancient citadel. Its exhibits focus on every part of Turkey’s history, making it a fascinating place to explore.

Artefacts from the Neolithic, Paleolithic, Hittite and Uratu eras

Artefacts from the Neolithic, Paleolithic, Hittite and Uratu eras

Artefacts from the Neolithic, Paleolithic, Hittite and Uratu eras are among the things on show here, with the museum’s entire collection covering every civilisation that has had a presence in Anatolia over the centuries.

Xanthos, near Antalya

The ruins of the ancient city of Xanthos, once the capital of Lycia, are a UNESCO World Heritage Site and a brilliant place to explore when you’re on holiday in Turkey.

The remains of the city are easily accessible from some of the country’s top seaside resorts, too, so it’s a good choice if you want to inject a bit of culture into your beach break.

ancient city of Xanthos

ancient city of Xanthos

Although there are few structures still standing, you can clearly make out what’s left of the homes, temples and streets. The funerary monuments are the most complete things left at the site and are quite intriguing. They stand over the ruins and are a fantastic example of Lycian design.

Xanthos is also important because some of the longest inscriptions of the Lycian language ever found were discovered in the remains of this city and at the neighbouring site of Letoon.

Bodrum Museum of Underwater Archaeology

Due to its long stretches of coastline, Turkey has been a famous seafaring nation throughout history. One place where you can learn more about this side of the country, as well as uncover fascinating stories from the past, is at the Bodrum Museum of Underwater Archaeology.

This museum is housed in Bodrum Castle and showcases artefacts recovered from shipwrecks off the Turkish coast, in addition to exhibits where you can see the remains of wrecks that have been raised from the seabed.

Bodrum Castle

Bodrum Castle

For instance, the Uluburun, which was excavated between 1984 and 1995, is on show here. This wreck dates from the 14th century and it was carrying a cargo of copper and glass ingots when it sunk.

This is just an overview of a few of Turkey’s top cultural attractions; there are many more just waiting to be discovered on your next holiday to the country. cultural attractions in Turkey and Exploring the Mediterranean

(Photo credits: 1234)
(photo credit: Wikipedia)

12 Responses to Exploring Turkey The Different Sides

  1. Shawn February 21, 2011 at 10:29 am #

    turkey is on my RTW plan for next year, the history and culture really fascinates me!

  2. Priyank February 21, 2011 at 3:19 pm #

    Hi Sofia,
    It seems like Turkey has lots to offer for everyone! I really hope to go here sometime soon!

    • Sofia - As We Travel February 22, 2011 at 2:24 am #

      It really does, we’re hoping to return there this summer for a few days :)

  3. Arundhati February 21, 2011 at 6:24 pm #

    I have an identical Ephesus picture on my blog as well! I guess it’s hard to miss the library in Ephesus. I missed the belly dancing, though, and instead took in the Whirling Dervishes. Nice, but prolly not as much fun!

    Arundhati @ http://wanderzoo.wordpress.com/2011/02/20/being-vegetarian-in-turkey/

    • Sofia - As We Travel February 22, 2011 at 2:08 am #

      Whirling Dervishes looks fun, I never saw it, maybe next time :)
      Yeah the library is hard to miss, but I was more interested in the Brothel and toilets they had..! 😉

  4. Annie February 22, 2011 at 10:39 am #

    Whenever I think of Turkey I think solely of Istanbul, the Blue Mosque and the tea. Seeing photos of the beautiful beaches pop up recently has really surprised me! I’d be open to experiencing all sides of this country, including the belly dancing, sounds like fun!

    • Sofia - As We Travel February 23, 2011 at 1:00 pm #

      Hey Annie, thanks for sharing what you associate with Turkey, there really are so many ways to experience this country – and thanks for adding the tea! 😉

  5. Natalie - Turkish Travel February 23, 2011 at 6:43 am #

    Can I add Cappadocia to your list? Thrill from the hot air balloon and views for the perfect photograph as well. It is also a cheap place so great for anyone traveling on a budget. Three campsites there.

    • Sofia - As We Travel February 23, 2011 at 1:02 pm #

      Of course, thanks for adding! I’ve never been there myself, but it seems truly incredible, especially seeing it from a hot air balloon.

      Great to know that there are campsites there, I’ll keep that in mind :)

  6. Sarah Wu February 26, 2011 at 4:41 am #

    Seems like a very interesting place to visit for the future :)