Turkey is one of the world’s mystical and historical countries. Filled with history dating back since before the Romans, the country has a unique mystique associated with it. Culturally diverse and where the European and Asian divides meet, Turkey is a fascinating country to visit.
Turkey is also in a prime destination; western Turkey is of course part of the eastern Mediterranean whereby the climate dictates you’ll at least get a decent tan if you ever visit. In fact, that is pretty much guaranteed. Visit the historic city of Istanbul and you’ll realise what it is like to sample the mixture of cultures that exists in the vibrant and exciting ‘gateway’ to Asia.
Of course there are numerous destinations in Turkey whereby you’ll be swept away by the tide of tourists who are undoubtedly there for the Sun. I also hear you asking, ‘What if you want to get away from the tourists and sample the real Turkey?’ ‘Where do you go then?’ That is a good question and one I’m going to answer in our rundown of Turkey’s hidden gems beginning with…
Alacati is located on Turkey’s west coast on the Cesme peninsula and with the sapphire-blue waters of the Aegean Sea for company; the village is as stylish as they come for coastal holiday resorts.
Known as a windsurfing hotspot due to the steady year-round breeze and warm, calm waters, Alacati is now emerging as a popular visitor attraction. However, not too popular for the crowds to complete overshadow what is a peaceful resort whereby you can experience a mix of cultures epitomised by the Greek architecture and the Turkish culture.
Visitors come to see the charming old stone houses on narrow streets lined with cafes, restaurants and boutiques and that makes this utterly charming village a must see on your visit to Turkey.
The library of Celsus is an ancient Roman building located in the ancient Greek city of Ephesus located just south of the Cesme Peninsula on the Aegean coast.
The library was completed in 135AD and was built in honour of Roman Senator Tiberius Julius Celsus Polemaenus. The building is one of the few remaining examples of Roman architecture throughout Europe and its four statues situated at the front of the library named Sophia, Arete, Ennoia and Episteme denote four character traits and they are wisdom, virtue, thought and knowledge.
It is recommended that the best time to visit the library be in the morning as the building itself faces east and as the sun rises, the morning light is perfect for viewing the library in all of its ancient splendour.
The Sultanahmet Mosque is one of the most popular tourist attractions in Turkey and in particular, Istanbul. The exterior of the mosque is what strikes you as you first see the structure. Now you’re probably thinking why I’ve included this as a ‘hidden gem’ considering it is one of the most popular tourist attractions in Turkey? Well, the answer to that is quite simple.
If you have ever seen a picture of the Sultanahmet Mosque then you’ll realise why it must be included within the list. It is simply a piece of stunning architecture that deserves to be seen and also admired from tourists alike.
Dating back to the 17th century, the mosque is also currently in ‘active’ service too which means that if you are to visit this wonderful building then you have to adhere to the rules of not wearing shorts and not showing bare shoulders.
Bodrum Castle is located in the city of Bodrum, which is located on the Aegean coast of Turkey in the south-west of the country. With spectacular views from both the sea towards the castle and from the castle itself, the castle truly is a stunning location to visit if you’re ever in the region.
The construction of the castle began in 1404 and till this day it still retains the natural stone beauty that it had then. With the picturesque backdrop of the Latmos Mountains, the castle retains the element surrealism that encapsulates the building. It now operates as museum focussing upon underwater archaeology.
The Blue Lagoon is the official translation name of the village of Ölüdeniz lying on the coast at the conjunction point of the Aegean and Mediterranean Seas. It is another gem that lies within the Turkish Aegean region and it is another that could be considered to be incredibly beautiful.
There is a secluded sandy bay at the mouth to the village along with a pebble beach while the lagoon itself is a national nature reserve and is protected territory. The waters of the bay are also famous due to them being several shades of blue, notably turquoise and aquamarine.
There are a number of watersports that are undertaken within the bay and one of them is paragliding, which the village is famous for. There are also a number of underwater activities that you can participate in including scuba diving.
Perhaps the most surreal of all, Butterfly Valley, this is a place where the reality of such a place existing doesn’t quite sink in. Located on the Mediterranean coast of Turkey, Butterfly Valley consists of a small, lush foliage covered valley fronted by a pebbly beach and the warm, clear blue waters of the Mediterranean Sea.
Behind this marvellous sight, the image consists of lush foliage covered mountains and hidden waterfalls, got your attention yet? Although there is no luxury accommodation and only tents or shacks available, this place is not about the luxury amenities or the waiter service, it is about being surrounded by beautiful scenery while relaxing by the loveliest stretch of the Mediterranean and embracing an entirely natural way of life.
Want to find out more about our Turkey holidays for 2014/15? Click here.