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The mosques, bazaars, and Turkish baths of Istanbul could keep you happily occupied for your entire trip: an eyeful of breathtaking architecture here, a good-natured haggle over a carpet there. Kick your trip off at the awe-inspiring Sultan Ahmet Camii (Blue Mosque), which is visible from many points of the city. Stroll the Galata Bridge and stop by the Miniaturk Park to see its tiny artifacts. The Grand Bazaar has thousands of shops to browse, while the Egyptian Bazaar is a fragrant trove of spices and fruits.
A town literally carved into the volcanic rock, Goreme is the gateway to the Goreme National Park, a vast UNESCO World Heritage Site that houses spectacular 10th- and 11th-century cave churches. The park itself is known for its chimney rock formations and is very popular with backpackers. It’s also a great area to sample Turkish cuisine and wine.
Don’t expect a booming nightclub scene in Icmeler—but for the travelers who’ve discovered this Turkish beach resort, that’s a huge plus. Take a boat trip to a nearby island, savor fresh seafood in a beachside café, or just soak up the sun.
The Cappadocia region's most upscale and contemporary tourist city, Urgup has a number of lovely hotels, many built in and around centuries-old cave dwellings. The city and its surrounding area are known for their mysterious fairy chimneys, early Christian rock churches and fine vineyards. A mix of ancient and modern, Urgup is a center for traditional handmade carpets, but also has a lively nightlife. Hot air ballooning is very popular, and a fantastic way to see the area's beauty from above.
Ancient ruins, mud baths and loggerhead sea turtle breeding grounds are just some of the magical features of Dalyan. Beach sports, bike rides and river tours will satisfy your inner adventurer. Don’t miss the ornate Lycian tombs, carved into the cliffs along the Dalyan Çayı River circa 400 B.C.
Kalkan, like its neighbor Kas, is a lovely Turkish beach town. While most travelers spend their time enjoying the sun and sea, history buffs will appreciate Kalkan’s proximity to several ancient Lycian cities. If you’ll be in town for more than a day, consider renting a villa—you’ll love the chance to live like a local in such a beautiful spot.
The beaches that stretch along Kudasi's Aegean coastline are as diverse in terrain as they are in ambiance. Ladies’ Beach, thusly named because it was once a for women only, is packed with nightclubs, souvenir vendors, restaurants and, of course, sunbathers and swimmers. Grass-lined Gold Beach is well-manicured and peaceful. Ride a horse from there to Long Beach, a playground of beach bars, pool tables and water sports.
The waters surrounding the small village of Oludeniz are an achingly beautiful gradient of blue. Sapphire meets seafoam green at the shoreline, where stretches of white sand are dotted with leisurely sunbathers. The scenery is even more gorgeous from above—Oludeniz is renowned as one of the world’s top spots for paragliding.
Approximately 40 miles southeast of Antalya, you will find the beautiful coastal resort of Kemer at the foot of the majestic Taurus Mountain. Enjoy a walk along the promenade and a visit a reconstructed tent city that reflects the life of the Turkish nomads. You can watch carpet weavers at work and sample Turkish specialties such as ayran (yogurt drink) and gözleme (pancakes). Close by is a cable car that lifts you right to the top of Tahtali Mountain (2,365 meters).