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Turkey is a vast transcontinental treasure packed full of unmissable experiences. From ancient ruins and iconic monuments to fairy-tale landscapes and straight-from-a-postcard beaches, it's near enough impossible to see it all. Don't know where to begin? Whether you're seeking natural wonders, world-class shopping or sensational scenery, our list of 5 unmissable experiences in Turkey will help you see the best of this beautiful country!

1) Shop in Istanbul's Grand Bazaar

If you're heading to Turkey's biggest city, make sure you come prepared: a visit here warrants plenty of extra space in your suitcase! One of the largest and oldest covered markets in the world, the Grand Bazaar is a haven for shopping-addicts and foodies.

Treat yourself to some serious retail therapy and wander down the covered streets, browsing as many of the 4,400 shops as you can fit into your schedule. From handmade carpets and kilims, to antique jewellery emblazoned with precious stones, you'll find plenty of exquisite Turkish souvenirs, keepsakes and treasures that can't be found anywhere else.

And then there's the food. You'll smell it before you can see it; enchanting arrays of spices, tempting Turkish coffee and expertly grilled kebabs all fight for your attention and, whether you're hungry or not, will most likely win it.

Colourful array of spices in the Grand Bazaar in Istanbul

 

2) Take a hot air balloon ride over Cappadocia valley

It's difficult to believe that Cappadocia is part of this planet. This otherworldly landscape in south central Turkey is marked by its fantastical 'fairy chimneys' - large cone-like formations created by the erosion of the soft volcanic ash around them.

Their panoramic beauty is only made more fascinating when you learn about the history surrounding them. Entire underground cities, churches and castles lie hidden underneath the surface, built by past cultures and used as hiding places from enemies and intruders.

There's so much to see and experience here: watch the sun sink below the jagged horizon from a hot air balloon, discover the landscape by foot, explore the hidden cities where thousands of people once lived or spend a night in one of Cappadocia's elegantly renovated cave hotels.

Hot air balloons floating above Cappadocia valley in Turkey

 

3) Swim in the famous Blue Lagoon

Quite possibly one of the most photographed beaches in the Mediterranean, Ölüdeniz's Blue Lagoon and the wide white-sand Belcekız beach is where your troubles will all melt away. A little pocket of calm and tranquillity, set against a backdrop of emerald mountains, the unspoilt beach and shockingly blue waters offer the perfect escape for travellers in need of a little peace and quiet.

When you're not soaking up the rays, there's an array of beach-based activities you can take part in. Ölüdeniz is one of Turkey's top destinations for tandem paragliding, but if heights aren't your thing, why not take a boat tour or search for turtles in the crystal clear lagoon?

The beautiful blue lagoon and beach in Turkey

 

4) Admire the white terraces of Pamukkale

Hanging from a steep valley in south-west Turkey, Pamukkale's gleaming white travertine terraces, at first glance, look like a waterfall frozen in time. That's until you get closer and see the warm, mineral-rich waters flowing down the terraces. This beautiful geological phenomenon has made Pamukkale (literally 'cotton castle' in Turkish) the country's most popular tourist attraction.

There's man-made wonders to admire here too. Just above the terraces lie the ruins of Hierapolis, an ancient Roman and Byzantine spa city. Admire the well-preserved Greek monuments, baths and temples, and even bathe, as the Romans once did, in a pool filled with warm water rich with minerals.

The white terraces of Pamukkale in Turkey 

5) Indulge in a traditional Turkish bath

No trip to Turkey would be complete without a Hamam - an ancient Turkish bath closely associated with Islamic culture and the Ottoman Empire. The traditional process involves a sauna, steam room and a full-body wash, often followed by a relaxing massage and some time in a cooling room. What's not to like?

While there were once over 200 hamams in Istanbul alone, today only 60 remain. The process has also been adapted to include a variation of spa treatments - the perfect treat after a long day walking around the city.

Turkey is a fascinating cultural melting pot filled to the brim with history and natural wonders! At Solos, we have a wide selection of holidays to Turkey departing between December 2018 and November 2019. From Discovery tours to glossy Sun holidays, our selection brings you the very best of this beautiful country.

Discover the jewels of this transcontinental country for yourself and browse our singles holidays to Turkey.

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