Turkey is beautiful! What to see + route by car

Turkey is beautiful! What to see + route by car

After the pandemic began, besides the standard associations with Turkey – Istanbul, all inclusive, and bloggers in a balloon background – you can find one more association – the country of transplants.

Meanwhile, Turkey itself is worthy of much more attention than is usually paid to it. In the depths of the country are hidden locations and attractions that can surprise even seasoned travelers. Here is an uncomplicated, but interesting route for 10 days.

You can start your round-the-world tour of Turkey from Istanbul. The cost of the flight is 10,400 rubles* per person round trip. Renting a car will cost the traveler from 2000 rubles* per day.

It takes about two hours to travel from Istanbul to Kerpe . It is one of the smallest resorts on the Black Sea coast of Turkey. It is famous for its picturesque rocky coast, riddled with large grottos and small caves. This relief is the result of thousands of years of efforts by the tides of the Black Sea. Particularly photogenic looks the rock complex in the side light – at dawn or dusk. In the summer months vacationers dive into the clear water directly from the rocks, although it is not very safe. And of course, throughout the year on the steep walls climbers train.

At 200 km south-east of Kerpe is a town Nallahan. It is not very interesting, but 20 minutes away is Saryyar Reservoir. Its banks offer an amazing view of the rainbow hills, almost like in Peru. Red, brown, yellow and gray are the dominant colors of the surrounding landscape, which was formed due to tectonic activity and the variety of minerals in the bowels of the area. You can drive up to the hills and even attempt to climb one of them. When viewed from above the relief resembles a slice of smoky agate. This place is still little known to tourists, which is good for curious travelers – there are always few people here.

Lake Tuz, 250 km away from the hills and an hour and a half drive from Ankara, has many more visitors. This lake is the second largest fresh water reservoir in Turkey and not at all deep, unlike the first one, Lake Van. The salinity of the water in Tuza reaches 340 ‰, which means that the saturation of sodium chloride here is much higher than in the Dead Sea. The peculiarity of the lake is that the water is literally swarming with brackish unicellulars, which color the body of water in shades of red: from rich fuchsia to tender purple – depending on the time of year and the amount of precipitation. Apparently, to finish off visitors with a pink aesthetic, flamingos sometimes fly into the lake. Travelers share that they are most often seen in the southern part of the body of water. But the appearance of sunset children always remains an unpredictable attraction and cannot be predicted.

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An hour and a half drive from the southern point of the Ace is another little-known but very unusual body of water: crater lake Meke . It was formed in the vent of the volcano Karapinar. The last lava eruption about eight thousand years ago formed another cone inside the crater, which looks like a fortress surrounded by a moat of salt water.

True, it is possible to see this “moat” only after heavy rains: the groundwater level in the region is critically low and only internal resources are not enough to maintain the lake in its pristine flooded state. In spite of this, such a “tentative” crater lake will be of interest to those who cannot yet get to Krenitsyn volcano in the Kuril Islands.

Stratovolcano Erciyes, which belongs to the Taurus Mountains , only a few hundred meters short of the title of four thousand, but it is nevertheless one of the most famous Turkish ski resorts. The most beautiful thing here is the mountains themselves. And to get acquainted with them, it is best to choose one of the hiking routes of Aladaglar Nature Park: rocky slopes, steep climbs and steep descents are a gift for those who love hiking. If they do not yet attract, you can limit yourself to an acquaintance with the stunning waterfalls Kapuzbashi, located almost in the center of the mountain range. This is a natural complex of seven waterfalls, each of which is unique. You can also just drive through the mountains on a level toll road and feel as if you are traveling through the Rocky Mountains of the United States.

Six hours and about 400 kilometers it takes to travel to the north of the country, the center of the province of Amasea – the city of the same name with a population of about 80,000 people. The town itself is located at the bottom of a valley below the slope of Mount Harshena. It stretches along the banks of the river Yesilirmak and is famous except for the abundant harvest of apples. Turks even call Amasia the apple capital of Turkey. A little north of the city, on the rocky slope of Harshen, you can find carved in stone tombs of the Pontic kings. They differ from similar ones in Lycia and other places by the fact that they have external walls, i.e. in fact they are separate structures carved inside the rock. At the top of Harshen, an ancient fortress is being restored, and at the eastern entrance to the city, the remains of an ancient aqueduct can be seen.

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The next three days are to be spent in the northeast of the country, which bears little resemblance to Turkey. It is more like a crazy mix of Norway and Ceylon, Switzerland and Bali – all this in the first place of the province of Rize. This region is most famous for its tea plantations: it is here where the Turkish tea is grown.

This is the main source of income of the province and the main tourist “chip”, which in recent years the authorities hope to attract travelers. The surroundings of the main city of Rize, the Pontic Ranges, are buried in green mountain forests and flowering meadows, suspiciously reminiscent of the alpine – even the houses are the same! Streams and rivers run down the slopes, and the snow-capped peaks of the triple-thousanders can be seen above the tea gardens. The province’s 50,000 hectares of land are occupied by the Kachkar Ecological Protected Park – all these beauties are on its territory. And an hour drive from the coastal Rize is Palovit waterfall, which is as two peas in a pod like Balinese Nung Nung.

In the neighboring province of Trabzon, the relief of the Pontic Mountains has created one of the most impressive sights of the Black Sea region, the Uzungöl Lake Valley. Of course, it does not look like a Turkish lake, but like a part of some Norwegian fjord, even there is a trout farm. On the shore of Uzungöl stretches a small village full of fish restaurants and offers for tourists: fishing, river rafting, trekking and other popular entertainment. Most people here go hiking in the mountains and do it quite comfortably: there is no need to sleep in tents – there are many small hotels-chalets in the vicinity. For example, along the river Demirkapi there is Sekersu Hotel. The room can be booked for 3100 rubles* per person.

Another breathtaking location of Trabzon province is Panagia Sumela Monastery. It was built over 1500 years ago just inside the chalk cliffs, literally on the cliff. There are many sad pages in the history of the place, it is a miracle that the complex has survived to this day.

It stands, though it would be more accurate to say hangs today at 1300 meters above sea level, gleaming with its red tile roof and stonework, as if it had come here from Prague.

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It seems that a trip to Turkey’s non-traditional locales can replace a visit to hardly a dozen other countries and regions. At least until the world is fully open to travelers again.

Our project “Where to go” will help you with ideas for your upcoming vacation. You choose the month and city of departure, and we suggest the most interesting and affordable options – with ticket prices and information on restrictions for tourists.

Travelling around Turkey by car: what’s worth visiting in 2021

During the pandemic, driving from Russia to Turkey by car is not very convenient. Many land borders are closed, and transit visas will be required to travel through Poland, Romania and Bulgaria. The route of 3,300 kilometers will take a few precious vacation days that you don’t want to spend on customs formalities. But if you want to see exotic Turkey not only from the picturesque side of the picturesque resorts you can rent a car. It can be rented, flying from Russia to Istanbul or the resort city of Antalya.

5 reasons to travel through Turkey by car

For experienced autotourists, the advantages of car travel are obvious. If you have never rented a car in a European country, let’s decipher these reasons:

  • Free driving schedule. By renting a car, you don’t have to get up at 6 a.m. to catch the sightseeing bus. You can leave for the route in Turkey at 10 am, drive until late evening, stop anywhere for photos and snacks. If you have two drivers in your campaign, you can travel up to 3,000 kilometers in a week.
  • Choosing an interesting route. You can build an itinerary in the direction you are interested in, stop at places where there are no tours. Provincial Turkey by car you will see all sides. You will see that even in the mountain villages the Turks live prosperously, you will not find poor huts. The planned route at home will give you the opportunity to see more natural and historical sites than a dozen excursions.
  • Turkish roads. Compared to the highways of the Moscow region or Yekaterinburg, Turkey’s roads are excellent. Even in the mountains there are four-lane highways with clear markings. On intercity highways there is no heavy traffic of long-distance trucks. Almost everywhere (except in cities) you can drive at a speed of 100 km / h, speed over 10% is not fined.
  • Economic benefits. Even considering Turkey’s high gasoline prices, which sell for 6.57-6.93 lira (54.5-57.4 ₽) per liter, a long-distance road trip for two passengers in a car will be cheaper than a bus tour. In addition to direct savings on fare, you can have lunch at an inexpensive cafe or choose to stay overnight at a hostel or campsite, where an overnight stay costs 175-220 liras (1450-1800 ₽).
  • The leniency of the traffic police. Turkish traffic inspectors are lenient towards foreign tourists in rented cars. They recognize rent-a-car cars by their license plates or emblems on the body. If they notice you are not wearing your seat belt the inspector can stop you. He will hardly fine you 108 liras (890 ₽), but will tell you to buckle up. In practice, you may not see a traffic cop once in a week in Turkey.
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IT’S INCREDIBLE! There are many reckless drivers in Turkey, but you do not see them on the roads during the day. They only show their mettle on the coastal roads in the evenings when the cameras are off, so the risk of getting fined 1002 lira (8300 ₽) is minimal.

Routes from Istanbul

Choosing Istanbul as your starting point, you can spend a few days in Turkey’s largest city and see the historical monuments of the ancient city. There is no point in renting a car for sightseeing trips around Istanbul. The megalopolis has heavy traffic, a lot of traffic jams, you will get to the sultan’s palaces and famous mosques faster by high-speed streetcar or subway. When planning a route around Turkey by car from Istanbul, you can choose a string of several options. Consider two circular routes.

Istanbul – Ankara – Goreme – Alanya – Bodrum – Istanbul

The route to the capital of Turkey with a stop on the Anatolian coast (a length of 2500 kilometers) can be suggested for a week-long road trip. On the way you can stay in suburban hotels in Ankara, Alanya, and Bodrum. Detailed information about hotels in Turkey, prices for accommodation can be found in the section “Hotels” of our website.

This route will allow autotourists to see the sights of Turkey:

  • Aktas waterfall in Düzce;
  • Lake Camlidere near the road to Ankara;
  • Roman Baths Museum, Ankara’s Anıt Kabir Mausoleum;
  • Rock churches, Sabel Valley in Göreme;
  • Mindos Gate, Bodrum Castle, Ottoman Dockyard, Galicarnassus Greek Amphitheater in Bodrum.

If you are not in too much of a hurry, it is interesting to stop by the Dim Cave and Sapadere Canyon before entering Alanya.

Istanbul – Gereme – Pamukkale – Selcuk – Akyaka – Dalyan – Oludeniz – Kaş – Antalya – Istanbul

A longer trip in Turkey by car from Istanbul includes Turkish cities, where there are no tours. The long (2,800 kilometers) route includes the coasts of Turkey’s Aegean and Mediterranean Seas, where there are many natural attractions. How much time you take on the route depends on visiting such sights by car as:

  • Kocaeli Clock Tower;
  • Lake Sapanja;
  • The rock tunnels of the Uzundere Valley;
  • Travertine cascades, the mineral springs of Pamukkale;
  • The quiet village of Akyaka with its new architecture;
  • Dalyan thermal springs;
  • Blue Lagoon, Butterfly Valley in Oludeniz;
  • Amphitheatre, the Lion’s Tomb in Kas;
  • The ancient city of Mira, the Lycian tombs in Demre;
  • Finike Bay between Demre and Kumluca;
  • The ruins of the ancient city of Olympos, near Kumludzha;
  • Beydagları Sahil National Park near Kemer;
  • Beldibi Cave;
  • Ganyuk Canyon near Antalya.
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Travelling by car you can also reach Doiran Lake near Antalya, which is 12 km away from the main route.

Routes from Antalya

Once you arrive in the resort capital of Turkey, you can stay for a few days in a coastal hotel and swim in the sea to your heart’s content. After that, having rented a car in one of the many “rent-a-car” capital of the Turkish province, you can go on a trip by car in Turkey from Antalya to the north or west.

Antalya – Kuyucak – Pamukkale – Kabak – Patara – Kas – Saklikent – Antalya

If you have a week to travel by car in Turkey, the route from Antalya can be built in a northern direction. On an 870-kilometer car trip through Pamukkale to the Aegean coast, you will see:

  • The lavender fields of the village of Kuyucak;
  • The ancient amphitheater, the temples of Hierapolis in Pamukkale;
  • The inaccessible Kabak beach near Fethiye;
  • Museum of Ancient Patara (theater, Buleutherium, Granarium);
  • Kursunlu waterfall near Antalya.

Returning to Antalya by car, take a route through Saklikent Canyon where you can take amazing pictures of the Turkish mountains.

Antalya – Kas – Fethiye – Marmaris – Kusadasi – Izmir – Denizli – Pamukkale – Antalya

Driving west from Antalya you can visit the deserted bays of the Aegean Sea near Fethiye, Marmaris. Further this route leads to the natural attractions of Kusadasi, Izmir, and Denizli.

The western route in Turkey from Antalya (1,200 kilometers long) gives the opportunity to see world-famous historical monuments such as:

  • Antique Ephesus (Celsus Library, temples of Hadrian, Artemis);
  • Cleopatra Island;
  • the castle of Marmaris;
  • Konak Square, Kadifekale Fortress, and the Agora in Izmir;
  • fortress Ayasuluk;
  • Ancient Pergamon (Asklepios, Acropolis, library, temples of Trajan, Athena, Hera, gymnasium);
  • Pluto’s Gate, Cleopatra’s Pool at Pamukkale.

No matter how you build a Turkish route on a rented car, on it you need to observe the rules of the road, avoid overexertion. Lots of impressions, thousands of beautiful pictures are guaranteed on any trip to the Turkish mountains, lakes and waterfalls.

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