Turkey is one of the world's most popular tourist destinations thanks to its gorgeous weather, vibrant culture and rich history. If you're planning a trip to Turkey, be sure to check out these incredible views along the way.
1. Fairy Chimneys, Cappadocia
The unique landscape of Cappadocia is not to be missed if you're headed to the Central Anatolia region. Wind and rain have eroded the area';s volcanic rocks into strange and beautiful sculptural forms known as Fairy Chimneys. The area has a fantastical, other- worldly quality that makes it one of the most romantic destinations in Turkey. Cappadocia is
also home to subterranean cities and a series of churches, monasteries and houses that were carved into the rocks by the Phrygians during the seventh and eighth centuries.
The best way to see the Fairy Chimneys is to take a hot air balloon ride early in the morning when there are clear skies and low winds. Tours last between 45 minutes and two hours, with the longer ones offering the most extensive views of the region. It's also an impressive sight to watch the balloons themselves as they soar over the rugged landscape. Sunset Point, also known as Lover's Hill, is just a few minutes from the village of Göreme and it's the perfect vantage point to get incredible panoramic views at sunrise.
2. Pamukkale, River Menderes Valley
Pamukkale translates as "cotton castle" in Turkish and you'll understand why when you catch sight of the spectacular white rocks. Over thousands of years a carbonate mineral called travertine has built up from the flow of thermal spring water and it's this that creates the white, crystallised deposits that give the region its unique look. The water pools of Pamukkale are renowned for their healing properties, with many Turks claiming that a dip in the pools can cure various health problems.
The ancient Greek city of Hierapolis, which was originally fortified around 190 BC, is situated on a hill just above Pamukkale pools. In 17 AD the city was ruined by an earthquake and the Romans rebuilt it with the addition of an amphitheatre. Despite hundreds of years of growth, persistent earthquakes led to Hierapolis being abandoned in the 14 th century and it wasn't until the 1900s that it was rediscovered and became a popular tourist destination. When you visit, be sure to check out the Greek and Roman ruins of Hierapolis. The view of the amphitheatre is almost as impressive as the Pamukkale pools.
3. Butterfly Valley, Fethiye
Situated on the 500 km trail of Lycian Way that runs along Turkey's southwestern coastline, Butterfly Valley is a natural oasis that is largely protected from tourists. It owes its name to the 100 species of butterfly that inhabit the 86,000 sqm area which is lush with trees and flora.
This stunning spot is just 5 km south of Oludeniz (also known as Blue Lagoon), a popular beach resort that has lost some of its natural beauty due to a huge rise in tourism. It was marked as a national preservation area in 1987 and it became illegal to construct permanent buildings there. As a result, the beach at the bottom of the valley is largely unspoiled. A small bar is built into the rocks at one end of the beach, and at the other end is a simple restaurant serving fresh grilled seafood.
You can access Butterfly Valley by boat or hike down to it via steep cliffs with the help of climbing ropes. Its inaccessibility, combined with its lack of facilities, is why the valley is so much more peaceful and unspoiled than other beaches on Turkey's coastline. The views are particularly impressive from the top of the valley, but if you arrive by boat be sure to capture plenty of photos of the blue water and white sands framed by the valley's steep, rugged cliffs.
4. The Library of Celsus, Ephesus
Ephesus is one of the biggest and most significant ancient cities in the world, which is why it has been a UNESCO World Heritage Site since 2015. It dates back to neolithic times, but it became prominent during the Roman Empire when in 27 BC it was marked as the capital of Asia Minor. It prospered and soon became the empire's second most important city after Rome.
The Library of Celsus is one of the most impressive and complete structures in Ephesus. It was built in 125 AD in memory of Tiberius Julius Celsus Polemaeanus who was governor of Roman Asia between 105 and 107 AD. Its façade has been carefully reconstructed using its original pieces, and views of the front of the imposing structure are spectacular.
5. The Golden Horn, Istanbul
The Golden Horn is an inlet on the Bosphorus which serves as a natural divide between the old and new sides of Istanbul. It is named as such because the sun's reflection on the water gives it a golden hue. Views across the Golden Horn are impressive, but the inlet itself serves as the perfect spot to soak in the spectacular domes of Istanbul's many mosques.
Ortaköy, located right at the edge of the water next to the Bosphorus bridge, is arguably the city's prettiest mosque thanks to its white marble and stone façade which glows golden beneath the sunset. It was built around 1855, and is one of Istanbul's newer religious structures. At night the mosque is illuminated and it casts an incredible reflection against the water.
However, the city's most iconic landmark is the Blue Mosque (also known as Sultan Ahmed Mosque) which dates back to 1616, but the oldest Mosque in the city is Hagia Sophia. It was originally constructed as a Christian church in the 6th century, before becoming a mosque when the city was conquered by the Ottoman Empire in 1453. All of these structures are worth visiting if you're looking for impressive architectural views.
Explore natural beauty and incredible history in Turkey
There's no end to the spectacular sights in Turkey, so no matter which parts of the country you visit you're sure to come across plenty of historic monuments and areas of natural beauty.
Author bio: Eleanor Jones
An experienced travel writer, Eleanor enjoys hunting down unspoiled spots across Europe. She hopes that her writing will inspire others to explore their holiday destinations and leave them in good condition for others who come in the future.