THE BEST OF BURSA: HIGHLIGHTING THE BEST OF BURSA, TURKEY

      OTHER PLACES TO VISIT IN TURKEY
      Bursa’s great, but it’s not the only place worth visiting in Turkey.  Here are a few other neat places we’ve enjoyed…

       

      Cappadocia

      Cappadocia is fascinating—a natural and historical phenomenon. Over the centuries, ancient peoples carved homes, churches, monasteries, and even entire cities out of the region’s soft volcanic rocks, many of which can be explored. Set against a beautiful backdrop of valleys and mountains, Cappadocia is a sight to behold. We would strongly recommend that you get off the beaten path and away from the tour buses. Try hard-to-reach places like Soğanlı Valley and Ihlara Valley, among others. There are plenty of neat accommodation options in the villages of Cappadocia, but we can personally vouch for Lalesaray Hotel in Üçhisar and Kapadokya Ihlara Konakları and Caves in Güzelyurt.

       

      Selçuk/Ephesus/Şirince

      Selçuk, near the city of Izmir, is best known for the ancient Roman city of Ephesus.  Ephesus is truly a magnificent ruined city with deep historical and cultural significance.  Selçuk is the nearest city to Ephesus and is an interesting mix of ancient and modern.  A few kilometers above Selçuk is the fantastic little village of Şirince.  Also having deep historical roots, Şirince  is now known for its neat little bazaar, historical buildings, and local wine industry.  We recommend staying in Şirince for a few days and making it a base to see the surrounding area.  In particular, the Stonehouse Byipek Hotel is a wonderfully relaxing place on the edge of the village.

       

      Bergama (Pergamon)

      This ancient Greek-Roman ruined city lies on a hill above a quaint, sleepy Turkish town. The ruins are fairly well-preserved and large swaths of the ancient Acropolis are still in tact (even more so than Ephesus and Troy), making Bergama an excellent stop for the history seeker and culture lover. In addition to the Acropolis, visitors also need to see the ancient Red Basilica and Asklepion complex. The Akropolis Hotel is a delightful place to spend a couple of restful nights and Hazım Özperhlivan’s Pergamon Art souvenir shop is a neat little place to look for trinkets and treasures.

       

      Çanakkale/Gallipoli/Troy

      The waterside city of Çanakkale lies right on shore of The Dardanelles. Narrow, winding cobblestone streets and a lively waterfront make Çanakkale a neat place to visit in its own right. But perhaps more importantly, Çanakkale makes a great launching point from which to explore the WWI Gallipoli battlefields. The Gallipoli peninsula is both stunningly beautiful and hauntingly hallowed. From Çanakkale, the ancient city of Troy is also easily accessible.

       

      Gökçeada

      This is one of only two islands in the Aegean Sea under Turkish jurisdiction, the other being Bozcaada.  Gökçeada is a beautiful, hilly island dotted with ancient Greek villages scattered throughout green scrub pastureland.  Cows and goats roam freely on the quaint, pastoral island.  With a small permanent population and a limited tourist infrastructure, Gökçeada is a relatively quiet, restful place.  Easily accessible by ferry from Çanakkale.

       

      Antalya

      People visit Antalya for three reasons: sun, sand, and sea.  Situated on the Mediterranean coast, Antalya is a great place to spend a few days on holiday.  Hotels and resorts of all types and for all budgets are located up and down the coastline on both sides of the city.

       

      Īstanbul Sights

      Though I don’t usually enjoy visiting Īstanbul, there are some really neat places to see there.  Most notably, the area around Sultan Ahmet, despite being overrun by tour groups, is really a neat place.  Places like Hagia Sophia, Blue Mosque, Basilica Cistern, Grand Bazaar, Spice Bazaar, Topkapı Palace, Gülhane Park, and a plethora of cafés and shops tucked away on narrow, winding streets and alleyways make this neighborhood worth a day or two of your time.  If you want to stay in the area, we suggest looking into the hotels around Gülhane along Ebussuut Caddesi as they are comfortable and conveniently located.  Specifically, we’ve enjoyed staying at the Sude Konak and the Modern Sultan Hotel.



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