Exactly 1 year ago, I made my 1st visit to Turkey in great anticipation, not knowing what to expect and coming with eyes wide open.
1 year later, I touchdown here in Istanbul again with my trusted Turkish Airlines, and this time…with a warm sense of familiarity and a tinge of excitement within me for the new places yet to be discovered.
Turkey is a phenomenal country, with so much to offer, from the black sea region stretching all the way to Georgia, to the southern tips where the sun lovers spend their summer chilling by the beaches of Bodrum.
However, today I am here to share about the part that is most loved and popular with the masses of tourists from all around the world, the Aegean region in Turkey.
This was the route we took in the Aegean sea region with Tempel Travel:
Istanbul – Canakkale – Troy – Pergamon – Kusadasi – Pamukkale – Konya – Cappadocia – Amasya – Safranbolu – Istanbul
This was an incredible 10 Day tour that goes a loop and ends us back into the beautiful city of Istanbul.
It is honestly a LOT to cover for 10 Days, so if you are hoping to see as much of this part of Turkey, you would like the immense variety. But if you are someone who prefers to go at your own pace, I would recommend at least 15 Days, so that you can take longer breaks between the long drives and enjoy more Turkish Coffee and sights on the way. To get the best of your road trip effortless and pleasant, it is always a good idea to compare different car rental options beforehand instead of at the last minute.
1. Troy and Canakkale
If you are big on mythology and history or simply a Troy movie fan, this place is something you might be keen to include.
Here in the Trojan city as you walk about on a conducted tour ( highly recommended if not you will have no idea what you are looking for), do ask your guide about the history of how the city was built ( pillars/ gates/ common bath areas etc). It is also sad how the archaeologist went about digging out and discovering the ancient city, and you will understand why a lot of the city has not been preserved so well due to some mistakes made during the excavation. In the distance away from the city, it is also rumoured that there are 2 hills in the distance which are supposedly the graves of the ancient heroes Achilles and Hector ( buried alongside them are supposedly their treasures and family)
Something to check out along the way – The Red Bascilla ( Red Hellettik in Pergamon). It was one of the churches that were mentioned in Revelations in the Bible, and it was truly a very grand looking Bascilla.
2. Pretty Kusadasi on a hill
Kusadasi in Turkey is a wealthier part along the Aegean route, mainly coz it is situated right along the Meditteranean sea, so it is a very popular place for inbound tourists to visit.
We stayed in a gorgeous hotel called Venti Luxury Hotel right at the top of the hill in Kusadasi, and woke up to the breathtaking view that morning of the ocean. I would recommend everyone who wants to visit this destination to stay at that hotel as it is the perfect place to feast your eyes on the spectacular ocean and Greek/ Turkish islands in the distance.
In the morning, we also took a nice little walk after breakfast to enjoy the view of the harbour and get some amazing sunshine. The sea breeze here is spectacular and you can see people fishing and swimming in the clear turquoise colour waters.
3. Pamukkale Cotton Castles
This place is a true fascination, as it is a stretch of white limestone waterfalls like formation in the middle of acres of brown grass and rock.
We had only a short time here, but it was lovely to walk in the small little thermal springs in these terraces and watch the clear water reflect a sky of gold at sunset. ( Best timing to visit by the way, but warned that the crowds might annoy you and interrupt half your shots)
Word of advice, wear slippers/ bring your swimwear along if you want a dip in the lovely springs. It will get hot in summer, but try not to apply sunblock as it will pollute the lovely thermal waters and destroy its natural balance.
4. The Mystical Ancient City of Ephesus
Ephesus ancient citywas a place I was really looking forward to visit during this trip, given its very strong biblical and historical roots. I read a lot about the Ephesians and the Ephesian church from bible lessons/ classes, where Paul and one of the most loved apostles of Jesus, John came to share the good news. The challenges, lives they witnessed to and encountered and these were one of the most fascinating things that made the bible come alive for me.
It was hot weather but we managed to cover a great deal here in the ancient city, from checking out the common bath areas, the secret language the Christians used to communicate with each other in the city( check out the 3rd image), as well as marvel as the ruins and grand library structure.
It was all really well reconstructed back and each batch of archaeologists that comes here really starts to restore it properly. This is very detailed restoration compared to the Greek ruins in Athens, which was a bit disappointing how the ruins are degrading very quickly.
It was also amazing to learn the history of how the apostle John comes here to preach the gospel and Mother Mary actually stayed a distance away in a little stone house John build for her. To be able to walk through the biblical history and see it come alive is really such a privilege.
Check out the Ultimate list of All the Top Ancient Cities of the World
5. Cappadocia Pigeon Valley
A really amazing part of the trip was here in Captivating Cappadocia. I elaborated a lot more about this place in my other post, but pigeon valley is a big must visit along your way.
The intricate and unique structure of these sand caves in Goreme National Park and how they use to have these pigeons deliver messages in those ancient time, is still such an intriguing and fascinating concept to me. Gets your imagination thinking about what it would be like to live in those days where the only communication is by letters delivered by pigeons. Probably pretty expensive too…
Curious about Cappadocia? Then read about this captivating place
6. Alluring Amasya in Day and Night
It was not my first time seeing Amasya, but I must say it is a really gorgeous place that I didn’t mind seeing again.
The most iconic part about this place is the river overlooking the stunning hill with the carved caves on it. If you have a bit of stamina, climb the steps to the lookout point and see Amasya from an incredible vantage point.
Afraid of the heat? Come at night to see the town lighted up in colour, take a nice dinner in one of these local restaurants and take a nice relaxing walk along the river, grabbing a yummy chewy Turkish ice-cream along the way ( which is probably by far one of the best ice-creams in the world, after New Zealand )
7. Safranbolu – The Origins of Saffron
Safranbolu is a really enchanting little rustic place with a nice local touch.
After the busy afternoon hustling in the touristy stalls and buying some Turkish souvenirs like Turkish delight, olive products and saffron of coz ( the main specialty to buy here in Safranbolu), come back out at night and hunt for a local alfresco bar with live Turkish music.
his was one of the best things we discovered in our trip, away from the tourists and just chilling out with a drink with the locals in this nice dingy location and intoxicated by the traditional Turkish guitar, percussions and singing. So the 10 days in Turkey in this Aeagen Coastal Region just flew past just like that and we found ourselves headed back to Istanbul in no time.
Before going on your next travel adventure, consider booking Affordable Travel Insurance from US$14 onwards for that peace of mind! 🙂
Which part of Turkey were you most enchanted by? Share with me!
KasieJuly 17, 2018 at 10:05 pm
I was so excited to read this post as Turkey has been high on my must-travel list for quite some time now. It is such a beautiful, vibrant country, I’m dying to explore all of these sights!
Lydia YangJuly 30, 2018 at 8:20 am
I really hope you’ll get to explore each one of these sights, Kasie! 🙂
Mabel KwongJuly 30, 2018 at 10:41 am
So many places to see on road in Turkey! The Odeon looks particularly impressive – massive and majestic. Sitting down and relaxing with the locals is one way to slow down and unwind at a new place…and get to know the place and people well 🙂
Lydia YangJuly 31, 2018 at 11:38 am
Turkey has so much to offer, Mabel. The Odeon is truly impressive and I enjoy spending time with the locals, you can learn a lot from them!
Johanna BradleyJuly 30, 2018 at 4:16 pm
It’s a fascinating part of the world, isn’t it? My only real experience of Turkey was a gulet cruise followed by a week in Fethiye and surrounds, many years ago. I loved it, and always meant to return. 🙂 🙂
Lydia YangJuly 31, 2018 at 12:27 pm
It indeed is, Jo! You definitely have to return there as there is lots to see and discover.:)
MegganAugust 2, 2018 at 12:17 am
I have thought of travelling many places but honestly Turkey isn’t one of them but this sounds amazing and what lovely scenery and history – thank you so much for making me consider somewhere I previously had not!! xx
Lydia YangAugust 2, 2018 at 5:54 pm
It sounds like I’ve done a great job, Meggan! 🙂
Renuka WalterAugust 2, 2018 at 5:18 pm
These are such intriguing sites. I’d definitely like to visit them and soak in their aura.
AnnaAugust 3, 2018 at 8:37 pm
Oh – I´m in love with the Ottoman history and haven´t seen so much in Turkey. I´ve been to Istanbul a couple of times and Antalya. Definitely pinning your route. I´d also love to see Olu Deniz Lagoon, Saklikent Gorge and Myra Tombs.
Lydia YangAugust 4, 2018 at 8:13 am
You should definitely explore the route, Anna. 🙂
Tanja/The Red Phone Box travelsAugust 6, 2018 at 2:18 pm
great trip! I’ve been to Ephesus too:)
Lydia YangAugust 7, 2018 at 1:33 pm
Thanks, Tanja! Did you have a good time there?
EmilyAugust 7, 2018 at 5:36 pm
Turkey is really high on my list right now! I kind of wish I would have gone years ago though. This place looks so beautiful!
Lydia YangAugust 8, 2018 at 12:48 pm
Turkey deserves to be high on everyone’s bucket list, Emily! Hope you’ll get there even sooner than expected. 😉
Shubham VarshneyAugust 10, 2018 at 6:07 pm
NIce post! This sounds a great excursion, I would love to add it to my future posts. I have never been to such long and beautiful trips, but now I wanted it soon.
Lydia YangAugust 11, 2018 at 11:17 am
Thanks a bunch, Shubham! I hope your dream will become reality. 😉
KathyAugust 17, 2018 at 11:19 am
Amazing blog and great photos Lydia! I lived in Turkey for a month before and it was an awesome experience. Pumukale was my favourite place out of all! X
Lydia YangAugust 18, 2018 at 1:13 pm
Thanks for your kind words, Kathy! Pamukkale is truly astonishing. 🙂
JeniferAugust 21, 2018 at 7:08 pm
Love your Turkish road trip!! I have wanted to go for so long but the press makes it seem dangerous. Did you feel that way? Cappadocia and Istanbul are high on my list! I have to check out your post on Cappadocia.
Lydia YangAugust 24, 2018 at 10:46 am
Hi Jennifer! Yes you should pay Turkey a visit some time! It is soo beautiful. Cappadocia is the top spot not to miss along the way.