Collected by Caroline Eubanks, AFAR Local Expert
Inspiring stops for my grand Turkey Adventure.
Vişnezade Mahallesi, Dolmabahçe Cd., 34357 Beşiktaş/İstanbul, Turkey
This decadent palace, which overlooks the Bosphorus from the European side, holds great importance to Turkey. The late-19th-century sultans resided here and ruled the Ottoman Empire from here, and while the Turkish Republic's capital is in Ankara,...
Sultan Ahmet Mahallesi, Ayasofya Meydanı, 34122 Fatih/İstanbul, Turkey
Walk into Hagia Sophia (Aya Sofya) and look up to the heavens to see why so many conquerors and their respective religions claimed this basilica turned mosque turned museum as their own. Visitors will swoon over the Byzantine gilded mosaics,...
Beyazıt Mh., 34126 Fatih/İstanbul, Turkey
Soon after conquering Constantinople and defeating the Byzantines in 1453, Ottoman Sultan Mehmet II commissioned the beginnings of the Grand Bazaar to reinvigorate trade with the city. More than 550 years later, the bazaar is one of the oldest...
Caferağa Mahallesi, Güneşli Bahçe Sk. No:43, 34710 Kadıköy/İstanbul, Turkey
One day, I dragged my travel companions—a German, a Turk, and two New Yorkers—to Kadıköy, a neighborhood on the Asian side of the Bosphorus, to dine at Çiya. Everyone was cranky and hungry by the time we found it, but I...
Emirsultan Mahallesi, Emir Sultan Cami, 16360 Yıldırım/Bursa, Turkey
The Whirling Dervish Lodge in Bursa puts on a nightly spiritual performance that gets you back to the basics of why the whirling dervishes exist. This is no 'show' for tourists, this is a spiritual event and service. I felt lucky that they allowed...
Bilal Eroğlu Caddesi, Mezar Sokak No:8, 50180 Göreme Belediyesi/Nevşehir Merkez/Nevşehir, Turkey
If you only get to ride in a hot air balloon once in your life, do it over Cappadocia, Turkey. Amazing. Cappadocia is surreal when seen from any angle. The region is peppered with strange pointy stone spires that rise up toward the sky, in pastel...
Tomtom Mahallesi, İstiklal Cd. No:8 D:163, 34433 Beyoğlu/İstanbul, Turkey
This elite rooftop restaurants is a popular place for locals to celebrate birthdays, milestones, and romantic moments. Called 360 for its magnificent 360-degree view of Istanbul, it's a great place to celebrate just being in Istanbul! Relax with a...
Müze Cad. No:32 Göreme, 50180 Nevşehir Merkez/Nevşehir, Turkey
One of my favorite shops in Kapadokya is Sultan's Carpets located in Goreme. If you happen to be in the area, say hi to my friend, the modern day Suffi, Shemsettin Kantar, or Semse as he likes to be called. International interior designer obsessed...
Yıldız Mh., 34349 Beşiktaş/Istanbul, Turkey
A nice location in Istanbul is Otakoy-stroll the local neighborhood and enjoy a mint tea and sheesha on the waterfront. Local fisherman bring in their catch and even toss the cats hanging around a few treats. In the evening, young couples walking...
Caferağa Mahallesi, Moda Cd. No:166, 34710 Kadıköy/İstanbul, Turkey
A cross between baklava and a croissant, katmer is a sweet, airy, pistachio-drenched Turkish breakfast pastry guaranteed to give you a sugar high that will last the whole day. Made from sheets of thin phyllo dough, kaymak (clotted cream), sugar,...
Bereketzade Mahallesi, Galata Kulesi Sk., 34421 Beyoğlu/İstanbul, Turkey
The Galata Tower is one of Istanbul's most striking landmarks. The nine-story stone tower offers a panoramic vista of Old Istanbul and its environs. Save Galata for the end of the day, timing it so that you reach the top just in time for sunset...
Atatürk Mh., Ephesus Archaeological Museum, Uğur Mumcu Sevgi Yolu, 35920 Selçuk/İzmir, Turkey
As if the ruins at Ephesus are not stunning enough, after you walk downhill through the ruins, you come upon one of the most impressive, preserved coliseums in the world! You definitely need to take 10 minutes and just sit in different parts of it...
Konaklar Mahallesi, Büyükdere Cd. No:185, 34394 Beşiktaş/Şişli/İstanbul, Turkey
The focal point of our trip to Turkey was visiting places of religious significance. The House of the Virgin Mary was by far one of the most serene places we visited. There is a sense of calmness in the air, a place of reverence, a place we would...
İnönü Mahallesi, Papa Roncalli Sk. No:34, 34373 Şişli/İstanbul, Turkey
Across the Bosphorus from the tourist area of Sultanahmet lies Beyoglu and Taksim Square, home to Galata Tower, the Fish Market, and #bunk, a chic and upscale flashpacker haven. The hostel is small but has a great atmosphere, complete with free...
Asmalımescit Mahallesi, Meşrutiyet Caddesi No:99, 34430 Beyoğlu/İstanbul, Turkey
A cultural hub for Turkish and international art, Istanbul Modern opened in 2004 as a permanent home for the contemporary Istanbul Biennial. The 8,000-square-foot warehouse sits along the Bosphorus next to the Golden Horn, a historically important...
Karagözler Mahallesi, Fevzi Çakmak Cd. No:1 D:57, 48300 Fethiye (Mugla)/Fethiye/Muğla, Turkey
The James Bond movie, Skyfall, featuring Daniel Craig hit cinemas in 2012 and the movie featured one of Turkey’s finest travelling experiences – a ‘blue cruise’ on the Mediterranean from Fethiye. You too can live like Bond, James Bond on the...
Cankurtaran Mh., Utangaç Sk. No:19, 34122 Fatih/İstanbul, Turkey
How often does hotel staff virtually adopt your 87-year-old mother? It’s not just that the staff had cleared our room of obstacles for her walker before our arrival. Or that they always ensured we knew the shortest route with the fewest stairs or...
Aşağı Mahallesi, Gedik Sk. No:8, 50280 Uçhisar Belediyesi/Nevşehir Merkez/Nevşehir, Turkey
While cave hotels are a dime a dozen in Cappadocia, the area of bizarre rock formations in central Turkey, Taskonaklar Boutique Hotel is a step above the rest, winning countless awards. Located in the hills of Uchisar, Taskonaklar has both cave...
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