Turkish Travel Delights

Turkish Travel Delights

I consider myself very lucky to have been to Turkey twice. The first time in winter and only to Istanbul and the second at the beginning of summer. The second trip I did all on my own and went only to the places I wanted to. It was the most fabulous holiday!

Here are some of my highlights:

Istanbul

Blue Mosque

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Blue Mosque – from the Seven Hills Hotel rooftop restaurant

I made sure to visit this gem on both trips to Turkey. The queue moves pretty quickly and it is definitely worth it. I don’t feel that you need to have any religious affiliation or even believe to treasure this place. As soon as I walked in and really allowed myself to soak up the experience and awesome (Not teenage girl awesome. Actually being in awe!) structure I suddenly felt that everyone around me wanted the same things. Believers were kneeling in prayer and tourists were walking around but everyone wanted something good. There were no negative vibes. All I wanted was to appreciate and remember everything i was seeing.

Arasta Bazaar

Not as famous as the Grand Bazaar or the Spice market (which are both flipping cool!), this much smaller market was right up my alley. Art, jewellery, spices, tea, soaps, robes and the wonderful Mesale restaurant where I saw my first ever whirling dervish!

Seven Hills Hotel – rooftop restaurant

I have never stayed in the hotel but I have been to the restaurant – views for days! From my experience, the best in Istanbul! The food wasn’t bad but even if you just for an apple tea, it will be totally worth it!

Walk from Taksim Square to Karakoy Tram Stop

This walk is on Istiklal Cadesi which then leads into Yuksek Kaldirim. I’m not sure if this walk is recommended in travel books but I really loved it. There are no vehicles on these roads; only plenty of tourists are a really old fashioned tram closer to Taksim Square.

I really loved this walk because of the beautiful shops and restaurants along the way (and it’s a down hill walk!). I fell in love with a soap shop closer to Karakoy that has the most beautiful and delicious smelling soaps as well as stunning Turkish towels and bath robes – bliss! I made sure to visit on both of my trips!IMG_2375

Extra highlight on this walk – the Galata Tower just happens to pop up on your right half way down the hill – treats!

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Hagia Sofia – view from the Seven Hills Hotel

Hagia Sofia

The Hagia is rich with history and a must do for those who love mosaics. It helps to read up on it before you visit if you want to truly appreciate the history you’re witnessing!

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Mosaic inside the Hagia Sofia


Olu Deniz

Butterfly valley

Only accessible by boat or a very long hike, this hidden paradise is almost untouched. I only spent an afternoon here and I love it. I met a British couple on the boat over who were keen to hike up to the waterfall we had all read about so I joined them – worth it! It was pretty hot and muggy but so magical once you’re up there.IMG_2782

Paragliding

I don’t what the best company is to use for paragliding but I used Gravity. One snag was that you weren’t allowed to take a camera or go pro or anything like that with you. This seriously annoyed from of my fellow travelers. The instructors do however take a lot of go pro footage and you can buy it from them afterwards. This also annoyed a lot of people but I loved the footage and bought mine. If you’re against this then maybe look at other companies.

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Go Pro pic by Gravity
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Paragliding view of Olu Deniz

The lagoon

The famous lagoon is protected and you pay an entry fee to go there (worth it!) but the main beach front it also stunning. The water is so blue!

There are plenty of restaurants and shops around if you feel like a enjoying the view and its perfect for pretty sunsets.

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Unedited photo of the Olu Deniz beach
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Sunset on the Olu Deniz beach front

Pamukkale

Cleopatra had style! Taking your daily bath in hot springs, surrounded by enormous Roman columns, next to a gorgeous theatre and just above the travertines (one of the most spectacular sites of my life) with a view of snow capped mountains. Antony can count himself lucky to have known such a woman!IMG_2659

I could not get over the fact that I was allowed to swim in the travertines! I really thought it was going to be a ‘look but don’t touch’ scenario so I was completely thrilled to discover I could wallow in them!IMG_2662

The waters in the travertines as well as in Cleopatra’s pool (just above the travertines) is said to have all sorts of magical healing powers. With the amount of time I spent in them, I should be immortal!

Cappadocia

IMG_1615This was like visiting another world. I can’t image that there is anything like it anywhere else! I will never in my lifetime be able to describe the beauty of this wonder. Can you even begin to imagine living in this wonderland?

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I went on 3 wonderful tours (The Red tour, the Green tour and a horse riding tour) as well as an indescribably perfect hot air balloon ride – an absolute must do if you get the chance!

My tours showed me a huge amount of Cappadocia! The fairy chimneys, beautiful riverside walks and cafes, the Sultanite factory, a beautiful pottery demonstration, wine tasting and more.

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Rooftop breakfast in Goreme

There is quite simply nothing more magical that floating in a sea of hot air balloons over an enchanted world like no other.

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Bodrum

I didn’t spend a lot of time in Bodrum itself but it was the start and finish of my Contiki trip. Even though I used Contiki, there are loads of other companies that offer almost the exact same trip. I spent 7 nights on the galette (what they call the sail boats) and got to see and experience the best of the Turkish coast line – I highly recommend it!

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Bodrum harbour

When we were in Bodrum I had loads of fun in the shops, the hamams and of course, Bodrum has quite a party scene at night!

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This post has gotten long enough so I will just leave it here with my highlights – I’ll post some top tips for travelling in Turkey soon.

I’d love to hear about your Turkish experiences!

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