Çanakkale, Troy, Gallipoli
Originally settled around 3000 BC, Çanakkale is the seat of millennia of human history. Many visitors arrive in Çanakkale to tread in the footsteps of mythical heroes like Achilles and Hector, the warriors of Homer’s Iliad. Brits, Aussies, and Kiwis will already be familiar with the tragic history of Gallipoli. Australians and New Zealanders celebrate ANZAC Day on April 25th to memorialize the 1915 landings, and visit the battlefields of Gallipoli on this date.
Assos faces the Greek island of Lesvos. The town is actually in two parts, and you may hear it referred to as either Assos or Behramkale, both of which appear on road signs.
Bozcaada & Gökçeada
Turkey’s two Aegean islands, Bozcaada & Gökçeada are favorite holiday destinations. Pretty little hotels and boutiques are springing up like wildflowers, lending a fresh charm to the antique houses and cobblestone streets.
Ayvalık & Alibey Island
The little town of Ayvalık, facing the Greek Aegean island of Lesvos, is a sleepy seaside rest stop perfect for an afternoon tour on foot. It’s a picturesque location, surrounded by rolling hills with pine and olive trees. Also visit Cunda, Alibey Island, connected to Lale Island and Ayvalık by a road bridge.
The modern city of İzmir is an exceedingly old city. It was founded more than 5000 years ago as the Trojan city of Smyrna; Homer spent much of his life here. As Turkey’s third-largest city, it’s a hub of both transportation and business, and has a more contemporary, commercial feel than other major urban areas in the country. You may at times feel that you’re in Greece or southern Italy rather than Turkey. Don't forget to visit Çeşme & Foça, popular tourist destinations.
Bergama, about two hours from İzmir or nearly ten from İstanbul by bus, makes a terrific hub for exploring the historical sites around Turkey’s north Mediterranean coast. You can spot the magnificent acropolis and the small settlement of Allanoi around Bergama.
Ephesus is one of Turkey’s foremost archaeological sites. The famous Temple of Artemis, the Library of Celsus with its grand entrance, the temples of Hadrian and Domitian, are wonderful reliefs. Also check out the recently-discovered gladiator graveyard. Try to visit tiny village Şirince and the modern resort town Kuşadası too!
Pamukkale is being used as a spa since antiquity. The hot waters flow from the white geological formations, known as travertines, which give the town its name (Pamukkale means “cotton castle” in Turkish). While you’re in the region, also check out the ancient city of Hierapolis.
Gökova / Akyaka
Most visitors come for the natural beauty to be found in the tiny town of Gökova, due to the town’s location on the scenic “Plain of Heaven”, as well as the wide variety of wildlife thriving in the wetlands nearby.
Beautiful Dalyan is a bird-watcher’s paradise. The ancient city of Caunos, which was settled around 200 AD; a number of the ruins are well-preserved and can be reached by boat from the town proper. And İztuzu Beach, home to many loggerhead turtles who crawl up on the shore every June and July to lay their eggs.
Köyceğiz has a long and rich history. Nearby historical sites, including the impressive rock tombs, represent the influence of many civilizations.
Datça is located halfway out on a narrow peninsula of the same name, which itself sticks out from the mainland halfway between İzmir and Antalya. The coast holds significant interest for visitors in the form of pretty coves and small bays which can be found along its length.
Bodrum was once the site of the famous Mausoleum of Halicarnassus, one of the Seven Wonders of the Ancient World; you can see the foundations a short way from the marina. Bodrum Castle is considered the town’s foremost landmark, and has been extraordinarily preserved.
The pretty beachside town of Marmaris is a seriously happening destination, due to the simple fact that there’s something for everyone here. Partiers will have a ball in the techy clubs and smoky bars on the bar street close to the open market, as Marmaris is justly known for having a solid nightlife scene bursting with dancing and drinking until the early hours of the morning.