One of the countries that has always fascinated me has been Turkey, Here we have taken a look at 5 great road trip destinations around Istanbul, Turkey. As a key travel point between Europe and Asia, the area offers unparalleled beauty, amazing historical artifacts and an incredible blend of culture. There is no better way to experience the area then by seeing it first hand while on the road.
This location is the farthest one from Istanbul on our list. Located about seven hours south of the city, this area is known for its white travertine terraced thermal springs. The springs form pools of beautiful blue water contrasting against a stark white stone background. The area allows visitors an up-close experience with areas where you can walk on the terraces and wade or swim in the pools.
This area has been revered for many years and was the site for the Greco-Roman city of Hierapolis. Many remnants of past cities on the site are still visible there today, making the area a great place for history buffs as well.
2. Gallipoli Peninsula
This region is about four and half hours from Istanbul and is known for beautiful scenery. For the military buff, it is also known for a much darker history. Its location along the major trading route between Europe and Asia made it a key stretch of land during wars ranging from the Ottoman Conquest through WWI and the Greco – Turkish wars in the 1920’s. There are numerous major memorials dotting the landscape and several well documented battlefields to visit here.
To get an overview of the area visit the Gallipoli Simulation Centre. This provides a 3-D map of the area which covers the historically significant battles that have taken place here.
3. Troy (Troia)
About 6 hours from Istanbul, or about an hour and a half from Gallipoli stands the modern city of Troia. The modern city is located on the site of the ancient city of Troy, founded around 3000 BCE. This area is unique in that as the city has risen and fallen over the years, it has always been rebuilt on top of itself. Dating back to 3000 BCE, there are actually 9 cities that have been built and stacked on top of one another on this site. This allows visitors a unique opportunity to experience artifacts from a number of key historical time periods, from Greek mythology to the bronze age to the Roman time period and more all in one site.
This is a quiet northeastern district of Istanbul, known primarily as a fishing village. During the warmer months however, it also becomes a very popular beach destination. Here you will find beautiful sand beaches where you can swim in the crystal-clear waters of the Black Sea. The best coastal area to visit stretches between Şile and Ağva further to the east. Ağva itself is known more as a resort town which is famous for its beautiful scenery and exceptional restaurants.
This historic town not far from the Mediterranean coast can be accessed from Istanbul by one of two routes. You can drive directly there in about six or seven hours. Alternatively, you can go through the Gallipoli Peninsula (see above) which adds about 3 hours of travel time to the total. The major draws of this area are the historical sites of Ephesus, The Temple of Artemis, Isa Bey Mosque, The Cave of the Seven Sleepers and the House of Virgin Mary. There is an incredible amount of history packed into a very small area here.
In the hills about 15 minutes east of town you will find Şirince. This quaint little town with cobblestone streets is often referred to as “The Tuscany of Turkey” it offers a more relaxing refuge from the touristy Selçuk with some great places to eat.
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