Surrounded by the Mediterranean, Aegean and Black Seas on three sides and spanning the continents of Europe and Asia, the country of Turkey offers amazing diversity in its scenery and vacation activities. Its 5,000 miles of coastline provide plenty of sandy beaches for fun in the sun. Outdoor activities are abundant, ranging from hiking and fishing in the warmer months to snow skiing in the winter.
Ancient sites dot the Turkish landscape. Two of the Seven Wonders of the Ancient World—the Temple of Artemis of Ephesus and the Tomb of King Mausolus in Bordum—can be found in the Aegean Region. Mount Ararat on the eastern border not only features the highest peak in the country, it is also the suspected resting place of the biblical Noah’s Ark. The vibrant city of Istanbul is a history-rich site, having served as the capital of the Roman, Byzantine and Ottoman Empires in turn.
Northern and Middle Aegean Coast
Istanbul boasts landmarks as varied as the cultures that have influenced this ancient city. Important sites include the Topkapi palace, the Blue Mosque and Roman aqueducts. The Roman baths in Ankara are 1,700 years old, and the Old Town is filled with monuments and mosques.
Southern Aegean and Lycian Coast
The Temple of Artemis in Ephesus is one of the few Wonders of the Ancient World still in existence. The Grand Theater where Saint Paul preached to the Ephesians also remains, while Kadifekale fortress in Izmar bears engravings from the Ottoman, Byzantine and Roman eras.
The Turquoise Coast of Southern Turkey, also called the Turkish Riviera, features golden beaches and rocky cliffs, fishing villages and luxury resorts. The resort town of Alanya offers sandcastles on the beach and a medieval castle atop a hill overlooking the azure Mediterranean Sea.