* Easy to get to, but takes a bit more effort.
** Perhaps a bit out of your way, but worth it.
*** Strap up your boots. But MUCH easier than Nepal or the Machu Picchu Trail.
**** Not necessarily easy, but places like this are where dinner party stories are created.
The Vibe – Charming, historic town straddling the Yesilirmak River in a secluded mountain valley.
Where – A five-hour drive north of Cappadocia.
Why Go – Dramatic setting, wooden Ottoman houses, and the Tombs of Pontus.
For – Seekers of hidden gems.
Insider’s Tip – Check out the local museum for a peek at the mummies.
The Vibe – A historically rich (Aristotle lived here, as did Saint Paul) and picturesque fishing town.
Where – The northern Aegean Coast.
Why Go – A good starting point for visiting nearby Troy and The Temple of Athena, perched on the cliffs high above Assos.
For – Those who like their antiquities with a hint of beach, or their beach with a hint of antiquities.
Insider’s Tip – Venture to the Adatepe Olive Oil Museum. Turkey is the world’s fourth largest producer. For every one person, there are three olive trees.
The Vibe – Sleepy, out-of-the-way village.
Where – A two-hour drive inland from Izmir.
Why Go – Gorgeous 18th century wooden Ottoman homes, including Cakiraga Mansion.
For – Architecture aficionados.
Insider’s Tip – Catch the local Saturday market in nearby Odemis.
The Vibe – First Ottoman capital, famous for its thermal baths, high-quality silk, and cotton textiles.
Where – A 90-minute ferry ride across the Sea of Marmara.
Why Go – The Grand (Ulu Cami) Mosque, the thermal baths, the large covered bazaar, and the (very famous) silk market.
For – Committed shoppers and those obsessed with the Ottomans.
Insider’s Tip – Iskender kebabs alone are worth the trip. We’ll tell you our favorite spot to get them.
The Vibe – Former Ottoman capital that is now a border town.
Where – A two-and-a-half hour drive west of Istanbul.
Why Go – The stunning Selimiye Mosque (a UNESCO World Heritage Site), built by the famous architect Sinan, as well as the newly-restored Edirne Synagogue.
For – Architecture groupies and those interested in Jewish heritage.
Insider’s Tip – The Kirkpinar Oil Wrestling Championship, held every year since 1346. It has to be seen to be believed.
The Vibe – Serene farmland and pine forest, surrounded by sandy beaches (and war memorials).
Where – A four-hour drive west of Istanbul near the narrowest point of the Dardanelles.
Why Go – Heart wrenching WWI battlefields, memorials, and cemeteries.
For – Anyone with an interest in WWI (Ataturk defeated Churchill here), and those with a tie to Australia or New Zealand.
Insider’s Tip – There’s a great under-the-radar hotspot for scuba diving at the sunken wreck of the S.S Milo and ANZAC Cove.
The Vibe – A modern, religious, and not-overly-beautiful metropolis with an esoteric heart.
Where – Central Anatolia between Cappadocia and Antalya.
Why Go – Home of Mevlana (also known as Rumi), the founder of the Whirling Dervishes, and a center of Sufi mystical practice.
For – The spiritual. Or spiritually-curious.
Insider’s Tip – Look with more than your eyes. Does that sound like something Rumi would say?
The Vibe – A charming mountain town with cobblestone streets and picturesque Ottoman houses.
Where – A five-hour drive east of Istanbul near the Black Sea.
Why Go – Well-preserved, UNESCO-protected traditional konaks (mansions), built from stone and timber.
For – Those interested in understanding what an Ottoman town must have looked like.
Insider’s Tip –Try zerde, a local dessert made from the spice from which the city derives its name, saffron.
The Vibe – Spectacular 1,600-year-old monastery perched dramatically on steep, evergreen-covered cliffs.
Where – An hour south of Trabzon, a busy Black Sea port city.
Why Go – It’s 3,900 feet high. You can imagine the views.
For – Hikers (it’s a bit steep in parts) and nature lovers.
Insider’s Tip – The hiking is especially glorious in spring and fall.
NOT EXACTLY FURTHER AFIELD, BUT WE THOUGHT YOU MIGHT WANT TO KNOW:
The Vibe – A few extremely worthwhile sites in a city that is otherwise not so compelling (in our humble opinion).
Where – A four-hour drive northwest of Cappadocia in the center of Turkey.
Why Go – The enormous Ataturk Mausoleum and the excellent Museum of Ancient Anatolian Civilizations.
For – Culture vultures and history buffs.
Insider’s Tip – Get “hammered” at the traditional coppersmith’s bazaar.
Antalya (and the surrounds)
The Vibe – Surrounding a charming old town are large beach and golf resorts.
Where – The Mediterranean (Turquoise) coast of southwestern Turkey.
Why Go – Sun, sea, sport, and impressive nearby ancient sites, such as Termessos, Perge and Aspendos.
For – Families, beach bums and golfers.
Insider’s Tip – Grab freshly-made pomegranate juice or jam from a street vendor in the Old Quarter.