In 2016, the opportunity to travel is there and the offerings are endless. With so many destinations to see, experience and immerse into, it is hard to pick and discover just one. You don’t have to in Turkey as it affords travelers one country with a variety of destinations to discover.
Istanbul is beautiful, tantalizing and mesmerizing, but this year we want travelers to explore the emerging destinations that are making a name for themselves. Bodrum, Cappadocia and Alacati/Cesme are the hot destinations within Turkey that are luring more and more travelers each year due to their vast offerings and experiences.
To American travelers, the “resort peninsula” that is the Bodrum region might be the best-kept secret in the world. Bodrum is one of the most popular “sun and fun” destinations for Turks and foreigners alike, offering luxurious accommodations in a setting that both respects the area’s past as a simple fishing village and revels in its jetsetting present. It’s no wonder that Bodrum has been a vacation spot for A-List celebrities such as Tom Hanks, Beyonce Knowles, Sting, Elizabeth Hurley and Nicole Kidman.
Jutting into the Aegean Sea in southwest Turkey, the Bodrum Peninsula offers the sort of understated luxury that Americans find appealing. Yacht-lined marinas, casual-yet-sophisticated clubs and smartly-dressed visitors from Istanbul and other major European cities give Bodrum a French Riviera feel – but at prices based on the more affordable Turkish Lira rather than the costly Euro.
Situated in Turkey’s Central Anatolia region, Cappadocia is a moonscape of deep ravines and valleys, cliffs, volcanic peaks, precariously balanced rocks, and countless “chimneys” – tall, ancient pillars and minaret-like towers carved into the stone over millions of years by the forces of nature. But, it is what lies beneath the landscape that makes Cappadocia so incredible: 6th century monasteries and churches, cave dwellings, mansions and houses connected with networks of underground tunnels, even entire cities carved into the soft volcanic lava and ash that shaped the land some 65 million years ago. Argos in Cappadocia is just one of many intriguing hotels made from these old monasteries.
For visitors, Cappadocia represents an unforgettable opportunity to discover the remarkable ingenuity of human civilization over the course of 5,000 years with a unique natural landscape. Along the way, they will encounter Assyrian traders, Alexander the Great, Jesus and the earliest Christians, Roman soldiers, Ottoman emperors and much more.
The soul of Cappadocia is as much a product of its residents as in the whisper of the wind through age-old valleys. Children still frolic along the stone alleyways of the area’s villages; farmers still haul their product to market on the back of a donkey; and hearty old women still prepare the day’s meal in ancient ovens hollowed into the floor of the family cave. To venture into Cappadocia is an experience of nature, outdoors, history and an utterly unique lifestyle.ALACATI / CESME
Alaçatı has long been a popular destination for windsurfers, but in recent years the town’s abundant charms have also helped transform it into a major tourist destination. This is certainly one of the most tasteful towns in all of Turkey, with its narrow cobbled streets and whitewashed houses, their wooden shutters painted various shades of blue and green, and a wealth of upscale shops and restaurants.
Nearby Çeşme is known for its beaches as well as its castle, and now has a sparkling new marina. For those who are not interested in windsurfing and just want to enjoy the water, Ilıca beach in Çeşme makes for an ideal day-trip. Unlike most beaches in Turkey, the color of the water here is light aqua, with fine white sand.
Alaçatı has such a relaxed vibe that you could easily while away many days or weeks here enjoying the fresh air, beautiful beaches, delicious cuisine, and the town’s simple and unpretentious style. Alaçatı has much of the best that Turkey has to offer, all wrapped up in one tasteful and charming little package.