pots at basilica of st john in selcuk

Selçuk…The Site of Ephesus

As part of my two-week tour of Turkey with G Adventures, a budget National Geographic company, we stayed in Selçuk for two nights.  Sadly, I knew nothing of Selçuk or of its many attractions.  For that matter, I didn’t know much about Turkey except that people enjoy it, so I wanted to go.

Selçuk is a very popular tourist destination.  During the shoulder season at the start of COVID, however, the city was rather quiet, which I enjoyed!  While Selçuk features a variety of restaurants and shops on lovely streets and a smattering of ruins on the hill above town, it is best known for its proximity to Ephesus, a UNESCO World Heritage Site.

With all the attractions, Selçuk definitely warrants an overnight stay or perhaps even a weekend get-away.  Below is a list of things to do while in Selçuk.

EXPLORE!
Pamukkale

Turkey: Pamukkale and Heiropolis

I actually signed up for this G-Adventures tour, a budget National Geographic company, specifically because the itinerary included Pamukkale.  Pamukkale is a UNESCO World Heritage Site which features natural travertine terraces of thermal pools.  I saw a picture of the famous site in a National Geographic magazine at least 10 years ago and have wanted to visit ever since.

Take a Soak

The Sunken City of Kekova

A long time ago, I read an article about SCUBA diving in underwater, ancient ruins near Istanbul.  I thought that would be cool to do, so it has stayed with me for years.  Having said that, during my six week trip to the Middle East which included Oman, Israel, and Turkey, SCUBA Diving didn’t make the list.

Instead, I signed up for a two-week tour through the western half of Turkey with G-Adventures, a budget-minded National Geographic Company.  Having completed little research and being rather dependent on the tour company, I was surprised to learn that there were underwater ruins in Kekova, one of the destinations on our travels.

SAIL AWAY!
dog in antalya

All About Antalya

History of Antalya

Antalya was originally founded by King Attalus II of Pergamon around 150 BC and was called Attalia for the King.  It soon became part of the Roman Empire and prospered until the fall of Constantinople.  The Seljuk Turks captured the city in 1207 which fell to the Ottomans in the mid 1300’s. 

It remained under Ottoman control until World War I when the city was briefly given to Italy before the Turkish Republic recaptured Antalya during the War of Independence.

RELAX!
hot air balloons in cappadocia

Cappadocia: Three Day Itinerary

Cappadocia is a region in central Turkey with unique geological structures and lots of history.  There are lots of things to do while visiting the region which includes several small towns such as Ürgüp, Göreme, Uçhisar, and Avanos to name a few.  Hiking, taking a hot air balloon ride, and exploring an underground city are a must while in Cappadocia.

LET’S GO!
Mount Hasan in Turkey

From Ankara to Konya

Wow!  I had never really taken the time to realize the size of Turkey.  It is huge.  I signed up for a two-week driving tour, and we hardly scratched the surface of Western Turkey.  After touring Istanbul on my own for five days, I joined G Adventures for an itinerary which included stays in Bolu, Cappadocia, Konya, Antalya, Kekova, Selcuk and Canakkale with additional stops in Ankara, Kas, Pamukkale, Ayvalik, and Gallipoli.

DRIVE THE COUNTRYSIDE!

Istanbul: The Asian Side

Istanbul is an enormous city of 14 million people and is separated into three sections by water.  The Golden Horn divides the European side into two while the Bosphorus Strait intersects the European and Asian side.  Istanbul is the only city in the world to span two continents.

In previous posts I wrote about the Sultanahmet (the Old City) and Beyoĝlu (the European Quarter).  This post will focus on things to do on the Asian Side of the city.

TAKE A STROLL!
dolmabahce palace in istanbul

Istanbul: Beyoĝlu Region

As I mentioned in my previous post about Istanbul, the city of 14 million people is split into three by the Golden Horn and the Bosphorus Strait.  The old city or the Sultanahmet district is to the south, the Asian side is to the east and the New Town called Beyoĝlu or the European Quarter is to the north.

The old city definitely features the most the sites, but Beyoĝlu also has many.  Below is a list of sites to see in Beyoĝlu.  Begin just north of the Beyoĝlu region on the Bosphorus Coast at the Dolmabahçe Palace.

TAKE A TOUR!
hagia sophia in istanbul

Istanbul Itinerary: Sultanahmet District

Istanbul, formerly known as Constantinople, is the only city in the world that straddles two continents, Europe and Asia.  The city of 14 million people is the largest city in Europe and one of the most visited in the world. 

Istanbul is split into three areas by bodies of water.  The Bosphorus Strait separates the European side and the Asian side.  The European side is further split into two by the Golden Horn.  North of the inlet is Beyoĝlu (New Town) while south is the historic area, Sultanahmet.

EXPLORE!

Touring Tel Aviv

Tel Aviv is completely different from most of the other cities that tourists visit in Israel.  While it does feature the city of Old Jaffa, Tel Aviv is very new, vibrant and cosmopolitan relative to many others in Israel.  Though a big city, it doesn’t take more than a day to explore the sites.

LET’S GO!