A perfect base for reaching anywhere connected with the Gallipoli campaign is the charming boutique hotel, The Gallipoli Houses. Built, owned and expertly run by Eric Goossens and his wife Ozlem, the hotel is perfectly placed in the village of Kocadere, in the heart of the Gallipoli National Park.
Externally, the rooms are designed to blend in with the rest of the village, however the accommodation is modern, comfortable and has every convenience that you will need. The food and wine are carefully prepared and selected so that you have the opportunity to enjoy an authentic taste of Turkey. For those seeking to further their knowledge of the campaign of 1915, then you will find Eric a veritable encyclopedia on the subject.
I cannot think of a better place to stay to enjoy your visit to the Gallipoli peninsula
Xanthos is a world heritage site on Turkey’s Lycian coast, easily accessible by car from Kalkan or Petara. The site dates back to the 5th century BC, and what makes it so distinctive are the pillar tombs, some with marble reliefs; the most distinctive is the so-called “Harpy Tomb” depicting sirens carrying off the souls of the dead. Typically, though, you will need to go to the British Museum to see the original. Other than the extensive site and well preserved remains – including an impressive amphitheatre - Xanthos is also famous for the two occasions when the inhabitants committed mass suicide in the face of Persian and then Roman invaders, so the site has some moving stories to tell.
Olympos is an ancient city, settled in 2BC and abandoned in the 15th century. Situated on Turkey's south west coast you can gain access by walking along the beach from Cirali Town and up past a little river into the site. The beauty of Olympos is that you can get right up to the ruins and touch them, and when we visited in September there were very few tourists around. A good portion of the city is still standing and other buildings are being repaired, though it feels like you might have just stumbled upon the ruins yourself. And once you have finished your time at Olympos a beautiful beach, where turtles nest during summer, awaits you.
On the south coast of Turkey, 90 km southwest of Antalya city.
200km north of Istanbul lies the Gallipoli Peninsula. A breathtaking stretch of Turkish coast, steeped more in recent history than ancient history, with many interesting WWI sites to visit in a single area. I found the stories of comradeship between the NZ, Australia, British and Turkish soldiers extremely moving. You are able to visit the remaining trenches, untouched since the war (the original barbed wire remains) and see how unbelievably close the groups of soldiers were during most of the war. In the area there are monuments and cemeteries for each nation and beautiful, yet windy, beaches to visit. Imagine what life must have been like for them, fighting a war in such an idyllic location.
Google map: bit.ly/YqQoOu
Ancient pomegranate trees shade a rocky trail leading up to the Greek amphitheatre of Erythrae. Unlike the human maelstrom at sites like Ephesus, visitors here are few, even in summer. We felt free to test the acoustics. Nearby a sun-wizened old man was minding a hobbit-hole. In the dark interior, on a dusty floor, lay dusty fragments of mouldings and ceramics. Explaining (eventually) we were from England he smiled broadly then proudly spoke his two words of English: "Manchester United".
It's well worth stopping on the way there or back at one of the small roadside cafes on the coast road between Çeşme and Illdir. They have shaded terraces with spectacular views over the Aegean Sea and islands. Try an Akitma, thin Turkish crêpes, cooked to order and filled with Feta-type, crumbly fresh cheese. Wash it down with Ayran, a suprisingly delicious cold drink of yogurt mixed with water and salt.
Illdir, on the coast road about 1 hour north of Çeşme.
Tourist information office: Çeşme (fax 232-712 6653) - it's by the harbour at iskele Meydanı 6.
Google map: bit.ly/13aWLKm
What can I say? Love 'The Harry's. The location is perfect - it feels like heaven sat watching the sunset from the top. Views are just gorgeous. Great place for morning coffee or an evening drink and also definitely the best restaurant to go to. Food is great. This is certainly the only place that we book year on year. You need to pre book for the restaurant though as it does get very busy.
Generally, crowds detract from an experience - more so in a beautiful, serene, spiritual place. In Istanbul the Blue Mosque (Sultanahmet Camii) suffers due to it's popularity - especially with the cruise ship populations! To see/feel it as it should be seen/felt go in the evening - no crowds and a bonus of gorgeous lighting effects. Avoid prayer times by visiting www.namazvacti.com/Main.php?WSLanguage=EN
If you’re a sun-seeker who’s taken advantage of the cheap FlyThomasCook flights to Antalya, it’s well worth taking a day trip to the ancient Pisidian ruined city of Termessos. Bewilderingly under-visited, possibly due to the steep climb required to reach the site (located 1000m above sea level), you often get the impression you have the place to yourself. The amphitheatre is particularly impressive with spectacular views across the rolling Tauros mountain range. Leave Ephesus to the masses and take in this piece of history on your own terms.
It's a 30km drive north-west of Antalya.
Google map: bit.ly/ZZsPe8
Kingfishers overtake the little boats that chug past the Sultaniye mud baths and round a final bend of the Dalyan River in Turkey to reveal the 2,500 year old limestone rock tombs carved by the Lycians high up on sheer sandstone cliff walls. Our guide explained this was so the souls of the ancient kings of nearby Caunus, who were laid to rest here, could be wafted away by winged sirens. There are restaurants opposite, good to enjoy at night while the striking and extremely photogenic site is floodlit.
My favourite archaeological destination in SW Turkey has always been Stratonikeia. Between Milas and Yatağan, equally accessible from Bodrum, Altinkum and Marmaris, the site is an archaeologist's dream as Greek, Roman and Ottoman remains tumble around the ruined houses of the Turkish Republic. Visit in spring and you'll be serenaded by frogs in the ancient theatre. Unlike Ephesus, you can wander at leisure through the bathhouse, gymnasium and bouleuterian unhindered by crowds, as coach tours are still a rarity. The villagers of Eskihisar were forced to leave their homes as an ever expanding coal mine encroached on their land. Abandoned villages always have a forsaken air and Eskihisar had the added menace of massive slag heaps looming over the ancient city walls. Only one old lady refused to leave and as the years went on she got progressively more dotty and would yell at us as we apologetically picked our way around the ruins. I returned to Stratonikeia this April for the first time in 10 years and found a happier atmosphere in the village. Two families have moved back and a team from Pamukkale University are busy excavating and restoring mosaics. The mosque has been repaired despite having no worshippers and the tea house is open. The towering slag heaps have been seeded and are turning into rolling green hills. Excavations are turning up exciting finds by the day. But the most thrilling development is an initiative between Muğla and Italian Education ministries to educate children using Statonikeia and Herclenium as examples, with a tag line of "Who doesn't know the past can't have a future, so teach through history."
Signposted just off the main road from Milas to Yatağan. Just before you hit the chimneys of the power station.
Google map: bit.ly/Z9HUYg
Anytime of the year is good to visit Sagalassos, a two hour drive north of Turkey’s Mediterranean tourist hotspot, Antalya, but my favourite time is winter when this ancient site set in the Taurus mountains is covered in a layer of crisp snow. First, take a climb up to the 9000 seat stone-built theatre in order to orientate yourself and savour the view over the remains of this remote but important Pisidian city, most of which dates back to the 1st and 2nd century AD. Then head down to the library, complete with a mosaic floor, the rock cut tombs, a good place to shelter from the wind and bask in the sun, the agora with the decorative fountain, the Antonine Nyphaeum now boasting reproduction statues, the reconstructed heroon and the remains of the ancient bathhouse. In early spring, despite the lingering snow, purple croci can be glimpsed among the rocks and noisy nuthatches dart between the boulders. The site has ongoing excavations every summer, but for the rest of the year, you are likely to have the entire site to yourself.
If you’re going to visit a historical site, it makes good sense to enjoy the whole experience as people in the past did, so I recommend the Cagaloglu Haman in Istanbul. It’s one of the oldest Turkish baths in the world and has been visited by figures as diverse and illustrious as Florence Nightingale, King Edward VIII and Tony Curtis. This place was a gift to the city from Sultan Mahmud 1 in 1741and it retains the original features, such as beautiful high-domed ceilings and marble fountains as well as an interior garden. The bathing experience is still just as it was in the Ottoman days - you are given a brisk body exfoliation followed by a bubble massage as you lie on a smooth marble plinth. I skidded around like a beached seal as the masseur slapped and pummelled me before washing my hair with a deliciously herbal scented soap. Afterwards, wrapped in white fluffy towels and sipping tea, I could almost imagine myself back in the days of the Sultan.
Alemdar Mh. Cağaloğlu Hamamı Sk No:34, Fatih, Turkey
+90 212 522 2424
Google map: bit.ly/15fTNQg
Aphrodisias is a stunning ruin of an ancient Greek city in Caria. The site is almost on the same scale as Ephesus, in both size and historical significance but hardly attracts the same crowds. It is quite a trek to get there but it is worthwhile. There is a splendidly preserved theatre, stadium and the remains of the Temple of Aphrodite, the main figure of worship in the city. The museum contains a great selection of marble Roman statues in very good condition and plans are in place to excavate and display even more, so go now before the crowds really begin to descend on the place.
Its site is located near the modern village of Geyre, Turkey, about 230 km south-east of İzmir and about 100 km inland from the coast.
Google map: bit.ly/15fU3Pe
A small entrance fee gives you access to the extensive Lycian archaeological site complete with large amphitheatre. Work is still in progress and we found the guys working there really friendly and anxious to explain it all to us. When you have finished looking round the historical site, you can drive a little way further on to the beach- 18 km of beautiful sand. There is a small cafe and a few recliners with umbrellas. Paradise!
Google map: bit.ly/XjH5wu
Myself and my partner ate here on a number of occassions and were never disappointed. The service was excellent, really friendly staff and always happy to help. The restaurant looks out over the beach which is a stunning view. We often watched the paragliders landing just in front of the restaurant or the the sun setting from here.
The food was so good, everything we ordered was wonderful. From a simple chicken kebab wrap to Harry's fish special we really enjoyed it all. It was great value for money. Yes, some of the drinks were a bit expensive but no more than anywhere else. After a lovely meal we really enjoyed going up to Harry's cocktail bar and trying out all the different cocktails. Again the staff there were brilliant and the cocktails were yummy.
Overall this was one of our favourite restaurants and deserves the excellent rating we have given it. As my title said great food, great surroundings and great staff. What more could you want?!
We visited Tlos in spring when the snow on the mountains provided a magnificent backdrop to this ancient, ruined Lycian citadel which was subsequently inhabited by Romans, Byzantines and eventually Ottoman Turks. Entrance fee was 3 TL and this allowed us to wander up to the citadel passing wonderful examples of Lycian carved rock tombs, sarcophagi and the remains of Turkish baths and a Roman stadium. Despite being surrounded by history it was the all-round view which provided the most lasting spectacle.
You reach the Tlos from Fethiye by following the 400 highway towards Kalkan and following the signs for Tlos.
My family have just returned from istanbul. This is the fourth time I have been to this beautiful city but this was the first time we stayed at Alibaba Suites I would highly recommend these apartments to anyone. They are only five minutes away from the Hagia Sophia and Sultanahmet Mosgue, are very clean, close to local shops where you are not paying tourist prices for food and other essentials. The apartments are fairly priced for what you get, better than staying in a hotel where you are stuck in one room. There was a lovely terrace upstairs where we used to have breakfast daily
Bunyamin and Moustafa, the two partners were very helpful and my children became attached to Bunyamin and wanted to visit them in their travel agency every day. We used to pass by and talk to Ben who was hospitable and would always give us good advice and looked after us as if we were their personal guests.
The apartment was cleaned every day and it was nice to come back to a nice and clean apartment.
Thank you very much Ben and Moustafa hope to see you soon again.
Walk through the ornate lobby of the Seven Hills hotel in Sultanahmet, and take the lift to the rooftop bar for the best view in Istanbul. Sip a Turkish beer or wine while drinking in the 360 degree panorama, including the Blue Mosque, Hagia Sophia and the ships on the Bosphorus. Swap seats each round for a different but equally stunning view!
The Harry’s Restaurant & Lounge Bar is set in an ideal location, along the promenade of Oludeniz. The views from the rooftop are amazing especially during the evening when you can watch the sunset and enjoy a few cocktails and some music. During the daytime, The Harry’s Restaurant is a great place if you want to watch the adventurous tourists and co-pilots land their paragliders while you eat. Worth a visit!
Istanbul is all about roof top views and one of the best is from the 5 Kat. Located in a non descript building on a quiet side street, after a ride in a shaky old lift you step out onto a beautiful outdoor terrace with a breathtaking view over the Bosphorus. Get there early evening to grab a bar stool and a cocktail and watch the sun go down and the lights go up. Great view of the light show on the Bosphorus bridge.
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