|Also known as the Eagean shore (because of the Egean Sea), the Western side of Turkey is rich with ancient cultures and beautiful shores. This part of Turkey offers both; a cultural travel with ancient Greek structures, theatres and a relaxing vacation with magnificent beaches & sea.
As most of Turkey, the western coast also has local buses operating throughout the country. Railways is not very common in this part but there are few small airports which will allow you to fly from big cities such as Istanbul, Ankara, Antalya…etc.
Izmir Aiport is the biggest and most busiest Airport in Western Turkey. There are many different airlines flying in and out of this airport. Denizli Airport is a small airport which allows you to fly from/to Istanbul to/from Pamukkale. There are also Bodrum and Dalaman Airports which will allow you to easily reach the South-Western part of Eagean shore like Bodrum, Marmaris, Fethiye, Oludeniz…etc.
Stonepark Travel Agency would gladly arrange your flights suitable with your travel needs.
West coast of Turkey usually has a mild climate which allows visitors to arrive to this beautiful region whenever they want even though the winter months can be quite rainy. But of course summer months are the best times to travel to benefit from the beautiful sea and beaches of Turkey’s Western Coast. Summer time is ideal for sunbathing and seaside vacation purposes.
Spring and Fall will be mild; not very hot or not very cold. Even though sometimes it can be rainy these are are also good times to take a cultural travel to Western of Turkey.
Western Turkey has a mild weather. As it’s surrounded by seas it has a humid climate but not as much as the Southern part. The winds will allow this part to have a fresh weather even though it can be very hot at summer time.
Canakkale – Gallipoli - Troy: Famous with many different wars through out the history this region is strategically connecting Europe and Asia just like Istanbul. One of the most famous Greek mythology wars, the Trojan war battlefield can be visited here. The Troy site was firstly discovered in 19870s.
Gallipoli Peninsula region is also very important as it’s also the battlefield for the famous Canakkale battle in World War I. Here you can find the history of this horrifying battle and the monuments, cemeteries of many Anzacs…
Pergamon: Today known as Bergama, Pargamon or Pergamum was an antique Greek city in Aeolis. The acropolis holds many beautiful sites as the Temple of Athena, the Royal Palaces, the Hellenistic theatre, the famous library, the Temple of Trojan, the temple of Dionysos, the Altar of Zeus and the famous Red Basilica(aka St. John’s Church). At the foot of acropolis you can visit the Asclepion which was the medical center of the acient World.
Izmir: Once called Smyrna, Izmir is one of the most popular cities in Turkey. As Smyrna it was an Ancient Greek city located at a central and strategic point on the Aegean coast of Anatolia. Because of its central touristic location and the population living in the city, Izmir Adnan Menderes Airport has many international and domestic flight in and out of city. It’s a nice city to visit, stay and use as a bridge.
Sirince & Selcuk: Sirince is a small and pretty town which is around 85km distance from İzmir. People who would prefer a quite stay than a touristic one may prefer Sirince and Selcuk Villages. Sirince is also famous with its fruit wines.
Ephesus: Ephesus is one of the most famous sites in Turkey to offer the ancient Greek life to visitors. Located at 3km of Selcuk village Ephesus, was built in the 10th century BC by Attic and Ionian Greek colonists. The city flourished after it came under the control of the Roman Republic in 129 BC. It is also famed beause of the Temple of Artemis which was one of the Seven Wonders of the Ancient World. You will also able to visit ancient beauties like the Celsus Library, the Temple or Hadrian, the Fountain of Trajan and the famous theatre.
Temple of Artemis: As one of the Seven Wonders of the Ancient World, Temple of Artemis was a Greek temple that was dedicated to the ancient goddess of Artemis. Destroyed and rebuilt many times throughout the history, unfortunately today you can only see the you can only see the ruins of the foundations of this marvelous construction of the Hellenistic Age.
The House of Virgin Mary: 9km ahead of Ephesus you can find the House of Virgin Mary at the top of Mt. Koressos (Bulbul Dağı). It is said that she came to this region with Saint John to who spent several years in the area to spread Christianity and finally spend her last days here. Today, only a room on the right of the altar and the central part are open to visitors.
Basilica of St John: It was believed that St John arrived in Ephesus area and spend several years in this area to spread Christianity. Finally he spent his last years here and it is said that he is buried at the southern slope of Ayosuluk Hill. In th 4th century a small chapel was build over his grave and in 6th century church of St John was transformed into a marvelous basilica during the region of Emperor Justinian I.
Aphrodisias: Located between Ephesus and Pamukkalr, Aphrodisias is one of the finest archaeological sites in Turkey. As you can understand from its name, Aphrodisias was named after Aphrodite, the Greek goddess of love.
Pamukkale: Meaning “ Cotton Castle”, Pamukkale is an unique natural site located in Denizli Province. Pamukkale is most famous with its snowy like white travertines, hot spring and the ancient Greco-Roman and Byzantine city of Hierapolis . Hierapolis was built over Pamukkale’s snowy white travertines and can be seen from the hills of Denizli.
Hierapolis: Hierapolis is located at the top of Pamukkale’s travertines. The famous hot springs of Pamukkale have been used as a spa since the 2nd century BC.
Didyma – Miletus - Priene: As these there Ancient Ionian towns are all within 40km of each other it’s possible to visit all of them in one day. These towns were the homeland for many great artistic and scientific minds in the ancient world. Priene is the usual first stop. Originally founded in the 4th century BCE, Priene offers several note-worthy artifacts such as the Temple of Athena erected by Alexander the Great and the agora (market) area of this city which was home to about 6,000 inhabitants in its day.
Miletus was one of the greatest and wealthiest of the Greek cities. Today this ancient city's most famous site is the amphitheater which was able to hold 24,000 spectators back then.
Didyma was an ancient Greek sanctuary on the coast. Mostly famous for stone-carved Medusa head artifact. Here you can also visit the temple and Oracle of Apollo as well
Bodrum: Mostly known with the lovely beaches and lively night life, Bodrum is one of the best places to stay in Western coast. You can also visit Bodrum Castle and Bodrum Mausoleum while you’re there.
Marmaris: Marmaris is also one of the best seaside vacation places in Western Coast. It has many beautiful beaches and hidden natural beauties. Marmaris is also a good spot to start a Blue Cruise.
Dalyan: Dalyan Town is located at the center of Dalyan delta. It would take small boats to get to the famous Iztuzu beach. Iztuzu beach is also famous for egg laying Caretta Caretta’s. The Dalyan Delta is a protected as a National Conservation area and is home to over 200 species of birds and at least three varieties of turtle, including the Loggerhead Caretta Caretta.
You can also visit the ancient city Caunos, Rock Tombs and Mud Baths while you are in Dalyan.
Fethiye - Oludeniz: Fethiye area would appeal all kind of visitors. It has many ancient ruins to visit closeby for culture lovers, long & beautiful beaches, amazing blue-green sea for seaside vacationers and many activities like paragliding, rafting, scuba diving…etc. for adventure lovers.
Fethiye was home to ancient Lycians and has many ancient sites you can visit like; Telmessos, Saklıkent Gorge (hidden city), Lettoon, Xanthos, Tlos ancient city…etc.
There are many centers and seasides you can stay in Western Coast according to your travel type. For example if you prefer to do an Anzac tour it’s best to stay in Canakkale and if you prefer to make a cultural tour it’s best to stay in Kusadasi as it’s the central point to many sightseeing places like Ephesus, Pergamon…etc. And you could go to Pamukkale from Kusadasi to experience the beautiful White terraces and Cleopatra’s Pool and stay in Pamukkale’s spa hotels to benefit from its healing water aswell.
Bodrum, Marmaris, Fethiye is best to relax at the beach and have fun in crazy party nights. There are many different accommodation options here from silent relaxing hotels to all inclusive fun and family hotels. You can also join blue cruises departing from Marmaris, Bodrum and Fethiye.
Fethiye and Oludeniz is also good for Paragliding and Scuba diving activities. Again there are Daily cruises which will allow you to visit the famous coasts like “Butterfly Valley”.
It’s possible to find small souvenir shops in every part of Western Turkey. If you would like to take a small present for your loved ones back home these are the best places.
Turkey is also one of the best places to buy high quality leather. Even though the quality is high the prices are much lower comparing to other countries. The best places to buy leather products will be in Istanbul, Kusadasi and Mediterranean parts. You can buy many letaher products such as; jackets, coats, bags, wallets, shoes, gloves…etc. But while buying it’s best to trust your travel agency’s safe shops or avoid very touristic places.
If you’re shopping alone make sure to check different shops to compare prices and products.
As hosted many different cultures through out the history Turkey has a very rich culture and cuisine. Turkish people enjoy meat very much and it’s a large part of our cuisine with famous kebabs but our cuisine is also very rich in vegetables and different kind of snacks so Vegetarians will also find a chance to benefit from our rich cuisine.
Western Turkey part is mostly famous with its olive oil vegetable dishes and fish, seafood dishes. Western Turkey will offer the most fresh and delicious seafood and fish dish options so make sure you taste some calamari, mussel, octopus salad, midye dolma, season fish… etc.
You can also find fish sandwiches known as “balık-ekmek” in every corner.
This part of Turkey shares a great deal of its culture with Greek culture so you may find the very similar mezes in both sides. As it’s a shared culture nobody knows which dish comes from where so it’s best not to argue with Turkish people about those. For example baklava is owned by Greeks aswell but a Turkish will never accept that. It’s best to eat all you can get but don’t ask where it comes from!
If you will also visit non touristic places it will be best to carry some Turkish Liras with you as you may not always find an exchange center.
You can always use the banks or exchange offices to Exchange currencies but its best to use exchange offices as usually the banks give lower exchange rates. If you can’t find any exchange offices or banks around, you can always try goldsmiths. Try to exchange your currency in the week days or on Saturday as the goldsmiths and exchange offices may be closed on Sundays.
People & Language
A Turkish Phrase book or Google tranlate will help you communicate with the people at non-touristic parts of Turkey but even though they don’t speak or understand English you will find a person eagerly ready to help you at every corner.
1 inch = 2.54 centimeters / 1 centimeter = 0.3937 inches
Things to be Careful About
Some of the museums you’re not allowed to take photos as the mosaics are very fragile. But mostly, it is allowed to take photos without flash. It is definetely forbidden to take photos of the military bases.
Taking photos of the local people is generally fine but in some countryside some people can be conservative. If you are in an area like that, it’s better to ask their permission before taking the photo. Even if they don’t understand your language they will understand your gestures. As most of the local people are very friendly, they also may come to you to take a photo with you.
As much as Turkish people are friendly and good willed, like in many countries we may have ill-minded people also. Don’t believe everybody or go places with them without searching or asking someone you would trust (your hotel or your travel agency for instance)
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