Things to do in Aegean Coast
The Aegean is one of Turkey's most visited and most developed regions, for good reason: the area is home to some of Turkey's most captivating treasures, from gorgeous white-sand beaches to the ancient ruins of Ephesus. The Roman city of Ephesus is the big draw for sightseers, and rightfully so. Bodrum and its surrounding beach towns attract sun seekers from around the world.
Visitors are spoilt with choice when it comes to sightseeing and activities on the Aegean coast with sophisticated hotels, a buzzing nightlife scene, and remarkably unspoiled historic sites. Even Izmir, Turkey's third-largest city and no stranger to concrete sprawl, will surprise travellers with an interesting collection of museums, bustling bazaars, and lively seaside promenades.
There are also the fascinating places between these major stops: charming hill towns like Sirince; the otherworldly white cliffs and thermal springs at Pamukkale; the seaside charms of sleepy Gümüslük village, near well-heeled Bodrum; the ancient cities of Priene, Miletus, Didyma, and Laodicea; and the long, sandy beaches at Altinkum and elsewhere along the coast.
Ephesus is the biggest and best-preserved ancient city in Turkey and is one of the world's most spectacular historical sites. The city and its harbour were established on the mouth…
Ephesus is the biggest and best-preserved ancient city in Turkey and is one of the world's most spectacular historical sites. The city and its harbour were established on the mouth of the Cayster River and, in the 2nd century BC, became the most important port and commercial trading centre in Anatolia. Alexander the Great ruled over it during the Hellenistic period and it was once capital of Roman Asia under Augustus in 133 BC. Ephesus declined during the Byzantine Era and by 527 AD it was deserted. Ephesus is also important as the early seat of Christianity, visited by Saint Paul, whose letters to the Ephesians are recorded in the New Testament. Guides are available and can offer a rich insight into the history and architecture of the ruins. Chariot-worn streets contain amphitheatres, murals, and mosaics, as well as baths, fountains, and columns. Highlights include the enormous Library of Celsus, the Temple of Hadrian, and the Grand Theatre where Paul preached to the Ephesians. The city was originally dedicated to the goddess Artemis and her once-magnificent temple is considered one of the Seven Wonders of the Ancient World.
Calcium-rich mineral springs have surged over the edges of this mountain plateau edges for thousands of years, resulting in an intriguing natural masterpiece. Meaning 'Cotton Castl…
Calcium-rich mineral springs have surged over the edges of this mountain plateau edges for thousands of years, resulting in an intriguing natural masterpiece. Meaning 'Cotton Castle', the rock formations of Pamukkale are a series of natural shelves, ridges, and terraces turned white from the solidified chalky calcium deposits of the thermal waters. From a distance it appears to be a dazzling white fairytale castle, with a formation of tiers rising from the ground containing warm water pools. The hot springs have been used since Roman times and are believed to cure certain ailments. Additionally, visitors should not miss the bubbling Sacred Pool of the Ancients, the main source of the springs that created the white terraces. Fortunately, its mineral waters are open for public bathing. Pamukkale is also the site of the ancient Roman spa-city of Hierapolis, and there are several ruins scattered about the area, including an impressive Roman theatre. It was considered a sacred site for its magic healing waters and was the holiday destination of kings and emperors of the Pergamum and Roman Empires.
For about 3,000 years the legendary battle of Troy pervaded Western culture. The story, told by Homer in the Iliad, was regarded as just a myth, until the ruins of the city were fo…
For about 3,000 years the legendary battle of Troy pervaded Western culture. The story, told by Homer in the Iliad, was regarded as just a myth, until the ruins of the city were found at Hisarlik, in western Turkey, in the mid-19th century. Today the romantic story draws tourists and archaeologists alike to the site, where not a great deal remains to be seen beyond the ancient walls and a replica of the famed Trojan horse that enabled the final conquering of the city by the ancient Greeks. The setting is also spectacular, offering views of the Dardanelles and the hills of Gallipoli.