If you have a week or so in the city, here are some amazing suggestions about places to see besides Istanbul. The thing with Istanbul is that there’s so much to see, do and eat here but if you’re visiting for a long period of time you can get some day tours options.
DAY TRIP TO EPHESUS
Ephesus is the best preserved classical city in the Mediterranean and a place where you truly can get a feeling for ancient life. Early morning, fly to Izmir. Then take an hour tour of the magnificent Greco-Roman ruins, visit the Virgin Mary’s House where she is believed to have spend her last years and then return to Istanbul in the evening.
Although ancient writers claim that the name “Ephesus” derives from an Amazon Queen’s name, archaeological finds reveals that the Carians and Lelegians, the local peoples of Anatolia had settled here long before the Ionians’ arrival.
Ephesus was first established in 6000 B.C. and grew up around the Temple of Artemis. The Ephesians started to move to the new city built by Lysimachus in the 3rd centruy B.C. The following is the list of the various ruins of Ephesus as they appear from the upper gate, which leads to the House of Virgin Mary, located at the lower gate.
DAY TRIP TO CAPPADOCIA
Better if you can stay overnight, but also a day trip is possible. There are several flights from both airports of Istanbul, Ataturk or Sabiha Gokcen Airport( mostly low cost flight)
Watch sunrise from a hot-air ballon.
Located between two volcanic mountains, spread across 1500 m2 in the middle of Turkey, Cappadocia is a fairytale landscape.
20 million years ago, a caldera explosion filled the area with volcanic ash. Then, wind, rain, snow, temperature differences and our ancestors shaped it. At every turn, new features of this geological amusement park spring forth to surprise and amaze you. giant cones, twisting towers, blocks of rock with unimaginable, smooth and twisting faces, bizarre shapes carved from rock faces by the elements and winding volcanic ravines.
Visit Goreme Open Air Museum, a UNESCO World Heritage site and the famous underground cities.
DAY TRIP TO TROY AND GALLIPOLI
It is possible to take a day-trip from Istanbul to Gallipoli or Troy by bus or private car, but it is much better to visit the Troy and the Gallipoli battlefields on trip of 2 or 2-1/2 days, staying one or two nights in Canakkale( Dardanels).
You can take a bus from the Istanbul Coach station to Canakkale. You may want to start in the morning as the 340km(211 mile) trip will take 6 hours by bus. The crossing of Dardanelles is exiting.
As you arrive in Canakkale you will be able to find local travel agents that organize tours to Troy and to the Gallipoli Battlefields. If you want some travel agency in Istanbul can organize tours for you.
The Gallipoli Campaign took place at the Gallipoli Peninsula in Turkey from 25 April 1915 to 9 January 1916, during the First World War. A joint British Empire and French operation was mounted to capture the Ottoman capital of Istanbuland secure a sea route to Russia. The attempt failed, with heavy casualties on both sides. Today you will see trenches from the war, memorials and be able to walk on fields that gave birth to new nations like Turkey, Australia and New Zealand. Every year, 24 of April there are commemorations of this landing called ANZAK day. Very busy time.
World famous Troy on the other land, one of the best sites of Turkey from the Bronze Age, will offer you walls from the Homeric Trojan War and storis from mythology. Purists love the site.