Turkey in Pictures: 17 Beautiful Places to Photograph

Written by Diana Bocco
Mar 27, 2020

A fascinating country sitting somewhere between East and West, Turkey has a rich history and some of the most unusual and beautiful destinations you'll ever get to visit.

From the ruins at Mount Nemrut to a coastline of azure waters and ancient islands, there are plenty of beautiful places to photograph in Turkey.

1. Pamukkale Pools

Pamukkale Pools

The deep blue travertine terrace formations and thermal pool in Pamukkale are a magnificent sight. The mineral-rich waters naturally flow down the hills, softly molding the snow-white limestone on the way. From afar, the hills look almost frozen and make for stunning photo opportunities. You can also climb to the top of the pools - 200 meters above ground level - for open views over the valley.

2. Ölüdeniz Lagoon

Oludeniz Lagoon

The blue lagoon in the resort village of Ölüdeniz is a paraglider's and kayakers' dream. The long-distance Lycian Way trail starts here, but even for non-hikers, the azure lake and its surrounding pebble shore beach is a must visit.

3. Çirali beach

Cirali Beach

For nature lovers looking for a piece of tropical paradise, it doesn't get much better than Cirali. A deserted beach surrounded by dark green forested mountains, Cirali is also close to ruins from the Lycian Empire. The beach is a protected area, as sea turtles nest on the sand.

4. Kursunlu Waterfall

Kursunlu Waterfall

The Kursunlu Waterfall Nature Park is a thick pine forest with a hidden waterfall deep inside. While the waterfall is just 10 meters tall, the green-blue pool at its bottom, the restored mill nearby, and the rich wildlife more than make up for it with stunning colors and variety.

5. Mount Nemrut

Statues on Mount Nemrut

An impressive 2,134 meters tall, Mount Nemrut is most notable for the ruins of a tomb-sanctuary at the summit - a collection of statues dating back to the 1st century BC. The "Mountain of the Gods" is especially beautiful at sunrise, as the sun wakes up behind the statues.

6. Mount Ararat

Mount Ararat

A snowcapped volcano and the highest peak in Turkey at 5,137 meters, Ararat is supposed to be the resting place of Noah's Ark. Although the mountain is just over the border, within Turkey, it is considered Armenia's national symbol and their holy mountain.

7. Cappadocia

Hot air balloons, Cappadocia

One of the most photographed sights in Cappadocia are the hot air balloons that fill the sky. Capture them against the volcanic landscape. Be sure to visit the Göreme Open-Air Museum.

8. Istanbul

Blue Mosque, Istanbul

Don't miss a chance to photograph the sites of Istanbul. Visit the attractions while you capture beautiful images. Some of the key highlights of Istanbul are Aya Sofya (formerly Hagia Sofia), the Topkapi Palace, and the Blue Mosque.

9. Mount Erciyes

Kayseri city center with Mount Erciyes in the distance

Mount Erciyes is a large stratovolcano that serves as a major winter sports site. Almost continuously covered in snow, the mountain can be climbed in about three hours on cross-country skis in winter, starting from the main ski-lift station. In summer, when the ski lifts are closed, the hike can take up to eight hours.

10. Salda Lake

Aerial photo of Salda Lake

Turkey's deepest lake at 196 meters, Salda is a crater lake surrounded by black pine forests. Famous for its many shades of blue and turquoise, its legendary healing qualities, and soft white beaches that mimic the dunes on Mars, Salda is a must-see when visiting Turkey.

11. Uludag National Park

Fall colors in Uludag National Park

One of Turkey's favorite winter sports destination, Uludag National Park is equally stunning during the summer and fall, as the trees start to change color and transform the landscape into a fiery shade of reds and yellows. This is the perfect time for hiking through the forests that cover Mount Uludag.

12. Saklikent National Park

Waterfall in Saklikent National Park

Most of Saklikent National Park is actually a 300-meter-deep canyon. The deeper parts of the canyon are only accessible after April, as water levels are high during winter and early spring, making it dangerous to hike the slippery rocks. The park has more than 30 waterfalls, some of which can be climbed or rappelled under professional guidance.

13. Kekova Island

Kekova Island

The Simena castle and ruins of an ancient Lycian site are only one of the highlights of the beautiful Kekova Island. Sunken ruins, ancient towns dating back to the 2nd century, and a bay of tranquil turquoise waters make this inhabited island a must-see.

14. Soumela Monastery

Soumela Monastery in a stunning mountain setting

Built right on a ledge in a steep cliff on Mela Mountain, the Soumela Monastery is 1,200 meters up in the air. The views from the ancient monastery, wide-open over blueish mountain and evergreen forests, are just as stunning as the structure itself. Originally built in the 4th century and extended and rebuilt over the centuries, the monastery can be reached after a steep, strenuous 30-minute hike.

15. Lycian Way

Hiker on the Lycian Way

One of the world's most stunning long-distance hiking trails, the coastal Lycian Way is 540 kilometers long - trekking the entire length would take 29 days. Most hikers come here to walk short sections of it along rugged backcountry and towering sea cliffs, deep blue waters, and ancient ruins.

16. Kaunos Ruins

Lycian rock tombs in the Kaunos Ruins

The ruins of the ancient city of Caria sit a few kilometers away from the coast - back in the 10th century BC, however, before the beach and the bay were developed, Caria was right over the water. An amphitheater, Roman baths, a number of fortifications, and a domed Byzantine basilica are among the most stunning ruins.

17. Köprülü Canyon

Oluk Bridge and the turquoise waters of the Kopru River in Koprulu Canyon

Koprulu Canyon National Park has much to offer in the way of hiking and ancient ruins. most visitors come here to see the Oluk Bridge, which dates back to the 2nd century AD. The turquoise waters of the Kopru River, which flows below the bridge, are a popular place for canoeing and rafting.

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