5 Experiences to Get Off the Beaten Path in Turkey

Get a freshly squeezed orange and pomegranate juice before you trek to see idyllic views of Kekova Bays.

Cappadocia Photo © iStock/apolloicdag

The most interesting way of experiencing a new destination is to get off-the-beaten-path, away from the tourist trail where you have the opportunity to meet the authentic local people who have been untouched by mainstream tourism.

Trish Sare, Founder and Director of BikeHike Adventures, has spent a great deal of time exploring the backstreets of Turkey and has stumbled upon many hidden gems. Here are a few of her favorites.

Tahtakale in Istanbul

Tahtakale is a market district in Istanbul between The Grand Bazaar and The Spice Bazaar, and is an area not well known to tourists.  99% of the shoppers here are Turkish merchants who come from all over Anatolia (the Asian part of Turkey) to purchase textiles and leather in large quantities. This is one of the best markets to purchase colourful scarfs and beautiful henna night costumes.

Cappadocia by Bike

Cappadocia has a very unique lunar landscape that was created three million years ago by the violent eruptions of some nearby volcanoes. The falling ash (tufa) and erosion sculpted interesting formations that resemble fairy chimneys and caves.  Biking through Cappadocia is the ideal way to explore the area to really get into the isolated nooks and crannies, where the tourist buses don't venture.  The Love Valley of Cappadocia, is a must see as well with row upon row of naturally sculpted giant erected penises, seriously.

Staying in old Cappadocian houses is recommended here to get a feel for ancient ways of construction and truly meet the local people who's families have owned these homes for hundreds of years.

The Taurus Mountains

The Taurus Mountain range is located in the Mediterranean region of Turkey and is a rugged limestone area of cascading waterfalls, underground rivers and has some of the largest caves in Asia. Avid trekkers who seek remote hiking areas will be in heaven here. Semi-nomadic Turks live in these mountains and migrate to lower and higher ground bi-annually so sustain their livestock on the fertile land. The area is rich in flora and fauna with hundreds of endemic flowers, migrating birds, ibexes, wolves and lynx.

Kekova Island

Kekova Island is a small island that has submerged 20 feet into the Mediterranean Sea as a result of many earthquakes in the 2nd century. If you travel along the coastline you'll get a glimpse of the sunken ancient city of Lycia. If you go, be sure to get a freshly squeezed orange and pomegranate juice before you trek to the theatre of Simena where you'll get idyllic views of Kekova Bays.


There are are several submerged ancient cities in Turkey, but Aperlae is special because it's not easy to get to. The only way to reach it is by trekking along The Lycian Way, a famous 509 km walk between Fethiye and Antalya, or by boat, or sea kayak. Aperlae offers magical snorkeling in a remote setting.

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