Hello travellers! My name is Carles Mas (@carlesmass) and welcome to my bucket list guide to Turkey – amazing experiences for you to enjoy in 2022.
I am a 22-year-old filmmaker born and raised in Montroy, a village near Valencia in Spain. Since I was young, I have had an affinity with movies. I wanted to be an actor, stuntman, cameraman or director. But recently I understood that I had to choose one path. So I chose to be a stuntman.
Yes, “stuntman” sounds crazy! However, I have been doing parkour for the past five years and actually liked the idea of being the guy who dies in the movies. Eventually, while stunting in a commercial, I met the cameraman and fell in love with this side of it. Then I decided to become a filmmaker. I always try to pursue my dreams – no matter where they take me.
12 Unforgettable Days in Turkey
Another passion of mine, which combines with filmmaking, is travelling. I recently spent 12 days in Turkey on a road trip and it was just amazing! We went to Istanbul, Ephesus, Pamukkale, Cappadocia and more places. I have to say Turkey is a country that made me want to travel more.
Visiting Turkey was a spontaneous decision in the moment but it was also a destination high on my bucket list. This was because I wanted to discover the Turkish culture and wander around the streets talking with the people and photographing faces. Cappadocia was also a big drawcard. I have always dreamed of visiting that magical place and it didn’t disappoint!
Cappadocia was probably my favourite place in all of Turkey. Not just because of the extraordinary landscapes and activities but more because of the awesome local people. Everyone there was so welcoming and friendly. We met incredible strangers who are now good friends. It’s unbelievably amazing to be able to travel and find these destinations on your route.
One of my favourite things to do in Turkey was just walking around and meeting people. Turkish people are maybe the most kind human beings I have ever met. It’s a unique experience wandering around and talking with them because they always stop what they are doing just to talk with you.
10 Best Things To Do in Turkey
Turkey is a beautifully diverse country offering a wealth of experiences including rich history, fascinating religion, friendly locals, stunning architecture, phenomenal cuisine, adventures in nature and much more! Below you will find my top bucket list experiences for your visit to Turkey.
1. Wander around the Streets of Istanbul
One of my favourite things to do in Istanbul was just walking around the different streets and neighbourhoods. I had the opportunity to meet new people, photograph local faces and experience hidden corners of the city where east and west meet. This is an absolute must-do on your visit.
2. Visit the Massive Camlica Mosque in Istanbul
This mosque is insanely big and beautiful. Located in the Asian quarter of Uskudar in Istanbul, the mosque took six meticulous years to construct and was opened in 2019. Camlica Mosque is now the largest mosque in Turkey where you can visit an art gallery, library, conference hall and art studio.
3. Discover the Ancient Roman Ruins of Ephesus
Ephesus was a pleasant surprise as I wasn’t expecting to see something so incredible. Many people travel to Italy to see Roman ruins but Turkey also offers a wonderful array of sites. This vast city dates back over 2,000 years and is home to the Great Theater which could once hold 25,000 spectators!
4. Take in the Unique Landscapes of Pamukkale
Pamukkale is a popular spot for tourists and it’s easy to see why. It was one of the most unique places I have ever seen. Mineral-rich thermal waters flow down bright white terraces with insane views over the surrounding landscapes. A photographer’s and filmmaker’s dream destination for sure.
5. Try the Phenomenal Turkish Cuisine
The food in Turkey is mind-blowing! Try every local dish you can. Kebabs are a staple food but the cuisine is much more diverse than just doner. Order some baklava, mouth-watering kofte meatballs, meze platter, pide Turkish pizza and more. Wash it all down with an Efes beer or Turkish wine.
6. Meet the Amazing Local People of Turkey
A highlight of any trip to Turkey is meeting the wonderful local people. You will be surprised by how welcoming and friendly the Turkish people are. Some of my best memories were from talking with random Turkish folk that I met on the streets, in restaurants and when doing tourist activities.
7. Go Hot Air Ballooning over Cappadocia
This is a bucket list experience when visiting Turkey. Book for a sunrise ride with Butterfly Balloons and witness a panoramic view of the fairy-chimney landscapes and other balloons floating in the sky. Make sure you budget for this activity because regardless of the price you won’t regret it!
8. Hire a Motorbike and Explore Goreme
The best way to explore Goreme – the most ancient city of Cappadocia – is to hire a motorbike and travel as you please. It’s a lot of fun to hoon around these landscapes and see what you discover! In addition to hiring your own motorbike, you can rent an AV quad bike which is just as fun.
9. Relax with a Turkish Tea Wherever you Go
Wherever you go in Turkey you will be greeted with Turkish tea and believe me it’s a phenomenal brew! Apple tea is especially delicious. You can enjoy a tea at any time of the day. It’s the perfect drink to relax after hours of exploring a destination. Be sure to pair your tea with some Turkish Delight.
10. Enjoy Breakfast on a Rooftop in Cappadocia
The rooftops of Cappadocia are magical, especially if you go at 6am and have breakfast while the sun rises and the balloons take flight. This is the ultimate time to shoot photos and time-lapses. There are plenty of epic hotels to choose from such as Koza Cave Hotel and Erenbey Cave Hotel.
Need to Know Before you Go
Before you arrive make sure you take cash with you (liras), US dollars and an international credit card. When choosing a place to eat be a bit careful. A general rule of thumb is to head to restaurants with people already there as they are popular with locals and tourists for a reason.
If you plan on travelling during COVID-19, ensure that you follow and stay up to date with the rules when arriving and departing. We actually got stuck in the country for two days and missed a flight because the rules suddenly changed on us just a few days before the flight.