Switzerland-esque valleys and mountainscapes, Sri Lankan-style tea-covered hills, crumbling churches on the desolate grassy landscape of high steppe – these are the unexpected sides of Turkey. Changing hands between Greeks, Hellenes and Byzantines over centuries, eastern Turkey is a treasure trove of architectural and cultural wonders that’s somehow slipped under the radar for years. Retrace the path of the historic Silk Road from Istanbul and explore the lesser-known areas surrounding the Black Sea to the ‘pearl of the east’ Van. Head to the spectacular Kackar Mountains, visit Turkey’s renowned dairy country in Kar, and travel to the very edge of Armenia to marvel at rugged Mount Ararat. Wild, vast and gloriously lonely – this is a side of Turkey few get to see.

Highlights

Go beyond the classic images of Turkey and explore the country's north and eastern regions, places of unexpected landscapes, Silk Road past, and the mix of history and culture with nearby Georgia, Armenia and Iran

Discover a little piece of the alps in Trabzon, a Black Sea coastal city surrounded by lush green mountains and valleys, with a long Roman and Byzantine history

Get a taste of Turkish flavours when visiting a tea farm in the green hills of Rize and taste traditional gravyer cheese near Kars

Explore what was once the capital of an Armenian empire, an atmospheric ‘ghost town’ of crumbling ruins above the valley of the Arpa Cayi River

Look down over the plains of Dogubayzit from Ishak Pasha Palace with Mount Ararat soaring in the distance