Eastern Turkey with its tremendous diversity, has a unique appeal all its own. If you want to explore eastern Turkey then self drive is a great way to travel so make sure you organize car hire in Turkey before you arrive.
Encompassing the Black Sea region, Eastern Anatolia and Southeastern Anatollia, there is so much to do and to see here that visitors keep coming back for more! Altindere National Park in Trabzon provides a stunning backdrop for the Sumela (Virgin Mary) Monastery, precariously perched on a cliff above a deep gorge. The monastery's church is covered with beautiful frescoes depicting events from the Bible. Close to Trabzon is Lake Uzungol, a lovely alpine lake in the midst of mountains and meadows, ideal for camping, hiking and fishing.
About 75km east of Trabzon is the city of Rize on a Rize on a mountains slope covered with lush green tea plantations. If you're visiting at the right time, pick up some great Black Sea tea blends at the famous Summer Tea Festival. Close by is the pretty little town of Camlihemsin, on the banks of a swift flowing stream. Visit the Ayder Plateau where they hold colorful traditional festivities, Firtina Vadisi (Storm Valley) where you can try your hand at canoeing, or just visit the stunning Zil Castle. The area is a good starting point for scaling the mighty Kackar Mountains, favorite with climbers from around the world. For a different kind of a thrill, try white-water rafting down the rapids of the Coruh River at Artvin.
One of Turkey's alluring skiing destinations is Palandoken near the ochre plateau of Erzurum, the largest city in Eastern Anatolia. With the longest ski run and the best quality snow in Turkey, its little wonders that skiers flock here every winter. Eastern Anatolia's most spectacular palace is the breathtaking Nemrut Dagi National Park, famous for the gigantic funerary sanctuary built on the summit of the lofty Nemrut Dagi (Nemrut Mountain), flanked by terraces on which colossal statues stand. The azure Van Lake is ringed by mountains and dotted with islands with ancient monasteries and churches.
Eastern Anatolia and Southeastern Anatolia are home to many sites that echo with Biblical resonance. Agri Dagi (Mount Ararat) with its permanent snowcap is the place where Noah's Ark is said to have landed and, according to some expects, may still be buried under the ice. Harran, an important Mesopotamian historic centre, is known for its unique beehive-shaped mud houses. According to the Bible, this was where Abraham, the patriarch of three world religions, lived. Some, however, that he was born in nearby Sanli Urda the famous 'City of Prophets' and then moved to Harran.