A practical, simple hotel favored mostly by Iranian tourists. One person speaks excellent English in the reception, which was exceptional because it was difficult to find English speakers in the area. He was very helpful, bought us Bus tickets for our next destination, made local recommendations, ...
Van, sometimes called, “the Pearl of the East,” is a relaxing city situated in Turkey’s Eastern Anatolia region. It sits along the eastern side of Lake Van, with which it shares its name, and has a history dating back to at least BC 5,000. You will also find the city, with its predominantly Kurdish population, to have a different feel to the rest of the country.
Most Van hotels are located around the northern end of the Russian Bazaar near the city center. With the top 10 hotels in town having lovely customer service, standard amenities like free WiFi, and great locations, you cannot go wrong with where you choose to stay.
Start your days off indulging in Van's famous breakfast cuisine, and then wander around to the number of historical sites in town. To get around, your best bet is to ride a dolmuş, which is like a shared taxi.
The biggest must-sees are the ruins of the Fortress of Van (Van Kalesi). It was built back during the 8th and 7th centuries BC under the Urartu Kingdom. Nearby is the Van Museum, where you can learn more about the city and region’s history. You also do not want to miss Sardur Tower, which bears ancient inscriptions by Xerxes the Great himself, or the Van Great Mosque (Ulu Camii).
Of course, the best attraction is Lake Van, the largest lake in Turkey and one of the biggest in the world. If you prefer to be right on the shoreline, there are a few hotels you can choose from. Check out Iskele Pier to enjoy local fish dishes with views of the lake.
You cannot visit Lake Van and not take a boat out to Akhtamar Island. It is particularly stunning in early spring when the area is filled with pink trees and Mount Erek, which overlooks Van, is still snowcapped. Folklore says the island got its name because a common boy died swimming across the lake to meet his princess love, Tamara. When he was found drowned to death, he seemed as though he was saying, “Akh, Tamara (Oh, Tamara).”
While you are there, pay a visit to Holy Cross Church, an Armenian cathedral dating back to the 900s AD. Also, you do not want to miss spotting one the famous Van cats with their snow-white fur and unique eye colors.
If you are hoping to make some short day trips, then you may also want to check out Hosap Castle (Hoşap Kalesi) and Fortress of Hayk (Cavustepe). You can also visit Varagavank, a monastery near Mount Erek.
Van has its own airport, named Ferit Melen Airport. Only about 10 minutes from the city center, it is fairly small. Its only destinations are around Turkey with one to Urmia in nearby Iran.
You will most likely fly into Esenboğa International Airport in Ankara or or Istanbul Atatürk Airport. If you need to stay overnight near either airport, there are 217 and 2,124 hotels to choose from respectively.