Highlights: Akdamar, Tusba castle, Hosap Castle
Lake Van is Turkey’s largest lake, and is the biggest sodium carbonate lake in the world. It is also one of the world’s highest, at 1,650 metres above sea level. The water is so alkaline that the villagers can wash their clothes in it without using soap. It is also very salty. The scenery here is stunning – surrounded by snow-capped peaks, the highest of which, Süphan Dağı is over 4000 metres. There are four islands in the lake, the largest of which is Akdamar Island, which can be reached by boat. It is home to the church of the Holy Cross, built by the 10th century Armenian King, Gagik, one of the biggest attractions in the area.
Turkey’s most Eastern district is surrounded by some of the country’s highest peaks, including Agri Dag or Mount Ararat, the legendary resting place of Noah’s Ark. Just to the south is the stunning, isolated palace of Ishak Pasha, one of Turkey’s most famous late Ottoman sights.