Van Travel Guide

  • Van
    by colindr23
  • Van
    by colindr23
  • Off The Beaten Path
    by colindr23

Van Highlights

  • Pro
    ozalp profile photo

    ozalp says…

     Breakfasts, lake, history, people 

  • Con
    Behi profile photo

    Behi says…

     Water & electricity cut off 

  • In a nutshell
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    RitchiS1 says…


Van Things to Do

See all 58 Things to Do in Van
  • Akdamar Church

    Akdamar is probably the most famous attraction from Van. It's no longer an active church but I do think they occasionally have ceremonies when some groups of Armenians visit. It's easy enough to visit by local transport, I had to ask around a bit to find the bus stop but it wasn't too difficult. At the site,I did have to wait for awhile until a bus...

  • Old City of Van

    Behind the Rock of Van/Castle are the remains of the old city, destroyed in WWI. It's a haunting, atmospheric place. There are the remains of a few buildings and an old minaret with the remains of the castle looming over. On the far side of the field there are some restored mosques and an old city gate. The place was deserted when I visited except...

  • Van Castle

    The castle is a must see while you're in Van. When I visited, there wasn't really any kind of development for tourists, no signs, ticket office, anything like that. At first glance, it looks off limits behind a chain-link fence but in fact, you can explore the whole place. I had to walk along the perimeter some distance but eventually I found an...

  • Van Lake

    Van Lake is the biggest lake of Turkiye. It is a saline and soda lake and has no outlet (“endorheic” says wikipedia). Lake’s surface is 1640m above sea level. Its widest point is 119 km, average depth is 171m and maximum dept is 451m. Its area is 3755 square km.The only fish living in this lake is Pearl Mullet.There are 4 islands in the lake. The...

  • Van Museum

    Van Museum hold objects since pre-historic & Urartian era to Ottoman Turks era.such as red potteries, gold jewelery, bronze artifacts at lower floor. Hakkari Stelae & cuneiform tablets At the inner courtyard. Hakkari Stelae was surprise, we have hundreds of those at Ardebil in Iran & I just knew turkey has 13 of those, really was pleasant to see...

  • Van Golu (Lake Van)

    Lake Van, the largest lake in Turkey is a saline and soda lake.The only one fish known to live in Lake Van & that can be found in some restaurants.


Van Hotels

See all 4 Hotels in Van
  • Tamara Otel

    Cad Bahcivan Mah Yuzbasioglu Sok No 1, Van, Van, Turkey

    Satisfaction: Excellent

    Good for: Families

    Hotel Class 4 out of 5 stars

  • Merit Sahmaran

    Yenikoy Mevkii 12.Km, Edremit, Van, 65170, Turkey

    Satisfaction: Average

    Good for: Business

  • Akdamar Hotel

    Kazim Karabekir Cad 9, Van, Van, 65100, Turkey

    Satisfaction: Terrible

    Good for: Business

    Hotel Class 3 out of 5 stars

Van Restaurants

See all 29 Restaurants in Van
  • Akdamar Restaurant and Camping

    The Restaurant is just opposite the Akdmar Island where the boats go to the Island.They have very delicious fish from the Lake and traditional foodsand camping is available with hot water. Camping is free Tava and Lake Van fish

  • Traditional Lahmacun

    2nd & last meal was 2 another dishes of Lahmacuna (a Traditional meal, like pizza) in 2nd visit of Van.this time at small shop in far west of Kazim Karabekir cad. as I guess no tourist go there.the good point was u can see the Lahmacun process also this small restaurant main food is Lahmacun.I will go there again for more delicious dishes of...

  • 1st taste of Lahmacun

    we had our 1st launch in 2nd visit of Van at Halil Ibrahim Sofrasi a clean & Lux restaurant with polite waiters.this time we looked for Lahmacun, a Traditional meal, it's like pizza.they have 4 type of Lahmacun in Halil Ibrahim Sofrasi.we tried ordinary Lahmacun (5TL) & one with meat slices (9TL) + a glass of Ayran(Doq in persian) & a bottle of...


Van Nightlife

See all 3 Nightlife in Van
  • Certainly not "non existent"

    Anyone who says that nightlife in Van 'doesn't exist' just hasn't tried hard enough to find it, not that it's hard to find. Here's a summary:Tamara Ocakbasi: Here you can select your meats or chicken plus mezes and cook them yourself with friends at your own person grill, there are many so the room gets quite hot but it's great fun. Full alcoholic...

  • It Ain't London:-)

    Doesn't excist, I even tried to find a beer (from a kiosk) before bed, and I gave up. Mind you I didn't search the whole town.The Lonely Planet guidebook said there were a couple of bars but even their male readers complained about the enviroment being oppresive.

  • You can pass your late nights...

    You can pass your late nights to write dozens of post cards for being airmailed through different post offices from Istanbul as they apply different rates from each other.. Casual while writing .


Van Transportation

  • Van - Orumiyeh(Iran)

    at Orumiyeh Terminal you can find some company that leaves Orumiyeh to Van & vice versa.they stop somewhere at beginning of Cumhuriyet Cad. in Van.most buses smuggle gasoil or carry cargo, they just need some passengers (2-5) for crossing border legality. try to find buses with at least 15 passengers, also cargo buses move very slow.costs 180,000...

  • Transportation in Van

    We easily found the busses to Gevas, Edremit, Dogubayazit in Van center. But some the busses to some towns were hard to find, like Cavustepe. There are two kind of transportation in city: Small busses (dolmus) and big blue busses of municipality. Both were cheap, about 1.5-3 lira. The only problem was waiting. We waited almost an hour at Ahtamar...

  • How to reach Van?

    Van is far from Istanbul. Being far from Istanbul is really important because Istanbul is the heart of Turkey. Since reaching to Van by bus takes 24 hours, the best option is airplane. I travelled with Pegasus Airlines. They depart from Sabiha Gokcen Airport and it is closer to my home than Ataturk Airport. Pegasus Airlines' Van flights stop by in...


Van Shopping

See all 7 Shopping in Van
  • Buy some souvenirs in Cavustepe

    Mehmet Kusman is a clever man. He manages to earn his life and this deserves respect. He told his little adventure of finding the perfect stone to carve and carving Urartian symbols and writings as souvenirs, too. He was wearing some of them and showed us the rest after having some tea. I regret that I haven’t got more money, because the square...

  • Doviz means exchange

    Change money at Doviz shops.mind that they are closed on all official holidays & on evening (~5pm).then always have enough TL.some shopping malls change money at lower rateEuro exchange rate is better than $

  • Cumhuriyet & Kazim Karabekir cad.

    main shopping malls & famous trademarks are located along Cumhuriyet Cad. & Kazim Karabekir cad. main object to buy in turkey is clothes & specially Jin.


Van Local Customs

  • Tea after every meal

    in Turkey, you'll get a cup of tea after every meal, a custom that is done carefully in every restaurant.

  • Generous people

    It started to be boring to say “Our people’s hospitality, generosity…” again and again, but I must tell you these stories:- Most of the population is Kurdish people in Van. So, in busses they use to listen to Kurdish folk songs. When we asked for the price or something in Turkish, the driver changed the tune or shut down the radio. We had to...

  • Friendly Locals

    If you are travelling by yourself, as I was, then you won't be alone for long. The locals are very friendly and generous, I paid for very few meals here. Maybe bring some small gifts that are special to your country.


Van Warnings and Dangers

  • Iranians pay attention please!

    It was just once forever in Khoshap that we see this hi-tech device at Turkey.It's impossible to find it in any WC in Turkey thus made us to comprehend how useful this technology is.without this device relaxation was not easy pleasurable!

  • no English!

    No sigin in the cities or in roads are in English, also least people know English.It's difficult to make connection.The good part for us as Iranian is that Van is Kurdish area & some people know Persian.

  • Military checkpoints

    somehow undeclared war is going on among Turkish government & Kurd inhabitants of the region.Along the road from Iranian border to Van there were 6 Military checkpoints that inspected our Passports & bus.& once inspected our Luggage.The big problem is they asked something in Turkish & expected to hear answer also don't know English.fortunately the...


Van Tourist Traps

  • do not expect, that you may...

    do not expect, that you may enter the palace at regular times.We actually had to wait some time for the guide, who was booked by the Rotel-company and he finally made the tour through the ruins just for us.

  • Everybody knows it .Going on...

    Everybody knows it .Going on traveling is nice and this is the happiest part but what about returning home and having to do same road which you already know and the friends your are about to leave ,these are the sad part .Always have with you some paper napkins to use when you start crying...

  • Bevare of mean dogs ,...

    Bevare of mean dogs , especially from the ones who are black and come by morning time to the beds which are not yet done.They eat and lick whatever they find in the close neighbourhoud and love to sneak around and hide any sock or bag or jewelleries like bracelets in velvet bags....


Van What to Pack

  • globetrott's Profile Photo
    Isaak Pascha Serail

    by globetrott Updated Dec 11, 2003

    2.5 out of 5 starsHelpfulness

    Clothing/Shoes/Weather Gear: Be prepared of rough winds, even when the sun shines down in the cities of Van or Dogubayazit, it might be a bit colder ( or maybe just not so very hot ) as down in the valley

    Photo Equipment: don't expect shops with films, batteries etc...

    They did not even have a shop with postcards, souvenirs or snacks up there, just a peacefull environment, a lovely castle and a great panorama-view !

    Was this review helpful?


Van Off The Beaten Path

  • Çavuştepe

    This place was a bit underwhelming. Unless you're just really into ancient archaeological sites you can skip it. There's not much to see other than piles of stones. There's one section that's basalt with some cuneiform inscriptions on it. It really stands out because the stone is in excellent condition and very black, unlike the others. I arranged...

  • Hoşap Castle

    Hoşap Castle is not far from Van and makes for a nice day trip. The Lonely Planet guide mentioned that it is possible to get there by public transport but it all seemed a bit complicated and I didn't have much time so I arranged for a tour at about 100-150 Turkish Lira, don't remember exactly with a trip to Çavuştepe included and I was...

  • Chavosh Tape (Çavuştepe)

    The archeological Urartian site of Chavush tape is located at about 25 km of southeast Van on the road to Hakkari. Chavushtepe impressive remains of the Urartian castle and seat of King Sardur II (764-735 B.C.).These remains, including the walls and the palace complex with an Urartian "king's toilet".The site consists of an upper and lower castle...


Van Favorites

See all 9 Favorites in Van
  • Van cat

    we had chance to see to van cats, one at Van kalesi & one at Akdamar restaurant.both were white with a blue & a green eye.The driver told this cats will die if take them out more than 10km far from lake.

  • Vatan...

    Vatan means state. What the other world is on that mountainside (on the picture) I don't know. But this is a common sight, at least in Eastern Turkey. You will see the cresent and the star of the Turkish flag and some words written in white on a hill or mountainside.

  • Van

    Van has an old history. Once it was the capital of the Urartu empire (the name was then Tushap). Later it was one of the biggest cities in the Armenian kingdom. Then the Persians, Byzantines, Seljuk and Ottomans came. During WW I the old town was levelled to the ground during fightings between Ottomans on one side and Armenians and Russians on the...


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