A UNESCO World Heritage Site, the small town of Safranbolu is one of the best places to see well-preserved examples of Ottoman-era homes and structures. Dating back to the 13th century, check out what makes this beautiful town a perfect destination for history and architecture enthusiasts.
An important caravan station between the 13th and 20th centuries, Safranbolu didn’t live out its golden years until the 17th century when the town and its many important structures influenced the architecture of the Ottoman Empire. Apart from the Old Mosque, Old Bath, and the Süleyman Pasha Medrese, built in 1322, Safranbolu has all the attributes of a typical Ottoman town, including three historic districts. From the town’s layout, visitors will see that it grew organically in response to socioeconomic expansion.
Destinations Unlocked:Let our travel expert Stefano help you find your perfect Culture trip
Looking for an expert's perspective?Uncover my top 3 recommended places from each continent on the map.
1. GuatemalaAn express adventure for those with limited time off. Prepare yourself incredible experiences. You will hike a volcano, visit mayan temples and witness a ceremony and take in beautiful colonial Antigua.
2. BelizeA quick trip not too far away for those seeking a relaxing mini break. You will have plenty of free time to relax but also some awesome activities to experience the rainforest and the caribbean sea.
3. MexicoAn exciting mini trip exploring the lesser known colonial towns of central Mexico. This is hte perfect trip for someone with limited time off and still wants to turn on explorer mode and do something different.
1. EcuadorA remarkable 8 days adventure through the Andes and the Amazon rainforest. The best choice for adventure seekers wishing to visit the 2 most iconic areas of South America, in only 1 week and no flights.
2. PeruAn alternative itinerary to classic Peru, from Cusco to Arequipa. This itinerary is great combination of highlights Cusco and Machu Picchu with the lesser known Arequipa and Colca Canyon.
1. ItalyThe ultimate Italian experience from the vibrant streets of Naples to the breathtaking sceneries of the Amalfi Coast followed by Matera and down to Puglia with its golden beaches, intense flavours and fascinating destinations.
2. ScotlandEmbark on this great adventure starting from London all the way to Scotland with a true Scottish experience made of breathtaking sceneries, whisky tasting and ..lots of fun! Ideal for train lovers and explorers.
3. PortugalA wonderful train journey around Portugal, from the romantic city of Porto to the Douro Valley, to the beautiful Aveiro all the way to Lisbon and Sintra. The perfect trip to train, culinary and culture lovers.
1. South KoreaDiscover incredible temples, mountains and modern cities on this 10 day adventure. This trip is perfect for those seeking immersion in the cuisine, culture and natural wonders of South Korea.
2. ThailandFrom Bankgok to Angkor Wat to Ho Chi Minh City and everything in between - adventure through the heart of South-East Asia. Taste the delights, see history brought to life and unwind on a Mekong River cruise.
3. Sri LankaA fantastic adventure that showcases Sri Lanka's fantastic landscapes, wildlife and flavours. With 3 epic rail journeys, 3 UNESCO heritage sites and time to relax, this trip has loads to offer at a great price
1. MoroccoAn epic journey across Morocco: from Casablanca to Marrakech, through the blue city of Chefchaouen to the wonders of the desert and deep to the High Atlas Mountains - this trip has it all! Ideal for true explorers!
2. EgyptFrom Cairo to Aswan, this trip brings the land of the pharaohs to life. You'll visit the Pyramids, Valley of the Kings and Luxor Temple and cruise down the Nile in style. This is the perfect way to explore Egypt.
The first historic district of Çukur, located in the town’s lower part, is surrounded by two rivers with a marketplace in the center and many classic Ottoman homes and craftsmen workshops. The second historic district of Kıranköy has a more European layout due to the non-Muslim communities that used to reside here, with artisans and tradesmen living in the spaces above their workshops.
The houses in Kıranköy, compared to Çukur, are also different and made of stone rather than wood. As such, Safranbolu visually expresses how different communities were able to build their own quarters according to their own architectural traditions.
The third historic quarter, Bağlar (also known as the Vineyards) has beautiful single houses each equipped with a large garden, and in the past, it was the town’s summer resort. Looking out over the northwest slope, one can imagine residents getting away from their daily routine to take some time off in their lush gardens in the warmer months.
Added to UNESCO’s list of World Heritage Sites in 1994 due to some of the most well-preserved examples of the beautiful wooden Ottoman-era houses, Safranbolu’s old town has an impressive 1,008 registered historical artifacts, including a private museum, mosques, tombs, fountains, hamams, caravanserais, a clock tower, a sundial, and many houses. As for its special name, Safranbolu comes from the name “saffron” since the town used to be a center for the growing and trading of saffron. As such, while in Safranbolu, make sure to eat Safrantat, a delicious saffron-flavored Turkish delight.
Apart from the amazing historic architecture, hiking to the Incekaya Aqueduct is also a fantastic experience while in Safranbolu. Located about two hours away from the old town by foot, the path to the historic aqueduct is flanked by a beautiful gorge. Built during the Byzantine era, İzzet Mehmet Paşa restored the aqueduct in the 1790s. Even though visitors are no longer allowed to walk across the historic structure, it’s still possible to walk to the Tokatlı Canyon where the view of the stoned archway is absolutely beautiful.
Volcanic Iceland Epic Trip
meet our Local Insider
HOW LONG HAVE YOU BEEN A GUIDE?
WHAT DO YOU LOVE ABOUT YOUR JOB?
It's the personal contact, the personal experiences. I love meeting people from all over the world... I really like getting to know everyone and feeling like I'm traveling with a group of friends.
WHAT DESTINATION IS ON YOUR TRAVEL BUCKET-LIST?
I have so many places on my list, but I would really lobe to go to Africa. I consider myself an “adventure girl” and Africa feels like the ULTIMATE adventure!
Every CULTURE TRIP Small-group adventure is led by a Local Insider just like Hanna.
KEEN TO EXPLORE THE WORLD?
Connect with like-minded people on our premium trips curated by local insiders and with care for the world
Since you are here, we would like to share our vision for the future of travel - and the direction Culture Trip is moving in.
Culture Trip launched in 2011 with a simple yet passionate mission: to inspire people to go beyond their boundaries and experience what makes a place, its people and its culture special and meaningful — and this is still in our DNA today. We are proud that, for more than a decade, millions like you have trusted our award-winning recommendations by people who deeply understand what makes certain places and communities so special.
Increasingly we believe the world needs more meaningful, real-life connections between curious travellers keen to explore the world in a more responsible way. That is why we have intensively curated a collection of premium small-group trips as an invitation to meet and connect with new, like-minded people for once-in-a-lifetime experiences in three categories: Culture Trips, Rail Trips and Private Trips. Our Trips are suitable for both solo travelers, couples and friends who want to explore the world together.
Culture Trips are deeply immersive 5 to 16 days itineraries, that combine authentic local experiences, exciting activities and 4-5* accommodation to look forward to at the end of each day. Our Rail Trips are our most planet-friendly itineraries that invite you to take the scenic route, relax whilst getting under the skin of a destination. Our Private Trips are fully tailored itineraries, curated by our Travel Experts specifically for you, your friends or your family.
We know that many of you worry about the environmental impact of travel and are looking for ways of expanding horizons in ways that do minimal harm - and may even bring benefits. We are committed to go as far as possible in curating our trips with care for the planet. That is why all of our trips are flightless in destination, fully carbon offset - and we have ambitious plans to be net zero in the very near future.