Across the lake from Van is one of Turkey's loveliest natural wonders, the beautiful and rarely visited crater lakes of Mount Nemrut (Nemrut Krateri, which should not be confused with the more famous Mt. Nemrut farther west). From Tatvan, 146 km (91 miles) west of Van, a rutted road leads up the mountain to the 10,000-foot-high rim of what was once a mighty volcano. From the rim of the crater, you can see down to the two lakes below—a smaller one fed by hot springs and larger "cold" one. A loose dirt road leads down to the lakes, where very simple tea stands have been set up. The inside of the crater has an otherworldly feel to it, with its own ecosystem: stands of short, stunted trees and scrubby bushes, birds and turtles, and cool breezes. Few tourists make it to the lakes, and chances are your only company will be local shepherds and their flocks.
Van, Van, Turkey