After the rigours of central Anatolia, this vast expanse of water surrounded by snowcapped mountains sounds deceptively promising for beaches and water sports. Lake Van (Van Gölü) has great potential for such activities, but nothing has been really developed yet. On the positive side, it's very scenic and virtually untouched.
The most conspicuous feature on the map of southeastern Turkey, this 3750-sq-km lake was formed when a volcano (Nemrut Dağı) blocked its natural outflow.
Travelling south around the lake between Van and Tatvan offers beautiful scenery, but there's little reason to stop. The exception is 5km west of Gevaş, where the 10th-century Church of the Holy Cross on Akdamar Island is a glorious must-see.