More urban, more casual and less rigorous, Van is very different in spirit from the rest of southeastern Anatolia. Young couples walk hand in hand on the main drag, live bands knock out Kurdish tunes in pubs, and a resilient population coping with the impact of recent earthquakes inspire a satisfying urban buzz.
While Van boasts a brilliant location near the eponymous lake, forget about water sports and beaches. Instead, focus on the striking monuments, including Van Kalesi (Van Castle or the Rock of Van), spend a few days journeying around the lake, and explore the nearby historic sites of Çavuştepe and Hoşap.
Hotels, restaurants, ATMs, the post office and bus company offices all lie on or around Cumhuriyet Caddesi.