Europe touches Asia in the Middle East here and the clash is visible in the struggle between the secular and religious, wanting to be an Asian heavyweight and aspiring to join the European Union, and the juxtaposition of the partying beach resorts to the conservative hinterland.
With a geographical position between two continents it is not surprising that Turkey is a cross-cultural melting pot, it has frequently been a battleground, a meeting between East and West, and everything in-between for thousands of years. Every would-be empire has left its imprint on Turkish soil, going back 11,000 years with the oldest temple in the world at Göbekli Tepe.
If you like ancient ruins and civilizations, you are in the right place. On the other hand, if you seek nice beaches, idyllic coves and crystal clear waters, you are similarly in the right place. And if you prefer incense and spice filled bazaars, sublime mosques, winding alleys and little hidden cafés full of shisha smoking men, you are also in the right place. Yes, even if you like partying till the break of dawn, loud trance music and getting stone drunk, you are in the right place. Turkey has got something for everybody.
From the epic ruins of Ephesus, a balloon trip over Cappadocia, mesmerizing Istanbul, a boat trip taking you from Bodrum to Fethiye along the beautiful Aegean coastline, the picturesque Ottoman townscape of Safranbolu, to the beautiful ruins of Ishak Pasha Palace in the far east of Turkey, you won’t be disappointed.
This is the country that gave us Troy, tulips, and Constantinople! This is the country of kebab, olives, köfte, pide and Turkish delights (aka lokum!
Discover why millions of tourists visit this country, why the Turkish people are so proud of their country, and why once, or even twice, is never enough!
Hints and Tips for Turkey
- Turkey is easy to travel within -- you have buses going nearly everywhere, or you can try the train.
- In Istanbul you will be followed and hassled by touts trying to sell you everything you could ever imagine and never knew you needed. If you do decide to give in and buy something, haggle!
- Turkey has two sides, a cosmopolitan, educated, secular, liberal and western dressing elite, and the conservative countryside. Generally the East is more conservative than the West, the beach more liberal than inland, and the cities more secular than the countryside.
- This country has so much to see that, unless you have loads of time, it’s better to pick a region and do it properly than try to cover everything in a rush (you wouldn’t be able to cover everything anyway, even if you had years).
- You can get by with English in all the major tourist places, but learning some Turkish will be greatly appreciated.
- As always respect the country and culture you are in, and act accordingly.