The ease with which one can reach Turkey is remarkable, with daily flights to and from almost every UK airport into all the main towns of Turkey. In Istanbul, at the crossroads of Asia and Europe, the familiar and the exotic sit comfortably side by side, but travel further east and the culture and atmosphere become more obviously Central Asian.
Why we like Turkey
Turkey is a vast and diverse country with vibrant cities, historical sites, mile upon mile of pretty coastline plus incredible scenery ranging from mountains and fertile plains to the magical landscapes of Cappadocia. Delicious food, warm, welcoming people and an efficient infrastructure make travelling around Turkey effortless.
What to expect on your holiday to Turkey
There are two distinct sides to Turkey. There is the southern coastline crammed with cheap hotels catering to mass package tours and cheap flights, and then there is the rest of the country. Admittedly there are points where the two meet, but for the most part it is possible to travel around Turkey without encountering crowds of foreigners.
The further east you move, the more the western influence declines. Just south of Georgia are wild uninhabited valleys where spring flowers are in abundance, pretty Orthodox churches have stood for hundreds of years and bears are a common sight. Few people have ventured that far. Mardin, a hilltop city in the east, is famous for its Artuqid architecture consisting of heavily decorated buildings which cascade down from the hilltop in layers.
Some ideas for a Turkey holiday
- Spend a week cruising the Aegean coast in a luxurious gulet, a wide-beamed traditional sailing/motor yacht.
- In Cappadocia, visit underground towns that housed over 3,000 people and stay in stylish hotels with bedrooms cut into rock.
- Istanbul is the filament between east and west - there's not enough space here to extol its wonders. Don’t miss it.
- Journey through eastern Turkey and visit Gobekli Tepe, the recently excavated 9,000 year old temple that has rewritten the history books.
- Attend the Sufi, or Whirling Dervish, festival in Konya, in December.
- Transport yourself back to Roman times as you stroll around the ancient city of Ephesus.
- Climb Mount Nemrut at sunrise and marvel at the colossal stone heads of Antiochus.
- Sample delicious baklava and experience local hospitality in the lesser visited Eastern region.
As a tourist destination, Turkey is safe to travel around. When visiting the bazaars and crowded places, we always recommend caution and keeping an eye on your belongings, as with any destination, and leaving valuables at home.
Being such a diverse country with a wealth of history, Turkey has lots for visitors to see and do. Highlights include a visit to the mesmerising Blue Mosque, which dominates the Istanbul skyline, and inside is an oasis of tranquillity amongst the buzzing city outside. Those wanting to leave the hubbub behind should travel to Cappadocia, where they will be met by an ethereal lunar landscape and villages carved into the rock. Here it is possible to take a balloon ride as the sun rises over the valleys and canyons of this remarkable scenery.
It is compulsory for everyone in Turkey, local and tourist, to carry photo ID with them at all times. Make sure you have a photocopy of your passport before departing.
Alcohol is widely available in Turkey, especially in the larger cities and tourist areas. Local spirits such as ‘Raki’ are hugely popular among locals, and should be tried during a visit.
Like any country when you travel, we always suggest eating at busy places which are popular with the locals and where the food is fresh. Avoid buffets and food which is not freshly prepared.