Turkey

Overview

Historically positioned at the junction of East and West, Turkey is so much more than its vacationer-beloved Turquoise Coast: it is an aromatic glass of hot Turkish tea in Istanbul, overlooking the Bosporus; a dip into the thermal waters of dazzling white-and-blue Pamukkale; a soar over Cappadocia’s puzzling “fairy chimneys”; a journey into the past via historic ruins of once-mighty Ephesus with its Temple of Artemis, one of the Seven Wonders of the Ancient World.

Top Attractions

  • Explore the ancient city of Istanbul, straddling Europe and Asia, with its iconic landmarks like the Hagia Sophia, the Blue Mosque, and the Topkapi Palace, as well as its bustling bazaars, vibrant neighborhoods, and scenic views of the Bosphorus.
  • Discover the unique landscapes of Cappadocia, with its surreal rock formations, cave dwellings, and underground cities, as well as opportunities for hot air balloon rides, hiking, and exploring ancient churches and monasteries.
  • Visit the ancient ruins of Ephesus, one of the best-preserved Roman cities in the world, with its grand theater, marble streets, and iconic landmarks like the Library of Celsus and the Temple of Artemis, as well as opportunities for archaeological tours and historical exploration.
  • Experience the natural beauty of Pamukkale, with its terraces of travertine pools, thermal springs, and ancient Roman ruins, as well as opportunities for bathing in the mineral-rich waters and exploring nearby attractions like Hierapolis and the ancient city of Laodicea.
  • Explore the historic sites of Troy, Pergamon, and Aphrodisias, with their ancient ruins, temples, and theaters, as well as opportunities for archaeological tours, historical reenactments, and cultural immersion.

Local Cuisine

  • Indulge in the flavors of Turkish cuisine, known for its rich spices, fresh ingredients, and diverse influences from the Mediterranean, Middle East, and Central Asia.
  • Sample iconic dishes like kebabs (grilled meat skewers), mezes (appetizers like hummus, tabbouleh, and dolma), and börek (flaky pastry filled with cheese or meat), as well as traditional side dishes like pilav (rice), cacık (yogurt with cucumber and garlic), and ezme (spicy tomato and pepper salsa).
  • Try Turkish specialties like köfte (meatballs), lahmacun (thin-crust pizza with minced meat and vegetables), and iskender kebab (döner kebab served over bread with tomato sauce and yogurt), as well as traditional desserts like baklava (layers of filo pastry filled with nuts and honey) and künefe (shredded pastry with cheese and syrup).
  • Savor refreshing beverages like ayran (a yogurt drink), şalgam (fermented turnip juice), and Turkish tea and coffee, as well as traditional alcoholic drinks like raki (anise-flavored spirit) and Turkish wine.
  • Don’t forget to try Turkish street food like simit (sesame-seed bread rings), midye dolma (stuffed mussels), and kumpir (baked potato with various toppings), as well as snacks like roasted chestnuts, roasted corn, and Turkish delight.

Outdoor Activities

  • Go hiking and trekking in Turkey’s national parks and scenic areas, with opportunities for exploring mountain trails, coastal paths, and ancient pilgrimage routes in destinations like the Lycian Way, Mount Ararat, and the Kaçkar Mountains.
  • Visit the beaches and coastal areas of Turkey, with opportunities for swimming, snorkeling, and sunbathing on destinations like the Aegean and Mediterranean coasts, as well as opportunities for sailing, windsurfing, and scuba diving.
  • Experience adventure activities like paragliding over Ölüdeniz, white-water rafting on the Köprülü Canyon, and rock climbing in Geyikbayırı, as well as opportunities for hot air ballooning, horseback riding, and jeep safaris.
  • Explore the rivers and lakes of Turkey, with opportunities for kayaking, canoeing, and fishing on destinations like the Dalyan River, Lake Van, and the Euphrates River, as well as opportunities for boat tours to explore caves, canyons, and islands.
  • Discover the biodiversity of Turkey’s national parks and nature reserves, with opportunities for birdwatching, wildlife spotting, and nature photography in destinations like the Dilek Peninsula National Park, the Göksu Delta National Park, and the Kızılırmak Delta Bird Sanctuary.

Cultural Experiences

  • Immerse yourself in the rich cultural heritage of Turkey with visits to museums, galleries, and cultural institutions like the Istanbul Archaeology Museums, the Museum of Turkish and Islamic Arts, and the Mevlana Museum in Konya, which showcase the history, art, and culture of the country.
  • Explore the vibrant arts scene of Turkey, with opportunities to attend music festivals, dance performances, and art exhibitions showcasing Turkish and international talent, as well as workshops and classes in traditional crafts like ceramics, calligraphy, and carpet weaving.
  • Experience traditional Turkish music and dance performances, such as Turkish folk music, belly dancing, and Sufi whirling dervishes, as well as contemporary styles like pop, rock, and electronic music, which reflect the diverse cultural traditions of the country.
  • Discover the history and legacy of Turkey’s indigenous peoples with visits to historic sites like Göbekli Tepe, the world’s oldest known temple complex, the Hittite capital of Hattusa, and the ancient city of Mardin, which showcase the art, culture, and traditions of Turkey’s indigenous communities.
  • Participate in local festivals and celebrations, such as the International Istanbul Film Festival, the Izmir International Fair, and the Konya Whirling Dervishes Festival, to experience the vibrant culture and spirit of Turkey firsthand.

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