“If one had but a single glance to give the world, one should gaze on Istanbul.” – Alphonse de Lamartine
“Istanbul is a magical seal which unites Europe and Asia since the ancient times. Without a doubt, Istanbul is certainly the most beautiful place in the world.” – Gerard De Nerval
Why visit Turkey
Turkey is one of our favorite countries. We spent almost three weeks traveling around Turkey. We liked that country so much that we plan to visit it soon. It is better to go there in the spring when the weather is mild, and millions of tulips are in full bloom.
Turkey has an incredibly interesting history, architecture, nature. It is a relatively small country, and during the two or three weeks it is possible to see all the best areas. The food is excellent. The Turkish baths are addictive.
Sightseeing in Istanbul, you can visit Europe and Asia on the same day – it’s like shooting two birds at once. The Bosphorus Strait divides the city into two parts. One part of Istanbul is in Europe, and another one is in Asia. Istanbul is the most fascinating city in Turkey. It was previously known as Constantinople when it belonged to Greece. After it was captured by the Ottomans, they named it Istambul.
You will see the splendid architecture, will be overwhelmed by the aromas of spices and tastes of Turkish sweets, will enjoy endless water views.
Next time when we are in Turkey, we will skip Ankara. You can skip it too unless you want to learn every detail about Kemal Ataturk, founder and first president of the Turkish Republic. In this case, a one-day stop would be enough to visit his mausoleum and the museum dedicated to his life.
You must see the region of Cappadocia. Its’ world-renowned landscape is breathtaking. You will marvel at the striking rock formations. Take a tour of the underground cities. Or fly in the hot-air balloon above these strange looking rocks. The only drawback: you have to get up at the crack of dawn as all these balloon tours start very early in the morning.
Do not skip the Whirling Dervishes of Cappadocia. The show that we saw was aimed at the tourists. It was quite expensive, but we were glad we splurged. It was mesmerizing and memorable. Watching the dervishes on video did not have the same profound effect on our emotions.
If you like fun in the sun, Antalya is the place to be. This seaside town is located on Turkey’s famous Turquoise Coast. The Mediterranean Sea has incredible color on sunny days. In summer, the beach welcomes sun-starved tourists from Northern Europe.
In Pamukkale, you can dip your feet in the hot springs (or if you brought a swimsuit, you could submerge your whole body). The ancient Roman spa city of Hierapolis is situated just atop the hot springs. Wander around the ancient Greek ruins, or even sit on the 2,000-year-old communal public toilet.
How about taking a tour of Troy, the 4,000-year-old city and legendary center of the Trojan War? In the nearby Canakkale, you can see the “real” Trojan Horse, actually the one that was used in the movie “Troy.” It is standing on the waterfront promenade. Tourists from Turkey and all around the world love taking selfies in front of this “Trojan horse.”
What to see in Turkey (top trips & tours)
Istanbul – where Europe and Asia meet across the Bosphorus Strait
Antalya – a popular resort on the Mediterranean coast
Pamukkale – a surreal sight of thermal pools
Ephesus – ancient Greek port city with well-preserved ruins
Cappadocia – cone-shaped rock formations called “fairy chimneys”
Where to sleep in Turkey
(select accommodation from the best hotel booking sites)
- HotelsCombined.com (Compare all the top travel sites in one simple search)
- Trivago.com (Find your ideal hotel and compare prices from different websites)
- Booking.com (Over 2,119,000 hotels online. Hostels. Apartments. Motels)
- Priceline.com (Find a lower price, you’ll get a refund 100% of the difference)
- Hotels.com (Book now, pay when you stay)
- Travelocity.com (The price match guarantee. Free changes & cancellations)
- Expedia.com (Sign up for member prices and you could save 10% or more)
- Agoda.com (Guaranteed lowest price on hotels, resorts,
hostels, homes & more)
- HostelWorld.com (Stay in a hostel and meet the real world, not the tourist brochure)
Book your flight to Turkey
Best time to visit Turkey
Spring, from April to May, and autumn from September to mid-November.
Make sure you always have coins to give to the restroom attendant. Also bring your own tissue, as some facilities will not have toilet paper.