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Beautiful morning scenic with a balloon flight over the spectacular Cappadocia, Turkey.

Turkey Travel: The Insider Guide

Turkey is a country that is a perfect blend of rich history and natural beauty; from its bustling cities to its serene countryside, it is an unforgettable destination.

Where to stay

If you are looking for luxury, the country has a number of five-star hotels and resorts. Four Seasons Hotel Istanbul at the Bosphorus is an exceptional choice, with its stunning views of the city. It even has its own private stretch of shoreline. The hotel’s location is also ideal as it is close to many of the city’s main attractions.

Ottoman mansions offer a more traditional experience. Sultans Inn, located in the heart of Istanbul’s historic Sultanahmet neighbourhood, is a beautifully restored mansion. It combines contemporary comfort with traditional Ottoman architecture.

Galata Tower and the street in the Old Town of Istanbul, Turkey, By Boris Stroujko, Adobe Stock

What to do

In Istanbul, be sure to visit the city’s famous landmarks, including the Hagia Sophia, Topkapi Palace, and the Grand Bazaar. Hagia Sophia is a magnificent example of architecture that has served as a mosque, cathedral, and museum over the centuries. Topkapi Palace is a former imperial palace that offers a fascinating glimpse into the life of the Ottoman sultans. The ancient city of Ephesus is another must-see destination, offering a glimpse into the past with its well-preserved ruins.

If you want to escape the city,  a hot air balloon ride over Cappadocia’s fairy chimneys is a must. Unique rock formations and colourful valleys create a breathtaking backdrop for this once-in-a-lifetime experience. The region is also home to several cave hotels, including the Argos in Cappadocia, which offers luxurious accommodation in restored cave dwellings.

The stunning blue waters of Oludeniz Beach, also known as the “Dead Sea”, offer a perfect escape for those seeking some relaxation and adventure. Take a dip or go paragliding for a bird’s eye view of the stunning surroundings.

For a taste of Turkish culture, visit a traditional Turkish bath, or hammam. Cagaloglu Hammam in Istanbul is one of the city’s oldest and most famous hammams. Its luxurious spa has been enjoyed for centuries.

Turkey Travel: The Insider Guide
Giuseppe Mondi, Unsplash
Turkey Travel: The Insider Guide
Fatih Yurur, Unsplash
Turkey Travel: The Insider Guide
Abdullah Oguk, Unsplash

Food & Drink

Whether you’re looking for street food stalls, high-end restaurants, or traditional taverns, the country’s cuisine is sure to impress.

 In Istanbul, be sure to try the city’s famous street food, including kebabs, baklava, and Turkish delight.  One of the must-visit street food stalls in Istanbul is Balik Ekmek, known for its delicious seafood sandwiches. Enjoy the freshest seafood on freshly baked bread and watch the hustle and bustle of the city go by. For a more formal dining experience, head to Mikla Restaurant, where you can savour inventive cuisine while taking in stunning views of the city. The city also has a number of high-end restaurants, such as Mikla, which offers innovative cuisine with a Turkish twist. 

For those who want to try traditional Turkish dishes, a visit to a meyhane, or traditional tavern, is a must. These lively establishments serve a variety of small plates, or meze, to be shared among friends, along with drinks such as raki, a popular Turkish spirit. Hamdi Restaurant should be at the top of your list. With dishes passed down for generations, this restaurant offers a taste of the country’s rich culinary heritage. 

In Antalya, Vanilla Kitchen serves up Mediterranean-inspired dishes with a chic twist, while Imroz is a traditional tavern where you can sample the local flavours.

Turkey’s wine and spirit scene is also not to be missed. Sip on the country’s local wine at Morini, a chic wine bar, or immerse yourself in the local culture by trying raki, the traditional anise-flavoured spirit, at lively bars like Rejans.

How to get around

The main international airport, Istanbul Atatürk Airport, is well connected to major cities worldwide, while domestic flights link many other cities in the country. If you prefer to travel by land, comfortable trains and buses connect the major cities, while rental cars and taxis are readily available for more flexibility. For a truly unique experience, take a ferry along the stunning coastline, or join a local tour to explore the country’s ancient ruins and natural beauty.

When to visit

Turkey is a year-round destination, but the best time to visit depends on what you want to experience. For those looking to experience the country’s rich cultural heritage, the spring months of March through May or the autumn months of September to November are ideal, with mild temperatures and fewer crowds. 

During the summer months of June to August, the country’s stunning beaches and coastal towns come alive, providing a perfect escape from the city heat. The winter months of December through February are also a great time to visit, with ski resorts in the mountain regions offering a unique way to experience the country. 

Don’t miss out on the chance to attend one of Turkey’s many vibrant national festivals and celebrations, such as the Istanbul Film Festival in April, the Antalya Golden Orange Film Festival in October, or the Kadirga Festival in August.

Turkey Travel: The Insider Guide
David Monje, Unsplash

Whether you’re looking for adventure, relaxation, or a journey through history and culture, Turkey is a destination that is sure to impress.

  1. Turkish Ministry of Culture and Tourism – provides a comprehensive overview of the country’s history, culture, and tourist attractions.
  2. Turkish Government Official Portal – Provides information about the country’s government and its policies.
  3. Turkish National Commission for UNESCO – provides information about the country’s cultural heritage sites and initiatives to preserve them.
  4. Visit Turkey – provides information about the country’s tourist destinations, including information about hotels, transportation,

 

Main image: Soft Light, Adobe Stock

 

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