It is surrounded by Syria, Iraq, and Iran to the south-east, Bulgaria and Greece to the west, and Georgia and Azerbaijan to the northeast. It is one of the leading tourist destinations in the world.
Istanbul tops the list of dynamic cities in Turkey. It is one of the oldest cities in Turkey and also happens to be the home of Hagia Sophia, which has attracted millions of tourists to Turkey. You can find over 3000 mosques which are scattered across the city, as the Turkish people are predominantly Muslim. Antalya city is well known for its sandy and beautiful Mediterranean beaches referred to as the Turquoise Coast for its clear blue waters. Ankara, the capital of Turkey, is full of diplomats, foreigners and international students and is bound to give the authentic Turkish experience to any visitors.
The people of Turkey speak Turkish as their official language, and its population is predominantly Islam with a minority of Christians, Orthodox, and other religions. The fact that it is partly in Asia and partly in Europe gives it a unique take on culture and balance of both worlds, which starkly different in many ways. The cuisine here varies on the region occupied and the ethnic group there, but mostly involves varieties of meat and vegetables.
Istanbul also hosts the International Jazz Festival every July that attracts a lot of jazz enthusiasts and artists from all around the world. It is also a city of cultural festivals and hosts numerous art and culture festivals throughout the year.
Turkey is deeply rooted in history, with a lot of well-preserved sites and ruins that are in the UNESCO list of beautiful preservations, but the landscape is just as amazing as the country’s history. Ranging from mountainous terrains to beautiful sandy beaches, Turkey has it all. You can hike along the Mediterranean coast or explore the architecture of Istanbul housing both European and Asian designs. You can enjoy dreamy hot air balloon rides over Cappadocia to see the unique landscape of ancient volcanoes and old kingdoms. For something unique, experience the hot springs flowing in Pamukkale and Lake Van.
Turkish cuisine is one of the most celebrated meals around the world, and you are likely to find a Turkish restaurant in just about every major city internationally. It is described as Ottoman cuisine, with a fine mix of Balkan, Asian and Middle Eastern blend of flavours. Meats, vegetables, kebabs, pilav and so many other dishes from Turkey are a divine experience that needs to be tried and greatly appreciated.
Know Before You Go
Turkey has a vast geographical map and is a melting pot of cultural divergence. As such, destinations in the East can be drastically different from the West. The way of life is different, from the food to the dress, to the lifestyle.
You will need a tourist visa to enter Turkey for up to 90 days. They used to be issued on arrival at the airport but these days you must purchase online. Click here to see Turkey's official VISA website.
Turkey has a high Muslim population. The cities generally have a cosmopolitan vibe and resorts have a liberal attitude to your beachwear. In other areas dressing appropriately is always appreciated. It also attracts less attention from some of the Turks who own a more wandering eye.
You'll find plenty of clean and fresh Westernised toilets in Turkey, but you'll also find your fair share of squats. They're hygienic, and very healthy for your posture, though not always easy to use for anyone new to the experience. If you feel like accepting the challenge, empty your pockets. No one wants to fish a smartphone from the toilet bowl.
It's also good practice to keep toilet paper and a bit of spare change with you at all times as Turkish toilets are not generally free.
Best Time To Visit
The best months for a top adventure in Turkey depends on a few things. Do you fancy a relaxing vacation by the beach? Do you love wandering through towns and soaking up history and culture? Or a more whirlwind adventure that sees you elevating to the skies in a hot air balloon?
The weather is most agreeable in April, May and June, as well as October which is cooler and great for exploration and walking around cities and towns. The heat of summer can become intensely uncomfortable in August and September pushing 40 degrees celsius.
Beach life and coastal living of the Aegean & Mediterranean coast is perfect from May to October, though the Turks holiday in August and September and things can get crowded.
Cappadocia can see bad weather and snow in winter, which could spoil activities like hot air ballooning.
What To Expect
Here are a few tips to get you on your way to planning the perfect trip in Turkey
Currency - The official currency of Turkey is the Lira. You'll get a better exchange rate if you change your money inside the country.
Language - The official language in Turkey is Turkish
ATMs - ATM's are available everywhere. Get some cash because haggling for price is widely practised in Turkey and is a lot of fun.
Plugs & Sockets - Turkey uses the Europlug, or Type C style plug with 2 round pins. The standard voltage is 220v and 50Hz frequency.
Safety - The FCO advises that Instanbul and Ankara are safe to travel. Precautions should be taken in other cities at times of civil unrest. Also, do not forget to check up-to-date travel advice.
Climate - The coastal areas of the Aegean and the Mediterranean Sea enjoy hot, dry summers and mild and wet winters. Those bordering the Black Sea are somewhat colder and see more of an Oceanic climate.
The interior of the country has a continental climate seeing cold, snowy winters, and hot summers with cool nights. July, August and September are the driest months.