Turkey, Travel Guide
Turkey is a destination that offers something for all visitors. During the long, hot summer, tourism is concentrated in Istanbul and along the coast, but even a beach holiday is easily combined with cultural sightseeing, as most of the popular resort towns are within day-trip distance to some of the country’s most famous classical-era ruins.
Travel inland from the feted coastline, though, and the true diversity of Turkey is revealed. From vast ruins perched on mountain summits to fresco-covered Byzantine-era cave churches and Ottoman mosques, and hiking trails following ancient pilgrimage paths to the buzzing foodie and café culture of the cities, a vacation in Turkey can effortlessly incorporate both epic history and an incredible variety of landscapes.
From the ancient port city of Ephesus (Efes) to the soaring Byzantine dome of Aya Sofya, Turkey has more than its fair share of world-famous ruins and monuments. A succession of historical figures and empires – including the Romans, Byzantines and Ottomans – have all left their mark on this former stopover along the Silk Road. Experiencing their legacy takes you from the closeted quarters of the sultan and his harem in İstanbul’s sprawling Topkapı Palace to the romantic and mysterious Lycian ruins on Mediterranean beaches.
The best thing about sampling Turkey’s delicious specialties – ranging from meze on a Mediterranean harbour to a pension breakfast featuring ingredients fresh from the kitchen garden – is that they take you to the heart of Turkish culture. For the sociable and family-orientated Turks, gathering together and eating well is a time-honoured ritual. So get stuck into olive oil–lathered Aegean vegetables, spicy Anatolian kebaps and dishes from Turkey’s many other corners – and as you drink a tulip-shaped glass of çay and contemplate some baklava for dessert, remember that eating is deepening your understanding of Turkey.