Turkey is a huge country, in fact it’s much bigger than anyone realises. In order to reach the beach resorts of the south west coast from the south eastern cities, such as Batman and Diyarbakir, you would sit on a bus for around 27 hours – that’s a long time!
Because of the sheer size of the place, you can expect major differences between culture, traditions, and even language as you go along, and it’s impossible to list all the major attractions and places of interest that you should visit. Exploring the whole country is pretty impossible unless you dedicate an awful lot of time to it, and then you have the obligatory visa restrictions on the amount of time you’re allowed to stay within the country unless you apply for a different kind of permit.
Because of this red tape and the amount of travel required, I’ve whittled it down to five areas which I believe you should visit on a basic level.
Of course, you can’t visit Turkey and not head to the only city in the world to straddle two continents! Sultanahmet is the historic part of the city where you will find the most touristic attractions to check out, such as the Blue Mosque and the stunning Hagia Sofia, as well as the Grand Bazaar. Taksim is where you will find modern-day life and night-life central, and the Metro system is the way to get around with ease. There is so much to see and do in Istanbul that you should probably dedicate at least a week to see it all.
If you’ve ever seen a holiday brochure for Turkey you will no doubt have seen the famous Blue Lagoon, which is situated in Olu Deniz on the south coast of Turkey. This is famous for parasailing, as the views are simply stunning, and the lagoon itself should certainly be visited, although bear in mind that you do have to pay an admission fee as it is a protected area.
Many people falsely believe that Istanbul is Turkey’s capital, but it’s actually Ankara, and this is where you will find the government buildings, architecture, history, and plenty of modern culture as well as ancient. Located in the centre of the country, travelling here by bus will show you the more rural way of life that occurs in Turkey, with small towns and villages along the way.
Marmaris is probably Turkey’s most famous holiday resort, situated on the south coast, around 90 minutes’ drive away from the nearest airport in Dalaman. Consisting of a huge crescent arc beach running from the sophisticated marina, down to the neighbouring resort of Icmeler, Marmaris offers something for everyone, in a bright and neon-lit atmosphere. Perfect for a spot of summer sun, and believe me, the sun is certainly plentiful in Marmaris during summer!
Located in the Central Anatolian part of Turkey, this is historic and downright beautiful. You may have seen photos of many colourful hot air balloons flying over stone mountains, and this is Cappadocia. The scenery looks like something from a fairytale, and whilst it’s not the cheapest place to visit, for sheer jaw-dropping wow factor, it has to be attempted.
These suggestions should get your mouth watering for a spot of Turkish travel – where will you choose first?