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Are you looking for some travel tips to Turkey? Turkey never seems to be short of pleasant surprises. Everywhere you go, there is so much diversity in its landscapes, culture and even food. Which is why every year a large number of our travelers have Turkey on top of their bucket list. Here, every turn brings you an experience that'll make you pinch yourself, just to be sure that what you're seeing or doing is real!

Turkey is filled with ancient history and there is much to discover about the great kingdom of Anatolia most of which is still hidden and being uncovered! Turkey is full to bursting with fascinating, beautiful sites of interest. There’s something for everyone, from paragliding and natural wonders to pre-Christian civilisations and cities.

If you want to avoid the crowds get there as early as possible. Ask the locals for the best Turkish Bath, restaurants etc. They can also tell you about the less popular but equally stunning sites of interest. Try and get away from tourist towns to experience the real Turkey. Turkey is absolutely gorgeous, and it’s a traveler’s paradise. There’s so much to do, the people are nice, and the scenery is incredible.

You’ll be greeted with legendary hospitality, have some wonderful tea, do some hiking, go to the beach, and explore ancient, storied cities. From the finger licking street food (that deserves a separate post) to the internationally famous Baklava and Trilece, Turkey is a foodie’s paradise.

For those interested in culture and history, there are a number of Jewish Heritage Tours available in Istanbul, historic synagogues and a lovely Jewish museum to spend a lazy afternoon in. There are two Turkeys, the one you visit as a tourist and the one you visit as a traveller. No matter how you do it, you are in for an absolute roller coaster ride that you will never forget.

Greece and Turkey attract millions of globe trotters every year because of the blend of western Asian culture with Ancient Greek and Turkish culture. Greece and Turkey are a mix of ancient and modern architectures. Greek and Turkish culture are known to attract millions of travelers throughout the year. For more convenience, you can take any of the Greece and Turkey vacation packages so that you will get everything pre-planned and you can enjoy without any worries.

Reasons to Visit Turkey

1. Istanbul

Straddling both the European and Asian continents, Istanbul is exactly the clash of cultures you’d expect from such a uniquely placed city. Influences from Western Europe, the Mediterranean, the Middle East and far flung Asia all mix together to create an incredibly vibrant city. This city is also one of history’s most important, a fact driven home by the ancient architecture of the Sultanahmet district, which is truly mind-blowing.

And then, of course, there’s the famous bazaars, where rugs, spices and every other thing imaginable is sold. Go to Istanbul if you appreciate ancient architecture, you love exotic shopping, you’re interested in different cultures.

Istanbul. A romanticized history. An orchestrated present. While some claim it’s a city getting overwhelmed by its own history, others argue it’s a street food lover’s paradise, especially because of its history. From mouth-watering food to shopping bestseller rugs to breathtaking architecture to the entertaining Belly dance, everything in Istanbul comes with its own story.

For a start it is essential to tour Istanbul, a city full of history and modern at the same time. Do you know that there are over 80000 mosques in Turkey? Over 3000 are in Istanbul. The call to prayer happens through loudspeakers at every mosque, 5 times a day. This is not a shock, but some people still think they are very conservatives.

In a single visit on your circuit through Istanbul you can visit, in just a few minutes, the Blue Mosque, the Dolmabahçe Palace and the most modern skyscrapers.

Everybody could wear anything they want and you wouldn’t get a second look. Everybody minds their business, especially in places like Istanbul, Ankara and Izmir. There are lots of mosque in Turkey. There are 82,693 mosques in Turkey. However, that is not the only thing, all of them look like an ancient architecture even though most are built within the past decade. They are very beautiful.

There is also the Suleymaniye mosque, the Galata Tower, Taksim Square and a dozen other tourist attractions. A landmark as popular for its conical structure as it is for its spectacular panoramic views of the skyline, Galata is not just another tick on your travel attraction list. A peek into the history and a direct check-in to the most current scene happening in the city, an evening stroll around Galata Towers and watching the sunset from the top is an experience in itself.

And if that’s not enough, go ahead and take up the virtual helicopter ride for the unforgettable view. Amidst the crowd and chaos in the streets of Istanbul, men find solace at the Galata Bridge with their fishing rods in hands and no hurry in their heads. Everyday, it makes for a gripping view to watch hundreds of locals enjoy fishing, whether as a profession or a passtime, on the top level of Galata Bridge.

Just underneath the bridge, there is an equally compelling sight- the fish market selling fish catches of the day. You can rent fishing equipment for a lazy day well spent or simply find a suitable corner and soak in the view.

While people marvel at the architectural heritage that is Basilica Cistern, few years ago this largest (survived) Byzantine cistern in Istanbul got a makeover, all thanks to the popular Tom Hank’s movie, Angels & Demons. The place is a major crowd puller in Istanbul and carries a strong history since its conception in the 6th century.

Affluent architecture seems to be a signature trademark of the Ottoman empire here in Turkey. But thousands of tourists flocking here everyday suggest they are far from complaining about it. Now converted as a remarkable museum, Topkapi Palace gives you a rather colourful and opulent peek into the lives of Ottoman empire. The ruler lived here with his family (and courtesans) before moving to his new palace, Dolmabahce at the Bosphorus bay.

Both the palaces easily draw an audience of 2000-3000 tourists everyday, which increases around the weekend. This city has historically been the gateway to the world. It is riddled with millennia of history and there is just so much to learn here. Born as a church and later an afterlife as a mosque, between Byzantines and Ottomans, Ayasofya (Hagia Sophia) has stood the test of all times. Quite literally.

Apart from being a stunning structure to look at, the vibe in and around Hagia Sophia is a boon for one’s soul. Hagia Sophia was constructed in 537 CE and the construction finished in only 6 years. Initially the arch was at a height of 105 foot which was heavily damaged by an earthquake in 558 CE and was reconstructed in 562 CE. The damages again occurred multiple times yet it couldn't stop the architecture to be built again.

Hagia Sophia was earlier a church for Christians and under the Ottoman empire it was changed into a mosque. Hagia Sophia attracts over 3 million travelers every year and the count increases every year.

Another mosque on the list, Sulemaniye is a visual treat for tired eyes. The mosque was built around 15th century and is one of the most beautiful mosques Istanbul boasts of. The highlights for me were the central fountain, the garden inside the mosque and the lovely view that the four minarets make along with their respective 10 balconies. And while you’re at it, don’t forget to check out the rooftop restaurants around it for a remarkable view of the city.

The Maiden's Tower stands tall in the middle of the Bosporus. It has intrigued various visitors who sees it during their trip. Today it houses a restaurant. Anyway the legend goes that it was built to protect the young daughter of a Sultan in light of the fact that a priest had foreseen that she would be killed by a snake when she turned 18.

The tower was the home for the Sultan’s daughter and she was frequently visited by her father. Upon the arrival of her eighteenth birthday celebrations, the father gave his daughter a beautiful box of bright natural items without knowing that a poisonous snake was hiding in it.

Turkey is so much more than its exotic placement as a tourist attraction. And no, it’s not just all about Grand Bazaar, although a thorough stroll through the market is highly recommended. In the huge market of over 4,000 shops, there is a lot you can find and shop to your heart’s content. The Grand Bazaaar has plenty of shops and its kind of a city within a city. Amazing place to spend a day, get the shopaholic out of you and checkout interesting items.

There seems to be a plethora of secrets hidden of the Ottoman past when you go shopping at the Grand Bazaar! Unless you go to a department store assume that perfumes, branded clothes, DVD’s, electrical goods are fake. This doesn’t mean that they’re not good quality but you get what you pay for. The prices are steep here, so be prepared to bargain!

Bargaining is a must in the markets and street stalls, it’s great fun and expected. The exceptions to this are food and gold/silver. Generally cut the price in half and meet somewhere in between. There are nightclubs in the country. However, these clubs are found mostly in Istanbul and Ankara, the two largest and well-known cities.

The country for the sexiest men and women in the world is Turkey. Just walk through Sultanahmet Square where the Blue Mosque is! There are more than 3000 mosques in this city alone; the Sultan Ahmet Mosque (aka the Blue Mosque) is the most famous one that tourists visit. Sultanahmet Mosque or the Blue mosque is a grand mosque with unique interior design.

DO enjoy some of the street food especially what is considered late night food for clubbing. Turkish food is heavily based on grilled meats. You will find kebaps, döners, koftes, meatballs and more every few steps you take.

They are also huge on breads with the simple classics like the Simits (a kind of Turkish Bagel), Pide (a boat shaped bread often stuffed with cheese and meats, kind of like their version of a pizza), Lahmacun (a thin flatbread topped with a layer of spiced meat often wrongly compared to a pizza) and durums (paper thin bread like rumali roti) often used to make wraps or served alongside kebaps.

Istanbul is also a city that is obsessed with Turkish tea and coffee. It doesn’t matter what store, restaurant, hotel, tourist spot, you go into, you will be offered tea. There are more than two dozen types of tea served here and it can get overwhelming to the uninitiated. Let go of your inhibitions and try them out. Tea is a journey in Turkey.

The coffee is something that you will either absolutely love or completely hate. It is very different from most parts of the world. It is like a very strong dark roast espresso shot with the thick pasty sods at the bottom of the cup. There are shops and vendors selling Baklava and Turkish delights wherever you look. Do also try out the Künefe which is a cheese and semolina based dessert with simple syrup poured on top.

Make sure you steer clear of the highly visited tourist spots for the best food. The little holes in the walls where the locals eat will be almost 3 times cheaper and about 10 times more flavorful.

Islak Burger is famous on Istiklal Cad. Also, try a soup place. Turks swear by the soups for warding off hangovers. The king of the nine Princes’ Islands, Buyukada comes with as rich a history as its title. The island has a strict no-car policy, so you rely on bicycles, horse chariots or your own sturdy feet to explore the scenes, or finding Nemo for that matter.

Go for a sweet tasting at either Baltepe Pastanesi near the weekly Faith Bazaar or if you’re exploring Blue Mosque and Hagia Sophia, just do yourself a favour and land at Hafiz Mustafa. For here’s where you’d find additional raspberry flavour for Trilece soaked in three different kinds of milk and a great range of Turkish delights.

For a wholesome dinner, Al Madina restaurant is a MUST TRY. Beyond the menu, what people love here the most is the unique experience you get here, from the theatrics with which the food is presented to the overall look and feel. If you’re lucky, you might get a surprise dance performance from the staff too!

No matter how typical or off-beat your list of things not to miss in Istanbul is, the sure way to beat the vacation blues and shopping fatigue is to go for a quick unwind session at a local pub and get some flavor of the Turkish pop music first-hand. Also, the ferry to the Asian side of the city is fun; not a whole lot to do there but the views are really nice and the lack of tourists is refreshing and peaceful.

What really stands out in all of these places is the history, the architecture and the opportunity to learn about the evolution of a culture and civilization that literally shaped the world. If this is the sort of thing you enjoy, you must absolutely visit Istanbul.

2. Bosporus

The Bosporus strait connects the of Sea of Marmara and the Black Sea. Bosphorus is the best place to catch the wonderful nightview of Turkey. A definitive coastline with a mix of modern and old culture. Bosporus is situated in northwestern Turkey and is a strait which is generally used for worldwide exchanges and touring.

In addition, on excursions you will discover that this city is a fantastic tourist destination to spend your holidays and enjoy its wonderful beaches. You can also enjoy the schooners and the famous blue cruise and Bosphorus cruise.

A paradise for couples, the popular Bosphorus Cruise tour takes you on a stunning tour of the city by the bay. While it does need planning ahead, it’s an addition to your trip that you’ll not regret. Depending upon the time and the days you’re there, you can pick your options from a Short Circle Bosphorus Cruise, Full Bosphorus Cruise and the superstar of the lot, Full Bosphorus Cruise by night.

3. Canakkale

Troy is a city both historical and legendary, where the well-known Trojan War was developed, described in several epic poems. Troy is located in the current Turkish province of Çanakkale, occupies a strategic position in the access to the Black Sea. After centuries of oblivion, the ruins of Troy were discovered in the excavations where a wooden statue of the Trojan horse welcomes visitors.

Çanakkale is in the narrow entrance of 1200 m to the Çanakkale Strait (Dardanelles) connecting the Sea of ​​Marmara and the Aegean. Passenger and vehicle ferries circulate daily between Çanakkale on the Asian side and Eceabat and Kilitbahir on the European side. Yachts make stops at the Çanakkale port, well equipped, to allow tourists to spend more time in this area.

Homer immortalized Troy in his stories of King Priam, Hector, Paris and the beautiful Helen. Archaeological excavations have discovered nine independent periods of settlement in this place including ruins of the city wall, foundations of houses, a temple and a theater. The city of Biga has given its name to the entire peninsula; It is a city of parks and a good place to see homes built in traditional style.

The nearest beaches are in Karabiga, Şahmelek and Kemer where you will find accommodations at reasonable prices. Karabiga is associated with the God Priapos and therefore has roots to the cult of fertility. Çan is well known for its pottery and its sulphated springs, which are considered to be of great help in various diseases of the liver, intestine and urinary tract.

There are two other thermal springs in the nearby towns of Külcüler and Kirazlı. Kaz Dağı (Mound Ida, 1774 m), is located at the southern tip of Çanakkale in the beautiful Kazdagi National Park amid magnificent landscapes, green areas of rest and several thermal springs. Here in Pınarbaşı, the world's first beauty contest was held between Aphrodite, Hera and Athena.

Hotels, restaurants and cafes along the avenue offer visitors an ideal place to enjoy the harbor and fortress of Kilitbahir and the Archaeological Museum of Çanakkale.

4. Kayseri

The city of Kayseri is qualified as the gateway to Cappadocia. It is little known by tourists, but it stands out for its many Ottoman monuments. There are more than two hundred mosques in Kayseri. On the other hand, the city has an urban itinerary that is marked on the ground. Thus, tourists just have to follow the arrows to make a pleasant journey without getting lost.

In the historical district is the Hunat Hatun complex. It is composed of a madrassa, a mausoleum and a Turkish bath. It is worth to turn aside to go see it. And what you can not miss in Kayseri is the great mosque that rises in the center of the city. If you are a woman, you should cover your hair with some cloth. For lovers of skiing and hiking: the mountains are only twenty-five kilometers south of Kayseri, specifically Mount Erciyes.

Finally, do not forget to try traditional Turkish coffee. And tell the Turks to read you the future in the dregs. It is the local tradition! Everybody has heard about Turkish Tea. Turkish tea is just the best tea. Most people like drinking tea without sugar. The tea culture in Turkey is infiltrated everywhere. Its a way that people bond, men bond over their cups of tea in the morning and evenings, and merchants will refuse to sell you their artifacts until you have a seat and have a cup of their delicious Black tea!

Turkey has one of the largest smoking population in the world with 17.3 million people, one-third of the adult population. The first thing you notice when you arrive in Turkey is people smoke a lot. Many people smoke - girls, boys, young, old and even very young teenagers.

5. Cappadocia

There are a lot of valleys and geological wonders to explore here. Rose valley for the gorgeous hues, Pigeon Valley for the massive pigeon populations and the cave dwellings, Love valley for the phallic shaped rock structures, the various underground cities for their rich and deep history and so on.

Horseback at sunset a wonderful way to explore the valleys, on foot for the museums and in the balloon for a bird’s eye view of the entire land. You can access some hard to reach spots and the vistas are just so worth it.

Visit also Kusadasi, Pamukkale, Ephesus, Troy, Pergamum. Do not miss the opportunity to do Hot Air Balloon tours, a unique experience that you will not forget. For example, you can fly to Antalya or Kaysery and from there travel to Cappadocia by bus. Cappadocia is semi arid region in central Turkey is one of those destinations that looks like it fell straight out of a fairytale.

The landscape is dotted with intricate fairy chimneys, rolling hills the colour of pale rose and entire houses carved out of caves. Millions of years ago, Tuff, a type of rock formed by volcanic ash was deposited in Cappadocia.

Near the Göreme National Park is the Red and Rose Valley, named for the pink rock formations found there. Red Valley is also known for being one of the hottest spots during the summer months of Cappadocia, as well as being a wine destination.

There are three local dishes that are unique to this part of the country that you absolutely need to try. The first is the Pottery Kebap. It is slowly stewed meat and vegetables inside a clay pot over coals that you break open table-side and eat with rice and bread. It is very mildly spiced and seasoned and the flavors are left to themselves to shine.

The second is a Turkish dumpling called Manti. It is like a little ravioli that is stuffed with meat and cooked down aromatics like onions served with a herbed yogurt sauce. Içli Köfte (also known as Kibbeh in some places) are Bulgar balls stuffed with minced meat and onions and spices cooked down to perfection and then baked or fried (or sometimes raw).

6. Göreme

One of the most emblematic places of the Cappadocia is the Göreme National Park, a place characterized by the characteristic architecture of the caves. Next to Göreme there is also an open-air museum of Zelve.

7. Derinkuyu

The most famous underground cities are called Derinkuyu and Kaymakli.

8. Ihlara

Ihlara Valley is a perfect place for hiking. The beautiful route has a length of 15 kilometers and all of it constitutes a fairy tale backdrop.

9. Izmir

As for tours around you can sign up for a tour and see the ancient ruins of the city of Pergamon, with a Hellenic theater. Izmir has its own attractions like the Yali Mosque, the Clock Tower, the Museum of Modern Art, and wildlife park or zoo. Ephesus is another great destination, almost a worthy rival of Pompeii.

10. Çeşme

The Turkish coast is a great destination to go on vacation or to relax for a long weekend. The Turkish coast has Greek airs and in its coves hide villages and boutique hotels of dream. Alacati in the Izmir province of Turkey, near the end of the Cesme peninsula, on the west coast and on the Aegean is one of them, a beautiful coastal village that you can enter on your list of destinations for romantic getaways or autumn holidays.

The Fun beach, for example, is huge and great with transparent waters and a soft sand seabed. You can rent a deck chair and parasol, a boat for a walk or windsurfing equipment. But there are many more. The Kum beach is one that is closer to the village and one of the most intimate.

The Ilica beach has a Blue Flag and one of the most popular and warmer waters. There is also Marrakesh beach. Cesme Bagcilik is beautiful and has an observation tower that gives you great panoramic views while you taste its wines.

11. Gaziantep

Being one of the oldest cities in the world that has always been inhabited, it is not surprising that Gaziantep encloses wonders to be discovered. You cannot go through Gaziantep without trying their baklavas and pistachios, the local specialties. If you haven’t tried Turkish Ice Cream, you have not lived! The food is so good and so plentiful. And do try the varieties of baklava, and chocolate, and Turkish Delights!

Great city of more than one million inhabitants located in the southwest of Turkey, on the border with Syria, Gaziantep brims with dynamism. The main attraction is its incredible mosaic Zeugma Mosque.

12. Bursa

Eskisehir is younger and more modern than Ankara. In Eskisehir its colorful bridges invade the horizon along with Simit's vendors, fishermen and various passers-by. Find amazing landscapes, clean streets, the great abundance of greenery everywhere, the amazing gulf, turquoise water, and breath-taking views of the sea especially from the top of the hills.

Macun is quite unique, it’s a traditional Ottoman candy. It has a gooey texture. It’s made by boiling sugar, lemon juice and water on medium heat until it gets a paste-like consistency (you can add some other ingredients for flavoring) and then you twist and twirl the candy around a wood stick.

13. Trabzon

Bayburt Of Yolu D.915 road that passes through 3000-meters-high Soğanlı Mt. with 29 hairpin bends is the most dangerous road in the world. The mountain range between Konursu and Kavlatan is the Soğanlı Mountain Range where this scary road is situated. En route you can actually stop at Uzungöl, one of the most touristic places in the Black Sea Region of Turkey.

14. Antalya

The noteworthy country is an enchanting European destination that accommodates the majority of budgets. The destination turns into an alluring destination for travelers anticipating to travel on a budget. Probably the best spot to start your visit is in Antalya, a beguiling city on the southwestern coast of Turkey.

It offers incredible tourist attractions and placid feel that will calm your senses. In addition, for a reasonable amount of money, you can discover flawless convenience from waterfront resorts in this travel destination.

Have a fabulous time in these prominent destinations, regardless of your budget restrictions. By paying a visit to these energizing spots on the planet, you can give yourself a relaxing time in the middle of your vacation.

15. Pamukkale

Pamukkale, meaning cotton castle in Turkish stands as the most entrancing spots to escape from the world. This spot has hot water springs on sandy white patios. Pamukkale which is listed as a world heritage site by UNESCO and its characteristic sauna is a thing that pulls in a large section of the tourists.

The porches are shaped by white carbonated mineral and they are loaded up with characteristic high temperature water. The heated water springs are solid as they are minerals and calcium-rich water.

Hope you have got enough reasons to go on your Turkey tour. So, pack your bags and prepare your Turkey tour itinerary and enjoy your trip.

Have Fun!
Kalyan Panja Kalyan Panja Author
Stacie said...

I love this area of the world. I've been to Greece, but I haven't had the opportunity to get to Turkey yet. I'd love to make it a combo trip one day.

Cristina Petrini said...

My parents were in Greece many years ago and they talk about wonders, I would love to visit it too!

Sondra Barker said...

Very beautiful countries and all great reasons to book a flight ASAP! The beaches seem so amazing and definitely not like anything you see in the US

redheadmomblog said...

I would love to visit Turkey and Greece someday. What an awesome experience.

Lisa said...

Turkey is one destination I really plan on visiting this year. Your post has given me some sound ideas on where to go!

Garf said...

I haven't thought about visiting Turkey yet but Greece? definitely! Heard a lot of good things about Greece.

Suzanne said...

My dream trip is to Santorini. I would love to go there someday.

Yeah Lifestyle said...

Sounds like there are some incredible places to visit in both countries. I like that you've included some I hadn't heard of before

Catherine said...

My family and I have been wanting to visit Italy and Greece for so long! How beautiful!

siennylovesdrawing said...

I have enjoyed my happy read here & love all the beautiful captures shared here, thanks!
Wishing to travel to Turkey again
Cheers, siennylovesdrawing

Alyssa Kelley said...

These are the places that I have always wanted to visit. Maybe one day me and my family will. thanks for sharing!

Alexandra Cook said...

I have never been to Turkey and I can say that this is a perfect destination getaway for my whole family. I will def add this to my bucket list, thanks for your guidelines.

Dear Mummy Blog said...

We know loads of people that have raved about Santorini. It sounds picturesque so we'd like to visit!

Eli said...

Have yet to visit either Turkey or Greece but have been dying to! As a huge history geek, just knowing all of the things that took place there has me giddy.

SincerelyMissJ said...

I have always wanted to visit Greece especially Santorini. It looks so beautiful.

Emily Wilson said...

Hi! Nice post! I must say you have good writing skills. I like the way you summarize everything in one blog. However, I am planning to visit Evros Greece. Is it a good place to visit?

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