Confidently sitting at the table of the best tourist centres in the world, Turkey boasts of a spectacularly beautiful landmass, variety of climates, pleasant food and drinks surprise for visitors, the gushing Euphrates river, the black sea, the Aegean sea and even its biggest town; Istanbul which steps down on both continents. Turkey is famous for its amazing wonders like Capadoccia or the Pamukale cotton castle, its kebabs and tasty food, and also its geographical location.

With its beautiful capital city of Ankara, Turkey remains one of the best tourist destinations in the world. With its large landmass, it enjoys a variety of climates, earning the nickname ‘the land of four seasons. Located in Southeastern Europe and Southwestern Asia, the Republic of Turkey is covered on the north by the Pontic and Koroglu mountain ranges, on the south by Taurus mountain ranges, and the east by the rivers Euphrates, Tigris and Aras spring.

Turkey is known for its diverse set of both oriental and European elements- from the traditional Turkish tea to the majestic Hagia Sophia. It’s also famous for its Hamman and bazaars, carpets, and attractive destinations like Istanbul and Cappadocia and sweet dishes like the Turkish delights and baklava.

Did you know that the largest city in Turkey; Istanbul lives on two continents? The city is separated by the Bosporus, a strait, which means it consists of a European and an Asian part. In total, 95% of Turkey is in Asia, while 5% is in Europe.

The official language of Turkey is Turkish and it belongs to the Atlay branch of the Ural-Altaic linguistic family. Although Turkish is the official language, there are 30 other languages including Arabic and Kurmanji. It has a total population of over 80 million citizens with a square area of 780,580 sq. km.

The major religion here is Islam with 99.8% of the population being registered as Muslim(mostly Sunni), other 0.2% (mostly Christians and Jews).

Packed to the brim with ancient monuments and attractive tourist masterpieces emanating from the parade of conquerors, and endowed with a showcase of architectural scenery that never fails to beat your imaginations, Turkey is a dazzling destination that straddles Asia and Europe. Its vibrant culture, cross-continental rich heritage, vast history and amazing array of dishes continues to wow all tourist seekers, while its glorious landscapes from the sun-soaked Mediterranean to the  mountains and springs are the master centre of attractions themselves.

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Top Holiday Destinations In Turkey

When planning a holiday trip to Turkey, here is a list of some holiday destinations you should not miss- Aya Sofya, Ephesus, Istanbul, Cappadocia, Antalya, Fethiye

  1. Aya Sofya

There are many important monuments in Istanbul, but this venerable structure which was initially commissioned as a church and converted to a mosque, later a museum surpasses other monuments due to its architectural mastery. Popularly known as one of the most beautiful buildings in the world, this masterpiece of a building that blazes with spellbinding glory of the Aya Sofya Museum(Hagia Sophia) is one of the best places to visit not only in Istanbul but in Turkey.

Adorned with delicate minarets that were added after the Ottoman conquest, the building stands tall with its amazing exterior, while its interior is a grand reminder of old Constantinople’s might and power. As you enter the building and walk into the inner narthex, look up to see a brilliant mosaic of Christ as Pantocrator(Ruler of All) which is sitting above the third and largest door. The best point at the level is the apse, with the magnificent 9th century mosaic of the Virgin and Christ Child. Asides from these historical masterpieces, the Aya Sofya also boasts of a 13th-century mosaic of Christ with the Virgin Mary on his left and John the Baptist on his right. This historical monument is a must-visit for every tourist visiting Turkey.

  1. Ephesus

Adding to this list of tourist centres in Ephesus. The mighty ruin of huge monuments and marble-columned roads is surely not to be missed. Ephesus as one of the most complete and still-standing Roman cities in the Mediterranean region gives an insight into the life and times of the golden age of the Roman Empire.

A sight-seeing trip to Ephesus will take you at least half a day to cover the major highlights and even longer, if you want to explore during your holiday, make sure you plan your visit to avoid the rush.

  1. Istanbul: City Breaks

Gaining recognition as the ninth-best city in the world to visit according to CN Traveller, and also position 9 of the world’s top travel destinations according to Mastercard’s Global Cities Destination Index, Istanbul is one of the best holiday destinations in Turkey. Hosting over 10 million visitors every year, the largest city in Turkey boasts of historical monuments and attractive resorts that make your vacation bliss. Prominent landmarks to visit here include the Hagia Sophia, Blue Mosque and Topkapi Palace.

  1. Cappadocia: Central Antolian Region

Coming after Istanbul, the second most popular holiday destination in Turkey is Cappadocia; with a varied landscape of dormant volcano rock and underground cities. If hot-air balloon trips are on your list of activities for your holiday, then you have to visit Cappadocia.

Here’s a list of activities you can try on your visit to Cappadocia:

  • Visit historical places like the Goreme Open
  • Air Museum
  • Get down to the underground cities
  • Walk in the valleys accompanied by fairy chimneys
  • Join a balloon tour
  • Make pottery in Avanos
  • Drive ATV, Ride a Horse
  1. Antalya City Centre

Sitting comfortably on the Mediterranean coast, Antalya is nothing like a typical city centre landscape. Asides from hosting two of Turkey’s most famous beaches, this old town of Antalya is a marvellous exploration of Ottoman architecture, as it flows with ancient historical beauties. The nightlife scenes, shopping and unrivalled hospitality attract tourists from all over the globe.

  1. Fethiye: Beautiful Landscapes

Backed up by the stunning Taurus mountain range, Fethiye collectively combines smaller resorts like Calis Beach, Oludeniz, Ovacik, Hisaronu and the city centre to give visitors an unforgettable experience. Sites to visit here include the Blue Lagoon, Butterfly Valley, Tlos ancient ruins and Kayakoy Ghost Village.

The food in Turkey fully justifies its reputation. The Turkish Cuisine is always a pleasant surprise for the visitor as it combines the Mediterranean, Central Asian, Caucasian and Arabic Influences, and is extremely rich. Beef is the most important meat (pork is forbidden and extremely hard to find although not impossible). With an abundance of spices, and staples of rice(pilav), the black sea region of Turkey makes great dishes with rice and small fish called “Hamsili pilav”.Among the national drinks, Turkish coffee, Turkish tea, ayran, shira,salgam,sahlep and boza are prominent.

When is the best time to travel to Turkey?

The best time to visit Turkey is between April and May and September and October. The weather in Turkey is mild during this time of the year, so you will explore the holiday destinations and tourist attractions.

Turkey Travel essentials

Turkey as a Muslim country and also liberal, requires modest dressing for both locals and tourists. It also enjoys summer and winter, here are some packing tips for you: A travel adapter, reusable water bottle with filter, battery pack, small first aid kit, microfibre travel towel, hat, sunscreen, sunglasses and chapstick, pack of Kleenex.

Yes, Turkey is open to tourism and vacations. As always, foreigners need a passport and a valid visa or a copy of an approved online visa to travel to Turkey. Due to the COVID restrictions, visitors should check the latest lockdown update and travel advisories.

The unit of currency used in Turkey is the Turkish Lira (Turk Lirasi, TL or TRY). It’s usually best to obtain your Turkish liras in Turkey rather than before you leave home, as the exchange rates outside Turkey are usually not as good as those inside the country.

Travel Tuesday is in Association with Wakanow

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