Turkey is a fascinating country with a rich past, a diverse landscape and some incredibly friendly people. Starting from the capital city of Istanbul, the only limit on travelers to Turkey is the amount of time they have to spend, as there are countless destinations and regions awaiting to be explored.
This will be the arrival point for most travelers to Turkey, which is fitting, as it’s a good introduction to the cultural mishmash that is Turkey. Literally spanning two continents, Istanbul has long been a melting pot for European and Middle Eastern cultures. On the city streets fashionable cafes are effortlessly juxtaposed against historic mosques, while shopping malls compete with exotic bazaars for shopper’s attention. Travelers will find no shortage of things to do, whether it’s spending the day in a Turkish spa or riding a ferry across the Bosphorus.
The Turkish Riviera
[Also see our travel article "The Turkish Riviera: More Than You Expect"]
Encompassing both the Mediterranean and Aegean costs, the Turkish Riviera is the premier destination for holidaymakers to Turkey. On the Mediterranean cities like Marmaris, Antalya and Bodrum host beachfront resorts and epic nightlife, but there are other things to do as well like paragliding in Oludeniz or hitting the links at the Gloria Golf Resort in Belek. On the Aegean side, Kusadasi is the gateway to the historic Roman city of Ephesus, which has some of the best preserved ruins in the ancient world.
The interior region of Cappadocia – bounded by the towns of Urgup, Avanos, and Nevsehir – is home to an incredible and truly unique landscape. Giant rock “chimneys” rise vertically into the sky, with many having small homes or monasteries carved out of caves in the rock. The area was an early refuge of Christianity, so there are a lot of religious sites to be explored, otherwise visitors can simply enjoy the village life or visit a local winery.
The Black Sea Coast
Turkey’s northern Black Sea Coast, which stretches all the way from Istanbul to Georgia, has an entirely different feel than the Turkish Riviera. Gone are the beach resorts and arid landscape, and instead ancient cities line a coastline dominated by old-growth forests and huge mountains. The area between the cities of Trebizond and Sinop is most interesting to tourists, who visit mainly for the laid-back vibe and beautiful scenery rather than for any “can’t miss” attractions.