Turkey Travel Guide
The Land of Legends
Turkey is a vast, varied nation stretching from Europe in the west to Asia in the east, with a coastline of over 7,000km (4,350 miles) along three seas. In magnificent, stately Istanbul, the old and new cities face each other across the Golden Horn. Wrapped around the Sea of Marmara are the small but fascinating regions of Thrace (European Turkey) and Marmara, each in its time hosting the capital of the Ottoman Empire.
The western and southern coasts are lapped by warm, turquoise-blue waters, with limpid sands or shady pines, luring millions of tourists each summer. The Aegean Coast comprises four areas the north; Izmir and its hinterland; the south coast, beyond Ephesus; and the tourist havens of Bodrum and Marmaris. From here, the beautiful Mediterranean Coast runs east for over 1,500km (1,000 miles), through the ancient realms of Lycia (west), Pamphylia (center) and Cilicia (east), before turning south into the Hatay.
The country’s capital, Ankara, lies in Central Anatolia, with the legendary volcanic landscapes of Cappadocia to the east. To the north loom the little-known Black Sea coast and wild, forested mountains. Eastern Turkey covers nearly half the country’s area, but much of it is a harsh, sparsely populated land, whose spectacular beauty remains hidden to all but the most adventurous traveler.
Turkey Travel Essentials
WHEN TO GO
May/June (summer peak season; best for trekking) or Sep/Oct
HOW LONG IN TURKEY?
2 full days for Istanbul; 10 days for the highlights; 2-3 weeks to see everything.
Fly into Istanbul, Ankara, Izmir, Antalya and Dalaman airports, bus from neighboring countries. Travelling to Turkey by train is slow and expensive, train from Bulgaria, ferry no longer run from Italy, from Patra Greece, car from neighboring countries.
Visa-free for most passports (90 days).
Hire a car or use intercity buses/minibuses.
60-65 USD per person per day (mid-range hotel; local meals; bus fares; museum tickets).