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Introduction to Turkey The European country of Turkey is located to the northeast of the Mediterranean Sea. It is bordered by the Black Sea to the north and the Aegean Sea to the west. Turkey’s surface area is slightly bigger than that of Texas. In 1964, Turkey became an associate member of the European Community. Over the past decade, it has taken action to strengthen... [Read the full story]
Our Insider's Articles about Turkey
Can you believe this: the 6th best preserved temple and historical complex in the whole of Asia remains unvisited by many travelers... [Read the full story]
Imagine postcard perfect sunsets on crystal blue waters, mountainous backdrops and romantic beaches; sleeping beneath... [Read the full story]
The world seems to converge on Turkey. The country bridges Europe and Asia, and Western and Middle Eastern cultures are found side by side. Western Turkey has Roman ruins, Byzantine mosques, and beach resorts, and central Turkey provides absolutely breath-taking national parks. Eastern Turkey is steeped in Middle Eastern tradition. Turkey has numerous activities, such as hiking in the forests alongside the Black Sea, swimming with dolphins in the Mediterranean, and riding camels through the dessert, not to mention eating the highly esteemed cuisine (can you smell the döner kebab?). Here are tips to help guide you on your trip to Turkey.
Turkey was once the seat of the Ottoman Empire; the ruins, castles, and churches that dot the countryside come from numerous civilizations—from the Greeks to the Hittite Empire. Most travelers will pass through Istanbul, which is located in northwestern Turkey. Istanbul is a huge city, and there’s enough to see beneath its domes to warrant at least five days of exploration. In particular, the Istanbul Archeology Museum is stuffed with impressive items, such as the Alexander Sarcophagus and coins that feature Cleopatra; the museum provides an excellent opportunity to learn the country’s history.
Three of the best places to see Roman ruins are Ephesus, Troy (yes, that Troy), and Bodrum. Ephesus’s ruins are as expansive as those found in Pompeii, Italy, if not more so. The city of Bodrum has both ruins and beach resorts. Turkey has white sand beaches and turquoise seas. If you’re looking to swim in the Mediterranean, check out the resort town of Oludeniz or the Pamphylia region.
Moving into central Turkey, travelers find the Cappadocian Region, a valley of unique rock formations. In the Goreme National Park, cities have been carved into the free-standing pinnacles of rock, and networks of cities even run underground. This is one place that truly has to be seen to be believed.
As of September 2011, U.S. travelers visiting Turkey need to purchase entrance visas upon arrival. Visas will cost roughly $20, so make sure to have the cash ready (euros, pounds, or dollars), and this will grant you up to 90 days in the country. Though Turkey is part of the EU, the official currency is the Turkish Lira. The official language of Turkey is Turkish, and English is not widely spoken outside of the tourism industry.
Turkey is a large country, slightly larger than Texas, and it borders Bulgaria, Georgia, Greece, Syria, Armenia, Azerbaijan, Iraq, and Iran. It has coasts on the Mediterranean, Aegean, and Black seas. The capital is Ankara. The best way to travel long distances in Turkey is by train. If renting a car, note that two types of insurance are need if traveling to both west and east Turkey. Also note that gas prices in Turkey are notoriously high, though most everything else is inexpensive.
Summers can be exceptionally hot in Turkey, and the best time to visit is May and June. Tap water is safe, but drink bottled water. Turkish culture has its own set of taboos, and it’s worth brushing up on them to avoid inadvertently offending anyone.