Turkey is not only excellent beaches of the four seas but also magnificent Istanbul with the Blue Mosque and Topkapi Palace, the thermal springs of Yalova, and the snow-white Pamukkale, the monasteries of Cappadocia, skiing, and great shopping.
To say so unequivocally: go to Turkey for this and that is impossible. The most popular tourist programs can be roughly divided into two groups: beach idleness, which has already become the talk of the town (which, if desired, can be profitably diluted with excursions) and a full-fledged “excursion”, in which Istanbul is a separate line. “Sandy-sunny” Turkey – budget and youth Kemer and Alanya, family Side and active Belek, prestigious Antalya and bar Marmaris, secluded Fethiye, and a lot of less famous (than attractive) resort places. Historically excursion Turkey is the legendary Troy (by the way, a visit to the inside of a horse is included in the mandatory program of visits), ancient Ephesus with the ruins of libraries, theaters, and temples, travertine terraces of Pamukkale and Cleopatra’s bath (where this restless queen did not bathe!), The first in the world of the mausoleum, as the name suggests, King Mavsol, the remains of the Lycian kingdom and much more. And of course, Istanbul, the description of the sights of which even the puffiest guidebook cannot accommodate.
Cities and Resorts
The capital is Ankara, an ancient city with monumental architecture, which until the beginning of the 20th century was considered a province, but with the acquisition of honorary status, it experienced a second heyday. However, most tourists who dream of getting to know the “real” Turkey still choose Istanbul. This is a legendary city, divided by the Bosphorus into European and Asian halves, each of which is a concentration of attractions: cathedrals, mosques, palaces, surrounded by bustling markets and colorful residential areas.
Izmir plays several roles in the Turkish performance at once: it is a popular resort, a modern business center, and a cultural treasury with dozens of museums. The symbol of Adana is the country’s largest mosque, Sabanci, the pride of Erzurum is the majestic 5th-century fortress. And Bursa is the former Ottoman capital, which attracts fans of beach holidays in summer, ski holidays in winter, and excursions all year round.
Central Anatolia is a region with incredible landscapes and ancient cities that keep traces of the greatness of a powerful civilization. Ankara is the main, but far from the only one. There is also Aksaray with mosques, tombs, and caravanserais, Konya is the birthplace of the Christian great martyr Paraskeva-Friday and the folklore sage Khoja Nasreddin and Kayseri with excellent opportunities for excursions, shopping, and skiing.
Antalya coast is a byword for adherents of an all-inclusive vacation. Antalya needs, if not introduction, then rehabilitation of its cultural significance: there are not only hotels and bars but also a scattering of ancient sights. The same is with Kemer, in the vicinity of which the ruins of entire cities lie. The side is a real open-air museum, there are objects of medieval heritage in Alanya, but young Belek has not yet overgrown with historical monuments.
The Turks themselves prefer to rest on the Black Sea coast. Here you can find beautiful nature and ancient ports, some of which are older than the Egyptian pyramids. Trabzon is a city of temples of different confessions, the architecture of Safranbolu is protected by UNESCO.
Cappadocia is known for its multi-level rock monasteries and other iconic Christian shrines. The most vivid impressions will be given by excursions to Goreme, Nevsehir, Urgup, and the Ihlara valley.
The climate of Turkey in different regions differs very noticeably. In Istanbul, it is moderate, the average temperature in winter is +4 ° C, in summer – +27 ° C. The Antalya coast is dominated by a Mediterranean climate with average temperatures of +9 ° C in winter and +29 ° C in summer. The best time to relax in ski resorts is from mid-December to mid-April.
Visa and Customs
The import of any currency is not limited, amounts from 5000 USD must be indicated in the customs declaration. Turkish lira can be imported into the country in unlimited quantities, but exported only in an amount not exceeding the equivalent of 1000 USD. The prices on the page are for October 2018.
Permitted duty-free import of 400 cigarettes or 50 cigars, or 200 g of regular tobacco, or 50 g of chewing tobacco; 1 kg of coffee and tea; 2 liters of alcohol with an alcohol content of up to 22%, 1 liter – more than 22%; cosmetics, perfumery, and food – within the limits of personal needs. Items worth more than 15,000 USD must be registered. The import and export of drugs, narcotic drugs, weapons are prohibited (members of sports and hunting clubs with the relevant documents can transport one smooth-bore gun and 100 cartridges for it). Jewelry in the amount of 15,000 USD must be accompanied by checks upon departure.
How to Get to
The wide range of flights to Turkey from the UK (fewer from Ireland) takes between 3hr 30min and 5hr, depending on your start and endpoint. Only two carriers fly direct to Turkey from North America, so most North Americans reach Turkey via a European gateway airport. Many travelers from Australia and New Zealand use a Round-the-World (RTW) ticket that includes İstanbul; there are direct flights from South Africa to İstanbul.
Airfares from Europe and North America are at their highest during Easter week and from June to early September. They’re lower in April and May, and from late September into October, while you’ll get the best prices of all between November and March (excluding Christmas and New Year, when seats are at a premium). Australian and New Zealand fares are lowest from mid-January to the end of February and October/November; peak season is mid-May to August, plus December to mid-January. Flight comparison sites like w skyscanner.net are a good way to search for the cheapest option.