There is plenty to be delighted by in Turkey and we’re not just talking about the sweet, powdery treat.
Istanbul, arguably the country’s cultural capital, simply cannot be missed. The former Constantinople boasts an epic history spanning years of clashing empires conquering and invading one another, and visitors are sure to appreciate Istanbul’s efforts to painstakingly restore and maintain remnants of these empires.
The word ‘majestic’ is redefined as soon as you set foot inside The Blue Mosque and don’t be surprised if you leave the Hagia Sophia with a slight crick in your neck. But it’s not just the impressive architecture that is bound to impress. Your Istanbulian itinerary will be replete with culinary treasures where your taste buds will oscillate between crispy gözleme and sticky, sweet baklava.
Underneath the incredibly preserved cobblestoned buildings, you’ll find specialty coffee cafes in Istanbul pocketed in between the traditional kahvesi. Sipping the dark, thick sludge may not be for you so fortunately these spots have brought Turkish coffee culture into the 21st century. Thankfully, many Turkish traditions have not been lost, including that of a Turkish bath. If you’re feeling a tad squeamish about becoming a human loofer, read this personal insight of what to expect from a Turkish bath.
A more sombre experience awaits you if your travels take you south to Gallipoli, a popular pilgrimage for many Australians and New Zealanders whose ancestors fought on the very peninsula in World War I.
The vast country bordering Asia and Europe comes together in a glorious mishmash of ancient and modern civilisation and we’ve barely scratched the surface. Turkey, we hope to visit you again one day!
Top Experiences In Turkey
1. Visit The Blue Mosque
Arguably the grandest place of worship in Istanbul, the Blue Mosque is a magnificent piece of architecture not to be missed.
2. A Turkish Bath
Allow yourself to be scrubbed squeaky clean by an attendant at a traditional Turkish bath. Your skin will feel as smooth as a baby’s bum.
3. Hot Air Ballooning over Cappadocia
For an unforgettable sunrise, book a hot-air balloon flight and ascend over the fairy chimneys, cave churches and moon-like landscapes of Cappadocia.
4. Swim in the thermal waters of Pamukkale
Let those muscles soak in the hot, mineral-rich waters of Pamukkale. Try to visit the “cotton castle” on your own so you don’t have to share the thermal springs.
5. Sip coffee in a khavesi
You don’t add milk or cream to traditional Turkish coffee and the texture is quite different to your regular espresso. Give it a try and add an extra spoon of sugar.
Before You Go To Turkey...
Together, we visited Istanbul, exploring the former Constantinople over five days. Here, we filled our bellies with warm gözleme, sweet baklava and endless tulip cups of rose-coloured tea.
Read our posts to prepare you for a traditional Turkish bath and to explore the ancient ruins of Sultanahment. And if you’re a fellow Aussie or Kiwi with ancestors who fought in World War I, take a peek at Bevan’s account of hallowed Gallipoli.
Planning Your Trip To Turkey
What is the official language of Turkey? What is Turkey’s currency? What is the best way to travel around Turkey? Here’s a quick snapshot to help plan your trip to Turkey.
Türk Lirası (Turkish lira; ₺)
Available in major cities
Private vehicle, metro (within major cities), buses, taxis
Turkey operates on a 230V supply voltage and 50Hz. Plug types C and F.
Best Time To Go To Turkey
The best time to visit Turkey is during their Spring or Autumn when temperatures tend to be pleasantly warm with the odd cooler days in the months closer to Winter.
June – August. Turkey’s summers range from low to mid-30°Cs so traversing the country may be sticky and unpleasant. Room rates are also at a premium.
April – May (Spring) and September – October (Autumn). Mild temperatures, clear skies and odd rain make these periods ideal for visiting Turkey.
November – March. Parts of Turkey experience bitter cold winters. All the more for sipping copious amounts of tea and gorging on fresh simit bread.
Sound Like A Local
Some useful Turkish phrases that will be useful to you when you travel in Turkey.
YES / NO
evet / hayır
ONE, TWO, THREE
bir, iki, üç