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Must Visits and Things to Do in Turkey

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Travel Features >> Must Visits and Things to Do in Turkey

Must Visits and Things to Do in Turkey

March 26, 2012

Get those bags packed and head to Turkey, home to the historical city of Troy, King Midas and to-be-sworn-by woven carpets! With its rich history, overwhelming hospitality, buzzing bazaars and a unique mix of conservative and modern culture - Turkey offers plenty of interesting sights and things to do for any visitor.

Must Visits in Turkey...
With a magnificent coastline bordering three different seas and a rich history, Turkey is a remarkable holiday destination that has something for everyone. From golden beaches, unspoiled landscapes, historical ruins, adventure sports to exotic food.

Get plenty of sun and surf on the beaches of Aegean or relax on the golden sandy beaches of the Mediterranean where the romance between Mark Antony and Cleopatra flourished. Walk through history at Ephesus, the most awe inspiring of all the classical Turkish ruins and the ruins of Troy where the famous Trojan War was fought.

Take a trip to the palace of Ottoman Sultans, Topkapi, the Blue Mosque of Istanbul and the forts at Rumeli Hisar, and admire the magnificent Byzantine citadel at Ankara. Go boating, swimming, snorkeling and scuba diving at Bodrum, South Aegean’s prettiest resort or shake a leg to its exciting nightlife. If you love the outdoors, go trekking in the forests of Black Sea, explore the underground cities and rock tombs in Cappadocia or scale the heights of Mount Ararat, where Noah’s Ark was supposed to have landed!

…a Good Meal, a Great Bargain and more Things to Do
Treat your taste buds to mouth-watering authentic sis kebab and doner kebab, available everywhere. Don’t miss sampling the imam bayildi, a delicious preparation of eggplant and try the Turkish pizzas, which are cheap and tasty. Indulge your sweet tooth to baklava, pastry stuffed with walnuts and pistachios soaked in honey. Down ayran, refreshing yogurt based drink, and acquire a taste for Turkish coffee and tea. Raki, an aniseed flavoured grape brandy is a complete knockout! Let Turkey take over all your senses…

There are restaurants along Sultanahmet’s “Divan Yolu” in Istanbul, which serve expensive but excellent food. Grand Bazaar on the other hand, has smaller restaurants where you can comfortably try different Turkish delights. Have the best-grilled fare on the side streets along the southern part of Istiklal Caddesi or down a drink or two at small bistros at Bekar Sokak in Istanbul.

Turkey is of course known for its carpets but jewelry, handicrafts, leather apparels, carved meerschaum, brass and copperware are all good buys. Grand bazaar is a good place to get an overview of goods available and their prices. Spice Bazaar in Eminönü, Istanbul is a must-see for all its Turikish delights. Antique lovers should visit Çukurcuma (along Turnacibasi Sokak, off Istiklal Caddesi), the heart of the antiques district. Bargaining is a must for souvenirs especially during the off-season.

Making your way here…
Getting to Turkey is pretty easy. It has three international airports at Istanbul, Izmir and Ankara and Turkish Airlines has direct flights from Istanbul to a number of European cities, New York, Middle East, North Africa, Bangkok, Karachi, Singapore and Tokyo. Alternately, Istanbul is well connected to Europe by train and bus.

In addition, there is a weekly ferry service operated by Turkish Maritime Lines (TML) to Venice from Antalya, Marmaris and Izmir from May through October and some private ferries run between Aegean coast and the Greek Islands.

… and getting around
Turkey’s air network is widespread and connects all the major cities within the country. But the best way to get around in Turkey is by long distance buses. The service is frequent, usually comfortable and really economical. The tickets can be bought at the otogars (bus stations) and at the town offices.

It is convenient to travel by private or shared taxis for short trips. You would be better off avoiding trains, they are neither as fast nor as comfortable as the buses but travel by sleeping car trains linking Istanbul, Izmir and Ankara may be a good idea.

Traveling by ferries is another good option as the waterway in Turkey is pretty extensive. TML operates shuttle city services; inter- island lines to international services and its overnight services are very popular.

A roof over your head
Like everything else in Turkey, accommodation too isn’t a problem. Ranging from luxury to budget, there is a large variety to choose from. Depending on the length of your stay, you could rent an apartment or stay in youth hostels that provide breakfast, hot water and decent meals and clean linen. If you visit between November and April, which an off-season, make sure to bargain for the rooms.

…and one Last bit of Advice
Beware of pickpockets and be careful with your belongings. In Turkey, men and women lead separates life though the younger generation is more liberal. It is wiser for women to travel with a male escort and dress more conservatively- no short, revealing clothes please! Drink bottled water and remember that bargaining is a done thing in Turkey, be it hotel rooms or souvenirs.

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