Turkey is a beautiful country and one that enriches anyone who visits. From its precious history to the new cosmopolitan bars springing up through the capital of Istanbul and outlying cities such as Ankara to the seaside playground of Antalya.
Turkey straddles eastern Europe and western Asia, creating an incredible fusion of cultures as east meets west. Most cities are cosmopolitan, while rural communities retain their old customs and traditions. For those seeking sand and sea, go to the Turquoise Coast and the towns of Ölüdeniz and Kaş, each with their breathtaking blue ocean vistas and fresh seafood. For a unique landscape, visit Göreme and the rose valley of Cappadocia. For ancient ruins: head to either Ephesus or Antalya. And for natural wonders, you'll love the travertine terraces of Pamukkale.
Food is excellent, usually inexpensive, with hearty servings. Meyhanes (Turkish taverns) form a part of the Turkish culture. Order rakı (a Turkis flavoured spirit with anise) and a platter of mezes (appetizers) while you dine upon opulent rugs with luxurious local decor. Bars boasting house-brewed beer to creative cocktails are popping up all over, and cafes serving fabled delicious coffee with sweets and funky beats will delight you.
Markets such as Istanbul's Grand Bazaar (Kapali Çarsi) have vendors hawking carpets, beaded bracelets, jewellery, multi-coloured lanterns, leather goods, ceramics, belly-dancing outfits, spices, and a whole lot more. All price ranges are catered for, and you'll find the perfect souvenir amongst the bazaar's extending through the labyrinthine of alleys.
The best three Turkish words to know on arrival are: Yes – evet; No – hayir and thank you – tesekkür ederim. If that is a little confusing, yes is a downward nod of the head, and no is an upward nod of the head while raising eyebrows and clicking the tongue.
As a Muslim country, women are asked to keep their knees and shoulders covered when entering a Muslim site, and men should do so too. Check the required dress etiquette wherever you are travelling and enjoy this spellbinding and beautiful country.
As the 37th largest country in the world, the climate varies within Turkey. The Northern Black Sea region at the end of June is cold, while other locations on the Aegean and Mediterranean coasts, enjoy summer evenings and dining al fresco style in a balmy warm climate.
Plan your activities around the weather. Istanbul is open all year round, however winter, from the end of November and continuing through to the beginning of March, can see rain and snow. It's also low season. May to October is the prime season, and the weather generally at its best.