Country guide Turkey

Turkey still holds the remains of its role in the Christian Roman Empire and its own incredible Muslim Ottoman Empire. It has not only gone through a series of major cultural transformations, but it continues to exist between two worlds. The country joins together old and new, East and West, as well as the European continent and the Asian.

Steeped in ancient history, scenery that never fails to impress and a vibrant, welcoming culture, Turkey is a tempting relocation destination for many. The gorgeous, diverse backdrops, exquisite cuisine and divine beaches amaze all who venture here.

Sights and Attractions

Not only can you find the world's most amazing natural wonders like the thermal springs at Pamukkale, you can also wander through historical monuments like Anzac Cove.

If it's architectural splendour or cultural significance that you're after, the Hagia Sophia Museum is a must see. Originally a church devoted to the wisdom of Christ, it was later converted into a mosque and now exists as a museum. If you prefer delving into the past, wander into the Ancient City of Ephesus, near Selçuk, its well-preserved, magnificent ruins are a sight to behold.

The Göreme National Park and Rose Valley are amongst the most impressive landscapes in Turkey. The Göreme National park, with its 'fairy chimneys', is well-worth a visit for the weird and wonderful rock formations and underground cities. Meanwhile, the Rose Valley, with its rouge-hued terrain, is perfect for hikers, quad bikers and balloon ride enthusiasts.

The coast invites its own adventures. Private boat tours can be taken from Marmaris and Kas. Scuba diving is a popular activity due to the range of marine wildlife. Beautiful beaches like Ölüdeniz lagoon and Kabak Bay are not to be missed. Ölüdeniz also provides adventure seekers the opportunity to fully appreciate its stunning scenery through paragliding.

Restaurants and Cafes

With influences from Europe, Middle East, the Mediterranean and Asia – Turkish cuisine is a delight. You will be able to find a plethora of cafés serving meze style food, tantalising street vendors, restaurants and food markets ready to satisfy your hunger pangs.

Food lovers should be sure to sample traditional, meaty delicacies such as Köfte or Kuzu Tandır (a dish of slow-roasted lamb). Turkey is also revered for its desserts, particularly for their sumptuous baklava and lokum - or as it's more commonly known, Turkish Delight.

Turkey prides itself on its spice bazaars. The aptly named Spice Bazaar, one of the largest and most impressive bazaars in the country, can be found in Istanbul. Culinary enthusiasts will find a huge range of ingredients and delicacies like lokum, oils and spices to spark their imagination. However, it is a very popular hub, and so Yeşilköy can make for a quieter and more relaxed market experience. There is always a selection of fresh produce on offer as well as a variety of other luxury goods at this less 'touristy' of markets.

Shopping

Turkey's markets offer far more than its abundance of food. Çarşamba and Bakirköy offer a diverse mix of goods, from clothes to jewellery pieces. Sahaflar, located in Beyazit, prevails as a booklover's dream.

However, Turkey also has a number of large international shopping malls. Forum Istanbul not only contains over 50 clothing and shoe stores, but also Turkey's first gigantic aquarium, Turkuazoo, and the first ice museum, Magic Ice. The Mall of Istanbul has an even larger selection with 350 stores – more than enough to satisfy fashion needs! Shoppers should also take the opportunity to explore the elegant Istinye Park with its 300 stores and IMAX theatre.

Travel

If comfortable with Turkey's road etiquette, driving is the most convenient form of travel especially since road networks are constantly improving. However, for long distances, the luxurious and clean buses make for a popular and often more economical alternative. Trains also provide good levels of comfort as well as the opportunity to travel internationally through Europe and into the Middle East.

For travelling locally around Istanbul, there is a variety of public transport to choose from including the Metro, Marmaray suburban train, city buses, tram, and ferry boats. The Marmaray suburban train is particularly convenient when going from the Asian side of Istanbul to the European.

If it's international travel that you're after, there are several airports across the country serving major airlines, helping connect you to the rest of the world. Two such airports can be found in Istanbul, Atatürk International Airport and Sabiha Gökçen Airport.

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