It is hard to find a country that blends elements of the east and west quite in the same way that Turkey does.
The nation – which is located on the Mediterranean – is as much a popular holiday destination for young families and groups of friends as it is for culture vultures and those after a taste of the orient.
You can guarantee that the weather will be scorching if you travel there in the height of summer, and there are historic sights aplenty to explore.
If you’re visiting the country for the first time, then the best way for you to experience everything it has to offer is by embarking on a guided tour.
A local guide will share their insiders’ tips, restaurant recommendations and historical knowledge at every turn, making your break as unforgettable as possible.
A trip around Turkey would not be complete without visiting the country’s largest city, Istanbul. You only have to spend one day there to realise it is the beating heart of Turkish culture and history, perhaps as a result of the fact it is commercially linked to Europe, but one-third of its population lives in Asia.
Admire the striking city walls, which were built 1,000 years ago and still look magnificent.
Other sights you’ll experience include the Hippodrome – where emperors once entertained up to 50,000 guests – and the Blue Mosque, one of the world’s most iconic religious buildings. That’s not to mention the dozens of fantastic places to eat and drink that are littered around the city – ask your tour manager for suggestions off the beaten track.
The ancient city of Ephesus is home to one of the country’s most well-known attractions, the Temple of Artemis, and for that reason it attracts thousands of tourists every year. Don’t let that put you off however, as within it are dozens of stunning buildings and ruins, and it is consequently not to be missed.
The Temple of Artemis was a major pilgrimage destination for thousands of years. A visit to the remains of St John’s Basilica is a must-see, along with a stroll through the centre of Ephesus.
Stop off at the hillside location of the House of the Virgin Mary. Historians have claimed that St John travelled with the saint to Ephesus and this is where they stayed.
Mingle with other travellers at one of the authentic Turkish restaurants in nearby Kusadasi or venture back into the heart of Ephesus to discover more of the ancient monuments, which include the Temple of Hadrian and the Fountain of Pollio.
The tale of Troy and the wooden horse is one of the most famous of all time, having made its way into the fabric of every country’s past.
During your break to Turkey, you’ll have the chance to revisit the story of Troy, which is now an archaeological site covering 4,000 years of history. The first excavations were conducted by Heinrich Schliemann, an archaeologist active in the 19th century.
The remains allude to the initial signs of contact between the civilisations of Anatolia and the Mediterranean world and you can really feel the weight of centuries gone by as you walk around the site.
Homer’s Iliad brought the scenes of battle between the Spartan and Archean warriors to life and you are able to recapture this magic with a trip to Troy.
Travel Tips for Turkey from the Woman’s Weekly Team…
Kimberly, from the Woman’s Weekly Shop Team shares why she loves Turkey.
Turkey is one of my favourite countries I’ve been to – it felt so exotic! When I was there I indulged in eating lots of lamb dishes (my favourite!), and was lucky enough to experience a traditional Turkish Bath – an experience I won’t forget in a hurry!
If you are visiting the Blue Mosque in Istanbul, remember to take a shawl or scarf to cover your shoulders, and wear slip-on footwear, as you aren’t allowed to wear shoes in the mosque. And when visiting Ephesus, take a wide brimmed hat, as there isn’t much shade throughout the ruins.