As travel takes you places, it also makes you meet a lot of souls with different purposes and lives, travel and many different things. Turkey, a nation split between two distinct cultures and time periods, stands at the crossroads of Asia and Europe. For those who don’t know, it is the only country with a foot in either continent, as we can see in this travel guide to Turkey.

Standing in Turkey is like holding on to two different times, historical and modern. The cities, places, mosques, plains, mountains and all other things that make it quite an experience are unique, varied and such an immaculate beauty. All this makes turkey, a genuinely world-class travel destination, though one with its own specific customs.

Fethiye, Turkey – Middle East, Beach, Ölüdeniz, Asia.
Two Sides of the Same Coin

On several of my visits, I have encountered many travellers who seek convenience more than experience and willingly settle for the very least of things available. This was the case with Turkey, last summer when I encountered many solo as well as group travellers who were just in the country to bathe in the sun, and take in some sparkling beaches, sipping on their drink and going back to the luxury of their all-inclusive top of the class accommodations. As often is the case with some travellers, who seem afraid to get off those beaten paths and explore.

Exploration, often being an overrated term, carrying a reputation which has a rather larger than life perception attached to it. In my case exploration is and with regards to some, those little things like haggling for bargains, wandering about some typical town, getting mixed with the local culture, drinking their wine and finishing it off with a small snack off the street among other things. Do not be content with the convenience of travel, rather be limitless.

travel guide to turkey
Remains of the Ishak Pasha Palace in the town of Dogubeyazit, in Eastern Turkey.

This particular lesson is what Turkey taught me, with its lavish beaches, exotic beaches and top-rated accommodations. It’s easy to be convenient here and live like a king for the duration of your holiday.

But this country as diverse it is in physicality, and its people also provides with the option to make it an ideal destination for exploring travellers, who will limit to nothing less than the extraordinary, often, ironically found in ordinary pleasures of life. For when I travelled here, it wasn’t the 5-star resorts or the expensive food here, but the local, traditional tea house and the street kebabs did the job of satisfying the cultural being in me.

European Turkey
Celsus Library in Ephesus, Turkey
Celsus Library in Ephesus, Turkey

To know the country better, Turkey is simply divided into European Turkey and Asiatic turkey or Anatolia. The European Turkey is the part of Southeastern Europe, and while it may seem quite large an area, it only comprises 3% of Turkey. This territory is rich with lush mountains, lakes, beaches including the black sea and some fascinating historical towns. The European side comprises of few provinces, including western Istanbul, which in itself is one great place to be, with vivid architecture, the Sultanahmet and an exciting nightlife.

When in this side of Istanbul, the Golden Horn is a must visit. The golden horn is an urban waterway, which will let your eyes browse through some of Istanbul’s old and modern flavours of architecture and it is also one of the best ways to commute to the city. The European side which referred to as ‘Thrace’ has the combination of rich Balkan Culture, Greek historical remains, wine regions and is famous for its Ottoman architecture among many other attractions. One thing about ‘Thrace’ is that it offers a year-round travel experience. But the European side is not what Turkey is known for predominantly, but the Asian side of things.

Asiatic Turkey
The Sultan Ahmet or Blue Mosque in Istanbul, Turkey.

The Bosphorus and Dardanelles straits separate the two continents within Turkey, while four seas surround the Asiatic side of Turkey, splitting the country literally into two worlds apart. On the Asiatic side, there are the steep Pontic Alps, evergreen forests and pristine rivers. The coastline comprises the Black Sea, the Mediterranean Sea, Marmara Sea, and the Aegean Sea. These beaches could become a great spot for some summer holidays, while the other parts are a haven for adventurers.

The highest part of Turkey, known better as Eastern Anatolia, could be visited for some climbs and other adventurers of choice. A visit to the grand plains of Troy, as well as Istanbul (the only city to fall in two continents), are a must. Don’t forget to try some delicious Turkish deserts.

Alanya Castle and historical shipyard are one of the best preserved historic places in Turkey

The capital of Turkey has two distinctive flavours to it. Anatolia is home to Ankara and Cappadocia, where a traveller could go the neighbours Syria and Iraq (though you are strongly advised not to, amid some serious tensions of late). Apart from sightseeing, historical prominence and urban fun, there are plenty more reasons to visit Asiatic Turkey, while even a couple of visits won’t be enough to cover the extensivity of this place. There are these markets, food items and people themselves who could be called apart based on their European and Asian origins in Anatolia.

While you could give a thousand excuses not to visit these regions to sit and enjoy a relaxed yet lethargic sunset, but you could do otherwise using just the one excuse for exploration. Like I said before, people often visit turkey for its beaches, top of the class accommodations and a rich urban experience, but the real Turkey lies divided in the two continents the country remains a unique part of Turkey and this world. When you realize what Turkey has to offer, the country certainly will become one of those destinations you’d want to visit again.


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