Why visit Turkey? Well, it has to be one of the most diverse and stunning countries we have ever visited! So why is Turkey a popular tourist destination? It has everything, beaches, mountains, high-grasslands, deserts and even the possibility to go skiing!
We first visited Turkey during out hitchhiking journey from Thailand to Spain and we completely fell in love with this astounding country and its hospitable people! In a country that relies on tourism, it can be surprising that a lot of the people are still so welcoming, honest and happy to meet foreigners. It is a country that you will feel at home in and never unsafe, its people are genuinely interested in getting to know you!
Why should you travel to Turkey? There are so many reasons to visit Turkey as a holiday destination that it is hard to put it into one post. We loved it so much that we returned once more for a 6 week hitchhiking trip to explore Turkey in much more depth on a quest to learn more about the culture, history, language, food and scenery.
Here are eight reasons why you should take a trip to Turkey NOW!
Without a doubt Turkish food is up there in the top three cuisines we rave about the most. The variety is unbeatable. With influences from Central Asia, the Middle East, Eastern Europe and of course all the countries that were part of the Ottoman Empire.
In Turkey itself you can find specialities from almost every city. In Istanbul you will can find a mix from all parts of Turkey but once you start travelling around the country you will encounter authentic and truly delicious food.
Of course no trip to Turkey is complete without its famous Kahvalti. The range of dishes you can find on a breakfast table will soon make your stomach expand! From eggs, olives, jams, honey, salads, cheeses and many more it will almost be enough to last you until dinner.
We have spent two months in Turkey so far and have only scratched the surface of what is available, but what we have tried has been mouthwatering! Our favourites include: menemen, cifkofte, kahvalti, adana kebab, gozleme and of course the classic, doner kebab!
Is Turkey safe for tourists?
This of course is a big question. Many people have asked us this about Turkey and for us the answer is always YES. To be honest we have felt completely safe in all the countries we have visited throughout our trips and Turkey is no different. Of course there are going to be places that you need to be more cautious but that goes for anywhere, even London.
Not once did we feel in any danger even when hitchhiking around the country for six weeks. People are incredibly hospitable and will go out of their way to help you. Want to hitchhike in Turkey?
If you look for where to go that is safe in Turkey, you will most likely be advised that almost all of the country is safe apart from South-East Turkey. Due to the unrest in Syria many governments warn people to stay away from any areas that run along the Syrian border. They will even tell people it is dangerous to travel to places such as the ancients cities of Gaziantep, Mardin, Diyabakir and Batman (yes, there is a city called Batman!)
We travelled to South-East Turkey in 2018 and found the area to be incredibly safe. People were very friendly and helped us whenever and however they could. Want to see our videos from this part of Turkey?
We would recommend that you stay as vigilant as you would in any other country. We are often walking around with our cameras out filming and for the most part people don’t even pay you any attention and if they do they just want to be part of the video!
You should visit Turkey’s unique landscapes!
This country is full of absolutely astounding places to check out and this is exactly why you should visit Turkey. It has everything anyone could need. If you are into hiking you have the Lycian Way. If you like beaches, well there are too many to list! Click here to skip to the beach section. If you like deserts, then head to South-East Turkey. If cities are your thing, then head to Istanbul for a cultural and food overload! Into action-packed holidays, then you need to visit Kayseri for paragliding, horse-back riding, skiing, mountain biking, you name it, you can do it!
So, what to visit in Turkey? Well, the first place that people think about is likely to be Cappadocia! What can we say about Cappadocia?! It is just an incredible place like no other. Why not read our in-depth guide to Cappadocia where we give you all the reasons why you should visit and what you should do when you visit Cappadocia, Turkey. We will also tell you the best time to visit Cappadocia.
Arriving in this amazing cave-town area you will be completely blown away by its beauty and awe inspiring landscape that you, like us, will think this is one of the most beautiful places to to visit in Turkey. We visited Cappadocia in 2018 and made a vlog about our experience couchsufing and exploring the area.
Not only can you visit the amazing caves carved out of the tuff rock but there are more than 30 underground cities in the Cappadocia area! We visited Derinkuyu underground city, the deepest one in the area, and were blown away by the scale and engineering involved in creating these cities including having a fresh supply of water as well as oxygen.
No visit to Cappadocia would be complete without visiting the world famous Fairy Chimneys. Made of tuff rock, essentially volcanic ash which solidified into rock, they have been eroded through history creating a magical landscape that will stay in your mind long after you have left this breathtaking UNESCO World Heritage site.
Pamukkale is definitely somewhere you will hear about before going to Turkey and with great reason. It is an incredible destination to see mother nature’s beauty! Thinking about heading to Pamukkale? Read our Pamukkale guide.
Not only will you see this magical place but just behind is an ancient spa town of Hierapolis which is fantastic. You can wonder around and really feel the history and it just has to be one of the best places to visit in Turkey! We explored both places and had a great time making a video about these natural and historical locations.
Visit Turkey for the beaches, 7,200 km of them!
If you are into beaches then you are in for a treat! It has been a while now since we were in Turkey but we are always thinking about our next trip back and part of the reason for is the astounding beaches that you can find. You have the busy beaches in Bodrum, Izmir and many more but as soon as you get off the main beaches you can find really secluded beaches with not much more than a few cows or goats chowing down on the grass behind the beach.
We didn’t visit too many beaches during our time in Turkey but the ones we did visit really stood out! So which beaches to visit in Turkey? Patara Beach was a shining example of a quiet and stunning beach. Here the beach stretches 12km and is often only busy in front of the cafes by entrances to beach which have sun chairs by the shoreline.
As soon as you walk a km down the beach you are guaranteed a quiet spot to yourself. Behind the beach are the sand dunes which are equally worthwhile checking out and not only that there is an ancient city right behind the dunes!
Then there is the beautiful Black Sea Coast (Karadeniz) which follows the northern coast through really impressive cities to visit in Turkey sucha as Sinop, Amasra, Samsun as well as the most famous, Trabzon. We have been to the Black Sea Coast twice now and are looking forward to heading back there again! If you would like to see what this part of Turkey looks like you can check out our playlist here where we travel along the whole Black Sea Coast and explore some of the amazing sights along the way!
When you search ‘best beaches in Turkey’ there are a few that will always come up, but the most popular hits are likely to be Butterfly Beach and Kabak Koyu just around the corner from Oludeniz. We camped by Kobak Koyu and had an amazing few nights enjoying this beautiful place which is actually part of the ancient Lycian walk.
Now, these are just a few of the beaches that we have visited, but if you were to rent a car and follow the coast, you would find so many secluded beaches! Check out our post about 5 historic places in Turkey for beach lovers for some culture and beach time!
Visit the ancient cities of Turkey
It is so historically rich that it is hard to put down on paper which historical places to visit in Turkey! There are too many incredible places to list! The history of the Turkish people and region goes back 4,000 years. They first lived in the area now known as Central Asia and then starting spreading to different areas around 2,000 BC to establish various states and empires around Asia and Europe. It is easy to find the evidence of ancient civilisations all over Turkey that are definitely worth visiting!
Let’s start with South-East Turkey. It is a place that really needs to be explored. There are an endless amount of ancient cities and some ancient sites even date back 11,000 years! It is full of culture and history.
If you like getting off-the-beaten-path then this should be your next destination. You won”t find the hoards of tourists here like you do in some places such as Cappadocia or Ephesus but you will find an authentic experience far away from the touristy areas of Turkey. Some of the most popular cities to visit in this area are: Nemrut Dağı Summit, Mardin, Savur and Gaziantep.
We spent a lot of time in the South-West of Turkey and we discovered many of the less visited ancient cities. In this region of Turkey you will find what seems to be an endless amount of Ancient Lycian Cities ready to be explored. Many you will find almost empty and it’s even possible to camp by some like we did in Pinara.
The hospitality of Turkish people!
Turkish people are known for their hospitality among many other qualities and we really felt that during our stays in this country. Their hospitable nature makes them incredibly friendly and curious about outsiders and it won’t take long before you have been invited for çay (tea in Turkish) or maybe even a meal!
Whilst hitchhiking in Turkey we were lucky enough to be invited for tea on a daily basis, invited for lunch quite often and were even lucky enough to be invited to stay in people’s houses on various occassions, but the best invitation we got was to attend a TURKISH WEDDING! Want to see what a Black Sea Turkish Wedding looks like?
In our experience Turkish people are incredibly kind and will go out their way and further to help you and are always intrigued by people from different countries. You won’t be lonely in Turkey, that is for sure!
It has never been cheaper to visit Turkey!
If like us you travel on a budget then now is the time to visit. Due to political issues the Turkish Lira is worth much less than several years ago. During our first trip to Turkey in 2017 £1 was worth 4 lira, but now, in 2020 it is worth 8.52 Lira! This really is the cheapest time to visit Turkey! Your money will go much further in Turkey and will help you to stay for a longer time on less money!
Visit Turkey for the Shopping!
For hundreds of years Turkey played a major part on the ancient silk road due to is geographical position nestled between Europe and Asia. It’s no surprise then that a major market area was built upon the foundations of the silk road and the weary travellers that journeyed across the world on it. The Gran Bazaar has been a trading point between Europe and Asia for hundreds of years and some even claim that it is the oldest market in the world!
If you love shopping, this is the place to come! It is one of the best places to visit in Turkey. The Grand Bazaar is an assault on the senses! The sights, sounds, smells and taste of this bustling market will cause a slight case of sensory overload! There is something for everybody. It is easy to get lost amongst the 4,000 shops but when you do you will discover lots of little nooks and crannies full of interesting items and handicrafts.
You can find everything here including: jewellery, silk, copper-ware, ceramics, leather, plenty of antiques and the famous carpets and rugs of Turkey! So whatever you are looking for or even if you just want to check out this incredible ancient market you won’t be disappointed! On our last trip to Istanbul we got the chance to visit this bustling market and included it in our video.
If you not heading to Istanbul, don’t worry, there are many variations of the Grand Bazaar in smaller versions all over Turkey giving you plenty of opportunities.
We hope that you have found this brief introduction to Turkey useful and that you will enjoy this country as much as we did!