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8 Reasons Why We Love Turkey

Turkey is such a diverse holiday destination that attracts thousands of holidaymakers every year. For those of you who have yet to visit you may be wondering what attracts so many people to return year on year.

Well here are the top reasons why you’ll love Turkey:

History

History buffs will enjoy the many historical sites that Turkey has to offer.

Cappadocia – When you visit Cappadocia you will feel like you have just entered a fairytale land of funny shaped hills. The towns of Urgup, Goreme, Gozelyurt and Uchisar are most popular with tourists as they’re home to the best historical mansions and cave houses. There is also the Goreme Open Air Museum which contains more than 30 churches carved from rock, and chapels dating from the 9th to the 13th Century.

Ephesus – Ephesus was an ancient Greek city and was one of the twelve cities in Classical Greece. It was built by the Greeks in the 10th Century BC and abandoned in the 15th Century AD. The town was partially demolished in 614AD by an earthquake and Ephesus was also mentioned in the Bible in the Book of Revelation as being one of the Seven Churches of Asia. The city is famous because of the Temple of Artemis, one of the Seven Wonders of the Ancient World. It was here that Saint Paul preached to the Ephesians.

Image of Ephesus in Turkey

Shutterstock.co.uk/ muratart

Pamukkale and Hierapolis – If you see pictures of Pamukkale it resembles an arctic setting. All white, you half expect to see a couple of penguins waddling around. This couldn’t be further from the reality as it is actually a mineral-bath spa, created by hot water cascading over the cliff and hardening into white calcium pools as it cools. The Romans built the spa and even today you can swim in it. Hierapolis is the Roman mineral water spa city and has many ancient ruins. The Apostle Philip died here and his tomb lies just outside the city.

Istanbul – Istanbul is a long way from the main resorts so this would be a trip on its own, generally as a city break. Visit Istanbul for the Sultan Ahmed Mosque, more commonly known as the Blue Mosque, and the Topkapi Palace Museum, where the Ottoman Sultans resided, is also worth a visit. There’s also Chora Church, one of the most beautiful Byzantine churches in the world. These are just a few favourite sites, but there are so many more things to see and do in Istanbul.

Turkish Baths

Either love them or hate them, these steam baths are an experience not to be missed in Turkey. Here, the emphasis is on relaxation.

Turkish bath interior

Shutterstock.co.uk/Elena Oksuz

You’ve likely heard many travellers stories regarding Turkish Baths and it’s certainly an experience not to be missed!

Turkish baths date back to the 14th century and are inspired by Roman practises with bathing. They were also used within Islam as a form of cleansing before entering a mosque for prayer. Many Turkish baths can often be found close to Mosques for this reason.

Turkish baths have separate sections for men and women, so if you plan to go with someone of the opposite sex to yourself, expect to separate and meet up at the end. You may be provided with some disposable underwear but if you prefer, you can keep your bathing suit on!

A Turkish bath experience usually begins by building up a sweat in a small dry-heat room, a bit different to a sauna. After 10-15 minutes, you’ll then enter the larger communal pool, usually surrounded by some gorgeous architecture, where you can spend many peaceful moments in pure relaxation.

Turkish bath experiences can vary depending on which kind of treatment you opt for. You can choose to wash alone but we’d recommend going all in for the full experience of being washed and scrubbed by an attendant. – You’ll question if you’ve ever exfoliated properly after a Turkish bath!

Young women in Turkish Bath

Shutterstock.co.uk/ Levent Konuk

You’ll be lathered up with soap, scrubbed down with a natural exfoliant paste and then washed and rinsed in cool water. The exfoliant is vigorous but painless and you may even see layers of dead skin you didn’t even know you have fall away in front of your eyes. It provides you with the perfect base for building an even tan and because of that, if you opt for this experience at the beginning of your holiday, you may just return home with the best sun tan of your life!

Some Turkish bath experiences even end with a deep pressure massage! You’ll leave feeling like a brand new person, however due to the speed and pressure of these massages, they are only recommended to those who are familiar with the service.

Caretta Caretta Turtles

If you head towards the pretty little town of Dalyan and get a boat to Iztuzu Beach you may be lucky enough to spot some of these endangered Loggerhead sea turtles as this is where they have their breeding ground. The beach itself is absolutely stunning and it compensates if the turtles decide not to show themselves.

The beach has been protected since 1988 and from the 1st May until 31st October the beach is prohibited to the public from the hours of 20:00 and 08:00. This is because the turtles go here to lay their eggs and light and noise will deter them.

Sea turtle, Caretta caretta, in iztuzu beach, Mugla, Turkey.

Shutterstock.co.uk/ Bekir Vahit Telli

The Turkish Riviera

This region in Southwest Turkey is most commonly known as the Turquoise Coast and is where the main holiday resorts are located – the most popular being Antalya. If you are looking for the sun and beaches, these resorts fringing the Mediterranean coast are perfect options. Lively resorts, quiet little villages, family resorts…there is literally every type of resort along here so you’re sure to find one to suit you. Plus the area is huge so you can keep visiting Turkey and never have to visit the same place twice. Accommodation ranges from hostels for backpackers to 5-star luxury hotels.

Panoramic view of Antalya Old Town port, Taurus mountains and Mediterrranean Sea, Turkey

Shutterstock.co.uk/ Boris Stroujko

Outside the Euro Zone

Turkey has been trying to enter the Euro for some time now, though so far they have been unsuccessful. Although bad news for them, this is actually great news for us because it means the cost of living out there is so much cheaper. They still use their own currency, the Turkish Lira, and you will find you will need much less spending money in Turkey than with destinations using the Euro.

Women holding Turkish Lira bank notes

Shutterstock.co.uk/ izzet ugutmen

Shopping

You can buy literally everything in Turkey. There are a lot of open-air markets. You will find in the main resorts that the shops are geared completely towards the tourists. You are absolutely expected to bargain for almost everything – except in shops which have marked prices on it. You will find the most popular brand names on everything from t-shirts and hoodies to handbags – of course these are mostly fake as there are no copyright laws in Turkey. It is an idea to have an idea of the price you want to pay for the item, so that you are ready to haggle.

Street view in the Kas old town with boutique shops at evening. Kas Town is popular tourist destination in Turkey

Shutterstock.co.uk/ Mazur Travel

The Cuisine

When most people think of Turkish food the first thing that comes to mind is the Turkish kebab. Turkish food is much more than just kebabs and cuisine does vary across Turkey. For example if you eat in Istanbul, Izmir and the Aegean regions you will find the food less spicy. They also eat more rice and a lot of vegetable stews and fish.

Food in the Mediterranean region is generally spicier and they use a lot of herbs. Everything is very tasty. Olives are widely grown in this region so you will find them plentiful.

Turkish tea with breakfast on the table in front of sea background landscape

Shutterstock.co.uk/ Hakan Tanak

Food we recommend you try in Turkey is:

  • Menemen – Traditionally served at breakfast, it consists of scrambled egg cooked with vegetables and is especially delicious served with warm, freshly made bread.
  • Manti – Small dumplings usually made with beef or lamb, boiled or fried, and often served with butter or yoghurt. Spices are added to this dish giving it plenty of flavour.
  • Lahmacun – This is a flat bread topped with kofta (mince), salad and dressed with lemon juice. This is a very cheap dish.
  • Baklava – You can buy baklava in most UK supermarkets now and it is absolutely delicious. They are little pastries usually drizzled with honey-like syrup and pistachios.
  • Pide – This Turkish pizza is a boat-shaped flatbread topped with all different types of toppings. They are huge and can often be shared between the family.

There are so many more foods we could mention, but the list would be too long. Why not tell us of any that you try?

The Turkish Hospitality

As with any good home from home, Turkey is very welcoming and of leaves a long lasting imprint on the tourists. Faces are remembered as season regulars return and for many more reasons, Turkey welcomes back repeat visitors year on year. For many British tourists, Turkey ticks all the boxes for the perfect family holiday.

Waiter serving Bright Cocktail by Swimming Pool

Shutterstock.co.uk/ RN23W

As you can see we are in love with Turkey and all it has to offer. We hope we’ve inspired you to visit. Are you already a regular visitor and do you agree with the reasons why we’re hooked?