How many countries have the privilege of being part of two continents? Yes, Turkey is one of the few countries that straddles Europe and Asia. 97% of it's land is housed in West Asia and the Middle East and a tiny section perched in South-eastern Europe, divided by the Turkish Straits. This Mediterranean country is certainly at an advantage of residing at a fascinating junction as the unique location itself captures the minds and imagination of tourists worldwide.
Not many countries can boast of ancient sites and archaeological masterpieces as much as Turkey. The cultural legacy possessed by this nation is second to none. Though Istanbul is not the capital of the country, no one can deny the global appeal held by this city. Such is the captivating aura exuded by Istanbul that this transcontinental city in Eurasia has been announced as the 5th most popular destination in the planet.
Witness the grandeur of Topaki palace (Topkap? Saray?), Hippodrome (Hipodrom), Blue Mosque (Sultan Ahmed Mosque) and Hagia Sophia (Ayasofya). Wander about the maze-like Grand Bazaar, reportedly encompassing quarter of the city. The bazaar is overflowing with over 5,000 colorful and vibrant stalls selling a wide variety of goods including traditional Arabic merchandise. Spice connoisseurs will love visiting the spice bazaar brimming with the choicest spices from all over the planet including local Turkish ones. Symbolizing modern Istanbul, Taksim Square resides in the heart of the European part of the city.
For those seeking to lounge around the beach can pay a visit to tourist-friendly holiday resort towns such as Bodrum, Marmaris and Izmir perched along the country's Aegean and Mediterranean coasts. The Turkish capital, Ankara is a delightful blend of the old and the new with it's sleek skyscrapers dotting the glittering skyline, upscale hotel chains and exclusive boutiques co-existing happily with an array of historical structures that define the city's past. Be sure to visit Cappadocia in Central Antolia if you wish to witness a rare and exquisite moon-like landscape, underground cities, cave churches and dwellings built in the rocks.
When in Antalya, don't forget to drop by at the ancient archaeological site, Aspendos, especially to marvel at the best preserved 15,000-seater Roman theater. The bygone-era of Termessos is worth exploring, housed 30km in the south-east end of Antalya. Stop by at Perge, an old Antolian city and wander along the Roman baths, Hellenistic Gate and Acropolis. Ephesus is a magnificent city brimming with colossal monuments and marble-columned roads. Turkey is packed with plenty of Greco-Roman ruins but none can beat the ancient Perganum housing residuals of the temple remnants.
One of Turkey's most natural famous and renowned natural wonder is the pristine white travertine terraces of Pamukkale cascade, a must-visit for any tourist venturing out to holiday in the country. The majestic and magnificent Sumela Monastery is perched on a narrow ledge off a steep cliff amidst thick luscious jungles. Feel free to be mesmerized by the spectacular Duden Falls by drifting along the deep-blue waters on a conventional wooden Turkish-style gulet coastal boat. If you're looking for wintersports, then trek over to Uluda? near Busra.
Shopping is diverse and varied in Turkey. If you're seeking local merchandise then leather goods, carpets, kilims, silk, earthenware amongst other products are quite popular and are available abundantly in the country. Turkish cuisine is lip-smackingly tasty and it would be a crime to not dig into their local delicacies. Don't forget to gorge on their delicious and mouth-watering meze, a collection of tiny local appetizers or sip on refreshing Turkish coffee.
Stay options are abudant in Turkey with the best luxury hotels and private apartments available for the millionaires as well as modest and cheap accomodations for the budget travellers.
Turkey experiences temperate Mediterranean climate. The best time to visit the country would be during Spring from April - mid-june when the weather is relatively pleasant and the days are long.