Turkey is the number one country that I have ever visited and in recent years it is continually missed due to many thinking it being unsafe or not worth it. When I first booked my trip there, I was continually asked, “Why bother going to Turkey? What is even there?”
“Why bother going to Turkey? What is even there?”
My response was always. . .
“Just you wait”
As I knew exactly what I was in store for, which was a trip of a life time! Let me share the highlights with you! I did my travels through Turkey with Busabout before I worked for them and it was honestly the best 2 weeks of my life!
Tour or not, here are reasons to not miss out Turkey during your travels!
1. The Sights . . .
Turkey is filled with so many incredible sights and a lot of awesome bucket list items that while I have started to travel again, I am beginning to realise more and more that people have these things on their list, let’s go through a few.
As an Australian, we grew up learning about WWI and Australia’s contribution to it. We learnt a lot and it really doesn’t fully come to terms until you visit this iconic place! The tour guide we went through with was Turkish however, he gave us the facts from a middle ground stand point. No one sides for information and it was fascinating to see what both sides went through during the tough period of time!
It is a very emotional day, but something that I believe every Australian should see in their lifetime.
+ Bergama Acropolis
One, I am fascinated with amphitheatres and ancient ruins and two, also love standing at the edge of a cliff and looking vastly out over incredible cities! Bergama had both of these, plus being able to take photos with large structures that make you feel incredibly small is always fun!
I’m for one totally down for all of this! Being able to also stand at the bottom of the amphitheatre and look up is another incredible sight! The wonder of the manpower and seeing it in play to build these structures interests me at the same time though you feel a little disheartened about how lives would have been lost during the process. You definitely have to thank them though for us to be able to marvel at the beauty today!
Don’t even get me started on this beauty! The old remains of this ancient city astounded me in all the best ways possible! To be able to walk through all the old city streets, and get a massive insight into how they lived during the times BC is just incredible. Considering this ancient beauty started being built in 10th century BC and we still see so much of it today is remarkable beyond words! Also interesting to see just how sexual these deviants were. You can see one of the first advertisements in the world for brothels here #themoreyouknow
What more could you ask for than forever streaming pools of salt flats! And being able to scrub yourself with the gooey, squishy remnants at the bottom of each of the pools to make your skin feel nice and smooth! Another thing is being able to swim in Cleopatra’s bath which is also at Pamukkale once you enter the park. It does cost extra to swim in her bath, but why wouldn’t you want to swim amongst 2nd century BC ruins?
The city itself is a massive attraction, however, the one thing you must do, hands down, while you are there is the hot air ballooning! It is still hands down the best thing I have ever done and one of the very few moments I literally had to pinch myself it was happening!
The other thing is just the fairy mountains, what has been created in the city will leave you in awe! It’s crazy to think that people lived in these structures and too this day some people still do! No words or photos will ever, ever do it justice!
Now, one thing to point out, this is not the capital of Turkey, just the most well-known city! There are so many things to see in Istanbul though! The famous Blue Mosque, the Aya Sophia, Grand Bazaar, Topkapi Palace and so, so much more! I still have not even touched the surface of Istanbul and I was able to explore it for two full days!
2. The culture . . .
The culture in Turkey has definitely been changing, however, at the current stage, there are still some uncertainties about how it is going to go forward. There are pushes for it to revert back to the very un-modern, religious ways, although there are also modern age Muslims who do not want to see this push and would like to see Turkey keep moving forward. I am for one an atheist, however, the Muslim culture and religion really fascinated me. For a religion that is put in the headlines so often and not many people actually know about it, it was great to stop and finally learn about the religion I had been hearing so much about. I personally feel like the media has it wrong (as always) and just like the Christian bible that yes goes on about loving one another still has many violent and hateful sections to it. It is how one interprets it and relates it to the modern world we live in.
I personally love emerging myself in anything different and unknown, the ultimate favourite thing to do, get me outside of my comfort zone. It’s weird but anywhere foreign to me I feel at home.
Turkey also has a large coffee culture, thanks to the Ottoman Empire, and the coffee culture is great! I always love a good coffee, however, what you are going to love more than coffee in Turkey is . . .
3. The Turkish Tea . . .
Now traditional Turkish tea is actually black, still great. You would never, ever drink it with milk, possibly sugar, but not milk! The main attraction for most tourists is the apple tea version of the Turkish tea. It is delicious and can be found at pretty much any place that serves tea in Turkey. It is sweet and refreshing and is the perfect treat while travelling around and immersing yourself into the beautiful culture.
4. The food . . .
Ahh, Turkey, the land where the kebab hails from! My lord, it is great! There’s all the different styles/types, meats that you can put in it, sauces and really they just know their stuff! Then you have the sweet side of Baklava. The great pastry that hails from Turkey with all its sweet, sticky and gooey-ness! Then Turkish delight! I promise you, if you love Turkish delight back at your home, you are going to love it from Turkey because it is 10 times better from the original source!
5. The people . . .
Turkish people have honestly been some of the most hospitable people I have come across. As soon as you leave Istanbul and make your way down the east coastline of Turkey, this is where you start to see them change from just really wanting your tourists dollars (let’s be real this is every major city in the world!) and as much as they do appreciate your money, they do actually care about the service and making sure you are looked after well.
6. The safety . . .
When people ask “did you feel safe?” (you wouldn’t believe how many people have asked this since I have got back. It’s been over a year and I would easily have $1,000 if I had a $1 for every time I was asked), I have honestly felt more unsafe in places like Rome and Bali for example, but yet people still happily travel to these destinations on a daily basis. I felt incredibly safe through out my trip. I only had one time where I was a little bit pestered. I was out the front of the Blue Mosque as I was walking back to my hostel, I had a guy follow me and ask me harmless questions. I wasn’t brave enough back then to just tell him to piss off and leave me alone, however, I had a lovely Kiwi guy walk beside me, grab my hand and then tell the guy to “leave his girlfriend alone.” Nice dude. In my three weeks of travelling this was the one time, I had any encounter of the such.
In saying this, I have been physically grabbed in Bali and have had other horrible experiences in other places in Europe.
People need to stop being afraid of the unknown and jump in with both feet! For those looking for a great way to relax at the end of their travels, sailing for a week out from Fethiye is the best way to unwind! It is a relaxing week of beautiful scenery, amazing history, a little bit of drinking and a small pinch of adventure to add a cherry on top to an amazing holiday through Europe! If you want to know or book any Turkey products with Busabout, send me a message!
I am happily going to go back to Turkey and experience everything I have already seen and then to tick off some new adventures and experiences!
If anyone does have any questions about Turkey please don’t hesitate to put them in the comments below!
If you are more of a visual person, here is a video I put together from the first part of my trip! Enjoy 😀