While Turkey’s internal protests ebb and flow in Istanbul, feet-on-the-street reports from the nation’s capital and surrounding areas indicate that the political unrest does not have to keep you from visiting this fantastic country.
It’s the same colourful, hospitable, history-rich place as ever. Stay away from the isolated conflict areas, but don’t hesitate to explore the rest of Turkey’s diverse cities and countryside. With a dose of common sense about your health and safety, you can still indulge the senses and see the sights in a place steeped in antiquity and uniquely positioned where East meets West. Just do your research before you book your holiday, starting here with a sampling of recent travel advice.
As of today (June 18, 2013), here’s a basic list of where not to go:
* Taksim Square in Istanbul. In fact, just check before you head to any city squares when you’re in Turkey’s largest cities.
* Any ruling “Justice and Development Party” headquarters.
* The Syrian border.
* Demonstrations. (Common sense, right?)
The rest of this abundant country is yours to explore.
In fact, there are plenty of cheap holiday travel options in Turkey, along with a multitude of ways to explore the country, from riding horses on backcountry trails, to cycling scenic highways, to hiking in the hills, to taking trains, busses, boats or rented vehicles. Regardless of your chosen mode of transport, remember to always leave room for on-the-spot inspirations!
Among Turkey’s must-see highlights:
* Turkish Baths – They’re famous!
* Rock Tombs – 2500 years ago the Lycians dug them out, believing that their lofty heights would help kings’ souls be carried up by winged sirens. Check them out, catch some spirit.
* Mosques – Especially the Blue and the Great Mosque and Hospital of Divrigi. There are around 20 of these ornate wonders to choose from!
* Citadels – Ruins in Tlos include the bonus of spectacular views.
* Markets and shops – You’ve heard of Istanbul’s Grand Covered Bazaar? Well that’s just the tip (more like a hunk) of the iceberg. Spice bazaars, flea markets, fish markets, smaller bazaars that still feel grand. And of course, backstreet shops everywhere
* Sagalassos – Drive the adventurous hundred kilometers from Anyalya; this mesmerizing Ottoman-period city is as neat as any of the coastal sites, and far less crowded.
* Termessos – Tackle the steep climb to this ruined Pisidian city and you’ll not only get an ancient amphitheater fix with views across the Taurus Mountains, sometimes you’ll even have the place to yourself.
There’s more to see and do: Cappadocia, the Aegean coast, beaches, mud baths and hot springs…better plan on staying for more than a week.
So check accurate news sources for up-to-date quarters of unrest, pack your medications, watch your wallet, and enjoy Turkey’s bounty.
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