In the 1990s, Turkish resorts were the first to be visited by tourists from the former USSR countries. Even now, Turkey is still the third European state with the highest flow of visitors. It is surpassed only by Poland and Hungary.
Tourists from the rest of the world get allured with a benign climate, hospitable people, sightseeing attractions, and tasty cuisine. Annually, Turkish resorts host around 40 million people.
The major part of Turkey (97%) occupies Central Asia. Only a little area called Eastern Thrace takes the very edge of the southern Balkans. However, this fact does not deter people from considering the country absolutely European.
A sense of belonging to Europe has been repeatedly confirmed by Turkey since the 1940s. That is why it became a member of all important organisations of the continent.
It has been the Council of Europe member state since 1949.
In 1999, the country started been considered as a potential EU member. At present, the issue of the upcoming membership is ambiguous and controversial, first of all, for Turkey itself.
Modern Turkey is a direct descendent of the mighty Ottoman Empire that existed between 1299 and 1922 and used to be the most feared at its height in the whole world.
The country’s territory was maximized in the 16th - 17th centuries as a result of a series of successful military campaigns. A small empire with an army of brutal and courageous janissaries managed to subdue the multitude of countries from Austria, Hungary, and Poland in Europe to western Asia and several African regions.
The Turkish republic appeared in October 1923 when the Ottomans underwent a defeat in World War I, and civil uprisings led to the dissolution of the once-powerful empire. Mustafa Atatürk became the president of a new republic, the person idealized by the Turks even after death.
The country has made a very difficult and painful path. Its official currency - the Turkish lira - was devalued so many times that there was a necessity to print the banknotes in denominations of several billions of lira.
Now Turkey is an industrial state where several industries are dynamically developing at the same time: automobile manufacturing, chemical and pharmaceutical industries, production of well-known Turkish leather, footwear, and textiles.
Tourism is a particular manner of increasing Turkey’s budget. Around 40 million foreign tourists come here every year to spend their vacations.
Turkish hotels are famous for high-quality service, comfort, and safety. Visitors to the country adore Turkish beaches for clean water and fine soft sand.
Geography, Population, and Language
Since ancient times, Turkey has been unique due to its geographical position. Its territory used to be the crossroads of significant trading routes from Europe to Asia, and from the Black Sea to the Mediterranean. Its first capital appeared in the 7th century BC and was initially called Byzantium. Later, and till the 1930s, the city’s name was Constantinople.
At present, it is Istanbul - one of the most densely populated cities in the world.
This city played the leading role in world politics and economics for many centuries. The most important decisions were made there and determined the course of development of humanity. In terms of its influence, ancient Byzantium can be compared only with modern Washington.
In 1923, the capital was transferred to Ankara that has remained the country’s main city up to the present day.
Turkey borders the Black, Aegean, Marmara, and Mediterranean Seas, and six countries, two of which have not been recognized. The borders between Turkey and the Russian Federation, Ukraine, Romania, and Cyprus are legal, but there are no legal boundaries with Northern Cyprus and Abkhazia.
Besides, Turkey also has terrestrial and mountainous borders with Greece, Iraq, Iran, Syria, Azerbaijan, Armenia, Georgia, and Bulgaria.
Turkish climate is varying. Summer and winter temperatures in regions depend on the level of location in the mountains. The central cities like Ankara, Cappadocia, and Konya are landlocked, and thus, the hottest. Winters in midland regions are usually cold.
The most comfortable climate is in the south and west of the country, where the coast stretches along three seas - the Aegean, Mediterranean, and Marmara. Though summers there are hot, proximity to the water provides much comfort. Winters are mild and short. A typical summer day in this locality is +32°C - +35°C of shade temperatures and +26°C at sea. And for a good reason, this locality is called the Turkish Riviera as if it was created specifically for beach holidays.
It is the south where the most popular Turkish resorts are concentrated. Everybody has heard of Antalya, Alanya, Belek, Marmaris, Side, Fethiye, Bodrum, and others.
The most severe climate is on the Black Sea coast. It often rains in summer there, and winter temperatures are low. However, due to this, the north of the country has become a great mountain ski resort. The multitude of people who adore skiing and mountain thrill comes to ski down the pistes of Kartalkaya.
Turkey is a big country with a population of 86 million people, most of whom are Turks (75%). Assyrians and Greeks are also considered the indigenous people. A small percentage of residents includes Azerbaijani, Armenians, Kurds, and immigrants from the former Caucasian USSR republics.
Most of the population is Muslims (the Sunnis), but there are some Christian communities too.
The official language is Turkish, and the official currency is the Turkish lira. Tourists from most countries will need a visa, but those coming from Germany, France, and Ukraine are not required to get it for a 90-day stay. Russian citizens are allowed to stay in Turkey without a visa for 30 days.
Travelling to Turkey is possible either by plane or by ferry (from a neighbouring country). Sometimes people may even get there by car or by train.
A plane is always the best decision because this travel takes little time. However, this is true only about direct flights. Flights with transfers will be much cheaper but will take a longer time. The ticket prices range from $55 to $100, which depends on the airline and the type of flight.
It is essential to take into account the destination of the flight when choosing air travel. There are 20 international airports in Turkey, but tourists arrive in Antalya, Ankara, Istanbul, Izmir, Bodrum, and Dalaman most often. Charters to mountain ski resorts of Bursa and Erzurum are the most popular in winter.
The Bulgarian capital, Sofia, is the most convenient city for transfers when flying to Turkey. Flights through Greece, Baku, or Yerevan are also good options for transfers. If you choose Athens, then it is possible to get to Turkey by ferry through the sea.
It is a lengthy and expensive way to get to the Turkish coast. As a rule, a ferry is used by those who want to carry the cargo within a loading gauge like lorries, automobiles, or motorcycles. A ferry trip to Istanbul from a neighbouring country will cost $100 and more, and the price for carriage of vehicles will range from $130 to $900.
Travelling by train is an unpopular and unreliable option because of the constantly changing situation of the Turkish railways. People will need to get to Turkey with transfers in Bulgaria or Romania.
Hotels are the preferred place to stay for almost everyone who comes here to have a vacation or deal with business. The hospitality industry in Turkey is well-developed, and hotels offer nice conditions. However, prices usually vary by season. The price for a hotel room at least doubles during the summer months and till the end of September.
- Queen's Park Resort is the most popular hotel complex in Kemer. It is located far from the centre, in the village of Tekirova. There is a pebble beach, an amusement and water parks.
- Attaleia Holiday Village & Golf is a hotel in Belek located right by the sea in the pine forest. The healing air, perfect beaches, Mediterranean cuisine, and entertainment shows attract tourists from all over the world.
- Life Green Hill is a hotel complex located 17 km from Antalya that consists of 18 family cottages surrounded by evergreen plants. There are also a lot of amusement parks for children.
- Hedef Kleopatra Golden Sun Hotel is a three-star beach hotel in Alanya with a capacity of 600 people. It is located not from the sea (200 m - 800 m). There are amusement parks, swimming pools, and all necessary facilities in each room including air-conditioning.
- Alanis Hotel is a four-star beach hotel in Konaklı, a coastal town located 12 km from Alanya. The rooms have air-conditioning, hair-dryers, and modern TV sets and overlook the magnificent scenery. The beach is mostly sandy and pebble.
All Turkish hotels orientate to vacations with children. So there are nicely equipped and safe children playgrounds, swimming pools, waterslides, and other types of entertainment in every hotel complex. Specially trained staff called entertainers can get on well with the most temperamental and shiest kids.
Places to See
Turkey is not only about kilometres of luxurious beaches, sapphire of Mediterranean waters, and summer heat. It is also about its millennial history that has undergone ups and downs, the eras of all-embracing power and neglect. Each monument, sculpture, palace or fortress, ancient library, or hammam treasures the vestige of ancient times.
This glorious city with a history lasting several millennia is an open-air museum by itself. The historical part Sultanahmet is a starting point of all guided tours of Istanbul.
Right here at the shore of the Marmara Sea, there is the Blue Mosque (also called Sultan Ahmed Mosque), one of the most recognizable buildings in the city and the symbol of Islamic architecture.
The mosque’s interior contains blue, dark blue, and white tiles, hence the name. There are six minarets, which became a real challenge for the laws of Islamic architecture in the 17th century. Only one mosque in the world, Masjid al-Haram in Mecca, could accommodate that number of towers.
Everything happened because of the architect’s mistake. He misheard the order of the Sultan to construct the minarets with golden domes. In Turkish, ‘altın’ means ‘golden’, but he heard the word ‘altı’ that means ‘six’. That was how six minarets appeared in the Sultan Ahmed Mosque, which was an impertinence for the Islamic world.
The scandal faded after the elegant solution of Sultan Ahmed in his wise oriental manner. He ordered to construct the seventh minaret of Masjid al-Haram. Now the Blue Mosque is one of the main architectural monuments of the Ottoman golden era.
Opposite the Sultan Ahmed Mosque, you will find Hagia Sophia, the antique church constructed in the 6th century during the times of Byzantine greatest prosperity.
Only five years were necessary for construction. However, it remained the biggest Christian cathedral in Europe during the following millennium. Hagia Sophia became the mosque in the 15th century when Constantinople (former Byzantium) came under the rule of the Ottomans.
In 1935, after proclaiming the Turkish Republic, the antique mosque turned into a museum complex. That was the order of a new country leader Mustafa Atatürk. Since then, Hagia Sophia has been the largest museum of devotional art in Turkey.
The Topkapı Palace is a legend of the Ottoman Empire that has been numerously described in books and films. A new wave of interest in the harem of Turkish rulers was evoked immediately after the release of Muhteşem Yüzyıl (The Magnificent Century). Due to this gripping love story, the Sultan’s possessions became the most visited place in Istanbul.
Female tourists like to ecstatically view the private quarters of sultans and valides (the legal mothers of ruling sultans), the rooms of odalisques and eunuchs, hammams. They also respectfully keep silent at the tombs of Suleyman the Magnificent and Hurrem Sultan in their mausoleums.
There are other places worth visiting in Sultanahmet Square. It is the palace of an influential Ottoman statesman Ibrahim Pasha and the magnificent Gülhane Park (particularly beautiful in April). Those interested in history should attend the museums of Islamic art and archaeology.
If you have never been to the Istanbul Grand Bazaar and have never tried haggling over the price for the chosen goods, you know nothing about oriental temperament. This ancient city market has existed since the 15th century. Now it is a giant neighborhood consisting of sixty streets.
It has been 600 years since this place has heard sellers and buyers speaking various languages. Here tables and shop-fronts are full of select types of fruit, vegetables, fresh fish, and meat. Here tourists will find an extensive range of textiles, clothes, footwear, tapestry, and jewelry. So bringing a souvenir from Turkey is not going to be a problem.
Each oriental market has its unbreakable rule: a good customer is the one who haggles over the price as heatedly as they can. Haggling at the Grand Bazaar in Instanbul is not just preferable; it is the prerequisite.
Sometimes this bargaining turns into the performance of two actors: a buyer and a seller. If you are ready to pay the full amount immediately, the seller will be bored with you. And then you will be charged the three times higher price.
Those who haggle always get an incredible discount, though, in reality, it is just a true value of the purchase, the money the seller expected to obtain.
The bizarre stone pillars that have made this region famous have got a romantic name of ‘fairy chimneys’ from the Turks. Cappadocia is located in the very heart of the country and attracts active and dynamic people - the ones who appreciate rock-climbing tours and caves.
Tourists go on guided tours of underground cities and cave churches with great enthusiasm. They also delight in spectacular views from the high-level terraces and get astonished by the true wonders of the world - the cathedrals that are unbelievably attached to precipitous cliffs.
Thrill-seekers come here to experience a particular type of entertainment - ballooning. The air balloons of various colours open a breathtaking panoramic sight of ancient rocks and smooth the harsh beauty of the mountains with brightness. This specialty of Cappadocia has been depicted in all tourist leaflets about spending a holiday in Turkey.
Düden Waterfalls (Antalya)
Düden Waterfalls is a man-made creation and a place of guided tours for those who have come to Antalya. Getting here is possible either by yacht or by motorboat.
The 50-metre-high waterfall is considered the highest of all waterfalls flowing into the sea.
This looks really spectacular, and on a windy day, a rainbow may be seen. The place is romantic; so the couples come here to express their confessions of love with peculiar affection.
The ruins of this legend of antiquity have been preserved till modern days. It is a must-see place for those who come to Turkey for the first time. Even though you could hate the lessons of ancient history at school, this trip will become a remarkable event.
Visit the Archaeological Museum, wander around Aphrodite’s temple, and see the Wooden Trojan Horse. You will get to know that it is not a phraseological unit but a real figure. Though the horse is not the same as in ancient times, the effect is striking.
Discovered by an adventurer and entrepreneur Heinrich Schliemann, Troy is the memory of the glory of that ancient civilization that should never fade.
The city of Myra is almost ruined nowadays. However, it used to be one of the main cities in Lycia, the ancient country that existed within the territory of modern Turkey several millennia ago.
At present, it is a museum complex in the small town of Demre. Though the locality is quite ordinary, and there is nothing special to see, tourists arrive all year round. The main reason is the ancient monuments that have been preserved up to date due to archaeologists and restoration artists.
The guided tours of the Acropolis ruins, sarcophagi, and tombs carved right into the rocks arouse the most interest. The spectacle will stick in your memory forever as the tombs have the form of houses.
The fans of the ancient world will be ecstatic about the trips to other olden cities of Turkey like Phaselis and Side.
Turkish Resorts and Beaches
Even the most serious person who has come to Turkey to deal with business will definitely find a day or two in their tight schedule to luxuriate for a while at a Turkish resort.
The best of them are located in the south and south-west of the country, where summer is hot and long, and winter is short and mild.
This seaside resort is located in the southern province of Antalya. It is almost always sunny here, and summer is usually the hottest in the country. So such a climate cannot but attract thousands of tourists every year.
Kemer is not a big town and has a population of 40,000 people. However, there are 200 hotels totally packed during the high season. Besides, the town has a well-developed infrastructure and a lot of entertainment centres, which are orientated primarily on families with children.
Pebble beaches in Kemer are very comfortable and well-kept. There is also the equipment rental as well as the marine or walking guided tours. The most famous attractions are the Lycian Way, Belbaşı cave, and Mount Chimaera as one of the most mystic places on Earth with flames coming out of the caves all year round.
The most expensive and respectable Turkish resort was opened 40 years ago in Antalya as the place for golf promotion. It is a common fact that this game attracts wealthy people, so the richest tourists from all over the globe started flowing to Belek.
A vacation in Belek is about luxury hotels and world-famous excellent golf courses like National, Nobilia, and Tat.
The resort nature constitutes dense pine and eucalyptus forests, Köprülü Canyon, and rare species of animals and birds.
Sandy beaches stretch within 30 km along the shore of the Mediterranean Sea. Most of them are the property of hotels, but there is one-kilometre-long Belek Beach Park, the municipal beach where the admission fee is only one Turkish lira.
The most popular resort in Turkey is located on a plateau 40 metres above sea level. This locality is mostly wooded with many pineries. And that makes Antalya one of the most climatically comfortable cities. Even the most boiling heat becomes easier to tolerate when a cool breeze is blowing from the sea and woods.
The best time to come here is from May to October when the weather is clear and dry. Winters are not cold but rainy and create much discomfort.
Tourists arrive at the international airport, which is one of the most comfortable in the world. Then they check into the hotels located 5-10 km outside the city.
The Antalya beaches are among the best. Each of them has been awarded for comfort and safety. The most popular are Lara, Beach Park, and Konyaaltı. The first two are the sandy beaches, and the latter is combined and consists of pebble and sand.
Each beach offers entertainers, cafes, and discos all night long.
The resort at the bottom of the Taurus Mountains is the youth-favoured place of noisy parties. Most of Alanya’s beaches have been awarded Blue Flags - the symbols of cleanliness and safety.
The four city beaches - Damlataş, Kleopatra, Portakal, and Keykubat - stretch 70 km of the Mediterranean coast.
The sand is fine and clean everywhere. However, pebbles may sometimes be seen at Portakal and Keykubat. All beaches are well-equipped with constantly operating amusement parks and restaurants and can be entered free of charge. However, there is the rental of beach chairs, diving facilities, boats, motorboats, and water scooters.
A vacation with children will be much better if you settle further from the city. The beautiful village of İncekum is located 25 km from Alanya. The sand here is fine, clean, and soft, and the way to the sea is really shallow, which is very important for children.
In İncekum, the rental of beach chairs and parasols is much cheaper than at the city beaches. The rental of diving facilities and water scooters, comfortable changing rooms, and showers are available as well.
The most known resort of southwest Turkey is more like a Greek town. Narrow streets are rolling in greenery, and cosy houses are never higher than three floors as high-rise construction is forbidden by the law.
Bodrum is considered a youth resort. Most of the tourists come from the Netherlands, United Kingdom, Germany, and Poland.
Young people come here to party, enjoy the azure waters of the Aegean Sea, dive, and windsurf.
There are enough ways to entertain like discos, shopping, and bars. And one may also opt for going on a guided tour of ancient ruins of the Mausoleum of Halicarnassus or the Castle of St. Peter that overlook the magnificent bays.
The western coast of Turkey never suffers from the boiling heat even at the very height of summer. So Bodrum is a perfect place for people who like comfortable temperatures. The sea warms to its greatest extent only in July, and that is when the high season begins. It becomes cooler slowly, and even at the end of October, there are lots of swimmers when the temperature is still +21°C.
Six excellent beaches in the vicinities of Bodrum are the blue-flagged examples of the impeccable cleanliness and have obtained their awards for compliance with high environmental standards.
- Gümbet is a sandy beach on the bay coast located 3 km from the city centre. There is a good service along with the necessary infrastructure including changing rooms, WCs, cafes, restaurants, and rental services. The way to the water is rather shallow, which is safe for spending a vacation with children.
- Ortakent is a sandy and pebble beach a 15-minute drive from the centre. Though entrance is free, there is a charge for beach chairs. Yachts, water scooters, surfing, banana boats, and water slides are available for tourist entertainment.
- Bardakçı is a sandy and pebble beach located close to the centre - just a 500-metre walk. There are many restaurants and cafes nearby. Parking is fee-based. Rental of water scooters and guided tours by yacht are available.
- Bitez is mainly a sandy beach located a 20-minute drive from the resort centre. There is no charge for entering the beach, and beach chairs and parasols are also free. The entertainment opportunities are extensive: yachting, banana boats, water scooters, etc. Restaurants and cafes serve Turkish cuisine among the others.
- Göltürkbükü is a fine sandy beach located a 30-minute drive from the centre. Once it used to be divided into two fishing villages in the suburbs of Bodrum. However, now it is a famous windsurfing centre where the wind never stops blowing. Parking is fee-based. There are many rental options available as well as a range of amusement facilities. Those who are not indifferent to fish should definitely spend a vacation in Göltürkbükü. Local restaurants offer expertly cooked fish dishes.
Turkish beaches are always about the cleanest and crystal clear water, nicely maintained territory, friendly staff, and much entertainment. It is particularly good for spending a holiday with children since there is a team of entertainers and amusement parks at every beach.
Turkish cuisine is the successor of cooking traditions of Turkic nomads who settled in those lands in the year dot. However, the events taking place during the country’s history have also made an enormous impact. A long-lasting golden age of the Ottoman Empire and military victories contributed to a considerable extension of its territories at the expense of European and African countries. In this way, the Turkish cuisine became enriched with new dishes from the Balkans, Greece, and the Caucasus.
Here people eat a lot of meat, vegetables, fruit, and bread. That is an approximate food spectrum of an average Turkish family.
They consume meat following the Islamic tradition: no pork is allowed.
Meat is usually fried or cooked as kebabs. They also mince it and then make koftas (a kind of meatballs). Pilaf has gained much popularity as well. A typical menu of Turks consists of a soup called çorbalar prepared on meat or vegetable broth. The other ingredients may be lentils, tomatoes, or giblets.
Hot meals are complemented with meze - small bowls with spicy appetizers. As a rule, these dishes are cooked of various types of cheese, yogurt, dough, and shrimp with adding some pepper, garlic, and herbs.
The salads consist of feta cheese, bryndza, olives, and sausages, and olive oil as a dressing.
A Turkish table is commonly full of bread. Baking traditions in Turkey have ancient roots. There are dozens of pastry types, and pita is the favorite. Any restaurant will serve it as well as ekmek (a white bread variety), gözleme, and simits (world-known sesame ring-shaped rolls).
The Turks have a sweet tooth and consume much pastry and desserts. The most known is Turkish baklava - a honey-soaked mouth-watering cake.
Most of the other desserts consist of fruit, sesame, and juices. They are thoroughly boiled in sugar, jellified, or whipped to a sweet mousse. Everybody knows halva and lokum, sold by street vendors, confectionaries, or supermarkets.
Alcohol is a very sensitive topic for this Muslim country.
However, there is a national beverage called raki. It is a variety of anise-distilled vodka that becomes white after being diluted with water. As a result, there is a heady drink of 40% ABV.
High-quality wines are also produced in Turkey and have been gaining more and more popularity.
Besides, there is the beer-brewing industry that specializes primarily in light beer types.
The abundance of alcohol-free beverages more than outweighs the scantity of alcoholic beverages. Without any doubt, tea and coffee are the favoured leaders. A cold sour-milk beverage called ayran and a grain-fermented drink called boza are also well-loved. In Turkey, fruit and vegetables are available for consumption all year round, so freshly-squeezed juices are preferred most.
It has been a long time since Turkey became the holiday destination and business venue for many individuals. And this comes as no surprise. One cannot but like this country for its perfect climate and ecology, excellent business opportunities, and people who are extremely hospitable in their peculiar oriental manner.
Is Turkey now Turkiye?
"Turkey" is spelled as "Türkiye" in Turkish.
Is Turkey in Asia Or Europe?
Turkey is in both Asia and Europe. It straddles two continents.
How much territory does Turkey have?
Turkey covers approximately 783,562 square kilometers.
What is the capital of Turkey?
The capital of Turkey is Ankara.
How old is the country Turkey?
The Republic of Turkey was founded in 1923.
What's the population of Turkey 2023?
The estimated population of Turkey in 2023 is around 86 million.
Does Turkey come under European Union?
Turkey is not a member of the European Union.
What language does Turkey speak?
Turkish is the official language of Turkey.
What is Turkey famous for?
Turkey is famous for its rich history, diverse culture, and stunning landscapes.
When is the high season in Turkey?
The high season in Turkey is typically during the summer months, from June to August, when many tourists visit for warm weather and vacation.
Is Turkey part of the Schengen area?
No, Turkey is not part of the Schengen area.
Do I need visa for Turkey?
It depends on your nationality. Check visa requirements for your country.
What is the main religion in Turkey?
The main religion in Turkey is Islam.
Is there Christianity in Turkey?
Yes, there is a Christian minority in Turkey.
Do they drink alcohol in Turkey?
Yes, alcohol is consumed in Turkey, but there are regulations and restrictions in place.