Flanked by both Europe and Asia, Turkey is undoubtedly one of the most beautiful countries in the world to take for a holiday. Bordered by the Mediterranean Sea, the Black Sea, and the Aegean Sea, the country is known for its majestic buildings, including mosques, its breathtaking blue-water beaches, the richness of its culture, and the many vestiges that remind us of its past as the centre of the Ottoman Empire. Let's take a closer look at this country at once exotic and mesmerizing that has not stopped surprising us.
Turkey enjoys a Mediterranean climate, which means that summers are hot and dry and winters mild. The best time to visit this destination is between the months of May and October, which is the hot season. During this period, you are most likely to experience the best trip that Turkey has to offer ... including the warmest weather!
The Mosques of Istanbul
If you go to Turkey, you certainly cannot pass up a visit to Istanbul, the capital. It is in this city, the one-time capital of the Ottoman Empire, that you can see many of the country's most beautiful monuments, including the famous Blue Mosque, named after the colour of its glazed wall tiles, a true icon of the destination.
The Blue Mosque is one of the most beautiful mosques of Istanbul and all of Turkey. You can visit the interior of the monument, as well as pray, while taking care, of course, to follow etiquette, since Turkey is a Muslim country. You will also be attracted to other mosques since, in Istanbul alone, there is an array whose arches all vie for the most beautiful.
The Hagia Sophia Museum
Istanbul is home to many magnificent monuments, such as the Topkapi Palace, filled with vestiges of the Ottoman Empire. There is also the famous Hagia Sophia Cathedral, built by the Byzantine Emperor himself in the sixth century! There are many relics inside the spectacular monument that has lost none of its charm over the centuries. Lovers of history and antiquity will place this site at the top of their list.
Turkey in general is a destination rich in history and culture, having been at the centre of the Ottoman Empire for over 600 years, one of the most consequential empires in history.
Turkey's Most Beautiful Beaches
With its mountainous landscape and its many crystal-clear sandy beaches, Turkey is the equal of the best that both Europe and Asia have to offer in terms of tourist destinations. Any number of resorts will leave you with happy memories of your trip to Turkey, including the magnificent protected beach of Patara. Flanked by sand dunes, the beach, tucked away in the region of Lycia in the south, is one of the most beautiful in the country.
This attraction, which preserves its natural charm in the absence of any resort, is a former harbour dotted here and there with ruins that date to the Byzantine Empire, including a partially-destroyed amphitheatre.
It also includes some of the most beautiful landscapes, such as endless sand dunes, mountains, and blue water extending 18 kilometres, making it the longest beach in Turkey. The place is especially conducive to the observation of loggerhead turtles, who come in large numbers each year to lay their eggs.
The Village of Patara
While exploring Patara Beach, you will stumble upon the village of the same name, where you can find some private houses that you can rent for a few nights at a reasonable price. This place is sure to please travellers who like to discover pristine nature and the authentic character of a country.
Another beautiful beach is Ayazma, located on the island of Bozcaada. This is the perfect holiday destination if you are looking for beautiful expanses of blue water and the chance to mingle with the local culture, far from mass tourism.
People go to Ayazma to bask on the beach, eat fresh fish or sip coffee in a traditional Turkish restaurant, and to attend one of the many festivals organized every year by the locals.
The island of Bozcaada is popular for its medieval port, whose pretty stones glisten in the sun, its fortress, and its small stone houses that make it such a charming place, devoid of resorts and big restaurants.
To find a place to stay, you simply stroll around the streets on the lookout for a suitable house to rent (always accessible and inexpensive); while to have something to eat or a coffee, you will go to the famous little public square where people gather daily to do their shopping, or around the fortress in the harbour, where several Turkish restaurants offer a beautiful view of the sea.
Turkish cuisine, which is a centrepiece of this destination's attractions, will not leave you indifferent with its multiple flavours borrowed from Greece, Lebanon, and Armenia, Turkey's neighbouring countries. Thus, it will not be surprising to find, in Turkey, specialties also enjoyed in these neighbouring countries!
Some Culinary Classics
In general, meat, seafood, and vegetables are the staples of Turkish cuisine. Among the many Turkish specialties, we must mention tripe soup (you heard correctly!); güveç – a stew made with beef, mutton, chicken, or shrimp; the famous pides – a popular pizza made with tomatoes, meat, and onions; shrimp casseroles with herbs (absolutely delicious!); and pogaça – a succulent bread stuffed with cheese, to name only a few dishes.
If you are open-minded in regards to Turkish culture, you will certainly stumble across the opportunity to taste many other culinary specialties and come back with the most beautiful memories of your trip to Turkey. Have a good stay!