A richly historical land with some of the best cuisine you will ever taste, one of the world's greatest cities and scenery from white-sand beaches to soaring mountains.
An Epic History
When you set foot in Türkiye (Turkey), you are following in the wake of some remarkable historical figures. Ottoman sultans used to luxuriate in İstanbul's Topkapı Palace, surrounded by fawning courtiers, harem members, eunuchs and riches from an empire stretching from Budapest to Baghdad. Centuries earlier, Byzantine Christians cut cave churches into Cappadocia's fairy chimneys and hid from Islamic armies in underground cities. At other points over the millennia, Romans coursed down the Curetes Way at Ephesus (Efes), medieval Armenians built Ani's churches on the Anatolian steppe, whirling dervishes gyrated with Sufi mysticism, and the mysterious Lycians left ruins on Mediterranean beaches. Turkey has hosted A-list history-book figures including Julius Caesar, who famously 'came, saw and conquered' near Amasya, and St Paul, who criss-crossed the country.
Of course, Turkey's current inhabitants are just as memorable. The extroverted Turks have the most in common – out of all of their varied neighbouring countries, from Azerbaijan to Bulgaria – with their hot-blooded southern-European neighbours. They're also understandably proud of their heritage, and full of information (though we can't vouch for its accuracy) about subjects from kilims (flat-weave rugs) to the Aya Sofya's floating dome. Turkey's long history, coupled with its unique position at the meeting of Europe and Asia, has given it a profound depth of culture. Immersing yourself in that culture is as simple as soaking in a Seljuk or Ottoman hamam, eating a kebap and tasting influences brought along the Silk Road, or visiting the ancient ruins scattering the fields, bays and hills.
Landscapes & Activities
The greatest surprise for first-time visitors to Turkey, with its stereotypes of kebaps, carpets and moustachioed hustlers in the bazaar, is the sheer diversity found between its Aegean beaches and eastern mountains. In İstanbul, you can cruise – on the Bosphorus as well as through markets and nightclubs – in a Westernised metropolis offering equal parts romance and overcrowded insanity. In holiday spots such as Cappadocia and the southwestern coasts, mix trekking, horse-riding and water sports with meze-savouring on a panoramic terrace. Then there are the less-frequented eastern quarters, where honey-coloured outposts overlook the plains of ancient Mesopotamia, and weather-beaten relics add lashings of lyricism to mountain ranges. It's hardly surprising Turkey has attracted so many folk over the centuries. Come and discover their legacy for yourself.
Best places to stay in Turkey
Turkey travel guide
From stunning beaches and jaw-dropping monuments, to mouth-watering cuisine and friendly locals, Turkey offers the visitor a wonderful range of unmissable experiences.
Take to the skies: the world's greatest airborne adventures
Got a head for heights? Soar into the ether in some of the world’s most inspiring locations. This article is adapted from Lonely Planet’s 1000 Ultimate Adventures. Paragliding at Pokhara, Nepal Paragliders over Pokhara, Nepal by momo. CC BY 2.0.
Turkey's best bazaars
Ancient ruins of Turkey
Middle East travel guide
The Middle East is one of history’s grand epics – a cradle of civilisations and a beautiful, complicated land that’s home to some of the most hospitable people on the planet.
Istanbul is hot.
Cappadocia from the ground and from the sky
From above, the curvaceous landscape of Cappadocia spools out to the horizon in rippling waves of rock tinged shades of blushing pink. Hot air ballooning may be big business in this geological wonderland, but don't make the mistake of thinking this is the only way to view it. Ballooning companies such as Butterfly Balloons (www.
Turkey's natural wonders
Mediterranean Europe travel guide
Your journey to Mediterranean Europe starts here. You'll find the tools to plan your adventure: where to go and when, how much to budget, plus info on the region's best festivals.
Best of Turkey
Explore the mysterious land of the Ottomans Intrepid-style. Marvel at Mehmet Aga's masterpiece, the Blue Mosque, and bargain for trinkets in Istanbul's massive Grand Bazaar. Try delicious Turkish snacks, be mesmerised by the Whirling Dervishes and discover the underwater treasures of the Mediterranean on a relaxing boat cruise.
This comprehensive tour of Turkey combines history and beaches, man-made wonders and natural phenomena, as well as a vibrant and welcoming culture. Begin your trip roaming the palaces and mosques of Istanbul before journeying into the bizarre as you explore otherworldly Cappadocia.
Secret Mediterranean islands where you can escape the crowds
There are more than 200 islands in the Med, yet 90 per cent of tourists stay on just 10 per cent of them. We’ve rounded up six lesser-known isles worth seeking out if you’re looking for a little peace and quiet. Pantelleria, Italy Boat at sunset by Luca Volpi. CC BY-SA 2.0.
Discover Turkey travel guide
Turkey’s dramatic landscape is a fitting canvas for the country’s long history. It sweeps from Europe to Asia, from sun-baked Aegean beaches to expansive steppe, and from Mediterranean bays to snowy mountains.
Sights in Turkey
Activities in Turkey
Tours in Turkey
Restaurants in Turkey
Budget hotels & hostels
Guesthouses and B&Bs
Antalya & the Turquoise Coast
Turkey’s Eastern Mediterranean means different things to different people.