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Eastern Mediterranean

The UK Foreign and Commonwealth Office advise against all travel to most places along the Syrian border in Southeast Turkey.

This is Turkey's non-airbrushed slice of Mediterranean coastline. A handful of distinctly local-style beach resorts lie between the industrial port cities. Crumbling ruins sit among acres of intensely farmed countryside with nary a tourist in sight. In the ancient towns of Tarsus and Antakya, atmospheric old-town fragments cling on amid the modern hubbub.

Southern Hatay Province's fascinating melding of religions, languages and foods is reason enough for many to linger. For others, the wealth of important early Christian sites is the eastern Med's ace up its sleeve. The area's historical riches encompass a dizzying timeline of kings and conquerors that stretches from Karatepe's late-Hittite remnants, through Roman Anemurium, to the clifftop castles of once-mighty Cilicia. The stretch of the Mediterranean that most people miss is full of surprises for those who make the trip.

Top attractions

These are our favorite local haunts, touristy spots, and hidden gems throughout Eastern Mediterranean.