Turkey has always been a mystery to me. With a whirlpool of cultures from Africa, Asia, Europe and the Middle East, it has always captivated the world with its beautiful tapestries, memorable dishes, natural and human-made sights. I see the country full of subdued color, a perfect background to the nostalgic sense that is in every part of Turkey.
Some Tips on Visiting Turkey:
- In Istanbul, you will never run out of accommodation options. It’s common to see independent hotels and hostels having chains on their own, owing to the millions of visitors every year. In 2015 alone Turkey expected more than 42 million foreign tourists, a big jump from 31.5 million back in 2011. I stayed at the Naz Wooden House Inn which is just a block away from the Blue Mosque. The staff, location, and value for money are all amazing!
- When I went there it was at the height of the civil insurgency in Syria, and it was not uncommon to get across refugee camps, police forces and bomb threats in and out of Istanbul. This made me think twice about traveling further than the suburbs so I made the most of my time in Istanbul– and I ended up appreciating, even more, the beauty of the people and their culture. Their culture of hospitality might blow you away!
- Download the Turkey Travel Guide app. This will save you loads of time in trying to find the best travel routes.
- Why I want to go back: I have yet to visit areas outside Istanbul. Plus, Turkey being a melting pot of African, Asian, European, and Middle Eastern cultures, there is so much to take that one week for a visit is not enough even for the capital.
- As with any country in the world: do not quickly assume. Make sense of the why behind the what first and while you’re at it, get lost and find yourself. Happy travels! 🙂
P.S. The keys to sustainable travels are universal: take public transportation | stay in accommodations where cooking is allowed (private or shared, it doesn’t matter) | walk as much as you can | wake up early | stay away from guidebooks | immerse yourself in local language, culture and history | visit local cafés | know that the possibilities are endless | listen to your gut ❤