When my friend and I started planning a 10-day trip to Turkey, friends gushed about nearly every destination we were considering. Once I arrived, I understood why. People were extremely nice to us (as in over the top, give you anything you ask for nice). One hotel owner arranged for two express mail legs to help me retrieve my laptop power cord and another gave me his SIM card so that I could take a phone call for an interview (or offered to drive me to the town nearby where they were sold). I am deeply grateful to the people who made our trip so memorable, from the waiter who taught us a card game to the friends of my travel companion who took us to lovely local places for dinner and drinks on our last night. So now it's my turn to highly recommend a trip to Turkey.
It was hard to decide where to go within Turkey, as many destinations offer appealing combinations of scenery, history, and culture. We ended up dividing our trip into three days visiting ruins and the beach on the central Agean coast, three days in Cappadocia--an area of fascinating landscapes and early Christian history--and of course, Istanbul.
|Library of Celsus, Ephesus|
|Cappadocia “fairy chimney” ancient dwellings|
|Busy ballooning morning|
|Hagia Sofia interior, Istanbul|
- Turkey’s currency is the Turkish lira, but hotel prices are often calculated and charged in euro.
- Several airlines fly a wide variety of domestic routes. We took three domestic flights with Pegasus and were pleasantly surprised to find online bookings easy, limited hidden costs (visible before you click to purchase; don’t bother to pay to select your seats), and good service on a low-cost carrier. They even let you check 15 kg of luggage. Other domestic carriers include Atlasjet, Onurair, Sun Express, and Turkish Airlines.
- Our bus experiences were very positive, with on-time departures and great prices.
- During high season in Istanbul, book lodging in advance. There are many small hotels, but many book up weeks in advance and you won’t want to wander around with your baggage to inquire as the museums and architecture beckon.
- Room rates generally include wifi access and breakfast. The quality of the buffet options ranges, but all seem to offer tomatoes, cucumbers, cheese, bread, boiled eggs, and olives.
Friends recommended Bodrum and Pamukkule to us, but we didn’t have time to make it to either place. If you’ve been to them, please share!