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Turkey: The Perfect Vacation Spot for Every Type of Adventurer

Looking for a new place for a summer getaway? Why not explore Europe and Asia all at once? Travel the Bosphorus or visit Ottoman palaces — whatever you fancy, Turkey has something for you. 


By Zainab Zaman


Graphic By: Alicia Chiang

With summer quickly approaching and people itching for a vacation away from home, families and friends are beginning to plan their summer travel. In your planning stages, I urge you to consider one location you may not have thought about yet: Turkey. 


Many are quick to opt for a “Euro summer” in France or Italy or a beachside vacation in Mexico; however, Turkey provides a blend that satisfies every vacation need. 


Turkey is located on the cusp of Europe and Asia, providing an extremely unique cultural experience. Turkey has also been under the rule of several different empires, including the Ottoman Empire and the Byzantine Empire. The historical impact of these empires on its culture and unique geographical location — spread between two continents and stuck between two seas — make Turkey your perfect summer destination. 


The Muslim and Catholic influences are evident in the architecture, and as you peruse the streets, it’s often quite obvious which empire built what. For example, the Hagia Sophia in Istanbul was built as a church in the 6th century under the Byzantine Empire. Then, after the Turkish conquest of Constantinople in 1453, Mehmed II, an Ottoman sultan, repurposed the building into a mosque. Today, the monument acts as both a mosque and a museum. In the Hagia Sophia, you can see elaborate paintings of Jesus and the disciples, stained glass windows, detailed Arabic calligraphy, and prayer mats. 


Still not sold? Turkish food is a delicious version of Mediterranean and Middle Eastern cuisine that will leave your mouth watering. The classic doner kebab and Turkish-style red rice can be found on every street corner. And, of course, you can’t miss out on Turkish dessert. Enjoy some light-hearted magic fun while indulging in an ice-cold, sweet, creamy, chewy dondurma, a Turkish mastic ice cream.


Traveling around Turkey is also very simple, with each city having its own local airport offering affordable domestic flights. For those who prefer ground travel, buses, also known as dolmuş, go from city to city and act as public transportation within larger cities along with a local train system. While Turkish is the primary language, English is widely understood in larger cities. Many of the signs in these cities are also written in both Turkish and English, making navigation a breeze. 


While some may have reservations about traveling to the Middle East, Turkey is becoming increasingly safe and welcoming to international visitors. The United States rates Turkey as a level 2 on its Travel Advisory scale, suggesting tourists “exercise increased caution” as some regions have increased risks of terrorism or arbitrary detention. While Turkey is pretty safe year-round, it may be best not to visit when its surrounding countries are in times of peril — as war and international affairs are often unpredictable. 


From East to West, Turkey has it all. Antalya is a beautiful beach city on the Mediterranean, perfect for beach bums to lounge and enjoy some sun. Cappadocia has the most scenic mountains and is known for its picture-esque hot air balloon rides. Don’t forget to add a stop in Istanbul, which offers a wonderful blend of both the old and the new — perfect for first-timers or travelers in a time crunch. But don’t limit yourself to these three cities, as Turkey has so much more to offer! Sun-bathing on picture-perfect beaches, indulging in fantastic food, and lodging in budget-friendly accommodations — isn’t that every traveler’s dream vacation?

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