Along with a diverse set of neighbours is a climate and geography that lends itself to myriad kinds of tourism, while those looking to unlock the eras of history so identifiable by the awe-inspiring ancient ruins that abound in the country can see sites such as the Greek and Roman ruins of Ephesus (Efes). Natural wonders such as the ‘cotton castle’ and hot springs of Pamukkale are unique, as are the ‘fairy chimneys’ dotting the landscape of Cappadocia. While the packed beaches and all-night party scene has Bodrum buzzing during summer, the quieter seaside harbour towns of Kas, Kalkan and Fethiye attract visitors who purely want to unwind.
Regardless of the reason to travel to Turkey a stop in Istanbul is obligatory. While it’s not the capital of the Republic – that honour belongs to the comparatively staid city of Ankara – it’s the city that embodies the soul of the country. Besides taking in the world-class sights, it’s the best place to experience the breadth of Turkish food – one of the most delicious and distinctive cuisines in the world. With its mix of Middle Eastern, Balkan and Central Asian cuisine, aided by the love of fine food of the Sultans of the Ottoman Empire, it’s a cuisine that begs to be shared family-style. If you stay any length of time in Turkey, one of the most hospitable countries to visit, it won’t be long before you’re considered family too.