Stunning landscapes, paradise beaches and fascinating cities: there’s so much to discover in Turkey. Here’s our handy guide to everything you need to know.
Discover worldy cities
Many of the cities of Turkey date back thousands of years, and are a fascinating mix of cultures and traditions. One of the world’s largest cities, Istanbul (formerly Constantinople) was once the capital of both the Byzantine and Ottoman Empires, and impressively, it’s the only major city in the world that straddles two continents: Europe and Asia. Turkey’s capital, Ankara is a cosmopolitan and modern hub, whilst Izmir is a steadily growing city sat prettily between mountains and coastline.
Explore the ancient ruins and cultural heritage
The crossroads of many civilisations throughout history, Turkey is a great place for lovers of history and architecture. For ancient Greek and Roman ruins, head to the Aegean and Mediterranean regions, where you’ll find stunning marble relics of cities, monuments and temples – the likes of Ephesus and the Aegean coast are a great place to start. For Byzantine architecture, the strikingly grand Hagia Sophia in Istanbul certainly doesn’t disappoint, whilst Ottoman-era monuments can be found in Bursa and Edirne. Of course, perhaps the most famous site is the ancient city of Troy, which is now a UNESCO Word Heritage Site, found in the north west of the country.
Enjoy beautiful beaches
With so much coastline on offer, Turkey boasts stunning beaches stretching from the Mediterranean to the Black Sea. In popular resort Bodrum, olive trees line beautifully rocky coves, whilst the beautiful beaches of Çirali and Phaselis are known as the turquoise coast. For all inclusive delights, popular resorts include Antalya, Marmaris, Fethiye and Kas, whilst the likes of Kalkan and Alaçati hold onto their village charm.
The currency of Turkey is the Turkish lira, which is broken down into 100 kuruş. As March 2016, ₺10 is worth around A$4.58, and A$10 is worth around ₺21.83.
Here’s a roundup of what you can expect to spend in Turkey, with prices in Australian dollars:
|Inexpensive meal for one – $6||Bottle of water – $0.35||0.5 litre beer – $3.45|
|Mid-range restaurant meal for one – $10||Cappuccino – $2.60||Local bus ticket – $0.85|
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Travelling around Turkey
Long distance buses are a great way to get around Turkey, and there are plenty of routes to choose from. Prices vary depending on how luxurious you want your journey to be – for example, a trip from Istanbul to Antalya can cost around ₺45 with a standard bus company or ₺60 with a premium company. For local buses within cities, you’ll need to buy your ticket from a kiosk near the terminal or a local newsagent.
Again, Turkey’s trains are a great way to get around the country. The network is run by Turkish State Railways and again, fares depend on the class of ticket you buy, with sleeper trains available for long distances. It’s definitely worth booking your tickets a couple of weeks in advance for long distances, although you might find it easier to book your train tickets through a site in English such as seat61.com.
In a country as huge as Turkey, travelling by plane is a fast and direct way to get around. Turkish Airways are a good place to start, with a comprehensive network of flights across the country.
Taxis are a common way to get around the cities of Turkey and you can either hail one down in the street, or use one of the street corner telephones to call one. Prices are on a meter and are easy to follow, although you may need to write your destination down to help the driver. A dolmuş is a mini bus taxi that runs on a set route, costing just ₺2 for the journey.