TURKEY

The Turkey of today is modern, westernized and trendy but its exotic and esoteric face exists in tandem - the whirling dervishes and bewitching belly dancers, caliphs on carpets and amazing amulets, bustling bazaars and spicy smells. Discover the cosmic duality of Turkey that stands with one foot in the Christian European West and the other in the Islamic Middle East and happily straddles the east-west divide. 

It is the first of the Muslim countries to westernize and yet is an amazing mosaic of Islamic fundamentalists, cell phone toting young professionals, burkha-covered women and beach goers. While the western part of Turkey has modernized, it is quite conservative in the eastern sections.

The nation is young, only 77 years old, with an exciting religious, cultural and historical past that it has inherited from classical and ancient Greece and Rome, the Christian Byzantines and the Muslim Ottomans. Turkey is the first of the Ottoman Muslim territories to become a republic and a democracy.

As a travel destination, it has a great variety of options ranging from archaeological and historical sights like cliffside monasteries and medieval churches to water sports and hiking.

Capital: Ankara

Best time to visit:

  1. The best time to visit Turkey especially the Aegean and the Mediterranean coasts would be in the Spring months between April and June and the Autumn months from September to November, as the weather is ideal then. The crowds are thinner at these times and it's usually not too rainy.
  2. During the high tourist season, July to mid September, the weather can be very hot and major tourist spots can be both crowded and expensive. At the height of summer, the coastal resorts are burning hot and tourists may, like the locals, take a siesta during midday. 
  3. From late October to early April, regarded as the winter season, the beaches are devoid of activity. The weather in winter is rainy and cold with high levels of air pollution but accommodation prices are low because fewer tourists come at this time. 
  4. Rains, though light, come between May and October, except in the Black Sea coast. From about mid June beware of the mosquitoes that attack in almost plague-like proportions in some areas of Turkey.
  5. Eastern Turkey should be visited from late June to September , as later, in colder months, roads and mountain passes may close down because of the snow falls. 
  6. If you would like to be a part of the world famous Mevlana Festival in Konya, be there in December when the whirling Dervishes are all set to perform and floor the spectators. It may be cold but the sight is definitely worth it!

 

Minimum days required: 7 days

Places of Interest:

  1. Ankara – Antikabir, Kocatepe Mosque, Atakule, Museum of Antolian civilization, Kizilay
  2. Antalya- Pamukkale, Duden Waterfalls, Konyaalti Beach, Hadrians Gate
  3. Cappadocia -  Goreme National Park, Cappadocia Cave Dwellings, Zemi Valley, Rose Valley
  4. Istanbul- Hagia Sohphia, Sultan Ahmed Mosque, Basilica Cistern, Dolmabahce Palace, Galata Tower
  5. Izmir – Izmir Clock Tower, Konark Pier, Kadifekale,Kemeralti, Yamanlar, Asansor
  6. Kusadasi – Temples of Artemis, House of the Virgin Mary, Basilica of St John, Kus Island

Climate:

  1. The Aegean and the Mediterranean coasts of Turkey have mild rainy winters and hot dry summers. In Istanbul, summer temperatures average around 28º C to 30º C and the winters are chilly with rain and a mild shower of snow.
  2.  The Anatolian plateau is usually cooler in summer and quite cold in winter. The Black Sea Coast is mild and rainy in summer, chilly and rainy in winter. 
  3. The mountainous Eastern Turkey is very cold and snowy in winter, while pleasantly warm in high summer.
  4. The southeastern area is dry and mild in winter and very hot in summer, with temperatures soaring to 45º C and above. In general, spring (April/May) and autumn (September/October) have the best weather in Turkey.

Currency: Turkish Lira

Things to carry:

  1. Mosquito repellent (from April to September) is a must; sun block cream; a towel and reading matter are some of the essentials you need to bring.
  2. If you’re traveling during the hot season carry light loose cotton clothes.
  3. For the winters carry appropriate woolen clothes.

How to get there:

Air

  1. There are international airports at Istanbul, Ankara, Izmir and some Mediterranean resorts. Turkish Airlines has direct flights from Istanbul to twenty-four European cities, New York, Middle East, North Africa, Bangkok, Karachi, Singapore and Tokyo.