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Turkey's location privileges it with being the crossing between two worlds. Old and new live side by side as the country also breaches the border between West and East, Europe and Asia, as well as the cultural shift from Christianity to Islam.
The nation is an alluring destination for many looking to relocate. Natural wonders like the 'fairy chimneys' of Cappadocia, the enviable weather, cost of living and warm hospitality are just a few factors that help to seduce potential residents.
Things to do
Whether you want to ogle at one of the world's most beautiful buildings, the Hagia Sophia Museum in Istanbul, take a trip into the past by visiting the ancient ruins of Ephesus, or take a leisurely cruise on the Mediterranean Sea, Turkey does not disappoint.
Turkey's history, from its role in the Roman Empire to its transition to being the home of the Ottoman Empire, means that there are a wealth of culturally significant sites to explore. If you prefer to explore the natural beauty of Turkey, you will find no shortage of stunning national parks to visit. In Göreme, there is the Göreme National Park and Rose Valley. The Göreme National park contains early Christian settlements, with rock churches still standing as a remnant of the Roman period. The Rose Valley is true to its name, varying shades of red and its striking landscape provides the perfect environment for hikers, quad bikers and balloon rides.
The coastal regions are no less exciting. In areas like Gumbet and Marmaris, private boat tours can be hired which allow you to gaze at the wondrous landscapes and plunge off the deck into the crystal clear seas. There are also a number of excellent opportunities to scuba dive or enjoy peace and quiet on beautiful beaches like Kabak Bay and Iztuzu Beach.
Places to eat
Turkish cuisine is rife with influences from European, Middle Eastern, Mediterranean and Asian cultures. Throughout the country, you can find an abundance of tempting meze cafes, restaurants, street vendors and food markets selling local delicacies.
Traditional foods you can sample here include köfte - balls of beef or lamb, and Kuzu Tandir, which is a slow roasted lamb dish. Desserts like baklava and lokum, also known as Turkish delight, are treats you will never tire of.
Ever visited a spice bazaar? Now is your chance. Istanbul is home to the largest spice bazaar in the country. It is visually stunning and brimming with a range of food and ingredients like lokum, spices, dried fruits and oils. YeŞilköy is another enjoyable market and suits those looking for a quieter experience. Apart from a range of fresh produce there is also a variety of luxury goods on offer.
Those missing home comforts will be pleased to know that Turkey caters to international tastes, and Pizzeria Pera in Istanbul is a popular choice for pizza lovers. Turkey also has its own version of pizza called pide which be bought from food stalls up and down the country.
Markets not only offer food in Turkey but also a wealth of affordable and desirable goods. ÇarŞamba is a weekly market especially popular with locals. Shoppers will find an array of items, from gadgets to clothes, all at extremely attractive prices. Sahaflar, located in Beyazit, will appeal to any book enthusiasts. Meanwhile, Bakirköy draws in a mixture of locals and tourists for fantastic deals on a number of items like jewellery, homeware and clothes. The Saturday market also offers freshly prepared Gözleme - a type of flatbread with toppings like cheese and herbs.
For those looking for modern luxury in the form of international shopping malls, popular and attractive destinations include the Mall of Istanbul, Istinye Park and Zorlu Center.
Turkey's travel infrastructure is not only reliable but convenient. With most of the major cities having good transport systems in place, visitors and locals have the option to travel by train, bus, and air. In Istanbul, there is the choice between tram, Metro, city buses, Marmaray rail, and even ferryboats. The Marmaray suburban train is particularly useful when going from the European side of Istanbul to the Asian. However, throughout Turkey, the bus is the preferred method of transportation.
When driving in Turkey it should be noted that they drive on the right - and it is worth learning local road etiquette. Whilst a car is useful for exploring smaller regions, it is still often cheaper to use buses, trains or even airplanes via one of the local airports when going longer distances.
Trains are typically cheaper than the airlines and there is a greater level of comfort. There are also international trains leading to various locations across Europe. Turkey also has several international airports connecting visitors and locals to other parts of Europe and further afield. Istanbul's international airports are Atatürk International Airport and Sabiha Gökçen Airport.
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