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Turkey

We spoke with Ferit Kayrak for the latest on traveling in Turkey.

Q: How would you describe the regions of Turkey for visitors who haven’t been there?

Turkey is a stunning destination for travelers of all ages with different interests. It is one of the very few countries in the world that can offer the ancient sites and relics of different civilizations.

One morning you can wake up to explore a Hittite city while in the afternoon you may find yourself immersed with the enchanting beauty of golden mosaics of Byzantine heritage.

Not only does Turkey offer an amazing wealth of culture and history, the country also has lots of natural beauty. The Aegean and Mediterranean shores have fascinating scenes of turquoise colored sea and pine forested hills while the Cappadocia region has its old cave dwellings that now host seasoned travelers from around the world.

Q: How would you describe the people and the culture?

You will always find delightful people who are hospitable and always eager to take the extra step to please their guests. It is almost impossible to leave Turkey without sipping a cup of Turkish coffee that stands for Turkish hospitality. Even, in a city like Istanbul where the population exceeds well over fifteen million, travelers will feel most welcome by the warmth and kindness shown by the locals. One of the most fascinating experiences that travelers may live through, especially during May and June when school trips are organized, is coming across hundreds of little kids asking "how are you" and "what is your name" with smiles on their faces.

Q: When is the best time to visit?

Located where Europe meets Asia, Turkey experiences four distinct seasons. From mid-March until mid-November is the best time for many reasons. If you are a cultural traveler, the spring and fall months as well as early summer would be the best period for you.

Q: What are the top sights and hidden gems?

While Ankara is the Capital of the modern state, Istanbul is the timeless capital of culture and heritage for Turkey. In Istanbul visitors can enjoy exploring centuries old shrines and monuments like the Blue Mosque and Basilica of Saint Sophia before heading for the country to visit world famous ancient cities like Ephesus and the land of fairy chimneys, Cappadocia. In addition to the major attractions, Turkey hosts the world’s most important sites like Troy, Mount Ararat and the Garden of Eden. It is no wonder that Turkey is nicknamed the Second Holy Land.

Q: What activities are popular in Turkey for adventure travelers?

Turkey is a large country that offers a wide spectrum of activities to enjoy.

  • Yachting - In the southwest shores of Turkey, yachting is a fascinating way of vacationing as you would dip in turquoise waters at the feet of pine forested mountains. The resort town of Bodrum is known for its traditional wooden yachts that are named as gulets in local language. They have become the new trend for yacht lovers to experience because of their traditional feel as well as the luxurious interior decor.
  • Paragliding and bungee jumping are also popular in the southwest.
  • Hot air ballooning over the fairy chimneys is a definite must in the central region of Cappadocia. This area also offers beautiful scenery through its erosion created valleys and canyons. Cappadocia is for sure the most enchanting region of Turkey with rock formations, rich heritage and troglodytic hotels carved into rocks.

Q: What are your favorite scenic views?

  • The sceneries of sunrise and sunset over Cappadocia
  • The skyline of the Old City of Istanbul
  • The warm smiles you can see on the children’s faces when they say to you "what’s your name".

Q: Tell us about Turkish cuisine and a special culinary tour you offer.

Turkey boasts a cuisine that has reflections of other Mediterranean cuisines like that of Greece and Lebanon. Depending on which region of Turkey you are visiting, you can come across a rich selection of stewed vegetables, barbecued lamb, and appetizers prepared with olive oil. As vegetables, it is no doubt that the two major players of Turkish cuisine are eggplant and tomatoes while lamb is the king of all feast tables wherever you go.

In the Western part of the country, seafood is very popular and seafood dining has become a luxury experience. Turkish chefs have proven themselves to be masters of preparing appetizers with shrimp and calamari as well as salt-baked sea bass.

Our Unique Culinary Experience: For those travelers who would like to experience other cultures through their cuisine, we are delighted to present the opportunity to discover Turkish cuisine with world famous Turkish chef Vedat Basaran. After serving at Buckingham Palace for a good number of years, Vedat Basaran returned to Turkey where he worked for world famous restaurants of Istanbul. Today he serves as the consultant for important restaurants of Istanbul and writes books on Turkish culinary arts.

We can arrange a morning of exploring the famed Spice Market and see a collection of spices, fruits, dried vegetables from around the world. After going over spices used at Turkish cuisine, guests continue on to Nar Restaurant where they can experience firsthand the preparation of Turkish dishes and desserts.

Q: What wines would you recommend?

In recent years Turkey has developed and improved the production of quality wine. Due to the fecundity of its soil, Turkey has different types of grapes in the West, Midlands and Eastern Turkey. Among the most popular wineries of Turkey, are Doluca and Kavaklıdere, especially the DLC Cabernet Souvignon of Doluca and Kalecik Karası of Kavaklıdere which are highly recommended for tasty dinners. In fact both wineries produce an amazing variety of wines that can very well compete with the world famous wines of the Napa Valley or Bordeaux.

Hot air balloons over Love Valley. | Cappadocia, Turkey
 

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