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Turkey: Nature, History, Food & Shopping

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''There are a number of places that you could do here. Take a look and decide for yourself!''

The best way to travel around each city in Turkey : is by road.......Hire a car and take a GPS and drive around yourself because hiring a driver is very expensive. However, if you can afford, then nothing like it. Istanbul has lots to offer - from sightseeing, shopping, eating to nightlife and spas.

The ‘must’ in Istanbul : Blue Mosque, Hagia Sophia, Topkapi Palace, Grand Bazaar and the Bosphorus Cruise.

Other cities to check out - 1. Ankara : It is an old historic town, it is not exactly a tourist city but is usually a stop for travellers who go to Cappadocia, the city of caves. In Ankara, The Anitkabir is the most important destination that you have to visit. It is the mausoleum of the founder of the Republic of Turkey Ataturk and needless to mention, a grand place to see.
If you are in Ankara, you can either take a train or even drive down to Cappadocia. But if you want to skip Ankara, you can go to Cappadocia from Istanbul, too, by air.

Cappadocia : If you are going all the way to Turkey, my recommendation is you must, must do Cappadocia. The entire city is made of caves and here you get to see the natural rock formation. You have to spare time for visiting the open air museum in Goreme, the fairy chimneys. Also, you must, must do a hot air balloon ride early in the morning. It’s just magnificent. Do not miss out on a sufi dance program. There are both normal hotels and cave hotels here and the latter is a little expensive. But our recommendation is you must stay in a cave hotel for the sheer experience of it. It’s just wow an experience. The best historic mansions and cave houses for tourist stays are in Urgup, Goreme, Guzelyurt and Uchisar.

Pamukkale : is another city that you can visit. It will just transport you to a different world altogether. You can get to experience the hot springs and travertines here, which are like mountains cut into steps full of snow and water running down. You can almost view it right? Imagine the feeling once you land there. You will have to take off your shoes to walk on them. You can either arrange for the trip at your hotel reception or you can also buy tickets at the entrance and drive to the top which will also include a trip to Hierapolis. There, you will see the roman theatre and many more ruins. You can also swim in Roman ruins in a large natural swimming pools located near the topmost tavertine which is also known as the Cleopatras pool. Many hotels have natural hot spring swimming pool which is a treat after a whole day’s tour.

Cannakale : Cannakale - it is a city on the Canakkale Strait, where two major water passages connect that of the Mediterranean and the Black Sea. The area is rich in history and culture. The site of the historical city of Troy is close to Canakkale. Just take a day trip from Cannakale and visit the ruins of Troy. Don’t miss to take pictures with the Trojan horse.

Kusadasi : it’s a sea side but take a guided day trip to Ephesus, the ancient Greek city which became a roman city later on. Temple of Artemis, Celsus Library and the Turkish baths are some of the attractions here. People say that St. John settled with Mother Mary, and wrote his gospel in Ephesus.
Another important place is the house of the Virgin Mary which you can do before going to Ephesus. A holy water flows out from her room which people drink and you can also buy them in small beautiful bottles.

Shopping : Turkey is a shopper's paradise. Outside every tourist site, there are innumerable curio shops but the Grand Bazaar in Istanbul is the ultimate. You can buy anything from here - from gold, turquoise stone, jewellery, blue pottery, to lamp shades, leather good. Make sure you also visit the spice bazaar in Istanbul.

Food : YUM is what it is if you are a kebab fan. Everything here is very affordable. In every food joint you enter, a basket of bread is complimentary. There are ample vegetarian dishes too. Make sure you try the Turkish tea and the famous desert called baklava. Don’t forget to look at the way they present the tea and carry the cups.

Our tip : It may be difficult for you to do all these places together. There are various options when you want to do Turkey. Either you do only Turkey and choose about 3 places - you can easily do that in about 7 nights. Or you club it with Egypt and Greece!

Source / Review By : Aditi Chatterjee

Aditi is a travel buff. She lives in Kolkata

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