Ultimate guide of Turkey: Where to visit Turkey?, What to do? When to visit Turkey? And more…

Turkey, situated between the continents of Asia and Europe, is an exceptional country. Its rich history spanning centuries has resulted in the abundance of numerous historical sites, including several world wonders and UNESCO heritage sites. Furthermore, thanks to its strategic location, Turkey boasts three coastlines along the Mediterranean, Aegean, and Black Seas. These picturesque shores are adorned with turquoise blue waters, offering a warm welcome to travelers from across the globe. Throughout history, various civilizations such as the Hittites, Phrygians, Lydians, Ionians, Urartians, Romans, and Turks have settled in Anatolia, leaving behind incredible artifacts and artistic treasures. With all these remarkable attributes, Turkey stands out as a magnificent holiday destination that captivates visitors worldwide. Below, you can find an Ultimate Guide of Turkey with short and clear answers to frequently asked questions about the Turkish Riviera.


  • Where is Turkey?
  • Is it safe to go to Turkey right now?
  •  What are the requirements for entering Turkey?
  •  What are the requirements for entering Turkey?
  • Is Turkey suitable for disabled people?
  • What is the best time of year to visit Turkey?
  • Can I use my mobile phone in Turkey?
  • What is the dress code for women in Turkey?
  • I’m gay/lesbian, is this a problem there?
  • What are the electric plugs look like?
  • Do I need a converter?
  • What language is spoken in Turkey?
  • Which currency is used in Turkey?
  • What about US dollars or euros?
  • Can I photograph or film people during my visit?
  • What if I fall ill during my visit?
  • Are there nice beaches orthe seaside to have a relaxed holiday?
  • Do religious festivals affect my visit?
  • What time do museums open and close?
  • Why is Turkey the favorite country?
  • What is the religion in Turkey?
  • Does it pose any risk to me because of my faith?
  • Where should I visit in Turkey?
  • What are 5 interesting facts about the country of Turkey?

1. Where is Turkey?

Turkey is a unique nation that spans two continents, predominantly occupying Anatolia while also encompassing a small portion of Thrace, an extension of the Balkan Peninsula. Its borders connect with Bulgaria, Greece, Georgia, Armenia, Iran, Azerbaijan, Iraq, and Syria. To the south, Turkey is bordered by the Mediterranean Sea and the island of Cyprus, while the Aegean Sea lies to the west and the Black Sea to the north. Separating Anatolia from Thrace, the Marmara Sea, along with the Bosphorus and the Dardanelles, forms the dividing line between Europe and Asia.

2. Is it safe to go to Turkey right now?

(or Turkey safe for Americans in 2023? / Can US citizens travel to Turkey now?)

Absolutely, Turkey is widely recognized as a safe and welcoming destination for visitors from all around the world, regardless of their origins or travel origins. While there have been some incidents of terrorism in the past, the situation has significantly improved. The areas along the border with Syria and other border cities have experienced a period of relative calm and stability recently. 

3. What are the requirements for entering Turkey?

To enter Turkey, you must possess a valid passport and obtain a visa. You have two options for obtaining a visa: you can visit Turkish missions located abroad, or you can apply for a 30-day single e-visa through the Turkish offical application website. It is important to note that travel agencies and online travel markets such as TSG do not provide sponsorship for visas. Instead, we can assist by issuing a letter notifying embassy offices that you have purchased a tour from us. While this online letter can simplify the visa application process, it does not guarantee approval for an entry visa.

4. Is Turkey suitable for disabled people?

The focus on accessibility for disabled individuals in Turkey is increasing every day. Newly opened museums, hotels, and other tourist facilities prioritize wheelchair accessibility. Additionally, professional sign language translators are available to assist the hearing impaired. While Turkey boasts numerous ancient sites to explore, many of them are located in rural areas and are not wheelchair-friendly destinations.

disabled traveler on beach
Disabled traveler on beach

i. I’m disabled, is Turkey suitable for me?

No all of the country or most of the visiting sites but we have meticulously accessible tours worth considering.

5. What is the best time of year to visit Turkey?

Turkey is a peninsula surrounded by three coasts: the Aegean Sea, the Mediterranean Sea, and the Black Sea to the north. The coastal regions enjoy warm weather for approximately eight months of the year, while the central and eastern parts experience cold and snowy winters. Popular destinations such as Gallipoli, Ephesus, Smyrna, Antalya, and Pamukkale can be visited during the summer, autumn, and spring seasons, although winters are somewhat cold and rainy. The inner and eastern regions of the country have a continental climate, characterized by cold winters. Cities like Konya, Cappadocia, and Uludag are located in this part of the country. On the other hand, the Black Sea coasts are known for their plateaus, with places like Sumela Monastery and Ayder Plateau experiencing abundant rainfall and chilly weather. Therefore, the seasons except for winter are favorable for visiting. Additionally, for snowboarding or skiing enthusiasts, Uludag, Palandoken, and Sarikamis offer exciting opportunities.

The average heat table of the most visited sites in Turkey is below:

The average heat table of the most visited sites in Turkey

6. Can I use my mobile phone in Turkey?

Prepaid SIM cards are available for purchase at Istanbul Ataturk airport, once you have passed through the arrival doors. However, it’s important to note that Turkish authorities have imposed a restriction on the use of foreign phones for a period of approximately 6 weeks. Beyond this timeframe, the service is deactivated, irrespective of any remaining credits. To continue using a foreign phone in Turkey for more than 6 weeks, individuals are required to “register” their phone. This process can typically be completed at the Turkish line provider counter at the airport by presenting your phone, passport, and arrival stamp. Please be aware that this registration procedure may take some time to finalize.

7. What is the dress code for women in Turkey?

In Turkey, there are no restrictions on wearing headscarves or dresses that cover most of your body, such as Thawb (also spelled thobe or tobe). Individuals are free to wear bikinis on the beaches, pants, skirts, or decollete blouses anywhere they please. However, when visiting a mosque, it is customary for women to wear headscarves, and both men and women should be respectful of their attire, as with other religious places. Many mosques provide hand scarves at the entrance for travelers, but it may be a good idea to bring a shawl as well.

A girl in Taksim square
Taksim Square/Istiklal Street

a. So how should I dress?

You are free to dress as you please. There are no restrictions on wearing shorts, pants, trousers, short skirts, or evening dresses, among other attire. However, it is important to show respect when visiting places of worship such as mosques, churches, and other religious sites.

8. I’m gay/lesbian, is this a problem there?

Homosexuality is legal in Turkey, and you will come across numerous gay clubs, bars, saunas, and gay-friendly hotels. However, it’s important to be aware that certain areas of Turkey maintain a socially conservative mindset, and public displays of affection may attract unwanted attention. It is therefore advisable to be careful.

9. What do the electric plugs look like? Do I need a converter?

The standard voltage in Turkey is 220 V, with a frequency of 50 Hz. If you are a citizen of the UK, Europe, Australia, and most of Asia and Africa, your 220-240 V electric tools should work without any issues. However, if you are coming from the US, Canada, or most South American countries, you will need a voltage converter in Turkey as the voltage in these locations ranges between 100-127 V.

 Additionally, power plugs and sockets in Turkey are of “Type F,” also known as “Schuko.” They are compatible with “Plug C” and “Plug E” as well. These plug and socket types are commonly used in Europe, Russia, and some African countries. If you are traveling from the UK, US, Americas, some parts of Africa, Far East, or Australia, it is recommended to obtain a power plug adapter to ensure compatibility with Turkish outlets.

10. What language is spoken in Turkey?

The official and dominant language of Turkey is Turkish. It belongs to the Oghuz group of the Turkic family and ranks as the 13th most spoken language worldwide. 

 i. What about English? 

In terms of English, Turkey has developed tourist facilities and generates significant revenue from tourism. As a result, you can find English-speaking people throughout the country, especially at popular tourist sites. Additionally, if you are visiting Turkey with a tour, you will have access to assistance in various other commonly spoken languages during your visit.

ii. Will I need to know Turkish to get around?

While it is not necessary to know Turkish, learning a few words can help you establish friendly connections with the locals.

11. Which currency is used in Turkey? What about US dollars or euros?

The currency used in Turkey is the Turkish Lira (TL or TRL or TRY). While foreign currency might be accepted at hotels, tourist shops, and some restaurants, it is advisable to have Turkish Lira for most transactions. You can convert your money to Turkish Lira either before arriving in Turkey or at exchange offices, which are commonly found in city centers.

12. Can I photograph or film people during my visit?

In public places, you are generally free to photograph the environment without any restrictions. However, if your intention is to photograph or film individuals, it is always preferable to ask for their permission. By doing so, you avoid potential problems or conflicts that may arise. Respecting the privacy and consent of others is a considerate approach when capturing photographs or videos of people. Remember that there are so many other things to photograph on the streets of Turkey.

Daily life in Karakoy, Istanbul streets
Karakoy/Istanbul Old City view

13. What if I fall ill during my visit?

You can rest assured knowing that Turkey has a well-developed healthcare system in place. Skilled and knowledgeable doctors are readily available to provide assistance whenever needed. Furthermore, pharmacies operate around the clock, including weekends and holidays, ensuring that you have access to medications and healthcare products at any time.

14. Are there nice beaches or the seaside to have a relaxed holiday?

Turkey is renowned as one of the top destinations worldwide for beach vacations and relaxation. Every year, numerous travelers visit the country’s many Blue Flag beaches. Moreover, the coastal geography of Turkey allows for the enchanting experience of sailing from one cove to another, a tradition that has endured for decades. These beaches enjoy sunny weather for approximately 8-9 months of the year. If you’re wondering whether you can find beautiful beaches and seaside locations for a tranquil holiday, the answer is a resounding YES. Here is a brief list of some noteworthy options:

Top 10 beaches in Turkey worth visiting:

  • Kaputas Beach

Located between Kas, and Kalkan districts in Antalya Province, this bay is nestled amidst towering mountains. The water boasts a captivating turquoise hue, while a sandy beach graces its shores. Accessing this hidden gem requires navigating a winding road, which adds to the allure as the beach’s quality tends to improve when it’s not easily reachable. Renowned by numerous travel writers, this bay is often hailed as one of the finest beaches in Turkey.

Kaputas beach in Antalya Turkey
Kaputas Beach in Antalya/Turkey
  • Iztuzu Beach

To reach Iztuzu Beach, you can board boats from Dalyan that traverse a picturesque creek adorned with reeds. This 5400-meter-long beach is primarily known for its special guests, the caretta carettas, or sea turtles. If fortune favors you, you might catch a glimpse of these loggerhead turtles as they gracefully roam the beach. In addition, the beach offers convenient amenities such as showers, toilets, and cabins for visitors to enjoy. 

Iztuzu Beach
Iztuzu Beach/Mugla
  • Cirali

Situated in Antalya Province, Cirali is a renowned beach surrounded by lush pine forests and located adjacent to Olympos, famous for its tree houses. For a vacation immersed in a natural ambiance, you can choose to stay in the tree houses scattered throughout Cirali, allowing you to embrace the tranquility of the Mediterranean waters during the day. It’s worth noting that this beach is also home to a 3 km protection area dedicated to caretta carettas, adding to its ecological significance.

Cirali Beach-Olympos-Antalya
Cirali Beach-Olympos/Antalya
  • Phaselis

Phaselis, another well-known beach in Antalya Province, is nestled between Kemer and Tekirova districts. This area, adorned with pine forests, offers mesmerizingly clear turquoise waters that are a sight to behold. What makes Phaselis truly unique is the opportunity to explore the ancient city submerged beneath the sea. Swimming among the ruins of the old harbor is a delightful experience, allowing you to immerse yourself in history. 

Phaselis Beach/Antalya
Phaselis Beach/Antalya
  • Patara

Patara is a remarkable beach in Antalya where you can relish the combination of sea and ancient history. Adjacent to the ancient city of Patara in Kalkan, this beach spans an impressive 12 kilometers and boasts a shallow sea. With the wind ever-present, it is an ideal spot for windsurfing enthusiasts. Notably, Patara is also a significant nesting site for sea turtles, with caretta carettas laying their eggs here. 

Patara Beach/Antalya
Patara Beach/Antalya
  • Cesme Alacati

It is known as the Alacati Windsurf Paradise, is a perfect beach destination, particularly suited for beginners. Located adjacent to the marina of Alacati, this beach offers a consistent supply of wind, making it an ideal spot for windsurfing. While the sea is shallow, the beach is surrounded by land on three sides, creating a safe area for athletes. During the day, you can enjoy swimming and apart from windsurfing, kite surfing is also a popular activity practiced in this area. 

Windsurfing in Alacati Cesme
Windsurfing in Cesme-Alacati/Izmir
  • Hisaronu (Datca)

The Marmaris-Datca road is adorned with numerous stunning bays and beaches, but one that stands out is the famous Hisaronu Bay. Hisaronu attracts a steady stream of boats and benefits from a consistent breeze. Surrounding the bay, you’ll find local fishermen going about their trade and charming small pensions offering accommodation options. 

Hisaronu  Beach in Datca
Hisaronu Beach in Datca/Mugla
  • Bodrum Ortakent Kargi Beach

Bodrum is home to numerous beautiful beaches, both big and small, found in bays such as Turbuku, Yalikavak, and Torba. However, one of the largest and most renowned beaches is Kargi Beach in Ortakent. Along the sandy shoreline, you’ll find beach facilities and restaurants, providing convenient amenities for visitors to enjoy their time by the sea. 

Bodrum Ortakent Kargi Beach
Bodrum Ortakent Kargi Beach
  • Gokova Akbuk

Gokova, nestled in the Mediterranean region, is a captivating destination known for its pristine waters and verdant bays. Among its famous beaches, Akbuk stands out. Accessible from Akyaka, this beach boasts magnificent sea colors. Most notably, the clarity of the sea in this area is truly remarkable. 

A woman having time in Gokova Akbuk Beach
Gokova Akbuk/Mugla
  • Oludeniz (Butterfly Valley)

Oludeniz can be considered the epitome of Turkey’s promotion. This beach holds immense significance, not only within Turkey but on a global scale. Its tranquil sea, resembling a natural lake, is one of its distinguishing features. The absence of waves enhances the serene ambiance, allowing visitors to immerse themselves in the beauty of Oludeniz.

Oludeniz Mugla

15. Do religious festivals affect my visit?

There are two significant religious festivals in Turkey: Ramadan Bayram, which follows the holy month of Ramadan, and Korban Bayram. During these festivities, schools and banks are closed in observance of the official holidays. However, it’s important to note that touristic facilities and events continue to operate as usual during these periods. Additionally, museums under the Turkish General Directorate of Cultural Heritage and Museums remain open during religious festivals, except on Mondays when they are closed. For information regarding other museums, it is advisable to check their respective websites for opening hours. 

  • How will Turkish Public Holidays affect your visit?

Actually they do not. Even the residents of Istanbul eagerly anticipate the religious festivals as they bring about a significant change in the city’s atmosphere. During these times, many people leave the city, resulting in a noticeable decrease in crowds and traffic. This creates an ideal opportunity for locals to explore Istanbul with greater ease and enjoyment. The festive period offers a unique and favorable ambiance for residents to wander through the city and savor its beauty. If you have plans to visit Istanbul, especially during the aforementioned times, don’t hesitate! The religious events will not affect your travel plans.

16. What time do museums open and close?

Museums under the Turkish General Directorate of Cultural Heritage and Museums department are closed on Mondays. For information on other museums, please refer to their respective websites or check here for further details. 

17. Why is Turkey a favorite country among travelers?

It is due to various of reasons:

  • Dozens of blue-flag beaches

Turkey boasts numerous pristine beaches, secluded coves, and breathtaking natural sites along the Aegean and Mediterranean Seas, all of which are well worth exploring. These picturesque coves have long been frequented by yachts and cruises, offering a unique and unforgettable experience.

  • Natural Sites

While the Aegean and Mediterranean coasts offer the promise of sun, sea, and beautiful beaches, the Black Sea coasts are renowned for their stunning cloud-sea landscapes, captivating plateaus, enchanting waterfalls, world-class trekking trails, all the shades of green and much more. The region provides a unique natural feast for those seeking a different kind of coastal experience.

  • Historical sites

Anatolia was a settlement almost throughout history. It is also known that Gobeklitepe, the first temple in the world, older than Stone Hedge and others, was founded in Sanliurfa. Plus, it has been proven that the grain was cultured first in Anatolia, too. Hence, the country is full of historical sites. Two of the Seven Wonders of the Ancient World, the Temple of Artemis at Ephesus and the Mausoleum at Halicarnassus, are located in Turkey. 

  • A rich culture

Turkey has been a land where numerous civilizations, ranging from the Mevlevis to the Assyrians, from the Lydians to the Romans and Turks, have settled throughout history. Each civilization has left behind valuable traces of their rich cultures, creating a tapestry of diversity and unity. Turkey continues to evolve, embracing new influences while honoring its historical heritage.

  • An amazing cuisine

From traditional dishes to street food, from gourmet recipes found in 5-star restaurants to humble yet delectable village cuisine, Turkey offers a diverse array of flavors. Additionally, as a region known for its agricultural practices, Turkey is home to numerous geographically indicated products, further enhancing its culinary richness.

Turkish cuisine
  • Bazaars, shopping, and souvenirs

Turkey is a unique destination where local craftsmen continue to practice traditional handicrafts. You will discover a wide array of vibrant and colorful crafts that showcase the rich cultural heritage of the country.

  • Developed touristic facilities

The official data has been saying that over 51 million travelers have visited Turkey annually, and the number is rising year by year. When we checked the top ten most visited countries around the world, Turkey was on the 6th line in 2019, 2020, 2021, and on the 10th line in 2022. Tourism was always one of the main sources of income in Turkey; hence, so many well-designed facilities, both modern and authentic, can be found. 

18. What is the religion in Turkey? Does it pose any risk to me because of my faith?

The public is predominantly Muslim, with mosques of both modern and traditional designs visible everywhere. Museums are open for visits and photography without any issues. Additionally, churches and synagogues, both old and new, welcome visitors for prayer. There are no restrictions on visiting and praying at these places of worship. No risks are associated with different faiths, as Muslims can be seen visiting churches and Christians, as well as people of other faiths, visiting mosques.

19. Where should I visit in Turkey?

Indeed, the answer to this question is quite extensive, as Turkey boasts numerous historical and natural sites worth visiting. Nonetheless, it is feasible to compile a list of the most visited places in Turkey:

  • Istanbul

Istanbul has established itself as one of the most prominent metropolises globally, consistently featuring on the lists of “Top 10 Most Visited Countries in the World.” Serving as the capital for approximately 1,600 years, from 330 AD to 1922, Istanbul held this esteemed position under four distinct empires: the Roman Empire (330-395), the Byzantine Empire (395-1204, 1261-1453), the Latin Empire (1204-1261), and the Ottoman Empire (1453-1922). Therefore, Turkey is home to a multitude of captivating sites worth visiting. The following list can assist you in identifying which places to include in your itinerary, especially if you don’t have one yet.

Ortakoy Mosque/Istanbul
A sunset Istanbul-Ortakoy Mosque Besiktas

10 most visited places in Istanbul:

  • 1. Hagia Sofia
  • 2. Blue Mosque
  • 3. Topkapi Palace
  • 4. Grand Bazaar
  • 5. Suleymaniye Mosque
  • 6. Dolmabahce Palace
  • 7. Bascilica Cistern
  • 8. Chora Church
  • 9. Istanbul Archeological Museum
  • 10. Galata Tower,

You can check the FAQ About Istanbul Old City of Turkey for more.

  • Antalya

Antalya, renowned for its rich blend of historical and natural attractions, stands as one of Turkey’s most frequently visited cities. According to official data, the city attracts over 12 million travelers each year, drawn by its captivating array of sites and landmarks. Like Istanbul, Antalya has dozens of visiting sites too. Please visit “Ultimate guide of Antalya: All about Antalya Province in Turkey 16 frequently asked questions about Antalya-Turkish Riviera” for more details. 

Aspendos Theatre -Antalya
Aspendos Theatre/Antalya

10 most visited places in Antalya:

  • 1. Kaleici-Old city
  • 2. Duden Waterfalls
  • 3. Hadrian’s Gate
  • 4. Aspendos Theatre
  • 5. Olympos and Cirali
  • 6. Perge Ancient City
  • 7. Konyaalti & LAra Beachs
  • 8. Koprulu Canyon
  • 9. Old Marina
  • Kursunlu&Manavgat Waterfalls
  • Bodrum-Mugla

Mugla, boasting Turkey’s longest coastline spanning 1,484 kilometers, offers an extensive range of facilities with a total capacity of 340 thousand beds. This coastal paradise attracts over 3 million tourists annually, who come to immerse themselves in its natural beauty and abundant attractions.

Bodrum Mugla
Bodrum / Mugla

10 most visited places in Bodrum-Mugla

  • Izmir

Izmir, situated on Turkey’s Aegean coast, holds a significant historical legacy as the ancient city of Smyrna. It witnessed the rise of the Roman Empire, underwent reconstruction by Alexander the Great, and eventually became part of the Ottoman Empire in the 15th century. With its intriguing past and captivating present, Izmir attracts over 2 million travelers annually, drawn to its cultural richness and coastal allure. 

Izmir, Historical Clock

10 most visited places in Izmir

You may either visit 15 Best Things to Do in Izmir, Pearl Of The Aegean.

  • Aydin-Kusadasi

Situated in close proximity to Izmir Province, Kusadasi is a city renowned for its significant port, Kusadasi Port, which serves as a major hub for both the Mediterranean and Aegean regions. The port has welcomed over 650 cruise ships, further solidifying its importance. Moreover, Kusadasi’s advantageous location offers easy access to numerous ancient sites, making it an ideal starting point for exploring the region. Visitors can readily find a plethora of daily tours from Kusadasi, enabling them to delve into the historical wonders that surround the city. 

Kusadasi - Aydin

10 most visited places in Aydin-Kusadasi

  • Cappadocia

Over thousands of years, the tuff layer in Cappadocia has been eroded by rain and wind, resulting in the formation of enchanting fairy chimneys and breathtaking valleys. Cappadocia, regardless of the season, is undoubtedly one of the must-visit destinations in Turkey. Make sure to include it on your list of must-visit sites. While the list of sites to explore in Cappadocia provided below is limited, I recommend reading the “Ultimate Guide of Cappadocia: All You Need to Know About Cappadocia” for a more comprehensive understanding of the region.


10 most visited places in Cappadocia:

  • Canakkale

Located on the Dardanelles, Canakkale has been the setting for two of the most well-known and bloodiest wars in history: the Gallipoli Campaign of World War I and the legendary Trojan War. Every March, numerous individuals visit the Gallipoli Peninsula to commemorate the Anzac soldiers and participate in Dawn Services. Turkish people also pay their respects and honor their war heroes, transcending national boundaries as people from all nations pray for the martyrs who lost their lives here. Approximately 80 kilometers southwest lies the ancient city of Troy, famous for the iconic Trojan Horse. Canakkale stands as a place where challenging wars and eternal loves intertwine, creating a profound and compelling narrative.

Canakkale Kilitbahir Castle
Kilitbahir Castle in Canakkale

10 most visited places in Canakkale;

  • Bursa

Bursa, recognized as the Green City, owes its nickname to the abundance of natural sites it offers. Nestled at the foot of Uludag mountain, one of Turkey’s beloved skiing destinations, Bursa attracts outdoor enthusiasts and winter sports lovers. Furthermore, Bursa holds significant historical importance as the birthplace of the Ottoman Empire. Notably, Bursa takes pride in being the birthplace of the famous dish known as Iskender Kebab, adding to its culinary legacy.

Cumalikizik village street in Bursa
Cumalikizik Village in Bursa

10 most visited places in Bursa:

  • Konya

Konya, situated in the heart of Anatolia, holds meaningful cultural and spiritual significance. It is renowned as the home and eternal resting place of the Sufi mystic, Mevlana. Visitors to Konya have the opportunity to explore Mevlana’s spiritual legacy and witness one of the early and finest examples of Turkish architecture. The city provides a remarkable experience for those seeking to delve into the mystical traditions and architectural wonders that Konya has to offer.

Aziziye Mosque in Konya
Aziziye Mosque in Konya
  • Kars

Situated at the easternmost edge of the country, Kars may seem overshadowed when compared to cities along the Aegean and Mediterranean coasts. While it may not typically top the lists of must-visit places, Kars holds the allure of a hidden gem in Turkey. This secret destination offers a unique and off-the-beaten-path experience for travelers seeking to explore lesser-known parts of the country.

Ani Ruins, Tigran Honest Chuch in Kars
Ani Ruins in Kars

10 most visited places in Kars

20. What are 10 interesting facts about Turkey?

Anatolia, with its rich history, has been the birthplace of numerous firsts and a setting for legendary tales. Over the centuries, it witnessed the rise of temples, theaters, and agoras, followed by the emergence of basilicas, churches, palaces, cervansarays, and mosques. Being located at the crossroads of Europe and Asia, it has acted as a bridge between these two distant continents, facilitating the fusion of their cultures. Here are 10 fascinating facts about Turkey that you probably weren’t aware of before.

i. Istanbul, stretches across two continents, Europe and Asia.

An intriguing aspect of Istanbul is its division by the majestic Bosphorus River. The western bank of Istanbul resides on the European continent, while the eastern bank extends into Asia. Connecting these two continents is the iconic Galata Bridge, which allows pedestrians to walk between the two. It’s worth noting that merely 3% of Turkey’s landmass falls within Europe, with the majority of the country located on the Asian continent.

Istanbul, stretches across two continents, Europe and Asia
Istanbul, stretches across two continents, Europe and Asia.

ii. Grand Bazaar is one of the oldest markets around the world.

Istanbul’s Grand Bazaar, recognized as one of the oldest and largest markets globally, boasts an impressive scale with 64 streets and approximately 4,000 shops. This bustling marketplace attracts a staggering number of visitors, with up to 400,000 people exploring its vibrant corridors each day. Often referred to as one of the earliest shopping malls ever, the Grand Bazaar offers a unique shopping experience. To navigate the labyrinthine alleys and master the art of haggling, it’s advisable to consider hiring a local guide. The market operates from Monday to Saturday, welcoming visitors from 9am to 7pm.

Grand Bazaar is one of the oldest markets around the world
Grand Bazaar

iii. The Tunel funicular is the oldest underground railway in Europe and the second one in the world.

It was built in 1875, establishing a vital connection between the Karakoy and Beyoglu districts in Istanbul. The Tunel’s age is surpassed only by the London Underground, which commenced operations in 1863. Stretching 600 meters uphill, the tunnel bridges the gap between the riverside at Beyoglu (formerly Galata) and the upscale hilltop region of Karakoy (formerly Pera), once home to numerous banks and embassies. Remarkably, the Tünel remains operational to this day.

Tunel funicular
Tunel funicular in Istanbul

iv. Turkey is the homeland of tulips.

Tulips were initially cultivated in the Ottoman Empire. The story goes that when the Dutch ambassador visited the court of Suleyman the Magnificent in the 16th century, he brought back tulip bulbs to Amsterdam. This marked the introduction of tulips to the Netherlands, where they eventually became strongly associated with Dutch culture. In Istanbul, still, a week-long tulip festival takes place every April, celebrating the vibrant beauty of these beloved flowers.

Emirgan Park, Istanbul, The Tulip festival]
Emirgan Park – Istanbul, during the tulip festival

v. Aesop, Herodotus, and St. Paul the Apostle were born in Turkey.

Turkey has been the birthplace of several notable figures from history and literature. Paul the Apostle, originally known as Saul, was born in Tarsus, located in southern Turkey. Aesop, the renowned Greek storyteller, is believed to have grown up in Thrace, specifically in the area along the Black Sea that is now known as Nesebar. Additionally, the Greek historian Herodotus was born in Bodrum, a coastal city that exists in present-day Turkey. These influential individuals have left a lasting impact on their respective fields, and their Turkish origins add to the rich cultural heritage of the region.

Aesop, Herodotus, and St. Paul the Apostle were born in Turkey
Aesop was born in  Amorium (Afyon), Herodotus was born in Halicarnassus (Bodrum), and St. Paul the Apostle was born in Tarsus.

vi. St. Nicholas is also from Turkey.

Patara, located in Turkey, is the birthplace of the historical figure we now know as Santa Claus, St. Nicholas. Born around 300 AD, St. Nicholas was a revered holy man known for his miraculous acts, such as rescuing sailors from sinking ships. His reputation for generosity and kindness laid the foundation for the iconic figure of Santa Claus. Additionally, St. Nicholas became one of the patron saints of sailors. The name “Santa Claus” originated from the Dutch term “Sinter Klaas,” a shortened form of “Saint Nikolaas.” The legacy of St. Nicholas continues to inspire the beloved tradition of Santa Claus and spreads joy during the festive season.

 St. Nicholas museum in antalya
St. Nicholas church and museum in Antalya

vii. The first Christian church was founded in Hatay.

Hatay, specifically the Grotto of St. Peter located outside Antioch (now known as Antakya), is recognized as the site of the first Christian church. According to belief, this ancient grotto was established by Simon Peter, one of Jesus’ disciples. As the oldest known place of Christian worship worldwide, it holds immense historical and religious significance. Visitors have the opportunity to explore the church and witness the remaining traces of its ancient decorations, offering a glimpse into the early days of Christianity.

The first Christian church was founded in Hatay
The first Christian church was founded in Hatay.

viii. Turkey is the leading hazelnut producer.

As the leading global producer, Turkey holds the title of the largest supplier of hazelnuts. Accounting for around 75% of the world’s hazelnut production, Turkey plays a crucial role in the international hazelnut market.

Turkey is the leading hazelnut producer

ix. Noah’s Ark can be landed on Mount Ararat.

The legendary tale suggests that Noah’s Ark came to rest on Mount Ararat, and although there is ongoing debate, this belief continues to persist. While concrete evidence remains elusive, the Ararat volcano has captivated explorers and adventurers who seek to unravel the clues surrounding this ancient legend. Apart from its association with the biblical story, Mount Ararat is a striking mountain with stunning natural diversity. Many visitors are drawn to its majestic beauty and undertake expeditions in hopes of shedding further light on the enduring mystery.

Noah's Ark can be landed on Mount Ararat.
Mount Ararat is the highest mountain in Turkey.

x. 10. The first temple of humans is located in Turkey.

Gobeklitepe, a remarkable archaeological site, predates the Egyptian pyramids by a staggering 7,500 years. This ancient complex holds invaluable discoveries that shed light on the earliest stages of transitioning to settled life. Notably, Gobeklitepe provided crucial evidence of the cultivation of wheat, a symbol of settled life, and the advent of agriculture. As the oldest known center of worship, Gobeklitepe holds immense significance in the history of religions. Its findings have greatly influenced our understanding of human civilization and the development of early societies.

Gobeklitepe/ the first temple of the world/Sanliurfa
The oldest temple of the world.

Latest Reviews from Trustpilot

We had a wonderful tour of Turkey

We had a wonderful tour of Turkey, which included Anzac day at Anzac cove, our guide & driver were excellent & we only had a small number on our bus. Hotels were 4 star or more, but were out of towns. Food was good mainly buffets. Great value for money. Turkish people were lovely.


Excellent value and comprehensive tour of top sights.

Excellent and experienced guide Oscar was a wealth of knowledge and fun to travel with.
The airport pickup and departures were smooth and well organized. Hotels were all of good quality though some were a distance from the cities visited. Lunch/dinner buffets were fairly repetitive in content, but you could always find something good and one never goes hungry. The vehicle used, a minibus, was modern, clean and “Fati” was a safe and excellent driver. There are some quite long driving days to cover so much territory, but in 10 days you will have seen many of Türkiye’s most famous and beautiful sights. Very good value for money and a responsive and communicative travel company to work with. I look forward to future adventures with TravelShop.


A trip of a i will never forget with Travelshop Turkey

What an amazing experience with TravelShop Turkey .We did a Cappadocia and Istanbul tour and Loved every moment of it. From the Airport meet and Greets and Transfers to the Hotel which ran smoothly in aircon vans. The Selection of hotels which where suberb with amazing breakfasts and clean spacious rooms. The private guides where very knowledgable , friendly and accommodating to everyones needs . This was a trip i will never forget and will definately recommend Travelshop Turkey without hesitation.

Kim Moir

TravelShopBooking is the best

Thank you so much for arranging top notch tour.
I must say TravelShopBooking is the best for turkey. And Special thanks to Ms Gulizar. She was very helpful in arranging and helping the package as well as she takes daily updates too.

Aman Ahtasam