Turkey Travel Guide
Whether you're interested in learning about Turkey's history and culture, viewing contemporary art and design, or just relaxing on the beach, there are plenty of places to go in Turkey. In Istanbul, first-timers can't miss Hagia Sophia, a thousand-plus-year-old church-turned-mosque and museum, or the 17th-century Rüstem Pasha Mosque (or Blue Mosque), famous for is azure-hued tiles and six minarets. At the Topkapi complex, you'll wander though 6 million square feet of Ottoman-era palace grounds, then find your own precious goods among the stalls of the Grand Bazaar.
More shopping can be enjoyed in sophisticated Nisantasi, with its international luxury brand boutiques, upscale malls and departments stores. A short flight away in Cappadocia, explore the region's towering rock formations, known as "fairy chimneys," as well as the vast network of caves, tunnels, and ancient dwellings forming the UNESCO World Heritage underground "cities."
The 13th-century Caravansary of Sultanhani, the Byzantine frescoes at the Rock Chapels of Goreme, and the troglodyte village of Avcilar are also among the key spots to visit in Turkey. History buffs shouldn't miss a stroll around the ancient ruins at Ephesus—one of the top places to go in Turkey—while those interested in the natural beauty of Turkey will love the national parks, as well as the beaches and warm blue-green waters of the Aegean and Mediterranean coasts.
Wines from this tiny Aegean island are gaining prominence.
Not only does Istanbul’s chicest set live in the Nisantisi neighborhood in Istanbul, they shop there too.
The sheer number of carpet stores in Istanbul, particularly in the Sultanahmet area, can be overwhelming, but Noah’s Ark has an excellent reputation for honesty, quality, and a willingness to educate customers without pressuring them (much) to buy.
The rapidly gentrifying side streets between Cihangir and İstiklâl Caddesi are lined with shops selling antiques, furniture, and weird-but-wonderful junk.
In the stranglehold that eventually throttled Constantinople in 1453, the Rumeli Hisar (castle) served as the lynch pin. Constructed on the narrowest point of the Bosphorus north of the city, it blocked Byzantine access to the Black Sea.
The 19th-century mansion in Emirgan houses an impressive collection of Ottoman paintings.
This massive, dazzling, and cacophonous covered market is the ur-bazaar of the Orient; if you’ve envisioned what it will be like, prepare to have your expectations exceeded.
If you want to bring baklava back home, don’t buy it in the city—you’ll get syrup all over your luggage. Buy it here.
The new outdoor-shopping complex carries lines from well-known Turkish womenswear and menswear labels, such as Desa leather, Silk & Cashmere, and Mavi Jeans, as well as sportswear from international designers.
This is the only gym at the airport. Unfortunately, it isn’t convenient for international layover passengers: you have to go through Passport Control and immigration—and purchase a visa, if you’re a U.S. citizen.
Trainspotters will appreciate the 30-odd steam engines on display at this private museum, which is run by the son of the former stationmaster of Selçuk. Those less enthused by the sight of old locomotives can wander the manicured estate.
What Lies Beneath: Eighty-two feet below Istanbul is a 450-foot-long, 213-foot-wide former royal reservoir.
Lining the narrow, labyrinthine streets behind the Çiçek passage off İstiklâl Caddesi are hundreds of bars, taverns (called meyhane), and outdoor cafés.