Preparing for Your Trip to Turkey:

the Rich and Enchanting Crossroads

Market, Istanbul, Turkey.      Photo by Julia Volk

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Planning a trip to Turkey can often feel like a daunting project. Where should one go? Istanbul? Cappadocia? The coast? Maybe a road trip?

Truth be told, Turkey is a country that conjures magic and enchants visitors into returning over and over again. Attempting to discover it in one sole expedition is fruitless. But what does help in planning a trip to Turkey is to understand what you look for in said trip. For this reason, we have amassed some resources that will help you answer this question and, consequently, make planning a trip to Turkey that much easier.

Explore Turkey's Rich History

What makes Turkey special is that layer upon layer of civilizations have left their mark on its territory, culture, and outlook. From Hittites to Romans and from the Byzantine to the Ottoman empires, this is one of the world’s richest countries in terms of history.

Discover the Tapestry of Turkish Literature

To accurately understand the intricate tapestry of Turkish history, try exploring some books. Turkish literature, both classic and contemporary, is rich and suits every taste. Start with Nobel Prize winner Orhan Pamuk’s ode to Istanbul, continue with Elif Shafak, Ayse Kulin, and Irfan Orga’s classic Portrait of a Turkish Family. Perhaps enjoy an outstanding novel set in 1453 Constantinople before its conquest by the Muslims and read Mika Waltari’s The Dark Angel.

Start with Nobel Prize winner Orhan Pamuk’s ode to Istanbul, Istanbul: Memories and the City.  Pamuk recalls his years growing up in the city on the Bosphorus. Atmospheric, melancholic, and enchanting, a love poem in prose to the city  that any new visitor needs to read in order to understand the city better.

Continue with Irfan Orga’s classic Portrait of a Turkish Family. It is an accurate memoir of a family’s destiny during the twilight of the Ottoman Empire. Beyond the story of a family, this personal account of  survival through the First World War is a rich depiction of life in Istanbul during that time.
 
Then enjoy an outstanding novel set in 1453 Constantinople before its conquest by the Muslims in Mika Waltari’s The Dark Angel. This love story amid disaster in is one of the best historical novels of all time, combining personal drama, beautiful prose, and the portrait of a city and empire in agony.

Watch an outstanding historical series on the Ottoman Empire

Play Video

Not a bibliophile? You can binge watch one of the best historic series ever produced, The Magnificent Century. If you weren’t planning a trip to Turkey just yet, you definitely will after enjoying this series that accurately and richly depicts love, politics, and intrigue at the height of the Ottoman Empire.

The Best Turkish Travel Memoirs and Guidebooks

As I assume you are hooked by now and planning a trip to Turkey as we speak, why not dive a bit further and read some travel memoirs and guidebooks? My absolute two favorite travel books are Strolling through Istanbul, the most detailed and vivid description of every corner and hidden gem of the city, and South from Ephesus, an account of a personal journey from Ephesus to Side before the arrival of mass tourism and all-inclusive hotels.

It’s time to dive into the DK Eyewitness Travel Companion to Turkey and use the resources they provide to finally answer the question of what type of trip you would like your Turkish itinerary to be. A cityscape? A lazy summer holiday? A hiking expedition? A road trip? The great news is that there is no right or wrong answer! All options are equally viable and will provide cherished experiences and memories. 

Strolling Through Istanbul, the Classic Guide to the City, is the most detailed and vivid description of every corner and hidden gem of the city. The classic walking guide to Istanbul is by by Hilary Summer-Boyd and John Freely. It was published over 70 years ago and has been republished in this revised and updated version. The authors take you on foot through Istanbul, outlining monuments and sites, anecdotes and stories, hidden secrets, and unknown gems. Reads as well as a novel, beyond being an exceptional travel guide.

South from Ephesus, is an account of a personal journey from Ephesus to Side before the arrival of mass tourism and all-inclusive hotels. A true travel literature classic, this book outlines the author’s trip  and the experiences he makes along the way. This travel memoir explores the intricate tapestry of Greek, Roman, Byzantine, and Islamic cultures of Turkey.

It’s time to dive into the DK Eyewitness Travel Companion to Turkey and use the resources they provide to finally answer the question of what type of trip you would like your Turkish itinerary to be. A cityscape? A lazy summer holiday? A hiking expedition? A road trip? The great news is that there is no right or wrong answer! All options are equally viable and will provide cherished experiences and memories. 

Planning Your Trip To Turkey

Hot air balloons in Cappadocia, Turkey

Turkish culture is varied and multifaceted, as you probably are well aware by now. Beyond history and architecture, you are looking to understand a hospitable, welcoming country with some of the best cuisine in the world. 

One last tip from our side, do not shy away from the unconventional. Our favorite thing to do in Turkey is to spend winter in Istanbul and take daily excursions around Antalya, instead of being lazy at the hotel. Going off the beaten path and trying to understand Turkey profoundly and to experience its authenticity are definitely worthwhile.

This guest post was contributed by Anca at Dream, Book, and Travel.

We love to learn from our guest writers and appreciate their expertise! Visit her website by clicking on the image or name below. Or, use the button to check out her profile on our site.

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