Our Destinations pages show the great diversity of the country and its neighbours. Divided by area, they cover the main cities and sights, museums and galleries and suggest hotels and restaurants. In the footsteps of Cornucopia’s intrepid correspondents, they also discover wilderness, curiosities and half-forgotten ruins. Readers are invited to send their own suggestions to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Istanbul is Turkey’s most populous city, and its cultural and financial centre. Located on both shores of the Bosphorus, the narrow strait between the Black Sea and the Sea of Marmara, it bridges Asia and Europe physically and culturally.
Istanbul’s European hinterland is full of surprises: Edirne’s Renaissance architecture, Gallipoli’s historic beaches, Kırklareli’s wonderful weekly market, fish restaurants on the Black Sea and the Dardanelles – and exciting new wines.
Take a drive around the Sea of Marmara. From European Thrace across the Dardanelles Strait (ancient Hellespont) to the former Ottoman capital of Bursa and the ceramic town of Iznik, this was the Ottoman heartland.
Turkey’s Aegean coast takes on many guises as you head south from the cool waters of the Dardanelles, across the Troad peninsula to classical Ephesus and Labraunda, with Bodrum – ancient Halicarnassus – as your final port of call.
The Mediterranean coast, littered with archaeological sights, is in two halves: to the west the Taurus mountains dramatise the Turquoise coast. To the east the plains stretch towards less visited Tarsus and Antakya.
Turkey’s heartland has some of the world’s earliest civilisations, Hittites, King Midas, the great Seljuk cities of Konya and Divriği as well as the capital of Ankara. The dramatic Lake District and fairytale Cappadocia are here too.
The Black Sea retains its mystique, thousands of years after Xenophon’s men retreated towards it shouting, ‘The sea! the sea!’ From Amasra to Trabzon, a wildly hostile coast conceals emerald mountains, rain forests and tea gardens.