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The moment I stood in Taksim Square with a freshly roasted corn cob in my hand and in awe of its beauty will never be forgotten. Istanbul’s architectural smells and energy will give you incredible sensory overload. Even after many return visits to Istanbul and numerous passes through the city with Turkish Airlines, I still find it captivating.
My travel plans were ruined this year, like many others. I should have spent May/June on a dream trip through Egypt, Jordan, and Turkey. I finally got to experience the amazing history, hospitality, and heritage in this area I had always wanted to visit. This dream trip is currently on hold until 2021. However, for those who still have the urge to travel, Turkey will be open again from August 2020. At the time of writing, it is also on the UK Air Bridge, making it even more accessible.
Turkey spans two continents. It is full of diverse cultures, cuisines, and attractions. Picking a few highlights can be difficult. These are just a few ideas to get you started, but once your research begins into Turkey’s interests and cultures, you’ll soon realize that you will need many trips!
Seeing these sights without tourists is fantastic, but please keep in mind that we are not fully back to normal – some places may temporarily close.
Istanbul – A city that I fell in love with
Istanbul is the city for you.
Istanbul was one of the few cities I fell in love with. However, I cannot give any specific reasons. I remember writing about my first visit to Istanbul, how it was a place I wanted to live, and how I felt so happy walking around the city, taking in the atmosphere, and sipping tea.
It is a beautiful place with incredible architecture and magnificent monuments. The magic of being on the border between two continents is also unique. The magic of Istanbul was for me in watching the stray cats playing, eating some corn in Taksim Square, sipping mint tea, and taking in the buzz.
You will be drawn to the Sultanahmet area of the city, which features Byzantine architecture, Egyptian and Roman ruins, Byzantine architecture, and Christian mosaics at the Hagia Sofia. But the city is vast, and there are many places to wander around, enjoy, and feel a sense of energy that is unlike any other site I have been to. Over three visits to Istanbul, I spent seven days. I would love to return.
Do not miss A visit to the Blue Mosque and Hagia Sophia for architecture, the Basilica Cistern for historical waterworks, and a cruise on the Bosphorus for a new angle. The Grand Bazaar is for shopping.
COVID-19 SITUATION TURKEY
At the time of writing in July 2020, the Coronavirus situation in Turkey and its response has been well managed. There have been very few reports of the virus. This is highlighted by Turkey’s inclusion on the UK Approved Travel List. Check the latest information at your local government travel portal.
Turkey has many similar precautions to other countries. It would help if you avoided social distancing, sanitizing, and using masks within crowded or enclosed spaces. Some destinations may require coverage at all hours. Please check with us for current advice, as restrictions can change for Turkish Nationals and foreign visitors.
You can now fly domestically and internationally on summer vacation with the new Istanbul airport, which is world-class and high-tech. It allows you to limit contact during check-in.
Turkish Airlines offers a variety of safety procedures for passengers flying to Turkey. They also provide excellent bonuses, such as a Hygiene Kit and an app that allows you to control the entertainment in flight without touching it.
Turkish Airlines also offers its own support and insurance package. Details can be found here. With many Insurance policies still needing to be up to the new standard, these destination-specific options have become more common.
Turkish Airlines offers a simple ticket change policy and even a 40% discount for healthcare. These details can be found on their website.
Cappadocia is for history lovers.
Cappadocia was something I had thought of for years. But when planning my trip, I realized it was a whole area.
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This rugged, semi-arid, and rocky location is located in central Turkey. You’ll find it all over Instagram.
It’s not surprising that this region is UNESCO-listed. The area has a rich history dating back to the Bronze Age. Underground cities like Derinkuyu, where air vents bring fresh air underground, look incredible. I cannot wait to see them in person.
You have many options when it comes to where you want to live.
Take advantage of: Enjoy historic cave hotels, stunning views of the Pigeon Valley, and a hot air balloon ride in the stable sun-rise.
To reach Cappadocia, you must make domestic connections to Kayseri Erkilet Airport. From there, a one-hour transfer will take you to the famous sites of Cappadocia.
For beach lovers: Antalya
Antalya, on Turkey’s south Side, is the gateway to the Mediterranean Region. The long stretch of coastlines provides turquoise waters and relaxation options. You’ll find accommodation options to suit all budgets year round. You can choose from luxurious and extravagant resorts or more affordable, budget-friendly accommodations.
Belek is a popular resort destination near Antalya, where you will find luxury resorts and golf courses. Further along, there are a variety of hotels, including Side, which is just an hour away.
Antalya offers the best of both a beach vacation and all of the attractions and accessibility of a city. You can walk around the Old Harbour, where you’ll find reminders of Antalya’s past life as a Roman Port.
Do not miss: Take a break from the beaches by visiting the nearby waterfalls and Roman ruins.
Two options for getting to Antalya are domestic and international direct flights.
Turkish Airlines: Flying
Turkish Airlines has always been a great choice. I have flown with them to Istanbul and internationally with connections to India, South East Asia, and other destinations. They are generally the most affordable option due to their strong product and competitive pricing.
Modern and well-designed planes offer spacious seating and great entertainment. Some quirks vary among service levels. The ‘flying chefs’ ensure high-quality meals, while the nanny service can assist with childcare. Some of these services may need to be modified or stopped during COVID-19. They also offer fresh orange juice and homemade lemonade on board, which I love.
Their customer service is the reason I am loyal to Turkish Airlines. When things go wrong, you can see how a company behaves. I was delayed connecting with Turkish Airlines and missed my next flight. They quickly booked us into a luxurious hotel with meal vouchers and kept us informed. We were also allowed to explore my favorite cities worldwide while waiting for the next available flight. This was the best management I have seen of a rescheduled connection.
The new Istanbul Airport is also exciting. Previously, one of the drawbacks to connecting flights was the volume of passengers in the terminal. However, now that there’s a new airport with plenty of space and a world-class facility, it should be easier.
Please let me know where you will be traveling this summer and what suggestions you have for me in Turkey when I return. Enjoy safe travels
*Advertorial content is written in partnership with Turkish Airlines by Dan Flying Solo