Situated at the meeting ground of Europe and Asia, Turkey is a country of convergence, where powerful world empires and cultures have historically battled for power and marked their eras through architecture, decor, religion and culinary influences.
Travel Beyond consultants Katie Blackstone and Kayla Torgerson spent 10 days in Turkey in the fall of 2014, traveling through Istanbul, Cappadocia and Kusadasi. Upon their return, Kayla raved that Turkey is “a country of surprises,” where the complex past tells its rich stories through many channels.
In Istanbul, the country’s capital and most popular tourist destination, Turkey’s stories echo in the majesty of gold-traced Byzantine churches, ornate palaces, mosques and threads of intricate hand-woven Turkish rugs at the bustling Grand Bazaar.
In Cappadocia, Katie and Kayla explored underground rock cities with elaborate interiors, floated in an unforgettable sunrise hot air balloon ride above the picturesque landscape and witnessed a mesmerizing whirling dervish ceremony.
Katie and Kayla ended their trip at the coastal city of Kusadasi, visiting nearby Ephesus (pictured) and discovering at a local countryside home that the greatest treasure in Turkey just may be her gracious and welcoming people, eager to dish travelers a bowl of çorba (soup) and passionately share the diverse stories of Turkey’s living history.
Cappadocia’s moonlike scenery is an artist or photographer’s dream, as elaborate rock-carved cities dot the spectacular landscape above and below the ground.
Turkey is often thought of for its historic sites, but Travel Beyond’s Katie Blackstone recommends visiting the coast for gorgeous Mediterranean beaches and a tour of nearby Ephesus.