Birthplace of many great civilisations, Turkey’s history suffuses every aspect of life. Tread in the steps of the Silk Road traders, Julius Caesar, Alexander the Great and the Ottomans to discover a country full of laid-back charm. A violet sky studded with slender minarets and ancient domes forms a beguiling backdrop to Istanbul where Asian mystery fuses with European flair. The two great continents straddle the mighty Bosphorus River, dotted with boats plying the route between East and West. Former capital of three great empires it is a vibrant city bursting with Byzantine treasures; musts to visit include the Blue Mosque, Topkapi Palace, Hagia Sophia and the breathtaking frescoes of the Chora Museum. Submit to the cool stone and gentle rhythm of splashing water in traditional Turkish baths, and plunge into bazaars redolent with rich spices. Head south to Antalya on the Turkish Riviera for 300 days of sunshine a year, and a myriad of sophisticated resorts. Beyond the beach, the old quarter of Kaleici captivates locals and visitors alike, while in a nearby Roman amphitheatre during June and July the Aspendos Opera and Ballet Festival gets underway. Along the coast, Bodrum beckons with its whitewashed houses and riot of bougainvillea, the city’s twin bays making it a magnet for yachtsmen, while history aficionados will find Roman Ephesus a revelation. So settle back with a hearty meze and a glass of aniseed raki to savour the many delights of Turkey. Istanbul was voted the number one destination to visit in TripAdvisors' Travellers Choice Awards 2014.
Turkey is a vast country that incorporates both a Mediterranean and continental climate, the temperatures in the north being cooler than the south. For sightseeing and visits to Istanbul, spring and autumn are recommended to avoid the peak summer temperatures. November to February can be cool with increased rainfall. Southern Turkey has a Mediterranean climate with hot dry summers and mild winters, July and August being the hottest months. Spring and autumn are good times to visit as it is still warm and less crowded.
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