Sofia Adventures

All About Turkey

Discovering Istanbul and Beyond

Turkey is partly on the Balkan peninsula, partly part of the Asian continent – and it is this very dichotomy which makes Turkey so unique. While many people don’t think of Turkey as Balkan, we’d beg to differ: nearly all of the most crucial parts of Istanbul are located squarely on the Balkan peninsula, plus basically all of the Balkans were once part of the Ottoman Empire for a time, some longer than others, and therefore there are a lot of cultural similarities that make Turkey, in our estimation, part of the Balkans. 

We include Asian (Anatolian) regions such as Cappadocia and the Turkish Riviera in our travel guides because we want to be the most comprehensive resource for travel in Turkey as possible and we know many people won’t be able to resist the cheap domestic flights to some of Turkey’s most beautiful destinations. With Pegasus and Turkish Airlines both offering stunningly cheap tickets around Turkey (seriously, cheaper than buses oftentimes!) the whole country of Turkey is at your fingertips.

While much ado has been made about Turkey and safety, we think it’s all a bit overhyped. We travel to Istanbul frequently and feel as safe there as we do in any other major city. I’ve traveled to Cappadocia, Denizli, Pamukkale, and Bodrum, using overnight buses and planes and traveling solo, and felt perfectly safe. Stay away from the border regions (not much to see there anyway!) and you’ll have no more to worry about than you do visiting Paris, Barcelona, or London.

That said, Istanbul is a truly incredible city, the only true mega-city in the Balkans with at least 15 million people and more in the metropolitan area. As such, Istanbul can be a bit hectic at times – traffic can be a nightmare, and it always feels a bit busy – but it has a life that no other city in the Balkans has. Whenever I am in Istanbul, I feel more alive, more awake to the beauty of the world. It is a truly special place. Turkey is also home to incredible islands, beautiful beaches, jaw-dropping ruins, and incredible natural wonders. From the “cotton palace” of Pamukkale to the ruins of Hieropolis to the beaches of Fethiye, there’s more to Turkey than initially meets the eye.

ALL TURKEY POSTS

Planning a Trip to Turkey: An 11-Step Checklist

Planning a Trip to Turkey: An 11-Step Checklist

Turkey is one of our favorite countries in the Balkans! Besides Bulgaria, it's our most-visited country, as between Stephanie and I we have made eight trips to this stunning country over the past decade... starting in 2011 and returning nearly yearly. We can't help...

21 Incredible Day Trips from Istanbul

21 Incredible Day Trips from Istanbul

Istanbul is one of a kind city, full of 24/7 vibrant life. Millions of tourists flock to this city every year to see the Grand Bazaar, Bosphorus Bridge, Sultanahmet Mosque, Beyoglu, Moda, and countless other sights that this city has to offer. However, Istanbul is...

7 Marvelous Things to Do in Pamukkale

7 Marvelous Things to Do in Pamukkale

The ancient city of Hierapolis otherwise known as ‘sacred city’ was a spa city built by the Romans. It was built around the world-famous warm-water spring, known as Pamukkale (in Turkish, 'cotton castle'). The town is located 18 kilometers north of Denizli in the...

21 Best Things to Do in Istanbul With Kids

21 Best Things to Do in Istanbul With Kids

Istanbul is a popular and crowded city that can seem very busy with both tourists and locals. You may be wondering if visiting Istanbul with kids is a good idea -- will there be enough to keep kids entertained? With many of its attractions, like the Grand Bazaar and...

23 Best Things to Do in Alanya (+ Day Trips!)

23 Best Things to Do in Alanya (+ Day Trips!)

Alanya was one of the stops of our long road trip on the south coast of Turkey - the so-called Turquoise Coast - when I was a teenager. I still remember the dazzling Mediterranean Sea and all the salt left on our bodies when we came back to our hotel from the seaside....

17 Best Things to Do in Fethiye (& Day Trip Ideas!)

17 Best Things to Do in Fethiye (& Day Trip Ideas!)

Fethiye is most famous for its strikingly beautiful Ölüdeniz beach, which attracts thousands of tourists every year both locally and internationally. However, this charming coastal city located in the southwest of Turkey is full of other gems to discover. Let’s first...

23 Intriguing Things to Do in Izmir (+ Day Trips!)

23 Intriguing Things to Do in Izmir (+ Day Trips!)

I grew up in Izmir. As I grew older, I understood the beauty of Izmir more. With its beautiful cityscape and most importantly with its kind-hearted people, Izmir has become more and more popular especially in recent years. These days, I see many of my friends moving...

Where to Stay in Kadikoy: Hotels We Love!

Where to Stay in Kadikoy: Hotels We Love!

If you're planning to visit Istanbul, you may be a bit overwhelmed by how many neighborhoods there are to stay in. (We've listed a few of our favorites here!) One of the best is Kadikoy. It's on the Asian side of Istanbul, yet easily connected to Sultanahmet by a...

17 Silly Istanbul Puns & Instagram Captions

17 Silly Istanbul Puns & Instagram Captions

Planning a trip to Turkey? We've got a few Istanbul puns up our sleeve, ready to mosque you laugh! Here are the silliest puns about Istanbul we've got -- perfect for making your trip companions groan or for adding a little humor to your Istanbul Instagram captions. PS...

9 Magical Things to Do in Cappadocia in Winter

9 Magical Things to Do in Cappadocia in Winter

If you're hesitating on whether it's a good idea to visit Cappadocia in winter - stop! This beautiful region of Turkey is wonderful to visit any time of year, and in winter, you'll enjoy reduced prices, fewer crowds, and some even more magical landscapes. While some...

Traveling to Turkey:  What to Know & Where to Go

Traveling to Turkey: What to Know & Where to Go

Note: This post on traveling to Turkey is a guest post by Amy of Templeseeker. Minor edits have been made to change the post to American English. See below the post for our recommendations and tips. Turkey is a wonderful country full of culture, natural beauty,...