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

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,...

10 Incredible Bosphorus View Hotels in Istanbul

The Bosphorus divides Istanbul into the European and Asian sides of the city and is one of the most beautiful places in Istanbul. There's something incredibly majestic about this peaceful body of water, dividing two continents yet connecting them through a flurry of...

Is Istanbul Safe? 13 Tips to Stay Safe in Istanbul

Whenever I travel to Turkey, my family and friends back home raise their eyebrows. "Okay, but is Istanbul safe?" they always ask me. And yes, for the most part, Istanbul is a safe city for travelers.  But that doesn't mean there aren't things you need to know to make...

13 Otherworldy Things to Do in Cappadocia, Turkey

Fairy chimneys, sunrise hot air balloons, entire cities built into rock: Cappadocia is like another planet. Visiting here is so unique that I truly can't think of another place in the world that I've visited just like it. There is no shortage of incredible things to...

An Unmissable 3 Day Cappadocia Itinerary

If you're planning a trip to Cappadocia, you're in for a magical experience. Hot air balloons rising at dawn, incredible rock formations that look like they come from another planet, and underground cities that defy logic: Cappadocia is like another world. If you're...

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...

7 Steps to Planning a Perfect Istanbul City Break

So you have a long weekend in Istanbul planned, and you want to make the most of it? Stephanie and I have been to Istanbul eight times between the two of us, so I think it's safe to say we know a fair bit about how to plan the perfect Istanbul city break. Since we're...