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.


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