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The Mediterranean, commonly called the Med, has become America’s Favorite Summer Vacation.
Now that the border curbs have been removed and normalcy has been restored across the pond, American citizens flock to the shores of the ancient sea to enjoy some of that relaxed atmosphere. Sweet Life.
Aside from the traditional hotspots of France and Spain, it is an eastern country that has been grabbing the spotlight following Europe’s wider reopening, currently classified as he fourth most popular destination in the world.
Turkey, officially called Türkiye, is now the most fashionable country in the Mediterranean, having received 50.5 million visitors last year. If you’re wondering how it got so popular and why everyone is obsessed with it, we’ll gladly give you 5 reasons why:
The city of the world’s desire
Türkiye is home to the intercontinental giant that is Istanbul, and that alone is reason enough for you to add it to your bucket list this summer.
A city that straddles two continents, so vast that it stretches from the southeastern tip of Europe, across the Bosphorus Strait, and into the Anatolian peninsula, Asia’s westernmost, is an ancient queen shrouded in myththat has fascinated would-be emperors, passionate travelers, and avid historians for at least two millennia.
Formerly called Constantinople, Istanbul was born as a Roman city and remained at the heart of the Eastern Roman Empire, or Byzantine Empire, from the days of its founding until it was conquered by Ottoman forces in the 15th century.
At the crossroads of the Western and Eastern worlds, it is an open-air museum where you can still see monuments from each of its eras, from the 6th century Byzantine cathedral converted into a mosque hagia sophia to the magnificent Suleymaniye Mosque, an Ottoman imperial jewel.
In addition to its fascinating history, modern Istanbul is a vibrant metropolis with an unparalleled social scene.
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Filled with lively bazaars, quirky cafes, exclusive shopping districts, and rooftop bars with stunning views of the minaret-dotted skyline, will take your breath away like it did with ours.
Istanbul may be Türkiye’s top tourist destination, by an inch, but it’s hardly representative of the country as a whole. As you are about to learn, this is one of the most incredibly diverse and multicultural states in Eurasia.
There is something in Türkiye for every traveler profile. If you are a hiker and nature enthusiast, the spectacular snow-capped peaks of eastern Türkiyea lesser-known province near the borders of Georgia and Armenia, will offer you the expansive vistas you crave.
They say that the Turkish nature is a force to be reckoned with, and we certainly don’t doubt it. As if the majestic eastern mountain ranges weren’t proof enough, there are always otherworldly cappadocia to further support this claim.
An arid landscape with unique geological formations, where fairy chimneys rise up to the balloon-studded skies and cities are carved out of hard rock or built underground, places like Goreme are your best bet for experiencing indigenous Anatolian culture, where globalization is yet to come. swallow it whole.
If it’s stretches of pristine beach you’re after, the Black Sea region is full of old cities and charming fishing villagesbounded by serene golden sands and the blue waters of the New Mediterranean.
On the other hand, if you are dealing with coastal giants with a well-developed luxury resort scene What makes your heart race, the beautiful coast of the Aegean Sea, a stone’s throw from numerous Greek islands, will give you that much-needed sub-tropical atmosphere. Think: Izmir, Bodrum, Kusadasi.
Be sure not to miss Pamukkale: Translated from Turkish as « cotton castle, » a natural site formed by cooled, dissolved calcium that cascaded over the edge of a cliff, leaving hardened deposits where hot springs now collect.
We have already mentioned it briefly, but we really struggle to find words to describe the limitless beauty of the Turkish coast.
It stretches from the closed Black Sea to the Sea of Marmara, which separates Europe from Asia, and finally, the Aegean and Eastern Mediterranean coasts.
Traveling along Türkiye’s underrated waterfront, you’ll be rewarded with views of pristine white sand beacheswhere the sea is the clearest of blues, small towns with origins lost in time, inhabited by locals proud of their centuries-old traditions, and lush marine parks.
Three of the most beautiful beach destinations in the country include trabzonan out-of-the-way place that Black Sea tourists completely skip, since it is not a Mediterranean center, although it is just as hot and summery; Fethiyea small town in the Mugla province, famous for being the gateway to the Turkish Riviera, and antalyaTürkiye’s number one Mediterranean resort.
Looking beyond the more obvious tourist offerings, namely Mediterranean beaches and world-class city breaks, Türkiye is so sought after for its rich Greco-Roman heritage. It is, after all, a Mediterranean nation whose history is closely intertwined with that of other European powers.
In ancient times, much of the Turkish coastline was in fact Greek, with some of the most iconic cities of Hellenic mythology now lying in ruins across the border.
To name a few, we have ephesus, where the renowned Celsus Library is located; legendary Troy, the site of the controversial Trojan War; and Perge, once a major eastern Mediterranean port; and many more.
Did you know, for example, that Homer could have been born in or near Smyrna (present-day Izmir) in Türkiye? Except that, back then, the Turkish state did not exist and much of the Anatolian peninsula belonged to the larger Hellenic world.
Or that one of the best preserved Roman theaters, with an intact in front of the stage, still standing is located in Aspendos, near Antalya? Don’t get us started on the now disassembled Temple of Artemisnear Ephesus, one of the Seven Wonders of the Ancient World and an impressive relic of the bygone ancient Hellenic civilization.
Unfortunately, only a single, free-standing column remains.
For my fellow history buffs, you will never run out of archeological sites and amazing points of interest to explore in Türkiye. Trust me, I’ve been to the country. six times, And with each visit, the list continues to grow.
It can be much cheaper
Finally, one of the main reasons why Türkiye is gaining popularity among travelers is its affordability.
Despite the skyrocketing inflation that has been hitting the Turkish economy due to the unorthodox monetary policies of the current president and the fluctuating value of the lira, it remains a surprisingly cheap vacation for most westerners who earn in dollars or euros.
Now that the lira has reached a new all-time low, trading at TRY 26.06 against US$1, tourist dollars are stretching much further here than, for example, in Greece or other neighboring euroized economies.
As its largest city and financial center, Istanbul is easily the city of Türkiye. most expensive place to liveAnd even then, the purchasing power of Americans tends to be 68.8% higher than in New York, one of the most expensive cities on the US East Coast.
Although tourist prices are generally higher, as holiday accommodation in Türkiye is not as cheap as long-term rentals, there are some pretty interesting deals, from mid-range hotels (breakfast included) priced at US$51 per night to much cheaper hotels. Shared hostel rooms from just US$15 in Antalya.
Apart from the accommodation, food in Türkiye is remarkably cheapBesides being delicious.
Ordering a large meal at a budget restaurant, usually including a soup to start and a kebab meal, will set you back US$5.76 on average, while three-course dinners at high-end places should set you back a moderate US$ 28.78.
In general, it is estimated that the monthly expenses for a single person in Istanbul are around US$500 without rent. This mostly applies to locals, as tourist spending is much higher, but it may help you budget accordingly if you’re not the spendthrift type.
There’s a Türkiye for every budget, and that’s one of the many reasons why more and more Americans are drawn to it.
traveler alert: Don’t forget travel insurance for your next trip!
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This article originally appeared on TravelOffPath.com