If it’s possible to be infected by a country … I am. Ever since we returned from our trip to Turkey, I just can’t seem to let it go.
I’ve supplemented my fascination by reading multiple historical and fictional books about this country. With beautiful cookbooks in hand, I’ve been whipping up wonderful Turkish dishes capped off by Turkish coffee. Although if truth be told, my family has about had it with this!
What’s so appealing? Straddling Asia and Europe, Turkey is an intriguing, rich, and exotic destination. Not only is it culturally interesting, but Turkey is serene and beautiful. Every day I learned something unexpected. Our visit was truly a mind-opening experience! Our trip last summer was without our children, but I’d love to return with them in tow.
Hagia Sofia in Istanbul
From the earliest times Turkey has been at the heart of our civilization. The history is palpable and a visit sweeps you right into to the days of the Romans and Ottomans. The ruins in Ephesus and other locations throughout the country bring you close to its ancient heritage.
This was our first stay in a predominantly Muslim country. With 1.6 billion Muslims in the world, I felt compelled to gain a better understanding of this religion. The Hagia Sofia mosque highlights the critical religious role Istanbul has played throughout time and offers a stunning visual lesson in religious history.
Village woman selling her textiles in Sirince
The people of Turkey are a welcoming and expressive people. Like Italians, Turks adore children. Kids are everywhere. Often you’ll see dads lifting and kissing their children. It was a joy to watch families interact. As a guests, you are honored in Turkish culture and everywhere you turn people are welcoming you to their country.
Whether it is the call to prayer echoing through the air, the pre-prayer pattern of washing, or the ritualistic scrubbing at the hamman, the rhythm of the culture is alluring and beautiful to observe.
Jams in a local market
Flavorful spices, fresh cuisine and delicious sweets will delight your palate. The food is healthy, fresh and fun to eat. Indulging in the Turks’ well-known passion for sweets is a delight.
From the chaotic Grand Bazaar to the exotic Spice Market, you get a glimpse of energetic local life when you step into these markets. The wide array of unique offerings makes Turkey a wonderful shopping destination. Apple Tea, Red Pepper Paste, Hand Hammered Copper dishes, jewelry, ceramics and of course, the rugs — all make fabulous souvenirs!
Inside Topkapi Palace in Istanbul
Geometric patterns and brilliant colors incorporate Asian, European, and Moorish design. Some neighborhoods are reminiscent of France or Italy, while others feel distinctly Middle Eastern.
From the forested rugged north to the gorgeous arid coastline of the south, the variety of landscapes provides a diverse area to explore with a wide variety of activities. Some regions have unusual rock formations, like Cappadocia with its towering chimneys.
View from Marmara Bodrum Hotel
Turkey is surrounded by water and nowhere do you feel that more than in Istanbul as the city is perched along the romantic Bosporus.
The elegant Turkish Riviera is both stylish and low-key. The water along the coast is amazing clear, making our four-day boat trip a glorious escape comprised of basking in the sun punctuated by refreshing dips in the sea.
Stimulating and Relaxing Destination
My favorite destinations are both culturally stimulating and relaxing. The ruins, cities, and gorgeous coastline together ideal vacation combination.
Photo courtesy of Nancy Solomon
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Start a Discussion3 Comments
Lara- Turkey has many beautiful areas, it’s hard to choose. We loved Bodrum, on the ocean and there are some gorgeous resorts. Also, you can spend a few nights on a gulet which would be so fun for the kids (as long as they are good swimmers). Also, Cappadocia with kids would be amazing- hot air ballon ride and staying in the fabulous cave hotels- very unique. We used Sea Song as the in-country partner and our travel agent to help with the logistics. They were very helpful. I can’t wait to go back! Let me know if you have any other questions.
Any updates of good places to stay and go with 2 children, 4 and 8yrs? We are planning to end a trip with 3 nights Istanbul but have 5 nights to spend else where in Turkey first where would you pick? We love Turkish food, amazing coast lines/ocean and quaint authentic areas, not so much your serious sight seeing.
Thanks in advance for any advice.
Bravo. As a resident of Istanbul for more than four years now, I agree with everything you’ve said, especially about the kid-friendly nature of Turkish society. (This seems to be the case with Mediterranean cultures in general in my experience, where the English adage about children being seen but not heard is unknown!) Come here with kids, and they’ll be endlessly fussed over. Come here without, and you may be asked why you don’t have any!
By the way, here is a good list of kids’ activities in Istanbul that I found on the web:
Thanks again for you post. Bring the little ones on your next visit!