Turkey is located at the crossroads of Europe and Asia, and this is probably why the landscape is covered with battlegrounds (ancient and modern), ruined castles and the palaces of great empires. Even travellers with no head for dates will recognise the names of some of the places and protagonists, from Alexander the Great to Achilles; from the Ottoman Empire to the battle of Gallipoli.
But modern Turkey has plenty to offer too: search our hosts and you will find that you can volunteer within the tourist industry, in guest houses and hostels, at an eco-resort or an education camp; and there are opportunities to help out kayaking, horse riding or at an eco-art project. And when you are not working you can hang out in the contemporary resorts of the Mediterranean and the Aegean, as well as discovering the lesser known beaches of Turkey’s 5000 mile coastline, try your hand at adventure activities in the mountains and parks, and discover the joys of exploring the traditional bazaars and excellent food of Turkey’s towns and cities.
A country of such variety is not easily summed up, so make sure you research beyond the few highlights we offer here!
Sometimes referred to as the Turkish Riviera, the Eastern Med is busy with European tourists during high season, but outside of the summer most beaches are empty and it is easy to see the natural beauty that drew the crowds in the first place, before the arrival of the developers. History is lurking just under the surface: a walk along a beach somewhere like Olympos will spin you back in time as you suddenly come across a Lycian tomb or a Corinthian temple. To check out how the Turks holiday, head through the mountains to the resort areas of Anamur and Kızkalesi. This part of Turkey resembles an open-air museum, with impressive ruins scattered about.
While the scenery of the Aegean coast is not as spectacular as that of the Mediterranean, this part of Turkey was once Asia Minor and it is studded with fantastic historic sites, including the ruins of Troy, Ephesus and Pergamum. This is also where you come to see the battlefield sites at Gallipoli.
This is a part of Turkey where resorts are nonexistent, and where wilderness and adventure are close at hand. The Black Sea coast receives plenty of rain, even in summer, and is craggy, damp and lush. From here the traveller can reach north-eastern Anatolia, a remote area where the influences of the neighbouring Caucasus, Central Asia and Iran can be felt. It offers a unique mix of nature and culture, with palaces, castles, mosques and churches dotted around the steppe.
Central Anatolia is the heartland of Turkey, both geographically and culturally, and traces can be seen of the battles that have taken place for control of these dusty steppes and hills over the centuries.