When I first made the announcement that I was moving to Turkey, I was bombarded with the well-meaning warnings of friends and family who thought I was making a big mistake. “They bomb each other over there,” one of my friends told me, “and you won’t be allowed to drive, or show your hair in public!”
I laughed. I had already spent a significant amount of time in Turkey and knew that most people’s perceptions of it just weren’t true. For one thing, Turkey is not war-ridden. In terms of personal safety, I feel much more relaxed here than I ever have living anywhere else.
And although the majority of Turkey’s population are Muslim, it is not a fundamentalist country, and in fact the Turkish government prides itself on being secular. The women here are not required to cover their hair or faces, nor are they expected to dress particularly modestly.
Much like in western countries, as long as the bare essentials are covered, that’s all that’s strictly necessary. At certain seaside resorts you see even less than that, so if you’re itching to take your clothes off and get in the Mediterranean, there are definitely places in Turkey that can accommodate you.
In terms of tourism, Turkey is paradise, especially for those on a budget. Golden sandy beaches, beautiful ski resorts, and vibrant cities are all available to everyone, whether you’re traveling like a prince or a pauper.
Safe, clean accommodation in a private room with a private bath can easily be obtained, even in the high season, for less than $50 a night, and in some places for much less than that.
Restaurant food is inexpensive as well, and Turkish cuisine is some of the finest in the world. Most hotels and hostels even include a full breakfast in the price of their rooms, so besides meals being cheap, you only have to buy two per day instead of three.
Getting around Turkey is easy and low-cost. There are cheap internal flights that can quickly transport you from one end of the country to the other, but if you want to travel like the Turks do and see the countryside while you’re at it, premium bus lines are the way to go.
These are not like any buses you’ve ever seen; Turkish buses can compete with some of the world’s finest train services in terms of amenities. Cushioned reclining seats, waiter service, and high-speed wireless internet are just some of the luxuries you can enjoy while taking in some of the most gorgeous and interesting landscapes in all of Asia.
There is no limit to the types of things you can focus on during a Turkish vacation. The shopping is plentiful and cheap, the sightseeing covers more than two millennia of history, and the natural beauty of the country will astound you, whether you’re a fan of large cities, mountain villages, or anything in between.
The low cost of vacationing in Turkey is surprising for most people, and you get all the benefits of a real Mediterranean adventure without running out of money. So next time you want a truly unique experience and don’t have a lot of extra cash, Turkey is definitely the way to go.
Pic of the Day: Daughters