Turkey is a country where the largest city, Istanbul spans across two continents — Europe and Western Asia.
A popular destination, Turkey’s sheer diversity allows tourists to ski down snowy mountain slopes, cruise on the Bosporus, Mediterranean and Black sea, wander through unique local markets and visit historical monuments from the ancient Greek, Persian, Roman or Ottoman empires.
Eight countries border Turkey, including Bulgaria, Greece, Georgia, Armenia, Iran, Azerbaijan, Iraq and Syria. Turkey is on Eastern European Standard Time (EET) which is 2 hours ahead of Universal Coordinated Time (UTC+2) during winter and 3 hours ahead during daylight savings in summer.
Turkish people are a very friendly bunch of people. The mix of European, Asian and a mostly Muslim population means that Turkey has a unique style of culture and customs.
- Turkish people don’t tend to smile at strangers. If you smile at a stranger they may think you are making fun of them, so don’t be offended if you don’t get a return smile.
- You may see two friends holding hands — this includes men. However, you will rarely see couples touching or showing affection in public.
- Pointing is considered rude and removing your shoes when visiting someone’s home is customary.
- Some Turks can be quite blunt when expressing themselves, but it’s not meant in an offensive way.
Turkey has hot summers and cold winters, so Spring and Autumn can be the best time to visit for mild temperatures. Spring is also a great time to see the tulips blooming across the country.
From the mountain ranges to the coastlines, the climate around Turkey varies depending on where you plan on visiting. Temperatures below are averages for Istanbul:
Most of Turkey is well covered by public transport, from long- distance buses, trains, flights and ferries. In the cities it can seem more difficult to get around especially in Istanbul due to the large population. Traffic is dense and often having a rental car is the hardest way to get around — trams and buses are a better and faster option. Taxis are easy to come by but to ensure you’re getting a legitimate and fair taxi, ask your hotel to call one for you.
National icons are Tulips, Red Fez Hat and Turkish delight (lokum).
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