The undeniable truth about Turkey: 5 things to know before you travel!

Are you thinking of traveling to Turkey? You’ve probably done your research. But do you know the truth about Turkey? You may have looked on TripAdvisor for reviews about Turkey or joined a Turkey travel Facebook group. Maybe you like to come well-prepared, and you even had a look at our Turkey travel resources page; a bundle of all useful links necessary to help you prepare for your trip to Turkey. But there are things no-one tells you about Turkey; things we feel you need to know before you travel. As a specialized online Turkey travel guide, we see it as our duty to inform you correctly. That is why we’ve listed the risks involved in traveling to Turkey in a previous post, and why we have compiled this series of facts that will unveil the undeniable truth about Turkey.

Prepare for the undeniable truth about Turkey: 5 things to know before you travel!

Getting your hands on an ice-cream is almost impossible (even in high-season)

Honestly, you would think that when temperatures are on the rise, ice-cream vendors will sell their merchandise at the speed of a well-oiled assembly line. Think again! Getting your hands on an ice-cream turns out to be quite a challenge! Not only is Turkish ice-cream (or dondurma) somewhat different in texture than its gelato counterpart, the vendors seem to think every sale has to demonstrate that. This means you’ll have to wait a little longer to taste your ice-cold snack, but you’ll also have a big smile on your face. And, as a bonus, you’ll have a great ‘Story’ to post on your social media channels! Rest assured, in Turkey, you can have your ice-cream and eat it too! Pro-tip: if you just want your ice cream without the show, tell them! 😉

Beware of genuine-fake, a local specialty!

The Truth About Turkey Where Desserts Are Made Of Chicken, Tavuk Göğsü

The Truth About Turkey Where Desserts Are Made Of Chicken, Tavuk Göğsü

We’re all for the genuine part! This whole Turkey travel guide is a quest for authenticity and going local. Still, as much as we hate to admit it, we too have been the victims of this genuine-fake scam! But we promised you the truth about Turkey, so here it is! During our travels, we always eat at local eateries because we love Turkish food.

Did you know some food in Turkey even made it onto the UNESCO List of Intangible Cultural Heritage? How about that!

Now, back to the genuine-fake scam… How come we fell for it? In reality, we didn’t. But you might! And you know what? You may very well love it. We’re talking about a dessert called tavuk göğsü. It’s sweet, soft, and it was the favorite dessert of the Ottoman sultans. The catch? This dessert is made with chicken meat! It’s a Turkish specialty and a real delicacy. So what if the Turks sell you chicken meat as a dessert? It is an authentic signature dish, and we promise you, it is delicious!

Expect to be given the air

Expect To Be Given The Air, Try A Balloon Bread In Turkey

Expect To Be Given The Air, Try A Balloon Bread In Turkey

Yet another thing Turkish restaurants specialize in: giving someone the air… Only this time, you may take this quite literally. The air is served baked (something Dutch-speaking readers are familiar with: baked air), and it is usually served as an appetizer or entree. If you are accustomed to Turkish food, you probably know this dish as balloon bread, or kabaran lavaş ekmek or balon ekmek in Turkish. This puff bread is a classic dish from southeastern Turkey. The hollow bread is served sizzling hot, often accompanied by unsalted village butter and ezme, a spicy tomato & pepper crush. So, while the Turks may be shamelessly serving you baked air, in this packaging, it is a tasty eye-catcher!

There’s zero point… in time

Now that doesn’t sound good, or does it? Let’s face it; usually, when people say there’s zero point in doing something, it doesn’t sound very positive. It means there’s no use in trying really. So why would you visit a place advertised as ‘zero point in time’? What’s the point? The point is that this place is very much worth your time. It is unique in every way. Zero point in time refers to Göbeklitepe, Turkey’s newest addition to its UNESCO World Heritage List, and the world’s oldest temple known to humanity. This is the location of the beginning of modern civilizations. It’s older than the Pyramids in Egypt, or even Stonehenge. Göbeklitepe is almost 12.000 years old, and the cradle of civilization. Getting there from your favorite beach resort will take a bit of effort, but, at least you will have visited one of the most fascinating places on Earth. Admit it; this will give you something to talk about when back at the office!

Turkey never meets your expectations

It’s a painful truth about Turkey, but a truth nevertheless. Turkey never meets your expectations; it exceeds them. No matter how high or what you’re expectations are, Turkey is set to surpass them. The explanation is easy; think of it this way: if the location of the beginning of modern civilizations lies in Turkey, imagine the amount of historical and cultural treasures this brings along with it.

Expect:

    • a seemingly endless choice of fascinating ancient sites
    • 8.000 km of coastline with turquoise waters and stunning blue flag beaches
    • a paradise for nature-lovers and hikers with several long-distance footpaths such as the Lycian Way
    • vibrant and buzzing metropolises with Istanbul as their crown jewel
    • a food scene that will leave you spoiled for choice, from street-food over village kitchens, to any restaurant you can think of. Much like in Italy, Turkey has a food culture; life revolves around family and food. A foodies heaven!

And even if you expect all that, you’ll still be surprised by how intense the experience is. We can promise you one thing about Turkey: it is a great destination, no matter what you’re looking for during your travels. It’s a land of contrasts, where modern times flirt with antiquity, where European customs meet Asian traditions, where the coastlines & the sunsets are dramatic, and where the people carry hospitality in their genes. It’s also a (budget-)friendly country that caters for independent travelers and package deal holidaymakers alike. And the magic is: they all seem to find ‘their’ Turkey, and their our own truth about Turkey!

Not sure what ‘your’ Turkey looks like? Join our dedicated Facebook Group to find out. It’s the best way to get personal advice from seasoned Turkey travelers, expats living in Turkey, and other Turkey aficionados. Or explore our interactive map of Turkey & scroll to our Turkey travel blogs for a healthy dose of inspiration.

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Copyright for the Göbekli Tepe photos belongs to Klaus-Peter Simon [CC BY-SA 3.0], via Wikimedia Commons

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Check the weather

Never wonder about the weather in Turkey again. The Turkish climate is as diverse as the country with significant differences between the regions.

This page contains the current weather and weather statistics for all regions in Turkey.

Prepare your trip

How to order a tourist visa for Turkey?

What about public transport?
Can you skip the line at Istanbul Airports?

General Turkey travel information, essential to help prepare your trip, on one page!

Work with us

Get direct access to your target audience with a proven interest in Turkey. People call us their Turkey Bible!

Contact us for a feature on our map, a destination guide, a photo shoot, or any form of professional Turkey-related content.

Ask a traveler

Are you unsure about a destination, activity or hotel? Why don’t you ask other travelers about their experience?

We have a closed Facebook group where you can ask all Turkey-related questions. You’ll get solid advice and travel inspiration.

Check the weather

Never wonder about the weather in Turkey again. The Turkish climate is as diverse as the country with significant differences between the regions.

This page contains the current weather and weather statistics for all regions in Turkey.

Prepare your trip

How to order a tourist visa for Turkey?

What about public transport?
Can you skip the line at Istanbul Airports?

General Turkey travel information, essential to help prepare your trip, on one page!

Work with us

Get direct access to your target audience with a proven interest in Turkey. People call us their Turkey Bible!

Contact us for a feature on our map, a destination guide, a photo shoot, or any form of professional Turkey-related content.

Ask a traveler

Are you unsure about a destination, activity or hotel? Why don’t you ask other travelers about their experience?

We have a closed Facebook group where you can ask all Turkey-related questions. You’ll get solid advice and travel inspiration.

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Ready for the undeniable truth about Turkey? Thinking of traveling to #Turkey? These are the things no-one tells you; things you need to know before you travel.