It's friendly, beautiful, culturally rich and good value for money. It's modern enough to be comfortable yet traditional enough to be interesting.

Turkey is one of the world's top 10 travel destinations, welcoming more than 23 million visitors every year.

Culture & Art: Turkey's history of human habitation goes back 25,000 years. Some of the earliest-known human communities are here. Hittites, Phrygians, Greeks, Romans, Byzantines, Crusaders, Seljuks, Mongols, Ottomans and others have all left their works of art and culture in what is now the Turkish homeland. Modern Turkey has all this—and more mobile phones than you've ever seen in one place before.


Special-Interest Activities: With nearly 8400 km (5200 mi) of coastline, water sports and yachting are big favorites. Hiking, white-water rafting, mountain-climbing and bicycling are all important, and growing, as is skiing. My favorite of all is hot-air ballooning.

Cuisine: Turkish food is now world-famous, and rightly so. The abundance of its fields, farms, orchards, flocks and fishing boats is exceptional, and Turkish chefs take full advantage of this bounty. Everyone comments on how good the food is. Not only that, the moderately-priced gourmet dinner (plus wine) is still easy to do. Then there's Turkish tea....

Good Times: Sit at a long table in a taverna in Istanbul, Kusadasi, Bodrum, Antalya, order a glass of beer, wine or pungent raki and join in the songs and stories. Turks revel in good food, good friends, good times, and good nightlife.

For stories of life and travel in Turkey, read the excerpts from my travel memoir Bright Sun, Strong Tea.