We tend to think that most fall and winter travel is reserved for Europe’s cultural cities and Mexico’s dreamy beaches; however, right now, there’s one particular Middle Eastern country that’s rivaling the world’s most coveted hotspots in terms of traveler interest.
After a widely successful year, Turkey is finally breaking its all-time tourism records, with trends pointing to what could very well be the country’s busiest winter in history.
In the first three quarters of 2023, Turkey hosted some 44.6 million visitors, which marks a 13.2% increase from last year, and an 8.78% increase from the previous record set in 2019.
So, what’s prompting tourists to flock to the gorgeous Middle Eastern country in never-seen-before numbers?
An Abundance Of Cultural And Historical Attractions
Turkey is one of the most historically captivating countries on Earth, boasting a long, storied past that spans thousands of years.
Today, travelers can get some fascinating insights into its traditions by visiting one of the many historical attractions in the region, including the iconic Hagia Sophia, Blue Mosque, Topkapi Palace, the well-preserved ruins of Ephesus, the Library of Celsus, as well as the Dolmabahçe Palace.
Beyond the intricately adorned buildings, you won’t want to miss out on Cappadocia, a region built on fairytale-like rock formations, which just recently broke its very own tourism record.
As far as cultural attractions are concerned, your best bet is to stick to the likes of Istanbul and Ankara, though I usually tend to favor the former.
There, you’ll find that the influences of the East and West clash into a gorgeous display of colors, providing a feast for the senses.
I’d also highly recommend taking a stroll around the bustling Grand Bazaar, just remember that having a local or professional guide beside you will make the experience go much more smoothly.
The breathtaking views in Cappadocia are far from the only picturesque sight you’ll come across in Turkey.
The country is a mosaic of diverse landscapes and a haven for nature enthusiasts.
All you thrill seekers out there will be happy to learn that the rugged terrain of the Taurus Mountains provides excellent opportunities for hiking and trekking.
The same goes for the Lycian Way, a long-distance hiking trail that offers travelers the chance to explore ancient ruins and charming villages, all while marveling at panoramic vistas.
If you’re looking to experience something truly unique, though, you won’t want to miss out on Pamukkale, a natural mosaic of thermal springs terraces and travertine formations, which creates a surreal landscape reminiscent of a snow-white paradise.
A Foodie’s Dream
Turkish cuisine presents a range of flavors and aromas that can’t be found anywhere else in Europe, which is why there’s no shortage of travelers flying thousands of miles just to sample some authentic kofta, börek, and baklava.
From savory kebabs and flavorful mezes to delectable desserts like Turkish delights, the country’s culinary scene is nothing short of a gastronomic wonder.
The flavors are warm, bold, and striking, mirroring the personalities of most locals you’ll come across.
What’s more, everything’s very reasonably priced, giving you the chance to enjoy a bit of everything.
If you’re ever in Turkey, though, don’t miss out on the chance to taste at least a few sips of Turkish coffee – it truly introduces you to a whole different set of flavors and aromas compared to your run-of-the-mill espresso.
So Much To Do
Turkey’s delectable dishes will prove to be especially appetizing and filling after a long day attending local events and festivals, a few of which you’re bound to come across during your travels.
Just this past month, for example, Antalya hosted its annual Film Festival, bringing together filmmakers, actors, and cinephiles from all over the globe.
If you’re planning on going to Turkey before the year ends, some events you can look forward to include the Halal Expo 2023, the UEFA Europa Conference League, as well as concerts by iconic local musicians like Ümit Yaşar and Gökhan Türkmen.
One thing’s for sure – you’ll never get bored exploring the natural, cultural, and historical wonders of Turkey.
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This article originally appeared on TravelOffPath.com