Sitting at the crossroads of the east & the west, the Turkish travel experience provides a wonderful blend of the two that is both rich and also a bit disconcerting at times.

Normally starting in the west at Istanbul, travellers experience a thriving modern metropolis that still exhibits all the features of its long and storied history. Ottoman palaces, unbelievable mosques and bustling bazaars all in the most amazing setting on the Bosphorus, all with a nightlife that still nods very strongly to its proximity to mainstream Europe. Don't miss some of the most magnificent religious architecture in the world, as showcased by Aya Sofya and the Suleymaniye, Sultanahmet or the Blue Mosque, or if markets are more your thing, Istanbul's Grand Bazaar has more than 500 years of history on show and can capture you for hours/days at a time.

Head into the interior, and it’s very much the Middle East, with vast distances, stark and spectacular landscapes, and myriad delights for the traveller to experience. From the fantasy-land fairy chimneys (and hot-air balloons) of Cappadocia to the villages of the Black Sea and the ancient mountainous regions of the far east, the memories of Europe seem in the distance.

Back along the Mediterranean coastline, and it’s a fascinating blend of historical villages, ancient ruins from earlier conquerors (including Ephesus, the best ruins of the Mediterranean), and party towns where bars and yachting options are nestled alongside traditional Turkish families and lifestyles. Much closer back to Istanbul and there’s the ANZAC pilgrimage sites of the Gallipoli Peninsula, plus the ruins of Troy.

All of this is enjoyed with the wonderfully hospitable Turks who welcome all-comers to consume their delectable cuisine, and experience a culture that is the most moderate of the Middle Eastern countries.

Image by Volodymyr Goinyk, Shutterstock