Posts for Turkey

Top destinations to visit in the Middle East

Travel Blog - Ross French - May 7, 2020

Most people think of the Middle East as just a place with sun, sand, and shriveled land, but there is much more in this enchanting land. From majestic historical ruins, magnificent architectural treasures to exquisite beaches, man-made marvel, and gastronomical delights, the Middle East is a treasure trove of beautiful destinations that should definitely be a part of any traveler’s bucket list. And what’s more, travel to most of the places is easy with frequent flights operating through Saudi Airlines. Here is a list of places that you should definitely consider while planning your next vacation to this mystical, ancient region of the Middle East.

1. Jeddah, Saudi Arabia

The historic city of Jeddah was the capital of Saudi Arabia till 1982 when it was moved to Riyadh. Today, this culturally rich and beguiling city is the melting pot of all the races of the Red Sea. Often dubbed as the gateway for pilgrimages to Islamic holy cities of Mecca and Medina, the city has a lot to offer to tourists. Take a trip to the UNESCO World Heritage Site – the Gate to Mecca, be mesmerized by King Fahd’s fountain, claimed to be the tallest fountain in the world, or simply soak in the balmy weather at the beach resorts up the coast.

2. Madinah, Saudi Arabia

Madinah, also known as Medina, is part of Saudi Arabia’s expansive desert terrain. It is second only to Mecca in terms of religious significance for Muslims, but it is one of the best to showcase the culture and traditions of Saudi Arabia. The city has a lot to offer to travelers – from ancient monuments to the cultural traditions of the land. A must-visit is the Masjid-e-Nabawi, where the Prophet has been laid to rest. The 7-mosques is also a place worth visiting. A small complex of six small mosques, it depicts the history of the place.

3. Cappadocia, Turkey

Cappadocia, one of the most traveled destinations in Turkey, is straight out of a fairy tale where natural beauty blends beautifully with stunning historical monuments. Most popular for unique geological features called fairy tale chimneys, these swirling volcanic-rock landscapes swoon in tourists from all over the world. Some of the must-see places in this enchanting city are villages carved out of the hillsides, Byzantine-era rock-cut churches with magnificent frescoes, and a labyrinth of underground cities. A must-do while here is the hot air balloon ride to get a bird’s-eye view of the valleys and the incredible rock formations.

4. Cairo, Egypt

Cairo has millions of visitors all year round, tempting them with breathtaking architecture, grand historical monuments, and myriad archaeological sites. The Sphinx and the iconic Pyramids are a must-do when you are in the sprawling capital of Egypt. A visit to the vast Egyptian Museum, treasure trove of antiquities is a must-visit too. Also, be ready to be charmed by Midan Tahrir, called the “Paris on the Nile” and enchanted by Old Cairo, home to Egypt’s Coptic Christian community. The best part is that there are many cheap flights operating from all over the world to Egypt, making traveling easy.

Conclusion

Whenever traveling to the Middle East, remember to carry the required travel gear to make your holiday comfortable and hassle-free. The Middle East is a cradle of civilizations, home to some of the most spectacular places. Here, history is not written in books but littered in places all around. From the ancient relics found in Cairo, to the tombs and mosques in Madinah and Jeddah, and the volcanic-rock landscapes in Cappadocia, here is where you will find that the past is always present as history and is the heart and soul of the land.

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Turkey’s Aegean Sea

Travel Blog - Ross French - October 24, 2016

The Aegean Sea is a stretch of water that lies between Greece and Turkey. It is a beautiful part of the Mediterranean area which is very popular for tourists from all over the world. The Greek islands probably get the most publicity, but you can have an equally good vacation on the Turkish side, and often pay a bit less for it as well.

The largest Turkish city in the area is Izmir, which now has a population of about 4 million – a big increase from its ancient beginnings as the city of Smyrna. With history going back thousands of years, there is plenty of interest to see around Izmir – the local transport system is pretty good, or you can simply take a walking tour of the city.

Walking along the promenade, the Kordon, you can admire the apartments and palm trees on one side, and the beautiful Aegean Sea on the other. If you want to do a bit of shopping, head for the Kemeralti bazaar, where you’ll find lots of great shops, coffee houses, and craftsmen. A perfect place to find some local souvenirs, and then take a breather and soak up the atmosphere.

Kusadasi is a little bit south of Izmir, which has become the second-busiest port for cruise liners in Turkey after Istanbul. One big reason for this is the amazing historical site of Ephesus, which is not far from Kusadasi. The ancient remains make the site a really interesting destination for a day trip, or several days if you’re very keen on your history. It is probably the best site for Roman remains in the whole of Turkey. Also near Kusadasi is the Greek island of Samos, and there are regular daily ferry services.

Carry on further south: Bodrum is a popular resort which is also the site of an ancient city – Halikarnassus, famous for the tomb of Mausolus. Bodrum has attractions for different types of visitors; the castle and the other monuments will interest those who like history; the marina will please the sailing enthusiasts; and the beach with its bars will satisfy people who want to just enjoy themselves in the sunshine. Bodrum also has many accommodation options from cheap B&Bs to Luxury hotels.

Obviously these coastal resorts are very busy during the summer, but you don’t have to go very far to find a bit of peace and quiet. Dilek Peninsula National Park is only 30km (19 miles) from Kusadasi, from where you can catch a bus. The peninsula has lush forests, rare animals, and some quiet beaches. There is no accomodation or legal camping in the Park, but it makes a wonderful day trip, and a nice break from the built-up resorts and busy beaches.

The local airports of the Turkish Aegean have flights from some European cities, but travelers from further away will usually arrive in Istanbul or Antalya. Istanbul is a 10 hour drive from Izmir, but if you have the time, it’s a great way to see a bit more of this fascinating country on the edge of Asia.

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