Greek ruins and Ottoman mosques
A cruise to western Turkey will show you the most economically developed, and most visited, part of the country.
It would take weeks even to scratch the surface of the old imperial capital, İstanbul, straddling the straits linking the Black and Marmara seas, and still Turkey’s cultural and commercial hub.
Flanking it on opposite sides of the Sea of Marmara, the two prior seats of the Ottoman Empire, Bursa and Edirne, abound in monumental attractions and regal atmosphere.
Beyond the Dardanelles and its World War I battlefields lie Turkey’s two Mediterranean islands, Gökçeada and Bozcaada, popular for their excellent beaches, lingering Greek-ethnic identity and tranquillity.
Further south, the olive-swathed landscapes around Bergama and Ayvalık epitomize the classical character of the North Aegean. Ancient Sardis, and the old Ottoman princely training ground of Manisa, also make a fine pair, although İzmir serves merely as a functional introduction to the central and southern Aegean.
A holiday to Turkey will show you amazing ancient cities too. Celebrated Ephesus tends to overshadow the equally deserving Ionian sites of Priene and Didyma, or the intriguing ruins of Aphrodisias and Labranda – and don’t overlook evocative hill towns like Şirince or Birgi.