Turkey has always been regarded by travelers as somewhat questionable as a tourist destination, partly because of all the misconceptions about Islam, the main religion of the country, and partly because of its somewhat dodgy neighbors (Syria, Iraq). But the reality is that there is nothing further from the truth. Modern enough to be described as European, exotic enough to have more than half of its territory in Asia, Turkey has, in fact, one of the richest histories on the globe; with cities dating back to centuries before Christ, Roman conquerors, Greek monuments, Byzantine churches and Ottoman mosques.

Add some well-preserved ruins, jaw-dropping landscapes and the unique lunar landscapes of Cappadocia and you have a perfect destination to explore. Meet the friendly and always talkative locals and experiment with one of the best cuisines and best transport systems in Europe (and their affordable prices) and you have nothing else to lose, except your misconceptions.

The new Fodor’s Turkey guide is a good way to help you start planning a trip to the country. The 2009 edition is now in full color, which adds more excitement to your research in comparison with its main competitor, Lonely Planet. If you can afford only one guide, bear in mind that while the latter is more practical and backpacker-oriented (which means always valuable but sometimes full of silly tips, such as “how not to be caught with a joint”), the former is more profound in its researches, and might be more interesting for culture vultures and travelers into ancient history

Fodor’s introduces the country dividing by it into six different regions, helping travelers to pinpoint exactly what they’re after: ancient sites, beaches, castles, museums etc. The guide exposes not only the highlights of each one, but also delves into more detail — apart from the typical where-to-stay-how-to-go, the new guide shows how you can have a great experience once you are there: boating up the Bosphorus in Istanbul, staying in a cave hotel or ballooning over Cappadocia, boarding a cruise on the Mediterranean coasts and so on.

The guide also provides valuable information about Turkey nowadays: politics, Islam, the process of joining the European Union and an essential chapter of FAQs: Is Turkey cheap? Will it be hard to find alcohol in a Muslim country? Do women need to cover up? Should I be afraid of terrorism? The do’s and don’ts are all in there. Another plus is the World of Mouth section, which consists of short quotes by travelers, who share their experiences of traveling in the country.

The main drawback is its layout. Sometimes there’s too much information on one page and it can be hard to focus. Another disadvantage is the rating system. Hotel and restaurant prices, for example, are represented by symbols, with a key in the opening pages of each chapter. However the divisions vary from “less than €50” to “more than €200”. This means if you have a budget of €15 for accommodation you’ll need to use the Internet to check the real price of your room. Other symbols are not clear and you need to go back to the key every now and then to double-check what they mean.

Although confusing, is just a matter of getting used to the guide to make it work for you. Fodor’s Turkey guide is a great, handy introduction for people who don’t know anything about the country, as well for those who are already planning to go there. Iyi yolculuklar! (Happy traveling!)

A copy of Fodor’s Turkey, 7th Edition (Full-Color Gold Guides)

was supplied for review.

Your thoughts on "Review: Fodor’s Turkey"

  • We've been wanting to go to Turkey for a while now. Istanbul is a cosmopolitan crossroads of the world, with historic architecture, amazing restaurants, and a happening vibe - or so I hear. For our website we want to visit Esbelli Evi, the "cave" hotel in Urgup, which we have heard should be one of our Darn Good Digs - but we haven't received a nomination yet. Turkey has beautiful beaches, ancient ruins, dramatic mountains, and lively cities. We've read all this and heard it from our friends. We just have to go for ourselves one of these days! The one thing we don't like are the earthquakes, but what can you do.

    on December 9, 2009 at 12:22 pm Reply
  • I would love to go to turkey, I'm actually planning ot next year hopefully, so a guidebook would be extremely helpful! I think the thing that interests me most about turkey is the meeting of east and west, two different continents in one country.I'm especially interested in the ancient runs on the west coast.

    on December 9, 2009 at 3:06 pm Reply
  • I've been wanting to go to Turkey since my dad starting traveling there for business. He came home with breathtaking pictures and incredible stories about the sites and their history. My mom and I want to take a trip to visit him and a guide book would be essential in planning!

    on December 9, 2009 at 5:59 pm Reply
  • I have actually spent a bit of time in Turkey - absolutely loved every second of it. Am trying to find a way to spend part of each year there. The people are lovely, friendly and welcoming to their beautiful and historically rich country. The FOOD is the best I have had anywhere in the world. we were there during Ramadan - wonderful time to be in Turkey. We were invited to dinner after sundown several times, the Sultanahamet after the sun goes down, around the Hippodrome, and the Blue Mosque, and the Hagia Sophia is a wonderful experience. The Cistern, the museums, the Dolmabahçe Palace is GORGEOUS, The Topkapi Palace INCREDIBLE, the Galata Tower, the Egyptian Spice Market, the Bazaar, the University, boat ride on the Bosphorus - all just amazing! One needs weeks and weeks to explore Istanbul. It is an elegant, fascinating, cosmopolitan city. We spent time with Istanbulus we met who live on the Asian side - had a lot of fun exploring their neighborhoods and having dinners with them. The mosques of Istanbul are gorgeous and moving places, the reverance as a way and part of life touches all parts of life in Turkey. The archeological museum in Ankara is worth spending at least an entire day in. Cappadocia - SPECTACULAR - We stayed at the Greek House, and explored Mustaphapasha, flew in a hot air balloon over Cappadocia, spending the night at a former Greek monastery in Guzelyurt and talking with the Imam of the local mosque there, traveling to Konya on the last day of Ramadan and visitng Rumi Mevlana's tomb and spending the beginning of the Bayram with a family there, staying in Antalya and exploring the Mediteranean coast, visitng the ruins of Aphrodisias and of course Ephesus, and the city of Kusadasi - can you tell I want to go back? I do! It is a wonderful place with the most incredible history. I LOVE that the country of Turkey is so proud of ALL it's history and strives to protect it all and make sure the world gets to see it. EVERYONE should go to Turkey!

    on December 9, 2009 at 7:24 pm Reply
  • Since I started managing whl.travel Flickr account I got the opportunity to see many images from places around the globe and definitely Turkey has captivated my attention. I would love to go there sometime in the next couple of years. Its culture fascinates me! http://www.flickr.com/photos/whltravel/collections/72157622600344009/

    on December 10, 2009 at 11:15 pm Reply
  • When I was in college, my tourism teacher was from Turkey. He used the country in his examples as we talked about international marketing and tourism strategies, and that was really my first exposure to Turkey. What really intrigues me about Turkey is the fact that it lies across two continents. I've stepped over the Continental Divide and countless time zone lines, but I would love to experience what it's like to be somewhere that straddles two entirely different worlds. I think I'd be surprised that they aren't that different after all.

    on December 10, 2009 at 8:57 am Reply
  • I have recently returned from two weeks in Turkey with my family, including my daughters, ages 7 and 11. It is a definite favorite now, and we would all love to return someday. I would especially like more time in Istanbul, to not be a tourist and soak up the culture and history. The food was amazing too! Cappadocia is another must-see area of Turkey, and we had the great fortune of staying at the Gamirasu cave hotel in Urgup, which was mentioned earlier and I highly recommend. I also highly recommend a blue cruise on a Turkish gulet! It was a fabulous way to see the coast. See our pictures here for some ideas, http://travelandtravails.com/nggallery/page-659/album-2/gallery-5/.

    on December 11, 2009 at 5:41 am Reply
  • Ah, Turkey. Haven't been there lately, well to think of time passing by, aproper bloody hell cause it's already 9 years ago. I love the place, the Black Sea coast, Central Anatolia, but especially Istanbul - August '99, Istanbul the start of my year trip around the world, a splendid solar eclipse, but also the month of that devastating earthquake in the Izmit/Istanbul area; I stayed a month and think of it as the most worthwhile (eyeopening) days in my life. Not to forget I made friends for life. Ah, I love Turkye.

    on December 12, 2009 at 9:03 am Reply
  • I would love to go to Turkey because it was the cross roads of the ancient world. I love history and Turkey would be an excellent place to visit and learn about history by traveling.

    on December 12, 2009 at 12:45 pm Reply
  • I have heard so much about Turkey lately, just finished reading the great book "Tales from the Expat Harem: Foreign Women in modern Turkey." After reading this book I really really have to visit now. I find the photos of Cappadocia facinating.

    on December 12, 2009 at 6:08 pm Reply
  • I go to Turkey as often as possible to visit the people I consider "my Turkish family." We are not related, but I have known members of the family since the summer of 1948. Istanbul is a fascinating place to visit, but my favorite area is Datca and especially the village of Ak-tur. The Turkish people are amongst the most gracious that I have ever met, and I have never eaten a Turkish meal that was not superb, both in taste and in its presentation.

    on December 13, 2009 at 3:20 am Reply
  • I plan to go to Turkey next year. I have never visited a Muslim country before and Turkey seems like a great place to start. Everyone I have ever know who has visited only has great things to say. I'm looking forward to a hot air balloon ride in Cappadocia.

    on December 12, 2009 at 11:49 am Reply
  • Turkey is on the 6 month current itinerary. And any research is good research. Would love to win a copy of fodors turkey. nothing to deep on the spare of the moment.....

    on December 13, 2009 at 7:37 am Reply
  • I used to work with a lot of turkish guys in Dubai. They always kept saying how great the country was and that I should visit. Will be going there in May to see an old co-worker and explore the country for the first.

    on December 12, 2009 at 2:48 pm Reply
  • As an American, we barely understand the East...And specifically I was told my destiny is travel related and it lies in the East. That all according to my recent astrology reading....Honestly, I can't think of a better place to start my journey of understanding then where East truly meets West - Turkey in 2010. I look forward to the adventure ahead.... stay adventurous, Craig

    on December 15, 2009 at 5:40 pm Reply
  • Have a lengthy (perhaps a year?) trip out of Australia and off to Europe planned for next year. We never managed to get there when we lived in London in the 1990s and travelled through most of western Europe. Turkey is definitely on our list of must-see countries and we will of course hit the high spots. But we are also interested in the off-the-beaten-track locales where we can stop, stay for a week or two (or longer!) and immerse ourselves in other people's ideas and culture. This book would be a huge asset in our advance planning!

    on December 15, 2009 at 5:45 pm Reply
  • I adored Turkey's rough-edged exoticism when i first visited years ago, on the surface the gradual urbanisation of the Turkey's gorgeous coastline can be depressing. Traditional fishing villages are increasingly being swallowed up by and apartments & budget hotels, however with a little bit of research, there are still unspoilt beaches and sleepy hamlets to be discovered. Best of all, just a few minutes' drive inland from the coast, Turkish life goes on pretty much unchanged: a hazily sunlit world of unspoilt villages rustic ramshackle farms.

    on January 28, 2010 at 9:00 pm Reply

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