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Monday, July 24, 2017 - Dubai

Turkey’s Hidden Gems for Backpackers this Summer

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Traveling in Turkey is definitely a relief, especially for younger people after traveling through Europe this summer. Turkey is a vast country covering an area 783,356 square kilometers to the southeast of Europe. It is a country where a couple could get by on $100 per day. This includes eating delicious food, accommodation, internal and public transportation, as well as any tickets you may need to access historical and natural sites.

On a budget, backpackers are advised to use a guidebook rather than a guide and to craft a relaxed itinerary flexible to take on last minute changes. And planning to visit ancient, historical sites in Turkey’s beautiful countryside will surely leave a lasting impression.

Visit the ancient city of Aspendos, the modern town of Belkis, and its magnificent Roman theatre, built during the reign of the legendary Marcus Aurelius between 161 AD and 180 AD. Having not lost any of its original splendor, it is one of the world’s best examples of a well-preserved Roman theatre. On Turkey’s southern Mediterranean coast, the site is forty-seven kilometers away from Antalya.

Then move onto Cappadocia, an area in Central Anatolia best known for its moon-like landscape, underground cities, caves and houses carved in the rocks. The valley, canyon, hills and unusual rock formation were created by the erosion from rain and winds over millions of years.

Travelers can literally live in a cave while exploring this amazing destination. There is nowhere on Earth quite like Cappadocia. Visitors usually arrive at sunrise (from an overnight bus) and are met with unique views of this mystical landscape. The whole area can be explored on foot with the use of a map.

In keeping to a budget, one of the best places to spend time and have a world of things to do and see, is Istanbul. It is probably the most exciting city in Turkey and is jam-packed with ancient sites and wonderful experiences for backpackers.

The city has great street food and an old authentic charm mixed with modern architecture. Travelers can get their hands on outstanding food usually served in heaping portions for as little as $4 per person. Mouth-watering kababs and donair kababs can be eaten from hundreds of street-stands across the city.

Balık-ekmek, which literally means ‘fish-bread,’ is a sandwich composed of grilled mackerel, onions, tomato, and lettuce. The best Balik-ekmek are typically served from mobile grills along the Bosphorus, beside Galata Bridge.

While in Taksim Square, the dilli kaşarlı tost sandwich is legendary. Essentially a grilled cheese sandwich enhanced with slices of beef tongue, mass consumption of the sandwich usually happens around the Beyoğlu area.

And anywhere is Istanbul, ‘boza,’ which is made from crushed millet, boiled and strained then fermented and ultimately garnished with cinnamon and roasted chickpeas, is very traditional and filling. Popularized during the Ottoman period, boza is sold by mobile vendors and from small shops or cafes.

Turkish baths, or Hamams, can come in very handy at the end of a long day roaming the labyrinth-like narrow streets of Istanbul. To relax and unwind a little, venture into one of the many hamams around the city and get a scrub down, bathe in scalding hot water and chat to the locals enjoying their daily hamam trip. Hamams span back over 1,500 years and have become cultural centers for people to meet and interact.

And staying in hostels or guesthouses in Istanbul is the backpacker’s best bet. With rooms going for $40 to $50 per night, many travelers choose to share a room to keep to their daily budget.

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