Although reluctantly, we have to admit it: Turkey is not a safe country to travel. The biggest hazard being that you may never want to leave. Read all about the dangers ahead!
Risk of an overdose of turquoise
With a coastline that spans more than 8,000 kilometers (approximately 5,000 miles), there is an increased risk of ending up at the beach. And those beaches are pristine! And the water is blue. Or worse…, turquoise. Turkey has beaches in all colors of blue. Colors that seem to change every day, depending on the weather, but always blue. So, if you’re not a big fan of blue – and in particular turquoise – stay away from Turkish beaches. You will be annoyed with the crystal clear water and the paradise beaches. In fact, there are so many beaches, you will be spoiled for choice. Another risk here…, the stress of decision making! You can’t possibly try them all.
Risk of being immersed in history and culture
Turkey is not all about turquoise beaches and pristine bays. The country has a rich history and plenty of ancient sites to show for that. There are ‘ancient stones’ everywhere. Of course, a city like Istanbul is a cultural hub. And sites like Ephesus, Pamukkale, Mount Nemrut or Troy are world famous. The country has 16 sites inscribed on the World Heritage List!
But you don’t have to visit those sites to be surrounded by history. It is simply everywhere. The smallest villages have ancient Lycian graves, rock tombs or remains of entire cities or civilizations. You will always be surprised at the amount of history that is just waiting for you to discover it. When in fear of having to deal with the beauty of history or culture when on holiday, you might want to reconsider visiting Turkey!
Risk of gaining weight
Beware! Turkish food is delicious! And there is food everywhere. Really… Even when you think you’ve just found the most remote and isolated spot in Turkey, someone will be offering you food or tea. And the problem is, this doesn’t just happen to you once. It happens every day. You will spend an entire trip surrounded by food stalls selling delicious (and healthy) street food. You will have to resist countless seaside restaurants serving fresh fish and meze. You will have to refuse complementary fruit plates after your meal or even when enjoying a drink or cocktail on the beach. Oh, and please DO NOT have a Turkish breakfast! It feels like dying and going to heaven. A traditional Turkish breakfast (köy kahvaltısı) is a feast! It is a table full of food, most of the times organic and it will take hours of whiling away the day enjoying those yummies. In short, the dangers of people serving you the tastiest meals are genuine. If you plan on starving yourself, don’t come to Turkey.
Risk of making Turkish friends (for life)
If you are the “I do not want to meet any local” kind of person, then you’re in trouble when visiting Turkey. Locals LOVE foreigners. They will go out of their way to make you happy. They are so welcoming and hospitable that they would not only feed you or even offer you a bed for the night. They might also be genuinely interested in who you are and what you love about Turkey. You might end up being the guest of honor at a wedding or meet the Muhtar (head of the village) for a cup of tea or Turkish coffee.
Another thing…, Turkish people love hitchhikers and even people that are not hitchhiking but seem to have a long road ahead. It is almost part of a tradition. Makes sense, if you own a car and someone doesn’t, why not stop to take them along if you are going the same way? Of even better, why not drive your temporary guests straight to their destination? After all, that’s what being hospitable is all about! Indeed, there is a huge risk in Turkey of bonding with locals and making friends for life.
If you feel uncomfortable making new friends, Turkey is not for you.
Risk of too much contentment
With all the good food, the lovely friendly people, beautiful nature, beaches, and bays and an always present aroma of history and culture, you risk feeling content and happy. Not just for a split second, but the entire time. And that is where the real danger of coming to Turkey lies… You may feel so good in Turkey; you never want to leave again. And if you do manage to drag yourself back home, beware, as you may be back sooner than you think!
This article was written by, and is published with, the kind permission of Slow Travel Guide
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Featured photograph by John Cavacas