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Travel trends are forever evolving; travellers are more attracted to visiting destinations that were previously less explored. With over-tourism in certain areas on the rise, many travellers are opting for the road less travelled, or rather, less mainstream, but which offer major city attractions and beauty.

Turkey is the embodiment of such a destination.

Over the years, the country has seen an increase in tourism, with many South Africans choosing Turkey as their holiday of choice. 

A direct flight (with Turkish Airlines) from SA will get you to Turkey in just under 10 hours, making it super easy to reach.  

Although you may have overlooked this country in the past, there are many reasons it should move up on your bucket list. According to Trading Economics, the number of foreigners visiting Turkey increased 38.48% year-on-year to 1.461 million in January of 2018.

Take it from Jono Bruton, founder of online South African surf brand, Dead Reckoning who recently spent some time in Turkey.

One way Jono immersed himself was to eat with the locals: “Don’t get caught up in the hotel vibe and eat at the hotel restaurant or at touristy places. Food can be expensive that way and you are looking at about R350 for a really small piece of really bad steak. Go out and explore the back roads, especially if you are staying near the Blue Mosque in Fatih, there are really cool market stalls and buffet type eating establishments that locals chow at and you will get a better meal with a great vibe for R50.”

This is a great budget friendly tip to make your hard-earned Rands go a long way!

Obtaining a visa for Turkey is a breeze. Since the application is done online, there’s no endless paperwork and you get to skip the spiraling queues at the embassy. 

South African passport holders visiting Turkey on holiday can simply fill out an online application, submit, wait for email confirmation and print your e-Visa. It really is that easy!

No matter what kind of traveller you are, Turkey has something for everyone. 

Istanbul, the capital of Turkey, is split in the middle between Europe and Asia. Opened in 2013, the Marmaray metro line makes it possible to cross the two continents underground all while in one country. 

A bonus point is Istanbul’s efficient transport system.  There are metro trams, trains, buses and ferries that can all be paid for on one single card which you can purchase at the arrivals in the airport. It’s like a Gautrain card except you can go everywhere on any mode of public transport at a fraction of the cost of the Gautrain. 

The metro trains here are fast and efficient; every two minutes a new train stops, and entry is about R10 which will take you however far you need to go. 

You may be tempted to catch a cab if you get a bit lost and can’t find the rail stops but keep in mind, cost and time for this as traffic is heavily congested, so try avoid having to catch cabs or Uber (yes, Uber works in Istanbul).

Traveling to Turkey as a family? 

There is no better selling point to the kids than visiting Santa’s alleged place of birth. 

An all-inclusive holiday package from Club Med will ensure that all your needs are catered to. Palmiye Hotel is a haven of peace and tranquility and is one of Club Med’s most beautiful resorts. It is an ideal family destination with something for everyone from the age of four months old.

Turkey is truly a destination where you widen your world.