A trip to South East Europe is something like a pilgrimage, or a rite of passage for many. In the past, these grand tours were reserved for aristocrats and nobility. Back then, travelling meant doing a fair bit of legwork, and the train didn’t always arrive in time. Or at all. Travelling to this part of the world means delving into the origins of human thought.
Greece and Turkey share a lot. Naysayers might say otherwise, but the food, the warmth and hospitality and the family connections are some of the things that these two nations share. Essentially, they are almost identical in temperament, with the only difference being religion and how far it permeates the day to day life of people.
Greece is the cradle of western civilization and rational thought. Apart from having a huge amount of historical sites and archaeological marvels, Greece is also blessed with incredible natural scenery. Places like Meteora, the Mani, Mt. Olympus and the Samaria Gorge are singular destinations that are hard to find.
In addition to that, islands such as Santorini and Mykonos provide a fashionable summer lifestyle that are the definition of freedom. Anything goes, including nudist beaches, out of hand beach parties and a Laissez-faire attitude to recreational activities. It’s no wonder it attracts so many visitors, especially from Middle Eastern countries and China.
And that’s the tip of the iceberg. With over 230 habitable islands, the choices are seemingly endless. Take your pick from islands such as Ikaria, Antipaxos and Simi for tranquil and authentic vacations, or chose from the endless catalogue of in-between islands such as Paros, Zakynthos or Rhodes.
Similarly, Turkey offers a huge selection of Greek and Roman ruins, particularly in the Western side. One is almost spoilt for choice when it comes to archaeological places to visit. It’s said that Turkey has more Greek temples and ruins than Greece itself (Now that’s what we call a helping hand!). Ephesus and Troy, as well as Bodrum have magnificent ruins, but they keep on finding more and more so it’s best to keep your ears pricked.
Turkish food is extremely tasty and nutritious, not to mention healthy. The sweets are also top notch and the coffee is famous around the world for its strong aroma and thick texture.
With a big selection of beaches, and the accompanying scenery to go with them, Turkey boasts a massive countryside, with curious geological formations such as the ones found in Capadoccia, with the chimney dome dwellings, or the glorious calcium spring waterfall in Pamukkale.
Turkey’s tourism sector is back again this summer, with extremely competitive prices following recent developments. If there ever was a time to visit South Europe, it’s probably now!