RUNNING WITH THE PACK
Backpackers have taken over Istanbul’s most historic neighborhood, Sultanahmet. Hip international types trade war stories in the shade of Hagia Sophia before moving on down the coast. The (well)beaten track leads to: Kuşadası, with a detour to the Greek island of Samos; Bodrum’s discos , with a jaunt to Greek Kos, Ölüdeniz’s serene shores Fethiye’s Mediterranean boat trips, and Olimpos’s tree houses and mysterious mountaintop flame. Prom the coast, backpackers head inland en masse to the tripped- out surreal landscapes of Cappadocia, where they congregate in rock- carved bars and belly dance with the pros at Göreme’s “Turkish Nights”.
AND BY YOUR BAD SELF
Badass solo travelers revel in the relatively unexplored delights of Turkey’s interior and far-eastern reaches. Trek through waist-deep snow and traverse stunning mountain passes in the Kaçkar Mountains before heading to the gorgeous summer villages and ancient churches of the Çoruh Valley. Keep moving through the wild, wild East to explore the ancient Armenian capital of Ani and to roam around a ruined Kurdish palace in full view of Mt. Ararat, before finding a few moments of quiet peace by the shimmering waters of Lake Van. Ferry yourself to the practically undiscovered beaches and ruins of Northern Cyprus. And, to make it all go a little smoother, brush up on your Türkçe with the help of our phrasebook and glossary. Even the most heinously pronounced teşekkür ederim is appreciated.
LETS GO PICKS
BEST PLACE TO WATCH NAKED, GRAPPLING MEN (PART I):
Any of Istanbul’s dozens of hamams, where you’ll see the ancient arts of massage and kese practiced like you’ve never imagined.
BEST WAY TO CLEAR YOUR SINUSES:
Indulge in regional specialty Adana Kebap, a spicy strip of soft meat served with tomatoes, peppers, and bread.
BEST PLACE TO BE EATEN BY FISH:
The friendly, flesh-nibbling fish of Bakliki Kapıca provide relief from skin disease and the uncanny sense that you are, well, being eaten by fish.
BEST SITE TO COMMUNE WITH YOUR INNER SHEPHERD:
On the slopes of Erciyes Dağı, join scores of shepherds who pitch their tents on the hillsides and graze their sheep during the summer,
BEST FESTIVALS IN ALL TARNATION:
Hang with the VosVoscus at the Volkswagen Beetle Festival in Ordu. You’ll find bulls, sweat, and testosterone galore at Artvin’s annual Kafkasör Wrestling Festival. Not to be outdone, Selçuk hosts its very own Camel Wrestling Festival.
BEST WONDERS OF THE ANCIENT WORLD:
Turkey boasts a whopping two of the seven: the once-colossal Temple of Artemis near Selçuk, and the ruins of the Mausoleum of Halicarnassus in Bodrum.
BEST PLACE TO WATCH NAKED, GRAPPLING MEN (PART II):
At Edime’s legendary Kirkpınar Grease Wrestling Festival, where lubed-up men combat each other in black leather pants.