Turkey has exoticism to spare, with its covered bazaars, whirling dervishes, sultans' treasures and Byzantine mosaics. And its natural beauty is abundant, with great stretches of sandy beaches and romantic rocky coves.

Travelers will find Turks to be exceptionally gracious hosts, which makes sense given the country's place as a crossroads between Europe and Asia. The country has dramatically improved its tourist infrastructure, too.

This appealing mix does have a few drawbacks—increasing prices (though it's still an inexpensive place to travel), sprawling new development and growing crowds—but they're hardly enough to spoil a visit. Our advice is to take your time in discovering the country. It's best experienced in leisurely excursions to places of remarkable history and beauty (such as Cappadocia and Ephesus) and in extended visits to fascinating and energetic cities (such as Istanbul).

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