written by
Matthew Schroeder

Positioned squarely where East meets West, and sprawling in its size and scope, Turkey is one of those rare places that still delights travelers seeking old-world adventures along with all the comforts of home. Once ruled by Ottoman sultans and pirates, this vibrant and elegant country offers an incredible number of adventures and well-being opportunities. Take just a little time exploring this globetrotters’ paradise and you’ll discover a country that’s loaded with unforgettable sights, sounds, and flavors. And when you need to take a break for some serious pampering, a visit to a Turkish hammam will soothe and relax you as you’ve always dreamed.

The Quintessential Spa Experience

When it comes to understanding Turkey on a personal level, a visit to a traditional Turkish bath, better known as a hammam, will introduce you to one of its most prized centuries-old traditions. Turkish hammams are legendary and are an important element in Turkish life and culture. Hammams are considered to be one of the classical bathing and wellness traditions that still remain popular throughout much of the world. In fact, they also act as neighborhood social centers where people from all walks of life can meet and catch up with one another.

Every small town in Turkey has at least one hammam, while large cities have many. Most of these are simple, functional, and inexpensive, but the historical hammams, especially those built by the sultans to serve their imperial mosques, are beautiful works of Ottoman architecture made of fine marble with rich decorations.

Hammams utilize an elaborate restorative process involving various hot, warm, and cold temperatures, scrubbing procedures, and messages. When arriving at the hammam, you’ll decide if you want to get a traditional Turkish bath in which a skilled attendant washes, scrubs, and exfoliates you, a DIY self-wash, or perhaps some kind of modern massage that’s becoming popular in many of the fancy hammams. No matter which you choose, you’ll leave thoroughly relaxed and enjoy glowing skin.

Beyond the Hammam

Turkey’s beautifully diverse landscapes and coastal regions offer activities and cultural experiences galore. From traditional gület cruises along the coast to breathtaking hot-air balloon rides over the iconic terrain of Cappadocia, Turkey provides an exhaustive lineup of adventures for nearly every interest and activity level.

Let’s not forget one of the absolute best reasons for exploring Turkey – its food! Whether it savoring a leisurely meze on the picturesque harbor, or feasting on spicy Anatolian kebabs and fresh vegetables lacquered in fragrant olive oil, Turkish cuisine, like its hammams, goes right to the heart of its culture. So if you’re ready to dig in and explore some of Turkey’s most unforgettable sights and flavors, your Affluent Traveler Collection professional knows where you can find the perfect trip to satisfy your sense of adventure.

With its ideal location on the Mediterranean and Agean seas, Turkey is frequently a starting and ending point for many cruise itineraries. In addition to stops in Turkey, cruisers can expect to make stops in Greece, Italy, Croatia, France, Spain, and many other ports-of-call throughout their journey. Cruise lines such as Seabourn, Silversea, Crystal, and Oceania Cruises each offer their own special take on Turkey. To learn more about experiencing the very best well-being activities in Turkey and beyond, be sure to contact your local Affluent Traveler Collection travel professional.



Some helpful Turkish words to know before entering a Turkish hammam:

  • Kese: A small pouch type of cloth used for washing
  • Peshtemal: A traditional cotton body wrap
  • Sicaklik: Hot area
  • Sogukluk: Cold section
  • Kurna: Bathing basins
  • Halve: Private bathing cubicles
  • Tellak: An attendant

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