Photo Courtesy of Dustin Aksland

When in Turkey, every traveler should do what the locals do and practice keyif, the art of idle relaxation. You’ll see this everywhere—men and women relaxing and drinking endless supplies of Turkish çay (tea) served in tulip-shaped glasses. Turks know that good friends are made with keyif, so if you’re offered a çay, stay a while and delight in one of Turkey’s great cultural traditions.

Istanbul has a smorgasbord of festivals celebrating arts, culture, and cultivation. The International Istanbul Film Festival and Istanbul Tulip Festival are held in April, followed by the biennial Theater Festival from May to June. Music takes center stage from June to July with the International Istanbul Music Festival, Jazz Festival and Rock 'n Coke. The Istanbul Biennial rounds things off every second year (rotating with the theater festival) to create exhibitions for international visual arts enthusiasts. The Hidrellez Festival, held May 5 every year, welcomes spring to the northern hemisphere with a spontaneous party of Romany music and dancing in the backstreets of Sultanahmet.