As the gateway to both Europe and Asia, Turkey is the spot if you’re looking for a taste of the East and a taste of the West. Bordering eight countries and straddling two continents, holidays to Turkey promise a cultural clash of the sand and sea, historic cities, ancient ruins, untouched natural landscapes and traditional local delicacies. From the dazzling Black Sea coast to the sun-drenched resorts of Antalya and Bodrum, this Middle Eastern hotspot will have you hopping from bars and bazaars to baths and beaches. Book a trip today and discover the best of both worlds.
Turkey Holidays Factfile
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Top Resorts and Hotels
If the beach is at the top of your itinerary, then the Mediterranean coastline is your best bet. Antalya is the largest city in the Turkish Riviera, boasting golden sand and azure seas, an old Byzantine village, shopping centres, theme parks, a zoo and medieval ruins. Start at Antalya and then spread out to discover all that Turkey has to offer.
On the aptly named Turquoise Coast, Dalaman is all about stretches of unspoilt sand and warm, crystal clear waters. A popular resort town, you’ll find everything from budget to five-star accommodation. Sit back on one of the stunning beaches, discover some authentic Turkish towns and take a dip in a natural thermal pool – there is more than enough to keep you busy (but relaxed) in Dalaman.
Bodrum is known around the world as the Turkish playground for the rich and famous, who lounge around on luxury liners before decending on the infamous foam parties. However, it’s not all clubs in this party town – you’ll also be able to see the remains of one of the Seven Wonders of the Ancient World and a 15th century castle.
For a big bustling city, head to Izmir on the Aegean Sea. Once the ancient Ottoman city of Smyrna, Izmir is now a busy port town filled with boutiques, restaurants and waterfront cafés. The beautiful bay is surrounded by high mountains and pine forests that offer a welcome respite from the summer heat. Izmir has its own unique tourist sites – in particular Konak Square and the Grand Bazaar, an authentic marketplace selling everything from exotic spices to ‘magic’ carpets. Alternatively, Ovacik makes a great sleepy village retreat for those looking for peace and quiet.
Attractions and Things To Do
You can’t go to Turkey without experiencing the traditional hamam or Turkish bath. It’s the ultimate in relaxation – you’ll be steamed, scrubbed, soaped and massaged until your skin is silky smooth. Istanbul’s bathhouses are the most well-known, however Bodrum and Dalaman also offer great facilities.
Historic Antalya is where you’ll be able to wander around ruins from the Roman, Byzantine and Persian periods. The Old Town of Kaleici is a photographer’s dream with its preserved mosques, panoramic harbour views and crumbling medieval walls.
Izmir also has its own share of tourist attractions. Konak Square is the main attraction, thanks to its ornate and unusual clock tower. A gift from the German Emperor Wilhelm II, the clock tower is now one of the iconic sights of Turkey. Likewise, the Asansör (literally ‘lift’) is a historic building with a restaurant offering a birds-eye’s view of the village below. The ancient Greek city of Ephesus is just outside Izmir, and is the largest collection of Roman ruins in the eastern Mediterranean. Spend the day wandering around the preserved amphitheatre, libraries and temples.
Annual Temperature and Rainfall
Nicknamed ‘the land of four seasons’, Turkey experiences a variety of different climates. The Aegean and Mediterranean coasts generally have hot dry summers (average 29°C) and mild winters, with the ideal swimming time from April to October. The inner Black Sea coast enjoys similar weather, although slightly cooler summers and quite often high rainfall. Central and Eastern Turkey is more extreme with blistering summers and snowy winters, with temperatures known to reach -40°C.