A magnificent land full of delights, Turkey boasts fabulous golden beaches, ancient history, and mouthwatering cuisine. Pick a modern beach resort brimming with top-class entertainment, or perhaps a tranquil bay as the base for your Turkey holiday. Alternatively, take to the seas and see Turkey on a relaxing gulet cruise. With a foot in both Asia and Europe, the country brings you the best of both continents, from Istanbul’s 21st century nightlife and fashions, to the mystic Sufi culture in Konya.
Things to do
If you're visiting Istanbul, don't forget to see the city's impressive mosques such as the Baroque Revival style Ortaköy Mosque or the 17th century Sultan Ahmed Mosque. The city is also famous for its Hagia Sophia Byzantine basilica and busy and noisy markets, and is the world’s only transcontinental city. Other popular Turkey destinations include the ancient city of Ephesus, the breathtaking 'fairy chimney' rock formations of Cappadocia in the interior, and the Sandland sand sculptures in the Antalya area
If you're a photographer, spend a couple of nights in Cappadocia, which is known for its striking rock formations and hot air balloons. Watch an amazing sunset, and stay in one of the enchanting stone cave hotels for an experience you'll never forget. Alternatively, see the enormous Roman Theatre of Aspendos near Antalya, or visit the equally astounding Greco-Roman ruins of Pergamum in Bergama. In fact, there’s so much to snap, you may need to bring a couple of extra memory cards!
At Turkey’s modern beach resorts, you’ll enjoy sun-soaked days on the picturesque coast before tucking into a meal at one of the local family-run restaurants. When night falls, sip on a freshly-made cocktail while watching live music, or dance the night away at one of the popular clubs. For a more laid back holiday, stay in a tranquil bay or discover an ancient town where you can relax and leave your worries far behind.
The Turquoise Coast
Many of the country’s most popular holiday destinations are on the Turquoise Coast, the western part of which can easily be seen on a map of Turkey’s Aegean Coast. Here, you’ll find lively, cosmopolitan beach resorts like Antalya, Marmaris, Kuşadası and Bodrum. These have hundreds of hotels and self catering apartments, from 5-star venues with infinity pools to budget friendly villas or bed & breakfast style hotels.
With it’s pristine sandy beaches, clear emerald water and lush forests, the Turquoise Coast is just as idyllic for honeymooners as it is for families. For sun seekers and beach lovers, the best time to visit is from around late May to the end of September, when the Bodrum Castle. This iconic landmark dates to the early 15th century and is home to the fascinating lagoon of Ölüdeniz, which you’ll probably recognise from postcards and brochures. The perfect sandy beach and clear emerald waters attract thousands of holidaymakers throughout the year, although if you come here in the spring or autumn, or very early in the day, you can beat the crowds.
Places to stay
Wherever you stay you will be tempted by sandy beaches, perhaps the most famous of which is Olu Deniz. The white sand beach and beautiful blue lagoon have been designated a national park. Turkey’s picturesque Turquoise Coast dotted with Roman remains is a huge draw; city resorts including Antalya, Bodrum and Marmaris offer a mix of family fun, historic culture and funky nightlife. Further east on the Aegean coastline lies the ancient Greco-Roman town of Ephesus, one of the Roman Empire’s greatest cities and one of the Seven Wonders of the World.