Turkey holidays

Turkey holidays are full of delights, from serene, golden beaches to a history spanning thousands of years and mouth-watering cuisine. There’s no shortage of bucket list worthy attractions either, whether you’ve come here to paraglide over those famous Blue Lagoon waters or enjoy a soak in Pamukkale’s hot springs.

And with a foot in both Asia and Europe, the country brings you the best of both continents. Swap Istanbul’s trendy neighbourhoods and modern museums for a glimpse into the mystic Sufi culture in Konya.

Things to do

There are endless things to do in Turkey, whether you book a short city break or settle in one of its sundrenched beach resorts. If you’re staying in Istanbul, you shouldn't miss a chance to tick off the city's impressive mosques such as Sultanahmet (the Blue Mosque ) or Hagia Sophia with its stunning Byzantine beauty. Those keen to shop will also appreciate the bustling Grand Bazaar for its handcrafted items and unique atmosphere. Meanwhile, did you know Istanbul is the world’s only transcontinental city with two distinct sides? Part lies in Asia and the other sits in Europe.

Other must-see attractions include the ancient city of Ephesus and the breathtaking fairy tale chimney rock formations of Cappadocia. Photographers hoping to capture this natural wonder in all its glory should book a stay at The Cappadocia Hotel, where you can stay in a stone cave room and witness the most amazing sunsets from your terrace.  Alternatively, see the enormous Roman Theatre of Aspendos near Antalya, or visit the equally astounding Greco-Roman ruins of Pergamum in Bergama. 

At Turkey’s modern beach resorts, you can enjoy days on the picturesque coast before tucking into a meal at a family-run restaurant. When night falls, sip on a freshly-made cocktail while watching live music, or dance the night away at one of its late-closing clubs.

The Turquoise Coast

Many of Turkey’s most popular holiday destinations can be found on the Turquoise Coast (in the southwest), which is recognised for its stunning pine-covered scenery. With over 400 miles of coastline in Antalya alone, it’s a big hit with beach lovers. It’s also home to Olu Deniz’s breathtaking Blue Lagoon, one of Turkey’s most photographed shores for its bright-blue waters and beautiful milky sands.

Another popular resort is the lively seaside town of Marmaris, where a traditional Old Town meets a smart marina. This idyllic area is also perfect for honeymooners, particularly Bodrum, where couples can step away from its beautiful bays and discover amazing antique wonders.

Places to stay

Wherever you stay, you’re never far from a sun-drenched sand spot or a dose of culture. Only a short 20-minute drive from Ephesus, Kusadasi is a great pick for visiting one of Turkey’s best-preserved cities. For a mix of family fun, history and lively nights, look no further than bustling Marmaris with a stay at the Grand Yazici Club Turban Thermal Hotel

Or if you’re looking for something a little more upmarket, the Antalya region is full of luxury hotels and Long Beach Resort Hotel & Spa Deluxe is as fancy as it gets! For the beach at your feet, Delphin Be Grand Resort has its own private stretch, while adrenaline junkies will appreciate the all-access pass to Wet & Wild waterpark at Aska Lara Resort & Spa.   

Hoping to dive into the country’s past? Base yourself in beautiful Bodrum! This historical hotspot is like stepping foot inside an open-air museum with its antique theatre, 300-year-old village and ancient city, which is one of the Seven Ancient Wonders of the World! And you won’t have to wander far for a day on the sand thanks to its stunning peninsular beaches. If that hasn’t tempted you, a stay at the adult-only Marmara hotel will with its panoramic views of Bodrum Castle. 

If you want to truly get away from it all on your holiday to Turkey, you can always retreat to Club Tuana Fethiye. Situated in the under-the-radar city of Fethiye, it’s perfect for couples seeking a slower pace. Lose yourself among the cobbles of its Old Town and haggle your way around its traditional markets before sipping cocktails in one of its swanky marina setups. 

More travel guides

We also have travel guides available for destinations, including: Antalya | Bodrum | Dalaman | Istanbul | Izmir

 

Map of Turkey

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10-34 ℃

Expect glorious sunshine in the summer months and mild temperatures during the winter.

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Approximately four to five hours.

There are many international and domestic airports in Turkey. Airports served by the UK include Antalya, Istanbul, Izmir, Ankara, Dalaman and Bodrum.

Turkey is best for

Celebrity spotters: Party with the international jet set at the waterfront Halikarnas in Bodrum, which is the world’s largest outdoor club.

History lovers: From beautiful Greek and Roman ruins to Byzantine masterpieces, Turkey holidays are perfect for history enthusiasts.

Adventure seekers: With some of the best diving spots in the Med, Turkey is big on watersports. Go white water rafting in its rivers, or float high above the treetops with an exhilarating parasailing adventure. While keen skiers can head inland during winter for some Alpine fun without the crowds.

Fast facts for Turkey

Language: The language spoken in Turkey is Turkish. Basic English is spoken in many hotels and attractions in popular areas, although it’s a good idea to download a handy language app so you can try out a few useful Turkish words and phrases.

Currency: The currency used in Turkey is the Turkish Lira (TL).

Local time: Turkey is 2 hours ahead of GMT/UK time.

Fly to: There are a number of international airports in Turkey, each serving a different area. Transfer times can be anywhere between 30 minutes and 2 hours 40 minutes depending on where you’re staying.

Antalya Airport: Alayna Goynuk and Side

Bodrum Airport: Altinkum, Gumbet and Turkbuku

Dalaman Airport: Dalyan, Fethiye and Kalkan

Izmir Airport: Marmaris and Kusadasi

Time difference between Turkey & UK: All of Turkey is on Eastern European Time (EET), which means that it’s 2 hours ahead of the UK (GMT).

Health: Before you travel, please check the latest advice from The Foreign, Commonwealth & Development Office for your Turkey holidays.

Tourist information: For more information on Turkey destinations, visit the official website for tourism in Turkey.

Getting around Turkey

By taxi: Getting a taxi is one of the easiest ways to get around in Turkey. If you’re staying in a popular resort you can often order by app, but hailing one down is also an option if you prefer to pay with cash. All vehicles are metered so it’s worth agreeing on a price before you set off.

By minibus: For journeys between major tourist destinations and within Turkey’s cities and larger towns, minibuses, (AKA dolmuş) are a great way to travel. With set routes, passengers can hop on and off as they please as long as they let the driver know when to stop.

By car: If you’re travelling independently or want to venture off the beaten path, hiring a car is an easy and reliable way to get from A to B.

By coach:  Those looking to save money on their holidays to Turkey should travel by coach. These fast, frequent services cover just about every town and city, so if you want to explore further afield these comfy vehicles are well-equipped for long journeys. There are many private operators, but we advise buying your ticket in advance if you’re travelling during high season.

Events in Turkey

Anzac Day: Aussies and Kiwis gather for Anzac Day, marking the anniversary of the World War I landings (25 April) on the beaches of the Gallipoli Peninsula, which is now part of Turkey.

Race Week: Each October locals and tourists come together to celebrate all things nautical at Marmaris International Race Week. This maritime event sees 120 yachts speeding through the Med with sailors competing from all over the world.

Cultural events: Come to the International Istanbul Film Festival in April, the International Izmir Festival in June, or Bodrum’s International Ballet Festival in August.

Oludeniz Air Games: Marking the end of summer, time your holiday in October and witness daredevils taking flight at the famous Babadag Mountain with hand-gliders, base-jumpers, skydivers and acrobatic paragliders all getting involved in the adrenaline-inducing action.

Turkey visas

If you’re a British Citizen and you’re travelling to Turkey for a holiday, you will not need a visa. You will only require one if you are planning on staying for more than 90 days in a 180-day period. For longer stays, you can apply for an e-visa via the Official Republic of Turkey website

It’s important to make sure your passport is valid for at least 6 months from the date you arrive, and that you leave a full page for the entry and exit stamps. 

If you need any more advice on Turkey visas, or entry requirements - please visit FCDO website for the latest guidance. 

Turkey weather

The climate in Turkey varies from region to region, but if you’re visiting during the summer you’re guaranteed glorious, beach-friendly temperatures wherever you are. Highs of 34°C are common in Bodrum and Antalya during July, while more comfortable temperatures in the mid-teens make spring a popular time to visit. To benefit from the best deals, book your holidays to Turkey during spring or autumn. 

Istanbul is cooler than the resorts on the southern coast, with frequent cold spells in the winter and hot summers averaging around 28°C in July or August. Those holidaying in resorts along the Turquoise Coast can take advantage of long summers, often lasting beyond September. Rainfall is also rare from June to August, which means you can enjoy sunbathing stints without the threat of a downpour. Still unsure of the best time to visit? Check the weather in Turkey to see which month is right for you.

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