Holidays to Turkey
Beaches, bazaars and beguiling cities
Holidays in Turkey are as rich and varied as a Mediterranean mezze. There’s something about a trip here that satisfies all the senses. Whether you’re into sunbathing by the pool and snorkelling in the sea or exploring archaeological sites and experiencing ecclesiastical architecture; this captivating country features a world of possibilities, and then some.
Situated right at the continental cusp where Europe meets the Middle East, Turkey has long been a convenient location for cultural travellers. It’s somewhere to enjoy an Anatolian kebab overlooking the Aegean, the Black Sea and the Mediterranean or seek out souvenirs in Istanbul’s Grand Bazaar.
From all-inclusive resorts in Bodrum and Marmaris to the cosmopolitan capital, Ankara, and the ancient Roman enclave of Antalya, Turkey holidays are like a long and lazy mezze lunch followed by honey-drenched baclava.
Bridging the gap between Bulgaria, the Turkish region of Marmara encircles its own sea as well as the country’s most characterful city, Istanbul. This is where travellers can catch a taste of life at the confluence of Europe and Asia as they sample sweet treats from the stalls of the Grand Bazaar. Look up and you’ll see spires and minarets soaring into the sky as the fabled Blue Mosque and the mosaics of the Hagia Sophia Mosque stand as testament to the all-conquering Ottoman Empire.
Turkey’s central southern coastline shimmers and shines with sandy beaches and peaceful blue lagoons. It’s the perfect place to soak up some sun at an all-inclusive in Antalya and Alanya or head off for a hike in the forested foothills of the Taurus Mountains. Many of the beaches on this stretch of the Mediterranean – such as Iztuzu, Oludeniz and Cirali - are renowned for having fewer crowds than those of the Aegean and are also protected as nature reserves for seasonal nesting turtles.
Head southwest along the Turkish coastline and you’ll discover a distinctly Dodecanese vibe to the towns and villages dotted along the country’s Aegean shores. This is where the beaches of Bodrum, Kusadasi and Marmaris invite holiday makers to sit back and relax for a week or two. However, explore inland and you’ll discover more than enough ancient monuments to keep amateur historians happy for many an afternoon; the Roman amphitheatre at Ephesus and the Greek Temple of Apollo at Didyma are just a couple of day trip ideas to get you started.
If you’re on a tour of Turkey, be sure to venture into the central setting of Cappadocia where a fascinating collection of lunar-like landscapes and subterranean dwellings await. The entrance is equally as exciting as you cross the Anatolian plains and find yourself face-to-face with a sea of conical-shaped chimneys. Elsewhere you can step back into the Bronze Age as you visit rock carved churches and underground cities that were once inhabited by ancient settlers and fleeing Christians.
The flight time from the UK to Turkey can take anything from 3 to 4 hours.
Turkey, typically, has hot and dry summers and rather wet and cold winters. The centre of Turkey, especially, has some real extremes with the foothills of Mount Uludag, near the Sea of Marmara, covered in snow during the ski season. The Black Sea coast also gets a fair bit of rain, but this helps to create the lush green forests and the easterly tea plantations close to the border with Georgia.
Turkey’s only a couple of hours ahead of the UK.
Turkish is the official language of Turkey. English, French and German are also widely spoken in the hotels and resort towns.
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