Whether you consider yourself a beach bum, a culture vulture or a culinary fanatic, Turkey holidays are guaranteed to fit your bill, serving up everything from white sandy beaches and secluded bays, to immense historical sites and wonderful cultural environments. Relaxation and exploration tend to go hand in hand in Turkey, from delving into the culture and comfort of a traditional Turkish bath to admiring the ancient ruins scattered before you as you dine on delicious Turkish grub.
Beach breaks come as consistently as city breaks across Turkey, ensuring the country boasts countless things to do for all manner of holidaymakers. Traditions partner wonderfully with modern infrastructure and luxury, from the bustling bazaars where you can haggle for a bargain to the tourist-driven resorts where you can look to indulge during your holidays to Turkey – this is a country of immensely rewarding variety.
There are few locations across Europe that will rival Turkey when it comes to beach holidays, and you’ll be spoilt for choice in the country alone given its endless coastline and stunning beach resorts. Turkey Antalya area is an immensely popular spot, combining the typical allure of the beach with the curious presence of archaeological discoveries. Bask in the beautiful Mediterranean offerings at Lara Beach, while the area is blessed by the presence of the intriguing medieval fortifications of Alanya.
If the Turkey Antalya area doesn’t quite cut it for your Turkey holidays, then perhaps the Dalaman area will? The area mirrors Antalya in its diversity, sending you from bright lights and blue seas to authentic towns and historical sites in just a matter of minutes. Marmaris is the perfect destination for night owls, boasting a vibrant nightlife and dining scene which is guaranteed to inject a lively atmosphere into your trip, while those looking for action and adventure by the water would do well in spending their holidays in Olu Deniz, famed for its gorgeous Blue Lagoon and a vibrant water sports scene. Turkey’s Bodrum area also ticks all the boxes of a sun, sand and sea-filled escape, combining the allure of gorgeous beaches, exciting water sports and bustling nightlife to deliver an unprecedented holiday experience by the ocean.
Culture and History
It is easy to relax during your holidays in Turkey, given the wonderful Mediterranean climate and the superb infrastructure found in hotels, eateries and spa facilities. The hot summers make for ideal sunbathing weather, and you’ll never have to look far to find a sun lounger on the sand or next to the pool when you holiday by the sea. If you need a break from your holiday novel you can venture into the azure waters, ensuring you can always cool off with a swim in-between refreshing drinks or naps in the sunshine.
While becoming rejuvenated or indulging in the offerings of Turkey’s coastal scene are an attractive prospect, there is much culture, history and heritage to be discovered throughout the country, fascinating culture vultures and even beach bums if they give this realm of Turkey a chance. Istanbul is one of the most incredible cities in the world, straddling Asia and Europe, it is a melting pot of culture, history and ideologies. The range of fascinating sites is endless, spanning Roman, Byzantine and Ottoman periods, while meandering around the city will see you encounter immense mosques, old city features and bustling bazaars. The general Turkey Istanbul area is awash with culture and beauty. From surrounding beach resorts to authentic village and town communities, there are countless day trip options out of the city that will allow you an even greater impression on your Turkey holidays. Ankara, the country’s capital, is another engrossing city featuring a number of breath-taking landmarks and sites. Don’t miss the mesmerising Column of Julian the Apostate, Kemal Ataturk’s Mausoleum and the Kocatepe Mosque.
Top Turkey Attractions
Of all the things to do in Turkey, the country is famous for its beautiful Turkish Riviera, friendly people, and delicious sweets. From exploring shipwrecks off the coasts to enjoying a traditional hamam spa day, there’s nothing quite like Turkey holidays. Explore the bazaars of Ankara and Istanbul or visit the local fishing markets of the quaint villages along the coast, Turkey is best enjoyed by those who admire other cultures, long for some sunshine, and indulge in great food.
Wine and Dine
Turkey is a country on the brink of East and West, and its cuisine greatly reflects its geography. Home of the kebab, one of the top Turkey attractions is eat. Start off with some yogurty soup, cacik, and delectable sarma, or stuffed vine leaves that are perfect on hot days. Try a bit of kofte mincemeat meatballs along with some stuff vegetables, or dolma. You can also try a range of meze platters before your main dishes, just like in Greece, Cyprus, or the rest of the Eastern Mediterranean. Have some Turkish delights with your Turkish coffee, or settle for some amazing baklava for dessert.
Action and Adventure
Try out all the aquatic things to do in Turkey along its Mediterranean coastline in Fethiye, Dalaman, and Bodrum, to name a few. From jet skiing to parasailing and windsurfing, there are plenty of activities on the water to get your heart pumping. There’s also diving and sailing around the Dodecanese islands of Greece in the Aegean and around the coast of Antalya. If you’re feeling like a mountain goat, Mt. Ararat is the highest mountain in Turkey and quite a feat to accomplish. There’s also the impressive amount of ruins found around the Lycian Way near Antalya. Grab a life vest and try some white-water rafting down the Coruh River, one of the best in the world.
There is an abundant amount of family-friendly Turkey attractions. For a real family adventure, take the kids on a magical hot air balloon ride over the Cappadocia region of Turkey. For another kind of ride, take a cruise on a gulet around the coast of Antalya or on other boat excursions. Grab the kids for a day of exploring ruined cities like Xanthos and beautiful canyons brimming with picture-perfect vantage points while learning about the many cultures of ancient Turkey. Of course, nothing beats an old fashioned day at the beach, and from Izmir to Olu Deniz and Lara Beach, the country is full of beaches.
Istanbul is the place to start with the amount of archaeological and cultural things to do in Turkey. Stand in awe of the dome of the beautiful Ayia Sophia in the heart of the city and explore the Ottoman Topkapi Palace. Go back to the time of the Greeks and Romans with a visit to one of the most famous sites in Turkey, Ephesus on the Aegean coast near Kusadasi. Other not to be missed sites are the Roman Hierapolis in Parmukkale and the inland town of Bergama in the Izmir province. If you’re seen the film Troy or read Homer in school, you should visit the ruins of Troy, discovered by a German archaeologist in the 19th century. Turkey’s vast history extends to more than just the ancient Greeks, it is also the site of several older and advanced civilisations from the cuneiform writing Hittites in Hattusa who ruled several millennia ago to the famous sites of Gobekli Tepe in the east and Catalhuyuk located northeast of Antalya, both fascinating archaeological sites that are almost 11,000 years old.
Festivals and Parties
There are plenty of cultural and religious festivals year-round here, and they’re one of the best Turkey attractions. If you want to escape the dreary UK in December, the annual Mevlana Festivals lasts a fortnight and includes a variety of dancing. Time your visit to Turkey to coincide with Mesir Senlikleri Festival in the spring, a celebration dating to over 450 years ago, or another fun spring faire, the International Istanbul Tulip Festival. There are also plenty of film festivals taking place throughout the year, from the Ankara Film Festival in March to the Golden Saffron Documentary Film festival in September. No matter why you come to beautiful Turkey, make sure to catch a festival if you can!