Turkey is a country of contrasts. From spice-laden bazaars and ancient temples to chic boutiques and bar-backed beaches, holidays to Turkey showcase the best of East and West. Ottoman ruins rub shoulders with Roman temples, spice markets sit alongside designer boutiques, and dramatic mountains sweep down to sunbaked beaches.
Tucked into Turkey’s southwest corner is the resort of Antalya. Known as the Turkish Riviera, this cosmopolitan region features a long sweep of white-sand beaches and secluded coves, and is home to upmarket resorts such as Lara Beach and Belek. Antalya’s resorts serve up a stylish mix of old and new, from ancient Roman temples to trendy waterfront bars. And Antalya’s beaches are some of the best in Turkey, so get ready to sprawl out on the sands ahead of sensational views. Tuck into Turkish breakfasts, get your fill of golf, and enjoy the wild waterparks.
The Dalaman area sits in a crescent-shaped scoop of Turkey’s south-west coast. Thanks to its bright blue waters and beautiful beaches, it’s known as the Turquoise Coast. The beach at Icmeler is a sweep of golden sand, kitted out for watersports and sunbathing alike. Sarigerme, meanwhile, is situated on the site of an ancient city, Pilsilis. These days, though, it’s got its own national-park-protected ribbon of sand. When it comes to pace, you can keep your holiday diverse in the Dalaman area. Marmaris has two main beaches in its bank. By day, they are strips of sunbather-friendly sand backed by snack spots and restaurants. By night, the bars pick up, and partygoers make their way to the main strip, where doors tend to stay open ‘til sunrise. Meanwhile, in Fethiye, the cobble-covered old quarter, with its vine-shaded cafés, is a good place to while away a day. But come nightfall, a short taxi ride will get you to its neon neighbour, Hisaronu, with its party-‘til-dawn main street. If you’re looking to lock in those holiday pic likes, Olu Deniz and Ovacik have natural beauty coming out of their ears. Both spots are nestled at the foot of brochure-ready Babadag Mountain. Thrill-seekers are taken care of, too – as the mountain is popular with paragliders. Once you’ve left the slopes behind, make your way to the Blue Lagoon. This big, bright-blue pool is surrounded by a stretch of sand, and it is very easy on the eyes. Plus, you can try your hand at all kinds of watersports like kayaking here.
Further along the coast is the Bodrum peninsula. Bodrum’s coastline is packed with top-class beaches and lively resorts like Gumbet and Turgutreis. Hilly landscapes, whitewashed towns, and beautiful bays – Bodrum is a relaxing and stunning corner of Turkey, with charming resorts adored by sailors and beach-lovers alike. Plus, even though it is a favourite with holidaymakers, the Bodrum region still has an authentic side, with traditional Turkish cuisine and incredible ancient ruins.
Sitting pretty above Bodrum on Turkey’s Turquoise Coast is the exciting region of Izmir. These parts are big on beaches and bars, so seaside fun is definitely on the cards. You can expect a taste of tradition too, with old town walls hiding Turkish tavernas and bustling bazaars, plus some epic ancient sites on your doorstep. If you’re looking to mix beach days with a good dash of culture, this is the perfect cocktail.
The big name here is Kusadasi – it’s got beaches, bars and a bazaar that was made for retail therapy. Plus, the region puts the ancient city of Ephesus is on your doorstep. If you’re seeking solace in a place that’s as big on culture as it is on leisure, this is the spot. Heaps of beaches, grand city walls and awesome aqua parks are scattered about, as well as typically Turkish food joints and upmarket seafood restaurants. There’s an exciting nightlife scene too, plus some epic ancient sites nearby.