Holidays In Turkey
Turkey Holidays at a glance
Turkish holidays this year are even better value! A Post Office survey comparing cost-of-living prices has found the average cost of a shopping basket in Turkey - including a meal for two, drinks and sun cream - is 10% cheaper this year than last. So, in a difficult economy, make your holiday budget go even further and have the best of times by choosing a holiday to Turkey. Within this magnificent country you are still spoilt for choice.
Turkey is a land of natural wonders and astonishing landscapes which herald the threshold of Asia. Situated at a point where the three continents of Asia, Africa and Europe are at their closest, Turkey is a synthesis of east and west, a vast and varied country bordered by four seas, the Mediterranean, Black Sea, Aegean and the Sea of Marmara.
The popularity of Turkey as a holiday destination is as much for her numerous ancient monuments as for the excellent beach holidays on offer, with a wealth of sporting activities to boot. Add to that the warmth of the Turkish people, and the enticing cuisine blending Mediterranean and middle eastern influences and it's no wonder Turkey has secured a place as one of the top holiday choices with British travellers.
Evidence of the tumultuous times of Turkey's historic past are dotted around; this is the land of Alexander the Great, of Achilles battling the Trojans and of the Ottoman Empire. The seat of 13 successive civilisations spanning 10,000 years, Turkey is a nirvana for history addicts, bearing the reminders of those times gone by in historic battlegrounds, Emperors' palaces and ruined castles. The troubled past has imbued a national passion in her people which is expressed in all they do, be it preparing food, playing sport or in their relationships with friends and family. Taking pleasure in the simple things is part of their psyche - a philosophy that rubs off on all who come and stay awhile.
Put it into practice unwinding on the glorious beaches of her long coastline, or luxuriating in the hamam with a de-stressing massage. Revel in the wealth of nature, in the parks and stunning geographical features, or stroll around the markets and Turkish bars sampling the divine cuisine which will have you mentally reassessing your own larder at home. Turkey is a treat for the senses and a visit here is a holiday in the full sense of the word.
Here is the place to start your search for an all inclusive holiday, value family holiday or a budget holiday to discover this paradise of sun, sea, mountains and lakes - a complete break from the stress and routine of everyday life.
Key Facts - Turkey
- Population70 million (approx.)
- CurrencyNew Turkish Lira (TRY)
- Religion99% Muslim
- Dialing Code00 90
- Time Difference+2 hours GMT
Turkey Holidays - Destination Profile
Book Turkey holidays and discover this paradise of sun, sea, mountains and lakes that offers a complete change from the stress and routine of everyday life. Turkey is generally divided into seven regions: the Black Sea region, the Marmara region, the Aegean, the Mediterranean, Central Anatolia, the East and Southeast Anatolia regions.
The stunning Bodrum Peninsula is a wonderful introduction to Turkey. Set in a bay of dazzling blue water where the Aegean and Mediterranean Sea meet, the resort town of Bodrum has everything on offer: history, culture, nightlife, good food and a colourful bazaar for shopping. Gumbet is renowned for its beautiful coastline and shallow waters making it ideal for family holidays. A little quieter is the peaceful village of Otrakent, a perfect base for exploring, with an authentic traditional feel to it. The resort of Bitez with a fantastic range of watersports, is the place to make for if you're after an action-packed time.
The Turquoise Coast or Dalaman region stretches from Antalya to Marmaris along the south western Mediterranean and is renowned for its majestic mountains abundant with fragrant pine. Marmaris itself is one of the most popular resorts in Turkey. The town's old quarter is an enchanting maze of narrow streets. A wide promenade stretches around the coast and here boats bob waiting to take you around the bay. Icmeler is perfect as a quieter base from which you can venture to nearby resorts, returning for more peaceful days on uncrowded beaches, and traditional bars and restaurants. The harbour resort of Fethiye has a traditional Turkish feel and is filled with fishing boats, yachts and water taxis. Hisaronu offers the opportunity of a relaxing break on a raised plateau bringing cooler evenings after hot sunny days on the beach.
The Gulf of Antalya, on the western Mediterranean coast, is fast developing its identity as a fashionable resort with numerous new boutique hotels of a good standard representing excellent value, and a nightlife to match within its plentiful bars and clubs. The city of Antalya is the largest along this stretch of coast and has a fascinating old quarter, Kaleici, which means 'within the castle'. Its Roman harbour from 2nd century BC, was restored in the 1980s and is now a colourful marina. Further around the gulf is the lively, popular town of Side with its sand and pebble beach, plentiful eateries and stunning views. Somewhat incongruous with this facet of Side's personality, the town itself is home to some impressive Roman and Hellenistic ruins and a recreated colonnade, the Temple of Athena. Within this region, too, is upmarket Belek, with wide, tree lined boulevards, shimmering blue-flag beaches and some high-end shopping. It is rapidly gaining renown for its many wonderful golf courses some within pine woods, and challenges Portugal's Algarve for the claim of having most golfing tourists annually.
Value Holidays to Turkey with Olympic Holidays
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Holidays in Turkey - Things to see
Aya Sofya: Istanbul's most famous monument was built by Emperor Justinian in 537 in an attempt to reassert the great Roman Empire. In 1453 Mehmet the Conqueror converted it to a mosque but in 1935, Ataturk proclaimed it a museum. With a magnificent domed ceiling, mosaics, and other stunning artefacts, it is well-worth a visit.
Bodrum Amphitheatre: On a hillside, overlooking Bodrum this huge ancient theatre, which held about 13000 people, was built during the Carian reign in the Hellenistic age (330 - 30 BC.). It became an open-air museum following excavations in 1973.
Cappadocia: Not to be missed are these extraordinary pinnacles of solid lava following a volcanic eruption thousands of years ago. Within the rock, the Byzantines constructed underground cities with frescoes and churches in the caverns, and today you will find restaurants, even hotels within some of them. Tours of the eerie valleys and unique landscape are very popular whether hiking, trail-biking or in a hot air balloon.
Ephesus: One of the Seven Wonders of the Ancient World and considered the best-preserved classical city possibly in Europe, Ephesus was once the capital of The Roman province of Asia with over quarter of a million inhabitants. It took 150 years to excavate and includes a temple devoted to the fertility goddess, Artemis, the marble-lined Curetes Way, the Library of Celsus and many more amazing insights into the lives of the city's inhabitants.
Gallipoli Peninsular: Site of the ill-fated Gallipoli campaign in WWI, this beautiful, peaceful area acknowledges itself as the resting place of the 130,00 unfortunate troops who died, in countless ANZAC cemeteries and memorials. The most moving is possibly the Lone Pine cemetery where the youngest soldier to die, at just 14, is buried. Guided tours can be taken around the area with poignant talks about the tragic events.
Mausoleum: Lending its name to all similar constructions to follow, this monumental tomb was erected by Artemesia II in honour of her husband, King Mausolus and was once one of the Seven Wonders of the Ancient World. Destroyed by an earthquake in 12th century, today the attraction, near Bodrum in an area formerly known as Helicarnassus, includes an exhibition about what the Mausoleum would have looked like along with a large model of it.
Pamukkale: A Unesco World Heritage Site since 1988, this area, which translates as 'Cotton Castle' is made up of layers of hot springs and travertines - terraces of calcite deposit by the water which flowed down. On the top, ruins of a Greco-Roman spa city, Hierapolis, are to be found. Tourists come to bathe in the pools, some of which have now been replaced with articial ones to prevent damage.
Safranbolu: This town, who name means saffron city, was a centre for growing and trading some of the worlds best quality saffron. It gained UNESCO World Heritage status in 1994 as it is made up of perfectly preserved Ottoman architecture.
St. Peters Castle: The iconic Castle of St. Peter, Bodrum, dates back to the Knights of St. John and now is one the museum of Underwater Archaeology, one of the finest museums in the region incorporating wonderful views of the town and seas. It includes several mighty towers, a chapel, a dungeon and Turkish bath, all set in gardens and linked by steep steps and passageways.
Things to do on a Holiday in Turkey
Watersports: There is a wide variety of things to do down on the beach or inland. However, if you are feeling energetic and strong enough for something more adventurous why not try one of the many watersports available. It is a great place to learn to scuba dive: facilities are good and lessons inexpensive, and there are sites for all levels of experience and ability. For the more advanced, there are large areas of red coral and shipwrecks to be explored. The crystal-clear waters along the shores of Fethiye are ideal for deep-sea diving, which is one of the fastest developing recreational sports in the world. Windsurfing and kitesurfing benefit from the good strong breezes with a wide array of classes available. There are also some good spots for white-water rafting and canyoning, and kayaking and canoeing can take you to otherwise inaccessible parts of the country.
Jeep Safaris: A perfect half day out, or, for longer trips, a jeep safari to the wilderness and the nearby villages can be an exciting adventure over one or two days.
Horseriding: Go back to nature and avoid the more crowded parts; ride in the forests of Marmaris on a guided horse safari through beautiful countryside, or experience the amazing landscape of Cappadocia on one of the numerous bridal paths.
Paragliding: Babadag, covering the eastern part of Oludeniz, is deemed as one of the best flying points in the world for paragliding. Babadag is on the list of "world heritage" due to its rich flora and presents the splendour of Oludeniz and its environs from a different perspective. To attempt a tandem jump accompanied by a pilot and with your camera to document the panorama of Oludeniz while gliding in the blue sky is an experience to add colour to your whole life.
Trekking: Following old nomad trails and ancient Lycian paths is a great way to see the floral richness of Fethiye and the pretty mountain villages where you will be greeted by the friendly locals. Every hundred meters or so are information boards about the area.
Golf: Belek, in the Antalya region is great for golfing holidays with 14 well-designed and equipped courses along the coast within a 15km radius. The views are simply stunning, the hotels are of a very high standard and the climate is perfect for the sport.
The beautiful coastline, stunning sunsets, crystal waters and gentle breezes all add to the experience on a wonderful Gulet Cruise along the Turquoise coast, often known as a Blue Voyage for this reason. Gulets are traditional wooden sailing boats with 6 to 8 double cabins, between 60 and 90 feet in length. Often passengers sleep on the deck as the cabins are not air conditioned. There are showers, toilets and storage and food and water are usually included in the price. An experienced Turkish crew ensure your comfort and cook and clean. During the day you'll cruise along the coastline, sun bathing and snorkelling and during the evening, anchor at a small village where you can and explore.
Eating/Drinking During Turkey Holidays
From street-side snack stalls to the finest food in a characterful restaurant, you will find something to your taste in Turkey. There is a wide range of dishes, with each region having its own specialities, and there are an equally wide range of places in which to enjoy them. Meat dishes are the norm, but vegetarians will be find a good number of lentil and rice dishes, and stuffed vegetables. The turks love vegetables almost as much as they do meat, and the aubergine is the favourite. Freshly caught fish is available, but can be expensive. Of course, the doner kebab is a popular along with the pied (Turkish pizza). In the morning stuffed pastries or borek can be bought street stalls. For the British traveller, there will be plenty of new culinary experiences.
An authentic Turkish experience can be combined with a raucous nights drinking at one of Turkey's meyhanes. These tavernas serve raki, beer and wine, along with an awe-inspiring selection of mezes (starters), succulent kebabs and fruits of the season. A favourite location for raki drinking, the atmosphere gets louder and merrier as the night progresses.
Turkey's recent economic growth and increasing prosperity had an enormous effect on the vitality, energy and variety of its nightlife. The range of night entertainment is huge, from traditional male-dominated birahanes to techno and rave nightclubs, with new venues opening by the week. As a result, Turkey's nightlife is quickly gaining recognition as one of the liveliest in Europe.
Getting Around on Turkey Holidays
Buses: There is an efficient and inexpensive intercity bus service with modern, comfortable vehicles. Refreshments are available on board. Between the main tourist resorts is a hop-on, hop-off service known as the Fez Bus, popular among travellers but not so much with the locals.
Taxis: These are metered and in plentiful supply in the resorts. You can also agree a flat fare in advance. Also the Dolmus is one of the most convenient and efficient ways to get around. These are a kind of communal taxi with set routes, but usually no set timetable.
Trains: Train travel has undergone some updating in Turkey and consequently is becoming more popular on longer journeys, as you can be taken through some stunning countryside. An underground service is available in a few of the larger cities, and several cities have trams, which are a quick and efficient way of getting around.
Car and motorbike hire: You have to be 21 or above with one year's driving experience before you can hire a car in Turkey. The main operators can be found in the major cities and airports. Local fuel costs are quite high.
Turkey Holidays Shopping
Shopping during holidays in Turkey are a great adventure where you are able to buy special handicrafts which vary from one region to another. Authentic bazaars sell rugs, jewellery, Turkish delight and other handicrafts. It is acceptable, even expected, to haggle over price. Leather goods and fashion items are also available, but look out for copies of high-end designer goods.
Weather and climate information
Although Turkey is situated in a geographical location where climatic conditions are quite temperate, the diverse nature of the landscape, and the existence in particular of the mountains that run parallel to the coasts, results in significant differences in climatic conditions from one region to the other.
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