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A blissful blend of cosmopolitan energy, ancient sites, delicious food and beautiful beaches, holidays to Turkey are anything you want them to be. Meander labyrinthine bazaars, lunch in sleepy fishing villages and sleep under star-filled skies in a country that always hits the spot.
Stylish Istanbul on the banks of the Bosphorus is where Europe meets Asia. A city break to this old-world stunner, packed with historic palaces, mosques and treasures from past empires, is a delight any time of year. Wander the winding cobbles of Gelata, bar hop in Besiktas, and get lost among the stalls of the Grand Bazaar – in Istanbul, every neighbourhood feels like a new adventure.
In need of a beach holiday? Take your pick from the chic yet cheap all-inclusive resorts of the Turkish Riviera. Whether you're a couple seeking respite or a family searching for fun, you won’t have to look too hard to find it here. World-class golf courses command views of the sea in one direction and the Taurus Mountains in the other. With incredible ancient ruins a day trip away and coastal towns serving up sublime seafood daily, it's a stunning summer playground.
Combine a romantic beach break with a visit to Cappadocia, a Turkish delight of mystical rock formations, cave dwellings and fairy chimneys. Love a sunrise selfie? Set your alarm early for a breathtaking early morning show, and see hundreds of hot air balloons fill the sky. Stay at chic boutique hotels with impressive terrace views and explore geological wonders on your doorstep.
Take the kids on a beach holiday to Bodrum, an elegant seaside city on the Aegean Sea. With Bodrum Castle at its heart, this popular summer destination is rich in activity-filled hotels on the beach, and the underwater archeology museum is great for mini-treasure seekers.
If you have little ones, teens, or both, Fethiye is a solid choice. It has plenty of kid-friendly resorts and hotels – from all-inclusive to self-catering – on child-friendly beaches. The area has an awesome aqua park Sultans Aqua City and Şehit Fethi Bey Park has a huge children’s playground.
With Greece a day trip away, beautiful Bodrum on Turkey’s west coast is another great destination for kids. It has pretty beaches and family-friendly resorts on the Aegean Sea – even its own medieval castle.
Whether you want to relax by the sea or pack in the activities, Marmaris has plenty to offer – all without the price tag. It has an impressive collection of budget hotels, beautiful coves to discover, a lively coastal town to explore and lots of wallet-friendly day trips.
Another budget-friendly choice is Kaş, a chilled Mediterranean resort town on the Turkish Riviera, packed with affordable outdoor fun. Take a boat trip to the sunken city of Kekova, visit the ancient amphitheatre overlooking the sea or lounge for a day at one of its coves (Kaputaş Beach is pretty special).
With exceptionally pretty beaches and clear blue water bathed in Mediterranean sunshine, the bustling resort town of Alanya is every inch the idyllic beach holiday. Sandy bays line the coast, and the clear azure waters are ideal for swimming and snorkelling.
Along Turkey’s west coast, close to İzmir, is Çeşme, which has cute bays, coves and beaches dotting the peninsula. Top tip: head to Ilıca Beach for waters heated gently by bubbling thermal springs.
The twinkling waterfront at Kuşadası comes alive when the sun goes down, with many heading to aptly named Bar Street to party the night away. Alternatively, jump aboard the pirate party boat for a boogie on the high sea. After a more sedate soiree? Visit the promenade’s lovely tavernas for meze, fresh seafood.
Another place for a fun evening is Antalya marina and its nearby old town. Enjoy an evening meal with friends near Kaleci Castle or a late-night drink by the seafront. Even out of season, the town is still lively.
With its uncountable historic wonders and parks jumping with music festivals in the summer, Istanbul is Turkey’s obvious cultural hub. A beautiful river runs through the centre, and cool neighbourhoods Karaköy and Galata are delightfully chic with coffeehouses and art galleries.
Explore subterranean cities, visit Byzantine tombs and stay in a troglodyte hotel in Cappadocia for a truly unique culture kick. The old carved-out city of Derinkuyu has a fascinating tour exploring what it was to live underground, finishing with a trip to the bazaar to pick up nazar boncuk 'evil eye' charms to take home.
Pamukkale is the photogenic “cotton castle” where 17 limestone pools and hot springs shimmer in the sun. You can swim in the healing thermal waters of Cleopatra Pool and the public travertine pools. As it’s hugely popular with daytrippers, you might want to stay in a local spa hotel so you can get there early, before the crowds arrive.
For a Turkish spa holiday steps from the beach, stay in one of the all-inclusive resorts with a spa along the Turkish Riviera. Make the most of the hydrothermal pools and pampering treatments designed to soothe your body and mind.
Still undecided? Read our guide and find out which Turkish resort is right for you.
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