Turkey is a unique country to visit. It shares borders with eight different countries and is where Europe, Asia and Africa meet. This is the only place on the planet where continents meet like this. Explorers will be in their element when they step foot on Turkish soil. Covering 314,500 square miles, Turkey is a sublime landscape of mountains, quaint villages and heritage-rich town centres.
The modern Turkey we see today was built upon the remains of the Ottoman Empire back in 1923. You can explore many of these world-famous areas during your trip. During your Turkish experience, make sure you chomp on authentic Turkish delights, take a dip in a Turkish bath and uncover the therapeutic benefits of the thermal springs - 10,000 of which are dotted around Anatolia.
The Temple of Artemis, Ephesus Museum and Ayasuluk Fortress are just a few of the attractions in Ephesus. Recognised around the world for its marble-columned temples, lively atmosphere and variety of top-rated museums, Ephesus is a truly unique place in Turkey. A major place of worship and centre for pilgrimage, the ancient Greco-Roman city was said to have been founded back in the 10th-century. Admire the Basilica of St. John, feel the unusual presence at the Virgin's house (Meryemana) and walk through an eerie cave system to the Grotto of the Seven Sleepers when you are in Ephesus.
A city based on the Bodrum Peninsula, this mesmerising metropolis offers views of Bodrum Castle from two stunning angles. You will have the opportunity to visit one of the Seven Wonders of the Ancient World when in Bodrum. The city's main fortress was built with materials from the Mausoleum at Halicarnassus. Attractions in Bodrum include Zeki Uren Arts Museum and Myndos Gate and there's even an amusement park called Lunapark, which is sure to entertain the young ones.
A park with sweeping views of a 13th-century mosque, Hadrian's Gate, Konyaalti Beach, Yivliminare Mosque - the list of top sights around Antalya really is endless. You should spend at least a day or two here to really appreciate the natural settings, timeworn mosques and ancient architecture. Visitors who revel in adrenaline-pumping activities can swim at Manavgat waterfalls or prepare for a bungee jumping experience. Lara Beach is open to the public daily, as is Antalya Archaeological Museum. Demre is a town that can be accessed in approximately three hours from the town centre of Antalya. The drive will be worth it because once you arrive you'll be invited to walk inside an ancient Lycian ruins complex, containing the former home of Santa Claus!
Found on the southwestern coastline, Dalyan is a little town that packs a big punch. Once a small farming town, there remain hints of the sleepy calmness, among the streets of restaurants and vibrant attractions. The Kings’ Tombs alone are quite simply stunning. Think magnificent structures, beautiful pillars and ornate décor carved into the rock face. The architectural phenomenon in the area has been recognised as a UNESCO heritage site – and rightly so. You won’t be disappointed. If water adventures are your thing, Dalyan has its own thermal lagoon – ideal for a nurturing swim – while the delta makes for a beautiful boat trip.
Ah Side. Beautiful beaches, fantastic cultural sights, and endless brilliant hotels. Side just gets summer holidays. Roman ruins dot the landscape, while the sun-soaked beach remains clear and charming. Daytrips to the Pamakkale Hot Springs are popular from Side, and no wonder – those azure and white pools are breathtakingly beautiful, if busy! You can even take a dip, so make sure to visit early. Within Side, the Amphitheatre is easily accessible, and beautiful to explore.
Family friendly Marmaris has sandy beaches by the bucket load. This is a bustling resort – some might say busy - but there’s a good reason for that. With long stretches of sand and beachfront hotels there is plenty of variety and you always feel close to the action. Water sports are popular here and are great for keeping the kids entertained, while the beachfront bars and restaurants mean everything is within easy reach. Boat trips are a great way to explore the turquoise coast and find a quiet spot if needed. There are a number of beaches and small coves dotted around, so get exploring!
Known as the Seraglio or by its most common name, Topkapi Palace, this palace in Istanbul is a site which will live long in the memory. The Ottoman sultans lived in the palace for over 400 years. The grounds are expansive and there’s lots to explore including an Imperial Gate, two courtyards, the Gate of Salutation, palace kitchens and even an imperial carriage of the Valide Sultan (Queen Mother).
Want to immerse your skin in the mineral-rich waters? If so, set aside some time to visit a place where water trickles down hillside travertine terraces in Pamukkale. Formed by calcium deposits, the travertines are a breath-taking sight to behold. In 190 B.C, the nearby city of Hierapolis was a busy place as it was a Roman spa city. To learn more about the waters and the area, visit the Pamukkale Museum while you’re there. The famous Antique Pools, which sunk as a result of an earthquake, are also not to be missed.
The domed roof and vertiginous spires of the Hagia Sophia is one of the most recognisable sights in Istanbul. Once a church, and later a mosque, it is now one of Istanbul’s biggest tourist attractions and is well worth a visit. It is a place for calm and reflection in the middle of this very busy city, and it also serves as a great starting point for those hoping to understand more about Turkish history. Hagia Sophia was an important symbol in both the Byzantine and Ottoman Empires and it now stands as a perfect example of the link between both civilisations.
The water-sports opportunities are endless throughout Turkey, with the long, sandy coastline and clear water creating an idyllic environment for yachting, boating, water skiing and rafting. Turkey's finest beach is without a doubt Patara. This beach covers 12.5 miles in length and it is 50 metres wide. Alternative sunbathing spots include Ölüdeniz (Fethiye), Alanya, Side and Bodrum Peninsula. Be aware that lifeguards are not always present, so take caution when swimming at Turkey's beaches.
There are few places more colourful or more chaotic than the Grand Bazaar. Situated in Istanbul’s Old City, it dates back centuries and it is easy to lose an entire afternoon exploring its many offerings. Of course, there are plenty of tourist souvenir stalls, but in amongst them are some genuine Turkish artisans producing beautifully hand-crafted items. It is also worth indulging in the local coffee here, which is served short and black with plenty of sugar.
Visit Turkey’s waterfalls
If Turkey’s heat begins to get too much, take a daytrip to one of the country’s stunning waterfalls to refresh and explore. Düden Waterfalls are by far the most famous in Turkey. They sit in Antalya, and come with picnic areas, two big falls, and many smaller streams. There’s even a cave behind the upper fall, accessed by a narrow staircase! Another Turkish waterfall within the Antalya region is Kusunlu. The 10 metre fall ends in a beautiful, green pool, surrounded by rustic scenery. Take a picnic, and enjoy a paddle in the cool waters. Bliss.
Turkish food is influenced by many regions and can differ from place to place. Most meals will begin with an olive oil appetiser and you will find a lot of corn and bean-based dishes on the menu. Turks love their bread, so save some room for a baguette, or "emek" as the locals call it!
Although there are many excellent restaurants in Turkey where you can sample authentic dishes, there are a few that deserve a mention. For panoramic rooftop views, dine at Leb-i-Derya in the Taksim province. Seraser Fine Dining Restaurant sits near the oceanfront in Antalya. Visiting Marmaris? Dine at Bono Good Times Beach or feast on Turkish, barbeque and European fare at restaurants in Kemer. The options really are endless.
Both culturally rich and good value for money, holidays to Turkey appeal to a diverse crowd. Whether you fancy a relaxing break that involves Turkish baths, beach days and fine Turkish cuisine, or a historical insight into a country with an alluring past, easyJet holidays can find you the right deal. Book your hotel and accommodation with us today and save money. Alternatively, read some of our other guides on Turkey for travel insp