Turkey holidays are an intoxicating combination of flavours and cultures –this is, quite literally, where east meets west. Combining the influences of both the Middle East and the Mediterranean, there’s a fascinating mix of things to see, do, eat and drink. From the miles of dazzling coastline in the south, to some of the world’s best-preserved archaeological sites in the west, via the buzzing food markets of Istanbul and Izmir – holidays to Turkey have so much to offer.
For beach lovers, holidays in Turkey are a dream. Close to the southern resort city of Antalya, long stretches of powder-soft sand are lapped by jade waters – it’s not called the Turquoise Coast for nothing. To the west, on the Aegean Coast, you’ll find serene coves and forest-clad peninsulas dotted with fishing villages, making it the perfect place to explore by boat. Beyond the beaches, there’s a staggering amount of history to discover – from the vast Roman ruins at Ephesus, near Izmir, to rarely-seen sites in the countryside.
With its mountains, rivers and canyons, Turkey is also a place for adventure. For hikers, the long-distance Lycian Way weaves through limestone peaks and along the Mediterranean coastline, while the national parks are hotspots for high-octane pursuits. And of course there are coastal water sports. Meanwhile, all that sunshine makes for some fantastic local produce. Olive oil, seafood, freshly baked bread and cheese are just some of the delicious ingredients that make up a Turkish feast. So dig in, and find your perfect holiday.
There’s more than enough sunshine for a beach holiday earlier in the year, before the crowds really hit the coastline – ideal if you fancy a quieter break.
Every December the city of Konya – home to the Mevlana Museum dedicated to the mystic Sufi poet Rumi – hosts ten extraordinary days of whirling dervish dancing.
Bodrum Ballet Festival
This dazzling event takes place every August in the mesmerising setting of Bodrum castle. Very affordable tickets are available for the chance to see world-class classical ballet and modern dance.
Sail the coastline
Boat life is a key part of Turkish culture, so hire a boat or hop on a ferry to enjoy the change of perspective, and maybe even a passing dolphin or two.
Eat in the meyhanes
Meyhanes are traditional Turkish tavernas that originally catered for merchants. Today, they’re a great place to try inexpensive and authentic dishes, plus local wines and spirits.
Go back in time
Turkey is dotted with spectacular archeological treasures. The ancient city of Perge, near Antalya, dates from 1000 BC, while the ruins at Ephesus are a Unesco World Heritage Site.