Turkey: Your Next Exciting Holiday Destination

11 Feb 2022 By Matt French

While the beaches of Spain and Greece remain ever-popular hotspots for Easter and summer holidays, Turkey is often overlooked. Yet this vibrant and fascinating country enjoys miles of sandy beaches, clear warm oceans, and some of the best historical sites in the world.

From lively All Inclusive resorts to laid-back breaks on a budget, every type of holiday is catered for. Whether it’s a week unwinding on the beach, or a varied vacation full of sightseeing and sun, Turkey promises a wonderful holiday escape.

We’ve picked 3 of our favourite destinations to help you decide on your next holiday, with insider info on all the top beaches, hotels, food and attractions. It’s time to talk Turkey!

Antalya

Beach in Antalya Turkey with parasols

Best for: days at the beach, sightseeing, ancient history

Why you’ll love it

The gateway to the Turkish Riviera, Antalya offers an incredible amount for the modern holidaymaker. From plentiful beaches with long stretches of soft sand and clear water, to waterfalls and Greco-Roman architecture, this diverse region offers the perfect balance of the laid back and the exotic.

Best beaches in Turkey

Just 10 miles from the historic town of Antalya lies one of Turkey’s best beaches. With miles of fine sand and clear warm water, Lara Beach is the ideal place to swim, sunbathe and relax. It’s also geared up for fun family days out, with water sports, go-karting, and even a mini-disco in the evenings.

About an hour west, you’ll find the district of Kemer and the beautiful Cirali Beach. Backed by pine forests, cliffs and mountains, this sand and pebble beach is awe-inspiring. Here, history lovers are in for a  big surprise – at one end of the beach you’ll find the ruins of the ancient Roman city of Olympos, once inhabited by pirates!

In Anlaya, Kleopatra Beach welcomes visitors with crystal-clear blue water for swimming and snorkelling. The stretch a fine golden sand enclosed by a dramatic mountain range makes this beach a stunning location for a day of sun and sea.

Top sites and attractions

Duden waterfalls in Antalya Turkey

No holiday in Antalya would be complete without a visit to Duden waterfalls. At the upper section, visitors get a close-up view of the action from a cave behind the falls, as an impressive 20-meter high cascade crashes into the deep lagoon below.

An even more dramatic sight awaits at the lower section, where you’ll get to see Europe’s highest waterfall at it powers off steep cliffs directly into the ocean. Best seen by boat, a number of operators will take you out for a perfect head-on view of the falls.

Popular with all ages, the Greco-Roman ruins at Side are a must-see on your Antalya holiday. Here, you’ll discover a vast 2nd century Roman amphitheatre, once home to gladiators fights attracting 20,000 spectators. The arena was also used to host plays and concerts, and later served as a huge open-air church.

Local dishes

Visitors to Antalya shouldn’t leave without trying Alanya Bohcasi, delicious crepes filled with cheese, potatoes, spinach or meat. For dessert, sample the amazing burnt ice-cream, a Turkish specialty.

Best rated hotels in Antalya

Hotel room at Barut Lara Turkey

The 5 star Barut Lara is one of the best rated hotels in the area. Nestled on its own sandy beach, this high-end resort features unrivalled facilities, with large indoor and outdoor pools, and the latest in high-end amenities. Perfect for a luxury family or couples’ break.

Just 4km from Alanya, Diamond Hill Resort offers all the comforts of a well-equipped hotel, with the convenience of a nearby town. With a large outdoor pool, and spa complete with Turkish bath, sauna, steam room, and hammam, guests are able to truly unwind here. Outdoor bars, evening shows, and a kids’ pool ensure a holiday at Diamond Hill is entertaining and relaxing for all ages.

Wow Topkapi Palace on Lara Beach certainly lives up to its name. It’s impossible to be bored at this mammoth hotel which boasts its own waterpark, featuring slides for adults and children, a wave pool and lazy river. For fun out of the water there are pool tables, air hockey, card tables and PlayStation consoles, along with a host of sports, games and activities.

Dalaman

View of Blue Lagoon Turkey with boat

Ideal for: beach days, exploring, nature

Why choose Dalaman as a holiday destination?

Home to the world-famous Blue Lagoon and a number of incredible beaches, Dalaman offers visitors the chance to explore hidden bays and lakes away from the crowds. With snorkelling, family friendly resorts and even a ghost town to discover, the area offers an excellent variety of things to do and see for all ages.

Beautiful beaches

The Blue Lagoon in Oludeniz is perhaps the biggest draw in Dalaman, with visitors arriving from all over the world to float in the mesmerising deep blue waters each summer. Ranging from green to azure and turquoise, the colour of the water has to be seen to be believed. The lagoon is perfect for snorkelling, where you’ll get the chance to swim with sea turtles and exotic marine life.

Home to a major nesting ground for loggerhead turtles, Izstusu beach is one of the finest in the Dalaman region. The swimming and snorkelling here is exceptional, but visitors are restricted to daylight hours in certain months to protect the turtles. The beach consists of fine golden sand that slopes gently into the water, ideal for safe family friendly swimming.

Sarsala bay is a hidden gem in Dalaman, and the perfect place to get away from the crowds. Surrounded by pine trees, this beautiful bay boasts calm, clear water for swimming, and an outdoor cafe for refreshments. Arriving at Sarsala beach is worth it for the drive alone, where winding mountain roads lead to stunning views of the bay and islands beyond.

Top Dalaman attractions

Abandoned church in Dalaman Turkey

For a spooky twist to your Dalaman holiday, venture to Kayakoy, a ghost town once inhabited by  20,000 people. Intrepid travellers are free to wander around this eerily-abandoned town dotted with fountains, churches, and homes that were last lived in 100 years ago.

Another exciting day out for the adventurous is a visit to the famous mud baths. Here, even adults can splash about in muddy puddles! Said to be a  cure-all for aches and pains, visitors travel far and wide to take advantage of the mud’s rejuvenating properties. It’s even said that bathing here will make you look 10 years younger!

Delicious dishes

If you’ve never tried Turkish meze before, you’re in for a real treat. Diners are presented with seemingly endless hot and cold dishes including calamari, samphire, and stuffed vine leaves. Add a glass of wine or two, and you have a dining experience to remember.

Best resort

The Garcia Resort and Spa offers guests a breathtaking mountainous backdrop and the latest high-end amenities. With 5 swimming pools, a kids’ pool, and evening entertainment, this luxury resort promises to make family holidays extra special.

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