Sitting on the continents of Europe and Asia, Turkey is a diverse country where East meets West, so it’s not surprising that Turkey has something to suit all tastes. There are Turkey holidays to suit every kind of traveller, whether you’re a foodie hoping to savour the Ottoman cuisine, a beach bum wanting to sink your toes in the sand, an adventurer in search of adrenaline pumping activities, a party animal who only comes out at night, a history buff looking to travel back in time, or a couple on honeymoon looking for a romantic getaway.
Honeymoons-Turkey is becoming a popular country for honeymoons and couples looking for a romantic setting, with miles of sandy beaches, warm weather, diverse culture and stunning landscape. Honeymooners can hold hands walking around Istanbul’s historic sites, laze in the sun on beautiful sandy beaches, take a honeymoon cruise on one of the four seas surrounding Turkey, hit the slopes in Turkey’s well known-ski resorts or enjoy a pampering session in one of the world famous baths and spas. Turkey offers a wide variety of accommodation perfect for ‘just married’ couples- relax in an old watermill in a mountainside on the Lycean Coast, stay in a troglodyte Cave Hotel in the heart of Cappadocia, vacation in a beach chalet on Cirali beach, or have some alone time in a 200 year old stone cottage in Ephesus. If money is no option, the Ajia hotel offers the ultimate luxury honeymoon- a luxurious Ottoman mansion on the shores of the Bosphorus in Istanbul.
Adventure Travellers- Adventurous travellers will find a large number of Adventure holidays and tours to get their adrenaline pumping. Water babies can go sea kayaking over the sunken underwater city of Kekova, SCUBA dive in the turquoise waters of the Med, go white water rafting on the rapids of the Coruh River or take a cruise on a traditional wooden gulet along Turkey’s south coast. Land activities include mountain biking through Cappadocia to see the famous “fairy chimneys”, walking around Lake Van, climbing to the summit of Nemrut Dagi, trekking the long distance footpath of the Lycian Way or cycling the coast of Turkey by road. Lovers of water sports can wakeboard in Antalya or try their hand at kitesurfing and windsurfing in Alacati. For a breathtaking view of Turkey from the air, take a hot air balloon ride over the Cappadocian landscape.
Partygoers- Istanbul is fast becoming the new party capital of Europe and is a top destination for clubbers, with plenty to do once the sun goes down. Turkey’s capital is thriving and undergoing a multi-million pound makeover thanks to its recent economic growth, resulting in a buzzing atmosphere and energetic nightlife. Sitting on the Bosphorus Straits and straddling Europe and Asia, Istanbul is a crossroads where East meets West, resulting in a diverse range of entertainment after dark. Start the night with drinks in the trendy Beyoglu district with its boutique hotels, coffee houses and world music clubs before heading to Ortakoy to start the party. Travellers can spend the evening downing raki in one of Istanbul’s meyhanes, drinking beer in birahanes, watching bellydancers in an “Oriental Show”, jamming to the music in a rock bar, dancing the night away in a stylish nightclub or simply sipping on a cappuccino in one of the late night cafes.
History Buffs- For those seeking a cultural experience, Istanbul was Europe’s Capital of Culture for 2010. The country has a rich and colourful history and there is an abundance of historic locations and archaeological sites. History buffs can visit the ancient city of Troy where Achilles fought the Trojans, or wander the Anzac battlefields of Gallipoli where bloody battles were fought during World War One resulting in the loss of many Australians and New Zealanders from the Australia and New Zealand Army Corps. In Istanbul make sure you visit the two famous buildings, the contrasting Blue Mosque and Aya Sofya. The Blue Mosque is Istanbul’s most elaborate Islamic mosque, whilst Aya Sofya was a Byzantine Christian church before it was converted into a mosque. Barter for souvenirs in the medieval streets of the Grand Bazaar and visit the home of the sultans at Topkapi palace. Take a trip to the Roman city of Ephesus to see the temple built for the goddess Artemis, the Basilica of St.John and the House of Virgin Mary, where it is believed Mary may have spent her last years. Visit the market town of Bergama (Pergamum) which was once one of the richest Anatolian kingdoms. Here you can see two of Turkey’s most famous sites; the ancient medical centre of Asclepion, which offered medical treatments, and the Acropolis.
Foodies- Turkish food is a mixture of Mediterranean, Middle Eastern cuisine, and Central Asian flavours. The Ottoman food is some of the tastiest, making Turkey a top culinary destination for the foodie traveller. Tasty Turkish foods to try include döner kebab meat in fresh flatbread, minced lamb köfte kebabs, skewered meat shish kebabs, aubergine or eggplant dishes, pilaf rice dishes, dolma (cabbage leaves stuffed with spiced rice) and baklava sweets or Turkish Delight for dessert. If you’re visiting a coastal resort there will be a variety of freshly caught seafood to take your fancy. Another popular food is typical Mediterranean mezze- a platter of different appetizers best served with raki or beer. Raki is a strong alcoholic drink made of anise and is the typical Turkish ‘fire water’. You should also try Turkish coffee which has thick, dark sediment in the bottom, and Turkish chai tea.
Beach Bums- Beach bums can almost have too much choice when they visit Turkey. The country is surrounded by four seas- the Aegean, the Sea of Marmara the Black Sea and the Mediterranean- and has hundreds of miles of coastline as well as around eight months of sunshine. Whilst many beaches in Turkey are lined with hotels and are crowded by tourists in summer, there are still some untouched beaches if you get off the popular tourist trails. Famous beaches include the curved sandy beach and Blue Lagoon of Olu Deniz on the Turquoise Coast, Olympos beach with its tree-house hostels in Antalya, Patara beach which is 11 miles long and lined with marshlands, Ituzu Beach which is a popular breeding ground for the loggerhead turtle, the white sandy beach of Pirlanta, the golden sands of Altinkum beach and the spacious Konyaalti beach in Antalya.
photo from David Spender on flickr