If you think having a holiday in Turkey revolves around a beach and a great tan, then you couldn’t be more wrong. There is plenty more things to do so we have put together a list of some of the fantastic alternatives to help you see the country in a new light and make your stay unforgettable.
Working your way around what used be the old capital of Constantinople, you’ll soon appreciate why the city is a ‘must’ to visit. Whether it’s admiring the iconic Blue Mosque, or the equally fascinating 1,000-year-old Hagia Sophia, you’ll be spoilt for choice.
Equally interesting are the subterranean Basilica Cistern, closely located to the Hagia Sophia, the Topkapi Palace, a vast Ottoman palace that harks back to days of yore and the 67m Byzantine Galata Tower giving off a fantastic panoramic view of the Bosphorus.
Don’t forget to stop by the former Byzantine church, former Ottoman mosque, and modern day museum that is the Chora Church of the Holy Saviour.
Take a Balloon Ride in Cappadocia
For those looking for the completely unusual, then why not pitch up in a balloon and wander silently atop the Cappadocia region, a moonscape of rock formations, fairy chimneys, and underground caves. The balloon ride gives you an idea why this alien landscape still fascinates everyone today while back on the ground, descend down into the underground ancient cities and venture into the cave churches with their intricate 14th-century frescoes.
Mooch around Ephesus
If history tickles your fancy, a trip to Ephesus should be on the cards. Located just an hour from Turkey’s third largest city, Izmir, wander among the ruins of what was once an important city of the Roman Empire to see the Celsus library, Roman houses, public latrines, and ancient Hellenistic theatre. Also, visit the Temple of Artemis, belonging to the seven wonders of the ancient world and the house of the Virgin Mary, allegedly the place of her ascension.
Do a Lazy Boat Trip
Tourists often take a boat trip off the Aegean and Mediterranean coasts and appreciate the oh so blue waters surrounding them. Laze a little, catch a tan, explore hidden coves, or just dream a few hours away under a blue sky and on a floating azure bed. Most coastal resorts sell daily lazy boat trips but if time isn’t an issue, sign up for a 3-night cruise of the Turkish Riviera.
See The White Pools of Pamukkale
Tourists often make a beeline to Pamukkale where they can experience the mineral-rich thermal pools flowing down off white travertine terraces. Having soaked up in Cleopatra’s Pool, explore the nearby former Roman city of Hierapolis, now a UNESCO-designated World Heritage site.
Eat Locally and Drink Turkish Tea
For all the travelling and historical greatness of Turkey, few often stop to indulge in the local food and the pastime of drinking Turkish tea. Whether it’s dining on fish dishes, pide, gorging on Adnan kebabs, kofte or lahmacun, you’ll be surprised at how versatile Turkish food can be. Top it off with a traditional Turkish tea or later in the night, a local alcoholic tipple called raki.
Haggle in a Market
Part of a memorable Turkish holiday is haggling in the local market for a good deal. Whether it’s at a market on the West Coast or in Istanbul’s Grand Bazaar, tourists get a buzz from grabbing a bargain on some wonderful and colourful souvenirs for sale. As a broad guide, never take the first price, and instead, haggle the market sellers down by about 60 percent on the opening gambit for a bargain.
Trek the Lycian Way
If walking is your thing, get set for a trek along part of the Lycian Way, a 500-kilometre route stretching from Fethiye to Geyikbayırı, near Antalya. Along the way, tourists absorb the beauty of the Turkish countryside and visit hidden ruins scattered along the way, of which the Lycian Empire left behind.
One of the more novel ways of seeing Turkey in all its brilliance is a paragliding experience, and there is nowhere better than off Babadag Mountains, above Oludeniz. It offers a fantastic view from about 6,500 feet of the oft-photographed Oludeniz lagoon and a memorable addition to your holiday in Fethiye.
Attend a Concert
Turkey in the summer is big on concerts, whether it’s classic music, ballet, rock groups or jazz festivals. As equally adept at pulling in famous US bands, or drawing the classically trained dancers of the Bolshoi, tourists can take advantage of these festivals and concerts from April through to October, proving that Turkey is still magical, diverse and a little unusual.
We hope we have given you enough ideas to start planning your holiday but if you need more, check out our daily and weekly tours and trips, operating all around Turkey. See them here.