Spring, Summer, Autumn
March – May
June – August
LCY → ESB
Up to 3 months
Taxi: 31 £GBP (20 min)
Bus: 3 £GBP (25 min)
Visit Turkey to see Istanbul's world-famous 17th-century Blue Mosque with your own eyes. Then grab your swimming costume and head for the sandy beaches found on the Turquoise Coast or, alternatively put on your hiking boots and head for Cappadocia’s moonscape rock formations. Turkey’s “East meets West” mix, combined with its diverse scenery make it a country of extremes. The country’s location at the crossroads of Europe and Asia and its place on the ancient Silk Route is reflected everywhere in Turkey, you’ll see Ottoman mosques, ancient ruins and the modern world reflected in the metropolitan cities.
From the shopping at the spice markets or the 4,000 shops of the Grand Bazaar in Istanbul to the country’s famed Turkish baths, to the vigorous pace-of-life day and night in the cities, holidays in Turkey offer something for everyone. For a more relaxed pace Turkey has more than 300 blue-flagged beaches which offer mountains or forest as a backdrop. The beaches of Alacati and Cesme on the Aegean Coast are popular with tourists for their sandy beaches and mineral springs. The summer resort towns of Bitez, Gumusluk, Turgutreis and Turkbuku near Bodrum also offer plenty to visitors. The port town and tourist resort of Marmaris on the Mediterranean coast is particularly popular with British tourists.
On Turkey’s Aegean and Mediterranean sea coasts the climate is typically Mediterranean – hot, dry summers and mild, wet winters. Bordering the Black Sea you’ll find an Oceanic climate – warm, wet summers and cool to cold, wet winters. Coastal Turkey bordering the Sea of Marmara (including Istanbul), which connects the Aegean and Black seas, the climate lies somewhere between a temperate Mediterranean and a temperate Oceanic climate - warm to hot, relatively dry summers and cool to cold, wet winters.
In the centre of the country the climate is much harsher with sharply contrasting seasons.
It is a city that has held various names over the past two millennia, Byzantium, Constantinople and Stamboul, but what’s in a name? Istanbul defies description, and it is the beauty of the Bosphorus that has continually attracted visitors throughout the city’s long history. Istanbul apparently comes from the Greek expression eis ten polin which means “to the city”. This is a city with a remarkable history and is the only city in the world to have been at the centre of both Christian and Islamic empires and both have left their mark on the streetscape. Straddling the border between the European and Asian continents, on one hand the city seems distinctly European with wide, leafy boulevards, theatres, relaxed cafes, and bustling shopping centres, then on the other hand there’s the contrast with the traditional markets or souks, mosques across various districts of Istanbul. The bulk of Istanbul’s ancient monuments, which date back to the Roman, Byzantine, and Ottoman periods, include the Hagia Sophia, Topkapi Palace, Sultanahmet Mosque (Blue Mosque), and Basilica Cistern and are located near Sultanahmet Square.
Ninety years ago Ankara was replaced Istanbul as the capital of the newly formed Turkish republic. From there it has grown from small provincial town to sleek, modern city. As well as being the seat of government, it is home to universities and technical colleges and the largest library in the country. The city also boasts a great deal of culture the home of the Presidential Symphony Orchestra, the State Theatre, and the State Opera and Ballet.
Tourism here started in the 1970s, but most visitors head to the resorts spread along the coastline rather than the city itself. However, Antalya offers its own unique charm, especially in the old town and more independent travellers have the opportunity to mix with the locals and experience local culture.
The site of the ancient city of Halicarnassus, and home to the Mausoleum of Halicarnassus, which was one of the Seven Wonders of the Ancient World before its destruction in an earthquake. A Turkish playground year-round on the Southern Aegean, this small town really turns on a show in season when it is packed with Turkish and foreign holidaymakers. The town features yacht-laden marinas, Roman ruins, great beaches and an Ibiza-like clubbing scene.
Turkey’s fourth largest city, largely it is significant as the first capital of the Ottoman Empire.
Cappadocia in Central Anatolia offers a moonlike landscape courtesy of a series of unusual rock formations shaped like chimneys and mushrooms among other forms. Chapels and houses are carved into the rocks.
Home of the second capital of the empire, many of the buildings from that time are preserved.
A seat of power in the Roman Empire, Ephesus was one of the empire’s largest cities and, like Halicarnassus, home to one of the Seven Ancient Wonders of the World – the Temple of Artemis. The ruins are one of the most popular tourist attractions in Turkey and include the Celsus Library, the Temple of Hadrian and the huge Theatre.
known as the cradle of civilization, motherland of Epic poet Homer and famous philosopher Heraclitus, yet despite being once the ancient city of Smyrna, the city was largely destroyed in the Great Fire in the 1920s meaning Izmir, Turkey’s third largest city is now a modern commercial centre, set around a huge bay on the Central Aegean coast and surrounded by mountains.
Renowned for Seljuk architecture and Whirling Dervishes, Konya is one of the world’s oldest cities. Based in the Central Anatolia Region Kolya was the capital city of the Seljuk Dynasty in the 12th and 13th centuries and buildings from that era can still be seen.
Known as the “Turkish Vegas”, Lara is a beach resort located in the idyllic district of Antalya. It has been part of the Turkish club scene for decades and the party atmosphere is infectious, meanwhile the rich history and culture in stunning natural surroundings means there will be something to please even the less party hungry.
This city overlooks the Mesopotamia plains in south-eastern Turkey, Mardin is best known for its Old City consisting of sandstone buildings that sprawl across the hillside.
One of the most popular seaside resort towns featuring historic architecture sandwiched between pine-forested mountains, white-sanded beaches and the waters of the Mediterranean. A cruise ship stopover, Marmaris rivals any Mediterranean city, anywhere.
Or “Blue Lagoon” features prominently in any Turkish tourism brochure and is perhaps the most famed beach in the country. It is easy to see why, deep blue water that remains calm even in a storm, this small village and beach resort in on the Turquoise Coast of south-western Turkey, is located where the Mediterranean and Aegean seas meet.
The name of this place translates as “Cotton Castle” from Turkish because of the white travertines – carbonate mineral terraces left by flowing water and the hot pools the contain that people have bathed in for thousands of years. The ruins of the ancient Greco-Roman and Byzantine city of Hierapolis are situated here.
This was once a major port in ancient Pamphylia and was once occupied by Alexander the Great. This history makes for a city that features both archaeological ruins, including a well preserved and huge amphitheatre, and modern and fully appointed resorts.
Visiting a hamam (Turkish bath) is a must do on any trip to Istanbul. At least one historical hamam can be found in every Istanbul neighborhood of Istanbul. There are many historic hamams in Sultanahmet. Some are elaborately decorated but are mostly for tourists.
By sure to visit Istanbul’s Grand Bazaar – a traditional spice market dating back to 1461 that now houses a vast array of wares.
Most of Ankara’s historic buildings and landmarks are to be found around Ulus. The Ethnographic Museum, State Art and Sculpture Museum, Haci Bayram Mosque, Salt Ulus, Augustus Temple and Roman Baths; are all located in Ulus, while Ankara Castle, Cengelhan - Rahmi Koc Museum, Museum of Anatolian Civilizations are all within five minutes’ walk.
Bodrum is mainly known for its beaches that are perfect for swimming and sunbathing and offer an array of water sports.
In late June or early July you can take in the spectacle of the Kirkpinar Oil Wrestling Tournaments (www.kirkpinar.com) held in Edirne (Sarayici) and in villages around the country. This national sport is the oldest continuously running sporting competition in the world and involves wrestling and copious amounts of olive oil to prevent an opponent from getting a good hold.
Take a stroll along the Kordon, an Aegean waterfront promenade lined by towering apartment buildings and palms trees.
The bazaar, Kemeralti, is a must see stocking clothes and other items as well as lounges where you can sit.