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Turkey holidays: Inspiration and tips for your next trip to Turkey

Straddling two continents, Asia and Europe, Turkey is a fascinating country that's becoming increasingly popular with holidaymakers from the UK. Home to world-renowned archaeological sites, family-friendly attractions and gorgeous beaches, Turkey is a great choice for any type of holiday.

From vibrant cities with rich histories to glittering coastal hotspots, there's something for everyone in Turkey. This destination is a particularly popular choice for an activity-filled family holiday, a relaxing beach holiday and weekend city breaks. An added bonus? Turkey also happens to be a great choice for a budget-friendly getaway.

Ready to start planning your Turkey holiday? You'll find all the best and cheapest Turkey holiday deals right here, along with plenty of inspiration on where to go and what to see once you're there.

The best holiday destinations in Turkey

Not sure where you'd like to go in Turkey? When you travel here, you have the unique opportunity to experience the harmony of two cultures - east and west. After all, Istanbul is the only city in the world that's positioned on two continents – that on its own is a true wonder.

But the truth is, there's so much you can see and do in this beautiful country, where you could easily while away a few weeks travelling from town to town and region to region. Most travellers opt for cheap breaks in the metropolitan centres of Ankara and Istanbul, but there's much to see in the breath-taking countryside of Amasya and, of course, along the magnificent coast of Antalya.

Turkey's coastline is home to some seriously stunning beaches. No matter if you're looking for a luxury beach stay or prefer something different, these coastal hotspots provide something for everyone. Bodrum, Side or Alanya are some of Turkey's most popular beach holiday destinations.

We've rounded up some of our favourite holiday destinations in Turkey below.

Istanbul

Officially known as Turkey's largest city, a city break to Istanbul is a must-do for any travellers interested in history and culture. The Bosphorus runs through Istanbul, where each of the city's districts have their own distinct feel. With so much to discover, you could never be bored in Istanbul.

Many of Istanbul's most famous attractions can be found in Sultanahmet (the Old City). This is where you'll find the Hagia Sophia, Blue Mosque, Topkapi Palace, the Grand Bazaar and the Basilica Cistern. Taking a Bosphorus cruise is also very popular, where you'll get to visit villages, a castle and more along the way.

Whether you're travelling solo, as a couple or with a group of friends, Istanbul's extensive accommodation offering ensures that you'll always find exactly what you're looking for.

Side

Historical sites and beach time may not be a common combination, but this is exactly what holidaymakers will find in Side. Located on Turkey's southern Mediterranean coast, Side is a popular choice for a summer holiday in the sun. That's because Side is packed with modern beach resorts, making it ideal for an all-inclusive holiday.

When you can tear yourself away from Side's pristine white-sand beaches, there's plenty to get up to in this beautiful city. Due to Side's status as an ancient city, the most popular attractions include the colossal Temples of Apollo and Athena, the Greek amphitheatre as well as numerous other ancient monuments scattered throughout the area. For something a little different, take a day trip out to the nearby Manavgat Waterfall.

Bodrum

Located on Turkey's southern coast and bordering the Aegean Sea, Bodrum is a well-established holiday spot. So much so that it can get quite busy during the summer months, so it's best to book ahead. Home to many beach resorts, restaurants and bars, a large marina and a wealth of historical attractions, Bodrum will have everything you could possibly need during your holiday.

Popular for boat tours along the Bodrum Peninsula and elsewhere, the city's other key attractions include Bodrum Castle, the Museum of Underwater Archaeology and the world-famous ruins of ancient Halicarnassus.

Bodrum is also known for its beaches; Bitez Beach, Ortakent Beach and Aspat Beach are some of our favourites.

Antalya

One of the largest cities in Turkey, you can find Antalya on the southern coast, which is nicknamed the Turkish Riviera. Although there is plenty to see in Antalya itself, many holidaymakers flock here for the excellent beach resorts and miles of gorgeous beaches in the wider area.

And it's no wonder - each Antalya beach seems to be more beautiful than the last, with some top beaches including the likes of Kleopatra Beach, Lara Beach and Kaputaş Beach. If you'd like to do some sightseeing, Antalya's top attractions are its Old Town, Antalya Museum and Karaalioglu Park.

Antalya is also a great place for memorable day trips out to ancient sites and, yup, you guessed it, more stunning beaches; check out the best day trips from Antalya.

Marmaris

Another top destination along the Turkish Riviera, the population of Marmaris swells to ten times its normal number of inhabitants during the peak summer months. And there are many reasons why holidaymakers are drawn to this Mediterranean city: spotless beaches, family-friendly attractions, modern beach resorts and a wide range of restaurants and bars.

As its marina may suggest, boat trips are popular here, taking you to nearby and farther-flung places of interest, including islands, beaches and villages. In Marmaris itself, take the time to explore the Old Town, Marmaris Castle and the marina. The best beaches nearby include Long Beach (known locally as Uzunyali) and Icmeler Beach. For something truly unforgettable, take a day trip out to do the Dalyan River cruise.

Cappadocia

With its otherworldly rock formations and hundreds of floating hot air balloons, images of Cappadocia have ensured that this destination is on just about everyone's bucket list. Cappadocia is a name given to a region found in Turkey's Central Anatolia; most holidaymakers coming here choose to base themselves in Goreme. This is also where most tours - and hot air balloon flights - will start.

There's much to discover in this magical region, from photogenic valleys to unusual rock formations and buildings carved out of rock. While some travellers choose to hire a car and find their own way around, it's also great to join a day trip or two, where you'll benefit from a local guide's knowledge. The ultimate goal? A sunrise hot air balloon ride! Just remember to book these well in advance, as they're unsurprisingly popular.

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Top tips for visiting Turkey

Not sure about which season is best for visiting Turkey? Or want a little inspiration on all the delicious things you can eat while you're on holiday? We've rounded up some top tips to keep in mind when planning your Turkey holiday.

When is the best time to visit Turkey?

Although you can visit Turkey at any time of year, the height of summer and winter can be pretty extreme. While the summer months are undoubtedly the most popular with holidaymakers, spring and autumn are considered the best seasons to travel to Turkey. Here's the lowdown on Turkey's seasons.

🌸 Spring: This is when Turkey's landscapes come to life. With the weather getting warmer, this is a great time to visit Turkey's cities, which usually have a whole host of events going on during springtime.

☀️ Summer: This is Turkey's peak tourist season; holidaymakers flock to the resorts on the country's Mediterranean and Aegean coastlines. Turkey's interior can experience extremely hot weather during this time.

🍁 Autumn: This is one of the best times to visit the popular destinations on the coast, as the water's still warm and most of the crowds have gone. This is also a great time to visit Cappadocia and other inland destinations.

❄️ Winter: Fancy a ski trip? While the weather can get rather chilly, this is the perfect time to explore Turkey's ski destinations, such as Uludağ, Erciyes and Davraz. Istanbul is also a good option for a cosy winter city break.

The best food to try in Turkey

Food plays a major role in just about every Turkey holiday - and deservedly so! After all, food forms a large part of Turkish culture. Most Turkey holiday destinations will have a number of restaurants, cafes and street food vendors to choose from, so you'll be spoiled for choice. Here are some delicious dishes to look out for on your Turkey holiday:

  • Köfte: The Turkish take on the meatball, köfte consists of minced meat that's been rolled and then fried.

  • Pide: This is a tasty oval-shaped flatbread that comes with a range of different toppings.

  • Lahmacun: Often likened to a pizza, lahmacun is a round flatbread that's topped with a thin layer of minced meat.

  • Baklava: Sweet, decadent and definitely moreish, there are many types of baklava to try when in Turkey.

Find accommodation in Turkey

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The best things to do in Turkey

Turkey is a top destination when it comes to both early bird holidays and last-minute deals - no matter when you decide to book, there is always so much to see and do. That said, you may want to book some of the more popular attractions and activities in advance. Turkey is increasingly popular for family holidays, as it's considered to be an affordable destination, plus it's packed with water parks, kid-friendly resorts and theme parks.

Then there's the country's history. Many of Turkey's cities have ancient origins, and you can find historical ruins scattered throughout the countryside. This makes Turkey a must-visit for anyone that loves history.

Need some more inspiration? Here are our top nine things to do in Turkey.

Top things to do in Turkey

  1. Marvel at the Hagia Sophia

  2. Splurge on a sunrise hot air balloon ride in Cappadocia

  3. See the Topkapi Palace

  4. Pay a visit to ancient Ephesus

  5. Hike Mount Nemrut

  6. Take the Bosphorus cruise

  7. Bring your camera to the Pamukkale water terraces

  8. Soak in the splendour of the Basilica Cistern

  9. Spend a day at a Turkish hammam

Find things to do in Turkey

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