Nothing beats the excitement of visiting Turkey for the first time. From the beaches to the historic treasures and bustling bazaars, it’s guaranteed to impress. Here’s a guide on what you can expect with tips on must-see attractions.
The Turkish Riviera — otherwise known as the Turquoise Coast — is home to unspoilt beaches and luxury resorts. At the coastline of Dalaman, you’ll want to spend a day of sun worshipping at the Blue Lagoon. With its picture postcard setting, it’s considered one of the best beaches in Europe.
If you prefer a lively nightlife scene, Lara Beach in Antalya could be the perfect option. Aside from its hedonistic mix of bars and clubs, resorts are surprisingly affordable. As Turkey’s answer to Las Vegas, many of these are themed, including the popular Titanic-inspired hotel.
What better way to immerse yourself in Turkish culture than with a visit to its many festivals. The resort of Izmir promises an unforgettable beach holiday, but travel during May and you can enjoy the Selçuk-Ephesus Culture, Art and Tourism Festival. Admire the local traditions with live performances of theatre, folk dancing and singing.
Alternatively, visitors in December should make a stop at the town of Konyo for the festival of Whirling Dervishes. This 10-day event commemorates the death of 13thcentury poet and philosopher, Jalaluddin Rumi. It’s the best place to admire the spinning dancers as they strive for inner peace.
No trip to Turkey would be complete without a visit to the traditional markets. The Grand Bazaar in Istanbul is a great introduction. Home to over 5,000 shops, this is the capital’s largest. You’ll find everything from handcrafted rugs to meerschaum pipes and jewellery. The Spice Bazaar is also worth exploring, a historic market which dates back to 1660. Popular for its edible treats, it’s one of the best places in the city to sample Turkish Delight and other delicacies.
Sightseeing in Turkey
From natural wonders to ancient sites and religious relics, Turkey is a treasure trove waiting to be explored. A visit to Selçuk wouldn’t be complete without admiring the ancient city of Ephesus, home to some of the finest preserved Roman monuments in the world. From here, the Pamukkale Thermal Pools are within easy reach. These hot springs have calcium rich waters where you can take a dip for a small fee.
The peninsula of Bodrum is just as impressive. If you can drag yourself away from the beach, take a guided tour of the city’s attractions. Highlights include the Castle of St Peter, a restored amphitheatre and the towering Myndos Gate.
Combining the best of Eastern and Western influences, Turkey offers a memorable foodie experience. There’s something to suit all budgets from street-food to Michelin star cuisine. Dishes not to be missed include the Adana Kebab, meat dumplings known as Manti and Turkey’s answer to pizza — Pide. And that’s not forgetting the sweet treats such as the honey drenched Baklava.