GMT + 2 hours
Iconic cities and magical coastal scenery
Delve into 2,000 years of history in Istanbul, Antalya and Side, with well-preserved Roman ruins comprising Perge and the Temple of Artemis. Istanbul, a symbol of the Byzantine and Ottoman Empires, includes the original Christian Ayasofya and is now a fusion of art galleries and stylish bars sitting multifariously with minarets and ancient bazaars all on the cusp of Asia and Europe.
Best time to visit
April to May and September to October are good times for sightseeing in Istanbul, as days are warm but not too hot. The coastal areas have a Mediterranean climate, with June-September being the most popular season for beach holidays.
AEGEAN COAST - BODRUM & TURGUTREIS
Labelled the ‘Land of the Eternal Blue’ by Homer, Bodrum has had famous fans since the days of Cleopatra and Mark Anthony. Warm turquoise waters are a heavenly swimming arena, with a seabed brimming with marine life and shipwrecks. Snooze on Blue Flag beaches, windsurf, sail, canoe and travel inland amongst bougainvillea to see the Temple of Artemis, one of the Seven Wonders of the Ancient World.
Head to cobbled paths of Bodrum Marina to experience the resort’s ancient history, where you will find the Caste of the Knights of St. John, sip on a strong cup of Turkish coffee in one of many waterfront cafés or practice your bartering skills in a variety of small shops, selling leather goods, silver and clothing.
Tourism plays a large part in Bodrum’s economy, so there is always something available to keep you entertained in this vibrant resort. Turgutreis is one of Turkey’s last remaining unspoilt resorts, situated on the Bodrum peninsula. Picturesque and natural, the old village is a popular spot with bars, cafés and a string of shops.
TURQUOISE COAST - SARIGERME, FETHIYE & OLU DENIZ
For a true beach escape, the creamy sands of Sarigerme lie close enough to explore Dalyan, home to 4x4 safaris, paragliding and sea kayaking. Indulge in mud baths and the healing powers of the Sulaniye Thermal Waters.
The modern resort of Fethiye is famous for its Lycian rock-face tombs, Roman amphitheatre and ruined mountain fort.
Visit the cobbled old town and gaze into the sea at the harbourfront as you savour some of the region’s finest seafood. Olu Deniz’ sublime bay is home to exquisite and secluded Butterfly beach, only accessible by boat, and in Belek, surrender to Pamukkale’s thermal baths, finding respite under the refreshing Manavgat waterfalls.
MEDITERRANEAN COAST - ANTALYA, BELEK & SIDE
The palm-lined boulevards of Antalya carry travellers past ancient city walls, whilst in Belek, situated on the Turkish Riviera enjoys Blue Flag beaches, unrivalled golf courses and an enchanting ancient history in the city of Perge. In Side, long beaches and high-octane watersports compete for the attention of sun-worshippers previously drawn by the long-ruined Temple of Apollo.