Intriguing history, beautiful beaches and exciting cities
Straddling the Bosphorus Strait - a thin channel of water that connects the Black Sea to the Sea of Marmara - Turkey is a cultural crossroads between the European and Asian continents, with significant historical links between ancient civilisations and the modern world. Under its former guise of Constantinople, the city of Istanbul was practically a byword for all that is exciting and exotic. This huge cultural melting pot is still a thrilling place to be, with a fascinating blend of ancient ruins, bustling traditional marketplaces and 21st century nightlife. Turkey’s dramatic coastline has become a regular feature of holiday brochures thanks to the abundance of beautiful beaches, warm shallow waters and affordable family resorts. All over Turkey, the remains of ancient civilisations can be found in spell-binding places such as Ephesus, the Temple of Augustus and the remains of the ancient city of Troy.
Holidays in Turkey are an excellent choice for a summer beach break, offering a good alternative to holidays in Spain and Portugal. Take a fantastic gulet cruise around the scenic Turkish coastline or visit the huge cultural capital of Istanbul for some amazing historic sites and cultural attractions.
When to Go?
Spring is one of the best times to visit Turkey as the main summer tourist rush has yet to start, although there can be some rain in April. The summer is the most popular time to go to Turkish beach resorts, when it is generally hot and dry but also busy. September and October are mild but the days start to get shorter by then so there are fewer hours of sunshine.
How to get there?
There are no direct flights to the Turkish capital Ankara, but there are still plenty of flights to Turkey from the UK, most heading to resort destinations such as Antalya (AYT), Bodrum (BJV), Izmir (ADB) and Dalaman (DLM), with charter companies Thomson and Thomas Cook. Flights to Istanbul Sabiha Gokcen (SAW) are operated by easyJet from Gatwick and Luton airports, while flights to Istanbul Ataturk International (IST) are available with BA and Turkish Airlines.
Turkey is awash with historical sites, the most famous of which is the ancient Greek city of Ephesus, located in the modern Izmir province of Turkey. This intriguing archaeological site comprises ruined structures from several periods of ancient history including classical Greek and Roman times. The gorgeous Oludeniz beach in the southwest of Turkey is a fabulous curve of soft, pale sand located next to a beautiful blue lagoon. Istanbul is an enormous sprawling mass of awe-inspiring history and culture with a vibrant nightlife of seemingly endless bars, cafés, restaurants, theatres and nightclubs.