Turkey

When you think of Turkey, you immediately think of Istanbul – a city steeped in history full of fabulous palaces and ancient churches surrounded by an increasingly cosmopolitan population.

The most visited region is its Aegean coast which possesses some of the most spectacular of Turkey’s Roman and Greek archaeological sites such as those at Bergama and Ephesus. It is also known for its stunning coastal scenery, long sandy beaches, pine trees and extensive olive groves. Thousands of tourist flock each year to the popular resorts of Bodrum and Kusadasi. The city of Izmir is the capital of the region and a major port with excellent hotels and restaurants. For something quieter there is the beautiful family resort of Altinkum.

Turkey’s Mediterranean coastline is renowned for its magnificent scenery with picturesque coves and rocky headlands, turquoise waters, golden beaches and pine forests. Where the Aegean meets the Mediterranean is the beginning of the Turquoise Coast, dominated by the mountains of the Taurus range whose cliffs plunge into the sea creating a stunning backdrop to resorts such as Fethiye and Marmaris.

Further along the Mediterranean coast resorts such as Antalya, Alanya, Belek, Kemer and Side lure holidaymakers to their shores each year offering many opportunities for sunbathing, swimming and numerous water sports.

But there is more to Turkey than just a stunning coastline. Inland the geography varies enormously. The calcium-rich mineral springs that surge over the edge of a mountain plateau at Pamukkale form Turkey's leading mineral spa. Further north, around Bursa and along the Black Sea Coast, the high ranges are home to Turkey's best ski resorts. In the centre of the country, Konya (home of the whirling Dervishes) is surrounded by a vast fertile plain and the bizarre rock formations of Cappadocia.

To the east, the arid semi-desert of the regions along the Syrian and Iraqi borders contrast with the lush greenery around Lake Van and the thickly forested mountains to the north.

The currency in Turkey is the New Turkish Lira. Cash can usually be exchanged commission free in currency exchange offices (döviz bürosu). With regards to credit cards, Visa is the most popular, closely followed by MasterCard. American Express is accepted in top-flight hotels, restaurants and some gift shops and ATMs are widely found in most areas.

 

Alanya

Introduction

Alanya is found on Turkey’s Mediterranean coast. Tourists are drawn by its warm sea, miles of beaches and history. It lies at one end of a rocky promontory which juts out into the Mediterranean between two long sandy beaches with the Taurus Mountains providing a breathtaking backdrop.

The south of the town is the most tourist-orientated, with the harbour as the hub of the activity especially after dark.

A 13th century Seljuk fortress crowns the headland with 150 towers punctuating the walls of the well- preserved, double walled citadel. Within the outer walls are ruins of mosques, a caravanserai and a covered bazaar; in the inner walls are a ruined cistern and a Byzantine church.

Below the fortress are sea caves and grottoes including the famous, Damlatas or "Cape of Dripping Stones.” The beautiful cave has a host of impressive stalactites and stalagmites with a moist warm atmosphere said to benefit asthma sufferers.

As well as its cultural and historical sights, Alanya has an unbeatable beach life. Beautiful sandy Cleopatra beach lies to the west of the resort while the fine sands of Alanya beach stretch to the east. A good range of water-sports are available too.

See & Do

Alanya offers a mix of activities to its visitors. Listed below are a few of things you can see and do during your stay:

·         Old Harbour

·         Damlatas Caves

·         Alanya Castle

·         Red Tower (Kizil Kule)

·         Seljuk Village

·         Dim Cave

·         Dim Valley

·         Cleopatra Beach

·         Keykuba Beach

·         Swimming

·         Water Planet (water park)

·         Golf

·         Mountain biking

·         Bungee jumping

·         River Rafting

·         Diving

·         Fosforlu Madarasi  (Phosphorescent Cave)

·         Apiklar Madarasi (Lovers’ Cave)

·         Korsanlar Madarasi (Pirates’ Cave)

·         Alanya Museum

·         Seljuk Dockyard

 

Shopping

Alanya offers some excellent jewellery stores, as well as leather goods and clothing stores, a local market, and the usual tourist souvenirs. The items to look out for include copper work, jewellery, carpets, Turkish textiles, handbags, souvenirs and artefacts. The special attraction of Alanya is however painted gourds.

Food & Drink

Alanya has a large range of restaurants, catering for a variety of tastes, from traditional Turkish food to McDonalds.

Some favourites include Memos, serving traditional Turkish dishes such as a delicious Ottoman stew, and Big Ben's for more English-style breakfasts and Sunday roasts. But if you want to sample traditional Turkish fare try a kebab or mezze platter, followed by a cold Efes beer for an authentic Turkish experience.

Here are a few of the best restaurants in the town you might like to try:

·         Adanus Restaurant and Café Bar

·         Mahperi Restaurant

·         Sidar restaurant

·         Yakamoz Restaurant Bar

·         The Marina Restaurant

·         Aksoy Restaurant

·         Crazy Horse Bar & Latin Food

·         Han Restaurant

·         Ravza

 

Entertainment

If you are looking for nightlife in Alanya, head for the harbour. Most of the clubs and bars are located here although there are some (mainly frequented by locals) tucked away down side streets.

Many of the clubs close relatively early, but a free shuttle bus ferries serious partiers to Auditorium, an enormous venue that stays open until the wee hours and is away from the town centre.

Here are a few favourites you might like to try:

·         James Dean Bar

·         Robin Hood

·         Bistro Bellman

Excursions

If you want to venture further afield to see what else this part of Turkey has to offer, below are a few suggestions you might like to try:

·         Safari into the Taurus Mountains

·         Syedra Ruins

·         Dimcay River

·         Dalamatas Caves

·         Water Planet (water park)

·         Banana plantation

·         Citrus orchards

 

Health & Safety

It is not advisable to drink the tap water in Alanya, bottled water is widely available. The area is relatively crime free but you should exercise the usual precautions with your valuables especially when in crowded areas.

 

 

 

 

Altinkum

Introduction

Altinkum is on Turkey’s Aegean coast. Like its neighbours, Bodrum and Kusadasi, Altinkum is largely frequented by British holidaymakers. But, unlike the other two, Altinkum is quieter and therefore perfect for families looking for a relaxing beach holiday.

Altinkum’s main attractions are its three long sandy beaches that stretch from the small harbour at one end of a gently shelving bay to a rocky cliff at the other end.

The main order of the day here is lazy days on the beach and a few water sports. During the evening you can relax in one of the many restaurants and bars, many of which serve up British fare.

But if you also want to see but more of Turkey’s history, Altinkum is perfectly placed to visit the two major ancient sites, the Temple of Apollo at Didyama and the vast Roman ruins at Ephesus.

See & Do

The main focus of Altinkum is the beach and water sports. However there are several other things to keep you occupied during your stay once you’ve had enough of sun, sea and sand.

·         Beaches

·         Pedalos

·         Banana Boat Rides

·         Donut Rides

·         Boat trips

·         Diving

·         Fishing

·         Wind Surfing

·         Water Skiing

·         Apollo Temple

·         Ephesus

·         Jeep safari

·         Altinkum Water Park

·         Turkish Bath

·         Lake Bafa

·         Horse Riding

Shopping

In the town itself, most of the shopping happens along the pedestrianised seafront which abounds with souvenir shops, jewellery stores and boutiques selling designer copies.

Further into town is Dolphin Square and there is a modern shopping complex called the Didyma Shopping Mall not far away if you need more shops. For those on self-catering breaks, all the provisions you need can be found in one of the two Supermarkets, Gima and Migros.

If you enjoy haggling with the locals, there is a large weekly market held on Saturdays.

If all of that is still not enough for you, a thirty minute drive along the Kusadasi road will bring you to an out of town outlet shopping centre offering plenty of bargains.

Food & Drink

Altinkum is bursting with good restaurants serving most forms of international cuisine, although Turkish and English predominates. Therefore you can be sure you’ll find something to everyone’s taste.

Here are a few restaurants you might like to try:

·         Barney’s restaurant

·         Bulvar Bar

·         Ephesus Restaurant

·         Ikbals

·         Mayflower Armadios Restaurant and Café Bar

·         Mercy Restaurant

·         Palmiye Restaurant

·         Ali Babas

·         The Grand Restaurant

 

Entertainment

While Altinkum is not as rowdy as the major Turkish resorts, those who wish to indulge will find plenty of nightlife centred mainly in Dolphin Square and in the bars along the sea front promenade.

You will find everything from disco dancing and karaoke to belly-dancing and bingo.

Here are a few hot spots you might like to try:

·         Ege Bar

·         Medusa Night Club (open air)

·         Ignite Bar

·         Parasol Bar

 

Excursions

Although there are many things to see and do in Altinkum, you may want to venture further afield to see more of what this part of Turkey has to offer.

Here is a selection of places to visit:

·         Ephesus

·         Pamukkale Spas

·         Adaland Aqua Park, Kusadasi

·         Bodrum

·         Bodrum castle

·         Izmir

·         Kuasdasi

·         Cesme

·         5 Island boat trip

Health & Safety

It is not advisable to drink the tap water in Altinkum, bottled water is widely available. The area is relatively crime free but you should exercise the usual precautions with your valuables especially when in crowded areas.

 

 

 

 

 

Antalya

Introduction

Antalya is the fourth largest city in Turkey and the main city on the Mediterranean coast in a crescent shaped bay surrounded by the Taurus Mountains. Its popularity as a holiday destination is in part due to its attractive harbour setting and the picturesque old quarter of Kaleiçi.  Enclosed within ancient Roman walls, it is a fantastic maze of steep narrow streets lined with ancient buildings and shops and is dominated by the Yivli Minaret.

To the west of the old city is a shingle beach with plenty of restaurants, cafes, shops and snack bars. If you want a beach with sand you will have to head 7 miles out of town to Büyük Calticak and Kuçuk Calticak. Slightly further afield are places such as Phaselis, with its   ancient city and golden sand, or Belek's white sand beaches.

Referred to as the Turkish Riviera, the Antalya shoreline boasts secluded coves, ancient cities and harbours, seaside towns, sparkling seas and majestic cliffs. The city provides an excellent base for exploring the small towns nearby, as well as caves, waterfalls and Roman ruins, including Perge and the mountain-top remains of Termessos

See & Do

Antalya has a huge amount to offer holidaymakers. Listed below are just a few of the attractions to see and do during your stay:

·         Yivli Minaret

·         Archaeological Museum

·         Volleyball

·         Canoeing

·         Beach

·         Light House

·         Aqualand (near Konyaalti)

·         Aquapark (Lara)

·         Water sports

·         Mountain biking

·         Bungee Jumping

·         Karaoglanoglu Park

·         Kaleici (old Antalya)

·         Clock Tower

·         Kesik Minare

·         Hadrianus Gate

·         Caves of Antalya

·         Golf

·         Rafting

 

Shopping

Antalya has everything you could want to buy - from designer leather to antique carpets, spices and Turkish delight to fake Rolex and jazzy glass lanterns.

The whole of the old city is one huge shopping mall, but away from here are the huge modern Migros Shopping Mall and the Deepo Outlet Center, while out near the airport are several huge jewellery and carpet emporia.

In Antalya textiles, cotton clothing, traditional pottery and wood carvings, ornate meerschaum pipes, carpets, prayer rugs, gold and copper work, leather goods and souvenirs, local jams and jellies made from a variety of fruits and vegetables are very popular.

Haggling is expected and bargains can be had. Roadside stalls, bazaars and also markets usually sell their goods until midnight.

Food & Drink

Antalya offers every sort of food and cuisine imaginable – from a back street doner kebab to a gourmet meal.  Although the waterfront offers stunning views, probably the best restaurants are found further up the hill in Kaleiçi in some of the many restored Ottoman mansions.

There are numerous restaurants in Antalya, but listed below are some of the best that you might like to try:

·         Yali Fish Restaurant

·         Turku Bar

·         Kismet Balikcisi

·         Develi Restaurant

·         Coco Bar

·         China Garden Restaurant

·         Balik Evi

·         Kirk Merdiven

·         Antalya Harbour Café

·         Club 29 Antalya

 

If you want to go native, here are some of the regional specialities you should look out for:

·         Sac kavurma (meat)

·         Tandır kebab (meat)

·         Kolle (cooked by mixing different types of corn and fruit sprinkles – sugar added),

·         Tomato cive (cooked with tomato and wheat),

·         Hibes (halvah)

Tea is the most popular drink with Turkish coffee being served after meals.  The most famous alcoholic drink is raki (usually mixed with water) although beer is also widely available, especially Efes Pilsen and Tuborg.  

 

Entertainment

Antalya offers a very colourful nightlife. Why not start your evening along the Konyaalti waterfront. If you enjoy cocktails try the terrace bars in one of the five-star hotels along the waterfront. For a beer or something less formal, head to the smaller bars around the harbour front in Kaleiçi.

This is also the area for clubs. They generally start late and continue through to the early hours. Here are some of the names to look out for:

·         Ally’s

·         Inferno

·         Club 29

·         Jolly Joker

·         Club Arma

Excursions

Although Antalya offers many things to see and do, you may want to spread your wings a little and explore what the area has to offer. Below are just a few of the highlights waiting for you:

·         Perge

·         Aspendos

·         Side

·         Damalatas Caves

·         Duden Waterfall

·         Termessos

·         Olympos & the Fire of Chimaera

·         Manavgat Waterfall

·         Beldibi Cave

 

Health & Safety

It is not advisable to drink the tap water in Antalya, bottled water is widely available. The area is relatively crime free but you should exercise the usual precautions with your valuables especially when in crowded areas. 

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