Summer Holiday Guide: Turkey

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When people think of venturing outside of mainland Europe I guess that the US, Africa and Asia spring to mind however with Turkey only 4 hours from most U.K. airports it really is an easy and amazing place to visit.

Istanbul

Being the capital you can expect a bustling and vibrant atmosphere with lots to see however Istanbul is also a place of tranquility with many years of history and a strong culture.

Where To Stay

Bookings.com has a great selection of hotels on all sides of the river.  Istanbul is separated into 2 sides, the Europe side and the Asian side. I’d recommend staying on the Europe side as it’s close to all the main hot spots, easy public transport (5.40tl ~ £1.50 from the Airport to centre) and its where the Grand Bazaar is located.

What To See

There are plenty of Mosques to see in all 4 corners of the city. We downloaded GPS my city and it came up with loads of free walking tours and ideas to keep you busy all day and night. I’d recommend the Grand Bazaar and sunset on the Asian side anywhere along the Üsküder Harem Sahil Yolu (essentially a sea front road with amazing views of the city).

What To Do

Shopping is cheap and plentiful. Nuts, spices, bags, clothes, coffee, you name it – they have it. I took 1 suitcase and came back with 2. Trust me.. it’s worth the £35 with Easy jet!

Hints & Tips.

Being a Muslim country it was hard to find a place to drink so if you fancy a cheeky beer then best place I found was the shops around the Marmaray Sirkeci Istasyonu station. The corner shops have them for 7tl a bottle.

We also found ourselves rather zonked out after 2 days of shopping, walking and exploring the city so we googled ‘Roof top pools’ and found a great selection of places to go and chill for the day.

Note. Some cost but others you just have to buy food and drink from their restaurant. 

Capadoccia

Nestled right in the middle of Turkey is an ancient city with hidden caves, quirky volcanic chimneys and one of the worlds most incredible experiences. Ballooning.

Where To Stay

In a cave. Sounds strange but this place is famous for its hotels build into the earth. Varied prices separate out the basic packages and the full caveman experience but 1 thing is for sure.. you’ll get a great nights sleep with complete darkness!

What To See

Cappadocia is a small place so if you can hire a car then you’ll be able to explore the many world heritage sites, pixie chimneys and incredible view points that it has to offer. We managed 8 points in 4 hours with our own car.

What To Do

Sunrise Balloon trip. Hands down the best experience of our lives.  You pay around £80-£100 per person however it includes, pick up from the hotel, breakfast, the balloon ride, drinks after and a lift home. We used www.hotairballooncappadocia.com – they were amazing and certainly took care of us from start to finish!
Note: The balloons go at sunrise so be prepared for a 3:30am call time!

Hints And Tips

Flying into Kayseri and then hiring a car was the easiest way to get there. We used Garenta who are local and way cheaper than the bigger companies.

Fethiye

The Turkish south coast is filled with beautiful beaches, crystal clear waters and scorching weather.  It’s a touristy place to be during summer however there are a few places just off the beaten track that can lead to a perfect holiday without the hustle and bustle of the rest of the world.

Where To Stay

We rented a villa just outside in Seydikemer, which is around 15 mins drive to Fethiye.  We used Owners direct and found it to be great value but also have a personal touch. The villa had a guide book with lots of restaurants, activities, day trips and things to buy from the local town along with a phrase page which helped, ALOT.

What To See

Being slightly inland we found a bunch of different places to go and visit.  We found a gorge called Saklikent (it’s actually the worlds deepest gorge) which you can walk up for just 6tl (£1.60) then afterwards enjoy a drink on the edge of the fast flowing river that emerges from it.
We also found a series of Trout farms that populate the area. One particular one called ‘Yaka park’ has a fresh plunge pool which if you can withstand the freezing temperatures for 15 mins then you can win a free meal!

What To Do

Being a coastal town, it would be rude not to take advantage of the beautiful sea that hugs the south coast. It’s calm, almost Evian standard water is absolutely stunning to take in as you sit on the harbours edge and drink Turkish tea!
If you want a real captain sparrow day out then enquire with one of the many boat trips that take you out for the day.
Most include Lunch, drinks and 4/5 stops where you can snorkel, dive, sunbathe, fish and play tunes deep into the afternoon.
We used a wonderful man called Captain Tom. For around 700tl (£150) which included all of the above, many a beer and a tip! Another belter of a day! +90 (532) 766 94 01 Give him a call if you fancy a trip!

Hints & Tips

Turkish baths or Hamen are the best bath you’ll ever get! Great to do before your holiday and then just before you leave as it will ensure your tan lasts longer and you feel bloody Fantastic!
There are many Turkish baths around but we found a local one for pretty cheap, 60tl (£13) which was also mixed. It’s called The Old Turkish Bath.

 

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