Turkey is a fantastic travel destination with a wealth of gorgeous locations. From beautiful seaside beaches to buzzing cities or peaceful resorts set in idyllic surroundings, it really has it all. Add delicious cuisine into the mix and it’s the perfect travel destination!
To help inspire your next Turkish travel adventure, we’ve partnered with international visa bureau E-visa.co.uk to round up our favourite, must-visit destinations in Turkey.
Home to unique cave dwellings, which have been transformed into one-of-a-kind hotels, it’s a truly magical place and a feast for the eyes. If spending a night in a stylish cave isn’t one for your travel bucket list, we don’t know what is!
Key sights to see in Cappadoccia include the Goreme Open Air Museum, Zelve Open Air Museum, Derinkuyu and Gulludere (Rose) Valley.
For a selection of cave hotels to stay at in Cappadoccia visit, Booking.com.
With over 15 million inhabitants, this thriving metropolis is the fourth most populous city proper in the world by population. If you’ve ever strolled the streets at night, which are teeming with people going for a stroll, you can experience the action first hand.
Key sights to see in Istanbul include Hagia Sophia, Blue Mosque and Basilica Cistern.
During our visit we stayed at The Titanic Golden Horn, a stylish 5-star hotel only 10 minutes from the main attractions.
This seaside destination is perfect for those in search of sun, sea and relaxation. Think stunning turquoise waters fringed by pine trees and you get the idea. Beach lovers must visit Oludeniz, which is famous for its blue lagoon and the white sands of Belcekiz Beach. If you’re looking for a fabulous all-inclusive resort, we loved the Club & Hotel Letoonia, located on a wonderful, green peninsula in Fethiye.
During our visit, we stayed at the Castle Resort & Spa Hotel, an adults only boutique hotel with some of the best sandy beaches on the southwest coast.
Polat Thermal Hotel.
Top travel tips for Turkey – Things to know before you go
Did you know that tourists now require a visa to visit Turkey? Since 2018, visitors are no longer able to apply for an e-visa at the airport kiosks on arrival in the country. To make your trip as hassle-free as possible, purchase your e-visa Turkey online before you go, to avoid any issues when you arrive at your destination in Turkey.
The Turkish government advises that your passport should be valid for at least 6 months from the date you enter Turkey and that there is a full blank page for the entry and exit stamps.
The local currency is the Turkish lira. We recommend purchasing currency at your bank before you leave for ease.
Ready to visit Turkey? For more information visit, https://www.goturkeytourism.com/.
*This post was sponsored by E-visa.co.uk.
Marmaris has long enjoyed popularity with tourists, not only due to its warm climate but also because of its aesthetic appeal: think lapis-blue Aegean waters and a large, picture perfect harbour, circled by pine-forested hills.
The flip side of its popularity is that development hasn’t always been beneficial to the natural beauty of its surroundings, coupled with fierce competition between local providers, which can make an otherwise leisurely stroll down the coastal promenade feel a little overwhelming due to salespeople vying for your attention as they offer their services, whether these are coffee, cocktails, boat trips or water sports. Don’t be put off by this - most people will generally retreat in response to a simple smile and shake of the head - but equally, if you want accommodation that gives you plenty of scope to just soak up the scenery and enjoy the on-site amenities, then the curved elegance of the D-Resort Grand Azur ticks all of the boxes.
A luxurious retreat located near the stunning azure waters of the coast
Set sympathetically far enough away from the coastline that its build doesn’t loom over the beach, its rooms offer magnificent views of either sea or land, and feature cool white walls, high ceilings and private balconies.
For the most luxurious rooms, head for the fifth floor where you'll find rooms with vast beds covered in crisp white sheets, separate living areas, and decadent touches such as jacuzzi tubs and wooden-floored wet room showers.
Unusually for a resorts in this area, you’re given the option of a number of accommodation packages, ranging from B+B to full board, which encourages guests to venture out and explore local restaurants. That being said, the wide range of Turkish and Mediterranean options available in the hotel’s main restaurant make it perfectly possible (not to mention tempting) to avoid the hustle and bustle and feast yourself silly at the hotel.
The hotel has four on-site dining options:
Palmiye, a buffet restaurant offering Turkish and international cuisines and live music
Steak & Bar, a steak restaurant
The Pool Bar, which serves an a la carte snack menu throughout the day
The Beach Bar, which is situated at the Blue Flagged Beach and serves an a la carte snack menu throughout the day
Sink your teeth into a sirloin at the Steak & Bar restaurant
On the fifth floor, you'll find the Steak + Bar restaurant, which is worth a visit on at least one night of your stay. Start the evening enjoying an expertly crafted cocktail on the broad terrace and then head inside to enjoy the spectacle of a sky and sea blushed pink by sunset.
The namesake steaks are sublime. Choose from a variety of cuts and ages, and ensure you accompany your steak with a fabulous wine from the extensive wine list, which features grapes especially selected to complement the steaks including Kav by Doluca Wines, a locally produced red wine that's dangerously quafable.
Activities at D-Resort
There are plenty of activities to keep you occupied at D-Resort, but if you want to take a lazier approach to your holiday, the range and standard of amenities at the D-Resort makes it perfectly feasible, not to mention totally, indulgently wonderful, for you to have as much time luxuriating in peace as you choose.
As well as the indoor and outdoor pools, plentiful beach sun loungers and quality gym facilities, there’s a sauna, steam room and ice room, plus a comprehensive menu of spa and wellness treatments.
Treat yourself to a Turkish Bath
The Turkish Bath is not to be missed. During this treatment, which occurs in an octagonal room tiled in cool green and grey, guests lie on a warm marble slab while gazing at lights twinkling like stars in the domed ceiling above, while being vigorously scrubbed head to toe with salt, massaged with scented oil and having warm (and sometimes cold) bowls of water sloshed all over their bodies.
Venturing further afield
Further afield from the resort, you’ll find the marina with its floating bling - the perfect place for an evening stroll and a drink. If you're looking for reasonably priced gifts to take home, visit the bazaar, where you'll find a range of Turkish delights, ranging from the eponymous confection to hand-painted ceramics and exotic textiles.
Boat tours in Marmaris
If you're the type who wants to avoid a tourist-rammed boat trip MedSea Yachts is your 'go-to' private yacht charter company. Manned with a captain, chef and crew, this private charter company provides its customers with a few blissful days of sailing around the southwestern area of Turkey.
Their two gulets (traditional Turkish wooden sailing boats) are both marvellously well appointed, with comfortable and surprisingly large bedrooms (6 on one of their vessels, 8 on the other) and a sun-deck up top, adorned with sun loungers on which you’ll be helpless to do anything but flop.
Revive yourself by diving off the side of the boat into the marvellously blue waters - snorkelling and canoeing equipment are available on board - or, alternatively, make the most of the captain’s knowledge of the little-known areas at which you’ll stop to explore. And if chartering the whole vessel is slightly beyond your reach, you still have the option to charter a cabin and be part of a larger group. Either way, it's 100 times more luxe than the 400-person capacity pirate party boat with its banging tunes and foam party, which you may see (and hear) exiting the harbour!
Home of shadow plays and the 'real' kebab...
Just thinking about Turkish food makes my mouth water. It’s the perfect blend between East and West where a healthy Mediterranean diet of olive oil, fresh fruit, salads and vegetables meets the tangy spices of Arabia. Add lamb or beef, seafood or fish, not to mention a great variety of delicious soups, and you can eat something different every day for weeks.
One Turkish dish that has achieved international reputation is kebabs, but you haven't really experienced a quality kebab until you have had one in Bursa, the birthplace of the Iskender kebab and home of shadow plays.
Bursa is a large city in NW Anatolia within the Marmara Sea region. Between 1335 and 1363 it was the first capital of the Ottoman Empire and many buildings, mosques and tombs remain from that period. Where the dominant color in Istanbul is blue (Blue Mosque), it’s green for Bursa (Green Mosque) and that doesn’t only refer to the buildings but to the many parks too.
Famous for its silk production and excellent gold smiths, Bursa was and is a wealthy city. Majestic Mount Uludag offers ski resorts in winter, hiking in the summer. The nearby beach resort of Mudanya and the thermal springs of Yalova bring even more variety to a stay in Bursa.
Eating in Bursa - The Iskender kebab
Bursa chef Iskender, or rather Yavuz Iskenderoglu, is the famous great grandson of Iskender Efendi who invented his special delicacy in his restaurant in Bursa in 1867.He had the idea to stand the spit on its head and rotate the finely sliced lamb vertically and by hand rather then horizontally over the charcoal fire. The result is that the fat that melts from the meat doesn’t drip into the fire but smoothly covers the slices and enhances the flavor.
His kebab consist of smaller and larger pieces of meat which, when ready, are finally sliced off with a serrated knife and placed on a bed of pitta bread. It’s then covered with a spicy, hot tomato sauce, slathered with melted butter and yogurt, served with grilled tomato and egg plant.
Bursa’s Iskender kebabs are a far cry from the often found fast food variety. People in the restaurant, which is still run by the family, sit down to enjoy their kebab. No eating on the with Mt. Yavuz and definitely no electric grill. Tradition and quality are what count for him. There is no other dish on the menu, you choose only by size of the portion you want according to how hungry you are.
In one corner of the restaurant you find a little museum and you might have to queue because there aren’t many tables. But it’s well worth the wait. Prices are according to size between €10 and €15 and a smaller portion for kids is available.
Satisfy your sweet tooth with candied chestnuts
If after enjoying an Iskender kebab you still find room in your stomach, you must try another Bursa specialty: candied chestnuts. Sometimes they are sold lose, but more often they come in boxes which also make a nice gift. The flavor and texture is comparable to marzipan but not as sweet.
Enjoy some Turkish shadow theatre
Visiting bazaars and souvenir shops anywhere in Turkey, you are bound to have come across two colorful and expressive shadow figures - Karagoz and Hacivat the central puppets of the famous Turkish shadow theatre.
Karagoz and Hacivat were construction workers in the mid 14th century who entertained their fellow workers with pranks and plays. Unfortunately, they distracted them so much that the building of the mosque was delayed and the sultan finally lost his patience and had them executed. However, they were not forgotten and countless plays evolved around them , which are still performed by specialist puppeteers to this day.
So, if you're looking for an alternative to the usual route of Istanbul, Cappadocia or the beach resorts, head for Bursa and get a kebab education!
For more information on Bursa or Turkey visit:
Go To Turkey
UK Foreign Travel Advice
Recommended hotels in Bursa, Turkey:
Hampton by Hilton, Bursa
Hilton Bursa Convention Centre and Spa
Sheraton Bursa Hotel
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We've rounded our favourite places to inspire your visit to Turkey.