With over 5,000 miles of glistening coastline and scenic landscapes dusted with lush green mountain peaks it isn’t difficult to see why 28 million holidaymakers visited Turkey in 2010. Situated at the crosspoint of Europe and Asia, Turkey’s Aegean and Mediterranean coastlines boast lengthy hot summers and mild winters, all within a flight time of under four hours. Turkey has seen a colossal surge of tourism since 2000, when just 8 million tourists checked in, now, it is in the top ten holiday destinations in the world.
So how has Turkey become such a popular holiday destination? The scorching weather plays a significant part; during July and August the sun can shine well into the evening and warm weather can last from early spring to late autumn. Also, holidaymakers find that modern tourism in Turkey blends the comforting familiarity with ancient Turkish traditions, creating a comfortable, relaxed vibe.
Turkey is not part of the Euro zone, consequently prices are significantly cheaper than Greece or Spain. A pint of beer costs approximately 4TL, a mere £1.36, whilst an average meal will set you back around 10TL, roughly £3.40*
Resting on the south-west coast, Turkey’s Dalaman region sees sublime weather for over half of the year and is a family favourite. It has its own airport and offers something for everyone, from ancient remains to family attractions.
In the heart of it all is the alluring bay of Olu Deniz, which lies between the harbour market town of Fethiye and the lively resort of Hisaronü. Olu Deniz is low key but delightfully chilled and perfectly positioned for any activities you could wish to do. Home to Turkey’s most famous beach, its stunning lagoon is bordered by a striking backdrop of pine-clad hills, protected by the Turkish Government there is a small fee to enter the lagoon but it is worth it and if you don’t want to pay, the main beach is free of charge.
Getting around Olu Deniz and the surrounding areas couldn’t be more straightforward; the local bus service, known as the Dolmus operates throughout the district and costs roughly 1.5TL* (70p) per one-way journey, per person. Though they can be overcrowded they are cheap, convenient and can be flagged down anywhere along the route.
Tucked away in an ample bay Fethiye is an old market town, just ten-minutes on the Dolmus from Olu Deniz, it is a fantastic holiday destination in its own right. Fethiye is full of traditional Turkish charm and a visit to the bazaars is essential, you will find souvenirs and leather goods aplenty.
The 12-island boat tours are often praised, the day trip usually stops off at six islands (allowing you to swim in the clear seas) and cruises by the others, as well as providing a barbecue lunch on board. Tuesday is market day in Fethiye, tents are crammed with stalls selling fruit, Turkish delight, spices and other local delicacies as well as leather goods, rugs, clothes and jewellery. Expect some hassle from stall-holders but a friendly hello in return will usually suffice, after a morning shopping head to one of the many restaurants along the harbour for a spot of lunch.
Turkish people are extremely passionate for their country and have a reputation for being hospitable, you may receive free apple tea and friendly chat when you enter a shop, though some of course want to sell. Turkey is considered one of the safest countries in the world, whilst it isn’t advisable for women to wander alone, Interpol ranked Turkey as one of the safest holiday destinations in Europe.
With over 300 blue flag beaches, hidden coves dotted all over and a landscape smothered with archaeological sites, it is no coincidence that Turkey appeals to such a variety of holidaymakers. There is such a vast amount of diversely fascinating places to visit within Turkey and so many historical empires and legacies to explore that there is always more to discover. Just ask anyone who returns to Turkey year after year.