The Ultimate Travel Guide to Turkey
Exciting cities, sunny beaches, friendly people, famous archaeological sites, and stunning landscapes are just a few of the reasons Turkey is one of the world's most popular holiday destinations. If you are planning a visit, we have created guides to some of Turkey's best places to go, as well as food, festivals, activities, practical information, and much more. Click on the links below to begin your Turkish adventure.
Antalya, on the Turkish Riviera, is one of Turkey's biggest cities. During a holiday in Antalya, you can combine superb Mediterranean beaches, stays in world-class luxury resorts, a round or two on excellent golf courses, and sightseeing trips to some of the most spectacular ancient sites in the country, including Aspendos and Perge. Antalya also has a historic Old Town, fun theme parks, and a fantastic aquarium.
Turkey has long been a crossroads between East and West, and many great empires have come and gone, leaving their mark on the country. History lovers can have a dream holiday in Turkey, as wherever you go — Ephesus, Troy, and Pergamon among the most famous — there are ancient sites to explore.
Find out about our favourite archaeological sites in Turkey.
Best time to visit Turkey
Whether you want to visit for activities or festivals, go sightseeing on a city break, or laze on the beach, there's always a reason to visit Turkey, whatever the time of year. To help you plan your Turkish holiday, this guide looks at what climatic conditions to expect in some of the most popular destinations in the country throughout the year.
So, when is the best time to visit Turkey?
Bodrum has a beautiful setting in the southwest corner of Turkey. It attracts a wide range of holidaymakers, including those heading out on yachts and gulets, as well as those staying in local beach holiday favourite destinations like Gümbet. It also has historic sites to explore like Bodrum Castle and the ancient Greek city of Halicarnassus.
We tell you about the best things to see and do in Bodrum.
The unique landscape of Cappadocia in central Turkey is full of geological wonders. Within the UNESCO World Heritage Site of Göreme National Park, you can gaze up at fairy chimneys and colourful rock formations, then head underground to explore entire subterranean settlements that include churches with stunning frescoes. Round off your trip by taking in the scenery on a hot-air balloon flight.
Festivals and celebrations
Throughout the year, Turkey hosts a wide range of events, including religious holidays, celebrations of the coming of spring, unique sporting contests, and festivals of the arts. Our guide focuses on some of our favourite events across Turkey in 2022.
Food and drink
Turkey is one of best culinary destinations in the world thanks to its abundance of fresh, seasonal ingredients, and diverse cultural influences, all of which have helped create an incredible variety of dishes that have emanated from every region of the country. We outline some of our favourite dishes, including breakfast, meze, soups, desserts, and drinks.
Find out more in our guide to what to eat and drink in Turkey.
Taking a gulet cruise along Turkey's Turquoise Coast is an idyllic way to travel. The famous Blue Voyage route attracts thousands of visitors, who sail on a gulet between resorts such as Bodrum, Fethiye, and Marmaris, stopping off to swim in secluded bays that are surrounded by tree-covered hills, and going ashore to explore historic sites — or just chilling out on deck and soaking up the sunshine.
Straddling Europe and Asia, Turkey's largest city offers visitors a beguiling mix of ancient and modern sights. There are beautiful mosques like the Hagia Sophia, fascinating imperial buildings such as the Topkapi Palace, bustling shopping destinations including the Grand Bazaar, atmospheric districts to lose yourself in, and, of course, boat trips on the mighty Bosphorus.
Click here for our guide to what to see in Istanbul.
The Aegean resort of Kuşadasi, on Turkey's west coast, is popular for its many kilometres of beaches, as well as lively nightlife. It is also surrounded by many excellent day-trip opportunities, such as the ancient city of Ephesus, and the beautiful Dilek Peninsula National Park. You can also pop across to the Greek island of Samos on the ferry.
The busy resort of Marmaris is known as a package holiday destination. It offers plenty of choice when it comes to nightlife, beaches, and watersports such as scuba diving, and it is also home to several water parks. Day-trip options include boat tours around the stunning coast nearby, and ferry trips across to Rhodes.
Read up on our tips for Marmaris holidays.
Turkey's beautiful scenery makes it a perfect place for outdoor adventures. There are long-distance hiking routes to follow, mountain-biking trails, and horse-riding tours, and along the way you'll discover stunning national parks, historic sites, and hidden villages. Turkey's climate means the country has a long watersports season, and it's a fantastic destination for scuba diving, kayaking, windsurfing, and much more.
This guide gives the lowdown on practical information for visitors to Turkey, including currency, language, customs, visas, and safety. This includes what laws to avoid breaking, the best ways to pay for things, entry requirements, basic Turkish phrases, and more.
The Turkish Riviera, also called the Turquoise Coast, is the stretch of coastline where the Mediterranean meets the Aegean. It is the most popular area for all-inclusive holidays to Turkey, whether cheap package deals or luxury breaks, thanks to its beautiful beaches — the famous Ölüdeniz being among the best — and guaranteed sunshine.
Click here for our guide to holiday destinations on the Turkish Riviera.
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Nick Elvin contributed to this post.