This article from Travelsupermarket.com takes us to the Turkish Riviera, encompassing a picturesque coastline, popular holiday resorts and ancient historical sites, for a relaxing holiday in the sun with something to please everyone.
The Turkish Riviera is a popular tourist destination in south-western Turkey. The region enjoys a temperate climate all through the summer, and has a number of popular tourist resorts, including Dalaman, Turgetreis and Antalya, as well as more traditional market towns such as Bodrum.
The Turkish Riviera has a vast and varied landscape – from miles of picturesque coastline to lush forests further inland. The area is served by three main airports at Dalaman, Bodrum-Milas and Antalya, which can be reached from a number of UK airports.
Indeed, many who visit the region choose to explore the region as part of their holidays in Turkey by boat, giving you the opportunity to visit a number of beautiful beaches, picturesque islands and ancient ruins along the way.
The famous Blue Cruise is one of the best ways to see some of the main sights along what is known as the Turquoise Coast, thanks largely to the clear blue waters of the Aegean Sea. There are also day trips available by boat over to the island of Rhodes, where you can shop and explore in this ancient city.
The city of Antalya is one of the most popular destinations in the region, described by many as the ‘gateway to the Turkish Riviera’ and has a number beach resorts and one of the largest concentrations of five-star hotels anywhere in the world.
The port town of Bodrum is famous for its ancient architecture – including the ruins of the Mausoleum of Mausolos and Bodrum Castle, which overlooks the main marina – and as being base for a wide variety of excursions and water sports, including yachting and coastal cruises.
Indeed, taking a boat tour during your visit can be one of the best ways to view many of the main sights and relax on white sandy beaches along the way. Further inland there are opportunities to take tours of ancient ruins, as well as indulging in a relaxing massage at many of the Turkish baths around the region.
Bodrum is a popular draw for those who are looking to experience a bustling marketplace and pick up a bargain. The town plays host to weekly markets, which range from clothing markets to food markets which allow you to sample the local produce – including freshly picked olives and a wide range of spices.
The coastal city of Marmaris has grown as a resort in recent years, with travelsupermarket.com describing it as having “evolved from the sleepy fishing village of decades ago, into a bustling cosmopolitan resort”, and remains one of the most popular tourist destinations in Turkish Riviera.
With picturesque beaches and mountainous regions surrounding the town, giving those who like outdoor pursuits such as mountain biking and scuba diving the opportunity to explore and enjoy all that the resort has to offer.
The varied terrain means there is plenty to suit all kinds of visitors – whether you’re looking to take a walk around ancient areas such as Cappadocia or simply relax on the beach, there’s something for everyone in this vast and varied region of Turkey.
More Travel article on Turkey
My guest post today features the town of Goreme in the heart of Cappadocia’s ‘Fairy Chimney’ country. Liz from Travelogged tells us more about the area and why you should use Goreme as your base when you visit.
Fairy Chimneys of Cappadocia
If you’re planning a trip to Turkey, chances are people will encourage you to visit Cappadocia to see the unique landscape of “fairy chimneys”, colorful rock formations and caves. But as you begin your research, you’ll quickly learn that Cappadocia is a region so you’ll have to choose a specific town to stay in. Popular choices are Goreme, Uchisar and Urgup. This past June, I decided to stay in Goreme, and I would highly recommend it for these reasons.
1. You don’t need a car
The best reason to stay in Goreme is that you don’t need a car if you stay there. This is particularly important if you are arriving by plane, as the main airport is in Kayseri, which is over an hour away. Our flight from Istanbul arrived at night and the last thing we would have wanted to do would be to get lost trying to find Goreme in the dark. We arranged a pickup from our hotel at 10 euros per person, and the whole transfer went quite smoothly.
When we got to Goreme that night, we were able to walk from our hotel into the town and had our choice of restaurants. The whole place is compact, so as long as your hotel is truly located in Goreme, you will be able to walk to town and therefore go to the restaurants, bars and shops without any problems. You can also walk to the Open Air Museum and go for a hike in Love Valley – more on those later.
2. The town is a real place
As we were walking around deciding where to eat, we saw males aged 8 to 88 sitting outside and playing backgammon. It’s not a big town, but there must have been well over 100 people there. Goreme is a touristy place, as is that whole area of Cappadocia, but plenty of people live their lives there and aren’t simply dropping in to look at the rock formations (like we were).
3. You can stay in a cave hotel
There are a variety of accommodations in Goreme, ranging from backpacker to luxury. If possible, choose one of the cave hotels. That’s right, you can stay in a hotel where the rooms are carved out of a rock, just like the traditional homes of the area. We enjoyed Sultan Cave Suites , which has the same owners as the better known Kelebek Hotel. Staying in a cave might not be for the claustrophobic, as the room goes deep into the rock and there aren’t many windows. (Although we did have a small skylight, which was pretty cool.) As a desert area, Cappadocia is subject to extreme temperatures but the rock does an excellent job as insulation. Our room didn’t have air conditioning (and this American traveler loves her air conditioning) and despite the hot weather it remained comfortable. I wouldn’t want to take up cave living permanently, but spending a few nights in the cave is a cool experience.
3. The Open Air Museum is in Goreme
If you stay in Goreme, you can walk the approximately 2km to the Open Air Museum. (No matter where you stay in Cappadocia, you don’t want to miss this UNESCO attraction.) The Open Air Museum is actually a former Christian religious complex with nunneries, churches, houses, dining rooms, kitchens and more that was built — or, in this case, carved — between the 10th and 13th centuries and has long since been abandoned. The highlight is the Painted Churches, which refer to the well-preserved medieval frescoes adorning the interiors of some of the churches.
5. Visit Love Valley from Goreme
When you’re surrounded by so much natural beauty, you just want to get there and walk around it. Most hikes require some form of transportation, but you can do a short hike in Love Valley, which is on the way to the Open Air Museum. (Take the path off the main road by the Cappadocia Tourist Hotel.) It’s a great area to see the “Fairy Chimneys,” which are rock formations that look like well, fair chimneys, or elongated mushrooms or something else entirely if you have a dirty mind. As you rise slightly in elevation, you get good sweeping views of the whole area. Chances are good that, like us, you’ll have this whole area to yourselves.
Thanks for this guest post to Liz Borod Wright at Travelogged, the travel blog that will all take you over the world, from the beaches to the slopes, from ancient ruins to modern architecture.
Kelebek Hotel in Goreme
Sultan Cave Suites in Goreme
Travelogged – Exploring the Painted Churches at the Open Air Museum
Travelogged – Greetings from Goreme, the heartland of Cappodocia
I recently took a trip to Istanbul, Turkey. I’m a huge history buff, and love sightseeing, so you can imagine why I was so excited to go to such a gorgeous place, full of history, life, culture and energy. Istanbul used to be the capital city of the Roman Empire, the Byzantine Empire, the Latin Empire and the Ottoman Empire and has a great artistic and cultural scene.
So, it’s not hard to understand why it was selected to be one of Europe’s capitals of culture next year.
Turkey is a pretty good deal for travelers these days, given the strength of the Euro or Pound against the Turkish Lira. 1 Euro is worth about two Turkish liras, and 1 pound is worth 2.34 Turkish Liras, so what you save on touring around, food, transport and other expenses, you can spend on a great hotel .
I chose the Ritz-Carlton Istanbul , which I’d say is one of the best hotels in Turkey as well as being conveniently close to all of Istanbul’s historic sites and cultural attractions. Because of its height, we were afforded some spectacular views of the city including some of the more interesting sites (palaces and mosques as well as the Bosphorus Straits).
We really enjoyed the Turkish-style décor, and at the hotel’s spa, you can visit an authentic Turkish hamam , which is all part of the Istanbul experience. You can pick up local soaps at the Grand Bazaar and try them out. When you’re finished at the hamam, you’ll feel relaxed, refreshed, clean (and possibly shiny, depending on the soap you use!).
There are so many interesting things to experience in Istanbul but here are some of the must-sees;
The Blue Mosque has spectacular interior wall-coverings of more than 20,000 blue Iznik tiles, and was commissioned by Sulten Ahmet I in the 17th century. The mosque was considered ostentatious in its time because the six minarets were considered to be trying to outdo the minarets in Mecca itself, so the Sultan had to overcome objections by paying for a seventh minaret to be built in Mecca.
The Hippodrome was the center of Istanbul during the Byzantine and Ottoman Empires and a stadium holding 100,000 people once stood here with the chariot racing track where now the road runs round. You can still see the beautifully carved stone Egyptian Obelisk, Serpentine column which was shipped from Delphi and the column of Constantine along the length of the Hippodrome.
You’ll also need to spend an afternoon at the Grand Bazaar , which is a covered market full of gorgeous clothes, Turkish carpets and all sorts of odds and end. The bazaar is divided into different sections depending on the type of goods being sold with gold and silver at one end, carpets in the heart of the bazaar and leather and clothes at the other side. This is the place to drink a cup of mint tea offered by the vendors while you hone your bargaining skills, always remembering that the skill is mainly on their side.
Lastly, don’t leave town without touring the Topaki Palace built in the 15th century by Mehmet II after his conquest of Constantinople. The Palace is a complex of buildings, courtyards and gardens which once housed government offices as well as the Sultan’s private apartments and the Harem where his wives, concubines and family lived. There are many wonderful collections of gold and silver in the treasury, ornate Imperial costumes as well as beautiful ceramics and manuscripts. Don’t forget to book your separate tour of the Harem apartments as soon as you arrive, as places are limited and get booked up early.
If you’re looking for some other great Istanbul hotels you could try:
The Sofa Hotel and Residences : which is perfect if you’re in the mood for a small hotel with a modern look – ideal if you’re traveling for business.
Ciragan Palace Kempinski , which works well for a romantic getaway, as this hotel is in an imperial palace and is right on the water.
A’jia Hotel, which is a tiny hotel (only 15 rooms in a mansion), great for honeymoons or weddings given how intimate it is and how close it is to the water.
Note from Heather: If I was having a second honeymoon (with my first and only husband of course) I’d pick the A’jia Hotel -the setting looks so romantic. When I was in Istanbul visiting a girlfriend who was teaching out there, we always used to wander through the Ciragan palace and use the loos, pretending that we were staying there! Even if you’re not staying there you can treat yourself to their wonderful Sunday brunch buffet.