Which Turkish resort is right for you?

Tristan Rutherford

Tristan Rutherford

Turkey is an enduringly enchanting destination. With wonderful weather for longer than many places within such easy reach of the UK, this eastern edge of the Mediterranean offers sunshine, sandy beaches, great food, and plenty of history by the bucket load.

Which Turkish resort is right for you © Ilyshev - Fotolia.com
Which Turkish resort is right for you © Ilyshev - Fotolia.com

If you've not been to Turkey, you may be wondering where to start. Do you go for the all singing, all dancing resorts, or opt for something a little quieter with more of a traditional feel?

Thankfully there are lots of options when it comes to deciding where to go, with companies such as First Choice offering great value all inclusive options the length of Turkey's beautifully turquoise coast.

Here, we look at nine of the best places to consider for your break to Turkey to help you narrow down your summer search.

1. Kusadasi

Set sail for Kusadasi to pair historical adventure with all-out fun. Turkey's biggest cruise port has a bustling bazaar that sells as many hammam towels, spice and ceramic lines as any in Istanbul.

Eight sandy strips lap the compact town, with Ladies Beach the windsurfing go-to. Need family splashes? Kusadasi is Turkey's waterpark capital. There are more keenly-priced slides, flumes and rapids here than anywhere else.

Save the biggest sight until last. The UNESCO heritage site of Ephesus contains one of the Seven Wonders of the World. As the world's most intact Greco-Roman city it offers a 500-acre history lesson for anyone studying the ancient world.

2. Bodrum

Visiting superyachts and chic celebrities render it Turkey's answer to St Tropez. Like the South of France, a ribbon of al fresco bars serve Chardonnay and chilled beers along the Bodrum waterfront.

The town is anchored by the Castle of the Knights of St John. Historians can tour the Bodrum Museum of Underwater Archaeology, an outstanding collection of amphorae, gold coins and sunken ships.

The Bodrum Peninsula belongs to the Turkish A-list. Drive a 50 km circle around the headland - via 4x4, Jeep or scooter - to spot secret beaches, yacht hotspots and clubs that hop until dawn.

3. Marmaris

Are you ready to party? The Marmaris population leaps from 40,000 to 400,000 in summer, as the sun orbits Turkey's liveliest town. Like an Italian resort, rows of sun loungers run for 10 km along a sandy shore, as jet skis, kitesurfs and banana boats zigzag out at sea.

Bar Street couples jugs of Efes beer with cuisine from four corners of the world. For a tranquil respite sail away: converted wooden fishing boats on the Kordon seafront promenade operate tours to the Cennet Adasi caves.

Trips include lunch, drinks and a swim at Kumlubükü cove. Pack some Euros, as daytrip ships also run to the Greek island of Rhodes.

4. Olu Deniz

This postcard-perfect swoosh of sand has graced a thousand holiday brochures. For good reason. The golden peninsula shelters a unique double bay where waters shelve from turquoise to aquamarine.

Parascending on to Olu Deniz beach, Turkey - photo courtesy of Hüseyin Burak Tuzer
Parascending on to Olu Deniz beach, Turkey - photo courtesy of Hüseyin Burak Tuzer

Olu Deniz is best seen on a parascending descent, which make the resort's most popular tour. Although the view is equally beautiful with a cocktail in hand as the sunset kisses the Greek Islands beyond.

5. Fethiye

World class resorts, plus ancient ruins, equals Fethiye. Here an ancient Roman city backs a buzzing Turkish town. Tastier still, a famous fish market allows visitors to haggle for sea bass - then have it cooked at their table minutes later.

Fethiye has always belonged to the sea. Water taxis are a form of transport, and hop across to the beach of Calis, where James Bond sank cocktails in Skyfall.

Or take a boat tour into the dolphin-strewn bay. A trip to the 12 islands of Gocek includes a swim at the mineral water source of Cold Water Harbour.

6. Kas

Tarmac roads only reached Kas in the 1980s. Travellers from across Turkey and Europe rattled in by campervan - and never left. The overgrown fishing village pervades an aura of hippy chic, from flower-power boutiques to pavement cafés.

Contemporary visitors drive in to dive. As Kas is a two-hour car ride from both Antalya and Dalaman airports, the seas are fish-rich and crystal clear.

Archaeologists are in luck too. In 240 A.D. a massive earthquake submerged a nearby Greco-Roman city. Tombs and temples lay in limpid water like an aquatic Pompeii. The sight is tailor-made for a kayak tour.

7. Kemer

Come to Kemer if you prefer a hotel that's big and bold. Like the resort itself, accommodation caters to a score of nationalities by linking luxury pools and spas with global cuisine.

One of the few temptations to leave your sunlounger is via a traditional wooden ship, which conduct barbeque snorkel tours to the tranquil surrounding bays.

Guests with a head for heights can rise even higher. From Kemer a German-built cable car climbs up to snow-capped Mount Olympus. At 2,365m it's twice as high as Britain's Mount Snowdon.

Large beachfront hotels, Kemer, Turkey © Castenoid - Fotolia.com
Large beachfront hotels, Kemer, Turkey © Castenoid - Fotolia.com

8. Antalya

Antalya is the everything resort. Firstly it's the Barcelona of Turkey, a liberal seaside city stocked with shops, markets, restaurants and bars.

Secondly it's the country's daytrip capital. From the UNESCO-protected city of Aspendos to a jeep safaris to Manavgat waterfall, it's all here in one place.

Thirdly, Antalya's centrally located hotels are immense. This allows visitors to stroll from luxury seafront accommodation to the buzzing city centre.

9. Belek

Sheer class. Nowhere else in Turkey combines an exclusive collection of five-star hotels with mile upon mile of golden sand.

The Blue Flag beach backs onto several world-class golf courses, where the likes of Tiger Woods and Justin Rose tee off each year.

Belek's latest addition is the Land of Legends, Turkey's largest water park. From a watery rollercoaster to a family 'scuba mask' safari, it has it all. Prefer a more authentic flavour? The charming market town allows you to eat, shop and take a hammam with the locals.

Has one of these resorts got you packing your bags for Turkey? Check out the latest deals on all inclusive holidays to Turkey with First Choice, which departs from airports across the UK.

You can also find out more about the weather in Turkey, and see when we think is the very best time to go for ultimate beach holiday conditions.

Tristan Rutherford

Tristan Rutherford
Posted on Friday 4th May 2018 in: Beach Middle East Summer

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