Turkey’s long and varied coastline is among the most beautiful and varied in the world. With its warm, sunny climate, miles of beaches, rugged coves and bright blue waters, plus an amazing history going back thousands of years, there’s something here for everyone. Here are five of the Turkish coast’s best resorts.
Olympos – step into the past
The incredible historic centre of Olympos lies tucked away in a river valley halfway along Turkey’s southern coast. Little more than a village today, albeit one which boasts unique treetop hostels for backpackers, this was once among the most important places in the Mediterranean. Everywhere you look, winding pathways lead through the trees to take you to extraordinary ruins and ancient statues, some of them dating back more than 2,000 years. For those with energy to burn, a walk into the mountains that ring Olympos is immensely rewarding, as is an evening trip to see the eternal flames of the Chimaera of Cirili.
Belek – pearl of the Turkish Riviera
Nestling at the heart of the sheltered Antalya Bay coast, Belek enjoys the luxury of over 30 upmarket hotels. Golf enthusiasts will be in heaven, as this is one of Turkey’s most important centres for the sport; international superstars like Tiger Woods and Rory McIlroy have competed at the Antalya Golf Club. If a round of golf sounds a bit too much like hard work, why not relax at one of the resort’s spas? Belek is noted for the purity of the water that flows from the springs that surround the town. Or go birdwatching in the pine forests and search for the famous “secret cave” behind the Kurşunlu Waterfall.
Didim – get away from it all
Didim is heaven if you want a place where you can truly relax! It’s a perfect resort for families and those who want a more laid back pace of life, with long, safe stretches of golden sand and plenty of quiet coves to discover. There are attractions for kids nearby, especially the very popular waterpark, while traditional live folk music is on offer at many of Didim’s welcoming bars. Not far from the resort is Lake Bafa National Park, renowned for the groves of ancient olive trees which grow wild along the lake’s northern shores.
Çeşme – The Truly Turkish Resort
This northern Aegean town remains relatively discovered by international tourists, making it a great way to experience authentic Turkish culture. You’ll mingle both with local people and holidaymakers from nearby İzmir, and discover a host of independent shops – perfect for picking up that special souvenir of your visit. You won’t go hungry in Çeşme, either, as the local cafés are both inexpensive and of high quality, while there’s a buzzing nightlife scene thanks to the many bars. Visit the Genoan castle or simply wander along the promenade and enjoy the views towards thisland of Chios.
Trabzon – Intriguing, Ancient Black Sea Port
Many tourists ignore Turkey’s northern coast, but they’re missing out! The ancient city once known as Trebizond has caught the imagination of Westerners since the time of Marco Polo. These days, Trabzon is a thoroughly modern city, but it’s lost none of its air of intrigue. The central square, Atatürk Alanı, is lined with excellent restaurants, while the Bazaar to the west brings a real taste of Asia. Winding cobbled lanes take you deep into Trabzon’s history, and you shouldn’t miss the chance to marvel at the incredible Byzantine frescoes in the Aya Sofya church.
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