Turkey is finally off the red list – here are the best vacations on offer
No other Mediterranean destination offers the visitor as much variety as Turkey. Head east from the shores of the Aegean Sea, rich in olives and vineyards, through the rolling steppes of Anatolia and you will meet the spectacularly mountainous borders of Georgia, Armenia and Iran . To the north, through the towering Taurus Mountains from sunny Mediterranean resorts, you will come to the temperate mountains, hazelnut trees and Black Sea tea. Cross the mighty Euphrates and Tigris Rivers of Turkey’s arid but fascinating southeast, and you can climb Biblical Mount Ararat – 17,000 feet high and glacier-covered – in a hot air balloon over the fairytale volcanic landscape of the Cappadocia or relax on a crisscrossed beach with palm-tagged nesting turtles.
Such a remarkably diverse topography, climate, flora and fauna mean that Turkey offers all kinds of holiday experiences you could want – with warm temperatures through October. To unwind, relax by the beach or by the pool at an all-inclusive hotel near Antalya in the Mediterranean, or cruise the beautiful turquoise coast aboard a traditional wooden sailboat (schooner). Do you feel more active? The Turquoise Coast and its hinterland are perfect for kayaking, scuba diving, canyoning, mountain biking and hiking on the marked trails of Carian and Lycian. Accommodation ranges from simple family pensions in places like Dalyan, Kaş and Patara to luxury hotels in posh Bodrum and golfers’ favorite, Belek – and everything in between, so there’s something to suit every budget.
Given that geographically Turkey spans two continents – Europe and Asia – and culturally sits between predominantly Christian Europe and the predominantly Muslim Middle East, it is no surprise that it has a rich and dynamic heritage. Whether it’s soaking up the atmosphere of legendary Troy, sweating gently in a 500-year-old Ottoman Turkish bath, learning about contemporary art at Istanbul Modern, or following the St Paul’s footsteps in ancient Perge, there is always something to do that intrigues the curious visitor. That’s not to mention the country’s rich culinary tradition – a happy union of the best flavors from East and West.
Finally, Turkey has moved on to the new green list, making it the perfect choice for the fall break. Turkey’s famous hospitality has not been tarnished by the hardships of Covid-19, and its well-regulated tourism industry has done everything possible throughout the pandemic to keep visitors safe, including with its certification program security from the Ministry of Culture and Tourism for hotels, restaurants and transport. And while soaring inflation and the need to be ultra-competitive in the face of the pandemic-induced decline in tourist numbers are far from ideal in the long run for locals or the Turkish tourism industry, they mean the holidays here are extremely good. value for money compared to most European destinations. With that in mind, here are some of the best vacations in the country, for all types of vacationers.
The attraction of the past
Turkey has a rich and deep history that few other countries can match. Western visitors are most familiar with the myriad of classical Greek and Roman sites that dot its beautiful Aegean coast. The ruins of Troy, brought to life in Homer’s Iliad, still stand at the mouth of the Dardanelles. The huge theater in Ephesus, where St. Paul proselytized and unwittingly caused a riot among his goldsmiths, is surprisingly well preserved. The spectacular ruins of Pergamon, once famous for its extensive library, are staggered in spectacular steps along a striking rocky outcrop. Exploring these sites, or the countless other ancient sites that dot Turkey’s Aegean and Mediterranean coasts, often with nothing more than a few goats or turtles for company, is one of life’s great joys.
Are you feeling more adventurous? Immerse yourself in the heart of Anatolia to explore the rock-hewn Byzantine churches located in the incredible geological wonderland of Cappadocia. The most recently discovered gem in Turkey’s archaeological crown, however, is Unesco’s World Heritage Site Göbekli Tepe, an astonishing series of circular stone structures dating back to 10,000 BC. . The Byzantine churches and Ottoman mosques in one of the most beautiful and fascinating cities in the world, Istanbul, are easier to visit. No matter where you go in this remarkable country, it’s impossible to resist the lure of its past.