Istanbul Turkey, Marmaris, Bodrum, Antalya, Izmir - suggested itineraries

No trip to Turkey would be complete without a visit to Istanbul. From immersing yourself in the history and culture of the area to immersing yourself in the shopping district to find a great bargain, Istanbul has it all. The major city of Turkey, Istanbul dates back to the Byzantium era. Divided in two, the majority of the city is situated in the west, and is referred to as European Istanbul, whereas to the east is the Asian Istanbul.

http://www.icvb.org/ - Official tourist site for Istanbul.

Sights not to be missed include the Blue Mosque (Mosque of Sultan Ahmet), Aya Sofya (formerly a church and mosque, but now a museum), the Hippodrome (Atmeydani – where chariot races were staged to decide an emperor’s fate), Grand Bazaar (Kapali Carsi) a massive shopping market, and Topkapi Palace. One of the beauties of this city is that it caters to any budget, from food right through to accommodation, whether it be a budget backpackers trip or a luxurious romantic holiday.

Other popular destinations:

MARMARIS - Turkish Playground

Marmaris has become a well known playground for the British, with its picturesque waterfront, neighbouring beaches and wild nightlife. The small town was a quiet coastal fishing port up until about 20 years ago, but now it has a reputation as being a budget holiday resort, with the population exploding tenfold from 20,000 to 200,000 during the summer months – mainly with package tourists. Major attractions include the Marmaris Castle that overshadows the area; boat trips (around the coast or over to the Greek island of Rhodes); shopping at the local bazaar; magnificent diving and nearby beaches. Accommodation is cheap and cheerful, with a range of backpacker hostels and mid-range hotels on offer.

BODRUM - Turkish Nightlife

If you are looking for a quiet and peaceful holiday, then forget about heading to Bodrum in peak season. Situated on Aegean Coast, the town’s charming (and largely original and old-world) landscape is dotted with bars and nightclubs featuring a nightlife second to none. However, the daytime is just as much fun, with plenty of things to see and do. A number of historical attractions such as the Castle of St Peter, the Mausoleum, and the Myndos Gate provide an interesting and educational overview of the area’s history. Activities such as sailing and boating and hamams (Turkish baths) will also keep visitors busy during the hot sunny days. Accommodation options range from budget pensions to luxury hotels

ANTALYA - Turkish Culture

Antalya is an interesting mix of a suave cosmopolitan city and archaeological splendour. Located on the Mediterranean coast, this city has it all, from beaches to mountains and ancient ruins to trendy nightclubs. People looking for more of a cultural holiday in the sun, rather than a beer-guzzling raucous affair will appreciate Antalya. Visitors will never be short of things to do, with attractions including the Dedeman Aquapark, several beaches, Antalya Museum, several Hamams. Or try wandering the streets of Kaleici (old Antalya) and soaking up the atmosphere and checking out the old Ottoman houses. The Roman harbour (which is a central part of the city) is a great place to board a boat to take a day trip around the coast. There are an abundance of accommodation choices. For friendly pensions and boutique hotels, head to Kaleici, however for modern chic, head for the city centre.

IZMIR - Historical City

Located half way down the Aegean Coast is Izmir, Turkey’s third largest city. A picturesque destination nestled on a bay with a backdrop of mountains, Izmir is an ideal base for those wanting to undertake day trips to nearby Kusadasi, Selcuk and Ephesus. As well as being a pretty area, the city is dripping with ancient history (which includes the legend of Smyrna, Aphrodite and Adonis). Be sure to check out the Velvet Fortress and the town’s clock tower. One of the main features of the city is the waterfront area, which is popular with café goers and joggers. Being a large city, there are a number of various accommodation options, from budget to top end, but it can prove to be expensive and booking at home with a UK travel agent is advised as they often get lower rates.

See our guide on Istanbul Weekend Breaks.

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