Side Turkey - plus Olu Deniz, Dalyan, Ephesus & Cappadocia
Side (pronounced see-deh) is one of those Turkish destinations that has it all, from ancient ruins through to pretty beaches, hence its popularity with package tourists. Come summer the area is packed with hoards of people seeking a slice of the fun. Must-see attractions include the amphitheatre (which is the largest one in Anatolia); the museum which is housed in the old Roman baths; and also the Temples of Apollo and Athena.
The town also has a healthy helping of shops dotted through the narrow streets, selling a range of Turkish goods. The best time to visit is spring or autumn if you want to avoid the crowds, and costs are a lot lower.
Olu Deniz - Turkish Resorts
OLU DENIZ – Situated on the southwest coast of Turkey, Olu Deniz (which means Dead Sea) is set on a beautiful sheltered lagoon. There are a number of resorts located in the area, making for a bustling and lively atmosphere (although it is quieter than other more popular areas). The area has beautiful crystal clear water, however, the beach consists of pebbles and can often get overcrowded. A day trip by boat to Butterfly Valley, Gemile Beach or St Nicholas Island are highly recommended to those wanting to get away and see some sights. Alternatively, a day trip to Fethiye (only 12km away) is also worthwhile, as is a paragliding trip for the more adventurous.
Dalyan - River Side Retreat
DALYAN – Dalyan Turkey offers a relatively untouched paradise for travellers wishing to get away from the string of package-holiday resorts strewn along the southwest Mediterranean. Based on a river, Dalyan is surrounded by greenery and mountains, and offers visitors a taste of the ‘real’ Turkey. While the area is relatively quiet, there are still plenty of things to do an explore, including the Sultanye Thermal Baths; the Mud Baths; Iztuzu Beach (home of the endangered loggerhead turtle) and also the ancient city of Kaunos, which lies on the opposite side of the river from the village. Most of these attractions are accessible by locally-run boats, but make sure you shop around or haggle for the best price, as it can vary greatly. There is a range of accommodation for people on all types of budget.
Ephesus - Turkish History
EPHESUS – Classical history buffs cannot miss the ancient ruins of Ephesus. Also known as Efes, this is said to be the best preserved city in the Mediterranean hailing from the Roman times. The best way to appreciate this area of rich history is by taking part in a guided tour with a knowledgeable guide. Must-see attractions include the Temple of Artemis (one of the seven wonders of the ancient world), Basilica, Great Theatre and the Celsus Library. Make sure you take plenty of water if going in summer, as the sun is extremely hot, as well as a comfy pair of walking shoes. Entry costs around YTL15 (£ 6GBP), and tours start at around YTL40 (£1 6GBP).
Cappadocia - Countryside Retreat
CAPPADOCIA – Tucked away in the heart of central Turkey is the area of Cappadocia - a vast region of rolling picturesque countryside and cultural wonders. Situated in the middle of a volcanic region (now inactive), the land has been shaped through years of wind, rain, ice and now has slim, pointed rock formations dubbed the Fairy Chimneys. There are also a number of underground cities, such as Ihlara Valley, Derinkuyu and Kaymakli, which are great for a glimpse into another world. A friendly tourist area, Goreme is the best place to base yourself while exploring Cappadocia. Hot air balloon rides are a popular way to see the area.