Sauda is a floating swimming pool in the middle of the Bosphorus lined with huge beds and including a host of bars and restaurants that provide essential sustenance to guests. It's unmissable for its unique location and innate sense of calm.
Galatasaray Adası, Kuruçeşme, Istanbul
+90 212 263 7300
Having spent a few holidays in Turkey over the last few years, my recent stay in Dalyan is the best. I don't think many British people have heard of it, but it's such a lovely resort - small rather than large, and certainly not as brash as places like Marmaris.
For families it's ideal with a variety of activities in and around Dalyan from mud baths (lots of fun) to turtle spotting. We stayed at the Aydos Club Hotel in Dalyan booked through Simpson Travel. It was a lovely family-run hotel - small and friendly, just as we like it. Rahmi, the owner, organised activities to keep everyone entertained and we felt like royalty sailing in their traditional boat.
Aydos Club Hotel, Dalyan Turkey
+44(0)20 8392 5858
Last year, we decided to go on a "proper beach holiday" with our two kids, and found the perfect place: a little beach holiday guesthouse in Cirali located on Olympos Beach in southern Turkey. The owners are extremely hospitable and looked after us with lovely home cooked breakfasts and dinners served on the terrace overlooking the sea. The beach is a conservation area, because it is a nesting ground for turtles. If you're there in August and fancy getting up with the sun, you can observe new born turtles making their way to the sea.
The surrounding area is beautiful, be sure to visit Yanartas, the eternal flames at Chimaera which is mind blowing! We all loved it: kids and adults alike.
It's not posh, not pretentious, but it has enthusiastic, knowledgeable owners who really care about this wonderful area. It's both clean and comfortable and very affordable. The nearby beach is world renowned, yet not overcrowded. There are amazing archaeological sites to be explored and great excursions available too. Where else would you holiday in a place mentioned in the Bible? (Acts21:1)
Hotel Patara Viewpoint, Patara, Kas, Antalya
+90 242 8435184
Don’t miss out on the snorkelling action when taking one of the great coastal boat trips - my top tip for Turkey is to visit your optician before you go and invest around £30 on a supply of disposable contact lenses. I did, although I hadn’t worn lenses for 30 years - instead of the usual frustration of blobby, indistinct shapes the undersea world opened up and for the first time in years I was able to follow fish that I could actually see. I used the lenses every day – the best value £30 I spent on that holiday.
The Golden Key at remote Bordubet on Turkey’s Lycean coast is situated on a shady creek. Watch kingfishers and black swans from your balcony, feed the rabbits or take a tranquil boat trip round to the private beach club where you can swim out to laze on a raft, jump on a floating trampoline, or explore the empty coastline by kayak. We took a day trip to the hot springs and mud baths at the Sultaniye Spa, had lunch directly opposite the Carian cliff tombs at Kaunos and were back in time for a sunset dinner at The Golden Key’s beach restaurant, situated on a little hill overlooking the tranquil cove. Heaven.
Beautiful setting, a basic but exceptionally clean small block of apartments. Hosts Josh and Kadir are really welcoming and their home cooked food is glorious. Only 10 minutes walk from the sea and it's a flat 10 minutes. A relaxing week in paradise looked after like a five star guest - what else could you want.
Golenye Mah Manolya Cad 9, Icmeler 48720, Turkey
The coastal hamlet of Cirali, approximately 80kms south west of Antalya on the Lycian Way, is a pure delight. This low key resort in the Beydagalari National Park, is a popular holiday spot with Turkish families and the odd western European who like us arrived by happy fluke. The excellent 3km beach is where the loggerhead and green sea turtles come to lay their eggs and the crystal clear water makes for superb swimming. At the northern end of the beach you can explore the ruins of the ancient Lycian city of Olympus, where visitors to the beach ramble over the ruins of an amphitheatre, aqueducts and byzantine tombs. You can opt for quirky tree house accommodation in the Olympus valley, or a more peaceful option is to stay in Cirali itself at one of the small pensions.
Adrasan sits in a cove 10km off the main road and just 90Km south of Antalya. At the north end of the beach Hotel Paradise perches on a riverside flowing down to the beach. The water is not deep and tables and seating areas are scattered in the riverbed, connected by walkways. After a day enjoying the numerous family or adventure activities on offer along the promenade it makes for a very cool, calming ambience. Good food too, albeit infused with the strong local garlic.
For hardier hikers the clearly waymarked Lycian Way leads north over a rocky outcrop to the ancient site of Olympos. This ancient sprawling city must have been an archaeologist’s delight. Wonderfully decrepit, the ruins are open to clamber over, around and through. Keep to the south side of the riverbed in Olympos to avoid 99% of other tourists and find yourself alone amongst a 20-tier amphitheatre and Roman baths complex.
Walk through the village stopping at a tree house café for glasses of freshly squeezed orange and lemon then it is a gentle 4km along the beach and walk up to Chimera. This sacred and historic site has a number of eternal flames bursting through the rock with no vegetation to feed the flames.
Keep your eyes peeled too and you might see one of the protected caretta caretta loggerhead turtles.
It is a small hotel but with ensuite rooms, air con, swimming pool etc. Situated in beautiful natural surroundings on the coast near Lycian - site of Olympus. Owners Jon and Sue Graham offer fantastic value holidays and organise activities for all the family or just relax by the pool. Jon and Sue are exceptional hosts making everyone feel like visiting friends rather than paying guests.
Deniz Mah, Cavuskoy Beld, Kumluca, Antalya
+90 242 883 1462
Quite simply the best patisserie in the heart of old Istanbul. Eat your honey sweet Baklava while listening to the Blue Mosque's call to prayer. Or ask Çigdem's staff to wrap up your pastries so you can take them home for your friends.
Alemdar Mh., Divan Yolu Caddesi 62, Istanbul, Turkey
Google map: bit.ly/qTbE1r
Tucked away amongst the cliffs and forests, in an old Lycian valley dotted with treehouses, Turkmen offers a truly alternative summer holiday for those seeking the 'Lost Boy' experience. Wake up each morning high up among the birds and the leaves and enjoy a traditional Turkish breakfast in the comfort of a hammock beneath your tree. Days are spent exploring the valley; boat trips, canyoning, swimming and hiking are all on offer - but nothing beats a simple game of Backgammon with the competitive yet friendly locals. Evenings are spent watching the bright stars in the valley from the comfort of your Charduck (cushioned gazebo beneath treehouse) while listening to live music at the Golge bar. Share an apple shisha with the new friends you've made around the campfire and stumble back up your ladder into a clean, comfy bed in your very own tree.
If you're enjoying a family holiday in Fethiye, Hisaronu or Olu Deniz, you really have got fun, sun and sea on your door step. What's not so obvious, is that you also have one of the most beautiful and moving historic sites in the world a few minutes away.
Kayaköy was, until 1923, a hillside village populated by Greek speaking Christians. After the Greco-Turkish war, the Greek and Turkish governments agreed to a population exchange. The village has been uninhabited ever since, and is now preserved as a historical momument. There are hundreds of houses and other buildings all more or less untouched in nearly a hundred years.
When you're there you will need to pay a nominal entrance fee. Walk up through the village to the top, enjoying the beautiful Greek Orthodox churches and the view from the top. The sense of peace and tranquility is wonderful.
Dolmus buses go through Hisaronu every half hour in the summer season, and cost just a couple of lira. The journey to Kayaköy takes about ten minutes.
It gets very hot so, if you can, go early or late. And when you get back down, enjoy a refreshing tea from one of the small, local cafes in the beautiful village before returning to the real world.
Google map: bit.ly/lKtpOz
As one who loves cooking I always look out for interesting kitchen utensils to bring back from a holiday. Some are more useful than others. What ever you buy is always a good reminder of your holiday and where you shopped.
This also gives you the opportunity to wander off the beaten track to discover small ironmongers or market stalls stacked with goodies.
Turkey in general is known for its stainless steel products. In Antalya I found a pressure cooker. Not so practical to get home, however how could I resist? It is fantastic quality, simplicity in it's design and a real bargain for £12.
Back streets that surround the markets in Central Antalya one in particular Bahçecik Mah. Atatürk Cad. No:338 D:A, Konyaaltı, Antalya/Antalya Province, Turkey
Türkbükü is a small bay in the north of the Bodrum Peninsula, which is excellent for day or night.
By day, enjoy relaxing at the beach, with crystal clear water.
By night, dine on one of the wooden jetty's that overlook the water.
Türkbükü really is the jewel of this peninsula. I can't sing it's praises enough.
Nearest small town in Gundogan
Nearest bigger town is Yalikavak
Google map: bit.ly/igAsil
This is a great transfer service between Ataturk Airport and Istanbul city. You pay per journey. It is only 20 euros (or 45 TL) each journey- not per person. It is a private transfer in a comfortable people carrier and you pay the driver. This company can also arrange tours for you. I took the afternoon Bosphorus Tour for 30 euros and it was great. The mini bus collects you and returns you to your hotel. Again, no money up front- just pay the driver in cash or with credit card on the day.
We hired a wonderful boat called Zoe Yacht in Istanbul for a romantic cruise up the Bosphorus celebrating our wedding anniversary and are very thankful for finding it. While crowded mass tourist boats rushed by far from the shore, we enjoyed a really relaxing cruise right by the sites with the whole boat to ourselves with a great drinks service. We could have spent the whole day on Zoe! It was easy to organize and included pick up right at our place. The views of the Bosphorus are spectacular and you can also dine on board if you choose their dinner cruise. If you're looking for something special in Istanbul then this yacht is it. We hope to do it again with some friends soon.
Zoe Yacht, Kurucesme Pier, Istanbul
If you re looking for delicious and amazing cuisine, you ll be delighted to stop by here. Think about a whole chicken stuffed with rice, covered by salt and roasted in wood-fired oven for two hours, or baked hummus with excellent diced lamb. They have a wide range of menu, including great mezes, special kebabs(which are really hard to find anywhere else), so it is really hard to choose but I do loved all the things I ordered. I recommend you to try it if you ever visit Istanbul.
This is a great restaurant on the Asia side of Istanbul. The servers are nice and the food is moderately priced. Hands down the best food I had in Turkey. When you've had too many donners go here for dinner. There is a nice market down the street too.
Guneslibahce Sokak 43, KADIKOY, Istanbul, Turkey
Google map: bit.ly/mt0VBA
This is a glorious section of the Aegean coast, with turquoise bays, hidden coves and authentic fishing villages. You can't see the best bits from the road, and a big ship wouldn't be able to get into the small bays, so the best way to see it is on a small gulet. You can book a cabin or take over the whole boat.
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