Home to magnificent mountains, beautiful beaches and gorgeous weather, Turkey has all the ingredients for an active family holiday. If you’re after more than just guaranteed sun and cocktails round the pool, here’s a run-down of the most popular regions and activities.
Antalya has become known as the ‘Turkish Riviera’ and has been popular with the Turks for generations – if the local people go there, you know it’s good. The city itself is the third most popular to visit in the world after London and Paris. Lots of tourism means healthy competition, which means good prices for you.
The number of watersports available at Antalya’s top beaches would be enough to keep you busy for a week, but if you want to get off the beaten track a little, head to the amazing Taurus Mountains. Here you can enjoy breath-taking views on a cable car trip, explore the terrain on quad bikes, or take a jeep safari to some of the local lakes and waterfalls. Düden waterfalls are a must-see. Here you can also haggle for trinkets, spices, shisha and of course, Turkish delight.
Bodrum, to the west, boasts some of the best dive sites in Turkey. The crystal-clear, calm waters of the Aegean coast are teeming with marine life and vibrant coral reefs. Beginners can enjoy getting to grips with the activity in one of the many sheltered bays, while more experienced divers can explore the fascinating systems of funnels, caves and grottos.
One of the most natural ways to explore the beautiful Bodrum landscape is on horseback. Horses are part of Turkey’s history so there are plenty of reputable schools that can help the whole family take part in a lovely horse ride. Take your time to explore the tranquillity of local beaches, picturesque villages and pine-scented forests.
The Dalaman Coast features one of the most-photographed beaches in the world, Olu Deniz. Known as the Blue Lagoon, this stretch of sand and shingle bordered by pine-studded hills is a national park and a world heritage site. There are areas marked for swimming and you may even see the odd seal come into the bay. There’s a huge range of accommodation around neighbouring Hisaronu and port-town Fethiye, so you’re bound to find something that suits your budget.
If your family are keen walkers, the world-famous Lycian Way trekking path starts in Fethiye. You may not be able to get through the whole 311 miles in a week but the easiest portion of the trek is around Olu Deniz. Butterfly Valley is a must for nature lovers, and the spooky abandoned ‘ghost’ village of Kayakoy is definitely worth a visit. For a truly unforgettable holiday experience, consider taking in the views from 2000m up on a paragliding trip. We’re not sure what’s more exhilarating – the gliding itself, or the hair-raising jeep trip up to the starting point on Mount Babadag!