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Exploring Turkey

How to spend your time

Turkey is a varied and beautiful country, with great weather ranging from pleasantly warm to very hot between April and October.

Here are a few ideas of how to spend your time in Turkey. Visit our Experiences page for more ideas, and browse our sample itineraries for lots more detail.

  • Archaeology, Religious and Cultural Sites

The whole country is littered with incredible ruins and history, you’re spoilt for choice in Turkey. The most famous of  the numerous ancient sites is Ephesus, located on the Aegean coast. This large site is considered to have some of the best preserved ruins in the country.

In Istanbul visit the Aya Sofya (striking 6th Century domed church), and the Blue Mosque (a must for any budding photographer). We also recommend you visit Topkapi Palace (an opulent and expansive palace from the Ottoman Empire), to name just the top three.

Museum fans will be in their element, it can seem there are museums in every town dedicated to specific events or the local area, covering both ancient and recent history. Our quirky favourite is the Göreme Open Air Museum in Cappadocia which is a UNESCO world heritage site, a collection of monasteries and rock-cut churches.

  • Hiking

There is something for all levels of experience in Turkey. The best known hike is the epic Lycian Way, one of the world’s Top 10 long distance walks. The 500km trail is easily broken into manageable chunks and you can do all or just part of it. It’s a rewarding trek taking in cedar forests, mountain scenery, countless ancient ruins, coastal stretches and passes through quaint villages.

Cappadocia is also a delight to explore by foot, as you can get right into the caves, carved churches and the underground cities on half day excursions. If you are not afraid of heights, a gentle hot air balloon ride over the lunar landscape is unforgettable.

  • Beach Time

Wrapped with coastline and blessed with great sands and clear seas, it’s no wonder some extremely touristy areas have popped up in Turkey. Some areas focus on larger resorts, with waterparks and restaurants to cater to international tastes.  However, these areas can easily be avoided! With a little planning you’ll find towns with a more local feel and hotels with more authentic styling and service. That’s the Fleewinter speciality! However, in peak season some of these places still get very busy with locals and in-country tourists

Take a look at our South-West Coast page to compare the beaches and find the best one for you, or call us to chat.

  • Gulet Cruises

We highly recommend a gulet cruise, whether you choose to spend a few nights on board, or just a day trip. A gentle cruise on these traditional wooden vessels is a wonderful way to explore Turkey’s magnificent coast.

 

Istanbul
An intoxicating city and the only one in the world to sit across 2 continents. Enjoy breakfast in Europe and lunch in Asia, then back again for the evening.

Most of the popular sights, history and activity are centred on the European side in an area called Sultanahmet. But we recommend you explore further - taking in the Bazaars, cruising along the Bosphorous, and visiting the rooftop bars of Sultanahmet.
Cappadocia
The unique natural caves and ‘fairy chimneys’ in Cappadocia would be beautiful on their own, but they’ve been rendered even more interesting by their history as a refuge for Christians looking to escape Islamic armies. The result is fascinating carvings, frescoes and churches deep in caves.It’s easy to see why drifting over this region on a hot air balloon has become popular.

It’s probably the best region for serious hikers as well, offering challenging mountains and valleys for those who seek them, with rich scenic rewards.
Kalkan
Kalkan is, without a doubt, one of the prettiest holiday beach towns along Turkey’s Turquoise Coast. It calls visitors back again and again.

The charming cobbled-stone town is packed with excellent restaurants, and sits staggered down the hillside to the ocean, with dramatic mountains in the backdrop.
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Thrace Wine Region
A beautiful region producing wine since ancient times. Guided tours of vineyards are open from April to the October harvest.
Fethiye
The Fethiye region is beautiful, with its verdant valleys and dramatic mountains covered in sweet-scented pine forests, ancient tombs carved into the rock faces and simply magnificent beaches. The most famous are the blue lagoon at Ölüdeniz, and the neighbouring Butterfly Valley, aptly named due to the diverse species of butterflies that have made it their home.

For history and nature lovers this region ticks all the boxes, with its many ancient sites to visit including the ruined temples of Tlos Letoon, and the derelict old Greek houses in the ‘ghost village’ of Kaya Valley. Spring is a wonderful time to visit; with its unique flora and fauna, it is simply bursting with rare wild flowers.
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Göcek
Göcek, in the Fethiye region, is a chic, harbour-side town surrounded by 12 islands – stunning just to look at, and even more spectacular to explore onboard a gulet. More
Datça & Bozburun Peninsulas
For a real taste of unspoilt Turkey, visit the gorgeous peninsulas of Datça and Bozburun with their mountain hamlets, forests of pine and a myriad of fishing villages, beaches and secluded coves, just waiting to be discovered.

The southernmost of the two peninsulas is Bozburun, where the main village is renowned for building traditional gulets, splendid wooden Turkish yachts that are seen along the whole coastline.

The Datça Peninsula is home to ancient Knidos which lies at its tip, where the remains of this Dorian port city overlook 2 stunning bays.
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Bodrum Peninsula
Despite Bodrum being a bustling, cosmopolitan town, the old part is incredibly pretty and has remained unchanged for many years, with old white and blue stone houses in the backstreets covered in colourful Mediterranean flowers.

The area is also packed with ancient history. You can see Bodrum Castle from pretty much everywhere, and the Mausoleum at Halicarnussus (one of the Seven Wonders of the Ancient World) is tucked away here too.
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