10 ways to experience undiscovered Türkiye

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Türkiye has long been a popular destination for British holidaymakers, attracted by good prices, fabulous beaches and great weather on the coast, and a bustling and lively city break destination in popular İstanbul. But there’s more more to discover about this enticing destination…

1 Islands

In spring, locals flock to İstanbul’s Princes’ Islands with their colourful golden mimosa tree blossom. Take a pleasant hour-long ferry ride and walk the traffic-free streets of two of the most popular islands, Büyükada or Heybeliada.

Alternatively, Bozcaada and Gökçeada are the largest islands of Türkiye, at the mouth of the Strait of Dardanelles, scene of the WWI Battle of Gallipoli. Bozcaada is known for indigenous Kuntra and Karalahna grapes for robust red wines, and delicate Çavuş and Vasilaki varieties for exquisite whites.

Gökçeada is focused on sustainability, with water springs, olive groves and goat cheese farms. There are plenty of thrills along the island’s wind-swept beaches, including kitesurfing.

2 Eco-responsible restaurants

Michelin Guide’s new selection of İstanbul, İzmir and Bodrum restaurants marks a rise in gastronomic standards in Türkiye, celebrating a new generation of chefs who are proud of their traditions. Three İzmir restaurants have been given a Michelin Green Star this year: OD Urla, Vino Locale and Hiç Lokanta. In İstanbul, two are Michelin Green Star status: Neolokal and Circle by Vertical.

3 Blue Flag beaches of Antalya

With crystalline waters and sun-kissed shores, Antalya is a beach lover’s paradise, boasting the highest number of Blue Flag beaches in the world. As of 2023, an impressive 231 out of Türkiye’s 551 Blue Flag beaches, recognised for their exceptional water quality and safety standards, are nestled along Antalya’s coastline.

4 The countryside

Urla is a quintessential coastal gem near the city of İzmir, where the Turkaegean lifestyle is preserved and celebrated amid a warm microclimate.  The area’s fish, olives, grapes, wild herbs and the trademarked gum artichokes are celebrated with regional festivals and Urla has swiftly ascended to become the epicenter of gastronomic excellence in the country, with the burgeoning Urla Wine Route and acclaimed restaurants, four of which have recently been awarded Michelin stars.

5 Best Tourism Villages winners

The İzmir hamlets of Birgi and Şirince have UN Tourism acclaim for their commitment to preserving rural heritage, fostering local communities, and rich culinary traditions. Nestled in one of the most fertile valleys of the country, Birgi’s history goes back 5,000 years, with picturesque streets adorned with classical Seljukian and Ottoman houses. Şirince has quaint wooden Ottoman dwellings, wines crafted from locally sourced berries and fruits and is a 15-minute drive from the ancient city of Ephesus.

6 Türkiye’s Lakelands

Just north of the Western Taurus Mountains, the Pisidia region is Türkiye’s ‘Lake District’, spanning the cities of Antalya, Isparta, and Burdur. Lake Eğirdir, the second largest freshwater lake in Türkiye, has sandy beaches, a resort-like ambiance and is surrounded by orchards. Lake Burdur is renowned for its birdlife and proximity to the ancient city of Sagalassos, while Lake Salda has a striking resemblance to the Jezero Crater on Mars, harbouring some of the oldest traces of microbial life on Earth. 

7 Something throughout the year

In April and May, there’s an annual migration of hundreds of dolphins passing through the Bosphorus in their search for food, from the Marmara Sea up to the Black Sea, returning in autumn. Between July and September, it’s time for the hatching of baby Caretta turtles on the beaches of Dalyan, Fethiye, Patara, Çıralı, Belek, Anamur, and in Göksu River delta. Between mid-August and mid-September, about one million storks make the annual migration from Africa to Europe – a spectacle best observed in İstanbul. And, in November and December, it’s time for the olive harvest in Edremit Bay, the prime region for olive oil production in Türkiye.

8 Bike along the Aegean Coast

İzmir is at the end of the EuroVelo Route 8-Mediterranean, a network of long-distance cycling routes stretching from the Atlantic shores of Europe all the way down to Türkiye’s third-largest city. The İzmir section of the route features more than 650 signposted points, interconnecting UNESCO World Heritage sites like Pergamum and Ephesus with other natural and cultural points of interest

9 Discover family friendly Turkish Riviera

The premium resorts in Fethiye and Antalya all have Safe Tourism certificates and are perfect bases for private boat tours or historic sights such as Lycian Olympus the city of Chimera Fire, or the Church of St Nicholas in Demre. Children will be fascinated by the intricate sculptures made entirely of sand, which are erected every year for the International Sandland Festival in Antalya.

10 Cappadocia – the land of fairy tales

There’s plenty to explore in Cappadocia, including hot-air balloon rides over the famous fairy chimneys and volcanic peaks. Apart from exploring the fascinating rock-hewn churches and the labyrinth-like underground cities of Kaymaklı and Derinkuyu, it’s also possible to take part in a pottery workshop in Avanos, the home of pottery dating way back to the Hittites, and spend a night in cave hotel. Seeing the awe-inspiring landscape on foot, horseback or a mountain bike is a unique experience.  

To find out more, and to see a fabulous selection of hotels with Youtravel.com, click here or on the logo below.

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