Our Top Things to Do in Turkey
When you visit Turkey, you'll find all roads lead to Istanbul (and the beach).
With sunny resort villages overlooking the three main water basins of the Black Sea, the Aegean Sea (we’ve never heard that one said out loud, so couldn’t tell you how to pronounce it) and the Mediterranean Sea, Turkey is a summer paradise of beaches, promenades and rugged cliffs. Scorching summer weather and pleasant autumn and spring temperatures make it a favourite with families looking to soak up some sun while the kids splash about in the pools and the sea. Some countries don’t even have any seas, so Turkey is a little spoilt with three.
But the country is far more than the sum of its seas, and has an intriguing blend of Western and Eastern cultures in the cities. Explore the mosques and historic ramparts across the old-world towns, and enjoy that reputable Turkish cuisine (we're looking at you, baklava). Here to take you through this enormous country is Plum Guide, with our look at things to do in Turkey.
Hike through the Marmaris Milli Park
It's very possible you’re reading this because you’re thinking about staying at one of our luxury homes in Turkey Our homes in the resort town of Marmaris are truly top of the range – plus they've all been expertly vetted by our fastidious home critics. If you choose to stay in Marmaris, we recommend you enjoy the deluxe setting of our Villa Bahar or stay in the mansion of Fransizca.
In these parts, you’ll find the Marmaris Milli Park, propping up the eastern edge of town beside the Marmaris Marina (so make sure to jealously eye up the array of deluxe yachts before entering the park). If you have kids, let them clamber a little over the play area – it would be totally inappropriate for you get involved, so try to act your age and live vicariously through them from the sidelines, remembering those days of yore. They’ll soon be all grown up and taking their own kids to play areas… wait, we’ve gotten too sentimental, and you might not even have kids – back to the guide.
Wander over the bridges and sit beside one of the water passages that make their way through the park. Tuck into a picnic beneath a tree and admire the vistas of the sea, with islands and mountains appearing to rise up from it. You might even encounter a few of the local fisherman patiently waiting for their catch of the day. Maybe they can help you out with that picnic.
Go to the beach
The aforementioned three seas mean Turkey is packed with beaches. On the southern Mediterranean coast, you’ll find the town of Kalkan. Stroll along the beach and stop for lunch at the Yali Beach Club & Restaurant or the Kalamar Beach Club. If you’re into breathing under water, do it with the Kalkan Dive Centre.
Descend the 200 steps that go down to the Kaputaş Beach and relax in the shade of an umbrella in this isolated little cove. Other popular beaches around here include Akcagerme Beach, Kalkan Public Beach and Patara Beach.
As you move west, enjoy the beaches of Fethiye, before reaching Marmaris. Sunbathe on the Marmaris Downtown Beach and visit neighbouring strands, such as Amos Beach, Kumlubuk Beach and Cleopatra Beach.
Other beach hubs include Antalya (also known for its Roman ruins) and Alanya, where you’ll find the Alanya Caslte (which looks like a big old block).
See the Greek and Roman ruins
One of the best things to do in Turkey is check out the country's many historic relics. The whole country appears to be brimming with ruins from the Greeks and Romans. Ephesus is among the most famous, dating back as far as the 10th century B.C. ‘That’s older than you,’ one of your kids says with a sneaky grin, not realising he’ll soon be as old as you, and that’ll be that. Wander through the Library of Celsus and see where the chariots used to go.
Another top highlight is Aphrodisias, with its museum full of statues in an ancient city named for the Greek goddess of love. Spot the old stadium that used to hold 30,000 passionate spectators many thousands of years ago. Imagine that. Gaze up at the impressive Temple of Aphrodite.
While traveling through Turkey on this quest for ruins, make sure to stop off at Laodicea, which has one of the Seven Churches of Revelation, and an interesting heritage of Christians and Jews.
Take a trip to Istanbul
One of the most popular places to visit in Turkey is Istanbul. It's not the capital city, so stop saying it is (it's Ankara, FYI). It is however one of the cultural and historical capitals of Europe (we're not going to get into the 'is Turkey in Europe' debate). Make sure to see the impressive Hagia Sophia mosque and the Blue Mosque, which feature on all the postcards and souvenirs. Take a look around the Topkapi Palace, which was built in the 15th century and was the centre of the Ottoman Empire.
If you’re with the family and looking for things to do in Turkey with kids, you can’t miss the Miniaturk, a model village with an extraordinary attention to detail (we suppose you can indeed miss it, because it’s so small). The LEGOLAND Discovery Centre, the Istanbul Dolphinarium and the Istanbul Akvaryum will also keep the kids entertained for days.