Antalya

Talking Turkey

3rd January 2009

Turkey’s competitive pricing combined with a non-euro currency make it one of the most affordable destinations out there. Both the Mediterranean and Aegean coastal resorts offer great bargains.

Kaputas

The resorts of Bodrum and Belek close to Antalya lie on the Aegean coast, arguably the most stunning of Turkey’s coastlines, famed for its beautiful beaches and turquoise blue seas. Littered with graceful yachts and Turkish gulets, this is a popular choice for sailing holidays and water sports.

Whether you’re seeking vibrant city life or a relaxing beach escape, Turkey has the best of both and much, much more.

Bodrum, on a beautiful peninsula, is one of Turkey’s most spectacular resorts. Its charm lies in its blend of relaxed Mediterranean atmosphere, historical architecture and proximity to a vast array of fantastic beaches, fishing villages and trendy nightclubs. The city has grown dramatically in recent years with the opening of an international airport – yet its delightful charm remains intact, with palm-lined streets and whitewashed, flat-roofed houses dotted across its terraced hillsides.

Bodrum is also the yachting centre of Turkey and its world-class Marina is a favourite destination for the yachts that cruise the Aegean and Mediterranean.

By day, the central bazaar is a great place for shopping, with its array of leather, clothes, carpets and assorted souvenir and gift shops. If you venture into the narrow streets of the old town, you will discover both chic boutiques and rustic Turkish restaurants. There is also a weekly market for a colourful taste of native produce, including the delicious locally grown tangerines.

But the city really comes to life at night, with a magical atmosphere that doesn’t sleep until dawn… romantic harbour-side dinners, an evening promenade or cocktails in the up-market marina. Something to suit everyone.

Also known as the Turkish Riviera, Antalya, where the pine-clad Toros Mountains sweep down to the sparkling clear sea, is the tourism capital of the country. In the summer the region is a paradise for sunbathing, swimming, and sports activities such as windsurfing, waterskiing, sailing and mountain climbing.

One of the most popular beaches is Lara Beach, 12 kilometres east of Antalya, a great destination for beach lovers looking for luxurious hotels. The Lara Beach, an all-suite hotel, and the new Lykia World hotel, now catering for golfers, are popular choices for families. The beach, with its coarse, golden sand that stretches as far as the eye can see, is the resort’s star attraction. Five kilometres away, Lara Beach Resort has a small number of restaurants, bars and shops. It is an ideal choice for families, as the beach shelves gently into the sparkling Mediterranean. Many of the beaches along this stretch have Blue Flag awards for their safety, cleanliness and environmental friendliness.

The Belek region, a true paradise for tourists, on the shore of the Mediterranean in the midst of its own pine forests is located 30 kilometres to the east side of Antalya province. The region has 32 four or five-star hotels and first-class holiday villages, plus five golf courses. The Kempinski Hotel is a favourite. All the facilities, designated first-class, provide an ideal atmosphere for families, with many services and amenities: floodlit tennis courts, indoor and outdoor pools, fully equipped health and fitness centres, play areas and much more.

Fethiye is a traditional market town with a beautiful natural harbour. It has no beach, although some hotels with access to the sea for swimming, and it is a large scuba diving centre. The boats depart from here for day trips around the stunning coastline, including the popular ‘twelve islands’ trip, an extremely relaxing day touring the beautiful coves and islands of the Gulf of Fethiye, with breaks for lunch and swimming.

There is a variety of shops in the narrow streets of the bazaar area, Paspatour, offering more competitive prices than those in any of the resorts. This area is also lively in the evening with a multitude of Turkish bars and live music.

Oludeniz

Oludeniz is the archetypal picture-postcard beach backed by dramatic pine-clad hills. Literally translated as ‘dead sea’ the stunning lagoon is a protected area, while the main resort beach is a long stretch of coarse sand and shingle. Most of the houses, built in traditional local style, are set back from the beachfront. Alongside the seafront are several relaxing bars and restaurants, serving local and international cuisine.

It’s perfect for a laid-back family holiday – plenty of facilities, but not too much development. The Lykia World Resort or Hillside Club are both popular with families.

Paragliding is a big draw, too, with the descent from Babadag mountains to land on Belcegiz beach rating as one of the best in the world. Livlier Hisaraonu, with its wealth of bars, clubs and restaurants, is on the hillside some 20 minutes drive away, and Fethiye is just the other side of the mountain.

For those who prefer to get away from it all, Akyaka is an unspoilt area, more frequented by locals than by tourists. This coastal village has a beautiful sandy beach nestling in a river valley. Here you can experience a simple way of life which has changed little over the centuries, where the fishermen still leave from the harbour early every morning and local craftsmen use the skills they have learned from their parents and grandparents before them.

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