What could be more ideal than a family holiday that includes a group-pleasing mix of history, relaxing beach time and new exciting cultures? If that’s your idea of holiday heaven, then consider a break in Turkey. This diverse country combines all of these great factors and more and, as it’s outside of the Euro, it provides a more reasonable financial option than many European destinations.
Here’s a guide to some family-friendly sights and activities in Turkey that are sure to provide your whole family with the holiday of a lifetime.
Explore the sights of Istanbul
If you and your family are seeking cultural experiences then make sure to head to the beautiful city of Istanbul. The only city in the world located on two continents, it’s bursting with wonderful sights to delight the whole family.
Make sure you don’t miss the extravagant Blue Mosque, with its tall minarets and huge domes. It’s free to visit and, as a working mosque, is a great way for little ones to experience the culture of the area.
The whole family will also love exploring the Topkapi Palace Museum, which was once a Sultan’s Palace and the seat of the Ottoman Empire for almost four centuries. Visitors can wander through the sprawling array of buildings and courtyards, including harems, bedchambers and the impressive Imperial Hall.
Curb the family’s shopping cravings with a visit to the Grand Bazaar – one of the largest covered markets in the world. The complex boasts two mosques, four fountains, two hammams, cafes, restaurants, a labyrinth of 60 streets and 5,000 shops. Grab some unique souvenirs or just enjoy strolling and soaking in the vibrant culture of this fascinating market.
Enjoy some ‘you’ time as a family
Thanks to its stunning coastline, Turkey has a wealth of beach-side resorts and towns to choose from for some relaxing down time. One of the most popular is Bodrum, a holiday town on the Aegean Sea with plenty of entertainment and beautiful surroundings. This picturesque town lies on the site of the important, ancient city of Halikarnassos in a small bay and includes colourful bazaars and a sheltered harbour.
To enjoy the surroundings whilst keeping the whole family happy and entertained, consider staying nearby at the four-star Sea Garden Beach Resort. The resort offers a range of complimentary activities with free classes and watersports for all ages, beautiful beaches and an indulgent spa, as well as a huge range of children’s clubs and kids’ entertainment.
Other popular resort areas include the provincial capital of Antalya on the southern coast, against a backdrop of mountains and the port of Fethiye with its long seafront promenade and lively bazaar.
Sample the local cuisine
If Turkish food brings to mind greasy kebabs then think again. Authentic Turkish food is a heady mix of diverse culinary influences, all consisting of fresh and exciting ingredients, thanks to the rich flora and fauna of the country.
Typically, Turkish food is not spicy, so little ones and sensitive foodies need not worry. Try the famous ‘dolmas’, which usually consist of vegetables and leaves stuffed with a variety of fillings. Fresh ‘kabobs’ provide a mix of grilled vegetables and meat that are delicious and healthy and are likely to appeal to all members of the family.
Kids and sweet-toothed adults will love exploring the modest sweet shops to taste the sugary pasties, such as ‘baklava’ and tasting the many different types of milk puddings.
Immerse yourselves in the history
Turkey’s richly diverse background means that there are a number of exciting ruins and archaeological sites for history lovers of all ages to explore. Arguably the most remarkable are the ruins of the ancient city of Ephesus, a hugely impressive Roman site with colonnaded streets, a vast theatre, the remains of shops and houses and a unique atmosphere.
The city was once home to the Temple of Artemis, one of the Seven Wonders of the World and is a sacred site due to its association with several biblical figures. Even the younger members of the family are bound to love wandering through the ancient ruins and learning about some of the incredible cultures that have occupied this fascinating site.
Other great Turkish sites include the ruins of Mount Nemrut, which is 2150 metres high and stunning when seen at sunrise, the beautiful remains of the trade centre of Hieropolis with its thermal pools and hot springs, and the legendary city of Troy, with its enchanting romanticism, picturesque setting and historical ruins.