Sitting at the far end of Europe, on the other side of the Mediterranean, Turkey seems a long way away compared to closer beach resort options like France and Spain. Yet the distance from the UK is exactly what gives the country its perfectly un-English summers – with temperatures staying above 20°C from May to October (and averaging 30°C in July). What’s more, the flight time from London is only about four hours, which means it’s still a fairly short-haul trip for all but the most impatient young travellers.
Why Turkey is the perfect destination for your next family holiday
Famous for its world-class beaches, ancient historical ruins and fantastic summer climate, Turkey is a great destination for anyone looking for a sunny European break. But tell the kids they’re going to look at old buildings and sit under a hot umbrella all week and you might get a few grumbles. As ever, planning ahead can make all the difference to a family break, and a bit of research before you go will show you exactly what Turkey has to offer the kids – and the grown-ups too.
A consistently strong pound against the lira means good news for holidaymakers who want to venture outside the resorts – with meals, trips and transport costing far less than they do at home. Keen to keep tourists coming back, an ever-increasing number of flights are also handy for anyone who wants to be a bit more flexible with their travel times – with regular routes from all major UK airports, including Heathrow, Gatwick, Birmingham and Manchester. And, if you go all-inclusive, it means you won't have to worry about any other expenses once you are away.
One of Turkey’s biggest draws is always going to be its beaches. With more than 450 to choose from, Turkey’s beaches are some of the best in the world – and there’s much more to do on them than just lay by the sea. Watersports are popular at resorts all along the coast, and activities like paragliding, wreck diving and jet skiing can be enjoyed alongside less white-knuckle sports like snorkelling, volleyball and paddle boarding. If you’ve got anyone in your group who does prefer a bit of R&R, the 300-mile stretch of coastline between Marmaris and Antalya is known as Turkey’s “turquoise coast” — with Antalya dubbed the Turkish Riviera – it makes for some of the most pristine, picturesque views in the Med.
If you’re staying in an all-inclusive resort, it can often be tempting to stick as close to the bars and restaurants as possible. But Turkey is so full of towns, historical sites and attractions, that it seems a shame to miss out on a few day trips. They’re also a great way of making sure everyone in your family gets to do what they want – from kids to grandparents – with the best destinations offering a mix of different sights and activities.
If anyone’s keen on history, the Roman ruins of Xanthos are definitely worth a visit – and they’re comfortably close to the bohemian seaside town of Patra, which has its own fantastic beach and plenty of boutique browsing opportunities for anyone who prefers couture to culture. Elsewhere, the spa town of Dalyan is also one of the best places to go in Turkey for families thanks to its famous mud baths – great for mums and dads who want to detox, and for kids who want to get messy!
The ancient city of Ephesus, once the trade centre of the ancient world, is a must-visit, as is the Sumela Monastery which has just undergone a huge restoration project. Clinging to a cliff near Mt Melat, the 4th century AD monastery is a highlight of the Black Sea.
Finally, you can’t go to Turkey without visiting Istanbul’s Grand Bazaar — 58 streets packed with around 4,000 shops. But get your bargaining skills ready first.
Being a major world city, Istanbul has plenty to offer everyone in the way of shops, restaurants, parks, museums and culture – but it’s also home to some great family days out like Legoland, the Miniaturk model park and the Istanbul Aquarium. Further out, water parks like Tortuga Pirate Island, at Kuşadası and Water World, near Fethiye, are huge fun – and Göynük’s Dinopark is one of the few places around where your kids will be able to ride a T-Rex.
Choosing an all-inclusive family holiday in Turkey means a lot of the hard work is already done for you, and a Club Med holiday offers something for every age range throughout the family – from babies and toddlers, to older kids, teens and adults. Great options for all-inclusive family resorts in Turkey include the Palmiye Hotel and Palmiye Bungalow resorts, which offer everything from archery and scuba diving to a flying trapeze school.