10 Unmissable Places to Visit in Turkey

Turkey has always been known for Mediterranean sunshine and mouth-watering cuisine, but now record affordability is making the paradise land hotter than ever. Check out these star locations for your 2020 plans…

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Millions of visitors flock to Dalaman every year for its luxurious beaches, lakes and streams. There are water parks for the family, plus opportunities for whitewater rafting on the Dalaman River.

This sleepy agricultural destination is a great place to see Turkey’s natural beauty in 2019. The sands at Sarigerme offer a taste of quiet luxury and the nearby market towns are great places to pick up some Turkish delights.

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The main metropolitan destination, Istanbul sits on the border between Europe and Asia. This unique position gives the city a magical glow, with a skyline shaped by historic Mosque domes, exotic bazaars and Ottoman palaces.

For beach-lovers, there are plenty of relaxing options. Away from the bustling port, idyllic Solar Beach and action-packed Golden Beach are just two of the great places to unwind.

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Turkey’s fifth-largest city is also a jewel of the Turquoise Coast. The Adrasan Bay protects the country’s largest coastal resort from the elements, creating the dreamy warmth you want from a summer beach holiday.

This destination is ideal if you want to experience the lively side of Turkey’s coast. There’s something for everyone: Konyaalti Beach is a waterside playground, the Duden Waterfalls are a picture-perfect wonder and the harbour is packed with history.

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The Bodrum Peninsula is speckled with beautiful coves and golden beaches, but historical heritage really sets the city apart.

Bodrum Castle makes the perfect place for a day trip, with an underwater archaeological museum housing some of the world’s most important displays. A €25 million restoration is due to transform this suboceanic collection, where you can learn about the magnificent local Mausoleums.

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Standing proudly on the western Aegean coats, Kusadasi is a beach resort with plenty of Eastern charm to complement the sun-kissed shores.

In this major cruise ship stop-off, you can see one of the original Seven Wonders of the Ancient World. The Temple of Artemis was rediscovered in 1869 and Byzantine basilicas showcase the multi-faith heritage of this part of Turkey.

Ladies Beach is popular among the locals. In Ottoman times, only women were allowed to swim in its waters, but today the whole family can enjoy these palm tree-lined shores.

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Another hot seaside city, sizzling Izmir has historical clock towers, ancient citadels and bustling city life.

The seas are pale blue and glistening, while a fascinating heritage touched by Ancient Greece and Armenia creates a dynamic atmosphere. Nearby Ephesus is a must-visit location, with an ancient Roman library and other historical treasures from layered civilisations.

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Istanbul and Dalaman may draw the largest crowds, but some of the best places in Turkey for a holiday are off the beaten track.

Pamukkale’s famous thermal waters create one of the world’s most striking landscapes, which is why the resort’s name means “Cotton Castle” in Turkish.

Located near Denizli in Turkey’s traditional heart, there are quaint towns and ancient theatres to explore once you’ve indulged at the tranquil thermal spas.

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If you’re looking for spectacular landscape, Goreme is the best place to visit. Here, underground towns sit below the “fairy chimney” rock formations and hot-air balloon rides are a popular way to view the surreal valley.

Roughly half-way between Ankara and Mersin, this part of eastern Turkey is a great place to plan an alternative holiday to Turkey.

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A port city with a busy soul, Marmaris is one of the Turkish Riviera’s celebrity resorts. There is a castle, dolphin therapy centre and a lively watersports culture on the blissful beach.

The nearby towns of Icmeler, Hisaronu and Turunc offer a more laid-back holiday experience with the beautiful Taurus Mountains as a backdrop.

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The dreamlike blue lagoon defines this destination, with water temperatures reaching 26°C in summer. If you’re looking for a taste of paradise in 2020, this resort village is a fantastic option.

See nature on Gemiler Island, try diving and paragliding or simply soak up some rays. With the magnificent Babadag Mountain rising in the distance, this southwestern Turkish destination is a vibrant haven you can easily fall in love with.

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