Bargain hunters searching for cheap holidays to Turkey must be rubbing their hands with glee. Prices have plummeted to what they were four years ago, whilst the stronger pound is leaving Britons with more liras in their pockets. Turkey is a fascinating and diverse country, with more to offer than 18-30 resorts, so if it’s R&R you’re looking for, read on.
Exhausted tourists can often feel as though they’ve only recharged the batteries once they’ve flaked out on a beach away from the crowds. Nestling among Turkey’s mountainous peninsulas, are some remote beaches, unscathed by tourism. The stunning three-kilometre stretch of beach at Cirali is protected for the benefit of loggerhead turtles, which leave the sea to nest on the sand. The village behind the beach has a hippy vibe, with basic restaurants, wooden chalets and hammocks. Butterfly Valley is another idyllic spot, positioned between two imposing cliffs and reached by boat or a rocky path. With no electricity, roads or buildings, this is a place to get away from it all.
Turkey’s coastline is 994 miles long and one of the most relaxing ways of exploring the Turquoise Coast is on board a gulet. Gulets are traditional Turkish boats made of wood, which are around 20 metres long, with a main mast. They usually accommodate up to 12 people and come fully equipped with all mod-cons, a skipper and cook. Gaze at forested mountains, discover secret bays, dive into iridescent waters and lay on empty beaches.
Organic eco farms are all the rage, offering urban dwellers a taste of rustic living. Stay in a mud brick bungalow, on a farm in a pine forested valley in Fethiye, in the south-west. Help around the farm, fish and swim, make souvenirs and feast on delicious local food.
The historic town of Kalkan on the Lycian Coast has escaped mass tourism and is a relaxing haven with its crystalline waters and attractive surroundings. Stay in a rustic cottage in a vineyard a few miles outside the town and fill up on fresh air and sunshine, with a self-guided walking holiday, travelling at your own pace and returning to your comfortable cottage to enjoy some home comforts at the end of the day. The Lycian Way is an area of Outstanding Natural Beauty; choose an itinerary that suits you and pepper your holiday with visits to archaeological sites and trips into Kalkan to browse the markets and enjoy excellent fish and seafood.
If discovering the real historical Turkey is your aim, the valley town of Safranbolu is well worth a visit. A UNESCO World Heritage Site, the old Ottoman town has been beautifully preserved.
For total peace and relaxation, consider restoring mind, body and spirit at a yoga retreat. There are yoga centres popping up all over Turkey, one of which is in the heart of the Aegean region, near Bodrum. Situated amid olive groves and 20 minutes from the nearest village, the scent of bougainvillea hangs in the air and if there’s one place in Turkey where you can unwind, this is it. Head to a local hammam for an exfoliating scrub and a foam massage and you are sure to return feeling revitalised.