Whether you’ve got your Turkish jolly booked already, or you’re just scoping out the best places to visit in Türkiye, I’m pretty sure you’re going to want to see what the Aegean Coast has got on offer. For anyone who’s not a geographical genius (me, included) you get to the Aegean Coast by flying into Dalaman, Bodrum or Izmir airports. This area’s got tons of excellent hotel stays, waterparks for the kids and plenty of tourist hotspots. But whilst that’s all well and good, I’m here to give you the low down on the true Türkiye, with all the best sights to see, things to do and experiences to experience on your 2023 holiday. Because (Dala)man this place is good!
1. Take a dip in the Blue Lagoon
This iconic spot is water-baby heaven. I mean, look at it. Don’t you just want to strap a snorkel to your face and dive straight in?! The Blue Lagoon is an utterly stunning spot in the popular resort of Ölüdeniz. There’s a sandy beach where you can rent pedalos to keep the whole fam happy, and you’ll find some little cafes dotted about the shore, too, for that obligatory afternoon ice cream. I cannot stress it enough, this place IS as good as it looks in the photos, and if you want an even better view whilst you’re here, you can always take the cable car up the nearby Badabag Mountain and snap a few photos from above whilst you have a go at tandem paragliding!…. Or snap a few photos from above on the cable car journey back down, your choice.
2. Explore the Saklikent Gorge
Here’s one for the adventurers. Saklikent Gorge is the second largest canyon in Europe and it’s only about an hour’s drive away from the holiday hotspots of Fethiye and Ölüdeniz, so it’s the perfect day out whilst you’re in the area. The water that runs through the gorge is unbelievably blue, making for a pretty epic Insta’ snap, and if you’re after an activity to remember, you can pop a lifejacket on, hop in a dingy and head full-throttle down it. If you’d rather keep both feet planted firmly on the ground, though, you can take in the views from the hike alongside the river, as you head all the way up to an incredible waterfall. Top the day off with a meal at one of the suspended restaurants along the canyon – it’s an experience you won’t forget.
3. Set sail on a Dalyan River Cruise
If you’re staying near the town of Dalyan, then a river cruise is an absolute must. It’s a peaceful trip, most of the boat tours involve lunch and you might even spot some turtles along the way! An absolute winner. You’ll sail through the reeds and pass by the Lycian tombs, built into the hillside, which date back to around 400 BC. You can’t really go wrong with a boat trip, but my only piece of advice is: book a trip that stops at Iztuzu Beach, also known as Turtle Beach – this is where you’ll have the best chance of spotting the little fellas. When you dock here, you can go for a little swim around, so make sure to pack your cossie!
4. Spend the day at Çalış Beach
It was inevitable. I had to get a beach in there somewhere, otherwise I wouldn’t be doing my job. Çalış Beach has pretty much got it all. It’s one of the biggest beaches in the area, it’s fab for a day of tanning, there are plenty of watersports on offer, and you’re never too far from a fruity cocktail. Plus, for any keen birdwatchers, there’s the Çalış Beach Bird Sanctuary nearby where you can spot a feathered friend or two, and it’s just generally a lovely place for a wander. Of course, no beach day would be complete without a snack stop, and there are plenty of good restaurants in the area for this, too.
5. Get the real Turkish treatment
When you hear ‘Turkish’, you instantly think ‘delight’. And, sure, it’s an absolute treat being in Türkiye, but I’m talking about the little rose flavoured sweets you get that sort of stick your teeth together but also make you want to demolish a whole box of them. It’s what the country’s famous for! That and Turkish baths, so you sort of have to visit a Turkish bath whilst you’re here, it’s the rules. Our recommendation is Sultan Hamam & Spa Center in Fethiye for a wash, a scrub, a foam and a massage. And once you’re done, you might as well go for the hattrick and order a Turkish coffee! If you want to go 100% authentic, don’t add milk or sugar, and make sure to have a sip of water before your coffee to cleanse your pallet. You can tell if the coffee has been made well if it’s got a little bit of foam on top and, if you’re really lucky, they might add a little Turkish delight on the side, too. Türkiye? Completed it mate.
Taking off to Türkiye but found your dream hotel in Antalya? I’ve got you covered. Check out my book-it list for an Antalya jolly.