Holidays in Turkey are not all about soaking up the sun. Bridging the gap between Europe and Asia, it is rich in culture and history as well as beautiful beaches. With ancient ruins to explore, bustling markets to browse, and a burgeoning art scene to explore, there’s something to keep everyone busy. Here’s what to add to your hitlist.
Blending the sun-drenched beaches of the Mediterranean with the mystery and allure of the Middle East, Turkey is a fascinating destination to visit any time of the year. As an added bonus, the current sterling to sterling exchange rate also makes it a particularly inexpensive travel choice. Whether you are planning a city break or a long vacation in the sun, there are several different options for seeing Turkey on a budget.
The best time to visit Turkey depends on the places you want to see, as well as the activities you have planned for your dream vacation. The summer months are ideal for catching a few rays at the tourist hot spots of the Turkish Riviera. The weather in Dalaman and Antalya remains beautifully mild until the end of October. If, on the other hand, you are planning to visit Turkey’s wealth of ancient sites, or go shopping in Istanbul, then it may be best to opt for a spring or early fall vacation.
We’ve picked out the best things to do at three of the country’s most beautiful and affordable vacation destinations. All you have to do is find the cheapest flight and hotel deals. And don’t forget to pack your sunscreen!
What to do in Dalaman
With inexpensive direct flights from 13 UK airports, Dalaman is one of the best destinations for a budget holiday in Turkey. Here exquisitely beautiful landscapes meet enigmatic ancient monuments and vibrant nightlife. As the most popular tourist attractions from Dalaman to Fethiye and Marmaris are very crowded in the height of summer, it is worth considering a mid-autumn vacation to take advantage of the cheap flight and hotel deals. . And to top it off, you will have the unspoiled beaches of the region for you!
1. Take a dip in the Blue Lagoon in Ölüdeniz
The Blue Lagoon of Ölüdeniz is the star tourist attraction of Dalaman, a haven of turquoise waters surrounded by lush vegetation. One of the perks of visiting during the much more relaxed October is swimming alongside sea turtles that shyly poke their heads out of the water. It is, after all, a protected natural park.
2. Discover the view from above
If August is your favorite month and you find that there is little space to put down your beach towel, Ölüdeniz offers an even more spectacular alternative: you will find many companies offering tandem paragliding flights from the imposing Babadağ mountain. While paragliding isn’t cheap, tandem flights are some of the most affordable on offer. It’s no wonder that Olüdeniz is one of the most popular paragliding destinations in the world. Nothing beats the view of the Blue Lagoon from above!
3. Explore the rugged beauty of the Hidden City
Consider hiring a car to explore Dalaman’s mesmerizing landscapes at your own pace – it’s the best way to see Turkey on a budget (prices start at £ 27 in July). About 45 km from the center of Fethiye is the 20 km long Saklikent Gorge, also known as the Hidden City. An easy walk along the boardwalk provides stunning views of the canyon. However, there is nothing more fun than dipping your toes in cold water and following the adventurous path away from the crowds. The towering limestone cliffs are a sight to behold.
What to do in Istanbul
Straddling Europe and Asia, Istanbul is the place to go if you want to combine Turkish tradition with contemporary culture, the hustle and bustle of a bustling metropolis and quiet alleys full of old-world charm. Here are three of the best things to do in Istanbul if you’re traveling to Turkey on a budget.
1. Be inspired by the historic grandeur of Sultanahmet Square
Where the Hippodrome of Constantinople (the capital of the Byzantine Empire) once stood, you will now find Istanbul’s most vibrant and glorious square. Sultanahmet Meydanı is surrounded by some of the city’s most visited historical monuments, including the imposing Byzantine Church (and now museum) of Hagia Sophia and the Blue Mosque with its impressive six minarets. The latter is free to visit, but it is better to avoid prayer times.
2. Haggle for souvenirs at the Grand Bazaar
One of Istanbul’s most popular tourist attractions, the Grand Bazaar (Kapalıçarşı) has a rich history stretching back over 5 centuries. Products for sale in the 4,400 shops under its vaulted ceilings include handcrafted shawls, ceramics, lamps and jewelry. They aren’t always authentic or reasonably priced, but haggling here is half the fun. On the contrary, it offers a great opportunity to chat with local traders. And if you can bargain like a pro, you’ll walk away with a handful of cheap, colorful treasures.
3. Capture the magnificent panorama of the Bosphorus Bridge
The Bosphorus Bridge, which connects the European and Asian sides of Istanbul, is arguably one of the city’s most photogenic sites. But you don’t have to spend a fortune on a dinner cruise or the nearby seafood restaurants to soak up the mesmerizing scenery. Instead, grab a delicious Turkish kumpir (baked potato) from the street vendors of Ortaköy and find the perfect spot by the water’s edge to marvel at the 1,560-meter-long suspension bridge, illuminated at night. by incredibly atmospheric LED lights.
What to do in Antalya
Do you dream of floating in aquamarine waters and winding paths in the woods? Gateway to the scenic drives of the Turkish Riviera, Antalya offers all of the above, plus a bustling city center with a quaint old town and exciting food scene. Cheap direct flights from the UK will get you to one of Turkey’s best vacation spots in just over four hours.
1. Get your first glimpse of the Turquoise Coast at Konyaaltı Beach
You don’t have to stray far from the city center to bathe in the striking blue waters of the Turkish Riviera. Konyaaltı Beach, near Kaleiçi (Old Town), is Antalya’s No.1 attraction with showers, lounge chairs, and a range of restaurants and bars nearby. Fun beach activities include jet skiing and walking the palm-lined promenade of Konyaaltı with Mount Olympus providing an unbeatable backdrop to the west.
2. Walk through the ancient ruins of Aspendos and Perge
About 50 km east of Antalya is Aspendos, the Greco-Roman city best known for its amazingly preserved Roman amphitheater. It dates from the 2nd century AD and if you visit here during the high season you will also see many opera and ballet performances. Guided day trips from Antalya cost between £ 50-60, so it’s worth hiring a car to explore the region’s splendid monuments and tourist attractions at your own pace. Also not to be missed are the ancient town of Perge, the peaceful seaside town of Side and the Duden waterfalls.
3. Relax with a traditional Turkish bath
There are several budget options for a Turkish bath around Antalya, but it’s worth making your first hammam an unforgettable experience. The 600-year-old Sefa Hamam is the city’s most atmospheric public bath, popular with tourists and locals alike. A traditional hammam here costs around £ 8 (40 Turkish Lira). But, at these prices, why not splurge a bit more and really pamper yourself? Combine a hammam, scrub, hot soap and oil massages for the bargain price of £ 24 (180 lire), and you promise: your cheap vacation in Turkey will leave you like royalty!
Are you tempted to travel to Turkey on a budget? Start searching for cheap flights to Turkey from your nearest airport now 👇
* Posted June 17, 2019. Prices correct at time of writing and subject to change and / or availability.