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WAYS TO SPEND YOUR DAYS IN TURKEY

I’m not sure why I haven’t considered Turkey as a holiday destination before. It has a rich culture, places to take it easy, exquisite food and unique attractions (you would have to visit multiple places to get the same variety of architectural, archaeological, water sports and beach resorts), the regions have a diverse mix of the west and exotic east.   

What I Did

I landed in Turkey and shuttled to Dalaman to a rustic hotel on the west coast. I was a little jetlagged and decided to rather get settled, relaxed and have a look around town before heading on a boat to Kos Island in the morning. And I’m glad I took the time get my head together because going on a tour exhausted and with a headache is “no bueno” oh wait…I’m not at home…it’s “hiç iyi”. In the morning I headed with a group to the Greek Island of Kos to visit the Paleo Pili Byzantine fort and bubble my cares away in the hot springs of the appropriately named, Therma Beach. It was a perfect sunset and a calm ride back to the mainland.

Ephesus

On a bus tour to Ephesus (present-day Selçuk), our group basically ogled and stood dumb-struck looking at over 30 ancient structures such as House of Virgin Mary, the Basilica of St John, The temple of Artemis, brothels, libraries, the Gate of Mazeus, theatres and gymnasiums. It was super sunny so always remember your hat and sunblock.

We then hopped back on the bus and drove to Geyre to explore Aphrodisias (a location where ancients believed the Goddess of Love, Aphrodite – the Romans called her Venus, had her sanctuary). Although the site is sort of half excavated and half protected by the sands, the site still has incredibly preserved ruins and insights into daily life of a long gone civilisation.

I ended my tour by heading to the coast and boarded a Turkish Yacht (a gullet) to cruise the cobalt waters, cool down after my many escapades in the sun on land and for the next few days, relax with new friends, fine wine, traditional teas, coffees and although a little spicy, some of the most flavourful food I have ever had.

How I Got There and Back

Atatürk International Airport is Turkey’s busiest international airport. I made sure to compare prices of flights with all well-known flight centres and agencies to find affordable Dalaman flights, to and from the UK, from Bodrum and Istanbul including Ankara including transit to main cities in Turkey. I had to factor in road travelling costs and accommodation because I wanted most of my budget to be spent on activities.

I’m really glad I didn’t overlook Turkey as a holiday location, I may not have considered it before but I will always include it for the future because I don’t think I even scratched the surface of what Turkey has to offer. I know there’s a saying that the journey is more important than the destination and although this may be true for many travellers, I think the destinations in Turkey make the journey all the more worthwhile.

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Top Rated Hotels for a Holiday in Side

Southern Turkey is home to one of the most beautiful coastlines in the world. With perfectly turquoise Mediterranean waters, a nice mix of wide, sandy beaches and dramatic, rocky cliffs, and a totally unique and engrossing cultural and historical side, this region is the perfect holiday destination. But where to stay? Side, one of the most popular resort centers, has almost too many options to choose from. Here are ten of the best:

Alba Royal

Top Rated Hotels Side 1

Want to escape children (your own or others’)? This is the perfect place. With no guests allowed under 13 years of age, the romantic possibilities open up endlessly, and vacations are that much more relaxing. Voted one of TripAdvisor’s “Best Hotels of 2012,” the Alba Royal offers an excellent selection of facilities, bars, restaurants, pools, and very comfortable and spacious rooms. It’s located right on the beautiful beach and has a distinctive and memorable character.

SENTIDO Perissia

Top Rated Hotels Side 2

This excellent member of the SENTIDO chain of resorts is conveniently located for those interested in exploring some history and archaeology in addition to enjoying the sublime relaxation that a high class beach resort like this can offer. The SENTIDO Perissia is located at the boundary between the trendy, beautiful beachfront promenade that most of the resorts in the area share and the beginning of historical Side. Its wide range of amenities and activities make it a prime choice for couples or families.

Trendy Palm Beach

Top Rated Hotels Side 3

If escaping the bustle of the resort center is important to you, the location of the Trendy Palm Beach may be especially appealing. The restaurants and bars here get extra marks, as do the beach activities like canoes and pedalos. As with most resorts in Turkey, its spa is particularly well-developed. Turkish massage is a world-famous art, and guests here report that it is especially blissful. And as you might expect from the name, the beach is beautiful.

Alba Queen

Top Rated Hotels Side 4

Large, stylish, and full of fun, the Alba Queen is an excellent choice for family vacations. There are waterslides leading into its expansive swimming pools, there is a ten-pin bowling alley, and the whole resort is located right on the beach. Children are well cared for at the thoughtful mini-buffet, the playground, and the hotel-run “kid’s club.” If your family is active and likes to get around a lot on their holiday together, there are transportation options to Side, Çolakli, and other nearby centers.

Sunlight Garden

Top Rated Hotels Side 5

If you’re looking for a more comfortable, homey feel, then Sunlight Garden may be the best choice for you. This resort takes a much heavier emphasis on apartment-style accommodation, making it much easier to feel at home and creating inexpensive options for large families and groups that want to stay together without paying exorbitant room rates. The community feeling here is heightened by the smaller size and overall layout centered around the two outdoor pools.

Voyage Sorgun

Top Rated Hotels Side 6

This is another highlight on TripAdvisor’s “Best Hotels of 2012” listing, and with good reason. Voyage Sorgun is located at the edge of a pine forest, with a secluded beach and a private dock that make waterskiing, scuba diving, and other fun activities possible. If you’re hanging around the hotel, you can engage in bowling and pool, or catch a movie at the mini cinema. Between shows, you’ll have to choose between nine restaurants, six swimming pools, and 12 bars. This one’s a winner.

Kentia Apartments

Top Rated Hotels Side 7

For those hoping to enjoy the luxuries of the top resorts while still being mindful of their budgets, the Kentia Apartments complex is a great option. By staying just 1.3 kilometers away from the beach (and enjoying easy transportation to and from it), your family can save a lot of money while booking accommodation. You’ll still enjoy great food, attractive pools, and frequent evening entertainment, as well. It’s definitely a smart choice for those that want to save their money for more traveling in the future.

Hotel Asteria

Top Rated Hotels Side 8

Elegant, right on the beach, and full of amenities, the Hotel Asteria offers luxurious rooms and great activities in a central location. There is a sense of sophistication here that not all resorts manage to exude, but it is palpable. If you stay at the Asteria, you will enjoy great service, food, spa treatments, and more. Not that you’ll ever need to leave the resort for anything, but if you ever decide that you need a change of scenery, you’re not far from Side and other communities.

Crystal Palace Luxury Resort & Spa

Top Rated Hotels Side 9

If you’ve come for comfort, you’ve come to the right place. The Crystal Palace Luxury Resort & Spa offers every indulgence you could ever require, in a full package that is stylish and downright heavenly. Getting massage and other treatments here will make you wish you could stay forever. It’s remoteness is part of the charm–you’re not far from the shops of Gundogdu and Çolakli, but are far removed enough from the main press of visitors to not feel overwhelmed. Of course, all the usual amenities are provided, and are as excellent as you’d expect.

Paloma Ocean Resort

Top Rated Hotels Side 10

As the face of tourism changes in Turkey, hotels are adapting and upgrading. Formerly known as the Paloma Beach Resort, the Paloma Ocean Resort has received some major updates to prepare it for the next tourist season, and is one of the best of the family-friendly options. Featuring tons of activities for kids, modern decor, and friendly staff, this is an excellent choice. The waterpark comes highly recommended, as do the multitude of bars and restaurants.

Enjoying comforts like those offered at these hotels is one of the best parts of traveling. Do yourself a favor and treat yourself to stay on the Turkish Riviera, and enjoy all that this great region has to offer.

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