On the Bosporus, spanning two continents, Istanbul is truly a city like no other. Sixteen million people live their lives here, among its towering mosques, its countless bars and clubs, and accompanied by an ever-growing number of stray cats.
Contrary to popular opinion, Istanbul is not the capital of Turkey though it was the centre of power for both the Byzantine and the Ottoman Empire. Formerly called Constantinople and Der Saadet, Istanbul was always one of the richest and largest cities of the Mediterranean and it is no wonder why Istanbul was one of the most coveted cities in the whole world and thus a constant target for conquerors until the Ottoman Empire established it as their capital city. Traces of this turbulent history can be seen throughout Istanbul.
Located at the Turkish Riviera, the southern coast of Turkey, Antalya is well known for its sandy coast and turquoise water. Its picturesque beaches invite you to build sandcastles or take a leisurely swim. Of course, scuba diving, parasailing, water ski or boat parties are also on the menu, should you prefer that. Certainly, you are spoilt for choice. Konyaaltı, Kaputaş, Kleopatra, Lara, Mermerli are just some of the beaches you can discover and maybe the hardest decision you will face is whether you prefer the fine sand at Side or the pebble beach at Kemer. Regardless of which one becomes your favourite, the beach of Patara, just to mention one, is well worth a visit. While it doesn’t offer a lot of water sport, the beach is the nesting ground for Loggerhead Sea Turtles. Between May and October visitors have the chance to observe these creatures in their natural habitat. Witnessing these vulnerable turtles in the sand is sure to tug at your heart strings and while you are there do not miss out on visiting the Lycian tombs and the ancient ruins of Patara which are said to be the birthplace of Santa Claus, or rather St. Nicolas.
Imagine a city that offers an amazing history to discover, award-winning wines to savour, local festivals to visit, and needless to say, exquisite bays and beaches to haunt. Turkey’s the third biggest city Izmir is a spectacular holiday destination that should be firmly on your list of places to visit.
The biggest coastal city of the Turkish Aegean, Izmir, formerly known as Smyrna, has more than four million inhabitants and is often said to be the most European city in Turkey. Making your way through the labyrinth that is Kemeraltı Basar, with its countless coffee houses, vendours, and glittering distractions this seems like a bold statement. Yet, spend a few minutes walking and you’ll end up at Kültürpark, with its open-air theatre, amusement park, and art museum and the hip neighbourhood of Alsancak which offers shoppers extravagant boutiques, and a chic bars and pubs. Izmir offers a lot of different flavours and it would be a shame not to taste them all. It is a beautiful city to discover and make your own. A climb on top of Kadifekale hill with its ancient ruin of the city’s castle, a bit of window shopping at the Konak Pier shopping centre, and an evening stroll along the sea promenade are just a few of the things that are possible in a day’s visit.