Holidays on the Turkish Riviera are something special. Even as I write this sentence, I already see the first critics in my mind – why should a holiday on the Turkish Riviera, of all places, be something special? Millions of tourists from all over the world flock to the Turkish coast every year, and in the larger cities, it’s hotel after hotel, restaurant after restaurant. Seen one, seen them all, right? Wrong! And I can prove it to you. Here is my list of six things that will make your holiday on the Turkish Riviera special, unforgettable, exciting, interesting, entertaining, and breathtakingly beautiful.
1. Unbounded Hospitality
The extremely courteous and friendly nature of the people I have met on holiday on the Turkish Riviera always manages to surprise me over and over again. Of course, hospitality is also considered important in other countries and cultures, but the Turks in particular manage to make this gesture effortless and natural to visitors. For a short “Merhaba” (Turkish for “hello”), you get a warm smile right away, and where else will you be invited to a tea if you just ask for directions?
Holidays on the Turkish Riviera always feel like visiting good friends – instead of just using the good service of a hotel or a restaurant. The art of warmly welcoming guests and giving them the feeling of security a few minutes after the first meeting is something that I have come to know and appreciate, and definitely a trait that makes a holiday on the Turkish Riviera very special. It can best be summed up by the Turkish proverb, “One comes as a guest and leaves as a friend.”
2. Out of the Pool, Into the Mountains
If, as you’re sitting on your plane home, you realise you ended your holiday on the Turkish Riviera without having seen the Taurus Mountains, it is best to go back and do it again. Of course, you won’t be able to visit the entire 1,500 kilometres of the mountain range, but you should at least explore the western part of the Taurus Mountains, which is linked to the Turkish Riviera. The locals use the mountains as a cool refuge from the heat during the hot summer months. If you aren’t already drooling at the mere consideration of the striking rock walls and steep mountain formations, I advise you to do some outdoor activities: even the biggest adrenaline-junkie can get his money’s worth while whitewater rafting in the Köprülü mountain river or canyoning in the gorges .
But as far as the natural resources of the Turkish Riviera are concerned, that’s not all. For example, the upper Düden waterfall in the Kepez district of Antalya is a real hidden gem. The spring in the Taurus Mountains ends in the middle of a small nature park in Antalya. A small staircase leads to a secluded cave located behind the waterfall, which offers pleasant shade. By the way, there is also a lower Düden waterfall: This falls 40 metres from Antalya’s cliffs down into the sea, which is an impressive sight in itself.
Finally, there are the eternal Fires of the Chimera. About 70 kilometres southwest of Antalya, near the ancient city of Olympos, you will find a natural phenomenon more than 2,700 year old. Flames flare up from the broken rock floor, rising up to 50 centimetres depending on the air pressure. The fire is caused by gases escaping from the ground which ignite in the air. The spectacle shouldn’t be missed, and the ideal time to watch comes in the early evening, at dusk.
3. Feast Your Way through Your Turkish Riviera Holiday
The culinary delights of Turkey are always a treat! Köfte, Pide, Börek, Baklava – the list of seductions is long and the portions on the plates are lavish. Whenever I’m on vacation on the Turkish Riviera, I always come across a new dish that I haven’t tasted yet. Many small starters, known as “meze”, are usually served before or with the main courses, so that the entire table is filled with many delicacies and fresh-baked bread. The typical, well-seasoned cuisine is varied and skilfully combines different flavours. You can really taste the freshness of the regional ingredients: freshly caught fish, goat cheese, olives; apricots, oranges that have just ripened in the sun on the fruit fields of Antalya … just wonderful! Such good food can and should be celebrated – another beautiful aspect of the Turkish culture that I sometimes miss elsewhere. A meal here means more than mere food intake – it represents a time to come together and be sociable. So the food tastes twice as good!
4. A Journey into the Past
On holiday on the Turkish Riviera, I quickly noticed how much the region is shaped by historical events and buildings. In Side alone, the Amphitheatre, the Temple of Apollo, the well house Nyphaeum and the ruins of the basilica, as well as the Bishop’s Palace have preserved numerous remnants of antiquity.
Antalya also has a lot to offer from a historical point of view. The Hadrian Gate at the entrance of the old town Kaleici immediately suggests a rich history; similar to the Yilvi Minare Mosque, which was built around 1373 and decisively shaped the cityscape of Antalya. If you stroll through the many ancient streets lined with small traditional shops in Kaleici overlooking the azure sea, then the unique historical flair is really apparent! Last but not least, while on holiday on the Turkish Riviera, you have the opportunity to visit two of the seven wonders of the ancient world: the ruins of the Mausoleum of Halicarnassus and the Temple of Artemis in Ephesus – and if that’s nothing special for you then I don’t know what to tell you.
5. Your Holiday Is What You Make of It
Turkish Riviera holidays are also special for me because of the many possibilities: exciting activities – where you get to know not only the region and the country, but also its people better – are there in abundance. Often, activities connect multiple aspects of Turkish culture, which makes it even easier for people (like me) who have a tough time choosing what to do. For example, when snorkeling at Phaselis Beach in Kemer, I not only encountered the colourful sea creatures, but also the ruins of the old harbour district. Once again, a new thing to discover! Similarly, I could first dip my toes into the culture by browsing a traditional Turkish weekly market before enjoying the breathtaking sea and coastal views during a boat trip with a cool drink in-hand. Overall, the Turkish Riviera seems to be a perfect place to try things out for the first time: Parasailing, windsurfing, diving, biking across mountain peaks, or swimming through a canyon, climbing over rocks, and then ending the day with a barbecue on a warm summer evening? …Where else could you experience so many unforgettable moments?
6. All-Inclusive Holidays at the TUI BLUE Palm Garden
The TUI BLUE Palm Garden in Manavgat offers you a holiday experience like no other. From the warm welcome with Turkish tea, to a relaxing visit to the hamam, to the varied activities, I enjoyed every minute. Each experience flowed seamlessly into the next: work up a sweat with the bodyweight class, test your accuracy with archery, and learn to mix cherri chai – all in one day. If you like, you can just relax and unwind with a day in the daybed.
The individual design possibilities are what make any holiday here special, and I’m sure you’ll love it too. Just give it a try – your very special holiday on the Turkish Riviera.