8 of the best active holidays in Turkey

World-class resort facilities and top natural terrain make Turkey a winner for sporty holidays, writes Joanna Booth

Lying on a sun lounger is so last season. For every fly-and-flop client you’ll find a jet-and-jogger, who is more interested in a resort’s gym and tennis courts than its sunbeds.

UN Tourism predicts that sports tourism will grow by 17.5% between 2023 and 2030, generating around 10% of global tourism expenditure, and while this figure covers spectator travel too, it’s a sign that the active travel trend isn’t going away.

Few destinations can match Turkey for these trips, particularly during the long, balmy shoulder seasons. Spacious, recently built resorts have extensive sports facilities, and the wind and wave conditions seem perfectly designed for action on the water. Here are a handful of options to suggest.

Sport for families at Club Med Palmiye

Younger visitors can rest easy knowing that they won’t simply be colouring in at the kids’ and teens’ clubs offered by this hotel from the French all‑inclusive brand, set among the palms and pines in Kemer, on Turkey’s warm Mediterranean coast. Instead, they’ll find a packed programme with sailing, waterskiing, wakeboarding, windsurfing, tennis, archery and even flying trapeze. It’s not just for kids, either – adults can have a go at all these sports, plus there are fitness classes, kayaks and stand-up paddleboards to use, along with friendly football, beach volleyball and basketball. Childcare starts from four months, and is free from four years, while family rooms and interconnecting options mean that up to six people can share.

Book it: Seven nights’ all-inclusive for a family of four starts from £8,332, including flights and transfers, departing August 17.


Golf and more at Gloria Golf Resort

Turkey has become an established force on the golf tourism scene, with well-groomed courses that offer excellent value for money. There are 27 courses in Belek, the golfing hotspot, and the all-inclusive Gloria Golf Resort has three of those on site, plus a huge training academy. With free introductory lessons, even non-golfing family members can give it a go, but there are also plenty of other sports for them to enjoy, including a host of watersports, tennis (including individual and group lessons), beach volleyball and even the martial art of Muay Thai. Younger guests will find a water park on site, plus sports included in the kids and teens clubs’ programming. Jet2holidays’ golf packages include rounds and carriage, so clients can bring their own clubs.

Book it: Seven nights’ all-inclusive with four rounds of golf starts from £2,559, including flights, transfers, golf bags and sports transfers, departing September 28.


Watersports at Hillside Beach Club

With its crystal-clear waters, colourful coral and many wrecks, Fethiye is a paradise for scuba divers. And with 30 dive sites within a 30-minute boat ride and a dive school offering Padi qualifications, Hillside Beach Club is an excellent choice whether clients are beginners or old hands. In fact, this sophisticated, 330-room hotel is fantastic for all sorts of sea activities – there’s a motorised watersports and wakeboarding school, as well as a sailing school with introductory and professional courses. Land sports aren’t neglected either, with tennis, archery and exercise classes including yoga and spin. Plenty of kids’ facilities are complemented with adult-only areas, keeping everyone happy. Surroundings are leafy and lush.

Book it: Seven nights’ full board from £1,699, including flights from Stansted departing October 7 and transfers.


Fitness classes galore at Lara Barut collection

Keen gym-goers are guaranteed to find their class of choice at this large, 585-room hotel in Lara Beach. Reformer Pilates, CrossFit, anti-gravity yoga, bungee fly, Tabata, aqua Zumba – clients could try a new fitness craze each day of their trip and still not have exhausted the list. If they have any energy left, there’s tennis, badminton, squash and padel too. And if there are children in the mix, they won’t be disappointed, with mini-golf, an aqua park and a giant playground alongside the kids’ club. Plus there’s the location – right on a wide strip of sand that’s perfect for building castles or a morning run, depending on the guest’s inclination.

Book it: Seven nights’ all-inclusive from £1,909, including flights from Gatwick and private transfers, departing September 23.


Football with France’s finest at Calista Luxury Resort

Parents will score highly with footie-mad offspring if they book a stay at the 554-room Calista Luxury Resort in Belek. Up until the end of October, this hotel, which hosts professional teams for training at its state-of-the-art football centre, is running a football camp in association with Paris Saint-Germain Academy. Kids aged six to 16 can pick up skills and develop their teamwork and self-confidence, courtesy of the French superclub. Parents and other siblings will find tennis, watersports, beach volleyball and a host of gym classes, plus kids’ and teens’ clubs to keep everyone occupied.

Book it: Seven nights’ all-inclusive for a family of four from £4,144, including flights from Luton and private transfers, departing October 5.


All-action sightseeing on a family adventure on the Turkish coast

A large resort isn’t the only way for clients to enjoy Turkey’s sporting scene. Adventure tour operators build activities into their itineraries – chiefly those set on the country’s Turquoise Coast, like the Southern Turkey: Active Family Adventure option from Exodus Adventure Travels, based in Kas. Guests will snorkel from a traditional gulet boat, kayak over a sunken ruined city and go canyoning (a swimming/abseiling combination) in the spectacular Kibris Canyon. There’s a free day where clients can chill out, explore Kas’s cafes and boutiques or add extra activities such as visiting a Turkish bath, while guests aged 14 and over can continue the adventure with scuba diving or paragliding over Kas and its surrounding islands.

Book it: The eight-day Southern Turkey: Active Family Adventure starts from £1,399 per adult and £1,049 per child, including accommodation and activities but not flights, departing October 26.

Ask the expert


Natasha Marson, head of trade distribution, easyJet holidays

“Antalya in Turkey has a wide range of hotels with fantastic sports facilities. For golfers, we’d recommend the Cornelia Diamond, which hosts its very own golf tournament, or the Regnum Carya, which has an impressive 18-hole course. We know lots of our customers love playing tennis on holiday, so for them we’d recommend the Paloma Orenda, which has six tennis courts. With a good variety of activities, Antalya is a fantastic choice for great-value holidays with a jam-packed itinerary.”

Pictures: Ozgur Secmen, Exodus Adventure Travels/gocek22, Deniz Sert

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