In Turkey a twin-centre holiday is the perfect way to mix and match the country’s extremes – a city combined with some time on a beach, for instance, or a resort stay with some culture or excursions thrown in.
Clients might even like to use their two weeks away to try two beach resorts with different styles of hotel – full board and self-catering, for example – so they keep costs down one week and eat like a local for seven days.
We’ve found five of the best twin-centre holidays for agents to offer their clients who are keen on talking Turkey this summer.
Best of both worlds
Where: Istanbul and Olu Deniz
Why: Once known as Byzantium and Constantinople, Istanbul can truly claim to be where east meets west. While Topkapi Palace, the ‘Blue Mosque’ (officially the Sultan Ahmed Mosque) or Ayasofya are must-sees, Istanbul is also a place to be savoured, so grab a map and wander. Sample the local food and barter in the bazaar, safe in the knowledge that you can take it easy on the beach in Olu Deniz. Expect lots of people, water sports, bars and restaurants, have a go at paragliding and take a trip to the eerily atmospheric Kayakoy, a ghost town since the Greek inhabitants were ousted in the population exchange in 1923.
Sample package:Anatolian Sky has three nights’ bed and breakfast at the 35-room Empire Palace in Istanbul, in a former Ottoman house, combined with seven nights’ all-inclusive at the Hotel Meri in Olu Deniz from £729 per person including flights and transfers.
Best for variety
Where: Gulet cruise and Bodrum
Why:Gulets are wooden sailing boats, usually with seven or eight cabins, that meander around the coast, allowing you to swim off to deserted islands and fishing villages. They are fully crewed, so all passengers have to do is eat the freshly-prepared food – dinner is served under the stars – sunbathe and dip into the water to cool off. Dress code on board is swimwear and shoes are a definite no-no. After that you’ll need a week in Bodrum – one of Turkey’s top resorts – to bring you back to reality. Explore the town and castle, bargain at the bazaar or just relax in the sun.
Sample package:Libra Holidays offers a seven-night full-board gulet cruise from Bodrum, combined with seven nights at the Salmakis Beach Resort and Spa, just outside the resort, from £484 per person bed and breakfast including flights and transfers.
Best for families
Where: Side and Antalya
Why: This is the one for families – two popular Mediterranean beach resorts, both boasting calm waters that are great for swimming and water sports. The resorts have long histories – Antony and Cleopatra are reputed to have had a rendezvous in Side, and the town has an impressive Roman amphitheatre and the remains of a Temple of Apollo. Antalya dates back to the second century BC and has a lovely old town with mosques and restored Ottoman houses – but both towns now owe their existence to tourists and are packed with souvenir shops, restaurants and bars.
Sample package:Thomas Cook offers seven nights’ self-catering at the three-star Melissa Gardens Apartments in Side followed by seven nights’ all-inclusive at the Concorde Resort and Spa in Antalya from £439 per adult, £428 per child, including flights and transfers. There’s also a £20 administration fee for the twin centre.
Best for nature
Where: Fethiye and Cappadocia.
Why: Fethiye, on the Mediterranean coast about an hour from Dalaman Airport, is a traditional market town with a bustling harbour. Its old village houses have been restored as upmarket villas – Tangala Evi Villa, priced below, is a 200-year-old property with a swimming pool with fantastic views of the valley. Cappadocia was once a haven for persecuted Christians, and visitors can marvel at the underground villages that were built in the soft tufa rock. In fact they can even stay in a cave hotel. Back on the surface, there are amazing rock formations, picturesque villages, and walking, cycling and horse riding trips.
Sample package:Exclusive Escapes offers seven nights’ self-catering in Tangala Evi – a private villa with pool in Kayakoy, 20 minutes from Fethiye, combined with three nights in Kayadam Cave House Hotel in Cappadocia. Prices start at £1,363 per person including flights and transfers and two days’ private guiding in Cappadocia.
Best for culture
Where: Gumusluk and Assos
Why:Gumusluk is an unspoilt seaside village on the Bodrum Peninsula, built on the site of the ancient city of Myndos – you can see some of the ruins underwater. It is great for snorkelling and is said to have the best fish and seafood restaurants in the area. Turkish Places has cookery lessons in the town. Assos, on the North Aegean coast, has its own attractions, including the remains of the . This is also a good base from which to visit Troy or the Dardanelles, the waterway that splits east and west and Gallipoli, where 246,000 allied and Turkish troops were killed during World War I.
Sample package:Turkish Places has seven nights’ self-catering at the Mandalin Studios in Gusuluk combined with four nights’ bed and breakfast at Biber Evi Hotel in Assos from £745 per person including flights, transfers and five days’ car hire.
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