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Aegean Coast, Turkey Family Holidays & Breaks

Gulet cruiseGulet cruise
EphesusEphesus
Gulet cruiseGulet cruise
Flying Time 4hrs
Carbon Footprint 2.25 CO2
Timezone GMT +2
Currency Turkish Lira

Today

Overview

Turkey's Aegean Coast (west and south-west) has been home to the Greeks, the Romans and the Ottomans, all of whom left their mark. But despite resembling a vast outdoor museum, it also offers long stretches of lovely, sandy, child-friendly beaches surrounded by pine-and olive-clad hills, and great but not over-developed resort towns with extensive amenities, making it a great choice for family holidays.

Things to do with kids in the Aegean Coast

Head for world-famous, 3,000-year-old Troy, the northernmost attraction in the Aegean – thoroughly excavated and well signposted and documented. The impressive stone walls are a testament to the military significance of the citadel, and kids enjoy playing on the huge reconstruction of the wooden horse at the entrance to the site.

Venture to Bergama not far from Troy – one of the most dramatic archaeological sites in all Turkey. Perched on a hilltop above the modern city, the huge acropolis boasts many remains belonging to the 3rd-century BC Pergamene dynasty, including the reconstructed Temple of Trajan.

Check out Kusadasi, the main resort on the northern Aegean coast – a brash, lively port packed with shops, restaurants, nightclubs and tourists. This is the main port of call for excursions to Ephesus, one of the greatest ruined cities in the western world. Famous in ancient times for its worship of the mother goddess, it is also believed by Christians to be the last resting place of the Virgin Mary. There are many extensive standing remains on this huge site, notably the 2nd-century AD Library of Celsus and Temple of Hadrian.

Travel down the coast – via countless classical sites (Aphrodisias, Priene, Miletus and Didyma to name but four) and the sandy beach at Altinkum – to Bodrum, one of Turkey’s most popular tourist destinations. This bustling town is divided into distinct halves: the vehicle-free eastern sector with its sandy beaches, and the western sector, with the yachting harbour (the tourist hub) at its centre. The most famous town landmark is the Castle of St Peter, built by crusaders in the 15th century. Bodrum caters for a range of tourists: families, yachters and single pleasure-seekers. If it all gets too much, retreat to the Bodrum peninsula – a wooded, rocky outcrop and tourist paradise with secluded bays, rocky coasts, secret hideaways and well-developed resorts, catering for every possible taste.

Get away from the crowds on the Datça peninsula, a pine-clad finger extending into the Aegean, cloaked with olive groves and almond orchards, famed for its tranquil, clear waters.

Eat

The Aegean Coast is particularly lush, and there is even more diversity to its cuisine than in the rest of Turkey – more fresh fish dishes, and much greater use of olive oil and fresh fruit and vegetables. Resorts also offer plenty of international dishes and fast-food options for the unadventurous.

When to go to the Aegean Coast

The peak tourist season on the Aegean Coast is July and August, when the hottest temperatures are reached (43°C). Hence, spring and autumn are the best times to come here on a family holiday: the weather is hot but not unbearably so, the flowers are out and the resorts are fairly quiet.

Cost

Turkey remains one of the better-value destinations in Europe. You’re looking at £2,500–5,000 for four people for a week’s family holiday on the Aegean Coast, depending on the time of year and standard of accommodation.

By Liz Wyse

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