Turkey is hot this summer. As early as April this year, around 37,000 Britons were flying to the country’s tourism hotspots a week, prompting Britain’s Ambassador to Turkey, Dominick Chilcott, to tweet that the country was experiencing “record numbers of [visitors to its] beautiful coasts this summer”.
It is not difficult to understand why Turkey has risen to fourth place in the world tourism rankings according to the United Nations World Tourism Organization. Summer sun is guaranteed on the Aegean and Mediterranean coasts, with July daily highs of 34°C at Gateway resort Antalya and inviting sea temperatures averaging 28°C in the same month.
Beaches abound, often set against the dramatic backdrop of pine-clad mountains. Then there is the fantastic array of ancient ruins to explore, from St Paul’s Ephesus to Homer’s Troy, most of which are within easy reach of the coast. Water sports from diving to kite surfing, kayaking to wind surfing attract the active. The cuisine is superb too, with a dazzling selection of mezze, succulent char-grilled kebabs and syrupy baklava stuffed with walnuts and pistachios.
The Turks have turned tourism into an art form, with hotels and guesthouses that are almost always very well run, chefs who are skilled and take pride in what they do, and staff who are generally attentive and friendly. It doesn’t hurt that Turkey’s Ministry of Culture and Tourism oversees the industry. With tourism revenue accounting for about 12 percent of the country’s GDP, it is of national importance that vacationers are well served and – like many – become repeat visitors.
The staggering inflation rate of more than 70 percent also means Turkey is incredibly good value for money this summer, although of course it’s disastrous for residents. In February 2021, you bought less than 10 Turkish lira for one pound; Today the exchange rate is above 20 and rising. You don’t need to be a mathematician to work out the savings you’ll make on all those holiday extras – from meals out (only around £2 for a pide). [Turkish pizza]) to drinks in bars (around £2 for a pint) and ice cream (from just 25p).
And the best news? Despite the large number of visitors Turkey receives, this is such a large country (the size of France and Germany combined) with such an extensive coastline (the third longest among countries bordering the Mediterranean) that there are still many pristine hidden gems You can avoid the crowds of Antalya, Marmaris and Bodrum. Here are 20 lesser-discovered places to visit this summer.