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20 March 2024 / Travel


Turkey: The Brits Favourite Destination

To know where Brits go in Turkey, we must look at past trends and current visitor stats. Whether just on holiday, buying a holiday home or retiring in Turkey, Brits are predictable in their destinations. Brimming with natural beauty, Turkey offers beautiful landscapes that attract foreign visitors worldwide and often rank alongside European destinations like Spain or Greece. From sun-kissed shores of Turkey's Aegean and Mediterranean coasts to populous cities like Istanbul, Antalya and Bursa, each region tells unique stories, beckoning travellers to embark on discovery. In this blog article, we delve into Turkey's geography, focusing on the distinct preferences of British tourists, property buyers and wannabe ex-pats.

Where do Brits go in Turkey?

Fethiye-fethibey-park-turkey

British Retirees and Tourists like Turkey's Aegean and Mediterranean coasts

Indeed, British tourists, known for their love of beachside resorts, often holiday on Turkey's Aegean and Mediterranean coasts, where pristine beaches and azure waters await. Here, they enjoy leisurely days by the sea, exploring historical ruins and savouring fresh seafood against breathtaking scenery. Whether exploring historical cities, traversing rugged landscapes, or basking on coastlines, Turkey's Med and Aegean regions deliver abundance. The reasons why Brits like these areas are plentiful.

  • Miles of coastline present many tourist towns and public and private beaches.
  • Easily accessed by Turkey's three main tourist airports of Antalya, Dalaman and Bodrum.
  • English is widely spoken in many places by Turkish people
  • Current exchange rate and average prices make Turkey a cheap holiday destination
  • Sunny weather and annual temperatures encourage outdoor lifestyles
  • Many Brits say Turkey is a holiday destination where they feel safe
  • Wide range of all-inclusive hotels, B& B or self-catering package holidays
  • Many ancient sites and traditional Turkish cultural attractions
  • The family-friendly resorts ensure kids have fun

Antalya City Centre and Turkey's Most Famous Beaches

  • Fly into Antalya airport, which is 30 minutes drive away
  • Lara Beach and Konyaalti Beach are the two most famous districts
  • Antalya's all-inclusive hotels are the best in Turkey
  • Popular with Russians, Germans and Brits
  • The Aquarium, Antalya Museum and Kaleici Old Town are popular tourist attractions.

Antalya-City-Centre-Turkey

Nestled on Turkey's southern coast and backed by the Taurus Mountains, Mediterranean Antalya is captivated by bountiful attractions and decent average temperatures. The number one tourist attraction, Kaleici, an old town with well-preserved Ottoman architecture, also sits near the famous harbour district.

Beyond historical allure, the populous city takes pride in warm hospitality. The locals' friendly nature and multicultural ambience from the large expat communities make tourists feel welcomed and at ease. Furthermore, Antalya's vibrant markets and shopping malls offer several shopping experiences, from traditional Turkish carpets to contemporary fashion and shopping malls. Antalya is Turkey's adventure capital and home to outdoor sports like white water rafting and canyoning.

After dark, Antalya City Centre's nightlife offers diverse entertainment options, including trendy bars, lively clubs, and atmospheric restaurants. Tourists enjoy rhythmic beats of music, eat delicious local cuisine, or unwind while sipping fine Turkish wine. Daily temperatures lead to cool evenings, so al-fresco-style dining is the norm.

IMPORTANT: Antalya city centre is the province's hub and has the same name. Other popular holiday coastal towns backed by the Taurus mountains that belong to the region, like the historical Side, luxury Kalkan, and golfing Belek, also earn notoriety. If you want to see the Antalya region but don't want to stay in the centre, visit our area guide for detailed resort information.

Mass Tourism in Marmaris & Icmeler

  • Sits between the Aegean and Med coasts
  • Use Dalaman airport, which is 90 minutes drive

Marmaris and Icmeler, two popular tourist destinations on Turkey's southwestern coast, are time-honoured favourites of British tourists for beach holidays. Marmaris has lost the fishing village status and is now a vast resort. However, it provides even more choices of resort hotels with outdoor pools and restaurants. Apart from breathtaking beaches, Marmaris boasts lively clubs and cosy beachfront restaurants.

Marmaris-Turkey

Smaller Icmeler, a hidden jewel sitting next door, offers more tranquil charm with picturesque hills and bay. The town exudes a peaceful ambience, making the coastal resort ideal for escaping the bustling crowds of more prominent tourist hotspots. Explore local markets for souvenirs, spices, and traditional handicrafts. Icmeler is great for adventure enthusiasts and has affordable prices for various hiking opportunities. Surrounded by breathtaking beauty, embark on scenic trails to viewpoints and hidden gems. Both resorts are well-placed for exciting trips to other places for the day.

Turgutreis Beach Resort on the Aegean Coast

  • Fly into Bodrum airport, which is 60 minute's drive
  • Famous for the lighthouse and beautiful sunsets
  • Lovely, sandy beach in the main centre

This former fishing village on Turkey's Bodrum peninsula is home to beautiful beaches and self-catering villas with private pools. As a popular destination, British people also frequently return to their favourite hotels year after year. Turgutreis is the perfect destination for gorgeous beaches and sits near popular Yalikavak, where rich and famous celebrities dock. Restaurants offer international meals, and travel agents sell day trips to surrounding attractions, including Ephesus, water parks, and Pamukkale. Otherwise, enjoy daily boat trips, leaving the harbour for bargain prices. Once a charming village, Turgutreis has grown into a fully formed town but remains popular for lively nightlife geared towards families and blue Aegean waters.

Family Friendly Gumbet on the Bodrum Peninsula

  • Built initially to cope with the overspill of tourism from Bodrum town centre
  • Sits 38 kilometres away from Bodrum Milas airport
  • Known as a British resort with fame for water sports

Turgutreis-Bodrum

On Turkey's western coast, Gumbet offers delightful attractions, excellent average temperatures, activities, and amenities for British people. Alongside affordable prices, Gumbet's beach provides Brits with beautiful stretches of golden sand and crystalline waters. Here, tourists enjoy sunbathing, swimming, or relaxing under the shade of an umbrella. Enjoy Jet skiing, banana boating, and parasailing. At the same time, pristine waters attract snorkelling and scuba diving fans to explore colourful marine life beneath the surface.

For those seeking exciting nightlife, Gumbet does not disappoint. This vibrant resort town boasts bustling discos, offering lively atmospheres into the early hours. Whether you want music or enjoy drinks with friends, Gumbet's nightlife scenes also cater to families. Gumbet is close to Bodrum town centre, a renowned leisure destination. Just a short distance away, tourists can easily visit Bodrum to explore the famous castle, eat traditional Turkish cuisine, or discover unique shops and boutiques offering local handicrafts and souvenirs.

Olu Deniz Beach Resort on the Mediterranean coast

  • Massive presence of British tourists
  • Belongs to the larger Fethiye region, which is home to many British ex-pats
  • Dalaman Airport is an hour's drive.

Olu Deniz, a picturesque village in southern Turkey, is ideal for relaxing beach holidays. The most famous beach in Oludeniz, the Blue Lagoon, is renowned for its crystal-clear turquoise waters, where tourists swim, sunbathe, or relax while admiring breathtaking surroundings. Oludeniz Beach, another must-visit spot for beach lovers, offers pristine sandy shorelines and panoramic Mediterranean Sea views. Catch the water taxi to the beautiful Butterfly Valley in the morning or jump onboard one of the daily boat cruises that visit various spots.

Oludeniz-Fethiye

Babadag Mountain provides an exhilarating experience for adventurous souls with paragliding opportunities, such as soaring above the picturesque village and capturing breathtaking views of Oludeniz from elevated perspectives. Additionally, I enjoy hiking or mountain biking. After daily fun, tourists enjoy diverse culinary scenes, with numerous restaurants offering international cuisines. Additionally, Oludeniz boasts family-style nightlife, with various bars providing entertainment options for those wanting to let loose and enjoy the evening.

Calis Beach Resort Town

  • Belongs to the Fethiye region on the southern coast of Turkey
  • British tourists and expats love the town, which has a long beachside promenade
  • Calis Beach is a short drive from Fethiye town, with shopping malls and a large bus station connecting to the rest of Turkey.

Calis Beach, along the Turkish Riviera, is a popular tourist destination for captivating beauty and charm. This idyllic beach town attracts Brits with breathtaking surroundings and vibrant atmospheres. The beautiful sandy beach, stretching for miles, offers perfect spots for sunbathing, building sandcastles, and a leisurely stroll. The crystal-clear waters, with clarity, invite Brits to take refreshing dips or enjoy swimming, snorkelling, and jet skiing.

One cannot talk about Calis Beach without mentioning the breathtaking sunsets. As the sun slowly sets, the sky transforms into vibrant colours, casting mesmerizing glows. Calis Beach embodies perfect beach destinations with sandy beaches, crystal-clear waters, and sunsets. For relaxation, adventure, or serene escapes from everyday life, Calis Beach is ideal to unwind.

Kusadasi on the Aegean Coast

  • Fly into Izmir or Bodrum Airport
  • Famous as a cruise ship port and close to the ruins of Ephesus
  • For beaches, the Ladies' beach area is best
  • Pigeon Island is a prominent landmark

Kusadasi-Turkey

On Turkey's western coast, Kusadasi blends ancient history and modern entertainment. Kusadasi sits near Ephesus' ancient ruins and archaeological sites. Explore the well-preserved grand theatre, Celsius library, and Artemis Temple, one of the Seven Wonders of the Ancient World. Also near Ephesus is the sacred site of the Virgin Mary's house, believed to be where she ascended. It attracts pilgrims and tourists to pay their respects and attend prayer sessions at the Catholic church.

After exploring ancient history, indulge in Kusadasi's renowned nightlife through countless clubs and beachfront venues hosting karaoke and DJ performances. Kusadasi's bazaars and shopping centres provide diverse shopping options, from traditional Turkish handicrafts and carpets to international brands and designer boutiques; shoppers will find plenty to tempt them.

Golden Sands of Altinkum in Turkey

  • Large British expat community and favourite of British tourists and holiday homeowners
  • Fly into Bodrum Milas or Izmir airport.
  • Self-catering apartments are popular, but all-inclusive hotels on the outskirts attract tourists.

Altinkum-Turkey

On Turkey's picturesque Aegean coast, Altinkum is sought-after by Brits, who have a significant expat presence. The name Altinkum translates into golden sands, reflecting the three main town beaches, which thrive in summer for sunbathing, swimming, and water sports. Beyond beaches, Altinkum boasts dynamic bars and restaurants that offer music and entertainment.

Tourists in Altinkum buy daytime excursions to places like the natural phenomena of Pamukkale, Miletus, or Priene ancient cities. Altinkum combines golden beaches, family nightlife, historical sites like the Temple of Apollo, and easy access to Didim Marina, and is perfect for relaxation, excitement, or cultural holidays.

Dalyan on the Turquoise Coast

  • Fly into Dalaman airport, just 30 minutes drive.
  • Famous for Lycian rock tombs, Iztuzu beach, the Dalyan delta and mud baths.

Dalyan-Mugla-Turkey

Nestled along the reed-fringed Dalyan River lies the charming Turkish resort of Dalyan. This hidden gem in southwestern Turkey earns fame for its rustic vibes and laid-back atmosphere. Brits also visit on day trips from other coastal resorts. In addition, some bought holiday homes or retired there.

Cooperative boats transport visitors to Iztuzu Beach. Instead of crowded and commercialized tourist ferries, these cooperative boats offer peaceful experiences; as you glide along surrounded by natural scenery, this unique Turkish town captivates tourists. Aside from the tranquil river and beach, riverside restaurants offer delicious Turkish cuisine and memorable dining experiences. History enthusiasts enjoy ancient Kaunos with glimpses into the region's rich Lycian past. Also, visit nearby Koycegiz Lake.

Istanbul For City Breaks and Medical Tourism - Top Visited Destination in Turkey

  • Hosts roughly 16 million visitors every year of various nationalities
  • Turkey's top most visited tourist destination

Istanbul-Brits-Travel

Istanbul earns respect for historical landmarks and the location between Europe and Asia. Brits visit to see the famous UNESCO World Heritage sites but also visit for medical tourism because Istanbul is cheaper than UK prices. Tourism contributes significantly to Istanbul's GDP and employment opportunities, and countless businesses thrive. Moreover, Istanbul's strategic location further bolsters the appeal, facilitating easy access for travellers. As Istanbul continues to invest in infrastructure and tourism initiatives, its global popularity grows stronger, matching the likes of London, Paris, and Milan.

Historical Attractions: At the heart of Istanbul's allure lies its architectural wonders, chief among them being the 17th-century Blue Mosque, also called Sultan Ahmed Mosque. This iconic structure boasts majestic domes, minarets, and intricate tilework, earning the landmark nickname "Blue Mosque" due to blue tiles adorning the interior. Tourists also visit other UNESCO sites dating from the Ottoman and Byzantine eras, like the Hagia Sophia and Topkapi Palace.

Medical Tourism: In recent years, Istanbul has emerged in medical tourism, attracting patients seeking high-quality healthcare services at competitive prices. Renowned for ultra-modern medical facilities and skilled healthcare professionals, Istanbul clinics offer several treatments, from cosmetic surgery to dental procedures. Brits, including Wayne Rooney and Middle Eastern nationalities, travel there for hair transplant operations. At the same time, Katie Price also travelled for cosmetic and dental surgery.  

Istanbul New Airport: Istanbul's status as a top tourist destination is further bolstered by the New Airport, Turkey's largest and most modern airport. With state-of-the-art facilities and strategic location, the airport is a gateway to the rest of Turkey and beyond, offering direct flights to major cities worldwide. This enhanced connectivity makes it easier for travellers to reach Istanbul and other regions, from Antalya's pristine beaches to Cappadocia's surreal landscapes. Istanbul New Airport's efficient operations and passenger-friendly amenities ensure seamless travel experiences.

But is Istanbul Good for Beach Tourism?

So, while Istanbul is Turkey's top-visited destination, and it would take months to get to know the city properly, is it ideal for Brits who want beach tourism? Definitely not. Look at all the travel brochures selling holidays to Istanbul; none mention beaches. Sure, there are beaches, especially heading out to the black sea area, but these don't match the beaches on Turkey's southern and western coasts. Sitting next to Turkey's Marmara and black seas, stronger waves mean the beaches are not ideal for children. So, head to Istanbul for historical or cultural sites, but for beaches and time-honoured favourite resorts of Brits, stick to Turkey's Mediterranean and Aegean coasts.

What About Cappadocia in Central Turkey?

Cappadocia isn't where Brits visit for two weeks of beach delights. However, British retirees and those who own holiday homes and come out for long periods often visit Cappadocia. Despite being a landlocked area with no beaches, the fantastic landscapes are unique. Cappadocia, one of Turkey's top three visited destinations, is famous with Brits for its 3-night stays to see the main attractions.

Cappadocia-Turkey

They enjoy visiting the underground cities, taking hot air balloon trips, and going to the cave churches of the UNESCO Goreme Open Air Museum. Although Cappadocia isn't one of Turkey's cheapest holiday destinations, staying in an authentic cave hotel is definitely an action-packed adventure that is not to be missed. It has a warm climate, but if you visit in winter, dress practically because Turkey is one place that receives snow. Cappadocia is affordable if you head to budget hotels; otherwise, opt for luxury.

Brits Rarely Visit Eastern Turkey

Nestled between the towering peaks of the Taurus and Pontic Mountains lies Eastern Turkey, with ancient cities, majestic landscapes, and cultural heritage. While tourists often visit western coastlines for sun and sand, the East is rooted in history, tradition, and authenticity. Diyarbakir, with ancient city walls and bustling bazaars, and Mardin, with Mesopotamian architecture and panoramic views, earn fame, but more for their cultural importance and historical landmarks rather than tourism.

However, for Brits who want to relax around a private pool or on the beach, the landlocked region cannot deliver. The East doesn't rate mass tourism, even by Turkish visitors, and it is only visited by those who want cultural exploration.

But What About Black Sea Holiday Destinations?

Turkey's Black Sea region offers cultural travel and beautiful landscapes. Numerous provinces and prominent cities like Trabzon and Bursa stand out along the North coast. However, the beaches can't match other Turkish destinations, which is what most Brits want. Plus, for ideal weather climates, the Black Sea has lower daily temperatures than other parts of Turkey and snow in winter. When looking at the countries of origin of tourists here, most are Middle Eastern nationalities, who find many similarities in culture and traditions and aren't bothered by the sun, sea and sand holidays most Brits want.

Learn More About Buying Holiday Homes in Turkey.

We hope we have given you helpful information about where Brits go in Turkey. Some own holiday homes, and if you are interested in this, call us today and chat with an agent. Also, see our extensive portfolio of exquisite properties in some of Turkey's most coveted destinations, including the sun-kissed coastal regions along the south and west shores and charming retreats in historic cities like Istanbul and Antalya.

With seasoned real estate professionals well-versed in the local market dynamics and regulations, we ensure personalized guidance at every step. Moreover, our agency prides itself on fostering lasting relationships with buyers and sellers, fostering trust and reliability within Turkish real estate. Whether you seek a tranquil villa overlooking the azure waters of the Mediterranean or a luxurious apartment in the heart of Istanbul's bustling cultural scene, our agency is committed to fulfilling your aspirations of owning a holiday home in Turkey.

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