Turkey villa rentals and the country itself burst onto the holiday scene a couple of decades ago and has never looked back. A sparkling Mediterranean coastline, plenty of historic sites and great summer weather all made it perfect for the big tour operators, but now good villa developments mean that privately-owned holiday homes are becoming more readily available. It’s also cheap – this is the Mediterranean’s bargain-basement destination, though prices are rising slowly.
The sun, sea, mountains, rivers and lakes offer a great choice of activities, and its position at the junction of Europe and Asia makes Turkey a fascinating country to visit. It’s a land full of historic treasures from 13 successive civilisations spanning 10,000 years. Even if you spend only a short time at your Turkey villa rental, you can see a lot of this great heritage. The Turkish people also have an unrivalled reputation for hospitality, and the cuisine is divine.
Ankara, located in the middle of the Central Anatolian region, is the modern-day capital, but the cultural heart of the country is still Istanbul (once Constantinople). One of the world’s truly great romantic cities, it’s an intoxicating mix of East and West, ancient and modern. Turkey villa rentals are never far from palaces, museums and mosques as well as thriving shopping areas, cinemas, and restaurants.
Turkey’s generous coastline – more than 5,000 miles – means beach lovers and watersports enthusiasts are kept happy. Collectively dubbed the “Turquoise Coast”, the Mediterranean and Aegean shores stretch from the busy resort of Bodrum in the north to Kas, at the tip of the Lycian peninsula, in the south. Towns are linked by bus and dolmus (taxi) services.
Some of Turkey's best bays, golden beaches and views are on the Aegean coast, from the Dardanelles in the north to Kas in the south, where the coastline turns a corner and starts running west to east. Turkey villa rentals and resorts in this area are most popular. The best known holiday centres include Marmaris, Olu Deniz and Fethiye, but Bodrum is perhaps the busiest and prettiest. Villas have sprung up on the hillside, and swimming, snorkelling and scuba diving are all popular – as is partying; the discos carry on well into the night.
Marmaris is a full-scale holiday resort where you can get ‘English Breakfasts’ at restaurants around the harbour – if that's what you want. Sailing is extremely popular around the deep fjord-like bays and white-pebbled coves of the south Aegean, and private boats can be chartered for some relaxed exploration. Windsurfers enjoy ideal conditions too.
The Aegean coast is soaked just as much in history as it is in sunshine. There are remains of ancient cities, including Troy (Truva), and recent history can be explored on the battlefields of Gallipolli. Within sight of beach resorts, rural village life continues much as it has done for centuries, and trips inland are rewarded with virtually tourism-free spots.
Turkey's Mediterranean coast stretches from Kas in the west to Iskenderun in the east, close to the border with Syria. Antalya is the main resort, lying on the ‘Turkish Riviera’, where the Taurus Mountains stretch down to meet the sea. Turkey villa rentals on fine, sandy beaches such as Konyaalti to the west and Lara to the east are perfect if you love swimming and sunbathing – the region gets sunshine 300 days of the year. If you go in March or April, you can ski in the mornings and swim in the warm sea in the afternoon.
Side, to the east, is the increasingly popular beach town for Turkey villa rentals, once chosen by Mark Antony and Cleopatra for a romantic rendezvous! Mersin is one of the most modern cities on this coastline, while Misis derived its wealth from its position on the Silk Road. Kahramanmaras is a relatively undiscovered province famous for some of its culinary specialities, including a special orchid drink (salep) and an ice cream made from goat and cows’ milk.
To the west of Antalya are the beautiful mountain cities of Termessos and Arikand, and coastal towns such as Olimpos, Kale, Kekova and finally Kas. Ephesus is possibly the best preserved of many ancient cities, in Turkey and home to the temple of Artemis.
From April to October, most places in Turkey have an ideal climate that is perfect for relaxing on sandy beaches or enjoying the tranquillity of mountains and lakes. If you’re planning a lot of walking and exploring, July and August may be too hot. Turkey villa rentals away from the Turquoise Coast, on the Anatolian plateau, are cooler in summer, while the Black Sea coast to the north is much milder.
Turkish airlines link all major cities, and buses will get you everywhere cheaply and pretty comfortably. There are plenty of service stations if you’re driving, but plenty of terrible drivers too, especially in the cities. Car ferries can save time, and can mean a pleasant mini-cruise along the coast. We hope you found our Turkey villa rentals guide useful in helping you decide on what to do and where to go next!