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Top 5 Tips for Visiting Turkey

LONDON, December 6, 2012 /PRNewswire/ --

  • Thomas Cook joins forces with the Turkish Culture and Tourism Office to bring you the inside Turkish track
  • We reveal the best landmark, resort, beach, city and experiences to help you get the most from your holiday

Whether you are flying into Dalaman or Antalya on your cheap holidays to Turkey you need to ensure that you make the most of your time in this stunning country. We have put together our top five attractions to ensure you don't miss a trick on your Turkish trip.

The top tourist attraction or landmark

Literally translated, Pamukkale means 'cotton castle' and is one of Turkey's most impressive natural wonders. It is made up of a series of vast white travertine terraces cascading down a cliff, resembling snow from a distance. It is easy to book an excursion from the major beach resorts to the ancient ruins here, which contain baths, temples, a well-preserved theatre, and the largest necropolis or graveyard in Anatolia, containing over 1200 tombs. You can also take a dip in the thermal springs, in use since classical times.

The best beach

The posters of Oludeniz Beach do not do it justice. On one end is the great expanse of Belcegiz Beach, enclosed by the brittle silhouette of Babadag and the landing pad for paragliders sporting jet-propulsion packs. The curved beach is a jaw-dropper, with the water in the Blue Lagoon boasting a stunning three shades of turquoise.

Young couples, large families, adventurous types, backpackers, and package-holidaymakers are all known to flock here in huge numbers.

The best resort

The Bodrum region; a small peninsula on the Aegean Coast, is home to some of the hottest tourist resorts in the country. Bodrum town, with its excellent marina in particular is a centre for yachting and boating and the region is made up of a series of 'cove villages', the largest of which is Turgutreis, a popular destination for tourists seeking its extensive beaches, street bars, open-air market and covered bazaars. Gumbet is an upbeat commercial centre while Yalikavak has small, quiet bays and high-class bars and elite restaurants. Quieter resorts, such as Altinkum, Bitez and Torba, are great for family visitors.

The best city

The only city in the world to straddle two continents, recent archaeological excavations has shown Istanbul's history to date back around 8000 years. Visitors are spoilt for incredible sites to visit. There are the many mosques designed by Ottoman master architect Sinan including his masterpiece the Suleymaniye Mosque. Also worth visiting are the classic Blue Mosque with its signature blue ceramic tiles, the monumental Hagia Sophia and the world-famous and bustling Grand Bazaar, thrust into the spotlight in the new James Bond film Skyfall.

Istanbul is arguably best seen from the water and a ferry trip taking you the whole length of the Bosphorus will reward you with views of the Black Sea and a fresh fish lunch.

The best "experience"

Play the part of an Ottoman bather shrouded in a cloud of steam by visiting a Turkish bath or "hammam".  There are over 57 still operating in Istanbul alone, including the traditional Cemberlitas and Cagaloglu Baths in Sultanahmet, where you can enjoy the ancient rituals of steam-bathing and massage; or for a more luxurious experience, most high-end hotels have their own Turkish baths within their spa centres. Besides its ancient mystical appeal, hammam-goers cite countless health benefits, including improved circulation and respiration, intense relaxation, weight loss, clear skin, expulsion of toxins and relief of muscle pain and hangovers.

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