The best places to go and things to see on a luxury holiday in Istanbul and Bodrum, Turkey.
Turkey is truly the land where east meets west. Not just geographically but culturally too. A country that sits in both the European and Asian too with the capital city of Istanbul straddling the two. Enjoying a hot climate in the summer and mild winters, Turkey has a lot to offer the adventurous traveller and has no shortage of luxury options too. Here’s our guide to the best Turkey Holidays with a luxury budget.
The capital city is a great place to start as you’ll no doubt be flying in to one of 2 airports in Istanbul. One right near the centre of the city and another on the Asian side of the Bosphorus river, often called the “Turkey Strait”. Istanbul has a rich history that remains very much alive on nearly every street you visit. There’s no shortage of “must-sees” in Istanbul either. I highly recommend a visit to the Blue Mosque and across from it my personal favourite, the Hagia Sophia Mosque. The queues can get quite long so I recommend getting up early and avoiding the wait.
The Grand Bazaar is an iconic part of Istanbul and is as historic as it is a shopper’s paradise. It first opened its doors back in 1460! Yes it really is over 500 years old! You’re likely to get totally lost in its labyrinth of indoor alleyways and colourful shops. I’d recommend spending most of your day around the Grand bazaar, the cafes nearby are perfect for lunch and the inside you’ll be sure to find every type of souvenir you’d ever want. A real treat was to be welcomed in by a rug seller for apple tea and to watch him pull an amazing array of rugs from his collection. They’re happy to show you even if they’re way out of your budget. Just watch out as they’re very persuasive!
No luxury holiday in Turkey would be complete without a few days in Bodrum, the playground of the rich and famous. This is where those that can bring their yachts and sun themselves on the beaches of Gumbet. Wildly considered “the Saint Tropez of Turkey” a visit to the Castle of St Peter is a must. You can’t miss its towers framed perfectly by the coastline. Quite a sight. If you’re feeling adventurous the Turkish baths will be sure to clean every pore with their famous scrubs and hot marble beds.
The lifestyle of the rich and famous means the nightlife here is second to none. Halikarnas is the place to see and be seen, right by the coast with amazing views and expensive cocktails. Cuisine in Turkey is a fantastic mix of European and Asian, with rich flavours and sizzling meat filled delights. If you’re looking for a night out with a difference try Club Catamaran, a floating nightclub with a glass dance floor! Watch the marine life swim by as you dance the night away.
Weather in Turkey
Turkey enjoys mild winters and beautiful hot summers with temperatures reaching 30C (86F) from June to August. If you’re not a lover of hot climates the best time to visit would be spring or autumn when the average temperature is around 25C (77F). March is the wettest month so my personal choice would be mid-May or September.
While nothing ever closes in Turkey during the winter months, you’ll find everything really comes to life in early Spring, especially along the coast in Bodrum. July sees the start of festivals and open air events both in the capital city and along the coast. There’s the Ballet Festival in late July at the Castle of St Peter in Bodrum and the three big nightclubs here, Helikarnos, Club Catamaran and Kuba Bar, all play host to international DJs and special events.