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Turkey:

If you are looking for a complete respite from the usual holiday in the Med don't expect Turkey to be the answer to all your dreams, it is no longer a European backwater locked in a time warp.

Most resorts have seen a flurry of development in recent years, built very much in the image of their Spanish counterparts.

However, it's that familiarity alongside the mystery of the East which creates an enduring fascination and a yearning to explore, albeit from the comfort of modern hotels.

Reminders of the past are everywhere and away from the cosmopolitan beach resorts is a life still rooted in ancient times.

Flight time: Approx 4 - 4� hours from UK

Time Difference: GMT + 2.

Currency: Turkish Lira.

Notes:
  • Turkish plumbing is not always in line with western Europe and in some hotels guests are required to dispose of toilet paper in bins provided specifically for this purpose.
  • Power cuts are not uncommon especially at peak times.
  • The cheapest way to travel around Turkey is by Dolmus - shared cars or mini-buses which run along set routes rather like regular buses. The driver's destination will be displayed on the windscreen.
  • A visa is required to enter the country and is purchased on arrival. Check with your travel agent or tour operator.
Turkey's history is interwoven with mythology and therefore knowing a little about the country's beliefs and religions can bring the ancient sites to life.

They say Turkey is home to a third of the world's historical sites so it would not be practical to list them all here. Below is a brief guide to some of the most popular daytrips.

Enjoy Turkey with a good guide book.In Association with Amazon.co.uk

Ephesus is an ancient city and Turkey's principal attraction. Spring is the best time to visit to avoid the crowds and the grilling sunshine. History comes to life when you can actually touch the wheel tracks made by ancient chariots. This incredibly well-preserved Roman city is one not to miss, even if you're not an architecture junkie.

Pamukkale is a breathtaking natural phenomenon of pure white, bubbling hot springs. Thousands of years in the making, these calcium bicarbonate terraces are now protected from the free-for-all type tourism which almost ruined it. Nowadays vistor numbers are restricted and footpaths help to preserve the delicate formations. If you're in the vicinity Pamukkale is a MUST.

Termessos is a prime ancient site which should keep history buffs staying in Antalya occupied for a few hours. Many of the buildings which include a theatre and temples, were abandoned almost two thousand years ago and are in remarkably good nick by archeaological standards. Note: A lot of walking is involved in this trip.

Kaya Koyu is a ghost town since the inhabitants were exiled in the 1920's The abandoned cottages and churches are now a protected historic zone, serving as a sombre reminder of the struggle which must have ensued here when the Christians were driven out. Fethiye is the nearest resort.

Another ancient site worth exploring is Xanthos whose tragic inhabitants committed mass suicide on two occasions. Although many of the relics from this 4th century city have found their way into the British Museum in London there is still much to see including; tombs, a Roman theatre and an acropolis.

Beach lovers can indulge themselves by visiting Turkey's finest and most photographed at Olu Deniz near Fethiye. The wooded bay forms a stunning blue lagoon fringed by pure white sand which is usually rammed with day trippers and locals alike.

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