There’s more to Turkey than all-inclusive holidays

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December 5, 2013

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Guest blog post written by Natalie Sayin from Turkish Travel

The public opinion of Turkey throughout the world varies greatly. While thousands of British, German and Russian holidaymakers flock to the Aegean and Mediterranean coasts, many nationalities continue to view the country with suspicious eyes.

There are a variety of reasons for this attitude, but the most likely is Turkey’s strategic yet contentious position between east and west. A fear of encountering distinct culture and traditions, along with discounted prices has given rise in popularity to the all-inclusive hotel trade in Turkey.

Visitors are wined, dined and entertained all within the walls of their luxury hotel. While this suits those who desire nothing more than summer sun and relaxation, anyone looking for a themed holiday such as sporting, historical or ecotourism, or for a bit more of spontaneity, will probably much prefer a bed and breakfast or self-catering holiday.

Turkish People and Regional Cultures

Recently, HSBC surveyed more than 3000 people on who they thought was the friendliest country in the world. Turkey ranked eleventh, probably due to the age-old belief the people have of showing respect to visitors.

Although regional cultures differ from the East to the West of the country, hospitality to strangers is one common trait. For instance, embarking on a simple Jeep safari tour, which drives holidaymakers away from coastal resorts and into mountain villages to interact with locals is evidence of this strong tradition.

To experience the real Turkey, I highly recommend tasting homemade Turkish food, drinking Turkish tea and checking out the local village mosque. When given the opportunity, engage in conversations with locals, as you never know what you will learn. Once, when enquiring why there was a milk bottle on the roof of a village house, I found out it was a father’s way of informing potential suitors that his daughter was ready for marriage!

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Sporting Events and Activities

In the last ten years, Turkey has made significant progress in international sporting events. Football has always been an essential part of life here, but golfing is expanding in the cosmopolitan resort of Belek. Appearances by big name players such as Tiger Woods are prompting sports enthusiasts to look twice at the country – especially now, as Turkey hopes to host the 2022 Ryder Cup.

Other notable events hosted in Turkey include the annual windsurfing championships in Alacati, yachting regattas in Marmaris and Bodrum and the presidential cycling tour of Turkey that receives entrants from all over the world.

Traditional Turkish sports excite because of their quirky nature such as camel wrestling or the Kirkpinar oil wrestling championships that sees heavy muscled men, tussling each other for the crown.

International events aside, the Turkish government is investing huge amounts of money into developing sports tourism. These days, holidaymakers have a variety of activities to choose from including scuba diving, paragliding, sea kayaking, skiing and mountaineering and water sports. Indeed the scenic and stunning setting of Koprulu canyon in Antalya has become a centre for white water rafting, providing adrenaline rushes and a guaranteed unforgettable day out.

More reasons to ditch the All-inclusive

Beyond the all-inclusive concept in Turkey, more exciting experiences await the eager traveller wanting to escape his or her comfort zone. Simple adventures can provoke the most vivid holiday memories such as sitting in a restaurant eating food with the locals, chatting to the shoe cleaner that stands on the corner of the street or joining in a traditional Turkish bath away from the touristic establishments.

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All-inclusive holidays unfortunately carry the burden that every day is the same whilst if you choose to explore Turkey’s culture and traditions, you’ll be guaranteed a different adventure every time you wake up. With Turkey not being a dangerous country, I urge visitors to absorb and embrace the welcoming environment – you won’t regret it!