Why you should go to Turkey this Autumn

Turkey is re-emerging as a fantastic holiday destination and offers a taste of everything from the cultural treasures of Istanbul to the landscapes of Cappadocia, via centuries-old historic ruins such as Ephesus. And then there are its spectacular coastlines and beaches – discover the Bodrum Peninsula and set sail on your very own private gulet for a scenic and leisurely sailing holiday. Autumn is a fantastic time to visit too: the weather can still be balmy and there are fewer crowds to share its many attractions with. Here are our top five must-dos in Turkey.


In Istanbul, take in Turkey’s intoxicating melting pot of cultures in the impressive mosques and palaces such as the dazzling Blue Mosque and the Dolmabahce Palace, and discover the delights of the bustling Grand Bazaar’s covered streets and over 4,000 shops. Take a trip in a luxury yacht along the Bosphorus to enjoy city views from both sides of the river while sipping a glass of Champagne.

Back on shore, head underground to visit the Basilica Cistern, the largest of hundreds of underground cisterns that snake beneath the city. This impressive and atmospheric enclave of marble columns topped by arches dates from the 6th century, and more recently it has been popular with Hollywood, featuring in movies such as the James Bond classic From Russia with Love and Inferno.


Cappadocia is certainly unique, and begs to be photographed. Go hiking among the honey-coloured rocks, and venture into houses and churches carved into the rocky landscapes of Cappadocia, and see these cone-shaped rock formations or ‘fairy chimneys’ from the skies in a hot air balloon as you soar over the mountains and valleys at sunrise.

To really experience this region’s distinctive atmosphere, stay in a luxury 21st-century hotel set into the ancient caves for a night full of historic character and charm.

Historic ruins

For a slice of Roman history, head to the UNESCO World Heritage-listed Ephesus, an ancient city on the coast near Sirince which dates from the 10th century BC. Here, you can see the remains of the Temple of Artemis, one of the Seven Wonders of the World, as well as Roman terrace houses.

Also worth a visit is the coastal city of Antalya, home to a wealth of ancient attractions such as Hadrian’s Gate and the Apollo Temple, which is believed to be where Marc Antony met Cleopatra.

The Bodrum Peninsula

The Bodrum Peninsula, where the Aegean and the Mediterranean meet, was described by Homer as the ‘land of eternal blue’. This is one of Turkey’s most beautiful coastlines, its beaches fringed by pine forests and its seas dotted with islands.

Explore on foot or by bike, and unwind on the sands, before treating yourself to a stay in the kind of luxury hotels that are awe-inspiring both inside and out, with designer interiors, fabulous spas and gorgeous sea views. Our top pick is the Six Senses Kaplankaya, which has one of the biggest and most spectacular spas we’ve ever seen. Covering 10,000 square metres, it offers a wide range of facilities such as a salt grotto and a crystal steam room. This is a perfect place to relax on your terrace by your private pool and take in the sunshine.

Sailing adventures

With coastlines and seas like this, Turkey is ideal for a sailing holiday. Hire your own luxury gulet (a traditional Turkish boat), plus crew, for a trip around the coast, complete with spacious cabins and decks where you can relax in your Jacuzzi.

Your crew, including a captain and a chef, will cater to your every need, so all you have to do is soak up the views as you glide past ancient ruins and stop off in secluded coves. Tuck into a meal of freshly-caught fish on a beach you’ll have all to yourself, and drop anchor at night in remote, moonlit bays.

Thomas Ryves is Marketing Director at Exsus Travel. Exsus Travel specialises in creating the very best luxury tailor-made holidays, honeymoons and family adventures in over 80 destinations worldwide.

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Comments (6)

  1. Claire Smith says:

    I haven’t been to Turkey for a few years now. The last time I went it was Autumn and the temperature was near perfect. I struggle in the heat and get sunburnt really easily. But then again I always want some warmth if I go away so Turkey in Autumn’s the perfect compromise for me.

  2. Tim says:

    For those of us based in Britain, Turkey has the real advantage of being very different and exotic but without being too many hours flying time away. Istanbul is another world, oriental and exciting. And at the moment you get a good deal on the currency exchange. Though by the time I’ve finished this paragraph the pound might have weakened again.

  3. Godliver says:

    The Bodrum Peninsula the place to be. Naturally cool.

  4. Stephen says:

    Without doubt, relaxing in your private-hire gulet, perhaps sipping a top-notch locally produced wine, whilst the crew look after the boat and the chef creates is without doubt the way to see the Turkish coastline. However, I am afraid that the experience as s very special treat only to be allowed once the bank balance builds up again. But I am looking forward to it greatly.

  5. Julie says:

    Embarrassingly enough, I’d never even heard of Cappadocia. The rocky backdrop of that area looks absolutely incredible, I’ve never seen anything quite like it. I did know an old friend who had been to the Bodrum Peninsula though, several years ago now and they loved it. All I remember them saying about it were how pristine the sea and coastline all was. I think taking a gules around the coast would be such an incredible way to experience some of the beauty of Turkey. It certainly seems amazingly peaceful and aesthetically stunning, but fascinating too with the natural elements and historical features, like the Roman ruins. I would love to go to Turkey, though I think I’d want a long visit to be able to explore more of what it offers.

  6. John says:

    Turkey is so beautiful and pleasant, always wanted to visit. Does anyone know if its safe to travel over there?

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