7 most romantic spots in Turkey
If you’re seeking to rekindle the flames, celebrate an anniversary or spark up a new romance, pack your bags and head for one of Turkey’s many romantic locations. Whether it’s strolling hand in hand by the sea, exploring isolated ruins or dining under the stars, our list of alluring and atmospheric places in Turkey fits any romantic occasion.
With its relaxed atmosphere and pretty whitewashed houses spilling down the curved hill to the edge of the ancient harbour, Kalkan is one of those Mediterranean destinations that feels summer-drugged. It’s the kind of place where you climb into a hammock intending to get stuck into some holiday reading and wake up three hours later, staring idly out at the sailboats across the blue sea.
Explore the cobbled streets hand in hand, drink in the sea air and enjoy the contrast of the bright bougainvillea beside the stark white villas and the blue of the sea.
By night, dine in one of the town’s famous rooftop restaurants. With stars spreading across the sky and reflecting in the calm Mediterranean waters that lap against the harbour, it’s the perfect backdrop for romance.
What could be more intriguingly romantic than an abandoned village? The village - complete with a church, school and 350 stone cottages - was abandoned by its Greek inhabitants in the 1923 population exchange and is now an open-air UNESCO site.
Almost a century of exposure has stripped the houses down to bare shells, making the site look ancient. Although it’s a well known spot in Fethiye it’s rare the site is busy, meaning you’ll have ample opportunity to wander around the remains of the town amongst the ghosts, and imagine the community who once lived here.
If you have time before you head to Fethiye, read Birds Without Wings by Louis de Bernieres, the fictionalised account of Kayakoy during World War I. It will add some colour to the romance of this haunting site.
Antalya’s is the small historic section of Kaleici. It began as a Roman town, before becoming home to the Byzantines and finally the Ottomans. Its winding lanes house picturesque old residences that loom over the narrow streets, and it’s hands-down the best place to go for atmosphere and culture in Antalya.
Kaleici is surrounded in part by an ancient wall, and the most famous entrance into the old town is through the historic Hadrian’s Gate. From here, explore the wending, cobbled streets and dip in and out of the boutique shops before heading to a cosy restaurant and soaking up the atmosphere of this enchanting city enclave.
If you’re looking for a chance to pull up the drawbridge and hide from the world, Kalekoy is ideal. Connected to the mainland only by a rough track, it’s visited solely by boat trips that are long departed by the time the sun sets. The pretty village, which is located near the Kas Peninsula, has no roads, which means perfect peace.
You and the few locals who live here are free to enjoy the charming waterside restaurants, Lycian tombs, a Byzantine castle and the idyllic blue sea. Hotels here have sea views but are otherwise fairly ordinary - but that won’t matter if you have each other.
Sometimes all you need to light the spark of romance is an escape from the pedestrian - and you'll find this in Cappadocia. With its surreal rock formations and intriguing underground networks, Cappadocia’s charm lies in its otherworldliness.
After a balloon trip that takes you high above the fairytale rock formations, explore some of the underground churches and cities, where sizeable populations of people lived, completely hidden, for hundreds - if not thousands - of years.
After a day’s exploring, tuck up for the night in one of the region’s supremely romantic underground boutique hotel, complete with a hammam to wash off the day’s dust.
Although it’s just a hop, skip and a jump - or a short ferry ride - from Istanbul, tiny Buyukada is often overlooked by the thousands who visit Turkey’s largest city each year. This makes it the ideal location for a romantic getaway.
There are no card on this extraordinarily pretty island - instead, you can get around by bicycle, or even better, a horse-drawn carriage to maximise the romance. Explore the island’s quiet roads, lined with poplar trees and beautiful old wooden villa, visit some of the old churches and historic mansions before finding a boutique hotel for the night and dining a deux. What a perfect way to spend time with the person you love.
Just five minutes away from Fethiye Town by water taxi, Sovalye Island is an escape from the hustle and bustle of beach crowds. Free of cars and with just a couple of hotels, it’s a supremely peaceful place to reconnect and recharge. Snorkel in the clear sea and catch a glimpse of the ancient city walls beneath the waters, or walk through the pine and carob-covered trees and find the remains of the ruined castle in the centre of the island.
There are just a few houses and only a couple of hotels on the island, so book a room overlooking the sea and distant islands and find out just how peaceful and romantic a night on Sovalye can be.