Mums and dads will be delighted to know there are plenty of places to go in Turkey for families. Keeping kids entertained is a top priority while on holiday and Turkey’s reputation as a family-friendly nation who welcomes everyone regardless of their age, means this is easily done.
The question is, what makes a place more suitable for families than others?
Well, it all boils down to personal preferences. Most families want facilities and amenities for children and teenagers. Whether this is daytime activities on your doorstep, hotel entertainment or things to do close by, many destinations offer all that and much more.
Before we start talking about them, it is worth knowing the destinations that aren’t labelled as kid-friendly.
Places in the Southeast like Gaziantep, Sanliurfa and Mardin usually attract independent travellers rather than package two-week holidaymakers. Sanliurfa, birthplace of the prophet Abraham, has marvellous attractions like his birthplace cave, the castle and Balikligol, but unless your children are interested in Islamic history, it will be hard to keep them entertained. Likewise, for Gaziantep and Mardin that cater for cultural vultures more than families.
The northeast Kackar Mountains is a stunningly green and beautiful place. Attractions like Uzungol Lake and Ayder Plateau resembles scenes from Switzerland, but its reputation as an eco-tourism, hiking and trekking destination, tends to keep families away.
Is Cappadocia Family Friendly?
Cappadocia, the 2nd top visited holiday destination in Turkey, was for many decades, a hangout for backpackers but these days, increasingly more people visit for a three or four-night break. The jury is out on whether it is family friendly though. Some parents insist it is great for getting your kids connected to the great outdoors, while others note a distinct lack of kid’s activities.
Firstly, the top recommended activity, an early morning hot-air balloon trip requires children to be aged six or older. The second most popular activity is exploring underground cities of which there are hundreds, but most like Derinkuyu involve navigating tight spaces with high humidity and a lack of air. Adventurous children will enjoy the mystery and intrigue, but others might feel claustrophobic.
Cappadocia’s primary attribute is the spectacular lunar landscape. Dotted with shaped rocks called fairy chimneys, cave churches, deep valleys and rock-cut monasteries amaze children of all ages. If your children want to ditch theme parks in favour of exploring, they will undoubtedly fall in love with Cappadocia, and even though it is nowhere near the sea, some hotels also have swimming pools.
The Best Places to go in Turkey for Families
Istanbul, Turkey’s top touristic destination is doable with kids because as well as the main historical touristic attractions, theme parks like Vialand and Miniaturk are perfect for under 16s. However, the intense hustle and bustle of Turkey’s busiest city can get too much for parents especially if there is more than one child.
Instead, the most popular family-friendly places in Turkey sit along the Aegean and Mediterranean coasts. Coastal resorts make a roaring trade from May to October as families descend on them for relaxing, fun-filled vacations.
The large town of Marmaris and smaller Icmeler, sitting side by side have been firm favourites of British families for many decades. One reason could be because both have gorgeous beaches epitomising the idyllic dream holiday, that most working families enjoy.
However, three regions dominate the family tourism scene. All of them offer stunning beachfront locations with shallow waters, and regular daytime excursions for families include jeep safaris, daily boat trips, horse safaris, and waterparks. Finding cheap hotels with kid’s clubs and evening entertainment is also easy.
The Bodrum Peninsula
Serviced by the airport of the same name, transfer times to hotels are extremely quick which is great news for fidgety and impatient kids. All-inclusive resorts offer everything under one roof including sizeable themed swimming pools, food and entertainment for kids but for bed and breakfast or self-catering, Gumbet’s water sports and British bar theme wins immense respect from teenagers. Otherwise, Yalikavak and Turgutreis also step up to the podium as ideal family destinations in Bodrum.
This Mediterranean haven really is your typical postcard scene boasting of long sandy beaches and crystal blue waters. The main town centre offers a lot, but families tend to gravitate towards smaller resorts on the outskirts. Calis Beach, Hisaronu and Ovacik, are all cheap and kid-friendly but we particularly like Oludeniz. As well as sporting family-friendly amenities, the exceptionally warm and welcoming vibe makes you feel right at home.
Without a doubt, the firm favourite of all regions on Turkey’s coastline is Antalya. Millions of visitors descend on it every year, mostly flying in via the ultramodern airport that is Turkey’s busiest touristic hub.
Stretching from Alanya to Kas, the Antalya region includes smaller coastal resorts each offering something unique. Belek, the golfing capital of Turkey, is also marketed as an ideal spa destination, but if your kids aren’t interested in golf, other resorts like large Alanya and smaller Side have plenty to keep them entertained.
Our personal preference out of all the best places to go in Turkey for families is Antalya centre. Konyaalti and Lara, the two main beaches are listed as the best in Turkey, while top-notch hotels provide every niche of a Mediterranean lifestyle.
The jewel in the crown though is a wealth of daytime activities including Antalya Aquarium, one of the biggest in the world and the quirky and comical statues of Sand Land. Don’t forget Land of Legends, Turkey’s equivalent of Disneyland that is receiving raving reviews from families all around the world.
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