Best Places to Take Children on Holiday in Turkey
Their aim is to make Turkey one of the top ten visited destinations in the world by 2023. Obviously, catering for families has become a top priority because they spend more money and are likely to return year after year. More so, than the solo backpacker travelling around the world during a career break.
Parents will probably find the crowded buses and crammed pavements of Istanbul city centre, a nightmare. Neither will they prefer the southeast because it focuses on historical tourism rather than family amenities.
The Aegean and Mediterranean coasts of Turkey put family holidays at the top of their agenda. Officials and tourism workers believe in the age-old mantra, that if the children are happy the parents are too.
Facilities and amenities include waterparks, hotels with babysitting services, restaurants with high chairs and themed days out.
When Is The Best Time for Families To Visit Turkey?Places on the Aegean and Mediterranean coasts shut down during winter and during this period, a majority of international visitors instead head to Istanbul. So from November to April, avoid booking a family holiday unless children are easily pleased in a bustling city and not affected by cold weather and rainfall.
The main tourism season runs from May to October but the sunshine hits high temperatures from the end of July to September, sometimes reaching 40 degrees and higher. Older children normally cope with the high temperatures while parents will keep the younger children out of the sun during the hours from 12 to 3, when the temperatures rise. Families with younger children who are not accustomed to heat, will prefer May, June, the beginning of July and October.
Best Destinations in Turkey for Family Holidays
The Antalya region is the 2nd most popular tourist destination in Turkey, after Istanbul and this is mainly because of the small, coastal resorts with their own characters and activities. Belek is popular with golfers while Kemer is notorious for all-inclusive hotels.
Welcome to Antalya
Families who enjoy history will prefer the small but quaint resort of Side with ancient ruins, in the centre, alongside modern buildings and traditional restaurants. Otherwise, the more bustling resort of Alanya with its extensive range of hotels, restaurants and daytime excursions, will satisfy children and their parents.
Parents will be satisfied with the range of daytime activities for families. These include daily boat trips, Jeep safaris, white water rafting for teenagers and scuba diving. Also visit the Aqua Park in Konyaaalti, and MiniCity, open every day from 8am to 7pm. Featuring mini models of major landmarks around Turkey, MiniCity encourages learning about history and culture in a fun and enjoyable way.
Dinopark, obviously based on the theme of dinosaurs includes a walking area with large models of the reptiles, a planetarium, a 7D cinema, fossil hunting, pool games, and trampolines. Kids under six can enter free, but supervision of children is solely the responsibility of the parent.
The Lure of FethiyeFethiye is a region further west from Antalya. Once again, it is popular because of the small coastal resorts surrounding the city centre. The centre doesn’t have beaches but a majority of hotels have swimming pools. Otherwise, the small neighbouring resorts of Calis and Olu Deniz are good options. Both have a large British clientele base when it comes to tourism but their main attractions are beaches in front of family friendly restaurants and bars.
Family activities include boat trips and Jeep safari but parents and kids interested in nature will enjoy Butterfly Valley. The water taxi from Olu Deniz drops passengers on the pebbled beach in front of the deep canyon. A path leads the way to the back of the canyon where families will find small waterfalls. Scuba diving and snorkelling are also popular.
The ghost village of Kayakoy is a fun and informative way to introduce the history of Fethiye to children. Deserted soon after 1923, the village streets now hold empty houses, schools and churches. Local travel agents sell horse riding excursions and simple village restaurants, have menus promoting traditional cuisine but juicy lamb tandir is popular with foreign visitors.
Parents with teenagers can also paraglide from Babadag Mountain. Local travel agents drive customers to the top of the mountain, provide safety gear, and gives instructions before their clients join a qualified pilot to ride tandem over Olu Deniz for a magnificent birds eye view.
Kid Friendly CappadociaMany travel agents sell package holidays to Antalya and Fethiye but some families prefer to stay away from beaches and coastal resorts, so the region of Cappadocia in central Anatolian Turkey is an alternative choice. Previously popular with backpackers and scheduled tours of Turkey, more families are heading to Cappadocia, because it has amenities to accommodate many types of traveller.
Kids will definitely enjoy staying in an authentic cave hotel, and during the day exploring the ancient cave churches of Goreme Open Air Museum. Wake early the next morning for a hot air balloon trip over the lunar landscape before heading to the underground city of Derinkuyu. Dating from the Hittites period, this city contained many facilities needed for a fully functioning society, including a chapel, school and storage rooms for animals.
Quad biking, biking and horse riding are the preferred methods to explore valleys of Cappadocia including Ihlara but active families can also hike though the region on foot. If your children are not long-distance walkers, instead head to Avanos where they can try their hand at the old-fashioned method of making pottery. A company in Avanos has also recently opened to offer gondola and jet boat rides along the river.
Lastly the castle of Uchisar stands at the highest point of the region and while the kids are playing at being kings and queens, parents can sit back and admire the fantastic panoramic view.