Family Holidays in Turkey: Where to Go and What to Do
Mums and dads looking at family holidays in Turkey are picking one of the world’s most kid-friendly destinations. Cities and beach resorts around the country gear up for kids of all ages from toddlers to teenagers looking for excitement. It is not a marketing ploy because Turkish culture embraces the family network, hence it appears in all areas of daily life. From delicious food to activities to childcare facilities, families always find their perfect idea of a summer holiday for the price they want to pay. People visiting for the first time may wonder where to go and what to expect, so this article gives our hints, tips, and advice for booking a getaway.
Family Holidays in Turkey: Travel Guide
When is the Best Time to Visit Turkey with family?
This depends on what you plan to do. For beachside holidays to swim, rest, and sunbathe, visit from May to October. This is the main tourism season, and during this period, local councils clean beaches daily and offer amenities like sun beds, umbrellas and water sports. Having said that during July and August, temperatures often reach as high as the mid-40s, and kids that don’t like the sun will be uncomfortable, so May, June, September, and October would be best. These months also encourage kids to get into the great outdoors.
Turkey has plenty of historical attractions and beautiful, natural landmarks and every year, thousands of kids enjoy learning and exploring them in a fun way. If you plan to visit between November to April, stick to main regions because smaller coastal resorts shut down as the tourism season finishes. Main year-round places include Istanbul, Antalya and Cappadocia, and the benefit is fewer crowds.
What Things Are There to Do for Kids?
This depends on where you go. Choose one of many holiday coastal resorts along the Aegean and Mediterranean and you will run out of time for sure. As well as spending time on the beach and around the pool, popular tours and excursions sold by local travel agents include Jeep Safaris, water parks, water sports like scuba diving, and themed adventure parks. By far though, the most popular activity, daily lazy day boat trips always excite families.
Leaving from harbours every morning, small boats stop in small coves and bays for swimming breaks before serving a BBQ lunch onboard. Meanwhile, in the central Anatolian Cappadocia region, kids enjoy exploring ancient underground cities and monasteries, and horse riding or quad biking the valleys. In Istanbul, theme parks like Miniaturk and Istanbul aquarium delight everyone young and old. If keeping the kids active is your top priority, also consider all-inclusive family beach resorts.
Best Family Beach Resorts in Turkey
Package holidaymakers adore family beach resorts in Turkey because they offer excellent value for money. Think of them as small villages that you never have to leave. Often operating on an all-inclusive basis, restaurants and bars on-site serve food and drink 24 hours a day, and besides the kid’s clubs and babysitting services, the huge choices of activities and things to do keep kids hooked. Sarigerme Holiday Village operated by First Choice is a good example.
Sports activities include archery, canoeing, tennis, crazy golf, pirate-themed raft building, painting, snorkelling, football and swimming academies, an arcade, bowling alley, aero ball, zip-lining courses, and acting school. Combine this with over 5 bars and restaurants, health, and beauty facilities like gyms, sauna, and wellness treatments, 5 swimming pools, direct access to the beach and themed evening time entertainment, and even mum and dad can sit back and put their feet up.
Another perfect example is the Land of Legends Theme park which is Turkey’s equivalent of Disneyland. Including three themed, adventure and aqua parks, shows and events at night time makes this venue a family-friendly for nationalities from all over the world. While Turkey has many all-inclusive family beach resorts, the Lara Beach area of Antalya presents the largest choice of themed hotels.
Best Areas in Turkey for Family Holidays
Where are the best places to go in Turkey for families? So maybe you want to go independent so the kids can also get to know real Turkey away from the all-inclusive hotels. In the case, some areas offer more than others, and by far, the leader in family-friendly places is the Mediterranean Antalya region. Covering a large section of the southern coastline, it also has some of Turkey’s best beaches and stunning scenery making up the picture-perfect postcard destination. Places within the Antalya region for holidays include...
Bustling Alanya: Sitting at the eastern tip, Alanya’s popularity grows month by month. As a firm favourite of Brits and Europeans, many visit Cleopatra's beach that Trip Advisor users voted the best in Turkey. Other major attractions include the red tower, Damlatas cave, castle, boat trips, and Seaalanya, a themed park with shows like Atlantis and the tropical reef.
Antalya City Centre: Even though it is a city centre, don’t think of typical urban landscapes because places like Lara Beach and Konyaalti are two of Turkey’s most popular beach resorts. Offering a host of water sports for teenagers, other activities include exploring Kaleici, the old town, Duden and Manavgat waterfalls, Antalya aquarium, Tunektepe cable car, Terracity, Aqualand, and Antalya Zoo.
Fethiye Region: Heading further west along the Mediterranean coastline, the Fethiye region is another holiday favourite for British families. Staying in places like Oludeniz, Calis beach, Hisaronu, and Ovacik, this region is all about places of natural beauty like Butterfly Valley, Saklikent Gorge, Yakapark, and the famous Blue Lagoon. Children also love exploring Kayakoy Ghost Village whether on foot or horseback. Alongside beaches, another reason Fethiye attracts families is the huge range of sit-down friendly bars offering entertainment when the sun goes down.
Marmaris and Icmeler: Sitting on the cusp between the Aegean and Mediterranean, for decades families have visited Marmaris on package holiday tours. The resort itself is huge and presents many neighbourhoods to stay in. It also accommodates luxury and budget holidaymakers alike. Beaches, swimming pools and water parks within resort make this is a splashing friendly resort, but if the bustle gets too much, head to neighbouring Icmeler that also does a roaring trade thanks to the water sports on offer.
Bodrum Peninsula: As the king of family-friendly holidays in Aegean Turkey, the Bodrum peninsula is about beaches. With a choice of 20 areas to stay in, friendly resorts include Gumbet, Yalikavak and the town centre. (Read about things to do in Bodrum with kids.)
Anatolian Cappadocia: If beaches are what you want, stay away from landlocked Cappadocia because this region is all about hiking and trekking. All major attractions like Goreme open-air museum, Zelve Valley, Ihlara Valley and Derinkuyu underground city, are spread apart so hire a car or sign up for the red and green tours. For a central location, stay in Goreme, otherwise suitable alternatives include mainstream Urgup, luxury Uchisar, and traditional Ortahisar.
Istanbul With Kids: Is It Doable?
Most certainly yes. As Turkey’s largest and busiest city, you still need your wits about you, but even children enjoy exploring the main historical attractions like Hagia Sophia and Topkapi Palace. Also consider a Bosphorus cruise, cable car rides, and catching the ferry to the famous Princes’ islands. Themed activities include Miniaturk, a huge park with man-made miniature models of famous landmarks from around Turkey and Istanbul Aquarium, that is the largest in Turkey.
Don’t forget about Legoland Discovery in Forum shopping centre and hundreds of green parks and forests that are ideal for picnics. The great thing about holidaying in Istanbul is an unlimited range of accommodation from self-catering apartments to budget and luxury hotels. (Our article about activities in Istanbul for kids presents loads more ideas).
Also of Interest
For more suggestions and advice for planning family holidays in Turkey, our blog archives include articles about places to go, culture, traditions, food and much more.