The nine kinds of tourist you see in Turkey

If you love to people watch, there's no time like the summer. Read our guide to the seven types of tourists you'll see in Turkey - can you find yourself on our list?

The Smartphone Addict

This species ambles slowly down the street, glued to their screens and looking for all the world as if they’re being controlled by their handheld device. The ocean’s majestic beauty goes unnoticed as they toddle along Calis promenade, holding up summer crowds as they Tweet about the amazing time they’re having. They curse when water splashes their screens as they Facebook by the pool and moan about the spotty WiFi in the hotel restaurant. At mealtimes family and friends are ignored in favour of their softly glowing, vibrating device.

How to spot them: Watch for crowds parting around a shuffling dead-eyed figure with a zombie-like gait, head bent over trying to see their screen in the bright sunshine.

Smartphone addict on beach

The Selfie

A holiday’s not a holiday till you’ve posted a picture of your grinning face on Oludeniz Beach, right? And in front of Apollo’s temple. Let’s not forget a quick shot smiling in front of Bodrum Castle. Oh and the Hagia Sofia. The Selfie will never be able to fully enjoy their time in Turkey until the good times are extensively shared on Instagram. Selfies think of their trip as not so much a holiday, but an opportunity to present themselves doing fascinating things in fascinating places to make them appear, well, simply fascinating to the poor schmucks who couldn’t be there.

How to spot: Head to the nearest beach or monument and watch for the fixed grin, selfie stick, well practised pose to highlight their best features.


The Beautiful People

After the best part of a year in training - the weights, the cardio, the waxing, the plucking, the highlights: the Beautiful People are now ready for their place in the spotlight. And boy are they going to make the most of it! Grab a seat at a waterfront cafe and watch them parade slowly by like Kim and Kanye waiting for the paparazzi to turn up. Bronzed to perfection, the men eschew shirts so we can fully appreciate their flexing muscles, while the women favour small bikinis and flowing locks.

How to spot: Propped up at bars and cafes in the busiest part of town, sitting outside or by the window where everyone can see them.

Beautiful people

The Sunseeker

Ever wonder who gets up at 7am to bag the best sunloungers? That would be these guys. They’re not here for ruins or culture - they’ve heard the Turkish Med enjoys 300 annual days of sunshine and by jove, they’re going to get their share!.Back home, the Sunseeker has to make do with sunbeds and spray tans. But here on the Med, they’re in their element with all the sun they could possibly want. Cancer, schmancer: these guys are slathering on the tanning oil (the really strong stuff that’s banned in 25 countries) and rotating their bodies on a half-hourly basis until they’re as basted and brown as rotisserie chickens.

How to spot: Lying motionless and shiny with oil on a sun lounger. Gets snappy if you accidentally cast a shadow in their direction.


The All Inclusive

Explore a few hidden coves? No thanks, the hotel has a perfectly good beach. Local restaurants? No way, didn’t you hear about the hotel lunch buffet? Nearby ruins? Nah, we’ve got the History Channel on cable. The All Inclusive has no reason to leave their hotel - and who can blame them: with all their needs catered to within reach, there’s little reason to exert themselves. Their days are spent mooching from buffet breakfast to buffet lunch to cocktails by the pool to a long lazy dinner. With that much food and drink it’s impossible to get anything done, so they just don’t bother.

How to spot: the illusive all-inclusive are like baby pigeons. We know they must exist, but you never actually see one out in the open.

All inclusive holiday

The Dusk-till-Dawners

Want to know the best happy hour in town? Ask your nearest Dusk-till-Dawner. But not before 2pm - before mid afternoon they’re lying prone in the darkness of their hotel room, moaning softly and flinching at every sound. However, come sundown these nocturnal creatures spring to life, cruising the street in search of loud rhythmic music and like-minded partygoers. The Dusk-till-Dawner is boisterous and ready to laugh, the life and soul of the party - and the one instigating the world’s most elaborate drinking games.

How to spot: Propping up a bar, wearing sunglasses, shorts, flipflops and a slogan t shirt.

Beach party in Turkey

The Seeker

White, western and seeking a retreat from the rampant materialism in his homeland, the Seeker tourist comes to Turkey to find himself by losing himself in sufi mysticism on a spiritual retreat. He explores local religion and customs - although likes to keep his mind and options open by reading books on Buddhism and Kabala, just in case. Keep your distance - unless of course you want to hear his well-practiced spiel about the connectedness of life, or be regaled by tales of finding himself among the nomadic tribes of outer Mongolia, finding himself in an ashram on the Ganges or taking a vow of silence with Tibetan monks - and then finding himself.

How to spot: the Seeker scorns tourist crowds (and never has any money) so look out for him on public transport and in local eateries.

The seeker

The Cruiser

From enthusiastic beginner to crusty old salt, it seems everyone’s heading to Turkey’s Aegean and Mediterranean seas on sailing tours. The cruiser is addicted to exploring new coastal areas and bagging a few new islands. Being seen aboard a tidy-looking ketch does wonders for your self esteem, too. Not all cruisers are actually seen on boats: many find it easier - and drier - to prop themselves up at the marina bar, spinning yarns of dubious veracity about Cape Horn hurricanes and romanticising about life on the sea.

How to spot: When they’re not exploring Gocek’s 12 islands, the cruiser is found at seaside watering holes, staring out to see with a faraway gaze.

Sailing in Turkey

The History Buff

At their happiest traipsing round ruins, this tourist knows his Byzantine from his Thracian empires, has his own theories about the construction of the Mausoleum at Halicarnassus and is scornful of anyone without a working knowledge of 18th century Persian. The history buff’s idea of a good time is a dusty trip on jerky local buses exploring lesser-known sites - preferably where there’s excavations going on so they can channel their unbridled enthusiasm into a bit of amateur digging.

How to spot: Looking like a nerdy version of Indiana Jones, the history buff will be weighted down with ratty books with titles like A study of ancient coins of Anatolia, misfolded maps and a notebook.

Lycian tombs at Tlos


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