From eating my way around Istanbul, and seeing the incredible mosques, to beach times in Alanya, to hot air ballooning in Cappadocia, and exploring the cave cities in the region, find out the best places to travel to in my Turkey travel blogs.
Want to travel from Istanbul to Cappadocia – one of the most unique places in Turkey? Find out how to travel to the region by car, bus and plane.
If you’re planning a holiday to Turkey, I’d recommend starting in Istanbul, then travelling to Cappadocia for a few days, and finishing with a little bit of beach time in somewhere like Alanya or Antalya.
A traditional Hamam in Alanya isn’t necessarily a relaxing spa experience…!
“While you’re here you should definitely try a traditional Turkish bath.”
These were the words of one of my guides when I arrived in Alanya, Turkey a few weeks ago. Over three days I was whisked from beaches to caves to restaurants, and now, just ten minutes after returning from a jeep safari, I found myself in the ladies changing room at Çemberlitas Hamam.
As mentioned in my recent spa review of the luxury hamam at Dolphin Square, the hamam (also known as Turkish bath) isn’t an activity done for pure relaxation. No, it’s a cultural experience with an emphasis on cleansing. It’s also a place where people go to catch up with friends and family. Parents take their children and friends go together. It’s a communal experience, with most of the time spent in the hamam chamber – a beautiful marble room with sinks around the outside and a large heated marble stone in the centre. Men and women have separate facilities, although at this hamam, the sauna and steam room were mixed.
After a sauna and a steam, I entered the hamam chamber in my bikini unsure of what the protocol was. I was swiftly pointed in the direction of the shower then the jacuzzi. One thing to note, when I arrived I wasn’t told what the experience would involve, so I spent the whole time apprehensive about what was going to happen next.
During my recent trip to Alanya, I checked into one of the region’s most popular hotels – the Grand Okan.
I’m a firm believer that a luxury is nothing without good service. The most expensive meal can taste quite bland when there is no passion from the people serving it. Some of the best hotels in the world suffer from their stiff, impersonal ways. It makes me wonder: how difficult is it to provide warm customer service (are you listening Barcelo Solymar?)?
I checked into the Grand Okan Hotel in Alanya well after midnight. I was tired from travelling and suffering from a bit of a cold. Thankfully, I was welcomed by Amanda – the hotel’s incredibly friendly general manager. From Britain originally, she moved to Turkey over 15 years ago and lives and breathes the culture. Full of stories, charm and infectious warmth, she oversees a happy workforce who go out of their way to meet customers’ needs. It’s no wonder loyal holidaymakers return year after year.
These photos of Alanya in Turkey will give you a flavour of what to expect on your trip!
From Jeep safaris up winding mountain roads, venturing into beautiful caves, jumping off pirate galleons in the Mediterranean Sea and chasing sunsets, to witnessing traditional village life, sampling the best in Turkish cuisine and meeting some of the friendliest people on the planet. We really packed a lot into three days.