Spot Blue https://www.spotblue.com // Wed, 26 Jul 2017 14:15:48 +0000 en-GB hourly 1 Guide to Visiting Turkey in Winter https://www.spotblue.com/2017/07/tourism/guide-to-visiting-turkey-in-winter/ https://www.spotblue.com/2017/07/tourism/guide-to-visiting-turkey-in-winter/#respond Sat, 22 Jul 2017 10:32:17 +0000 https://www.spotblue.com/?p=118720 From May to October, airports, hotels, bars and restaurants around Turkey are in full flow as the official tourism season kicks into action. This is when travel agencies ramp up their marketing and adverts displaying the pleasures of summer living in the country. This isn’t to say though, that the winter months are dull and boring. Indeed, they can be just as delightful.

Some of the small coastal touristic holiday resorts like Gumbet or Cirali close during winter, but many other destinations like Fethiye centre, Bodrum town and of course, Antalya are open for business as usual.

Visiting Turkey in winter also has some distinct advantages, such as beating the queues at popular tourist attractions and tapping into discounted deals. If you plan to holiday here between November and April, this is our guide to the weather, what to pack, and where to go.

Weather in Turkey During Winter

Turkey has three different climate zones, which is not a surprise given its enormous size. While people can be skiing in the famous resorts of Erzurum or Bursa, in the opposite direction, of the southern coast, people can be sunbathing on the beaches in Antalya and Fethiye.

February and March, are usually rainy months. Other than that November and April on the Aegean and Mediterranean coasts are sunny during the day but cold at night-time. In some areas like Cappadocia and Istanbul, snowfall is not unusual either. Although some hotels have indoor swimming pools, you are unlikely to need your costume, during these months.

Our advice is to research the weather in your chosen destination so you will know what temperatures and conditions to expect.

Visiting Turkey in Winter : How to Get Here

Many of the international routes between Turkey and countries such as the UK, or East European countries, don’t operate in winter. However, Istanbul Ataturk airport, one of the busiest in the world still operates their international flights, as well as domestic routes for connecting flights. For the Mediterranean coast, Dalaman airport is open in winter, although people will probably find more flight routes for Antalya. If you are visiting the Aegean coast, search for flights to Izmir airport.

Where to Go in Turkey during Winter

Captivating Cappadocia in the Heart of Turkey

 The admiring fame and winter wonderland reputation of Cappadocia qualify it as one of the weirdest destinations in the world. Volcano eruptions thousands of years ago spewed lava over the landscape. The slow erosion of them by wind is invisible to the naked eye, but over thousands of years, the soft tufa rock has formed shapes of their own.

Locally known as fairy chimneys, these rocks and landscape are high on the list of popular hiking destinations. Aside from that, visitors get to be Fred Flintstone for a week by staying in an authentic cave hotel.

Other activities include sunrise hot-air balloon trips, exploring cave churches of Goreme Open Air Museum and heading underground into the large cities beneath your feet. Skiing fans might also want to take a slight detour and stay in nearby Kayseri so they can hit the slopes of Mount Erciyes.

Cappadocia in winter

Antalya: Open All Year Round

The Antalya region includes the smaller coastal resorts of Alanya, Side, Belek, and Kemer as well as the main city centre. Naturally, the latter being a hub of business, tourism and education, is open all year round.

Main attractions to visit throughout the stretch of coastline include Duden waterfalls, the famous Alcohological museum, Manavgat waterfall, Lara beach, and Aspendos ruins, famously home to one of the best preserved Roman theatres in the world.

Antalya aquarium is receiving rave reviews for its family friendly environment, but the must see is Kaleici, the old town district with its harbour side restaurants and old Ottoman houses.

One of the best aspects of Antalya city centre is the convenient transport links to other places. Catch a bus to Belek for top-notch treatments in their spa and wellness centres or travel to Side, built around the historical ruins of the old town.

Alanya is also worth visiting in Winter because its famous landmark is the red tower and castle. Read more about the Antalya region here.

Visit Antalya

Istanbul: The Top Visited Destination in Turkey

An article about visiting Turkey in winter must mention Istanbul, one of the most historically significant and modern cities in the world. Three days is enough for a short city break taking in all the main tourist attractions, and an ideal place to start is the Sultan Ahmet district, holding iconic landmarks from the Byzantine and Ottoman eras.

The Hagia Sophia, once the large domed building in the world boasts of marvellous Islamic calligraphy plagues sitting in among ancient Christian mosaics. Across the square, the 17th-century Blue mosque, one of the biggest in Turkey gently introduces people of other faiths to Islam and the people that follow it.

The Istanbul Archeology Museums is one of the largest collection in the world of artefacts from ancient civilisations in Asia and the Middle East, while the Basilica cistern, a large underground water source of the former Ottoman residences, needs just 30 minutes to explore.

However, one of our favourite landmarks is the Topkapi Palace, the first home of the Ottoman sultans when they invaded Constantinople in 1453. Find out more about Istanbul and why it is one of the best destinations in Turkey, in our area guide here.

Visiting Turkey in Winter

Izmir: The Pearl of the Aegean

History lovers adore Izmir, for an alternative look, away from the Byzantine and Ottoman history of Istanbul. Staying in Kusadasi, a popular expat and cruise destination, operating all year round, just 30 minutes’ drive away is Seljuk, home of the famous, ancient ruins of Ephesus, the second biggest Greco Roman city.

Restored iconic landmarks to tour include the two storey Celsius library, spacious grand theatre seating 25,000 people and the Roman terrace houses with their intricate ancient mosaics.

Continuing the theme, nearby are the ancient cities of Miletus, Priene and the Apollo Temple, an ancient oracle site that had construction continued on it, would have rivalled Delphi. Otherwise, 2 nights in the city centre, introduces you to Turkeys third largest city that is notoriously known for their liberal lifestyle.

Explore the Konak old part of town or hang out in the coastal restaurants with esteemed reputations for their fresh fish and seafood cuisine. Alternatively, those who enjoy letting their hair down at night should seek out the traditional Turkish bars playing live music. Read more about Izmir and the Aegean coast of Turkey, in our area guide here.

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Visit Izmir

 

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Bringing Luxury, Eco-Friendly Living to Antalya https://www.spotblue.com/2017/07/antalya/bringing-luxury-eco-friendly-living-to-antalya/ https://www.spotblue.com/2017/07/antalya/bringing-luxury-eco-friendly-living-to-antalya/#respond Tue, 18 Jul 2017 09:19:13 +0000 https://www.spotblue.com/?p=118629 Antalya on the Mediterranean coast of Turkey has always been a centre of excellence. However, the latest real estate project to come out of the region puts it firmly in the prestigious circle of luxury eco-friendly places to live around the world.

Pushing the boundaries of innovation, the riverside development in the city centre consists of six bedroom, luxury villas, expressly designed for modern living, with sustainable architecture but at the same time, it maximises key landscape, and environmental attributes to ensure minimal disruption from urban planning.

In what is a ground-breaking achievement for the real estate industry of Turkey, the project has also achieved BREEAM certification (Building Research Establishment Environmental Assessment Method.) The worldwide recognised system rates buildings on their environmental architecture, and with strict assessment criteria, it is a prestigious certification. This is only the second project in Turkey to receive this award.

Antalya Property

Renewable Electricity Through Solar Energy

Solar energy is not a new concept to Turkey. For many decades, solar power panels have been prominent on the rooftops of apartment buildings. Yet they were ugly and blighted the general landscape view of a town. In later years, many people swapped to water boilers as a cheap alternative with less maintenance.

The eco-friendly luxury project in Antalya is reintroducing the concept of solar energy, yet they have seamlessly blended in the north-south facing panels within the architecture to promote a modern exterior worthy of praise. Exterior protection also involves the use of timber cladding, while at the same time, floor to ceiling windows make the most use of natural light and winds to cut down on electricity costs and usage.

Promoting the project as more than a home, but instead, an exclusive lifestyle, the architects and designers were also aware given the luxurious side of the project that many buyers would own one or more vehicles. They cleverly designed the three-floor villas to include underground parking, therefore keeping the landscape as green as possible.

Taking it One Step Further

Luxury property in Antalya

Although being environmentally friendly, is a great achievement in itself, the developers wanted to continue the theme with an emphasis on rejuvenation and revitalising. This is where the luxury facilities and modern interior appearances come into play.

Private swimming pools or the close distance to the beaches of Antalya promote the delights of Mediterranean seaside living, as does the on-site organic shop. The self-automated and smart technology within the home gives instant comfort and ease of use. On the ground floor, the steam, sauna and spa room is the perfect antidote after working out in the home gym. While the working professional can also gain peace and quiet away from the family, in the second-floor study.

Ranging in size from 515 to 970 square metres, the larger villas also uniquely feature master-dressing rooms as well as specially designed winter gardens for the months when daytime temperatures drop.

With an all-round emphasis on luxury living while being kind to the environment and your body, this ground breaking real estate project really has put Antalya on the top list of destinations in Turkey to receive international recognition. Find out more here.

Eco friendly property in Antalya

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Turkey Set to Confirm Potential Energy Project with Israel https://www.spotblue.com/2017/07/economy/turkey-set-to-confirm-potential-energy-project-with-israel/ https://www.spotblue.com/2017/07/economy/turkey-set-to-confirm-potential-energy-project-with-israel/#respond Thu, 13 Jul 2017 09:45:50 +0000 https://www.spotblue.com/?p=118548 Turkey’s energy minister Berat Albayrak has confirmed that he will visit Israel before the end of 2017 to finalise an ambitious gas line project from Israel to Turkey. The announcement was made at the 22nd World Petroleum Congress in Istanbul that ran from the 9th to the 13th of July. Known as the Olympics of the gas and oil industry, Berat Albayrak meet with his counterpart at this event, to discuss the visit, that would cement a deal before the year is out.

Israel is developing many of its natural resources and is looking to Turkey to make its natural gas fields more widely available as well as economically workable. Adding that the pipeline could then further be extended to the Balkans and Europe, the Energy Minister for Israel, Yuval Steinitz, said no exact date had been confirmed to finalise the deal, but this would be done in the next few months.

The Turkish Stream Natural Gas Pipeline

Possible inspiration for the pipeline between Israel and Turkey could be the Turkish Stream project that was finalised in October 2016. Following renewed relationships between Russia and Turkey after many months of turbulent events, Gazprom, the Russian gas giant, started construction this year on the Turkish stream that sees a pipeline running from southern Russia to north-western Turkey. Russia is already the country’s biggest gas provider and has been keen for the project to start, with an expected completion date of 2019.

Diversifying the Energy Industry of Turkey

Turkey’s driving ambitions behind its energy market are a calculated effort to ensure economic stability and cement relationships. While the country is entirely self-sufficient on food, it mostly relies on foreign influences for energy source however Turkey is also ploughing millions into developing biogas plants around the country, to reduce this dependency.

Utilising methane gas from household and animal waste, disposal and recycling energy plants have opened throughout Turkey to provide homes with electricity in an economical and environmentally friendly manner. Roughly 36 biogas plants are currently in service, although industry experts, say this number could rise into the thousands in years to come

Wind solar panels have also been installed in many areas especially on the western coast, that includes the major city of Izmir and towns that experience a boost in population during summer when the tourism season starts.

The Turkish government website has clearly stated their intention for the energy sector which is experiencing growth at a rapid rate. They aim to diversify energy supply routes, increase the share of renewable energy and contribute to Europe’s energy security.

They also planned to take significant steps to improve energy efficiency, which has partly been achieved by the privatisation of electric companies. In years gone by, electric cuts were a frequent occurrence however in westernised areas and especially hubs of business, education and tourism, they have been drastically decreased, in many cases providing constant supply to households, business, offices and hospitality establishments.

For updated economic, tourism and business news from Turkey, follow Spot Blue on Facebook.

Energy in Turkey

Image Credit : worldbank.org

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14 Things to Know Before Visiting Turkey https://www.spotblue.com/2017/07/tourism/things-to-know-before-visiting-turkey/ https://www.spotblue.com/2017/07/tourism/things-to-know-before-visiting-turkey/#respond Tue, 11 Jul 2017 12:54:43 +0000 https://www.spotblue.com/?p=118491 It seems like a lifetime since we naively set foot on Turkish soil for the first time. In those days, our only information source was Lonely Planet travel guidebooks, because the internet was in its infancy. Despite all its useful information, nothing could have prepared us for the momentous event, when we decided to move here.

We have now settled in and experience quiet days, but there were many occasions when hindsight would have been a lifesaver. So, now we recommend potential visitors to Turkey should swot up first. Not only to avoid an awkward social faux pas but also to make your time in the country run a lot smoother. Including the culture, food, transport or day to day life, here are our suggestions to prepare you for a trip to Turkey.

Things to Know Before Visiting Turkey

things to know before visiting Turkey

1: Is it Safe to Visit Turkey?

The crime rate in Turkey is low, but you shouldn’t leave yourself wide open to opportunity theft or safety issues. Use the same procedures that you use in your home country to stay safe such as letting people know where you are, only using licensed taxis, and always staying with your drink while in bars.

Regarding terrorism, many countries in the world now face this threat, but the Turkish government places high importance on everyone’s safety, whether Turkish or not, so strict security procedures are in places, especially in the major cities.

2: Do I Need a Visa for Turkey?

Yes, you need a tourist visa, which entitles you to stay for 90 days out of 180. The Turkish airports don’t supply them anymore so apply online before you arrive, at this website address – https://www.evisa.gov.tr/en/tour/. Please note, this is the official government website.

Many others act as the middleman, and you pay for their services, and in some cases, this has quadrupled the standard visa price. While you are applying for your visa, also check the expiry date in your passport, to make sure you have at least 90 days left.

3: Do You Need Vacations to Visit Turkey?

In days gone by, everyone was vaccinated, when travelling to Turkey, but it is not a third world country rife with diseases. Most doctors recommend tetanus and hepatitis A vacations as part of the norm wherever you travel in the world. This really is a personal choice, so speak to your doctor if you want further information.

4: Do Women Need to Cover Up in Turkey?

In many coastal holiday resorts, dress standards are relaxed and liberal, but women should cover up if visiting rural areas and traditional villages, as well as towns and large cities. While you don’t need to cover your head, wearing trousers or a long skirt as well as loose fitting t-shirts will prevent unwanted stares. If you want to visit a mosque, cover your head.

5: Using Traditional Squat Toilets

Many bars, restaurants and hotels now have standard western toilets as the norm, however, travel around Turkey, and you will most certainly come across a squat toilet. Even in recently modernised airports such as Dalaman and Izmir, ladies’ toilets are a combination of both versions.

If you don’t have a choice and end up squatting, use the hook on the back of the door for your bags and coat. After flushing the toilet, use to tap and jug on the floor to rinse the bowl. Using a squat toilet may be daunting, but with practice, you will be navigating it like a pro. Some public toilets charge for usage so carry loose change on you.

6: Turkish Lira, Cash Machines and Using Cards

Out of all the things to know before visiting Turkey, money is probably the most important. The Turkish lira currency comes in note and coin form. Familiarise yourself with them before you go shopping or to the bars and restaurants.

Get a better exchange rate by using currency shops or banks in Turkey, rather than the airports or travel agents in your home country. Cash machines are available in many populated areas, and some also work in the English language. Notify your bank that you will use credit or debit cards in Turkey, so they don’t restrict it because of security breaches. Also, enquire as to whether there is a charge for using your cards abroad.

7: Getting Wi-Fi

Using your home providers network especially for the internet is extremely costly. Instead many hotels, bars and restaurants offer free wi-fi, although these are open networks so security and privacy are lower. Otherwise, it is possible to rent mobile hotspots from various Turkish companies, and these offer great deals such as connection for up to 10 devices, which will particularly suit families.

8: Drinking Tap Water

The tap water in Turkey is extremely clean, having gone through many sanitation processes. However, it is high in calcium, resulting in a bitter taste. So, most Turks buy large bottles of water from supermarkets and corner shops. If you are visiting during summer, remember to drink lots of water to prevent dehydration from the intense summer heat.

9: Do I need Health Insurance?

This is a personal choice, but some people have received hefty hospital bills after falling ill in Turkey. If you do buy insurance, it is also worth checking the small print terms and conditions. For example, most basic policies do not insure for certain sports, so hiring jet skis at the local beach isn’t wise in case of accidents.

10: What is the Food in Turkey Like?

A Turkish breakfast in bed and breakfast hotels consists of eggs, cucumbers, tomatoes, olives, bread, and jams. However, many restaurants in popular holiday resorts like Altinkum or Fethiye, sell alternative breakfast options including bacon and eggs. Likewise, for evening meals, restaurant menus include Indians, Chinese, pasta, pizzas and so forth. We do recommend however trying classic Turkish food dishes like gozleme, lahmacun, pide, soups and salads.

11: Hassle

Over the years, Turkey has received an unwanted reputation for hassling tourists, to go into their bar, restaurant or shop. However, since 2000, many local councils have implemented projects to get rid of this reputation. Often secretly videoing establishments, some establishments in holiday resorts like Marmaris and Altinkum, have received fines and also been shut down for twenty days. Turkey is slowly getting rid of the hassle attitude, but if you do find yourself pursued, simply say thanks but no thanks and carry on walking.

12: Bargaining on the Price while Shopping

Haggling on prices seems absurd to foreigners but it is still widely practised in Turkey. The general rule is that if the seller displays a price, he is unwilling to bargain. This includes modern shopping malls with barcoded price tickets, bars, restaurants and if you are making small purchases such as half a kilogramme of apples from the local market. Definitely haggle on big purchases like gold, leather and Turkish carpets.

13: Street Dogs and Cats

The presence of street dogs and cats receives mixed reactions across the country. Many Turkish people feed them, while others are adamant they should live in organised shelters. Councils are working to solve the problem, but if you don’t like animals, just ignore them.

14: Finally, stay open minded

Last on our list of things to know before visiting Turkey is to arrive with an open mind. The culture is vastly different from the east to the west and large places like Antalya, are completely different to smaller resorts such as Altinkum. Read our area guides listed on our menu bar to find out more or browse through our articles on the blog for region specific topics. Also follow us on Facebook, to stay up to date with the latest news from Turkey.

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The Most Popular Coastal Holiday Resorts in Turkey https://www.spotblue.com/2017/07/tourism/popular-coastal-holiday-resorts-in-turkey/ https://www.spotblue.com/2017/07/tourism/popular-coastal-holiday-resorts-in-turkey/#respond Fri, 07 Jul 2017 11:59:23 +0000 https://www.spotblue.com/?p=118447 Turkey thrives as a tourist and expat destination, mainly because of the masses of coastal holiday resorts attracting beach lovers and expats seeking a life in the sun. Only a small area of the country is landlocked and the north, west and part of the south together have 5,000 miles of coastline.

Many of the popular coastal holiday resorts in Turkey sit in the Aegean and Mediterranean provinces that were the first areas to embrace mainstream tourism in the 1980s, hence have a long standing reputation in the travel industry. Hundreds of international flights from and to Bodrum, Izmir, Dalaman and Antalya airports also connect them to many countries.

When is the best time to visit?

Sitting in provinces such as Antalya, Fethiye, Marmaris and Bodrum, the best time to visit the coastal holiday resorts are between May to October, when the official tourism season starts, and major airlines resume their summer schedule.

During winter, hotels, bars and restaurants close in some of the smaller resorts, and the colder winter climate dampens the concept of beach vacations. However, some of the larger resorts have also grown into popular expat destinations, and open all year round, so anyone with interests’ other than laying on a sandy beach, will still find lots to do.

Popular Coastal Holiday Resorts in Turkey

Kusadasi: Home to Pigeon Island

Irish holidaymakers for many years favoured Kusadasi as the best destination to visit in Turkey, yet recently, the growing expat community of various nationalities has diluted its reputation to become more of an all-rounder. The many cruise ships docking in yearly, to take passengers to the nearby ancient ruins of Ephesus, also enhances its international status. There are many small places to stay in Kusadasi, but Ladies Beach area is highly popular. The beachfront, backed by many bars, restaurants, shops, water sports and hotels, make it seems like a mini resort within itself.

Kusadasi

Altinkum: The Golden Sands of Turkey

Also on the Aegean coast, about an hour’s drive from Kusadasi, British holidaymakers and expats, have many years favoured Altinkum, hence its nickname of little Britain. Anyone who wants their home comforts while sunning it up in Turkey will enjoy the restaurants and bars selling English breakfast, Sunday dinners, and showing the latest in football matches.

Some people call Altinkum, by its old name of Didim, but this refers to the area and town centre, away from the beach. It’s more traditional and boasts of the famous landmark of the temple of Apollo. It is a 10-minute bus ride from Didim to the three large beaches surrounding the main stretch, hence the translated name of Altinkum, that is golden sands. (Read more about Altinkum here)

Altinkum

The Bodrum Peninsula

Now, this is where beach lovers will feel at home. The Bodrum peninsula consists of the main town centre and smaller coastal resorts each with a unique vibe attracting various nationalities. International yachts generally dock into the centre because of its state-of-the-art marina, while further along the coastline, if you have the cash to splash, luxury Golturkbuku is the place to hang out.

The typical beach resort of Gumbet attracts many British nationalities while Yalikavak has risen the ranks from small fishing village to popular expat destination. In recent years, the addition a luxurious marina, with the capacity to hold mega yachts has raised its international status on the sailing scene of the world.

Wealthy and famous Turks also adore, Gumusluk, a small, traditional village famous for its seaside restaurants serving fresh fish and seafood, while beachfront restaurants in Turgutreis are the ideal place to watch the fantastic Aegean sunset. (Read more about the Bodrum peninsula here)

Bodrum

Marmaris: Hang the Architect

Urban legends say the name “Marmaris” is a deviation from the areas first name meaning “hang the architect” because of a king who detested his newly built castle. Whether this is true, holidaymakers should wander the cobbled streets of the old town to visit the museum and castle.

Following it up with dinner in one of the harbourside restaurants, youngsters tend to end the night in bar street, which gives Marmaris its lively nightlife scene. Holidaymakers adore the long sandy beach in the town centre or catch a bus to nearby but smaller Icmeler that also hosts water sports.

Tourist attractions are further afield in Marmaris, leaving little to do in the city centre apart from hanging out on the beach, but if you are looking for a laid back, relaxing holiday, Marmaris will offer that.

Marmaris

The Fethiye Region: Including Oludeniz, Hisaronu, and Ovacik

One of our favourite regions in Turkey is Fethiye because it ticks all the boxes. Flying into Dalaman airport, the region is just an hour’s drive away. Places to stay include the city centre, but we prefer the gorgeous coastal holiday resort of Oludeniz.

Home to the famous Blue Lagoon, one of the most photographed beaches in Turkey, it also has a relaxed and friendly vibe. The region has a large expat community, of which many have settled in the holiday resorts of Ovacik and Hisaronu. Otherwise, the long stretch of sand on Calis beach is a great place to watch the vibrant orange sun set  over the Mediterranean. (Read more about Fethiye here)

Fethiye

Kas and Kalkan

These two resorts sitting side by side are smaller than the places mentioned above, yet each keeps a unique quality, found nowhere else in Turkey. Kalkan distinguishes itself from other locations because of its upmarket status, as often seen in the luxury villas for rent.

Kas has grown because of tourism and expat popularity, yet around the harbour front and old town, whitewashed houses with wooden shutters and flowing pink bougainvillea, show slight traces of nostalgia. It is a 30-minute drive between the two, and while their beaches will never win awards, they are close to Kaputas and Patara beach, of which both are some of the best in Turkey.

Popular Coastal Holiday Resorts in Turkey

The Antalya Region: Town Centre and Smaller Coastal Resorts

The Antalya region is the second most popular holiday destination, after Istanbul. Adored by many nationalities, especially east Europeans, holidaymakers have quite a few coastal resorts to choose from. Kemer shot to fame as an all-inclusive destination thanks to the large beachfront hotels selling rooms with food and drink included.

Meanwhile, nearby Belek headed in the opposite direction and now holds the crown as the golfing capital of Turkey. Side is a small town built around old ruins, while the city centre attracts many fans because of the Lara Beach district, with its themed, all-inclusive hotels and the old town part known as Kaleici.

Out of all the resorts, success has indeed come to Alanya that is now a fully-fledged city because of the impact of tourism and influx of expats. (Read more about the Antalya region here)

Further Reading: Our blog and news section has many articles with travel tips for Turkey, as well as the latest tourism, economy and business news in the country. Alternatively, stay connected by following us on Facebook, for daily and weekly updates.

Alanya

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After Effects of the Recent Heatwave in Turkey https://www.spotblue.com/2017/07/tourism/heatwave-in-turkey/ https://www.spotblue.com/2017/07/tourism/heatwave-in-turkey/#respond Mon, 03 Jul 2017 12:54:18 +0000 https://www.spotblue.com/?p=118318 A recent heatwave in Turkey has received mixed reactions from locals and promoted a series of events previously unknown. On June the 30th, Meteorology Departments, through the country’s official press agency, warned of record temperatures and humidity levels coming in from the North African area, that would impact Greece, Bulgaria and Turkey.

The three-day heatwave is now predicted to subside allowing temperatures to return to normal which will please thousands of citizens, although some were not fazed and even experienced record business levels as people flocked to cool down.

Mixed Reactions to the Heatwave

Finding much relief and cold air in the underground cities, foreign tourists in the Cappadocia region of Turkey loved exploring the unique lunar and rocky landscape, yet remarked that they would only return in spring.

While much to his delight, an ice factory owner in the province of Adana reported sales tripled during the recent heatwave, even though, life in the city slowed down as locals headed to higher plateau grounds, where temperatures usually drop because of altitude levels.

Temperatures were an average of 12 degrees greater than normal, and locals in the popular holiday district of Antalya said the heat was unbearable, and they preferred to stay indoors. Likewise, many were leaving bowls of water out for street dogs and cats, and birds were reported to have fainted in the capital city of Ankara.

While officials warned the young, old, sick or pregnant to stay indoors until after sunset, water parks, public pools and beaches were crammed to the maximum as locals flocked waterside. One waterpark in Izmir recorded a staggering 6,000 people visiting over a two-day period. In the eastern province of Tunceli, Turkish expats living in Germany endured the high heat by flocking to the local rivers.

In Istanbul, that receives higher humidity levels than normal, temperatures hit a 106-year all-time high, and locals took to the shores of the Bosphorus to cool down. While in Altinkum, a resort especially popular with British property buyers, one expat remarked that the weather was gorgeous. “This is exactly why I left the UK and came to Turkey.”

Sitting poolside, he added “However, I can understand why people who have to go to work, would feel uncomfortable. I also hope that many holidaymakers with children are making sure they are adequately covered and use sun cream protection.”

Forest Fires in Turkey

Unfortunately, the record heatwave has left much damage after an unprecedented number of wildfires were reported. Firefighters controlled a blaze in the Dikli district of Izmir quite quickly, but struggled with a 3-day forest fire that has engulfed 800 hectares on the western coast of Turkey.

Believing the fire to be a result of carelessness, the Forestry Directorate urged everyone to take precautions during the time to prevent further damage. Forest fires have also been reported in Canakkale and Kas on the Mediterranean coast of Turkey.

Stay up to date with the tourism, weather, property and economy updates from Turkey by following Spot Blue on Facebook.

Heatwave in Turkey

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Spot Blue keeps Turkish property in the social media spotlight https://www.spotblue.com/2017/06/news-2/spot-blue-keeps-turkish-property-in-the-social-media-spotlight/ https://www.spotblue.com/2017/06/news-2/spot-blue-keeps-turkish-property-in-the-social-media-spotlight/#respond Fri, 30 Jun 2017 15:24:49 +0000 https://www.spotblue.com/?p=118255 Extensive social media activity reaching an increasingly global audience is helping Spot Blue International Property maintain its position as a leading international property specialist in 2017.

Spot Blue is currently ranked ninth in Zoopla’s Property Power 100 table, which ranks 100 estate agents for their social media influence, based on their ‘Klout’ score through Twitter, Facebook, Google+, LinkedIn, Instagram, Foursquare, Wikipedia and Klout itself. In addition, Spot Blue’s client reviews have earnt it impressive ratings of 4.7/5 stars (94 per cent) and 4.9/5 stars (98 per cent) on Facebook and Google respectively.

“Tough market conditions mean it’s never been more important to work every marketing channel available to us,” said Julian Walker, director at Spot Blue International Property. “Social media is critical now and complements our website, which is updated daily. Vendors who list with us can be reassured that we do all we can to reach potential buyers in Europe and beyond – our market in Turkey is truly international. For example, in the past few weeks we found an Israeli buyer for a British vendor.”

Spot Blue’s recent Israeli client purchased an apartment at the popular Horizon Sky Beach Resort in Iasos, on the Bay of Güllük in Bodrum. Designed by internationally renowned architect Eren Talu, development of the resort was a joint effort between UK based Signature International and leading London developer Galliard Homes – unusual for a project in Turkey. A community of luxury villas, penthouses and apartments centred around a private beach and clubhouse, and with access to an extensive range of leisure activities, Horizon Sky is a landmark development on the Turkish coast. A complimentary water taxi service connects the resort with the boutique marina town of Güllük, while transfer time to Bodrum Airport is just 50 minutes by road.

Spot Blue’s vendor of the apartment at Horizon Sky, Stephen Tyler, commented: “We sold our apartment in Turkey through Spot Blue. We had an immediate response and sold almost instantly. After encountering problems on our side with deeds and lawyers, we found Spot Blue to be on the ball and extremely professional, so much so that they put our London law firm to shame with their on-the-ground knowledge and insight into the intricacies of the Turkish legal system. I would have no hesitation in recommending Spot Blue to any perspective client.”

Spot Blue has other properties for sale at Horizon Sky, including a two-bedroom, two-bathroom duplex apartment near the beach. With a terrace and balcony, and sold fully furnished, the property has a purchase price of £42,950.

Concluded Mr Julian Walker: “Mr Tyler’s experience is proof that desirable property in sought-after resorts in Turkey will be snapped up quickly when priced correctly and marketed effectively to the right audience. For example, the Middle Eastern market is especially active in Turkey right now, particularly in Istanbul.”

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Turkish Tourism News for June 2017 https://www.spotblue.com/2017/06/tourism/turkish-tourism-news/ https://www.spotblue.com/2017/06/tourism/turkish-tourism-news/#respond Thu, 29 Jun 2017 10:35:12 +0000 https://www.spotblue.com/?p=118218 Overall, June 2017 has been a successful month for the Turkish tourism industry that is slowly bouncing back after two years of devastating results for the country’s 6th largest industry. Much of the hype and attention was focused on Russian tourists, after the Russian consulate general in Antalya, predicted that 3 million of them will visit the region in 2017.

Russians have always been an essential nationality in the tourism industry of Turkey, often preferring to holiday on the Mediterranean coast, yet figures took a nosedive following a breakdown in diplomatic relationships between the two countries. The consulate also reported that to date, Russians were responsible for 8,000 foreign property purchases and more than 2 billion USD in investments.

Sun Express Starts New Flight from Antalya to Moscow

Possibly capitalising on this announcement, on June 27th, the Sun Express airline that jointly belongs to Turkish Airlines and Lufthansa, made their first flight between Antalya and Moscow. This is Sun Express’s first involvement in the Russian market and takes their flights from Antalya airport to other destinations to a staggering 342 a week.

Istanbul’s Hotel Occupancy and Cheap Rates

Meanwhile, in the north-west of the country, TUROB, the Hoteliers Association of Turkey, said that hotel occupancy rates soared to 64.4% in May, a year-on-year increase of 15.7%, indicating that the city’s tourism industry was bouncing back. However, he also added that the daily average rate of a room had dropped a staggering 25% to an average of 76 euros a day, so while business is increasing, many hoteliers see no notable increase in revenue.

Passport-Free Travel for Ukraine

Continuing their effort to diversify the typical tourist nationalities, Turkey struck a deal with Ukraine for passport-free travel between the two countries, and it came into effect on June the 1st. Ukraine citizens coming into Turkey, need now to only show the ID cards for a maximum 90 days stay in the country. Ukraine citizens accounted for 1 million visitors in 2016, and the Ministry of Culture and Tourism, predicts the recent deal will see that amount increase by 30% for 2017.

Will Booking.com Return to Turkey?

Meanwhile many professionals within the Turkish tourism industry, are eagerly awaiting the return of booking.com, after an announcement by the Turkish Ministry of Culture and Tourism, that a meeting on June the 22nd will discuss ways and methods for them to resume operations.

Currently, anyone trying to use booking.com from within Turkey, without a VPN, is shown the message “Unfortunately, it is only possible for our customers in Turkey to book international properties with us right now. We are working on resolving the issues that have prevented us from offering you our full range of services. We apologise for any inconvenience and appreciate your continued custom with Booking.com.”

The meeting took place after an appeal against the ban was rejected by Turkish courts. As of yet, there is no confirmation from either side as to whether activities will resume, however, if booking.com fulfils certain tax and licence requirements, they are expected to be able to operate as normal.

The global travel agency was blocked in Turkey, after a lawsuit by TURSAB (Association of Travel Agents) claimed unfair practise. Many hotels in central Anatolia report that they have suffered from the ban as they do not have the support or connections with international travel agencies and companies.

Stay up to date with tourism, economy and real estate news by following Spot Blue on Facebook

Turkish tourism news

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The Mediterranean Coast of Turkey Travel Guide https://www.spotblue.com/2017/06/tourism/mediterranean-coast-of-turkey-travel-guide/ https://www.spotblue.com/2017/06/tourism/mediterranean-coast-of-turkey-travel-guide/#respond Tue, 27 Jun 2017 12:05:33 +0000 https://www.spotblue.com/?p=118179 Forming the main bulk of the Turkish Riviera, the Mediterranean coast of Turkey is a delightful collection of small villages, quaint towns and cosmopolitan cities. Backed in parts of the scenic Taurus mountains, the sandy beaches stretching for miles, are some of the most beautiful in the whole country. Indeed, anyone choosing to holiday there, will be pleasantly surprised and instantly recognise why “The Turquoise Coast” is its nickname.

Covering most of the southern side of the country, it provides everything a popular tourist destination should have including a wide range of hotels, beautiful destinations, historical sites, adrenaline sports, cultural influences and delicious food. All this explains, why it is not only a thriving tourism hub but also popular with expats, who choose to spend their days under the Turkish sun. But what do you need to know for a fruitful and smooth trip there?

Travel Guide to the Mediterranean Coast of Turkey

Mediterranean Coast of Turkey

Best Time to Visit

The best time to go is during the months of May to October. Officially the tourist season has started, and everything opens for business including hotels, bars, restaurant, travel agents and shops. However, the main city centres of Fethiye and Antalya operate all year round. If shopping, nightlife, spa or simply relaxing is on your agenda, you will find everything you need.

Weather on the Mediterranean Coast of Turkey

The turquoise coast has one of the better weather climates resulting in hot summers and cool winters. Having said that, January and February typically tend to be rainy months. From March, temperatures start to heat up, but it will still be cold at night-time until the beginning of June. The hottest months are July, August and September when temperatures can reach into the mid-forties, so sun cream, lots of water and shade are advisable.

How to Get There

The two main airports are Dalaman in the Mugla region and Antalya in the area of the same name. During summer, both operate international flights from many countries but flight schedules scale down in the winter, in which case, catch a connecting flight from Istanbul.

Alternatively, the cross-country bus system connects the Mediterranean coast of Turkey with the rest of the country. The central stations are Antalya, Fethiye and Mugla and from here, passengers can catch connecting buses to most of the smaller resorts and towns.

Both the airports and many towns across the country, also have car hire offices where you can pick up and drop off in different locations. Once you have got onto the D400 highway running the entire length of the Mediterranean coast, all resorts and towns are well signposted.

Where to Stay

Personally, we like road tripping the Mediterranean coast of Turkey because the variety of cities and villages all have distinctive characterises. However, it is possible to stay two weeks or more in a place and still be active every day. Typical tourist resorts include Oludeniz in the Fethiye region or Alanya in the Antalya region. Golfing fans head to Belek, while nearby Side is a quaint town with historic ruins. Read more about the towns, cities and villages here.

Hotel Accommodation

Travellers really do have the best pick of accommodation with a wide variety of luxury, budget, B&B, all-inclusive and self-catering options. Prices start from roughly 120 lira a night, and if you are road tripping, book as you go by using websites such as booking.com or Trivago. Hotels rarely turn people away because of full occupancy. However, this might happen during the Turkish festivals of Seker and Kurban Bayram (dates change every year). The Turkish school holidays also run from the end of June to the end of September and during this time, prices may increase.

Getting Around

Within all the coastal resorts, towns and cities, small Turkish buses called Dolmus operate. They are cheap and frequent, and the destination is listed in the front window. To go from one town to another, simply head to the local bus station (otogar) because the D400 highway connects all resorts.

Car and scooter hire is also available, but you should check your licence and the terms and conditions of your insurance policy. Even if you are a confident driver, it may be worth watching the traffic for a day or two because driving rules in Turkey are different and many famous tourist places become congested in the height of summer.

All resorts have yellow taxis typically waiting at designated taxi stops throughout the town. Your hotel can also call one for you. Most run on meters unless you are travelling a short distance in which the taxi driver will set a price.

Eating Out

If you are on a budget, find the Turkish lokantas serving traditional Turkish food, at extremely cheap prices. Also stay away from beach-side establishments because these tend to be more expensive. Otherwise, if money is no object, then knock yourself out because restaurants in all the main tourist districts offer international menus including Chinese, Indian, British and fine dining concepts. During summer, the trend on the Mediterranean coast of Turkey is seaside alfresco dining, where Turkish mezes, fish and Raki are popular choices of Turks.

Must Do and See

Whether you travel independently or sign up for tours with local travel agents, a mass of tourist attractions and historical sites awaits you. Some of the most popular attractions include Mount Tahtali in the Antalya region, as well as Saklikent gorge and Kayakoy ghost village in the Fethiye area. We’ve listed all our suggestions in this article about things to do in Mediterranean Turkey.

Stay Safe

The crime rate of Mediterranean Turkey is low; however, you should not lay yourself open to opportunist crime so still take the same precautions you would do in your home country. These include only using licensed taxis, don’t leave your drinks unattended, letting someone know where you are, and keeping your handbag or purse close by.

Further Reading: If it is your first visit to Turkey, you might like to read our country guide listing the top attractions, and reasons why foreigners buy property here. Alternatively, Fethiye is a popular area with British holidaymakers, and you can read more about it here.

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The Best Holiday Towns of Mediterranean Turkey https://www.spotblue.com/2017/06/tourism/holiday-towns-of-mediterranean-turkey/ https://www.spotblue.com/2017/06/tourism/holiday-towns-of-mediterranean-turkey/#comments Sun, 25 Jun 2017 09:57:02 +0000 https://www.spotblue.com/?p=118153 The Turkish Mediterranean Coast covers most of the southern side of the country. Starting from the bustling city resort of Marmaris and heading eastwards to the Antalya region, potential holidaymakers have a variety of destinations and places to choose from. The holiday towns of Mediterranean Turkey lure many nationalities including Brits, East Europeans, Middle Easterners and Russians, hence it is extremely popular for tourism.

Serviced by Dalaman and Antalya airport, it has all the typical Mediterranean vibes and much more including beautiful weather, scenic landscapes, historical sites of interest, and a laid-back lifestyle. Holidaymakers also tap into the best of the best for accommodation because a wide range of bed and breakfast, all-inclusive and self-catering accommodation is available at either budget or luxury prices.

18 Holiday Towns of Mediterranean Turkey

Alanya: The Red Tower and Castle

Starting at the eastern end of Mediterranean Turkey, Alanya holds the crown as one of the busiest resorts. Its well-deserved reputation stems from its gorgeous beaches, the extensive range of budget and luxury hotels as well as a vibrant nightlife scene. (More about Alanya)

Historical Side

Side has grown from a small seaside fishing village into an attractive destination, especially popular with families, especially because of all-inclusive hotels on the outskirts. The historical ruins in the heart of the old town and the Apollo Temple, where Cleopatra famously met with Marc Anthony are what it is mostly known for. (More about Side.)

Holiday Towns of Mediterranean Turkey

Belek: A Golfing Holiday Paradise

Belek has earned an esteemed reputation as the golfing capital of Turkey, having grown from a small man-made holiday resort to hosting some of the best luxury spa hotels and professional golf courses in the country. (Read more about Belek here.)

Belek

Antalya City Centre

Couples particularly like this area, because of the old town called Kaleici, that is home to quaint boutique hotels and fine dining restaurants portraying everything romantic about Mediterranean Turkey. The Konyaalti Beach neighbourhood is where much of the action happens for holidaymakers, while the Lara Beach district is known for its themed all-inclusive hotels such as the Titanic.

Antalya old Town

The Holiday Resort of Kemer

As another man-made holiday resort with all-inclusive hotels, life in Kemer tends to focus around the beachfront, but head away from the coastline to find the places of natural beauty and more discreet locations for people who don’t like crowds.

Cirali and Olympus

The one street village of Cirali will delight people who like hiking and the great outdoors. Rent a bicycle to get around and at night, walk up to the burning flames of Chimaera, a natural scientific event, although steeped in mythology. Olympus that shares a long pebbly beach with Cirali attracts the young, backpacker generation, because of its unique themed budget accommodation of hostel tree houses.

Quaint and Beautiful Kas

This small village hasn’t lost its traditional vibes despite being a popular tourist destination. Most hotels are bed and breakfast, but the holiday resort is an all-rounder, pleasing families, couples and groups of friends. A frequent bus service connects it with other holiday towns of Mediterranean Turkey via the D400 coastal highway.

Kas

Upmarket Kalkan

Neighbouring Kalkan promotes an upmarket appeal mainly because of the many luxury villas for rent. The hilly landscapes mean you must be nifty on your feet, but this geographical characteristic also lends weight to fantastic sea views from most hotels and properties. Prices in restaurants and hotels tend to be more expensive than other holiday towns, but for large families or groups of friends, renting one of the luxury villas is cost effective. (More about Kalkan)

Rustic Patara

When tourism first came to Turkey, Patara was a popular destination for travel agents bused in people by the hundreds. The internet and independent travel have lessened its popularity but if you are looking to get away from mainstream tourism as well as the advantage of being close to Turkey’s longest beach, its ideal.

Oludeniz, Hisaronu and Ovacik

British families adore Oludeniz, Hisaronu and Ovacik that all sit close together. Oludeniz is home to the Blue Lagoon, one of the most photographed beaches in Turkey. Hisaronu and Ovacik are set back from the coastline but easily reached within 20 minutes on public transport.

Choices of hotels in this area include bed and breakfast, all-inclusive or self-catering and frequent bus services connect all these places with the main city centre of Fethiye. Although Hisaronu and Ovacik are smaller holiday towns of Mediterranean Turkey, they have both attracted large expat communities because of the low price of property.

Oludeniz

Fethiye Town Centre

Fethiye is a bustling hub of tourism and business, having grown into a fully-fledged city, but it still maintains a laidback atmosphere, probably because of its esteemed status on the Turkish Riviera. Nearby attractions like Saklikent Gorge and the Kayakoy Ghost Village make it a great holiday place for families. Fethiye town is another area that has attracted a large British expat community. Read more here.

Dalyan and Sarigerme

Although Dalyan’s nightlife scene is quiet compared to other holiday towns, the unique daytime activities can’t be found anywhere else in Turkey. People travel there from miles around to sail the reed-lined river and see the Lycian rock tombs before diving into the natural mud baths.

Iztuzu Beach gained fame in the 1980s when David Bellamy joined a protest to prevent the construction of hotels nearby, therefore preserving the nesting grounds of the Caretta turtle. Nearby Sarigerme is a late starter onto the tourism scene of Turkey yet quickly gained popularity with British holidaymakers because large holiday companies such as TUI invested in all-inclusive hotels in the resort.

Dalyan

Marmaris and Icmeler

Marmaris is one of the bigger holiday towns of Mediterranean Turkey. It is a long-established favourite and will particularly suit those who love beaches and a vibrant nightlife scene. Icmeler, the neighbour of Marmaris, is smaller and quieter, although it has just the same delightful landscapes. Teenagers will enjoy the beachfront where water sports such as jet skis are available for rent.

A 30-minute frequent bus service connects Marmaris and Icmeler, so you can easily travel between the two. This is where the Mediterranean ends but you may also be interested in reading about the best holiday towns on the Aegean coast of Turkey.

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