SR7 Feature for February 2010

Top Turkish getaways

If you’re looking for excitement, diversity and culture from your self-catering holiday, then a trip to Turkey could fit the bill. Forget what you’ve heard about tacky package holidays. This mystical country has so much more to offer than kebabs and Turkish delight. Stretching across the Anatolian peninsula in western Asia and across the Balkan region of southwestern Europe, Turkey borders eight countries including Bulgaria, Greece, Iraq, Iran and Syria. This stunning land enjoys a rich and welcoming culture that charms visitors time and time again, making it the perfect break for those wanting an alternative trip abroad. For the independent traveler seeking a self-catering break that is far from the crowds with a truly alternative twist, take a look at these Turkish gems from travel agent Journey Anatolia.

The beautiful Blue Mosque in Istanbul is just one of many attractions on offer in Turkey

1. The Annex Hotel – Cirali:
The Annex Hotel is a charismatic retreat set amid an orange grove some 250m inland from legendary Cirali Beach, surrounded by picturesque mountains. This is a great choice for beach chalet luxury on a budget. Prices start from £629 a week for two people, excluding flights.

2. Villa Papatya – Islamlar:
Villa Papatya is set in the beautiful hilltop village of Islamlar. Papatya is both a country retreat and contemporary villa. Its unique location means guests can enjoy the refreshing mountain setting while being close to excellent beaches and the charming seaside towns of Kas and Kalkan. Prices start from £650 a week.

3. Cave hotel: For a really alternative break you could try the wonderful Serinn House, a unique cave hotel that integrates cutting-edge design with the intimacy of Cappadocia's famed natural caves. For extra fun you could spice up your holiday with a hot air ballooning experience over the spectacular landscape of Cappadocia. The whole package including hot air ballooning costs from £1,029 per person and includes a one week stay in Serinn Cave Hotel, two hot air balloon flights, two local guided tours and private airport transfers. Flights are not included.

4. Turkish photography break: Take your photography on the road with a two-week photo excursion capturing a broad range of Turkey’s magical landscapes, with genuine insight into its endearing culture. Whether novice or professional, this tour, led by award-winning photographer Rod Wheelans, caters for photographers of all levels. Spaces are limited and subject to availability. For prices go to

5. Istanbul city break: Forget New York, Paris or Rome. The city break to beat all city breaks is a three-night stay in Istanbul, starting with the Ottoman and Byzantine treasures of the old city, then going further afield to explore cultural landmarks including the spice bazaar and the Bosphorus. A trip to Istanbul would not be complete without a visit to the Hippodrome, which was once the scene of spectacular chariot races. Although little remains of the great stadium, the Obelisk of Theodosius, the Serpentine Column and the Column of Constantine are all highlights. Prices start at £319 per person, based on twin occupancy or £539 for a single and do not include flights.

Picture: The beautiful Blue Mosque in Istanbul is just one of many attractions on offer in Turkey.

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