Why Turkey is the real alternative to summer holidays in France and Spain this year

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If being near (and in) the water is more your speed, the pretty turquoise coast resort of Kalkan is still popular with Brits for its attractive marina, old whitewashed houses, plentiful restaurants quality and relaxed atmosphere. It is also a great place to dive in some of the clearest waters in the Mediterranean. A three-day Padi Open Water Diver course at Kalkan Diving (00 90 24284 42361; kalkandiving.com) costs from £230; subsequent dives £25 each. You can fly to nearby Dalaman Airport with easyJet (easyjet.com; from £109 return) and stay at the Courtyard Hotel Kalkan (00 90 24284 43738; courkalkan.com), a boutique hotel offering double rooms from £109.

Five of the best hotels in Turkey

Villa Turka Hotel, Alanya

This elegant 19th-century Ottoman mansion set in its own lush grounds on the slopes of Alanya Castle on Turkey’s Mediterranean coast is what a true boutique hotel is. It offers comfortable rooms, delicious food (homemade jams and fresh fruit from the hotel trees), a small beach just below the property, as well as delightful walks through a fortified castle – and the bustling town center is just a 10-minute walk away.

Doubles from £37 (00 90 53054 74641: hotelvillaturka.com)

Pera Palace, Istanbul

Hotels don’t get more full of history or atmospheric than this. The Pera Palace opened in 1895 and was originally built to accommodate passengers on the Orient Express, with famous guests like Ernest Hemingway, Agatha Christie and Greta Garbo. Behind the neoclassical facade, opulent interiors feature period furniture, Turkish rugs strewn across pristine wooden floors, damask draperies, Moorish-style arches, French bronze figurines, and potted palms. The destination spa and restaurants are stylish, but for visitors who enjoy dining out and enjoying Istanbul’s vibrant nightlife, it’s just on the western outskirts of bustling Beyoglu.

Doubles from £106 (00 90 21237 74000; perapalace.com)

Search Hillside Beach Club

Set around secluded Kalemya Bay, this large, pleasant resort offers good value for money in its extensive facilities and in an idyllic pine-covered setting. Three sandy beaches (two of which are reserved for adults), three restaurants and several bars, a nature trail and a spa are perfect for relaxing and unwinding. Regular fitness classes and wellness programs are designed for active guests, as are diving and sailing lessons.

Doubles from £118 (00 90 21236 23030; hillsidebeachclub.com)

Hotel Kekik, Selimiye

A rustic adults-only hotel in the hills above Selimiye – where people come to enjoy total peace and quiet, a laid-back atmosphere and sweeping vistas. The two-story stone longhouse has 10 rooms, an open-air restaurant and bar, and a small infinity pool with a sun deck, umbrellas, and loungers. Here, the emphasis is on sustainability: solar panels heat the water, it is recycled as much as possible and the eggs for breakfast come from the hotel’s chicken coop.

Doubles from £80 (00 90 53736 57172; kekikotelselimiye.com)

Tuvana Hotel, Antalya

Some Antalya hotel owners supercharge the Ottoman Turkish pudding when it comes to dining, but in Tuvana the intricately carved wooden ceilings, dark wood floors and sash windows have been retained, walls painted white broken and the paints chosen with care. The result is understated elegance: if you’re looking for a soothing getaway in the heart of Antalya’s Old Quarter, this is it. Wonderful bougainvillea gardens, a swimming pool, a bar and a restaurant popular with locals complete the picture. Considering the quality of accommodation, friendly atmosphere and convenient location, this place is excellent value for money.

Doubles from £52 (00 90 24224 76015; tuvanahotel.com)


Covid Rules

Entry without testing for fully vaccinated people and children under 12; via PCR or antigen test, or proof of cure, for others. Online form (register.health.gov.tr)

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