Golden sands and azure waters of the Blue Lagoon at Oludeniz, set against a mountainous backdrop

Inspiration


Turkish Delights


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‘Hosgeledeniz’ to Turkey! Where ‘welcome’ rolls off the tongue, and kindness wraps around you like the embrace of an old friend. Hospitality is a way of life here, honoured like a time old tradition. Smiling faces strike up conversation, generosity is second nature and you’re never far from the offer of Turkish tea. It’s this magnetic warmth that keeps visitors coming back time and time again. Although the golden beaches, tasty cuisine and fascinating culture certainly help…

Boats in the sea outside of Butterfly Valley. Surrounded by calm turquoise waters, golden sands and the mountainous valley itself.

Dalaman

Dalaman doesn’t have a favourite angle or ‘good side’ – it looks perfect from every perspective. From up in the mountains, you might feel a little smug as you enjoy the view of golden sands and a blanket of blue sea. Little do you know that person on the beach, whose outline you can just make out, is also as pleased as punch looking up at the magnificent lush green landscape.

Hiking lovers will tell you that there’s only one way to enjoy Dalaman – the Lycian Way. Over 500km of coastal trail begins in Fethiye, from which you can take in sights so beautiful they’re worth the aching feet and sweaty brows. Grab a birds-eye view of the Blue Lagoon that hugs Oludeniz’s curving arc of golden sand. Stroll on to Butterfly Valley, a fjord-like inlet that’s a peaceful portrait of natural beauty. But nothing beats just how beautiful these beaches are up close! Feel the sand beneath your feet, listen to the waves caressing the shore and take in that spectacular scenery.

For a brush with nature head to Iztuzu Beach. Loggerhead turtles breed and nest here, so you might even spot an adorable hatchling heading for its very first swim. This narrow stretch of golden sand separates the Dalyan River from the waves of the Aegean sea. The turtles might head for the sea, but holidaymakers head to the mud baths on the banks of the Dalyan. Covering yourself in the sludge is rumoured to have medicinal benefits. Even if it doesn’t fix those aches and pains, you’ll at least leave with smoother skin. You might even look a few years younger too… get ready for plenty of compliments!

A rainbow of spices at a local Turkish market

Bodrum

Stroll past a Bodrum bazaar and it’s pot luck as to which of your senses will start tingling first! Your ears might prick up as market traders jokingly barter with tourists, locals and one another. Your nose might twitch as fruit fresh from nearby orchards send a wave of wonderful scents your way. Or maybe your eyes will double in size, as a rainbow of spices comes into sight. Once one of these has tempted you in, the rest follow and suddenly you’re in the real Turkey. Even simple side streets have the power to pull you in, from the hearty laughter of locals coming from tucked away restaurants, to the white-washed houses decorated with colourful flowers. Eagerly awaited surprises await around each turn. Live like a local and pick out the best ingredients on offer for the evening’s feast back at your villa.

Why stop the local experience there? A trip to a Turkish bath will not only rejuvenate your skin, but enlighten you in historic custom. Lying on heated marble, you’ll be exfoliated, massaged with oil and washed with warm water. You’ll leave the hamam feeling a million Lira!

Did you know that the area was home to one of the world’s seven ancient wonders? The Mausoleum of Halicarnassus was built here, a shrine to King Mausolus following his death. His wife ordered this architectural marvel, pairing Greek design with an Egyptian pyramid-style roof. Sadly an earthquake destroyed the wonder in the 16th century, but its stone ruins were taken to Bodrum Castle where you can see them today.

Traditional Turkish baths, decorated with ornate blue tiling and marble columns

Tastes of Turkey

Take a seat in a restaurant, grab a menu and get ready to order. Everything you need to know about Turkey’s past can be enjoyed amid an explosion of flavours.

Nomadic natives brought dishes back with them after dipping into Asia. Then the Ottomans added flavours from all across the empire; their master chefs returned to share tips from Mediterranean Europe to the Middle East and beyond.

Spice and silk travelled along Turkish trade routes, but those chatty locals saw this as their chance for some cultural exchange. To learn a little more about their neighbours tastes, that famous Turkish welcome was extended and new flavours were shared. And thankfully they did! Who knew history could be uncovered with a knife and fork in hand?

Bite into manti. These little dumplings filled with spiced meat and onion will remind you of treats from Asia. Although you’ll taste Turkish tones as generous drizzles of infused oils and yoghurt dressing hit the tip of your tongue.

Too many cooks might spoil the broth, but all those helping hands certainly didn’t do Turkish baklava any harm! These tasty layers of pastry, nuts and sweet syrup were perfected under the eyes of more than 1000 chefs in Ottoman palace kitchens. The fresh scent of baklava still wafts through Turkish streets, so follow your nose to pastry heaven.

This is just an appetiser of Turkish treats, you’ll simply have to try the rest for yourself.

A spread of traditional Turkish baklava. Accompanied by a sterling silver teapot and cup.

Feeling inspired? Take a look at our villas in Dalaman and Bodrum and find the perfect setting for your Turkish holiday.

Emma Mackey

Emma Mackey is a Content Executive at James Villa Holidays.

To say I have an obsession with travel would be an understatement. Adventuring with my...

See all articles by Emma Mackey

See all articles by Emma Mackey


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