Turkey had a boom holiday season last year. Perceived as a good-value shelter from the soaring euro, and with a big choice of package holidays that included flights and hotels, it did brisk business. It looks likely to do well this year, too – though unfortunately things may not seem quite so cheap when you get there.
The Turkish lira has strengthened only a little against the pound, but prices on the ground have jumped significantly. According to the Post Office Holiday Money Report published last month, a typical shopping basket for tourists has risen by 44 per cent in Turkey over the past year, with the cost of a meal out at about £58 for two.
These sort of surveys do not tell the whole story, of course. Steer away from tourist restaurants and you will find prices are far lower. I enjoyed an excellent meal in a small local restaurant in a resort near Izmer last year for £7 a head, including beer. Even if prices have since risen – and I very much doubt that they have – the meal would still cost only about £10 a head.
In fact, generally speaking, you might do well to steer clear of the bigger resorts and tourist honeypots. The sort of all-inclusive packages offered by the big tour operators, at large resort hotels with in-house sports, entertainments and children’s clubs, often appeal to families because they make budgeting easier. But they limit your choice to the bigger resorts such as Bodrum, Kusadasi, Gumbet, Side, Fetiyhe and Olu Deniz, where prices are higher. Before you rush to book one of these, have a look at what the specialist tour operators are offering in family-run hotels in smaller resorts. As an alternative to Bodrum, for example, you might want to look at the nearby sponge-fishing port of Yalikavak, where you will find good beaches, less development, a more relaxed atmosphere and lower-priced restaurants and bars.
In some sections, we have picked out for special mention tour operators offering programmes that we consider particularly interesting or which offer good value.
These prices are for a week in August, unless stated otherwise
One-bedroom self-catering apartment: £790 (per person, with
flights & car hire).
Four-star hotel, all-inclusive package: £2,700 (family of four, sharing room, with flights).
Three-bedroom villa with private pool: £1,240 (total price, rental only).
12-night escorted coach tour: £650 (mid-range hotels, half board,
Club holiday, Neilson: £3,730 (family of four, most meals & flights).
Guided walking holiday (May): £1,100 (flights, hotels, half board).
Car hire (two-door, air conditioning): £240