If you are one of the many people who has booked one of the available all inclusive holidays to Turkey from Ireland this coming summer, you are certainly in for a treat. This vast and welcoming country, a cultural melting pot where east meets west, is blessed with many outstanding attractions. Listed below are just five of the very best that Turkey has to offer which will make any trip to this warm and friendly land a trip to remember.
1. Istanbul: Turkey's largest city has also been known historically as Byzantium and Constantinople, and its location is where the continents of Europe and Asia meet. Istanbul is a diverse, thriving and busy city, with a heady mix of contemporary buildings and shops, mixing easily with old-style market places and bazaars. The city is home to many outstanding museums chronicling the illustrious past of the city and the country and any visit to Turkey is enriched by at least a day visit to this important and beautiful destination.
2. St Sophia Museum (also known as Haghia Sophia Museum): The museum is one of the most beautiful examples of Byzantine architecture in the world today. When built in the sixth century, it was revered as the largest church ever built. Since then, this huge building has been a church and a mosque, but in 1936, at the order of Ataturk, was turned into a museum. St Sophia Museum is a truly spectacular sight and one worthy of making extra effort to visit.
3. Ephesus: Arguably one of the best-preserved ancient sites in not only Turkey, but the world. Dating back to 12 BC, Ephesus was a hugely important trade centre during the period of Roman rule, at one point becoming the second most important city in the world. One of the original Seven Wonders of the World, the Temple of Artemis was located within the city. As befits a city of such importance, its scale in ancient times was huge and today 15 to 20 per cent of the city has been excavated, including the incredible Great Theatre (seating 25,000), Scholistica baths and even a brothel!
4. Pamukkale: A series of geothermic hot spring pools has been a massive attraction for people throughout history. Pamukkale has been declared a World Heritage Site and many visitors testify to the healing and invigorating properties of the naturally-heated water.
5. Patara Beach: If you enjoy lazing on a beautiful beach on your holiday then Patara beach is one destination to visit. Over 12 miles long and 50 metres wide, this beautiful beach is vast and seldom over populated, allowing you to enjoy the tranquil surroundings and warm Mediterranean waters in blissful solitude.
One thing is certain; whether you visit some, all or even none of the places on this list, your holiday in Turkey will be one to remember. It is a country steeped in history and tradition, of abundant natural resources and with a friendly, passionate population that will do its utmost to ensure that your stay in their country is as relaxing and enjoyable as possible.