Join the 4 million people that use our sites to find expert travel advice



mark-hodson david-wickers
The Sunday Times Travel writers Mark Hodson and David Wickers.


Recommended by The Times, Which and Daily Mail

Ask the Experts: How to avoid mass-market Turkey

Q. “We have just returned from a holiday in Turkey unfulfilled and disappointed. We wanted to experience real Turkish life, culture and traditional cuisine in a quiet and unspoilt area of the country but ended up at what can only be described as a hot Blackpool or Southend.  Can you suggest somewhere please?”

Family holidays Turkey 2011

A. “I recently stayed in Kalkan, an easy two-hour ride from Dalaman. It is charming, relatively low-key and free of the pile ’em high mass market hotels and all that go with them. The narrow, largely car-free cobbled narrow streets wind down to a pretty harbour with great restaurants, rooftop bars, cool cafes and interesting boutiques en route.

“We were there in the low season (mid-May) and so it will have been quieter than in the summer peak but I cannot imagine it ever becomes rowdy. We stayed in a villa and made good use of the car to explore (nearby Kas, Kaputas beach, the ruins at Xanthos and Patara etc). I also like Gocek, closer to Dalaman, although it’s more of a smart marina town than village in feel.

Simpson Travel has some outstanding hotels and villas.

“Back in the 1990s, I used to go to Gumusluk which is on a sandy bay sufficiently far from Bodrum (20 minutes by Dolmus) to be quiet and charming but also popular amongst the sailing fraternity so it boasts some great restaurants. Building is strictly prohibited as it sits on an old Minoan site – stay in converted warehouses on and pretty cottages above the bay. I am not sure who operates there now but a Google search should help.

“Good luck with your search – and do persevere. It is a magical country.”

See our full guide to the best holiday destinations in Turkey.

– Catherine.

Note: All the travel companies featured on this site are personally recommended by our editors. Companies pay us a flat annual fee; we don’t get any additional payments if you click on their sites or make a booking. Those fees pay for the upkeep of our site, so we can keep it current and reliable. See more about how we work.