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Turkey is claimed to be the bridge between the East and the West and with its mix of influences from the Mediterranean, the Middle East and the Balkans, it's easy to see why. Churches rub shoulders with mosques, gypsy festivals are as well attended as football matches and Roman temples co-exist with Islamic monuments. It's diverse and exciting and, for a short haul trip from the UK, impressively exotic.
The unique city of Istanbul should definitely be on your travel itinerary. Here you will find many important architectural masterpieces such as Hagia Sophia, which has been a church and a mosque and is now a museum. Don't miss the Grand Bazaar, one of the biggest and oldest covered markets in the world. Once you've seen the sites you can retire to a rooftop cocktail bar and relax as the sun sets on the city walls and the minarets and domes of the mosques. If you like your culture with a side order of sand, then head to Turkey's south coast where you'll find stunning beaches running into a gloriously blue Mediterranean sea. Antalya is not only close to the airport and the beach, but has a very well preserved ancient walled city at its centre and an old Roman harbour too. It also has many boutique hotels, plenty of bars and clubs and the critically acclaimed Aspendos amphitheatre.
Further west along the coast is Bodrum, a bustling town with a colourful market and the world's largest museum dedicated to underwater archaeology. Nearby are the bays of Bitez and Gumbet which are hugely popular for all kinds of watersports. Gumbet is also famed for its wild nightlife. Travel further west again and you'll reach Kayu Koya, an eerie coastal village that was abandoned in the 1920s, and Hierapolis, a ruined city where you can enjoy the warm waters of a thermal pool. Both of these attractions are within easy reach of Dalaman airport.
For yet another take on Turkey, take a trip to Adana, located in the far south-eastern corner of the country. It's proximity to Syria makes the Middle Eastern influence on the city palpable: visit the hammams in the centre of town for a scrub and a soak, or the Ulu Camii or Eski Camii mosques. Here you can also visit the oldest bridge in the world, a 300-yard stone construction across the Seyhan River, which was built by the Roman army in the 6th century A.D.
As well as having plenty to see and do, you'll find some incredible food. Mediterranean, central Asian and Middle Eastern influences meld to create many delicious dishes, from mezze to kofta to baklava. Cuisine, adventure, relaxation, history and nightlife – what more could you want?