Blessed with rich culture, mesmerizing landscapes, stunning Ottoman architecture and mouth-watering delicacies, Turkey is high on the top of everyone’s travel bucket list. Turkey’s summer season welcomes you with sunny rainless weather and picture-perfect sceneries as the country basks in the golden sunshine.
1. Take a Blue Cruise
Also known as a Blue Voyage or Blue Tour, Blue Cruise refers to the recreational voyages along the Turkish Riviera. There’s no better time to spend at a clear sea than in the summer, and there’s no better activity to do in the summer when you’re in Turkey than to cruise along the Mediterranean coasts. Different chartered boat companies offer different routes. Some can run from several days to several weeks, and these cruises make frequent stops for swimming and exploring activities.
2. Take a Bosphorus Cruise
The Bosphorus Cruise is often overlooked and skipped in favour of other activities and attractions in Turkey. Do take our advice and set aside several hours to cruise along the shimmering Bosphorus strait! The standard route takes commuters between Eminönü and Kadıköy, but there are so many other routes that let you admire the city at your leisure while sipping on a cup of Turkish coffee or tea.
3. Drink Ayran
It’s not summer in Turkey until you have a glass of ayran. Turkey’s national drink is made by mixing yoghurt and cold water. It’s best served chilled and as an accompaniment to rice and meat-based dishes. Most places in Turkey also include salt in the ingredients, so first-timers might find the taste a little staggering. However, drinking salty ayran is one of the fastest ways to intake sodium so one can stay hydrated, which makes it the perfect summer drink in Turkey.
4. Drink Boza
Technically, boza is a traditional wintertime drink. But the increased availability of refrigeration has allowed this drink to be produced even during the summer and there’s no reason not to try it when you’re in Turkey. Boza is a fermented malt drink made from grains such as corn, barley, rye, oats, wheat or millet. A traditional boza contains a low alcohol content (around 1%), but a non-alcoholic version was introduced when there was a ban on all alcoholic drinks in the 17th century.
5. Make a Day Trip to Princes’ Islands
As the name suggests, Princes’ Islands is a chain of nine small yet beautiful islands in the Sea of Marmara. Believe it or not, these islands were once a place of exile during the Byzantine era. Only four islands are open to the public, and none of them allows motorized vehicles so you can only walk, rent a bicycle or take a fayton (horse-drawn carriage). That’s right, like royalty!
6. Take a Walk In The Lungs of Istanbul
Belgrad Ormani (or Forest) is sandwiched between the Bosphorus and the Black Sea, and takes up over 5,500 hectares. The region is made up of mostly deciduous trees and man-made lakes and has long been the source of oxygen and clean drinking water. Belgrad Ormani is stunning every season of the year, but it’s best to visit early in the morning! You’ll be accompanied by the songs of birds as you trek down the footpath and fill your lungs with clean air.
7. Hit The Beach
Most locals hit the beach typically for the summer tan and picnics instead of swimming since many of the beaches here are unfortunately polluted. However, there are still places with clean waters. Some of them are Uyumkent and Parkköy in westernmost of Istanbul’s Silivri district. You can also visit Mimarsinan beach in Büyükçekmece, and Uzunkum and Halk beaches in Şile. The Health Ministry crews take samples from beaches every 15 days during the summer season and analyze them.
8. Try The Iconic Dondurma
Summer in Turkey is a haven for ice-cream lovers, and there’s no better time to treat yourself to a cone of dondurma. Dondurma is the traditional Turkish ice-cream that is well-known for its chewy, thick and elastic texture, as well as the dizzying array of flavours. But what makes getting a dondurma a totally unique experience is not just the taste, but also the fancy tricks of the ice-cream vendors fooling the customers before finally handing them the cone.
9. Drink Çay
At first glance, Turkish tea might seem like an ordinary beverage. Çay (pronounced chai) refers to the Turkish black tea traditionally served in a small tulip-shaped glass. Unlike the Brits, the Turks add a sugar cube or two in their tea instead of milk. Even though Turkey is known for its coffee, drinking tea is a huge culture in the country there too. It is so popular that some places even offer them for free! Turkish tea contains plenty of health benefits that are particularly great for the summer heat!
10. Visit The White Paradise of Pamukkale
Imagine snow-white travertines, stretching out endlessly to the horizon. Pamukkale, meaning “cotton castle”, is famous for the naturally formed, terraced thermal pools. This beautiful location attract hundreds of thousands of visitors every year. Making a trip to Pamukkale in summer will allow you to bathe in picturesque mineral springs and walk through the calcium deposits.
So, what do you think? We hope that this list has helped you decide your summer getaway! Don’t forget to check out our favourite Insta-worthy spots while you’re there too.