Selling Turkey has historically meant offering clients after a bit of fly and flop, some cheap sun, sea and sand with a bit of culture thrown in, if requested.
But this huge, varied and scenically stunning country, a haven for sporty types and lovers of the great outdoors, offers far more.
An increasing number of operators are now selling special interest trips to Turkey. Think carpet weaving, yoga retreats, Turkish cooking and belly dancing weeks in the sun. Try these for starters:
What’s it about? Learning to belly-dance under the guidance of expert teachers for two hours a day for seven days. Belly dancing clothes and drumming lessons are included. The price also covers retreat accommodation, all meals, tea and coffee and day trips to the beach and town.
Where is it? Just outside Bodrum on the Aegean coast of Turkey.
Why is it special? Clients get a feel for real Turkish culture, staying in a quiet nomadic village and living in a retreat.
Sample package: Golearnto.com offers a seven-night belly dancing holiday in a retreat twin or double room from £475 per person twin-share (£105 single supplement) on July 1. Flights are not included but transfers from Bodrum are. (Tel: 0844 502 0445)
What’s it about? View and learn to photograph octopus, rays, sea horses, schools of barracuda, trigger fish, groupers and maybe even dolphins and turtles.
This PADI digital underwater photography course, designed for pre-certified PADI open-water divers, junior open-water divers or those qualified elsewhere, teaches clients everything from basic digital camera knowledge, general underwater photography and basic underwater shooting to file format, image resolution, exposure, composition and strobe use. Participants must be over 10 years old.
Where is it? Popular and very lively Olu Deniz, overlooking the Aegean Sea, surrounded by pine trees and the Baba Mountains.
Why’s it special? This is learning a new skill in one of the best diving regions in the world for marine life.
Sample product? Thomson offers seven nights at LykiaWorld Ölüdeniz, which offers the marine photography course, from £599 per person twin-share on a full-board plus basis. This price is based on a departure from Birmingham on July 4 and includes flights, accommodation, in-resort transfers, taxes and charges. (Tel: 0870 160 7430)
What’s it about? Exclusive Escapes has introduced a ‘Book Camp’ trip for 2009. It’s designed to help wannabe Waughs and Wordsworths get started on that novel or volume of poetry. The morning classes will ease writers’ blocks and teach valuable techniques.
It is presided over by writer and poet Sara Bailey and novelist and sitcom writer Marc Blake. Afternoons are free for guests to chill and explore the location.
Where is it? At the luxury Dionysus Hotel in Turunc. It’s a rather quiet spot – off the beaten track and perfect for pondering your prose.
Why is it special? Unlike many writing courses, it isn’t intensive and there’s plenty of time to soak up the lovely surroundings each afternoon after classes – and there’s a gulet cruise thrown in, too.
Sample package: Exclusive Escapes offers the seven-day Write Away! course from £1,000 per person. Price includes half-board and return flights. (Tel: 020 8605 3600)
Anzac Day trip
What’s it about? This year will mark the 94th anniversary of the Second World War Gallipoli Campaign. The trip will offer clients the opportunity to be present for the Anzac Day commemoration in Gallipoli.
With dawn parades and moving tributes to the fallen soldiers of the campaign, this is a fascinating trip, not just for those with a military interest, but for anyone who wants to learn about how the world came to be as it is today.
Where is it? On the Gallipoli peninsula in northwest Turkey.
Why is it special? Most operators weave in a chance to see the major sights in Istanbul such as the Blue Mosque, Hippodrome, Topkapi Palace and the Hagia Sophia Museum. While you’re there, take in a Bosphorous cruise, too.
Sample product: Travelmood offers its Anzac five-day tour departing April 22 for £249 per person. The price does not include flights but does include accommodation at a three or four-star hotel on a bed-and-breakfast basis, transfers from the airport, tour guide, Bosphorous cruise and excursions, but not entrance fees. (Tel: 08700 660 004)
Adventure sports on the Lycian Coast
What’s it about? The abundance of canyons, mountains and river in the Lycian Coast area means there’s opportunity to do most extreme sports, from paragliding at 1,000 feet to rafting the rapids of the Dalaman River.
Clients will be offered the chance to do eight-hour treks through the bays and gorges of the southern coast, abseil down the Kibris Canyon, kayak to Kekova Island, scuba dive off the waters at Kas and mountain bike from the 1,200 foot high village of Sutlegen through remote villages, downhill all the way.
Where is it? Various locations along the Lycian coast.
Why’s it special? Clients get to appreciate and enjoy all the stunning scenery of the coast, but there’s no time to get bored on the beach. Adrenaline junkies will love it.
Sample product: Exodus offers its eight-day Lycian Activity Week from £739 per person departing June 22. Price includes flights from Gatwick and accommodation at three-star hotels The Kilim in Dalyan and Hotel Oreo in Kas on a bed-and-breakfast basis. (Tel: 020 8675 5550)
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