Turkey is a top choice for all kinds of kids, reports Katie McGonagle
If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it. Family holidays follow a familiar recipe for good reason: take a sandy beach and short haul flight, throw in hotels to suit all budgets and more activities than you can shake a stick at, and satisfaction is all but guaranteed. When you find a winning formula, why mess with it?
That’s why Turkey continues to rank as one of the UK’s most popular family destinations – and in an era of penny-pinching, its position outside the eurozone makes it even more attractive.
Like every good recipe, it needs a tweak here and there to suit individual tastes, so check out our round-up of breaks for different types of traveller.
BEST FOR... TINY TOTS
No one wants to hear a toddler in tears as they jet off, least of all their parents, so short flight times make the Turkish coast especially attractive for families with small children.
Akin Koc, managing director of Anatolian Sky Holidays, says: “Turkish people love children and are always willing to go the extra mile to ensure the whole family is welcome. It’s rare to find a restaurant without high chairs, and most are happy to be flexible in providing food for babies and small children.”
He highlights Olu Deniz for its safe, shallow waters and gently sloping beach; a week all-inclusive at Hotel Meri costs £2,299 during October half-term for two adults and a child, including flights.
Parents struggling to entertain children of different ages can try Lycian Explorer, an Explore escorted tour open to children over two, which combines a dash of culture in the ancient cities of Xanthos and Caunus, beach time in Dalyan and Kas, and a chance to see loggerhead turtles, try a mud bath and explore the sunken city of Kekova. August and September departures still have room, from £768 or £723 for children, including flights and seven nights’ accommodation.
BEST FOR... KIDS’ CLUBS
When youngsters want to have fun with new-found friends while parents just want peace, kids’ clubs are the easiest solution.
The all-inclusive Sensatori Turkey opened in Side this year, offering included sessions for three to 12-year-olds at The Play House – choose from arts and crafts, fun science experiments, evening movies and parties, all supervised by UK-accredited childminders – or at extra cost, sessions in the multi-sensory nursery for under-fours, which must be pre-booked in the UK. Seven nights costs £979 with Thomson, including flights from Gatwick on July 25.
Olympic Holidays also highlights Kefaluka Resort near Akyarlar Bay on the Bodrum peninsula. Four to 12-year-olds can play sport or try arts and crafts in the Mini Club, while teens love the Young Club’s PlayStations, board games and nightly disco. A week’s all-inclusive starts at £815 per adult and £309 per child in August, including flights and transfers.
BEST FOR... TWEENS AND TEENS
Direct Traveller suggests keeping pre-teens occupied with the varied activities at the Belvedere Hotel in Yalikavak: take a boat trip to the beach at Iztuzu, visit sulphur mud baths, try watersports in Göcek or give white-water rafting a go.
For a boutique alternative, luxury operator Exclusive Escapes recommends Piynar Villa Hotel at Turunç Bay, near Icmeler, which features 10 two-bedroom villas each with private pool and two with extra kids’ pools. During the school holidays, the property organises children’s theatre, beach barbecues, farm visits and fishing boat trips, plus a complimentary bus to the beach. A week costs £3,250 for four, including flights, bed-and-breakfast accommodation, transfers and a full-day cruise.
Teens can be sure to find friends their own age on The Adventure Company’s Active Turkey tour, open to those aged 12-plus. They stay in Kas, take a two-night gulet cruise along the Turquoise Coast, and can add kayaking to Kekova (£29) or mountain biking and scuba diving (£25). Prices start at £899, including flights, accommodation, most meals and activities, with availability in August.
BEST FOR... WATER BABIES
Splashing in the sun is a key component of any beach break, which is why Cosmos has chosen the Hotel Vogue in Torba as the latest addition to its increasingly popular ‘elite’ all-inclusive range. The property boasts a waterpark with 17 slides, said to be the biggest in Bodrum.
First Choice’s SplashWorld range will steer you towards resorts with waterparks on-site or nearby, such as Aqua Fantasy Aquapark Hotel & Spa in Kusadasi, with slides ranging from the daredevil Viper, Scream and X-Treme, to the lazy river, wave pool and two pools for younger children. A week flying from Gatwick on July 22 starts at £764 with transfers.
If they fancy swimming in a different spot each day, the Marti Myra in Tekirova has a seven-tiered swimming pool plus indoor and children’s pools, as well as an aquapark, kids’ club and watersports.
BEST FOR... SPORTS
Trying to tire out the kids? They’ll be spoilt for choice at Lykia World in Olu Deniz, where they can pick from 19 outdoor tennis courts, a small golf course with driving range and putting green, Padi dive centre and a wealth of watersports. Just Sunshine offers a week’s all-inclusive from £3,157 for two adults and a child, departing on August 5.
The four-star Club Hotel Letoonia in Fethiye also has a dazzling array of sports, from tennis and basketball to beach volleyball, badminton and archery. Olympic Holidays offers a week’s all-inclusive from £924 per adult or £364 per child including flights from Manchester.
Kids who want to brush up on their footballing prowess, learn to swim or take to the stage can head to First Choice Holiday Village Turkey, which has academies for each activity, as well as an aerial assault course and waterslides. Family rooms come with a sliding partition to separate adults and children, or there are kids’ dens with TV, bunk beds and PlayStation.
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