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Pocket Guide to Turkey

A veritable crossroad of cultures, Turkey is a place where East meets West, history meets modernity and theatrical architecture meets breathtaking natural beauty. Fascinatingly diverse and bordered by eight countries, this magical destination was once a stopover along the Silk Road and is home to Roman architecture, Byzantine art, and Ottoman palaces. From the vibrant, mystical bazaars and beautiful mosques of Istanbul to the idyllic coastline of Bodrum, prepared to be readily amazed both historically and culturally on luxury holidays to Turkey.

From Aegean olive groves to the eastern steppe, the country’s distinct vistas provide a beautiful setting for its many impressive ruins. Turkey’s most spellbinding scenery is found in Central Anatolia, where Cappadocia’s other-worldly ‘fairy chimney’ rock formations and undulating valleys dominate the landscape.

At OROKO, we believe that you can enjoy luxury holidays in Turkey at an incredible value. Over the years spent exploring the country, we have built up our little black book of the best luxury service providers and expert guides. Our in-depth knowledge and long-standing relationships with local providers ensure that we can create the holiday of your dreams. This pocket guide is just a sneak preview, so head over to our dedicated Turkey page where you will find itineraries for all of our bespoke luxury holidays to Turkey.


Historically known as Constantinople and Byzantium, and formally the capital of the Ottoman Empire, Istanbul is one of the world’s most ancient cities. Bisected by the grand Bosphorous Strait, it is also the only city in the world to be situated on two continents. A captivating mix of Roman, Byzantine and Ottoman influences, traces of its storied history are visible throughout the city. Wandering its narrow, cobbled streets, stumble across the minaret-studded Blue Mosque, Hagia Sophia and its intricate mosaics, the magnificent 6th-century Basilica Cistern and the majestic Topkapi Palace with its maze of elaborately tiled rooms.

Be sure to take in the iconic Grand Bazaar. Comprising sixty-one covered streets and over four thousand shops, the colourful and chaotic market, located in the heart of Istanbul’s Old City, is one of the largest and oldest of its kind in the world. Selling everything from carpets and ceramics to jewellery, spices, and antiques, you are guaranteed to find plenty of treasures there.

As the gateway between East and West, the city’s cuisine is as diverse as its heritage. From street vendors to authentic restaurants and Michelin-starred eateries, foodies can savour aromatic Asian dishes, Italian classics, succulent kebabs, and flavoursome mezzes all washed down with the national drink, raki (aniseed brandy), or a glass or two of locally produced wine. For dessert, enjoy fragrant Turkish delight and flaky baklava.


Rising above the Anatolian Plains of central Turkey, dreamlike Cappadocia is a topographical wonderland and Turkey’s most visually striking region. World-renowned for its distinctive ‘fairy chimneys’ and enchanting hidden cave dwellings, the ethereal landscape is best viewed from a hot air balloon. With UNESCO World Heritage Sites, historic churches, and fascinating monasteries, all carved into the soft rock faces, this ancient world is truly captivating.

An essential stop on your Cappadocian itinerary is the fresco-adorned rock-cut churches, chapels, and monasteries of Göreme Open Air Museum. The UNESCO site’s highlight is the spectacular, fully restored Dark Church, famed for the vivid colour and exquisite preservation of its frescoes. Other unmissable sites include the underground cities of Kaymakli and Derinkuyu, both of which comprise a maze of tunnels and rooms carved several levels deep into the earth. If enticed to the region by its hiking potential, explore the trails that loop around Güllüdere Vadisi (Rose Valley), which provide some of the finest fairy-chimney-strewn vistas in Cappadocia. For the best views of the fang-like rock cones and wavy cliff ridges of Kizilçukur (Red) Valley, continue in a circular loop from Güllüdere Vadisi (Rose Valley) to Kizilçukur Viewpoint. Conclude your visit with a stay in one of the region’s famous cave hotels for a truly unforgettable experience.


In stark contrast to historic Istanbul and Cappadocia, Kusadasi is a sun-soaked beach resort located on Turkey’s west coast. Once a tiny fishing village, over the years it has transformed into a popular holiday destination, offering visitors sun, sea, and solace as well as a lively nightlife. As the coastal gateway to the ancient Greek city of Ephesus, it is also Turkey’s busiest cruise port. Despite its transformation, Kusadasi holidays still have a traditional feel. Immerse yourself in the authentic atmosphere as you wander through the cobbled streets of the Old Town, visiting Kusadasi Castle and the Kaleiçi Camii Mosque, before haggling for some bargains at the bazaar.

With eight beaches to choose from, Kusadasi is the perfect luxury holiday destination for those who just want to fly and flop. The golden sands of Ladies Beach and Long Beach are ideal for water sports including windsurfing, canoeing, snorkelling, and jet-skiing whilst Kustur Beach and Gold Beach are quieter and less busy.

After dark, the town comes to life, with vibrant bars and clubs setting an upbeat pace. Enjoy the atmosphere of the pubs, sing to your heart’s content in one of the karaoke bars and then dance the night away in one of the waterfront nightclubs. If you’re looking for something a little quieter, opt for one of the beachside bars or traditional tavernas in the Kale district.


The jewel of the Turkish Riviera, Bodrum is blessed with lush, emerald-green landscapes, dazzling blue coastlines and an array of excellently preserved monuments. Watched over by the turrets of St. Peter’s Castle, this stylish, cosmopolitan town of sugar-cube houses has an enigmatic elegance that pervades it, from the Mausoleum at Halicarnassus (one of the Seven Wonders of the Ancient World) and Bodrum Amphitheatre to the glittering marina, flower-filled cafes, and white-plastered backstreets. Whether marvelling at the 7th-century Byzantine shipwreck at the Museum of Underwater Archaeology, sunbathing by the shallow waters of Bitez Bay or enjoying the lively nightlife, Bodrum has something to suit all tastes.

On a luxury holiday to Bodrum, experience barefoot luxury at Six Senses Kaplankaya. Overlooking the glittering waters of the Aegean, the stunning resort caters to both families and couples, and is the perfect base from which to explore the region’s impressive archaeological sites and magnificent coastline. Offering an extensive range of activities from water sports and boat cruises to tennis and cooking classes as well as hiking and biking excursions, the hotel is suitable for all ages. With three private beaches and three swimming pools, a luxurious spa and a state-of-the-art fitness centre, there’s also plenty of opportunity for relaxation and rejuvenation.


Blending Roman, Jewish, and early Christian influences, the ancient city of Hierapolis is a must-visit on luxury holidays to Turkey. Established as a curative centre in the 2nd-century BC, it flourished under both the Romans and Byzantines, when most of the population comprised large Jewish and Christian communities. Recurrent earthquakes brought disaster and the city was finally abandoned after AD 1334. Located atop Pamukkale’s tourist-magnet travertines, it is quite spectacular. The city’s highlight is its 12,000 seat Roman amphitheatre which offers visitors breathtaking views of the gleaming white calcite terraces of Pamukkale.


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