Turkey: where to go as a first-timer

Turkey is one of the most multi-faceted destinations on the planet – but where do you begin when you plan your first trip? As an introduction to the country, Istanbul, Antalya and Bodrum offer excellent entry points.

By Rixos Hotels
Published 3 Mar 2020, 15:00 GMT, Updated 30 Dec 2021, 16:08 GMT
Stand up paddleboarding is a popular pastime in the Mediterranean off the coast of Turkey.
Stand up paddleboarding is an increasingly popular pastime in the Mediterranean off the coast of Turkey.
Photograph by Rixos

Located at the historic crossroads between east and west, Turkey has long held a romantic sway over travellers. Minarets poking at the sky, bazaars sprawling across city squares, tables heaving with kebabs, impossibly blue water lapping at white sand: these are all images synonymous with the destination. With such a breadth of attractions on offer, the prospect of visiting Turkey for the first time can be daunting. Here is a focus on three destinations, each offering a unique experience of the country.

Rixos Downtown Antalya is located in the heart of the Turkish resort city, a short distance away from the yacht-filled Old Harbor.
Photograph by Rixos

1. Antalya

The gateway to the Turkish Riviera, the province of Antalya is home to Turkey’s premier seaside resort attractions and, on the western Mediterranean coastline, the city of Antalya. The latter features beautiful Ottoman architecture — the most striking of which is to be found in Kaleiçi, the historic city centre. It’s the region’s natural beauty that wins all the plaudits, sitting as it does between the Taurus Mountains to the north and the Mediterranean to the south. The beaches are some of the best in the world, too, and visitors can expect azure waters and Technicolor sunsets. Antalya is also a diving hotspot, home to dozens of world-class spots, including the Paris Wreck — the sunken remains of a freighter that’s now home to stunning marine life.

Where to stay:

Visitors to Antalya Province are spoilt for choice with a number of exceptional Rixos properties to stay at. These include Rixos Premium Belek, Rixos Downtown Antalya, Rixos Beldibi Hotel, Rixos Sungate, Rixos Premium Tekirova.

Rixos Premium Bodrum is ideally located on the Turkish Riviera, also known as the Turquoise Coast.
Photograph by Rixos

2. Bodrum

Perched on Turkey’s southwestern, the resort town of Bodrum is the perfect base from which to explore the kaleidoscopic splendour of the Bodrum Peninsula. It’s surrounded by crystal-clear azure waters and dotted with quiet coves perfect for swimming or kayaking. The town centre retains vestiges of its mingled Greek and Ottoman heritage in the traditional marketplaces and ancient sites such as Bodrum Castle. It also offers a number of high-end restaurants and bars in which to unwind after a day’s exploring.

Where to stay: Rixos Premium Bodrum is located just 10km from central Bodrum and offers 308 rooms, suites and villas. It has access to a 200m-long beach, as well as offering premium spa facilities and fitness activities. Foodies will be able to enjoy a vareity of cuisines from three on-site restaurants.

Pera, the district where Rixos Pera Istanbul is located, is in the heart of the city and is home to a number of galleries and museums, including the famous Istanbul Modern.
Photograph by Rixos

3. Istanbul

The fabled meeting place of East and West, Istanbul has long held sway over the popular imagination. Its melting pot of cultural and historical influences include Greek and Roman vestiges, along with Byzantine and Ottoman flourishes. This melange is on full display in the city’s stunning architecture, from the ornate mosques and dazzling palaces to the bustling marketplaces and public squares. This blend of influences is also borne out in the city’s incredible food offerings, which run the gamut from innovative modern restaurants to traditional places selling authentic kebabs and meze platters. Add to that a vibrant nightlife scene of bars and nightclubs, and Istanbul provides every reason for a visit.

Where to stay:

Rixos Pera Istanbul is located in the vibrant Pera district in the heart of the city. It offers 95 rooms and 21 suites, as well as six restaurants and bars. Guests on business can also enjoy access to world-class conference facilities.


Established in 2000, Rixos Hotels offers five-star luxury accommodation across 25 hotels, 17 of which are operated as waterfront resorts. The hotel chain manages more than 9,000 rooms located in seven different countries and employs around 10,000 employees.


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