With beautiful beaches and fascinating history, Turkey is renowned for its relaxing holidays in the sun and cultural city breaks. However, the country’s diverse landscape from mountains and plains to rivers and coastlines often remains under the radar despite it being the perfect setting for a variety of outdoor sports. Read our guide to find out why Turkey is the ideal location for an action-packed getaway.
Trekking enthusiasts are spoilt for choice in Turkey, with a wide range of long distance walking trails to choose from. Top of the list, at 540 kilometres, is the mountainous Lycian Way running parallel with the Mediterranean coast from Fethiye to Antalya. Also starting in the southwest, but heading inland, is the wilder 500-kilometre long St Paul Trail. Meanwhile, in central Turkey, the fascinating Cappadocian landscape offers shorter routes and serious climbers will enjoy conquering the Kaçkar mountain range, rising above the Black Sea in the east.
Over the past decade, Turkey has risen to become one of the most popular golfing destinations in Europe thanks to its combination of spectacular championship golf courses and five-star resorts. Head to Belek on the Mediterranean coastline for courses designed by famous golf names such as David Feherty, Nick Faldo and Colin Montgomerie.
Located in central Anatolia, Cappadocia translates as ‘land of the beautiful horses’, so it’s fitting to explore this unique landscape on horseback. The region is home to wondrous rock formations, flat-topped mountains and lush valleys as well as plenty of ranches offering riding tours. The southwest coastal resorts of Antalya, Marmaris and Fethiye also run a variety of horse riding holidays and short day treks.
Renowned for its sunny climate, Turkey isn’t often considered as a snow sports destination. Yet, the country’s naturally high terrain, forested peaks and mountain ranges offer optimal conditions for skiing and snowboarding. Modern resorts can be found across the country and include Uludag, Turkey’s most established resort situated conveniently close to Istanbul in the northwest, and Palandoken in the eastern province of Erzurum, home to the longest and steepest runs.
With 8,000 kilometres of coastline, Turkey is a paradisiacal playground for lovers of water sports. Sandy bays and beaches, hidden coves, calm waters and windy shorelines can cater for a whole host of water-based activities from swimming, snorkeling and kayaking to windsurfing, water-skiing and sailing. Inland, canoeing and kayaking can also be undertaken on waterways such as the Coruh and Xanthos River, and it’s possible to sail down the Rhine and Danube Rivers of the European interior into the Black Sea and the Bosphorus strait.
Scuba divers will also be at home in Turkey’s crystal clear, warm waters. With a visibility of up to 30 metres, the Mediterranean and Aegean Sea offer the best sites for both learner and experienced divers. As well as a huge variety of marine life to spot, there are also reefs, shipwrecks and World War One wrecks at Canakkale on the southern bank of the Dardanelles strait in northeastern Turkey.