Head to Turkey’s Dalaman coast for the best in family holidays and unbeatable prices – The Sun01/11/2020
AS we prepare to quit the European Union, it makes sense to explore a country outside the Eurozone.
We had long heard good things about Turkey but only just found out for ourselves what a great destination it is for a family holiday.
It has everything: Golden beaches, friendly people, hot weather, excellent food and unbeatable prices.
Best of all, it has endless glasses of Efes, which is right up there with my favourite holiday lagers.
We stayed at First Choice’s Holiday Village Turkey on the Dalaman coast, where Efes is on draught at the ten or so bars.
Always cold and never more than 30 seconds away . . . just how I like my beer.
That alone would have made the trip worthwhile.
But throw in seven pools, endless activities for the kids, a long, sandy beach, delicious buffets and professional entertainment and it is safe to say we were very happy campers indeed.
My wife and I went for an all-inclusive week with our boys Fynn, nine, and seven-year-old Mack.
They could have spent all day, every day, rotating between the pancake house, water slides and ice cream hut.
But there is so much else for kids to do, including clubs galore, a football pitch, adventure park, trampolines, bowling alley and water sports. Parents have nothing to worry about because everything is catered for and you can properly switch off.
The food was a real surprise. Alongside the usual buffet offerings there was a very impressive variety of seafood.
Most days I gorged on fresh sea bass, which Turkey farms on a huge scale, and bread baked at the hotel.
The kids always found something they liked while the puddings were frequently showstoppers — with an incredible range of 20 or even 30 to choose from.
It is a huge operation to keep all this food (and Efes) flowing and the managers run the place with military precision.
Staff were extremely friendly and more than happy to help.
Now, it wouldn’t be a Brit’s holiday if there weren’t some great entertainers and Holiday Village Turkey had a team of them.
During the day they lead dance classes, quizzes and games around the pools.
Then, at night, the fun moves to the hotel’s very own amphitheatre. The kids crowd the front of the stage and parents fill the seats, usually with a few cocktails (from the very impressive selection).
It is all classic British slapstick and they do pantomimes, plays and other shows to an excellent standard.
With the help of a few Vodka Sunrises, the adults were soon laughing as much as the kids.
There is everything you could need on site — even a parade of shops selling replica handbags and knock-off sports kits.
But the hotel also runs a number of excursions.
We went on a turtle-watching boat trip and were blown away by the area’s sheer beauty.
The trip took us up the Dalyan river, past ancient tombs to the most beautiful lake you can imagine.
We saw just the one turtle but the bird life among the reeds was breathtaking. When you are there, it is easy to see why the area was such a favourite with Alexander the Great.
You can stop at the famous mud baths along the river, which for thousands of years have promised bathers there eternal youth.
That makes sense when you discover Sting has visited . . .
We also visited Turtle Beach, set amid miles of unspoilt Aegean coastline, and saw a sanctuary where they nurse injured turtles back to health.
The beach cafe was friendly and reasonably priced, and we could easily have spent another week hanging out there.
At our hotel, we had an immaculate, modern, apartment-style suite which overlooked one of the quieter pools. The room had it all: Two TVs, a fridge, big bathroom, balcony and plenty of space for four.
We flew from Stansted to Dalaman Airport and from there it is a 20-minute transfer to the hotel.
We all had so much fun, especially the boys, we are already planning our next trip to Turkey this summer.
GETTING/STAYING THERE: Seven nights’ all-inclusive at the 4H Holiday Village Turkey is from £632pp based on two adults and two children sharing and including flights from Gatwick on June 7, 2020, and transfers. See firstchoice.co.uk.
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