Holidays to Turkey have long been a favourite with the British. Now, thanks to the new James Bond film, two of the country’s most exciting destinations are in hotter demand than ever.
Your mission, should you choose to accept it, is to find a holiday destination with beautiful beaches, bags of culture and scenery that gives you goosebumps. The easy answer is Turkey – and that's before 007 dropped in. You’d have had to have had your head in the clouds for weeks to avoid the hype surrounding the launch of the 23rd Bond film. Skyfall, starring Daniel Craig, officially opens tomorrow and had its glamorous premier this week. Fans were wowed by the cast and special effects, but many were also left wanting to visit the film's amazing locations, three of which are in Turkey. We've known for years that this affordable destination, with its hot summers and great shopping, is a gem – and now its Bond credentials are making it even more desirable. There's a dramatic scene involving a railway bridge in Adana and the other two Turkish stops on Bond's mission make for wonderful holidays. Here’s our lowdown on Istanbul and Fethiye – the Turkish places everyone’s about to want a piece of. We've even picked out some gorgeous places to stay…
James Bond is no stranger to Istanbul, having visited the city in both From Russia with Love and The World is Not Enough. Rumour has it that it was Bond creator Ian Fleming’s favourite city – and we don’t blame him. Half in Asia and half in Europe, this is a real hotpot of a metropolis, where ancient and modern combine. Delve into fascinating history, marvel at amazing architecture and go shopping in twisty bazaars. Sail down the Bosporus, the canal that divides the two continents, for beautiful views of both sides. Istanbul is a city on the move; in the newer part of town, you’ll find a wealth of modern shops, bars, bright lights, loud music and restaurants. But most visitors to the city prefer to hang out in the Old City, which also happens to feature heavily in Skyfall. This is the part of town that feels ancient and exotic: think hanging carpets, calls to prayer and lots of nods to the Ottoman past. Must-see buildings here include The Blue Mosque, Hagia Sofia and Topkapi Palace. When it comes to city breaks, Istanbul is hard to beat. In Skyfall, there's a high speed motorcycle chase through the Grand Bazaar – packed with stalls and sights, it’s the one of the world's oldest and largest undercover markets and the perfect place to hone your haggling skills. If you want to follow in the footsteps of Bond, hunt down the Egyptian Bazaar, the Old Post Office and the New Mosque; all of them are stars of Skyfall.
Budget: Spend three nights at the 3* Olimpiyat Hotel in the Old City of Istanbul from £154*, including flights. Click here for more information.
Luxe: Three nights at the award-winning, boutique Sultania Hotel in the Old City (left) from £249*, including flights. Click here for more information.
Every good Bond film needs a beach scene – and the one in Skyfall was filmed at Calis Beach, on the outskirts of Fethiye. If spoilers are to be believed, this is where Bond finds himself when he is at one of his lowest points. The film location managers needed to find a beach that was beautiful and remote and Calis ticked the boxes. Whilst many of the coastal resorts that have made Turkey a holiday haven are large and lively, Calis Beach is quiet and sophisticated. It’s in an area called the Turquoise Coast (guess why) in the Mulga Province. This is a pristine strip of pebble and shingle, lapped by clear waters. The seafront's lined with restaurants (look out for just-caught seafood) and affordable guesthouses. Don't miss the chance to sip a cool drink (which could be stirred or shaken) in front of the famous Calis' sunset. Central Fethiye is a bit of a warren, with a mosque and bazaar to go with your beach. Whilst it’s not quite on the scale as Istanbul’s Grand Bazaar, it’s easy to get lost inside and feel like you’re in authentic Turkey (although there are plenty of stalls selling souvenirs and fake designer goods, as well as crafts and carpets.) All in all, holidays to Fethiye are relaxed and laid-back. Fancy your very own ‘Skyfall’? Hop on the the dolmus to nearby Olu Deniz: the most photographed beach in Turkey, it's famous for its 'Blue Lagoon', cut off from the rest of the bay by a spit of sand. Take a paragliding leap from Mount Babadag, the pine-clad peak that looms over the resort – the views are said to be breathtaking.
Budget: Seven nights half board at the popular 3* Rebin Beach Hotel in the Calis Beach area of Fethiye, from £317* per person. Click here for more information:
Luxe: Stay seven nights at the modern Tiryaki Boutique Hotel, just 400 metres from Calis Beach (and pictured left), from £410* per person, bed and breakfast. Click here to find out more.
All prices are based on two adults sharing, from selected airports on example dates. Other airports, durations and dates are avaiable. For a quote to suit you, or for more information on our holidays to Turkey, click here, or call 0800 408 4130. Prices correct at time of publication, but subject to availability and change.