no alt text

Bucket list experience:

Last updated: 26 November, 2022
Expert travel writer: Annabelle Thorpe

Locally grown vegetables, especially the all-star aubergine, are the basis for meze starters; yoghurt and pastry boreks also feature prominently. Lamb and chicken staples, plus more expensive fish dishes, are served with beer and Turkey’s fast-improving wines.

Desserts are sweet and sticky with honey, rosewater and ground nuts – usually sandwiched in between layers of filo pastry to create baklava.

What to try

Turks, with a nod to their nomadic roots, excel at savoury pancakes or gozleme cooked over an open wood fire; they are best accompanied by ayran, a salty yoghurt drink. Pide – the Turkish take on pizza – is another must-try.

No visit to Turkey is complete without a meal accompanied by raki – an aniseed-flavoured spirit, which turns milky when mixed with water.

Also see our round-up of traditional foods you must try in Turkey.

The dining scene

More often than not meals are eaten in outdoor settings, sitting cross-legged at low tables on cushion-strewn wooden platforms, though conventional chairs are common in urban areas.

Some of the best and freshest seasonal country produce is sold along the roads. Look out for honey, vegetables, and oranges picked straight from the groves for on-the-spot juicing.

Be sure to stop by an atmospheric kuruyemis, or dried-goods store – an Aladdin’s cave of spices, pulses, nuts and dried fruit.

Price: Free
Minimum age: Any
Age suitable: 13+
When: All year around
Duration: -

Getting there & doing it

Foodies swear by the small resort of Akyaka, famed for its riverside fish restaurants, and Kalkan, where dozens of rooftops have been converted into stylish restaurants.

Bodrum’s chic western waterfront, Neyzen Tevfik Caddesi, is home to the city’s best restaurants. Nearby Turkbuku – Turkey’s St-Tropez – is awash with trendy bars and beach brasseries.

When to do it

Turks believe in breakfast, whether a quick simit pogaca – a breakfast bun, filled with feta, olives and herbs – or menemen – eggs cooked with tomatoes and peppers.

Dinner is usually taken later in the evening – rarely before 8.30. Most people eating in restaurants before this time will be tourists.

Our writer’s picks of the best places to stay near this experience, closest first

Nisanyan Hotel

Sirince, Aegean Region, Turkey

A unique and beautiful hotel, rich in character and in a memorable hilltop setting, which also offers a perfect base for visitors to nearby Ephesus.

Official star rating:

4Reasons Hotel

Bodrum, Aegean Region, Turkey

A convivial, stylish boutique hotel in quiet setting, with outstanding food. Conveniently located for Bodrum, and nearby attractions.

Official star rating:

Kempinski Barbaros Bay

Bodrum, Aegean Region, Turkey

The region’s stand-out luxury resort hotel, set in its own secluded bay. For those in need of serious pampering who also wish to be within reach of Bodrum’s city vibe.

Official star rating:

Macakizi Hotel

Golturkbuku, Aegean Region, Turkey

Bohemian-chic hotel and beach club, with excellent food, at heart of Turkey’s stand-out summer playground.

Official star rating:

Destination guides including or relevant to this experience

Bodrum

Aegean Region, Turkey

A vibrant resort area with the buzzy town of Bodrum at its heart, and picturesque smaller resorts and villages strung out along the adjoining peninsula.

Website >
Overview >

Turquoise Coast

Turquoise Coast, Turkey

Turkey’s beautiful Turquoise Coast offers an unbeatable mix of mountain-backed beaches, classical ruins and adventure activities, with superb food and delightful owner-run hotels.

Website >
Overview >