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SUMMER TRAVEL IN TURKEY

summer1For most people Turkey is somewhere to be visited in summer when it holds out the promise of guaranteed sun to those from the frozen north. That's certainly true along the Aegean and Mediterranean coasts and, to some extent inland as well, although there summer is slow to get into its stride and evenings can be cool right into June.

The period to be aware of is mid-June to mid-September. This is when Turkish schools are closed and families are on the move all over the country, filling the buses and sometimes the accommodation too (although many better-off Turks keep summer homes of their own which eases the pressure on the hotels).

Some resorts such as Bodrum and Alacatı that are popular with Turks become almost impossibly busy because their narrow streets were never intended to cope with such crowds. At other times resorts such as Göltürkbükü virtually close down.

The good news is that this is also the period when everything is open and/or working. For example, some of the ferries to the Greek islands only operate during the school holidays. This is when the beach clubs at places like Alacatı, near İzmir, and Kilyos, near İstanbul, get into their stride. It's also when some popular İstanbul clubs and restaurants relocate to the seaside. 

This is also when Turkey is at its hottest - and that can mean extremely hot in Central and Southeastern Anatolia as well as on the Mediterranean where humidity (particularly bad around Antalya and Adana) makes the intense heat harder to bear. Unless you have to stick with summer, you're better advised to travel in spring or autumn when temperatures are more comfortable.

Out in the southeast part of the country temperatures sometimes rise as high as 50 degrees Celsuis. Not surprisingly many of the locals in towns such as Mardin, Midyat and Şanlıurfa take to the roofs of their houses at night to sleep on tahts (thrones) of wood or, more usually these days, metal.

The one part of the country that remains cool even in summer is the Black Sea, especially if you head up into the Kaçkar Mountains at the far eastern end. That's also when you have the best chance of avoiding the Black Sea's regular rainfall making it the perfect time to head that way. 

Inevitably prices are at their highest in summer when a seller's market leaves you with less leeway to bargain for a discount. Summer weekends are especially bad in places such as Safranbolu and Assos that are within easy reach of weekending İstanbullus. Travel mid-week to have a better chance of finding a room at a price you can afford. 

Surprisingly, İstanbul can be a little easier to get round in summer when many locals leave town. However, the traffic adds to the heat and humidity can be a problem here too. Expect crowds at popular sights such as Topkapı Palace and Hagia Sophia to be unbearable (ditto Ephesus on the Aegean coast) - do yourself a favour and pay for your tickets online (https://www.muze.gov.tr/buy_e_ticket) in advance to safe time standing in llne. 

The wildflowers may have dried up but this is Turkey's fruit season when figs ripen in the villages and streets fill with barrows full of rich red cherries, bright yellow plums and football-sized water melons. Oranges plummet in price and freshly squeezed orange juice becomes a breakfast treat everyone can afford.summer2

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