Turkish delights: A taste of heaven in a holiday village
You probably have never heard of Sarigerme and (like me until a few months ago) wouldn’t have a clue where this small resort can be found.
But trust me, it is somewhere worth checking out for a future holiday. This town on the southwest coast of Turkey offers great weather, incredible food and enriching cultural experiences.
With (almost) guaranteed sunshine it is little wonder that figures show Northern Irish travellers are choosing Turkey as one of their favourite family holiday destinations — direct flights from Belfast International Airport to Turkey are up an impressive 30 per cent year on year.
Staying in a family suite at the fantastic Holiday Village Turkey in Sarigerme, I was among the many who travelled there this summer with Falcon Holidays to escape our not so wonderful wet weather.
The all-inclusive coastal resort’s location is perfect as it is less than a half-hour’s drive from Dalaman airport (a four and a half hour flight from Belfast). If you catch a morning flight you can, like me, be chilling by the pool in your resort that same afternoon.
They may call it a village but the beachfront complex is huge. The Holiday Village concept is great as it manages to cater for all ages and tastes in one resort. In the Sarigerme centre there are 10 pools, waterslides, a bowling alley, amusement arcade, mini-golf, tennis, shopping centre, spa, a pancake house which is a kids’ favourite, and a wide variety of bars and restaurants.
The Holiday Village’s spa is fantastic — both in terms of the treatments delivered and the price. You can get a full professional Turkish massage for as little as £30.
If you’re worrying about the kids when you are in the spa don’t — you can sign them up with one of the kids’ clubs or with the swim, football or stage academies on site.
Food-wise there is a great selection. As well as a main a la carte buffet restaurant, which opens for breakfast, dinner and midnight snacks, there are a number of al carte restaurants, which must be pre-booked, and snack and pool bars.
The main restaurant offers a variety of cereals and cooked breakfast items, including omelettes, bacon etc. For dinner it has the usual all-inclusive fare of chips, burgers, nuggets and spag bol but also had a rotating range of Chinese, Indian and Italian dishes and roast dinners. An extensive salad bar is also provided. One of our favourite evening meals was when they had a steak night with perfectly cooked meat, with sides of chips, veg and pepper sauce.
Most afternoons we hea-ded to the ‘chill out’ snack bar which serves toasties and chips or the poolside bar which offers a lunchtime buffet. For my two children their favourites were the pancake house and, of course, the ice-cream hut. The pancake house does what it says on the tin, with a local lady making sweet Turkish pancakes. The lengths of the queue are a clear sign of its popularity.
The a la carte restaurants also cater for a selection of tastes, individually dedicated to Asian, Italian and Turkish cuisine. Our favourite was the Italian.
If you want to get out and about to work off all those extra calories there are plenty of activities to do in the area with a wide variety of watersports available on the resort’s beach such as paragliding, jet-skiing, banana boats and snorkelling.
You also have a wide range of tours leaving from the hotel to choose from. They include a 12-island boat trip showcasing the islands of postcard-pretty Gocek Bay or a visit to the mineral-rich Dalyan mudbaths, where you can cover yourself in mud from top to toe to relieve rheumatism and skin ailments. Another excursion worth sticking on your to-do list is a turtle watching excursion on Iztuzu Beach, known as Turtle Beach as it is home to rare logger head turtles, who lay their eggs in the sand and where a rescue centre has been built to care for them.
For culture vultures it’s well worth your while booking yourself on a trip to Ephesus, one of the seven wonders of
the ancient world. This wonderfully-preserved archaeological site takes in the Temple of Hadrian, baths, the city’s brothel, the Library of Celsus and the theatre where 25,000 citizens once gathered to watch gladiator fights.
If you prefer shopping there are plenty of bargains to be had in the main street of the small town Sarigerme, which is a 20 minute walk from the Holiday Village or a taxi fare costing 15 lira (£3.26). There are is also a Wednesday market in the village worth visiting but if you prefer an even bigger selection of shops there are bus tours into the busy port town of Marmaris or to the large Fethiye market.
Do remember though that the majority of designer clothes, shoes, handbags, watches, sunglasses and many other items on sale in shops and markets in Turkey are all counterfeit, albeit some of them very good copies. (The value of the counterfeit business in Turkey is estimated to be worth £7billion)
Sarigerme is so small you can walk the main street of shops, bars and restaurants in a matter of minutes. The locals are some of the nicest people you will meet and you do not get much hassle from shopkeepers forcing goods on you. In fact they will bring you drinks while you look around their shops. Be prepared to barter - they expect it and you can negotiate the price down by a hefty sum as my wife discovered!
If you want a big night out and nightclubs or livelier bars is your thing you would be best travelling to Marmaris which is 90 minutes away.
But if you’re like me and just want to escape from all that hustle and bustle then I think you will find the Holiday Village in Sarigerme is perfect.
- Currency: Turkish Lira (TL) £1 = 4.6TL
- Time Zone: GMT+2 hrs
- Flight time: 4h 30mins
- Visa: British and Irish citizens need a visa to travel to Turkey. You can apply for a visa online at www.evisa.gov.tr
- We travelled from Belfast to Dalaman with Falcon Holidays (www.falconholidays.co.uk). Falcon as well as First Choice (www.firstchoice.co.uk) and Thomson (www.thomson.co.uk) all offer packages to the Holiday Village, other resorts in Turkey and other Holiday Villages across Europe.
- Holiday Villages boast a Falcon Kids Clubs to cater for children of all ages, from tiny tots to teenagers. For the really little ones there’s Twinkle Stars Crèche where you can leave the kids in the hands of highly-trained staff for the day. For kids aged 3 - 11 there’s a range of different clubs; Little Stars, Super Stars and Mega Stars, which offer sports, quizzes and lots of team games. There is also a strictly over 12’s club.
- Holiday Villages also feature a popular Swim Academy (Ages 3-16), Football Academy (Ages 5-15) and Stage
- Academy (Ages 5-15) and they are all available to book in advance.
- Summer 2015 prices: Falcon: August 31 2015, Belfast to Turkey (Dalaman), Holiday Village Turkey,5*, Sarigerme, All Inclusive, 7 Nights, 2 adults and one free child place, £1,585.
- Thomson: August 31 2015, Belfast to Turkey (Dalaman), Taner Hotel, 2*+, Olu Deniz, 2*+, B&B, 7 Nights, £290pp
- Summer 2016 – First Choice : May 28, Belfast to Turkey (Dalaman), Holiday Village Turkey, 5*, Sarigerme, All Inclusive, 7 nights, 2 adults and one free child place, £1,714.50. Thomson: May 21, Belfast to Turkey (Dalaman), Case De Maris ,4*, Marmaris, All Inclusive, 7 Nights, £540pp.