Family fun in the Turkish sun

If you are looking for an ideal place to buy a property for family holidays in the sun, Turkey ticks all the right boxes.

Knocking Spain off the top spot, the Mediterranean country was the UK's package destination of choice in 2008, according to figures from the Turkish Ministry of Tourism and Culture and the Association of British Travel Agents, with over 1 million British visitors, many of them families. So why is Turkey so popular and which are the best areas for families to buy their own a property in the sun?

The biggest draw for most sun-starved Brits is the country's sunshine and blue skies, with great weather guaranteed throughout the long summer.

"The conditions at Easter and the summer and winter half-term holidays are also good, and may actually be better for younger kids than the hottest months of July and August," says Dominic Whiting, editor of the Buying in Turkey guide.

The other vital holiday ingredient for kids, a sandy beach, can be found all along the Turkish Mediterranean coast with many long, sandy beaches that are gently sloping and perfect for hours of sand castle building and paddling.

For older kids there are plenty of activities to keep them busy. Water sports like windsurfing, sailing, water skiing and parasailing are available and tours can be arranged to the many historic sites and ruins that dot the Turkish coast.

Another important plus is how child-friendly Turkey is. Quite simply, Turks adore kids. Wherever you go expect the children to be doted on and spoilt. It is also an extremely safe country and crime-rates are very low compared to the UK.

"Crucially for families, Turkey is only a 3.5 hour flight from the UK so no long-haul nightmare getting there and back. There are plenty of budget flight options during the season from charter operators like Thompson and Thomas Cook and no-thrills airlines easyJet, who fly from Gatwick to Dalaman, and Flyglobespan, who operate from Scottish airports," comments Dominic Whiting, editor of the Buying in Turkey guide.

Many new developments in Turkey have been designed with families in mind and have great facilities such as large swimming pools and tennis courts to keep the kids entertained for hours. It is also likely they will find other English-speaking friends to play with, leaving the adults free to relax.

Checklist for the perfect family holiday home

  • Choose a property close to the beach & shops
  • Choose a development with good communal facilities
  • Choose an area with activities and entertainment locally
  • Select a resort where there are other English-speaking kids
  • Choose a property within 1 hour of the nearest airport

Top three areas to buy a family holiday home

Kusadasi
The Aegean resort of Kusadasi is very popular with families because there is so much to do. There are beaches and several large water parks, or for something more educational, the ruins of Roman Efesus are a great introduction to ancient history. Izmir airport is only 45 minutes away.

Dalaman
Dalaman has plenty to keep the family entertained including boat trips, nature tours, mud baths, white-water rafting trips and the gorgeous Blue Flag beach at Sarigerme, which is one of the few in Turkey with life guards. For the adults, an 18-hole golf course is opening in 2009 as part of the Hilton Dalaman Golf and Spa Resort. The international airport has plenty of flights from the UK and the kids can be playing in the pool within an hour of landing.

Side
The kids will love exploring the magical ruins of ancient Side and playing on the sand dunes. Access to the old town is on a tractor train in season making the resort feel like a huge historical theme park. The beaches are gently sloping and ideal for kids, or for some excitement there are white water rafting trips and horse riding in the Sorgum forest.