Now that the peak season is almost behind us and the summer crowds seem to be dispersing, travelers are turning their focus to fall destinations.
Sunny vacations are still a priority, but where should they go when the weather begins cooling?
Believe it or not, East is the answer: this inspiring country is one of the top fall hotspots, as well as one of the cheapest, standing out in an increasingly-Euroized Europe as a budget destination due to its low cost of living and attractive prices.
This season, there’s no place we’d rather be than Turkiye:
Why Is Everyone So Obsessed With Turkiye Right Now?
Formerly spelled Turkey, Turkiye is a transcontinental nation mostly located in Asia, though 3.4% of its land area is part of Europe. Known as the gateway to the Middle East, it has been a source of fascination for centuries, but it’s truly reaching a new peak of popularity now.
Istanbul, the country’s largest city, marks the natural boundary between both continents, sitting on both sides of the legendary Bosphorus Strait.
The minaret-dotted skyline, the lively bazaars, and the European side’s rich Byzantine heritage make it Turkiye’s most easily-recognized postcard.
We have written a detailed 3-day Istanbul itinerary already, which you can check out here, but we should perhaps stress again it is one of the world’s most exciting city breaks.
From ancient, UNESCO-listed monuments to modern districts, you will find the best of both worlds here.
A Diverse Tourist Offer
Though Istanbul is the most famous destination in Turkiye, its strength in fact lies in its diverse offer. Beyond the Bosphorus and its adjacent megacity lies an entire peninsula blessed with verdant areas, unique geological formations, towering peaks, and pristine coastlines.
Whether it’s the arid landscape and cave towns of Cappadocia, or the scenic Aegean drive, you will be mesmerized by Turkiye’s sheer natural beauty.
This fall, the resort city of Izmir is the ideal place to be.
The country’s largest Aegean city, it has an enviable portfolio of luxury all-inclusive resorts lining the turquoise seafront, with many nightly rates that are far cheaper compared to Barcelona, Nice, and other European cities in its league.
An overnight at the Ibis Izmir Alsancak will set you back by $109 only this fall, while a shared room in a youth hostel in Barcelona can cost as much as $83. Nearly the same price range, but far less comfort.
Turkiye Is Hot This Fall
In case you have forgotten, Turkiye is a Mediterranean country, and Izmir itself boasts long hours of sunshine and hotter temperatures well into autumn, with highs of 84.2 degrees (F) in September and lows of 68.
It stays relatively warm as late as early November, when temperatures average 75.2 degrees during the day, before cooling off in the evenings for a pleasant 60 degrees.
Further down the Mediterranean coast, other popular resort spots include the smaller cities of Bodrum and Marmaris, where tourists can both bask under the scorching sun and marvel at Hellenic ruins that rival Greece’s in beauty.
On the Eastern Mediterranean, Antalya is an absolute leader in holiday bookings, as well as Turkiye’s busiest beach destination, having hosted over 4 million tourists between January 1 and June 10 of this year, according to the Provincial Directorate of Culture and Tourism.
Antalya is best known for its upscale beachfront hotels and walled Old Town, where several of Turkiye’s most famous Roman-era landmarks are concentrated, including the iconic Hadrian’s Gate and beautiful municipal beaches.
It is Turkiye’s hottest beach destination this fall, with temperatures soaring above 84 degrees and with waters that are warm enough for swimming, which may not be the case on the Northern Aegean later in the year.
Turkiye Is Incredibly Cheap
Other than its beautiful weather, Turkiye is incredibly cheap by Western standards.
This year, Bodrum has ranked as the third cheapest summer destination in all of Eurasia, with meals in non-expensive restaurants averaging a nearly negligible $5, and hotel rates standing at $88.
According to Numbeo, restaurant prices in Antalya are up to 62.2% cheaper than Barcelona, while consumer prices can be 61.7% lower than Nice’s.
This means you should expect to pay, on average, $5.08 for a meal at a cheap eatery in the trendy Konyaalti district of Antalya, and only $22.16 for a three-course meal in a mid-range restaurant. For comparison, a cheap meal in Nice costs roughly $20.74.
It’s no surprise holiday bookings for Turkiye are skyrocketing, as reported by British travel company On the Beach.
Britain is one of Turkiye’s most valuable markets, up there with Germany and the United States, and as many as 1.2 million seats on flights originating from the U.K. have been added this year.
In July alone, as many as 73,000 British holidaymakers flew to Turkiye, with Antalya consistently ranking as the most popular coastal destination for On the Beach customers.
Southern Spain and France’s Cote d’Azur may be Europe’s most sought-after fall destinations, as they are both Mediterranean regions enjoying long, hot summers, and balmy autumns, but despite their undeniable charm, they don’t stand a chance against Turkiye – especially now that new nonstop flights to Istanbul have launched.
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This article originally appeared on TravelOffPath.com