Long gone are the days when a “family holiday” means a trip to Disneyland. Turkey is one of the fastest-growing tourism destinations in the world and it is also a perfectly family-friendly location. There are tons of captivating and adventurous activities for the whole family, and if all else fails, there is always the beach! Here is a look at the best kid-friendly attractions and activities to enjoy the next time you visit Turkey with the whole family.
Whether you are in the USA, Germany, or Denmark, Legoland is always a winning idea for kids. Legoland in Istanbul is no exception and will keep kids (and playful adults) occupied and entertained for hours. You can go on a Lego factory tour and visit the master builder’s workshop to see thousands of bricks neatly organized to build mega structures. There is also a 4D cinema and a Duplo-building farm for younger kids. The interactive Kingdom Quest laser adventure is the cherry on top of an adventure-filled experience.
While adults will love exploring the grand Mosques and ancient landmarks of Istanbul, kids might find this a bit taxing. But switch things up and take them to Miniaturk before you start sightseeing to give them a 1:25 scale tour of the city. Walk past the Blue Mosque and Hagia Sophia and stand next to a tiny Galata Tower. You will cross a mini-Bosporus on the July 15th Martyr’s Bridge and see the Maiden’s Tower in the distance. There are around 135 miniatures and kids will love posing for photos to later recreate next to their real-life counterparts.
One of the best places to take the kids in Istanbul is the Istanbul Aquarium. This is also a great option for a rainy day, keeping kids educated and entertained for hours. There are more than 1,500 species in the aquarium and more than 17,000 creatures of both land and sea live in the exhibitions. The displays are divided by location and the Pacific and Mediterranean sections are particularly captivating.
This iconic attraction needs no introduction and the wax figures of Madama Tussauds are a favorite among young and old. Some of the themes include science, culture themes, VIP, history, and legendary leaders. Get your photo taken with Leonardi Da Vinci or Einstein or even the founder of the Republic of Turkey, Ataturk.
No one in the family will be disappointed with a day at Adaland in Kusadasi. This park has everything from a lazy river to a wave pool, giant slide, and safari park. Kusadasi is also one of the towns closest to Ephesus and you can balance a day of historical sightseeing with a fun day at the park. Kusadasi also has spectacular Mediterranean beaches and you could easily mistake it for a Greek island destination if you squint just right.
Kayaking in Kas
Kas is a stunning Mediterranean city but less than an hour’s drive from the city is the closest thing you can get to Atlantis. Head out for a kayaking trip at the Sunken City of Lycia in Kekova. Kids will be beside themselves as you glide over the ruins, easily visible through the crystal-clear water. After a day on the water, you can enjoy a relaxing afternoon in the sleepy city of Kas, browsing through the markets or simply enjoying the views.
Splashing at Pamukkale
This is another great attraction where parents and kids both get their way. The travertines of Pamukkale are a fairytale landscape of bright white cloudlike mineral deposits with impossibly blue water. Kids will be in awe of these otherworldly formations and can splash in the mineral-rich water to their heart’s content. After visiting the travertines you can pay a visit to Cleopatra’s Pool for even more restorative soaking time (because you know you will need it after going on holiday with children). At the pool, you can wade in the hot spring among columns and building blocks from the ancient city of Hierapolis.
Charter a gullet
This activity is one of the more luxurious options but it is a one-of-a-kind family holiday that you will never forget. Traditional wooden gullet yachts sail around the Mediterranean coast and stop off at various towns and cities along the coast. There is space enough for the whole family to sleep on the yacht and these are all-inclusive packages, all you have to do is show up! Popular ports include Bodrum, Marmaris, Fethiye, and Antalya and your itinerary will include snorkeling, fishing, kayaking, and more.
Get some Turkish Ice Cream
This can be an awesome trick to play on your kids if they haven’t already seen the wild antics of Turkish ice cream vendors online. The ice cream salesman has an extra long scoop and will try to pull a fast one on customers, swinging their ice cream out of reach or pulling it out of their hand at the last second. It is quite the challenge