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Monday, February 4, 2013

On a Secret Mission to Turkey in 2013

Amongst all the plaudits for Skyfall, the latest film in the James Bond franchise, one thing that hasn't escaped the attention of viewers is the array of dazzling locations captured on screen. Particularly effective were the scenes filmed on location in Turkey, as Bond's latest adventure took him to Istanbul - from the famed Grand Bazaar to the Yeni Mosque and Eminonu Square, the distinctive look of Turkey's capital city was well represented on screen.

And it seems that Bond isn't the only one taking a trip to the region - with tourism on the rise, Turkey is currently the sixth most visited country in the world. If you're planning a mission of your own to Istanbul this summer, here's a guide to some of its many attractions.

It's a city that rewards the traveller (or international spy) willing to take a trip off the beaten path - the main streets of the aforementioned Grand Bazaar are dominated by overpriced tourist trinkets, but there's a dizzying array of goods to be found by exploring its numerous back streets.

If you're looking for even more offbeat shopping experiences, shops like Anadol Antik (Turnacibasi Sokak 65 Cukurcuma) and Denizler Kitabevi (Istikal Caddesi 395) stock a range of antiques and other unique gifts. For the kids, there's Deli KizinYeri ('The Crazy Lady's Place') and its range of handcrafted toys, which can be found at the Bazaar.

There's plenty to see outside the shops as well; Turkey boasts a rich and varied history, arising from its position straddling the border between Europe and the Middle East. Head south to the Turquoise Coast, also known as the Turkish Riviera, for a beach holiday with a twist.

Along with the scenic views and numerous beaches across the region, it's overflowing with points of historical and cultural interest. The ruins of the Temple of Artemis in Ephesus and the Mausoleum of Halicarnassus are two of the Seven Wonders of the World, whilst Marc Antony is thought to have gifted the Riviera to Cleopatra for their wedding. It was also the birthplace of a certain Saint Nicholas - so while you're finishing off the last of the turkey leftovers, why not consider a trip to actual Turkey as a New Year gift for you and your family?

Cosmos's Holidays Turkey offer excellent value, with prices starting from just £228 per person. Visit the Turquoise Coast, Mediterranean Coast or Aegean Coast, with a variety of great family accommodation to choose from. For more information contact Robert Foulkes at Robert.Foulkes@Monarch.co.uk, or on +44(0)1582-398122, and to book online, visit http://www.cosmos.co.uk/turkey/holidays.