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Things to do in Ankara

Eat the best seafood in town

Turkey is better known for its grilled meats than its fish, but a visit to Balıkçıköy Fahri Çukurambar (tel: +90 312 428 0047; www.balikcikoy.com.tr) could help sway your stomach. This classy seafood bar is one of the best (and most affordable) restaurants in town. This is alfresco dining to die for - or at least write gushy tweets about.

Make a splash at Lake Eymir

Ankara can overwhelm visitors with its heat, hustle and bustle - but it doesn't have to be so. The vast Lake Eymir is just 20km (12 miles) south of the city and is much more than just a paddling pool. Surrounded by lush vegetation on all sides, and with boat hire and food kiosks, this day trip destination is the area's true blue jewel.

Relive your youth in Gençlik Parkı

Smack bang in the middle of the city, Gençlik Parkı (which translates to Youth Park) is the perfect place to soak up some of that good Turkish vitamin D. Visitors can cool off by the lakes and fountains or check out the cultural centre, but if you want to relive your youth, check out the amusement park and Ferris wheel.

See how the other half once bathed

Most Turkish cities have a spa or hammam, but few have an open-air museum dedicated to the art of scrubbing up. Dating back to the 3rd century, the Roman Baths of Ankara were excavated between 1937 and 1944, and if you squint really hard, can give a good indication of how the other half bathed.

Seek out some modern art

Ankara is most famed for its antiquities, citadels and mausoleums, but if you want a break from all the history, try the Cer Modern (tel: +90 312 310 0000; www.cermodern.org). Home to the city's contemporary art, it offers three or four exhibitions at a time and has a charming onsite café too.

A digital image at https://illuminoto.com

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Murat Bey Konağı

Nestled amongst the alleyways of the citadel district, this charming small hotel delivers oodles of cosy appeal, wrapped up in a restored, wooden Ottoman mansion. The outdoor courtyard is a tranquil escape from the city, while the smallish rooms have original Ottoman features but are decorated in a modern style.

Grand Sera Hotel

This is a solid budget choice in downtown Ulus which punches above its weight, offering decent-sized rooms freshly decorated in light colours, comfortable beds and modern amenities. Staff don't speak much English but are very friendly and helpful.

Hotel Abro

For a mid-range, comfortable option, this place takes some beating. Highly popular with both business and leisure travellers, Abro's minimalist-style, spacious rooms are fitted out with modern amenities and are in a prime Kızılay location, close to Ankara's vibrant cafe and restaurant scene.

Divan Çukurhan

One of Ankara's most atmospheric hotels, this luxury property is set inside the restored Çukurhan caravanserai building which dates back to the 16th century. Rooms boldly fuse Turkish and Asian decoration with contemporary, colourful design, while the central courtyard holds onto its historic features but has a glass roof.

Sheraton Ankara Towers

This prominent landmark hotel soars high above the central city and offers unrivalled views of Ankara's bustling Kavaklıdere district. Rooms are classically styled in earthy tones and come with full modern amenities, while the hotel has bars and restaurants, a pool and fitness centre.

Otel Mithat

Neat and tidy (though small) rooms, friendly staff who speak some English and a central location are the major bonuses at this downtown Ulus hotel, just off the main road. The included breakfast is very good and unlike a lot of hotels in the Ulus district, rooms aren't too noisy.