Top 10 Most Beautiful Places in Turkey
We have listed the top 10 must-see and must-see places in Turkey for you. When you travel to Turkey, we have researched historical places, seaside, entertainment and touristic places that you should definitely see in Turkey. What is Turkey famous for? You can find everything you need to know about Turkey in our article.
10 Must Visit Cities in Turkey
Turkey welcomes around 15 million visitors every year, is a country where Europe and Asia meet and where Mediterranean and Aegean cultures come together. It stands out as a fascinating holiday destination for tourists, especially in spring and summer. Many tourists visiting Turkey for the first time have the same question in mind: Which is the best city to visit in Turkey? We have prepared a list of the best cities to visit in Turkey.
This city, known as “Constantinople” when it was first founded, was planned by its founder Constantine the Great as a megapolis from the very beginning. Even today, Istanbul carefully preserves its identity as a glorious megacity. With a population of approximately 15 million, Istanbul is the most populous city in Turkey.
With its epic and deep-rooted historical past, Istanbul is one of the most visited cities in Turkey. Historical artifacts are spread all over the city, especially on the “Historical Peninsula”. The Historic Peninsula is one of the oldest settlements in the city and has been home to the greatest civilizations: Byzantines and Ottomans.
The Historic Peninsula is home to many historical buildings. One of the most popular is Hagia Sophia, one of the largest Byzantine churches of all time. The Blue Mosque and Topkapi Palace are located near the Hagia Sophia. The Greek Patriarchate of Fener is also one of the important buildings in the Historic Peninsula. There are more than 100 churches and mosques in the Historic Peninsula.
Places to visit and See in İstanbul
Authentic Ottoman bazaars such as the famous Spice Bazaar and Grand Bazaar are also located in the Historic Peninsula. Local shops in these historic bazaars offer the opportunity to try different types of herbs, teas and spices from around the world. The Ottoman bazaars are the bazaars in Istanbul where European culture and Eastern flavors meet.
The “Pera” and “Galata” districts are prominent tourist centers of Istanbul. During the late Ottoman and early Republican period, these settlements were home to European immigrants. European and Ottoman merchants carried out commercial activities together in the region. Their footprints can be traced in the inns of Pera.
The most famous spots in Pera (Beyoğlu) and Galata are Taksim Square, Istiklal Street and Galata Tower. Alongside the Maiden’s Tower, the Galata Tower is one of the most important symbols of the city. The Princes’ Islands are a great option for a small weekend vacation away from the hustle and bustle of city life. The four large islands known as the Prince Islands are Büyükada, Heybeliada, Kınalıada and Burgazada.
Daily life on the islands is different from the bustling city life in Istanbul. The Princes’ Islands offer the opportunity to experience the small fishing towns of the Mediterranean and the pleasant atmosphere of the Aegean islands.
It is possible to plan a day trip to the islands, but there are also plenty of accommodation options. When Istanbulites prefer to spend a pleasant weekend before returning to their work life on Monday, the Prince’s Islands are the first holiday destination that comes to mind.
The most preferred outdoor activities on the islands are yacht trips, nature walks or cycling tours. There are also many wooden mansions, monasteries and churches to visit. Walking through the picturesque streets, buying handmade products from local shops and spending a pleasant time under the sun on the unique beaches is every Istanbulite’s dream come true!
Bonus: Don’t forget to try Istanbul’s famous dishes. Ortaköy’s kumpiri and Eminönü’s fish-breads are the most famous flavors of the city. Meatballs in Sultanahmet, dried beans in Süleymaniye, and boza in Vefa are some of the flavors you must try in Istanbul.
It would not be wrong to say that this charming seaside settlement is among the most visited cities in Turkey. With around 10 million tourists visiting Antalya every year, it has become one of Turkey’s cities with a high tourist density. Besides the city center, rural and seaside settlements such as Kas, Kalkan, Alanya or Belek are also trendy attractions of the city. These are some of the most popular districts to experience the glittering Mediterranean lifestyle.
Alanya, a coastal settlement in the east of Antalya, has developed with an urban fabric similar to popular tourist cities in Turkey. The vibrant nightlife, comfortable living conditions and the ability to fulfill every need in a short period of time are the main reasons that make Alanya a perfect place to visit.
Alanya stands out for its magnificent beaches, such as Kargicak Beach in Mahmutlar or Cleopatra Beach in the town center. The favorable climate and environmental conditions allow you to engage in outdoor activities such as hiking or fishing. A picnic in Incekum Nature Park near Avsallar settlement is also an ideal weekend plan!
Belek is also a coastal settlement close to the city center. It is also known as a paradise for golf and entertainment. The area is home to extensive entertainment facilities, numerous golf resorts and hotels. Daily life in Belek is as colorful and vibrant as the nightlife.
Kas is one of the most attractive western districts of Antalya. The settlement has an authentic atmosphere reminiscent of a small fishing town on the Mediterranean Sea. Kas brings together different lifestyles. You can enjoy humble activities such as a nice evening stroll along the narrow cobbled streets. However, the multicultural nature of Kas also allows you to experience Mediterranean luxury.
Places to Visit in Antalya
Kas district has a lot to offer for nature and history enthusiasts. The turquoise waters of Kaputaş Beach, the rich natural beauty of the district, and the unexplored bays are a great opportunity for nature lovers to explore. One of the most common outdoor activities in Kas is hiking on the Lycian Way.
The district is also home to some of the oldest Greek cities in Turkey. The settlement carefully preserves these ruins of the ancient Greek and Roman civilizations. Spring is the best time to visit Patara, Myra, Anthipellos, Xanthos and other archaeological sites. One of the most interesting historical sites in Kas is the sunken city in Kekova. You can take a boat trip among the sunken ruins in the turquoise waters of Kekova.
Bonus: Don’t leave Antalya without trying piyaz and meatballs in Aksu. Piyaz and köfte is the traditional dish of Antalya and is made with beans, onions, eggs and tahini. Enjoy the unique experience of different flavors coming together in a delicious meal.
Located in Central Anatolia, this city is particularly known for its fascinating historical ruins. Nevsehir is located in the heart of the Cappadocia region. Of all the ancient cities in Turkey, Nevsehir is home to numerous underground settlements built by ancient civilizations.
The formation of Cappadocia’s fairy chimneys dates back 60 million years. The volcanic mountains of Erciyes, Hasandağı and Göllüdağ and geographical events are the main reasons for the formation of fairy chimneys.
Ancient civilizations such as the Hittites, Phrygians and Romans have existed in the region throughout history and left their traces behind. Today, the historical region of Cappadocia is a UNESCO World Heritage Site.
Cappadocia and Urgup are famous for their fairy chimneys, hot air balloons and underground cities. Visiting these meticulously planned underground settlements and enjoying the panoramic view from a hot air balloon over these majestic ancient cities are unique experiences that you should take part in at least once in your lifetime.
Bonus: The city’s famous dish is called Testi Kebab. It is a type of kebab cooked in a clay pot. The city is also famous for its traditional wines. These wines are made from local grapes known as Öküzgözü, Boğazkere, Kalecik Karası, Narince and Emir.
Denizli is an inner Aegean city famous for its thermal resorts and archaeological sites. The most epic place to visit in Denizli is undoubtedly the travertines in Pamukkale.
The thermal waters of Pamukkale are one of the factors creating a boom in health tourism in Denizli. These thermal pools help treat rheumatic diseases, high blood pressure, cardiovascular diseases. These healing thermal pools of Pamukkale are back to back with the ancient city of Hierapolis.
Many tourists visit Pamukkale every year. You can visit Denizli to visit Pamukkale and Hierapolis, swim among the ruins in the “Ancient Pool”, enjoy the magical atmosphere. Bonus: Denizli has a local kebab dish known as “Denizli Kebab”. Made from lamb and cooked with mastic wood, this dish is a must-try in Turkey.
Izmir can be described as one of the most beautiful cities in Turkey. Dazzling natural beauty, carefully preserved historical ruins and modern settlements come together organically in the city’s urban fabric. Izmir is full of social opportunities to spend a pleasant time. It is a unique city to visit for nature, history and sports enthusiasts.
The settlement has been the center of life for Greeks, Pagan Romans and Christian Byzantines throughout history. The most famous ancient cities to visit in Izmir are Smyrna, Pergamon and Ephesus. The ancient city of Ephesus in Selçuk district is one of the cultural heritages on the UNESCO World Heritage List.
It is possible to see the best preserved examples of local arts in the Terrace Houses in Ephesus. The houses are decorated with colorful frescoes and mosaics and represent the way of life of ancient Aegean civilizations. Ephesus invites you on a unique journey through ancient history
Today’s Izmir is a great place to try a variety of sporting activities as well as its deep-rooted history. You can take part in windsurfing activities in Alacati or experience a parachute jump over the ruins of the ancient city of Ephesus at the Ephesus Dropzone. Paragliding in Ödemiş is one of the trendiest outdoor activities in Izmir.
Horseback riding at Şirinyer Hippodrome and ice skating at Aşık Veysel Recreation Area are interesting activities you can try in Izmir. After a long day of outdoor activities, take a calming break at the historic Agamemnon Hot Springs and enjoy the pleasant Aegean atmosphere.
Izmir is a multicultural city combining Aegean, Anatolian and Mediterranean cultures. The multicultural nature of Izmir offers the opportunity to observe and experience different lifestyles and cultures in one place. Bonus Every year, the city introduces its local productions to visitors with festivals such as the Alaçatı Herb Festival. Don’t forget to taste the famous Boyoz and take a sip of Şirince’s delicious wines!
Located in the Marmara region, the city of Bursa encompasses the lands where the foundations of the Ottoman Empire were laid. The urban fabric of the city center contains a large part of the city of Bursa in the Ottoman period in the same way.
Historical buildings such as Bursa Grand Mosque, Bursa Green Mosque and Kozahan are in active use today. Local shops in Kozahan sell quality silk textiles. After a pleasant shopping experience, you may want to take a break in the courtyard of Kozahan. Do not leave Kozahan without sipping your tea under the trees and enjoying the authentic atmosphere in the courtyard of this historical building.
Some of the old Greek settlements such as Tirilye, Mudanya or Gölyazı (Apolyont) stand out as popular tourist excursion centers. You may want to visit these cozy little seaside towns and experience the multicultural atmosphere of these settlements up close.
In Gölyazı, the legend of this 750-year-old tree, also known as the “Weeping Sycamore”, is reminiscent of the story of Romeo and Juliet. Another younger plane tree is known as the “Inkaya Sycamore”. This 600-year-old tree is located in Uludağ Nature Park. Do not end your trip to Bursa without having a delicious breakfast under these huge trees.
Bursa is one of the leading cities in Turkey in terms of winter vacation. Uludağ is one of the most prestigious and famous ski resorts in Turkey. The best time to visit Uludağ to participate in winter sports activities is January and February.
Soğanlı Botanical Park is also an excellent choice for weekend activities. The park features a Japanese garden, a French garden, an English garden and more than 150 tree species. The picturesque Soğanlı Botanical Park offers great environmental conditions for walking, jogging, cycling and many other outdoor activities.
Bonus: In Bursa’s local cuisine, this dish is known as “Iskender Kebab” and is served with hot butter, tomato paste and yogurt. And don’t forget to try the famous chestnut candy before you go!
Muğla is a coastal city where Aegean and Mediterranean cultures intertwine, and one of Turkey’s most charming coastal cities. The city is mostly known for its dazzling beaches, bays and nature. Turkey’s most famous holiday resorts such as Bodrum, Fethiye, Oludeniz and Marmaris are located in Muğla.
Bodrum Peninsula and Marmaris are mostly visited by tourists, especially during the summer months. These tourism centers have developed as small Aegean coastal settlements with a holiday concept lifestyle all year round. The most interesting places in Muğla are Saklikent Canyon, Butterfly Valley, Sedir Island, also known as Cleopatra Island, Iztuzu beach and Ölüdeniz.
Iztuzu is one of the most famous beaches in Turkey. Paragliding in Ölüdeniz at sunset is one of the activities where you can enjoy the unique views of the deep blue sea. You can enjoy breathtaking views of small islands, bays and hills.
Bonus: Mugla is famous for a unique type of kebab called “Çökertme Kebab”. You can also visit Yuvarlakçay for a Turkish breakfast surrounded by nature.
Trabzon is the first city that comes to mind when it comes to 50 shades of green. Trabzon is located in the Black Sea Region, on the northeastern coast of Turkey. The city was one of the last surviving Byzantine settlements until its conquest by the Ottomans in 1461.
The city’s most spectacular historical buildings are the Hagia Sophia of Trabzon and the Sumela Monastery. The Sumela Monastery is built into a steep cliff in Maçka and is dedicated to the Virgin Mary. The monastery is still standing in one piece nearly 600 years after its foundation and is open to visitors.
Hamsiköy and also Uzungöl are a must-see for first-time visitors to Trabzon! The delightful views of the picturesque misty hills offer you the perfect opportunity to take a break from city life.
Bonus: Don’t forget to try the delicious Black Sea fish called “anchovy” and Akçaabat meatballs.
Ankara, the capital of Turkey, is the 2nd largest city in Turkey with around 6 million inhabitants. Ankara is much more than a civil servant city full of state institutions. Ankara is also a living witness to the Turkish Republic’s war of independence.
The city of Ankara was carefully planned and built as a Republican city in the early 20th century. The city is full of historical landmarks of the Turkish War of Independence.
In many parts of the city, there are cultural heritages from the Roman period, such as the column of Justinian and the temple of Augustus. The Roman baths and Ankara Castle are also worth visiting. You can walk the streets of the old city center and visit the shops selling locally produced and handmade products in Samanpazari.
Ankara is one of the best cities in Turkey for family activities. It has countless activity options suitable for children. You can visit Aquavega Aquarium, museums with more than 1000 artworks from all over the country, Wonderland, Altınköy Open Air Museum and recreational areas such as Mavigöl. Bonus: Don’t leave Ankara without trying the city’s famous “Ankara Bagel”.
Mardin is undoubtedly one of the most authentic cities in Turkey. Mardin’s historical urban texture is the most prominent feature of the city. Mardin is one of the intersections of different religions and cultures. The city is home to historical ruins such as Assyrian monasteries, 800-year-old mosques, Dara Mesopotamian Ruins, Muslim madrasas.
The unique stonework of the buildings and the detailed decorative artwork on the facades are the main features of the architectural style of the buildings in Mardin. Mardin’s traditional stone houses are designed with high ceilings, large terraces and courtyards to allow air flow during the hot summer months. Mardin’s exotic historical atmosphere is worth seeing. The unique Artuqid architecture is spread all over the city.
Bonus Before leaving Mardin, visit the Historic Arasa Han and explore the local antique shops. Inside the inn you can visit herbalists selling a wide variety of spices and herbs and discover local condiments and herbal teas.
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