Discover Walks Blog

  • Virginia Beach
  • History & facts
  • Famous people
  • Famous landmarks
  • AI interviews
  • Science & Nature
  • Tech & Business

English

Discover something new everyday

  • Famous places
  • Food & Drinks
  • Tech & Business

Istanbul - Activities & Things to do , Istanbul – Our top 10 lists

The Ultimate Guide to Summer Destinations in Turkey

best places to visit in turkey during summer

Ölüdeniz, Photo by Chundy Tanz on Unsplash

Read Next →

best places to visit in turkey during summer

Istanbul - Activities & Things to do

Top 10 Facts about the Fall of Constantinople

best places to visit in turkey during summer

The Aegean Coastline, Turkey – TripAdvisor

best places to visit in turkey during summer

Roman Ruins in Side, Antalya, Image by Ruby Ruby from Pexels

best places to visit in turkey during summer

Photo by Keo Oran on Unsplash

2. Antalya & Side

best places to visit in turkey during summer

Image by Alla Serova from Pixabay

best places to visit in turkey during summer

Photo by Atıf Zafrak on Unsplash

3. Kaş & Kalkan

best places to visit in turkey during summer

Kaputaş beach, Photo by Serdar Dincer on Unsplash

4. Fethiye & Ölüdeniz

best places to visit in turkey during summer

Photo by Doğacan Düğmeci on Unsplash

best places to visit in turkey during summer

Photo by Artem Bryzgalov on Unsplash

5. Izmir & Çesme

best places to visit in turkey during summer

Photo by Zeynep on Unsplash

6. Kuşadası

best places to visit in turkey during summer

Image sourced from Wikimedia Commons

7. Marmaris

best places to visit in turkey during summer

8. Bozcaada & Gökçeada

best places to visit in turkey during summer

Photo by Osman Yunus Bekcan on Unsplash

“..in the depths of the sea midway between Tenedos and rocky Imbros; here Neptune lord of the earthquake stayed his horses, unyoked them, and set before them their ambrosial forage. He hobbled their feet with hobbles of gold which none could either unloose or break, so that they might stay there in that place until their lord should return.”

best places to visit in turkey during summer

Photo by Vadim Yakovlev on Unsplash

best places to visit in turkey during summer

Iztuzu beach, Photo by Dilek Durgun on Unsplash

10. Assos & Behramkale

best places to visit in turkey during summer

Assos, Turkey, Photo by Mert Kahveci on Unsplash

best places to visit in turkey during summer

Assos, Berhramkale, Image sourced from Wikimedia Commons

Planning a trip to Paris ? Get ready !

These are  Amazon’s best-selling  travel products that you may need for coming to Paris.

  • The best travel book : Rick Steves – Paris 2023 –  Learn more here
  • Fodor’s Paris 2024 –  Learn more here

Travel Gear

  • Venture Pal Lightweight Backpack –  Learn more here
  • Samsonite Winfield 2 28″ Luggage –  Learn more here
  • Swig Savvy’s Stainless Steel Insulated Water Bottle –  Learn more here

Check Amazon’s best-seller list for the most popular travel accessories. We sometimes read this list just to find out what new travel products people are buying.

Discover Walks contributors speak from all corners of the world - from Prague to Bangkok, Barcelona to Nairobi. We may all come from different walks of life but we have one common passion - learning through travel.

Whether you want to learn the history of a city, or you simply need a recommendation for your next meal, Discover Walks Team offers an ever-growing travel encyclopaedia.

For local insights and insider’s travel tips that you won’t find anywhere else, search any keywords in the top right-hand toolbar on this page. Happy travels!

Hello & Welcome

Popular articles.

best places to visit in turkey during summer

Top 20 Streets to See in Paris

walking tuileries path

Paris in two days

Eiffel Tower

Top 15 Things to do Around the Eiffel Tower

Paris-museums

The Best Way to Visit Paris Museums

fashion-shops-Paris

Top 15 Fashion Stores in Le Marais

Visit europe with discover walks.

  • Paris walking tours
  • Montmartre walking tour
  • Lisbon walking tours
  • Prague walking tours
  • Barcelona walking tours
  • Private tours in Europe
  • Privacy policy

© 2024 Charing Cross Corporation

best places to visit in turkey during summer

Home » Turkey travel guide » Best Places to Visit in Turkey During Summer

Best Places to Visit in Turkey During Summer

Enjoy the beauties of the capital, Ankara

What you read in this article:

If you are planning a vacation this summer, here are some of the best places to see. You’ll want to choose a city for your holiday – or a small town – with a great beach or a beautiful lake. You may be able to combine the two by choosing an area with several unique climates. If so, you’ll probably end up visiting a few different places.

Enjoy the beauties of the capital, Ankara

If you’re looking for a cool place to spend your summer vacation, look no further than the cosmopolitan capital of Ankara, Turkey. Located in central Anatolia, this city is the country’s cultural center, hosting several national theater companies, the State Opera and Ballet, and the Presidential Symphony Orchestra.

Ankara is a busy tourist city in the summer, but temperatures are much more bearable during the fall and spring seasons. In September, temperatures are typically around twenty degrees Celsius, and in November, they can drop to as low as twelve degrees. You’ll still have plenty of sunshine to enjoy while you’re here, but you’ll avoid the intense heat and crowds during the winter months.

Read More: All you need to know about Gulhane Park in Istanbul

Don’t miss the Buyuk Ankara Festival for a family day out, usually in July. Then, head to the country’s most important holiday of the year: Victory Day, which is celebrated across Turkey on August 30th. Victory Day is a fantastic time to visit Ankara, as it features a grand parade of Turkish Soldiers and Air Force demonstration flights.

Why Cappadocia is a good destination for summer?

The weather in Cappadocia during summer is hot and humid, with temperatures reaching the mid-thirties. You can take a hot air balloon ride at sunrise, but you should plan to wear several layers, even if the weather is sunny. The best time to visit Cappadocia is between June and September, but be aware that you may not be able to take a hot air balloon flight in November due to freezing winds.

While spring is the wettest time to visit Cappadocia, temperatures remain comfortable by the end of April. This is a great time to take a hot air balloon flight, but you should avoid the months of July and August when temperatures can reach 40degC.

Read More: Beautiful villages near Istanbul (Best villages around Istanbul)

Be aware, though, that not all accommodations will have air conditioning. Regardless of your preferred time of year, you can still enjoy the sights and sounds of Cappadocia.

Bodrum with wonderful beaches

While visiting Bodrum, you should relax on the town’s many beautiful beaches. The picturesque Bardakci beach is a popular choice, and it is close to the city center. Whether you’re looking to unwind or relax after an exhausting day of sightseeing, the city has something for you.

If you love beaches, you should spend time on Bardakci beach, which is one of the best beaches in Bodrum. The sandy white sands here are a welcome respite after a day of sightseeing.

Besides Bodrum’s beach, you can also visit its historical center, surrounded by pine-clad hills. The city is home to a Roman amphitheater, which dates back to the 4th Century BC. It is a stunning sight and is the location for several concerts and festivals.

In addition to the ancient ruins, Bodrum also has a vibrant nightlife scene. There are also many opportunities to buy local crafts, such as Turkish carpets, which local artisans make. While you are in Bodrum, you should try the local seafood dishes and local favorites. The town is also known for its olive oil, produced in a 100-year-old factory in the old town.

Read More: All About Emirgan tulip gardens (Emirgan Park) in Istanbul

Izmir, the best city for events and festivals in summer

Summer in Izmir means a multitude of activities. The city hosts various festivals and events, ranging from classical music festivals to international jazz festivals. There is also a wide range of festivals to experience throughout the year, including the International Izmir Jazz Festival, which takes place every March.

The festival features performances from international musicians as well as local artists. If you’re looking for other festivals in Izmir, consider attending the Cherry Festival, the Peninsular Games, and the International Children and Youth Theater Festival.

In July and August, Izmir’s beaches are crowded with tourists, and there are many cultural events to enjoy. Summer in Izmir is often quite hot, with temperatures ranging from 29 to 33degC on average.

The city is also fairly humid, but there’s little chance of rain during the summer. It’s the perfect time to visit Turkey! You’ll enjoy the beaches and the events the city offers and will be glad you did.

Read More: The Best Place to Visit in Istanbul with Family

Antalya, all u want from nature

Suppose you’re looking for a summer vacation in an exotic city. In that case, there are many options to choose from in Antalya. The city is also home to many beautiful beaches, including the seven-kilometer-long Konyaalti Beach.

If you’re into water sports, you’ll be able to enjoy the warm, crystal-clear waters of the Mediterranean. Other attractions in Antalya include Hadrian’s Gate, a UNESCO World Heritage Site, and several ancient sites.

Fethiye is another famous beach town in the area, with its natural harbor and surrounding hills. You can take a boat trip to a waterfall or climb a mountain with cable cars.

The town also has a historical past and is an excellent choice for families with children. While you’re in the region, don’t miss a trip to the nearby ancient sites such as the Amintas Rock Tombs and Kadyanda Ancient City.

Read More: A guideline for Turkey solo travel (Guidance for Independent travel to turkey)

Olympos is located 77km north of Demre. The road to Olympos winds through a high mountain pass, but the scenic drive is worth it. A highlight of Olympos is Kadir’s Tree Houses, built by the founder Kadir Kaya over 30 years ago. You’ll be amazed at the natural beauty and awe-inspiring landscape surrounding Olympos.

Olympos is a sister town of Cirali and Adrasan and is known for its natural beauty. It’s also next to one of the best day walks along the Lycian Way. While the ruins are impressive and easily accessible, the town is noisy in the summer and lacks reasonable accommodations.

Read More: Best time to visit Trabzon

Pamukkale and a pleasant weather

In Turkey, summer is a very hot season, so if you’re looking for a way to escape the heat, consider visiting Pamukkale during spring or autumn. During these months, temperatures range from 18 to 25 degrees Celsius during the day and seven to ten degrees Celsius at night. Spring and autumn are also quieter seasons in Pamukkale, and the weather is still pleasant.

Pamukkale is famous for its thermal health. Phrygians discovered the site thousands of years ago. The white limestone travertines and water are shaped by calcium-rich hot springs. Throughout the year, the water is around thirty-six degrees Celsius.

This temperature is believed to help heal skin and rheumatism. The thermal pools are even comfortable during winter, so you’ll never feel too cold or wet.

Read More: The Best Time to Travel to Istanbul

If you want to experience the sun and the sand, the city of Dalyan in Turkey is a wonderful choice. This southern coastal town offers activities that will excite any visitor. Water sports enthusiasts will love the opportunity to scuba dive, go white-water rafting, hike, mountain bike, and take a boat trip on the coastline.

While there, you can see protected loggerhead turtles nesting on the area’s beaches. Afterward, enjoy a swim in the lake, or indulge in traditional Turkish food and drink.

Visiting Ephesus in Turkey during the summer means that the weather is pleasant and rainy-free. However, there are still plenty of reasons why you should not visit Ephesus during winter. While October and April are rainy months, midday temperatures can climb as high as 43 degrees Fahrenheit in July.

One of the most important aspects of life in ancient Ephesus is the Grand Theater. Here, people gathered for religious ceremonies and fights. It was a meeting place for the city. The semi-circular-shaped audience seating is comfortable for as many as 24,000 people.

Read More: Best cities to visit in Turkey

Another interesting part of Ephesus’ history is the Temple of Artemis, one of the original Seven Wonders of the Ancient World.

And the Last Word

If you’re looking for the best things to do in Turkey during the summer, there are many options to consider. Visiting Turkey during the summer can give you a chance to enjoy the sunshine and explore the country’s cultural diversity. While summer is the most popular time to visit Turkey, there are many other lovely seasons to visit.

 In the spring and fall, temperatures are still pleasant enough to swim, and the big cities generally have a vibrant calendar of events. During this time of year, Turkey’s crowds and holidaymakers tend to be much less crowded, with more comfortable temperatures after the school holidays have ended.

Read More: Most popular Turkish foods that you should try in Turkey

How useful was this post?

Click on a star to rate it!

Average rating 4.8 / 5. Vote count: 18

No votes so far! Be the first to rate this post.

' src=

Elham Asgari

Related article.

Is turkey safe to visit? - All about Turkey safety for tourists

Is turkey safe to visit? All about Turkey safety for tourists

Turkey is one of the main tourist destinations that many travelers visit every year to ...

Is Antalya Safe To Visit? All about the safety in Antalya

Is Antalya Safe To Visit? All about the safety in Antalya

Have you decided to spend your holiday in Antalya this year? This is great because Ant ...

Best Time To Visit Antalya

Best Time To Visit Antalya City And Antalya Beaches

If you’re reading this, you’ve most likely decided to enjoy a memorable an ...

All about Ortakoy Mosque (Büyük Mecidiye Mosque)

All About Ortakoy Mosque (Büyük Mecidiye Mosque)

Istanbul is one of the most prominent tourist cities and is the cultural capital of Tu ...

  • Antalya travel guide
  • Istanbul travel guide
  • Turkey fun places
  • Turkey historical places
  • Turkish people
  • Turkish food
  • Istanbul hotels
  • Tourism in turkey
  • Travel recommendations The world is a big place – not sure where to go? Get recommendations on destinations, the best times to go there, and what to do.
  • Travel in the UK How much have you really travelled within the UK? There are so many local hidden gems waiting to be discovered – be inspired here.
  • The taste of travel For some, the best way to experience a place is through its food. See the best places to go for dining and local dishes around the world.
  • Tips & tricks Hack your way to the most amazing trips ever with tips on everything from how to pack your carry-on to how to eat dumplings.
  • Travel experiences What’s your favourite thing to do when you’re travelling? Find the best things to see and do based on your interests or type of travel.
  • News Read the latest news about the travel industry, our products and services, and what’s happening at KAYAK.

preload

All you need to know about Turkey in the summer

best places to visit in turkey during summer

Exploring Turkey in the summer means bright sunny weather, beaches, warm ocean waters, and delicious cold treats.

Most visitors head to the seaside resorts along the Aegean and Mediterranean coastlines in the summer months . Here you can soak in the sunshine and cool off in the water for the perfect beach getaway. Alternatively, take advantage of the lack of tourists in the bigger cities and see some of Turkey’s city attractions without the crowds.

Turkey in the summer: Weather

Young woman and hot air ballons, Goreme, Cappadocia, Turkey

Summer in Turkey runs from June through to September  and it gets hot. The average temperature is usually around 30°C during the day, and it’s generally dry without much rain. Turkey has different climate zones throughout the country, but most regions share a hot, dry climate during the summer.

Turkey in the summer: Beaches

Young man snorkeling underwater in Turkey, Kaş. Turquoise blue water. Travel destinations.

With hot sunny weather and little chance of rain, summer is the best time to visit Turkey’s beautiful beaches. With plenty of offerings along the Aegean and Mediterranean coastlines, it’s easy to find options to suit your budget and plans.

However, remember that the summer months are the busiest time of year at these beaches, so make sure to book your accommodation in advance and keep an eye out for tickets to the festivals and live performances that are common along the seaside.

best places to visit in turkey during summer

Bodrum is a popular seaside destination with a chill, relaxed vibe during the day and lively nightlife. The beaches here are beautiful and clean, with stunning views of the Aegean Sea. When you want to take a break from the busy beaches, consider heading to Bodrum Castle, a medieval fortress dating back to the 4th century BCE.

best places to visit in turkey during summer

Antalya’s beaches are beautiful (though crowded) in the summertime when its turquoise water is warmest. Once a thriving ancient Roman city, Antalya is now one of Turkey’s most popular seaside resort towns, with plenty of its history preserved for visitors to experience. You’ll also find various music and cultural festivals during the summer months, such as the annual Flower Festival that starts in May and the Aspendos International Opera and Ballet Festival.

Kas, Antalya

The picture was taken in Turkey in July of 2018

Kas is a beautiful holiday centre in the west of Antalya, known for its clear, bright blue sea. The area is a hotspot for divers, and you’ll have no trouble finding diving tours during the warmer months. Away from the beach, the area has fascinating historic buildings and a lively bazaar market held every Friday. Kas is also home to Kaputas Beach, one of the most well-known beaches in Turkey, with clear water and fine golden sand.

Istanbul in summer

DEST_TURKEY_ISTANBUL_TOPKAPI_PALACE_GettyImages-1142010408.jpg

Turkey’s hot climate tends to drive crowds away from the major cities during the warmest months of the year, with tourists heading to the seaside instead. However, if you can handle the hotter temperatures comfortably, you can take advantage of shorter queues to I stanbul’s top attractions and make the most of cheaper prices . Head to the Hagia Sophia Mosque or the Topkapi Palace for some indoor attractions out of the sun, or take a ferry tour on the waters of the Bosphorus Strait.

The Prince’s Islands

best places to visit in turkey during summer

The Prince’s Islands are an archipelago of nine islands you can easily reach from Istanbul by boat. There’s plenty to see and do there. First, head to the top of Buyukada, the largest island, where Hagia Yorgi Church (which dates back to the 6th century) provides incredible panoramic views. Then, make your way to Dil Burnu National Park’s pine forests. Once you’ve had your fill of sightseeing, relax at one of the islands’ beaches and take a dip in the waters of the Sea of Marmara.

Izmir in summer

Turkey izmir old clock tower; Shutterstock ID 753847693; Purpose: Destiny; Brand (KAYAK, Momondo, Any): Any

Izmir, one of Turkey’s larger cities, like Istanbul, tends to be quieter during the hottest months of the year. So explore the city’s incredible ancient monuments without the crowds (just don’t forget to drink plenty of water!). Izmir Agora is the ruins of a Roman-Greek marketplace that is now a simple thoroughfare for Izmir’s modern-day residents. On the other hand, the modern marketplace of Kemeralti Market is a wonderful bazaar, and you’ll find the vendors are very friendly and happy to chat with tourists.

Çeşme

Cesme Town view from Cesme Castle

Çeşme is a seaside resort town just west of Izmir and is one of the most popular destinations near the city during the summer months. It has beautiful white sand beaches, thermal springs, and warm ocean waters. Once you’ve had your fill soaking up the sun and cooling off in the water, you can check out Çeşme Castle, which overlooks the harbour and houses the Çeşme Archaeology Museum, which displays artefacts from local excavations.

Hierapolis-Pamukkale

Natural travertine pools and terraces in Pamukkale. Cotton castle in southwestern Turkey, young man walking at the pool in natural bath ; Shutterstock ID 1167275008; Brand (KAYAK, Momondo, Any): any

Hierapolis and Pamukkale are two ancient Greek-Roman spa towns known for their natural hot springs and thermal waters full of minerals. It’s worth the trip, even just to look at the pale blue pools layered like steps along a hillside. You can also check out the ancient ruins in the towns, including a remarkably well-preserved theatre and a necropolis. There’s also the Antique Pool, a large pool in the hot springs known as ‘Cleopatra’s Pool’ due to the legend that it was a gift from Marc Anthony to Cleopatra.

The Black Sea Highlands

best places to visit in turkey during summer

If you’re looking to get away from the hottest temperatures of Turkey’s summer, consider heading to the highlands of the Black Sea mountains. This area has a generally cooler climate than the beaches and cities in Turkey. Steep coastlines, grassy hills and flowing rivers create picturesque scenery dotted with small towns and houses. You’ll find plenty of variety in the region, from the dense forests of the northern slopes to the unwooded plateaus of the southern side.

Turkey in summer: Food and drink

best places to visit in turkey during summer

When visiting Turkey, be sure to try the local food and drink on offer throughout the country. You’ll find unique, refreshing drinks at restaurants and unusual but delicious icy treats from street vendors that are perfect for summer.

best places to visit in turkey during summer

Ayran is a unique beverage beloved by Turks in summer whose history dates back thousands of years. They make it by blending water, yoghurt and salt. While that might sound like an odd combination before you try it, you’ll almost certainly find it refreshing after a long day in the Turkish sun. This drink is so ubiquitous during Turkish summer that you can find it at fast-food chains throughout the country.

best places to visit in turkey during summer

When you need to cool off in Turkey, the best thing to try is the Turkish ice cream Dondurma. You’ll quickly discover that Dondurma isn’t quite like the ice cream you’re used to, with the inclusion of salep (a particular kind of flour) and mastic (a type of resin), creating a thick, chewy texture that doesn’t melt like other ice creams.

Look out for the icy cold treat at shops and vendor carts out on the streets. Whether you try familiar flavours like vanilla or chocolate or Turkish specialities like cherry or mulberry, don’t skip the opportunity to try Dondurma during your summer trip to Turkey.

Looking for more inspiration for your trip to Turkey? Check out the best beaches in Turkey and these tips for family holidays in Turkey.

About the author

best places to visit in turkey during summer

Explore more articles

THEME_TRAIN_WOMAN_GettyImages-1197453023-14.jpg

Wander-Lush

25 Beautiful Places in Turkey for Your Travel Itinerary (Must-sees & Hidden Gems)

A land of immense natural beauty and diverse cultures underpinned by eons of history, Turkey (Türkiye) is a country like no other.

Here are 25 jaw-droppingly beautiful destinations (including 10 hidden gems!) you can’t overlook when planning your trip, from hot springs to beach resorts, coastal towns to ancient cities hewn from rock, palaces, monasteries, sparkling lakes, sacred mountains, and much, much more!

In travellers’ terms, Turkey is in a league of its own. This is the place where East meets West; where Europe and Asia collide and produce a transcontinental culture clash. Amazing food, diverse traditions, religions and histories – these are the things that make Turkey such an unforgettable travel destination.

Although Turkey is known for its beautiful beaches and hot air balloon-filled skies, it’s so much more than that. Once the playground of great figures such as Cleopatra, Caesar and Alexander the Great, Turkey’s historical significance is proudly displayed in the palaces, mosques, monasteries and countless archaeological sites that dot the vast landscape. There are no fewer than 19 UNESCO World Heritage Sites in Turkey plus 41 national parks where unforgettable valleys, lakes and mountains lay in wait.

Fragrant bazaars and stunning views at every corner, from the narrow streets of Istanbul – one of the world’s great cities – to Turkey’s small towns and villages, the urban landscape is every bit as enigmatic.

To help you narrow down your wish list, I’ve rounded up the most beautiful places in Turkey to visit.

Please note: This post contains affiliate links, meaning I may earn a commission if you make a purchase by clicking a link (at no extra cost to you). Learn more.

Ishak Pasha Palace perched on a rocky outcrop in Eastern Turkey.

When is the best time to visit Turkey?

Summer is peak tourist season in Turkey, when prices go up – along with the temperatures – and popular destinations become overcrowded, especially the bigger cities such as Istanbul and towns along the Turquoise Coast.

A better time to visit Turkey is during spring or fall shoulder season . Winter is a great time to plan an Istanbul city break , just note that the east of Turkey and the mountainous regions experience very cold winters. See a list of the best places to visit in Turkey in winter .

How to get around Turkey

One thing to know before you visit Turkey is that this country is big! Most travellers fly into Istanbul, which is indeed a good place to start your itinerary. It may be necessary to take a domestic flight or two to travel onwards to central or eastern Turkey. The country’s railway network can also come in handy: There are regular trains from Istanbul to Ankara and Kars.

Once the Baku-Tbilisi-Kars Railway launches, this will make it possible to travel into Eastern Turkey overland from the South Caucasus.

If you want to visit all of these diverse and beautiful destinations, renting a car for a Turkey road trip is the best option. I recommend using Local Rent .

25 of the most beautiful places in Turkey to add to your itinerary

From the domes of the Blue Mosque to the cobalt waters of the Black Sea, the bustling city of Istanbul and the enigmatic Hagia Sophia to the hidden secrets of Turkey’s underground cities and historic sites, from popular tourist attractions to hidden gems , here are the most gorgeous places to visit in Turkey!

1. Istanbul: The most beautiful city in Turkey

Sunset over Istanbul, one of the most beautiful places in Turkey.

A melting pot of cultures in the truest sense of the term, Istanbul has to be one of the most beautiful cities in Turkey. It’s a transcontinental city, meaning you can literally travel between Europe and Asia in a matter of minutes – in fact, it’s as easy as crossing a bridge.

Istanbul’s skyline is dotted not only with the spires and domes of mosques, but also with medieval European architecture. This is because the city was the capital of four major empires throughout the ages, including the Roman Empire, the Byzantine Empire, the Latin Empire and the Ottoman Empire.

But that’s not all. Istanbul is known for its delicious food, cafes that serve up Turkish coffee, traditional baths (hammams), Whirling Dervish ceremonies , vibrant nightlife and unique shopping experiences, which include the biggest covered Bazaar in the country: The one and only Grand Bazaar.

There are countless famous landmarks to see in Istanbul, including the Hagia Sophia, the Blue Mosque, Galata Tower , Topkapi Palace, Dolmabahce Palace, Ortakoy Mosque, and many more. And then there are Istanbul’s hidden corners, including the gorgeous Arnavutkoy neighbourhood , with its Ottoman-era mansion houses.

Get there: Fly into Istanbul Airport. Where to stay: Ayramin Hotel Taksim, boutique hotel 200m from Istiklal Street. Search rooms here .

2. Pamukkale & Hierapolis

Travertine pools at Pumukkale.

The mineral spring waters that have cascaded down this hillside for thousands of years have created an extraordinary sight. Located in Turkey’s Büyük Menderes Valley, the 17 tiered pools of Pamukkale – which means ‘cotton castle’ – make up the most beautiful thermal spring you’ll ever see. You can find the stacked white Travertine terraces overlooking the city of Denizli. 

Back in the day, Pamukkale was one of the most popular thermal pools in Turkey. It was a spa, first used in the 2nd century BC and famous for its healing properties. Today, the perfectly blue water that fills these white limestone bowls still stays at a comfortable 34 degrees Celsius.

No day trip to Pamukkale is complete without a stop in Hierapolis, one of the first thermal spa resorts in the world. This spa city was also founded at the end of the 2nd century and is home to the famous Antique Pool, also known as the ‘Cleopatra Pool’.

Legend has it that the famous Cleopatra herself often bathed in these warm waters, gifted to her by Mark Antony on the occasion of their wedding. The pool itself was once covered by the Roman temple of Apollo, but now the columns lie dormant in the water, adding even more charm to this unique bathing experience.

Get there: 1-hour flight or overnight coach from Istanbul. Search tickets here . Where to stay: Hotel Sahin, simple rooms 20m from the Pamukkale travertines. Search rooms here .

3. Ancient Ephesus

Close-up of ruins at Ephesus, Turkey's celebrated archaeological site.

Did you know Ephesus is considered one of the great outdoor museums of Turkey? In ancient times, Ephesus was a port city and was considered to be one of the most important Greek outposts and trading centres in the entire Mediterranean region. Throughout history, many different forces conquered the city. It even played a role in spreading Christianity.

Today Ephesus is one of the largest and most celebrated Roman archaeological sites in the eastern Mediterranean and remains a popular Christian pilgrimage destination. In 2015, the ancient town was inscribed as a UNESCO World Heritage Site.

Other nearby famous landmarks include the House of the Virgin Mary on Mount Nightingale and the Ruins of the Temple of Artemis, which is one of the Wonders of the Ancient World.

Get there: 1 hour by road from Izmir or 7 hours by coach from Istanbul. Search tickets here . Where to stay: Eliada Hotel (Kusadasi). Search rooms here .

4. Cappadocia

Hot air balloons rise over rock formations in Cappadocia.

If you have an Instagram account, then you’ve probably already seen the iconic photos of hot air balloons soaring over unique landforms in Cappadocia.

Located just outside the town of Goreme in the south-centre of Turkey, Cappadocia is known for its otherworldly, cone-like rock formations. As well as the ‘fairy chimneys’, the landscape is dotted with magnificent rock-cut monasteries including Selime Monastery, a popular sunset spot.

Every morning, 100-150 hot air balloons float over Goreme to create one of the most beautiful scenes in Turkey. But don’t be fooled, hot air ballooning is not the only thing you can do in Cappadocia . This area is known for its outdoor activities, including hiking. Popular sunrise trails can be found in Love Valley, Pigeon Valley and Rose Valley.

Get there: 1.25-hour flight or overnight coach from Istanbul. Search tickets here . Where to stay: Sofa Hotel (Avanos), one of the area’s best cave hotels. Search rooms here . Recommended reading: Learn more about the famous hot air balloon rides in Cappadocia and other things to do in Goreme here .

5. Butterfly Valley

A woman hikes on a ridge above Butterly Valley, a small secluded beach in Turkey.

Only accessible by boat, or via a very difficult trek down from Faralya village, Butterfly Valley is a real hidden gem. If you manage to get here, you’ll find its one of the best off-the-beaten-path experiences in Turkey.

The valley takes its name from the roughly 100 species of butterflies found in the area, including the endemic orange, black and white Jersey Tiger. The Turkish Government declared the 86,000sqm valley a preservation area in 1987 to protect the butterflies and the local flora.

With lush greenery, waterfalls and a sandy cove, this whole area is perfect for hiking. Those that make their way to the water’s edge are often looking to slow down and connect with nature. On the shoreline you’ll find a campsite with a beach bar that serves beers and grilled fish.

Get there: 1 hour by road from Fethiye.

6. Bodrum: One of the most beautiful places in Turkey

The sun sets over the pretty Turkish city of Bodrum.

Often called the ‘St. Tropez of Turkey’, this beautiful resort town is located on a peninsula enveloped by shimmering sapphire and turquoise waters. Bodrum is most famous for its array of sandy beaches – more than 60 in total.

With a unique mix of archaeological sites, attractions, nightlife and culture, Bodrum is an alluring destination for travellers of all types, not just sun-seekers. It also happens to be surprisingly affordable if you’re savvy about where to stay.

If you’re a history buff, then one of the highlights of the city is the waterfront-located Bodrum Castle. This UNESCO World Heritage Site is not only visually beautiful but also packs a historical punch. Inside the castle you will find the Underwater Archeology Museum, which features a variety of artefacts unearthed from the seabed. Another highlight is the Mausoleum of Mausolus, one of the Seven Wonders of the Ancient World.

Get there: 1-hour flight or overnight coast from Istanbul. Search tickets here . Where to stay: Ena Boutique Hotel, overlooking Bodrum Castle. Search rooms here .

7. Mount Ararat

Hay stacks in a field against a backdrop of a snowcapped Mount Ararat.

Mythical Mount Ararat is actually two separate peaks, both of which are dormant volcanoes. Their summits are snow-capped throughout the year. The thing that makes Ararat so famous is that it’s believed to be the mountain on which Noah and his ark landed during the great flood.

If you ‘re looking to do some trekking , climbing Mount Ararat doesn’t require much technical skill as most of the path is quite easy. The biggest challenge, however, is the altitude, as it is over 5,000m high. The trek takes around 8-9 hours.

Get there: 3 hours by road from Kars. Where to stay: Tehran Boutique Hotel (Dogubayazit). Search rooms here .

8. Kas: The prettiest village in Turkey

Historic architecture in the beautiful town of Kas.

Another place where you can escape the hustle and bustle, the old fishing village of Kas is one of the most beautiful places in Turkey. This seaside town offers a cool combination of ancient history that traces back to the Lycian kingdom plus modern leisure activities that you can enjoy around its twin harbours.

One of the more interesting sites in Kas is the Lycian Rock Tombs (Likya Kaya Mezarlari), which mirror similar tombs found in other parts of Turkey. According to Atlas Obscura , the Lycians believed their dead were carried to the afterlife by magic winged creatures, thus they placed them in geographically high places such as the cliffside. Some of these tombs can be seen just above the Old Town in Kas, including the King’s Tomb, which is located at the top of the bazaar street in the heart of the old town.

Kas is also known for its gorgeous whitewashed houses and cobblestone streets that lead down to white-sand beaches.

Quick tip: Be sure to visit Kaputaş Beach. If you’re into exploring the underwater world, then head to the island of Kekova.

Get there: 1.25-hour flight or overnight coach from Istanbul. Search tickets here . Where to stay: Luna Kas, beachfront hotel with a pool. Search rooms here .

9. The Blue Lagoon (Oludeniz)

Turkey's blue lagoon, a natural bay.

Oludeniz is known all around the world as Turkey’s Blue Lagoon because of its perfectly aquamarine waters. The natural cove is formed by a long peninsula that curves around the Mediterranean coastline, creating a giant swimming hole reminiscent of Croatia’s Adriatic coast .

One of the most popular activities at the Blue Lagoon is obviously to pull up a beach chair and enjoy the sun in between fresh dips in the ocean’s calm waters. If you’re an active traveller, then this beach is one of Turkey’s best spots for paragliding due to the amazing views of the lagoon and surrounding cove.

The Lycian Way, Turkey’s famous long-distance hike, passes through this area.

Get there: 20 minutes by road from Fethiye. Where to stay: Harbour Suites (Fethiye). Search rooms here .

10. Koprulu Canyon

Aerial view of the turquoise waters running through Koprulu Canyon in Turkey.

Koprulu Canyon is both a canyon and a national park in the province of Antalya. It’s also Turkey’s most popular water sports area.

The canyon trails for 14km along the Koprulu river , its rock walls towering to a maximum height of 400m. The surrounding park is home to a rich diversity of flora including pine, fir, and oak trees, and even wild olives. It also hosts the largest cypress forest in Asia Minor.

Highlights include whitewater rafting on the river Oprucay, visiting archaeological sites and historic Roman bridges nestled in the park, hiking and even camping.

Get there: 1.5 hours by road from Antalya.

View of the city skyline in Ankara, a beautiful city in Turkey.

Ankara might not be Turkey’s most famous city, but it is the nation’s capital. A mecca for Turkish food and a centre for the performing arts, music and dance, Ankara is a dream destination for culture-focused travellers who want to sink their teeth into Turkish traditions.

Kemal Ataturk, the first president of Turkey who was born in Thessaloniki , declared Ankara the capital in 1923. His mausoleum, Anitkabir, sits prominently above the city centre as a hilltop tribute to his role in shaping modern Turkey.

Don’t miss the world-class Museum of Anatolian Civilizations, which documents the region’s preclassical history in stunning detail. The Citadel (Kale) neighbourhood is the most charming part of town for a wander, with dozens of cafes, craft workshops and boutiques nestled inside quaint red-roofed houses.

Get there: 1.25-hour flight or overnight coach from Istanbul. Search tickets here . Where to stay: Divan Cukurhan, one of Turkey’s finest boutique hotels. Search rooms here .

12. Lake Van

An Armenian monastery perched on an island in Lake Van, Turkey.

One of Turkey’s largest lakes, Lake Van, is located in the eastern part of the country close to the cities of Erzurum and Kars. Formed by tectonic movements, the water is naturally high in saline. In the 11th century, it formed a land border between the East Roman Empire and the Turko-Persian Seljuk Empire.

The city of Van on the lake’s eastern edge is a natural jumping-off point for enjoying this sublime landscape. Nearby, the abandoned 15th century Ktuts monastery sits on a tiny island, creating one of the area’s most striking scenes. The Armenian Apostolic edifice sits on Akdamar Island just off the coast and can be accessed by ferry for an up-close look.

For the perfect sunset spot, head to Van Fortress. Find more exciting things to do in Van here .

Get there: 4 hours by road from Kars. Where to stay: RÖNESANS LİFE HOTEL (Van). Search rooms here .

13. Trabzon & the Black Sea Coast

Drinking a glass of tea with a view over a small lake on Turkey's Black Sea coast.

Though not as famous as the Turquoise Coast, Turkey’s Black Sea Coast is another popular tourist destination that comes alive in the warmer months. As well as white sand beaches, you’ll find dramatic cliffs and panoramic views.

The city of Trabzon is a good base for exploring the countless small seaside resort towns that run up and down the seashore. Breathtaking mountain peaks rise us behind the water, framing the beaches beautifully. This is Turkey’s tea tourism capital, so you simply must sample the local leaves while you’re in town!

There are plenty of treasures to be found in the hills as well, including Soumela Monastery (AKA Sumela Monastery) and Uzungol, a picturesque lakeside village at the edge of the Kackar Mountains.

Get there: 1.5-hour flight or overnight coach from Istanbul. Search tickets here . Where to stay: Radisson Blu Hotel Trabzon. Search rooms here .

14. Gaziantep

An old fortification in Gazantep, Turkey.

If you are a foodie, then this one’s for you! Gaziantep is one of the oldest settlements in the region, with roots that go back more than 10,000 years. This is a city where ancient history meets culinary culture .

If you need proof: Gaziantep was added to the UNESCO Creative Cities Network as a city of gastronomy in 2015. Between the fresh produce, wonderful desserts, delicious sauces and blends of flavours, there are more than 400 local specialties to try in Gaziantep – so what will you try first?

Get there: 1.5-hour flight or overnight coach from Istanbul. Search tickets here . Where to stay: Anadolu Evleri, historic hotel in the centre. Search rooms here .

15. Antalya

A long coastal peninsula in Antalya, Turkey.

Antalya, one of the most beautiful cities in Turkey, is also the hub of the Turkish Riviera and is the largest settlement on the country’s Mediterranean coast.

This is an urban metropolis much like Istanbul but with the kind of laid-back charm only a city with world-renowned sandy beaches can offer. A beautiful history lies beneath the surface: Antalya is dotted with mosques, churches, and a Turkish bath from ancient times designed in the Greco-Turkish style.

Be sure to set aside plenty of time for visiting Kaleiçi, the city’s historic old town. Before Antalya was one of Turkey’s top resort destinations, it was the ancient city of Attalia. The old town has structures dating back from the Roman, Byzantine, Seljuk, Ottoman and even modern Turkish republican eras. It is the perfect mix of old and new and should not be missed – it ‘s also incredibly walkable as it falls within an area of one square kilometre.

Get there: Fly into Antalya Airport (1.25-hour flight from Istanbul) or overnight coach. Search tickets here . Where to stay: Sibel Pension, traditional guesthouse with panoramic sea views. Search rooms here .

Top 10 hidden gems in Turkey

16. ishak pasha palace: a hidden gem in turkey.

Ishak Pasa Palace, a large walled complex in Eastern Turkey, lit up at night.

One of Turkey’s most striking but lesser-visited historical sites, the Ishak Pasha Palace is located in the country’s far east, close to the borders of Iran and Armenia . Commissioned in 1784 by the Kurdish Sanjak Chief Ishak Pasha, it’s a rare example of an Ottoman-period palace that has stood the test of time.

The vast complex combines Ottoman, Seljuk, Persian and Armenian architectural styles to perfectly reflect the layers of culture and history that define this part of Turkey. Inside, visitors can admire the beautiful facades, a mosque, opulent ceremonial halls, arched gates and a mausoleum.

The Ishak Pasha Palace cuts a striking figure against a backdrop of mountain peaks, with the city of Doğgubeyazit stretched out in the valley below.

Quick tip: This part of Eastern Turkey experiences heavy snowfall in winter , so it’s preferable to visit in late spring or summer.

17. Alacati: A charming alternative to Cesme

Historic stone houses in Alacati, a beautiful village and alternative to Cesme.

Located on the Aegean Coast close to Izmir, Alacati is a little slice of blue-and-white paradise. If you want to walk relatively quieter laneways and experience sleeping inside an authentic stone house, Alacati is a good alternative to the more-popular Cesme.

Charming stone houses draped in bougainvillaea flowers and cobbled streets make this one of the most traditional towns in Turkey. There is plenty to do in Alacati to warrant staying for a few nights, from boat trips and windsurfing to summiting the nearby 16th-century Cesme Castle. But your time might be best spent simply weaving your way between cute restaurants and bars that serve local wine.

Subtle differences in the shape and layout of Alacati’s historic houses reveals the story of their owners: Homes that belonged to Ottoman Greek families have an enclosed balcony and cumba alcove window, and are usually painted in violet or Aegean blue. Besides the architecture, windmills and street murals add to Alacati’s appeal.

Get there: 1 hour by road from Izmir. Where to stay: Gaia Alacati, stunning rooms inside an authentic stone house. Search rooms here .

18. Safranbolu: One of the best small towns in Turkey

Orange rooftops in the prettiest Turkish town of Safranbolu.

If you’re on the hunt for Turkey’s cutest small town, look no further than Safranbolu. Located in the Black Sea region on a former tributary of the Old Silk Road , Safranbolu used to be a centre for growing and trading saffron. Hence the name, which combines the name of the precious spice and the Greek word polis , meaning ‘city’.

The town revolves around Çarşı district, where hundreds of perfectly preserved Ottoman houses line charming cobbled streets. This style of architecture can be seen across the old Ottoman world, from Berat in Albania to Plovdiv in Bulgaria . Safranbolu’s houses are among the finest in the region – no wonder the entire town was inscribed as a UNESCO Site in 1994. More than 1000 other registered historical artifacts can be found on Safranbolu’s streets, including an ancient sundial.

The 17th-century Cinci Han – once a caravanserai – now provides visitors with sweeping views from its rooftop, while the restored Tarihi Cinci Hamam offers the chance to experience a traditional 17th-century bathhouse.

Get there: 6-hour coach from Istanbul. Search tickets here . Where to stay: Mehves Hanim Konagi, design hotel in a heritage Ottoman mansion. Search rooms here .

19. Mount Nemrut: A lesser-known archaeological site

Stone statues on Mount Nemrut, a lesser-visit archaeological site in Turkey.

Well-known among Turkish people but still relatively obscure on the world stage, Mount Nemrut is a true hidden gem. Located in south-eastern Turkey within Mount Nemrut National Park, this 2,100-metre-tall peak is one of the highest in the country.

Majestic as it may be, it’s not the natural landscape that makes Mount Nemrut memorable – rather, it’s the area’s ancient ruins. Recognised by UNESCO as the royal tomb of Antiochus, the site dates to the 1st century BC. Huge limestone heads now strewn across the volcanic soil once topped seated statues depicting the Greek and Persian gods. At some point in history the pantheon was ransacked and the statues desecrated, creating the otherworldly scene you see today.

Often referred to as the ‘Throne of the Gods’, Nemrut Park has many more archaeological treasures to discover, including burial sites, Roman bridges , and the ruins of ancient cities associated with the ancient Kingdom of Commagene.

Get there: 1.5 hours by road from Adiyaman. Where to stay: Nemrut Kervansaray Hotel, historic property and closest option to the top of Mount Nemrut. Search rooms here .

20. Mardin: An ancient city in Anatolia

A rooftop view of Mardin, one of the most beautiful hidden gems in Turkey.

Floating on a rocky outcrop above the Mesopotamian plain, the city of Mardin in Anatolia is both a time capsule and a living library of history, archaeology and religious heritage. Better still, it’s almost completely free of mass-tourism.

Fashioned almost entirely from locally mined, buff-coloured limestone, the city emerges from the landscape as if it were a natural rock formation. The narrow streets are bristling with traditional houses – take note of the local building style, which favours sloping facades and big courtyards – interspersed with historic buildings and little workshops belonging to the city’s Syrian Orthodox silversmiths.

Climb up to the top of the ridge for stunning views of the mountain village and surrounding grasslands from the citadel. On a clear day, you might be able to see all the way to the Syrian border.

There is immense beauty in Mardin’s diversity: The proliferation of churches and mosques belonging to different denominations attest to the area’s long and storied history. Be sure to visit the Meryem Ana Syriac Catholic Church (1895), the Surp Kevork Armenian Apostolic Church, the Mor Hirmiz Chaldean Catholic Church, and the Mor Petrus and Pavlus Assyrian Protestant Church.

Get there: 2-hour flight from Istanbul or 4 hours by road from Gaziantep. Where to stay: Maridin Hotel, stunning suites set in a historic stone building with rooftop terraces, Turkish baths and a pool inside a cave! Search rooms here .

21. Konya: Home of the Whirling Dervishes

A Whirling Dervish in Konya, Turkey's spiritual heartland.

Konya is known throughout Turkey and the world for one thing: As the home of the Islamic Mevlevi Order, AKA the Whirling Dervishes . As the last residence of Rumi, the Sufi sect was founded here in Turkey’s spiritual heartland back in 1273.

One of the top things to do in Konya is of course to enjoy an authentic Whirling Dervishes experience. Semas take place on weekends at the Mevlana Cultural Centre. The Mevlana Museum is very much worth visiting if you want to learn more about Dervish traditions – or for a fully immersive cultural experience, attend the Mevlana Festival, which is held every December.

Other points of interest include the myriad of beautiful mosques and the Konya Tropical Butterfly Garden.

Get there: 1-hour flight from Istanbul or 3 hours by road from Ankara. Where to stay: Konya Dervish Hotel, cosy rooms inside a 200-year-old Ottoman house. Search rooms here .

22. Amasra: A laid-back fishing village on the Black Sea

Amasra, a cute Turkish village of fishermen on the Black Sea Coast.

The fishing village of Amasra is a somewhat peaceful place to retreat from the crowds that descend on Turkey’s Black Sea Coast every summer. Small sandy beaches, restaurants serving fresh fish, and boat trips to the two nearby islands, Big Island and Rabbit Island, are among the most popular activities on offer.

Curvaceous Amasra takes its form from the natural harbour at its centre. The Roman-era Amasra Castle overlooks the bay, with a tide of little red roofs running down the hill to meet the inky waters of the Black Sea.

Get there: 5.5 hours by road from Istanbul. Where to stay: Amasra Kerem Apart, self-contained beach apartment with panoramic terrace views. Search rooms here .

23. Aladaglar National Park: Crimson Peaks & waterfalls

Aladaglar National Park, a beautiful nature area in Turkey.

The perennially snow-capped mountains of Aladaglar National Park are a popular destination for skiing in winter and for trekking in the warmer months. The highest peaks in the park – there are no less than four that tower above 3,700 metres – command views of both the Black Sea and the Mediterranean.

The Ala-Daglar range extends over four provinces in central Turkey and offers some of the country’s best alpine hiking and mountaineering. One of the most beautiful spots here is the Kapuzbasi Waterfalls and glacier ponds, which offer cool relief for trekkers during summer.

Sunset in Aladaglar National Park is something else. Known as the ‘Crimson Mountains’ in Turkish, the Ala-Daglar are graced by a brilliant scarlet flush every evening, painting a truly magnificent picture.

Get there: 2 hours by road from Kayseri. Where to stay: Taurus Guest House, simple rooms and Turkish food prepared from organic ingredients at the edge of the park in Cukurbag. Search rooms here .

24. Sirince: Turkey’s breakfast village

Sirnice, a popular hill top town near Izmir in Turkey.

One of the best things to do in Turkey is eat a lavish kahvalti spread breakfast – and one of the best places for breakfast in the entire country is in picturesque Sirince.

This small village on a hill is easy to reach from Izmir and less than 30 minutes’ drive from the ancient city of Ephesus. Known for its organic garden produce and the buzzing Sirince Bazaar, chefs here draw on local supplies to furnish some of the most delicious breakfast mezes in the land. There are dozens of cafes and pansiyons on the town’s pedestrian-only streets, each serving up different early morning specialties. Hilltop Sirincem Restaurant & Cafe Pansiyon is one of the most popular.

Come for breakfast, stay for the views! The old-style houses here command gorgeous outlooks from every direction. Spend a couple of slow-paced nights using Sirince as a base for visiting the various sights around the area – and you can enjoy a home-cooked kahvalti every morning!

Get there: 20 minutes by road from Ephesus or 1 hour by road from Izmir. Where to stay: Heaven’s Gate, an idyllic stone-and-wood family home with generous private suites and a pool. Search rooms here .

25. Sanliurfa: The City of Prophets

The mosque and canal in Sanliurfa (Urfa), Turkey's city of Prophets.

Sanliurfa (Urfa) is the ideal place to stay when visiting the world’s oldest temple, Gobekli Tepe. The Neolithic archaeological site is a mere 30 minutes by road from the city. But Urfa has its own charms that make it more than worthy of your time.

Sometimes called ‘the City of Prophets’, legend says that Abraham was born in Urfa. Its relevance to Jewish, Christian and Islamic history makes Sanliurfa a popular pilgrimage site for believers of the three faiths. Many of the city’s most prominent landmarks, including the Pool of Sacred Fish (where Nimrod cast Abraham into the fire), are tied to Biblical history. Take a stroll through the leafy Golbasi Park or explore the warren-like souq. Don’t miss the views from the 9th-century Urfa castle or a visit to the stunning 12th-century Great Mosque.

A must-do in Urfa is to stay at the Palmyra Boutique Hotel, which is set inside a restored palace. The opulent rooms and character-filled hallways and terraces are reason enough to visit Urfa!

Get there: 1.5 hours by road from Gaziantep. Where to stay: Palmyra Boutique Hotel, elegant rooms in the city centre. Search rooms here .

Which of these pretty places in Turkey are you most excited about visiting? What did I miss? Leave your recommendations in the comments below!

Turkey essentials

Here are some of the websites and services I recommend for planning a trip to Turkey. Remember to check out my full list of travel resources for more tips.

FLIGHTS: Find affordable flights to Turkey using the Skyscanner website .

VISAS: Use iVisa to check if you need a tourist visa for Turkey and apply for an expedited visa online.

DOCUMENTATION: Use OneWayFly to obtain proof of onward travel/hotel reservation for your visa application.

TRAVEL INSURANCE: Insure your trip to Turkey with HeyMondo , my preferred provider for single-trip and annual travel insurance.

CAR HIRE: Use the Local Rent platform to hire a car from a local agent. Prices start from as little as 18€ per day.

ACCOMMODATION: Find the best Turkey hotel deals on Booking.com .

CITY TOURS & DAY TRIPS: Browse the Viator website to find the best itineraries and prices for Istanbul food tours, Cappadocia balloon rides and more!

More Turkey inspiration

  • The perfect first-timer’s itinerary for 4 days in Istanbul
  • Essential travel tips for Istanbul
  • Istanbul travel budget
  • Guide to Arnavutkoy , a hidden gem in Istanbul
  • Tips for visiting Istanbul’s Galata Tower
  • Where to go in Turkey in winter

Amazing Information.

Thanks for the great list.

Great list. I would also add Sanliurfa, Mardin and Diyarbakir. I believe they are amazing.

Leave a Reply Cancel reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

  • Subscribe to future posts

Chasing the Donkey

  • Living In Croatia
  • Croatian Recipes
  • Balkan Recipes

Cartoon mascot of a smiling donkey carrying a camera and a backpack with flowers, representing a travel company named "donkey travel the balkans & beyond.

Home > 53 Top Destinations In Turkey: Best Places To Visit In Turkey For All

53 Top Destinations In Turkey: Best Places To Visit In Turkey For All

Post author Nicky

Written by our local expert Nicky

Nicky, originally from the UK, is now a local in Turkey. She moved to Marmaris, Türkiye for love 12 years ago and is now your Turkey travel planner.

Here is your complete guide to all the best places to visit in Turkey, which I have discovered as a local.

This guide has beautiful places in Turkey, from ancient sites, palaces, rock formations, beautiful beaches, hot air ballooning, scenic views, underground cities, amusement parks, and all the most famous places with countless historical landmarks and a seaside town (or 10) for every kind of traveler.

Best Places In Turkey To Visit For Every Kind Of Traveler

  • Beach Resorts

Top Places To Visit In Turkey If You Want To Shop

Places to visit in turkey if you want to party, places to visit in turkey if you want to eat, places to visit in turkey if you want nature.

  • Saklikent National Park Antalya
  • Koprulu National Park
  • Butterfly Valley
  • İztuzu Beach
  • Mount Ararat

Places To Visit In Turkey If You Want History And Archeological Sites

  • City Of Safranbolu
  • Mount Nemrut
  • Göbekli Tepe

Places To Visit In Turkey If You Want Authentic Culture

  • Any village

Places To Visit In Turkey If You Want To Go Off The Beaten Track

  • Northern And Central Turkey
  • Black Sea Coast
  • Gelemis 
  • The Lycian Way

Places To Visit In Turkey If You Like The Cold

  • Uludağ Ski Resort

Places To Visit In Turkey If You Want To Sunbathe

  • South Coast
  • The Blue Lagoon

Skip Ahead To My Advice Here!

Find The Best Places To Visit On The Map

There are so many things to do in Turkey, from the lush greenery stretching from Fethiye to the Anatolia region to the ancient churches and underground cities waiting to be discovered.

Where Are The Best Places To See

You’re wrong if you think that Turkey is all beaches and Istanbul! Turkey is a vast country packed with major cities, towns, villages, beach resorts, and the list goes on.

That means there is something for everyone – and I’ll show you my favorites. My guide offers all the best places in Turkey to visit for history, food, nature, partying, and more.

Sure, not every destination will suit you, but I aim to provide a list so you know what you want to do and experience; then, you can find the ideal place that will suit you best.

If you want to know the best cities to visit in Turkey, jump ahead here .

For instance, if you want to enjoy the nightlife, it’s not a good idea to head somewhere like Adana, Aydin, Trabzon, or Rize. However, my husband and I always find fantastic opportunities to party the night away in Istanbul, Izmir, the province of Antalya, and any beach resort south on the Mediterranean coast .

If you want to enjoy history, you’re probably not going to find what you’re looking for that much in Marmaris (well, we have never). Still, in Istanbul, the largest city in Turkey, you’ll have more history than you can possibly absorb into your brain! With Hagia Sophia, Topkapi Palace, the Bosphorus Strait, and dozens of Turkish baths , to name a few.

It comes down to what you want and then figuring out where you want to go.

Let me give you some ideas on where to go in Turkey…

We’ve got the low down on the best places to visit in Turkey to shop!

1. Istanbul And Izmir

Best Places In Turkey To Visit For Every Kind Of Traveler - Istanbul Bazaar

You can find everything in Istanbul —in fact. Taksim is the ideal spot for high-street stores, but there are also huge malls across the city, such as Cevahir and the Mall of Istanbul .

Izmir is also a great shopping spot , with several other malls and plenty of your international names. If you want traditional souvenirs , you’ll find these in most places, but you can’t beat Istanbul’s Grand Bazaar for choice and experience!

  • Guide To Istanbul
  • Guide To Izmir

We’ve compiled a list of the best places in Turkey to party.

2. Istanbul – Izmir – Antalya – Beach Resorts

best places to visit in turkey during summer

Most people are surprised when they see the amount of nightlife in Turkey . Sure, it’s not everywhere you look, and some of the smaller cities and towns still tend to be more traditional in terms of beer houses, mainly for men, etc., but you’ll find many International and modern bars, too.

Taksim and Besiktas in Istanbul are ideal for party fans , but Izmir and the Antalya Province will tick your boxes, too. Taksim is home to some seriously loud nightclubs if that’s what you’re after!

Alternatively, the beach resorts on the Mediterranean Sea , such as Marmaris , Gumbet, Bodrum, and Alanya, also have plenty of bars and nightclubs.

  • Istanbul Nightlife
  • Where To Stay In Izmir
  • Best Beach Towns On The Turkish Coast

If you like to eat, here are the best places to visit in Turkey .

Traditional Turkish Drink Raki, Salgam (Turnip Juice) with Adana Kebab

Adana is a beautiful city of contrasts, where ancient traditions meet modernity. Enjoy a relaxing boat ride along the Seyhan River and visit the Grand Mosque’s striking architecture. Don’t forget to savor Adana kebabs , renowned for their delicious blend of flavors.

  • Guide To A Turkish Breakfast
  • What To Eat In Turkey
  • How To Tip In Turkey

4. Istanbul

A pink sky over Istanbul city at sunset from Calmica

There is nothing you won’t find here, including traditional Turkish food. Turkish food all over the country is delightful , and if you can head to a small village, be sure to try the homemade fare there.

You need to chow down in Istanbul and not miss trying the street food , as it’s not only cheap but also super filling.

  • Lesser Known Istanbul Street Food
  • Best Rooftop Restaurants & Bars In Istanbul
  • Where To Eat In Istanbul

Nature lovers, take note; here are the places in Turkey to head to to get your dose of lush greenery.

5. Saklikent National Park Antalya Or Cappadocia

Best Places To Stay In Cappadocia, Turkey

One of the most iconic travel photos worldwide is one of a hot air balloon ride over Cappadocia , which is a true must-visit. The unique landscape around here is something to behold, and the so-called ‘fairy chimneys’ formed by years of rock erosion are genuinely magnificent. You can even stay in a traditional cave hotel!

Alternatively, or possibly also, head to Antalya’s Saklikent National Park. You can go canyoning, rock climbing, or sailing down the river, but whatever you choose to do, it’s genuinely breathtaking.

  • Cappadocia Hot Air Balloon Guide
  • The Best Cappadocia Tours
  • Where To Stay In Cappadocia
  • Nearest Airport To Cappadocia

6. Koprulu National Park

Nature enthusiasts will find paradise in Koprulu National Park. Raft down the Köprüçay River through stunning canyons or go hiking amidst pine forests. The park’s natural beauty and outdoor activities make it an excellent destination for adventure seekers.

7. Pamukkale

How To Get From Pamukkale To Cappadocia - Sunset at Pamukkale

Its name means “cotton castle” in Turkish; Pamukkale is one of Turkey’s best tourist attractions that everyone will love, from kids to the most well-traveled people.

Whether you’re into nature or not, you’ll undoubtedly be impressed by the extraordinary features of this vast thermal spring. This natural UNESCO World Heritage Site is in inland southeastern Turkey but is a great day trip for major coastal cities.

Millennia of endless water flow and mineral deposits have created a stunning collection of travertine terraces, pure water, and snow-white limestone shimmering in the Turkish sun. Since antiquity, people have visited these hot springs and pools when it was the location of the Roman city of Hierapolis (Holy City).

Pamukkale Turkey - Family

Pamukkale is easily one of the best places to go in Turkey for a day trip from the coastal resorts. Although the terraces and pools are off-limits to visitors nowadays, you can still see them up close on footpaths. The on-site Roman ruins and museums are worth visiting , too.

  • Guide To Pamukkale
  • Best Thermal Hotels In Pamukkale
  • How To Get From Pamukkale To Cappadocia

Akyaka ,Turkey,

Nestled on Turkey’s southwestern coast, Akyaka is a hidden gem that beckons travelers with its serene charm. This picturesque town is a paradise for nature enthusiasts and water sports lovers.

The crystalline waters of the Azmak River wind their way through Akyaka, offering opportunities for kayaking and paddleboarding. Stroll along the charming boardwalk and indulge in fresh seafood at waterfront restaurants. Akyaka’s unique architecture, with its traditional Mugla houses , adds to the town’s allure.

For a perfect day in Akyaka, explore the surrounding pine forests and soak in the natural beauty of this coastal paradise.

  • Why You Need To Visit Akyaka

Brands We Use And Trust

Places to visit in turkey if you want history.

So, where are the best places to visit in Turkey to learn about history?

9. Istanbul

best places to visit in turkey during summer

Turkey is packed with history; if you want to study natural history, you should head to the southeastern region. While traveling there isn’t forbidden by any means and is relatively safe provided you’re careful , certain restrictions and places are not ideal.

Many governments warn their citizens not to go to the border area with Syria, for example. This is quite a shame because Mardin, which isn’t too far from the Syrian border, is one of Turkey’s oldest and most historic sites .

Despite that, Istanbul is the best place to go in Turkey for history, hands down, if not the entire world. There are more historical places to see in Turkey than you will ever have time to visit on one vacation!

  • The Istanbul Museum Pass – Save Time & Money
  • Whirling Dervishes In Istanbul
  • 17 Amazing Mosques In Istanbul Not To Miss
  • Best Museums In Istanbul

10. Çannakale

Things To Do In Gallipoli - Reasons To Go To Gallipoli - Tombs

Çannakale, located on the shores of the Dardanelles, offers a gateway to ancient Troy and the historic Gallipoli Peninsula. History buffs will be enthralled by the remnants of the ancient city of Troy, where the famous Trojan War unfolded. The Gallipoli Battlefields, a poignant reminder of World War I, is a solemn but essential stop for those interested in history.

Çannakale’s waterfront promenade provides breathtaking views of the strait, and the city’s warm hospitality ensures a memorable stay. Experience the intersection of history and natural beauty in Çannakale.

11. Ancient City Of Ephesus

Bodrum Vs. Marmaris - Ephesus day trip

Located near the present-day town of Selçuk on Turkey’s southeast coast , Ephesus is one of the world’s most magnificent ancient ruins and is one of the top places to go in Turkey for ruins.

This ancient Greek city dates back to the 10th century BC, after which it grew to become one of the twelve cities of the Ionian League in Classical Greece . The Roman Empire conquered this stunning city in the 2 nd century BC.

Celcius Library - Ephesus Turkiye

Now, the ruins of this ancient city are a UNESCO World Heritage Site ; Ephesus is easily one of the best sites in Turkey to visit ancient architecture and history. It was home to the fabled Temple of Artemis, one of the Seven Wonders of the Ancient World.

Simultaneously, other iconic buildings include the imposing Library of Celsus, the Gate of Augustus, and the Tomb of John of the Apostle. If you only have time to visit one historic site in Turkey, this should be it.

  • What To See & Do In Ephesus
  • Tours From Istanbul To Ephesus
  • Getting From Izmir To Ephesus

12. Aspendos

Best places to visit in Turkey - Aspendos

Another spectacular Turkish site dating from antiquity is Aspendos. This ancient Greco-Roman city is near Antalya on the southern coast of Turkey. There’s plenty of history to discover and learn about here, making it one of the best places in Turkey for history buffs to visit. The absolute star main attraction, however, is the massive Aspendos Theater.

One of the best-preserved theaters from antiquity, the Aspendos Theater, dating from the 2 nd century AD, once seated no fewer than 12,000 spectators. It is exceptional for its superb acoustics and impressive architectural design. The Theater of Aspendos is even more remarkable because it’s still in use today—it hosts the annual Aspendos International Opera and Ballet Festival.

13. City Of Safranbolu

City Of Safranbolu - UNESCO TURKEY

Another one of the many beautiful places in Turkey , the old City of Safranbolu, was an essential stop on the main east-west trade route between Europe and Asia in the 13th century. UNESCO designated it a World Heritage Site for its significance to historic trade and its well-preserved buildings.

The Çarşı District is home to beautiful Ottoman Empire architecture, including hundreds of red-roofed traditional houses that line cobblestone streets. Other top attractions in Safranbolu include the 17th-century caravansary of Cinci Han and the restored Tarihi Cinci Hamam bathhouse.

  • Day Trips Ideas From Istanbul

14. Mount Nemrut

Hidden Gems In Turkey - Stone head statues at Nemrut Mountain in Turkey

By now, you’ve probably noticed that several of the best places to visit in Turkey are historical or cultural sites. And here we have yet another historic UNESCO World Heritage Site in Turkey. Mount Nemrut is no different.

Also known as Nemrut Dağ, Mount Nemrut is situated in southeastern Turkey and is one of the tallest mountains east of the Taurus mountain range.

This striking mountain is topped with several ruins, buildings, and famous statues. It is assumed to be the mausoleum of Antiochus, the former late-Hellenistic king of Commagene, which originated after Alexander’s empire fell. Seeing the temple tomb’s colossal statues and sculpted slabs is an experience that makes the trip out there more than worth it.

  • Top Landmarks In Turkey
  • Should You Visit Southeastern Turkey

So, where are the best places to visit in Turkey to experience culture?

15. Trabzon

Cities in Turkey - Trabzon - Sumela Monastery

If you’re looking for a breathtaking Turkish city to add to your travel list, look no further than Trabzon. This Black Sea gem in northeast Turkey is known for its stunning natural scenery , rich history, and delicious cuisine.

One of the must-see sights in Trabzon is the Sumela Monastery. Nature lovers will also enjoy exploring the Uzungol Plateau , hiking through the Altindere Valley National Park, and relaxing at one of the many scenic beaches.

No visit to Trabzon would be complete without sampling some of the local dishes like hamsi (anchovies), karadeniz pidesi (black sea bread), and kuyu kebabi (lamb cooked underground).

So, if you’re looking for a city with everything – from beautiful landscapes to tasty food – make sure to put Trabzon, Turkey, on your radar !

  • Guide To Trabzon

16. Sanliurfa

Cities in Turkey- Gobeklitepe, Sanliurfa / Turkey

Sanliurfa, often called the “City of Prophets,” is a unique place of historical and spiritual significance. According to local legend, it is the birthplace of the biblical prophet Abraham. Visit the vibrant bazaars of Sanliurfa, where you can shop for colorful textiles, spices, and handicrafts.

The city’s stunning Balikligol (Pool of Sacred Fish) is a serene oasis surrounded by gardens and historical sites. Witness the mesmerizing dance of the sacred fish, which is said to bring good luck. As you explore Sanliurfa, you’ll be immersed in a city where legends from ancient times and modern life coexist harmoniously.

17. Diyarbakir

DIYARBAKIR, TURKEY - Markets

Diyarbakir, located in southeastern Turkey, is a city of ancient walls and rich traditions. The city’s iconic black basalt walls, dating back to Roman times, encircle the old town and stand as a symbol of its resilience through centuries.

Explore the bustling, narrow streets of Diyarbakir, where you can savor traditional Kurdish cuisine. Don’t miss the chance to taste the delectable mutton dishes and baklava. The city’s Grand Mosque and the Hevsel Gardens along the Tigris River are must-visit attractions. Diyarbakir’s cultural heritage and warm hospitality make it a popular place for those seeking authenticity.

Cities in Turkey - Konya, Beysehir stone bridge view in town.Historic stone bridge on Beysehir lake

Konya is a city in Turkey that is full of history and culture. There are many fun things to see and do in Konya, making it a great place to visit. Some top sights include the Mevlana Museum, the Alaeddin Mosque, and the Selimiye Mosque.

There are also plenty of outstanding restaurants and shops to explore. If you’re looking for a city full of character and culture, Konya is definitely worth a visit .

  • How To Get From Istanbul To Konya

Cities in Turkey - Mardin, Turkey

Mardin, perched on a hilltop in southeastern Turkey , is a captivating blend of history and culture. The city’s ancient stone buildings, adorned with intricate carvings, transport you back in time.

Explore the narrow alleyways of the old town, where the scent of spices fills the air from bustling bazaars. The iconic Mardin Houses , made of local beige stone, offer a glimpse into the region’s architectural heritage. Don’t miss the chance to savor traditional Mardin cuisine, which combines flavors from Arabic and Turkish influences. As you wander through Mardin, you’ll discover a city where history and tradition harmoniously coexist.

20. Any Village

Best Places In Turkey To Visit For Every Kind Of Traveler - Ankara - Kocatepe Mosque

Many tour operators will take you to local villages and show you the local way of life . If you visit cities and towns , you’ll surely see some of them, but they’re usually touched by modern life and have changed a little. You must visit a local village to see how people live off the land, focus all their time and energy on family, and value communities. The food is also excellent!

Turkish people, by nature, are very welcoming, and hospitality is high on their list. If you meet a local family and they invite you to their home, you’re more than blessed in terms of the culinary delights that will come your way, too!

The good news is that many villages are close to the main tourist resorts on the south coast of the Turkish Riviera, so you can visit them if you hire a car.

Get off the beaten track and visit one of these options, which are among Turkey’s best places to visit.

21. Northern And Central Turkey

Best Black Sea Beaches -Amasra

Turkey is a safe country, and provided you listen to advice, e.g., the advice we gave before about not going close to the Syrian border; you’re more than fine. This is a huge country, and it’s exceptionally welcoming. Thanks to a very high-quality long-distance bus network, traveling around Turkey is straightforward, meaning you can go from place to place relatively cheaply.

If you want to leave the main tourist resorts and cities, head to the Black Sea Coast , with destinations in Turkey such as Rize and Trabzon. Do be aware that during the winter , however, this part of Turkey sees heavy snowfall, but it’s beautiful to see! Central Turkey is also a delight, and this is where the capital city of Ankara is situated.

  • Guide To The Black Sea Coast
  • Surfing The Black Sea

22. Gaziantep

Visit a museum in Southeast Turkey featuring a mesmerizing mosaic floor and majestic pillars - Gaziantep, Turkey - April 2022: Zeugma Mosaic Museum

Gaziantep, often called the “City of Gastronomy,” is a culinary haven in southeastern Turkey. Renowned for its delectable dishes and rich culinary heritage, Gaziantep offers a feast for the senses. Sample the world-famous Baklava, prepared with layers of thin pastry, pistachios, and honey, at local bakeries.

Explore the Gaziantep Castle and the Zeugma Mosaic Museum, which houses remarkable ancient mosaics. The bustling markets of Gaziantep are perfect for indulging in traditional sweets and savory delights. With its culinary delights and historical sites, Gaziantep promises a delightful journey for foodies.

Most beautiful mosques in Turkey - Selimye Mosque - Edirne

Edirne, a city steeped in history, is a treasure trove of architectural marvels and cultural richness. Known for its stunning Selimiye Mosque, a UNESCO World Heritage Site, Edirne’s skyline is dominated by its magnificent dome and minarets.

The city’s annual Kirkpinar Oil Wrestling Festival is a testament to its cultural heritage, attracting participants and spectators from all over the world. Edirne’s Ottoman-style bridges, including the Meric River Bridge, offer captivating views and a glimpse into the past. Sample Edirne’s famous liver and meatball dishes at local eateries and immerse yourself in the grandeur of this historic city.

We’ve got the tourist spots in Turkey that are still fun while cold.

Do you think the best places to visit in Turkey are reserved only for the summer months?

Wintertime in Turkey can be magical, a great opportunity to relax, recharge your batteries, and see the traditional way of life. Of course, you can still embrace plenty of hectic action in the large cities, especially Istanbul .

  • Christmas In Turkey
  • Best Things To Do In Istanbul In Winter
  • Istanbul In January
  • Why You Should Visit Turkey In Winter

24. Cappadocia

Cave Hotel Cappadocia Turkey

Did you know that Cappadocia Is open all year round?

This beautiful fairy chimney landscape in Central Turkey is iconic for the hot air balloons flying high at sunrise every day. You might not know that Cappadocia isn’t close, so you can still head there and enjoy the beautiful scenery even when the weather is freezing and the snow is falling.

While hot air balloons are subject to cancellation at any time of year, depending upon weather conditions, it’s more likely to happen during the winter months. Don’t let that stop you, however, as there are many days when flights take off exactly as scheduled!

Even if you can’t get on the balloon, there are many things you can do around Cappadocia, with walking trails, cuisine, museums, archaeological sites , and, of course, the chance to stay in a cave museum!

Winter in Turkey is undoubtedly something you should do. While you might not be able to jump into the sea and get a suntan, you’ll experience something far more valuable – authenticity!

  • How To Enjoy Cappadocia In Winter

Places To Visit In Turkey For All

Things to do in Ankara - Ankara, Turkey - November 09, 2021: Front view of Anitkabir. Editorial shot in Ankara.

Turkey’s capital city, Ankara , is a modern metropolis with a rich history. Explore the awe-inspiring Atatürk Mausoleum and the ancient Roman Temple of Augustus. The city’s museums, vibrant nightlife, and diverse culinary scene offer a glimpse into contemporary Turkish life.

  • Epic Things To Do In Ankara
  • Istanbul To Ankara Train Guide
  • Istanbul Vs. Ankara – Which To Visit

Top Destinations If You Want To Sunbathe

If you want to know where to go in Turkey for the sun, we’ve got you covered (in 50+).

26. South Coast

Best Black Sea Beaches - Sinemorec Rocks - Sile Beach Turkey

Finally, if you want to kick back and relax, get a tan, and enjoy the summer temperatures (although, be warned, they’re hot), you should definitely head south and visit one of the many tourist resorts on the south coast.

  • Things To Do In Kas On Turkey’s Southern Coast

27. Side Antik Kenti

Side Antik Kenti is a seaside archaeological wonder that transports you to the ancient world. Stroll through the well-preserved ruins of temples, theaters, and baths overlooking the Mediterranean Sea. It’s a perfect blend of history, sun, and sea.

The Land of Legends in Belek, Turkey

Belek is a coastal paradise known for its luxurious resorts and pristine beaches. It’s a golfer’s dream destination with world-class golf courses. Relax by the turquoise waters, take a dip in the Mediterranean, or explore the nearby ancient ruins.

Lapped by the Mediterranean and Aegean Coast, you can also choose between some of the most beautiful places in Turkey.

  • Guide To The Turkish Riviera

29. Kusadasi

Kusadasi - Aegean Coast Turkey

Nestled along the stunning Aegean Sea, Kusadasi is a traveler’s paradise . With its crystal-clear waters, Kusadasi offers some of the most breathtaking beaches in Turkey . Beyond the shore, you’ll discover the ancient ruins of Ephesus, where history comes to life. Stroll through the bustling bazaars, savor the local cuisine, and soak in the vibrant atmosphere of this coastal gem.

Bodrum beaches - Ortakent-Yahsi Beach Beach (Yahsi-Yalisi)

Bodrum is a coastal town that effortlessly combines history, culture, and natural beauty. The Bodrum Castle, overlooking the marina, is a must-visit for history enthusiasts. Relax on the pristine beaches during the day, and as the sun sets, immerse yourself in Bodrum’s vibrant nightlife, filled with bars, clubs, and restaurants.

  • Where To Stay In Bodrum
  • Ferry Day Trip From Kos To Bodrum
  • Best Beach Resorts In Bodrum
  • Bodrum Beach Guide

Sailing Turkish Coast - Gumbet, Bodrum, Turkey

If you’re seeking a lively beach destination, Gumbet is the place to be. Known for its energetic atmosphere, Gumbet offers many water sports, beach parties, and vibrant nightlife. During the day, you can explore nearby Bodrum or bask in the sun along the golden shores.

  • Aegean Coast Of Turkey – Izmir, Bodrum & Beyond

32. Icmeler

Icmeler - Ibiza Beach

Tucked away on the southwest Turkish coast, Icmeler is a hidden gem known for its tranquil charm. The beach here is a haven for relaxation, and the town’s friendly locals make you feel right at home. You can leisurely stroll along the palm-lined promenade, indulge in delicious Turkish cuisine, and unwind in this serene coastal retreat. It is always a place where you can really unwind. 

  • Luxury Beach Resorts On The Turkish Riviera

33. Marmaris

Sedir Adasi, Marmaris

Marmaris is a diverse coastal town that caters to all types of travelers. Whether you’re interested in water sports, a boat trip to a secluded cove, or exploring the picturesque old town, Marmaris has it all. Don’t forget to visit the famous Marmaris Castle and enjoy a taste of the local nightlife.

  • Marmaris Or Bodrum – Which Is For You
  • Marmaris Or Antalya – How To Choose
  • Your Guide To Marmaris

Aerial view resort city Alanya in southern coast of Turkey

With its dramatic cliffside castle and two stunning beaches, Alanya is a coastal paradise with a touch of history that never disappoints me. Explore the centuries-old Alanya Castle, offering panoramic views of the coastline, and then relax on Cleopatra Beach, said to be the favored bathing spot of the ancient queen herself. Alanya’s vibrant markets and dining scene add to the charm of this captivating destination.

Not to mention, these cities along the southern coast are perfect for day-tripping to Greece!

  • Alanya Or Antalya – How To Choose
  • Your Guide To Alanya

Turkey Travel Blog_Best Places To Visit In Turkey For Every Type of Traveler

Move This Adventure To Your Inbox & Get An Instant Freebie

Sign Up Image

No spam. Unsubscribe at any time.

Turkey Travel FAQs

Should i go to turkey.

Yes! Turkey is an incredible country that offers diverse sights and delicious food. It is a melting pot of culture, history, and modern-day life.

When is the best time to go to Turkey?

If you want beach time, the best time to visit is from May to the end of September. If you’re more interested in sightseeing and city life, Turkey is a year-round destination.

What are the popular places to visit in Turkey?

While Istanbul is an obvious choice, the southern beach resorts are also bustling during the hottest months.

Where is Turkey?

Turkey is located on the border between Eastern Europe and Asia. It is bordered by eight different countries: Armenia, Iran, Azerbaijan, Georgia, Bulgaria, Greece, Iraq, and Syria.

What is the most beautiful part of Turkey?

All of Turkey is beautiful in different ways. The south coast is particularly home to some of the best towns to visit, and when the sun is shining, it’s blindingly beautiful.

What is Turkey the most famous for?

Turkey is famous for its food, fantastic beaches, centuries-old history, music, and warm welcome to all guests.

Is Turkey safe to visit?

Yes. Turkey is safe like any other country. It is advised to avoid the border areas with Syria and Iraq and to watch your belongings in crowded spaces. 

What are the must-see cities in Turkey?

The must-see cities in Turkey include Istanbul, Izmir, Antalya, and Ankara.

Is Turkey cheap or expensive?

Compared to the rest of Europe, Turkey is considered a cheaper country, though prices have risen a lot in the last 12 months.

What are some of the best places to visit in Turkey?

Turkey offers a variety of incredible destinations to explore. Some of the best places to visit include sun-drenched beaches, lush mountains, vibrant cities, and ancient ruins.

What activities can I try while in Turkey?

In Turkey, you can engage in various activities depending on your interests. You can enjoy water sports at the beaches, go hiking in the mountains, explore bustling markets, indulge in delicious Turkish cuisine, and immerse yourself in the rich cultural heritage of the country.

Are there any recommended places to stay in Turkey?

If you’re looking for accommodation options in Turkey, there are numerous great places to stay. Depending on your preferences, you can choose from luxurious hotels, cozy guesthouses, seaside resorts, or even unique stays like cave hotels in Cappadocia.

How many UNESCO World Heritage Sites are there in Turkey?

Turkey boasts an impressive total of 18 UNESCO World Heritage Sites. These sites showcase the country’s significant historical and cultural landmarks, providing visitors with awe-inspiring experiences.

Whether you are looking for panoramic views, water sports, natural wonders, or small-town feels, you can see that Turkey is the perfect place for everyone to go.

  • What To Pack For Turkey
  • Explore The 7 Geographical Regions Of Turkey
  • Best Hookah Lounges In Istanbul
  • 5 Reasons To Visit Gallipoli, Turkey
  • Top Things To Do In Istanbul
  • How To Get From Istanbul To Cappadocia
  • What To Wear In Turkey: Area-by-Area Guide
  • Things To Do In Cappadocia Other Than Ballooning

Leave a Reply Cancel reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Save my name, email, and website in this browser for the next time I comment.

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed .

Subscribe To Unlock Your FREE Customizable Travel Packing List & All Our Best Tips!

Unlock Your FREE Customizable Travel Packing List!

Subscribe Now For Instant Access To Stress-Free Packing

Journal of Nomads

The 13 best places to visit in Turkey

Where should I travel to in Turkey? Where are the best places to visit in Turkey? We have compiled a list of the best places to visit in Turkey to help ensure that you have the most incredible trip.

We have also included some extra information regarding the best activities to try whilst in Turkey, as well as listing some of the best places to stay in Turkey to help you plan your time in this unique country a little bit easier, see it as your very own Turkey travel guide and let us help you create the trip of a lifetime!

From sun-drenched beaches to lush, forest-covered mountains, vibrant and bustling cities to ancient ruins, Turkey is a country with an incredible amount to offer.

The country boasts a startling 18 UNESCO World Heritage Sites with so many more historical places and sites set to blow your socks off in absolute awe and wonder. A country dripping in history and culture, Turkey has a complete array of stunningly beautiful places awaiting you.

Awesome places to hitchhike in Turkey - Pamukkale - Journal of Nomads

We spent nine months in Turkey so we had plenty of time to visit various locations.

Some of them were mentioned in tourist guides, others were recommended by locals or we discovered them during one of our hitchhiking trips . They all marked us in a very special way and we would love to share those places with you.

Reading Tip: How much does it cost to travel to Turkey?

Disclaimer: Some of the links in this article are affiliate links. If you make a purchase through them, I’ll receive a small commission, at no extra costs for you. This way you’re helping me run this website and writing more informative and awesome guides like this. I only recommend products and services that I like and trust. Thank you!

Turkey Travel Essentials & Resources

  • Turkey Travel Guide: 10 useful things to know before you go
  • Where to go: 13 Beautiful Places to visit in Turkey
  • Travel Costs : Turkey Budget Guide
  • Tours & Experiences: City tours, guided day trips, multiple-day tours
  • Visa: Visa-free or e-visa for most passports – Check the required Turkey travel documents!
  • Getting there: Search for flights to Istanbul, Ankara, Antalya and Izmir in Turkey
  • Where to stay : Find a room in hotels, hostels or guesthouses
  • Travel Insurance: Choose the best travel insurance for Turkey
  • Getting around : Rent a car in Turkey or travel by bus, train or taxi

TABLE OF CONTENTS

Where should I travel to in Turkey – The 13 best places to visit in Turkey

1. Istanbul

Top things to see and do in Istanbul

It’s most likely that you’ll begin your trip in the city of Istanbul , a city that straddles east and west, divided by the Bosphorus Strait that splits the city into two separate parts.

The only city in the world that can lay claim to residence on two different continents (Asia and Europe), Istanbul really is one of the most unique cities in the world. With over 2500 years of traditions, history and incredible landmarks, this city is a complete cultural melting pot.

Istanbul has been the capital of four empires and the remains of each of these empires can still be seen today. Many buildings and landmarks from Istanbul’s opulent past remain intact today and the cultural heritage of the city is highly impressive.

Go and marvel at the beautiful Hagia Sophia , a Byzantine structure that was originally built as a Christian church in the 6th century CE (532–537) under the direction of the Byzantine emperor Justinian I. In later centuries it then became a mosque, a museum, and then a mosque once more.

This building reflects the religious changes that have happened over the centuries, boasting both inscriptions of Islam as well as lavish mosaics of Christianity.

best things to see in Istanbul

The Blue Mosque is another of the city’s world-renowned landmarks, named famously after the blue tiles that surround its walls. Built between 1609 and 1616, this building still holds high importance to the history of the Ottoman Empire.

Daily prayer services still occur in the mosque so why not go and spend some time there, say a prayer and embrace the architectural beauty.

Blue mosque in Istanbul - Best sites to visit in Istanbul

Other top tourist attractions are the Grand Bazaar , the largest covered market in the world, the Topkapi Palace and museum where you can view the imperial collections of the Ottoman Empire and then head up the Galata Tower to take in the view of the cityscape.

things to do in Istanbul

Whether it’s the only destination on your list, Istanbul really is one of the best cities to visit in Turkey.

Reading Tip: Top 17 Things to do in Istanbul – Complete Istanbul City Guide

How to get to Istanbul

The easiest way to get to Istanbul is by plane. Turkish Airlines along with other major airlines have regular daily flights to this remarkable city.

Places to stay in Istanbul

There are hundreds of lovely, well-priced places to stay when visiting Istanbul. We have included a few hotels and guesthouses for less than €50/night below:

  • Atlantis Royal Hotel ( check price and availability here )
  • Sirkeci Ersu Hotel & SPA ( check price and availability here )
  • Ahmet Efendi Konağı ( check price and availability here )

Things to do in Istanbul

We would highly recommend going on a walking tour and you can take one for FREE through Old Istanbul.

You’ll learn all about the incredible history of Istanbul and also be guided to a number of the city’s beautiful landmarks, including the ones we have mentioned above.

Read: T o p 1 7 Things to do in Istanbul

2. Bursa / Cumalikizik

Bursa - Best non-touristic cities to visit in Turkey - Journal of Nomads

Cumalikizik is a UNESCO World Heritage town, 20 minutes from Bursa.

Perched in the hills on the foot of the Uludag Mountain, the cobblestoned and narrow streets of this 700-year-old village remain largely untouched and have been well preserved.

This little village is another one of the many well-visited tourist places in Turkey, with streets lined with traditional houses, the higher you walk up, the less crowded it becomes.

The friendly reputation of the local villagers, some of who have turned their homes into family-run eateries, precedes them and draws you into this charming Ottoman hamlet, offering you a peek into the traditional Turkish way of life.

Bursa, known as ‘Yeşil Bursa’ (Green Bursa) due to the high number of parks and mountains surrounding it, was also once the capital of the Ottoman state.

How to get to Bursa

From Istanbul- A bus will take you 3 1/2-hours and cost you 15TL, just over €1.(Nilüfer Turizm/bus company) (tel. 0224/444-0099)

Things to do around Bursa

On the west side of Bursa, in the village of Çekirge are natural thermal spring baths whose fame has spread throughout the East and the source of all of them is from Mt. Olympus.

Reading Tip: 10 Useful Things to Know before Visiting Turkey

The 13 best places to visit in Turkey

History lovers gather round, you do not want to miss out on visiting the ruins of Ephesus and the surrounding area, which was once an ancient Greek city. It’s not only the biggest area of excavation in the world but also a UNESCO World Heritage Site.

Located just outside of Selçuk, it was once considered to be the most important Greek city and trading center in the Mediterranean region.

Few ancient landmarks stand quite as impressive as the ruins of this ancient city. Immerse yourself in the ancient history of this place, although thousands of years have gone by, it is nearly impossible not to be impressed by the history and remains of this once bustling city.

It’s also worth visiting the Temple of Artemis, Temple of Hadrian, and the Basilica of St John whilst in the area.

Ephesus is open to visitors every day of the week, and visiting hours may vary depending on the summer and winter seasons. The cost to enter the ruins is 60 TL (Turkish Lira) or about $10.

How to get to Ephesus

You can get to Ephesus from Selçuk by dolmuş (minibus) or taxi. They run every half hour between Selçuk bus station and the lower entrance of Ephesus archaeological site and the journey will take about 5-10 mins.

4. Pamukkale

what is the best time to visit Pamukkale

The mineral white forests of petrified water, series of terraced warm pools of water and the numerous waterfalls that connect all these pools together make for a pretty dream-like landscape in Southwestern Turkey.

The terraces have been created from layers of travertine, white sediment that has been deposited by the hot springs that over time have solidified and become solid.

Platforms, cliffs, and terraces have been formed, entirely made up of this sediment, and you can understand why this place is called ‘cotton castle’ in Turkish, as they appear together as some kind of giant, white castle.

What to expect in Pamukkale?

The temperature of the water that flows from the springs is roughly between 35 °C (95° F) to 100 °C (212° F) and you can bathe in mostly all of the 17 springs. They have been drawing visitors since the second century BC and it’s been said that Cleopatra herself bathed in these very pools.

What to see in Pamukkale

Another one of Turkey’s impressive World Heritage Sites, this open-air spa makes for a completely unique and ancient UNESCO experience.

Reading Tip: Things to do in Pamukkale – The Complete Traveler’s Guide to Pamukkale

How to get to Pamukkale

From Istanbul: There are direct flights from Istanbul to Denizli Çardak, the nearest airport to Pamukkale. The cheapest option is then to go by shuttle bus from the airport to Denizli city’s bus station and catch a dolmuş that departs every 15-20 minutes to Pamukkale.

From Selçuk: Take a train to Denizli Çardak and then from there, take a dolmuş the same as mentioned above.

From Cappadocia: Take an overnight bus. They usually depart around 8PM and arrive the next day at 6AM.

Where to stay in Pamukkale

Read The Complete Guide to Pamukkale for our selection of best places to stay whilst visiting Pamukkale.

5. Gelemis /Patara

Awesome places to hitchhike in Turkey - Lycian Way - Patara - Journal of Nomads

Gelemis is a small village completely off the beaten path and untouched by mass tourism. It’s set right at the edge of the coastline in the foothills of the gorgeous Taurus mountains and it’s the perfect place for expat artists in need of some inspiration.

Life here is organized around agriculture and apiculture (beekeeping). People grow all kinds of fruits and vegetables and the landscape is filled with small clusters of beehives.

Next to the village of Gelemis lies an 18km long stretch of beach that can be described not only as one of the most beautiful and unspoiled beaches in all of the Mediterranean but is also the second most important nesting site in Turkey for the endangered loggerhead sea turtles.

Known as Patara, this beach and the surrounding area provide you with an ideal swimming and camping destination, founded by the Lycians during the Roman Empire, it also used to be one of the most important cities and seaports on the Turkish Riviera.

Patara happens to also be the birthplace of Saint Nicholas who was also known as Nikolaos of Myra, a 4th-century Christian saint who would later give rise to the traditional model of Santa Claus. You read that right, the infamous Mr Claus.

There are no tour companies that operate in Patara and everything is local or independent from the pensions where you can stay to the eateries that are run by local families, the only cafe on the beach is run by the local authority with the profits being put back in to support the local area.

The beach remains largely untouched by commercial development due to the city’s few surviving buildings, temples, bathhouses, colonnaded streets and theatre which are incredibly interesting to explore.

Best places to visit in Turkey - Lycian Way - Patara - Journal of Nomads

Patara is also the stage for a unique cultural event that we would recommend to everyone to attend; the annual Nomadic Walk.

Every year, the people of Patara organize a 10 km walk from Delikemer to Patara where the hikers follow the old Roman aqueducts which were used to bring water from Islamlar, a small town in the mountains, to Patara.

This walk also forms part of a 509 km footpath known as the Lycian Way. If you would like to know more about this event and maybe participate, have a look at our article In the Footsteps of the Nomadic Tribes .

Awesome places to hitchhike in Turkey - Lycian Way - Patara - Journal of Nomads

How to get to Patara

Patara is 230 km South-West of Antalya, the easiest way to get there is to follow the coastal highway (highway D4000) through Kaş and Kalkan.

If you’re not in the mood to see the coast and rather see gorgeous mountain landscapes, there is an alternate route that follows highway 3500.

If you’re coming from Fethiye, follow the highway D4000 south for 73 km.

Where to stay in Patara

Hotels and pensions for less than €50/night:

  • St. Nicholas Pension ( check price and availability here )
  • Flower Hotel Patara ( check price and availability here )

6. Myra (Demre)

Awesome places to hitchhike in Turkey - Myra - Journal of Nomads

Myra was an ancient Lycian town that is now known as Demre.  Most of this ancient city has disappeared and all that remains today are its incredible ruins – an enormous Roman theatre, ancient Roman baths, and two huge necropolises that are carved in the vertical rock cliffs.

Awesome places to hitchhike in Turkey - Myra - Journal of Nomads

If you want to experience one of the most unique places to visit in Turkey, Myra ticks that box. 

The tomb of Saint Nicholas is also housed in the center of Demren at St. Nicholas Church, an ancient East Roman basilica church, built in 520 AD. I

t is noted for its remarkable wall frescos, architectural and religious significance and after a nearby river changed its course, the church was filled with silt and was buried but the frescoes remained intact which is why it remains to be one of many great places in Turkey to visit today.

Awesome places to hitchhike in Turkey - Demre - St Nicholas - Journal of Nomads

If you like to see more of this area, check out our video Santa’s Tomb .

How to get to Myra

Demre is located almost halfway between Patara and Antalya. To visit this city just follow the coastal highway (D4000) east of Patara for 87 km.

Awesome places to hitchhike in Turkey -Olympos - Journal of Nomads

The bohemian dream of Olympos is nestled amongst lush, pine forests and is the backdrop of Antalya province’s Mediterranean coast.

This is a truly spectacular place, where overgrown Lycian ruins sit within the surrounding forests, this is the place to come if you’re seeking some peaceful tranquility.

Awesome places to hitchhike in Turkey -Olympos - Journal of Nomads

This ancient area is under protection which means no luxury hotel or resorts have permission to build, instead you have the opportunity to strip things back to nature and spend a night staying in one of the many Kadir Tree Houses and little wooden shacks.

Olympos is also one of the nesting sites for Caretta Caretta loggerhead sea turtles along Turkey’s Southern coast and it’s important to be respectful and follow the guidelines so as to not disturb their ancient nesting cycle during your stay. 

How to get to Olympos

Olympos is located 77 km north of Demre following the coastal highway (D4000).

As you will approach Olympos the highway will start going through a very high mountain pass. If you have time we would definitely recommend stopping to enjoy the view before continuing to the ruins, it’s totally worth it.

Where to stay in Olympos

The most famous way to spend your night here is in one of the many different tree houses scattered throughout the area. Below we have listed a few other accommodation options for you to choose from:

  • Kadir’s Tree Houses (Kadir’in Yeri) are the most famous in Olympos and these were built by the founder of this place Kadir Kaya, 31 years ago. Check here for availability .
  • Bayrams Tree Houses sit much closer to the beach in a quieter location. Nestled next to orange and pomegranate trees, there is also a lounge and bar area, the ideal place to sit around an open fire in the evening with a cold beer. Check here for availability .

Things to do in Olympos

If you’re up for a small mountain climb, Mount Chimaera is worth visiting whilst you are in Olympus.

BBest places to visit in Turkey -Olympos - Chimaera - Journal of Nomads

It’s about a one-hour walk to see Yanartaş or alternatively, you can hop on a service bus or organize a car from your accommodation.

The climb will take you another half an hour approx to reach the top of this small mountain but it’s so worth it to make it to the top where you’ll witness a very unusual sight.

Yanartaş are flames that burn on their own and never go out made from a combination of natural gases that emerge like flames from the rock, burning day and night as they enter into contact with the air.

Awesome places to hitchhike in Turkey -Olympos - Chimaera- Journal of Nomads

If you head to the top, just before sunset, you’ll see the flames at their most spectacular.

There are many areas around Olympos that are great for rock climbing. One of the most well-known areas for climbing is at Kadir’s Tree Houses where you will be able to find all the necessary supplies and gear for your level.

8. The Blue LAgoon / Ölüdeniz

The 13 best places to visit in Turkey

The Blue Lagoon in Ölüdeniz is on the list of Turkey’s top UNESCO World Heritage Sites.

The gorgeously vibrant, turquoise water within the lagoon boasts a tremendous array of different shades of blue great with a thin finger of beautiful white sand that curves around the water.

Add in a gorgeous mountainous backdrop and you’ll understand why this beach is considered to be one of the most beautiful places in Turkey and is one of the most photographed too.

For this reason, it’s important to note that it can be extremely busy with visitors.

If you’re after a more spacious way to view this site, why not consider taking to the skies and trying your hand at paragliding, soaking up the spectacular views from the air.

How to get to the Blue Lagoon

You can catch a bus from nearby Antalya, a resort town on the south coast that will take about 3.5 hours and cost you around €6.

9. The Lycian way / Fethiye to Antalya

Awesome places to hitchhike in Turkey - Lycian Way - Patara - Journal of Nomads

Located on Turkey’s Tekke Peninsula, known historically as Lycia, the Lycian Way is a footpath that spans across 540 km of mountains, coastline, and valleys from Fethiye to Antalya.

A well-marked-out path takes you past many major archaeological sites, stretches of beautiful coastline and gorgeously lush pine forests and hiking the entire way would take you around a month to complete.

If you decide to walk this path, the route will take you past historical sites from the Greek culture and Roman Empires that date back to 8 BC, passing through traditional villages that seem untouched by tourism where you can find food and other supplies.

Your accommodation options whilst on this path are guest houses, village homes and basic B&Bs although, we might suggest camping as a fantastic option and depending on your location, it can be the easiest option whilst walking the Way.

It is possible to walk only parts of the way and depending on your hiking experience, you could choose the eastern part for the tougher hike especially close to Fethiye are particularly tricky.

The western part would be more suitable if you are not as experienced as this is the easier section of the way.

The best time to go would be either in the Spring March-May or in the Autumn months of September/October, that way you’re not walking in the sizzling summer heat and avoid the larger crowds of tourists.

Experiencing walking along the Lycian Way is a really special way to take in so many of the sights to see in Turkey.

Awesome places to hitchhike in Turkey - Lycian Way - Patara - Journal of Nomads

Reading Tip: Cycling in Turkey – 3 Cycling Routes

How to get to the Lycian Way

The Lycian way starts in Olu Deniz, about 2 hours from the Dalaman airport and finishes in Antalya but you can find numerous access points to this path along the coast.

Since it connects the archaeological sites of Myra and Olympos, it is also very easy to access the path from these two locations.

Where to stay on the Lycian Way

We have included a link to a great website that lists a whole heap of places to stay whilst walking the Lycian Way. Find it here .

Awesome places to hitchhike in Turkey - Konya - Journal of Nomads

From incredible architecture, great food and some of the oldest mosques in Turkey, this is a brilliant city for you to load up on culture.

Konya is the Islamic capital of Turkey and home of the world-famous spiritual poet Rumi, known to the Turkish people as ‘Melvana’ – (the sainted one), and his tomb is kept within The Mevlana museum.

Awesome places to hitchhike in Turkey - Konya -Rumi - Journal of Nomads

This mystic and Sufi saint loved all religions and followed his own religion which was love and his followers are known as the Whirling Dervishes.

The whirling is a form of Sama, a physically active meditation and is also called ‘Sufi spinning’. The Dervishes listen to music, whilst focusing on God and spin their body in repetitive circles, which is a symbolic imitation of the planets orbiting the sun.

Awesome places to hitchhike in Turkey - Konya - Dancing Dervishes - Journal of Nomads

This spinning dance represents a spiritual journey to enlightenment in which the Dervishes aim to reach the source of all ‘perfection’.

They seek through abandoning their egos and personal desires to find truth and cultivate inner peace so in turn, they can foster peace and world harmony.

Known as the heart and soul city, no trip would be complete without a visit to Konya, one of Turkey’s best cities.

How to get to Konya

From Istanbul or Ankara, it’s faster, more comfortable, and not much more expensive to take the high-speed train. Two trains leave daily between Istanbul and Konya, stopping at Eskişehir where you will have to change trains, taking in total about 4.5 hours.

If traveling by plane, Turkish Airlines has several flights each day between Istanbul and Konya.

Driving or hitchhiking – If you are coming from Antalya, follow the highway D4000 until you are in Kizilagac. From there take the D695 north and follow it until it becomes the highway D696. Continue following this road and you will arrive in Konya. The total distance from Antalya to Konya is 304 km.

Where to stay in Konya

Below, we’ve listed a few choices for accommodation whilst visiting Konya. Hotels and guesthouses for less than €50/night:

  • Araf Hotel: see here for availability
  • Rumi Hotel: check here for availability
  • Bera Konya Hotel: see here for availability and prices

Things to do in Konya

If you want to truly experience the essence of Konya, take yourself to see an authentic Sema ceremony and watch the Whirling Dervishes perform.

The ceremony is a free event that takes place every Saturday night at 7 pm at the Mevlana Cultural Center and we would advise that you head there early to get yourself a seat with a great view.

Each show lasts about two hours and it’s a wonder to see.

Awesome places to hitchhike in Turkey - Konya - Dancing Dervishes - Journal of Nomads

11. Cappadocia

Awesome places to hitchhike in Turkey - Cappadocia - Journal of Nomads

High on the Anatolian plateau, Cappadocia’s curious landscape resembles that of a fantasy world.

The rugged mountains, vast plains, and the formation of its valleys and landscape have been shaped by the frequent eruption of three volcanoes and created from layers of deposits of lava, volcanic ash and basalt.

Awesome places to hitchhike in Turkey - Cappadocia - Journal of Nomads

Earthquakes and effects of erosion have contributed to the creation of Cappadocia’s famous ‘fairy chimneys, tall cone-shaped honey-colored rocks that have been slowly eroded into stunning sculptural forms that resemble minarets.

The history of Cappadocia is as rich and remarkable as its landscape. The first dwellers in this region were troglodytes or cave dwellers during the Bronze Age who carved out cave houses, churches and monasteries from this soft volcanic rock, creating settlements underground.

Awesome places to hitchhike in Turkey - Cappadocia - Journal of Nomads

The cave houses were then used later on in history by Christians fleeing Roman persecution. Nowadays, locals in Cappadocia now inhabit many of these cave houses and treat them as their permanent homes.

Awesome places to hitchhike in Turkey - Cappadocia - Journal of Nomads

Cappadocia is one of the best places in Turkey for families to meet in a unique tourist environment, a place for you to make some memories of a lifetime.

If you thought that the views were spectacular from the ground, imagine the mesmerizing view from 3200 feet above the ground in a hot air balloon?

Awesome places to hitchhike in Turkey - Cappadocia - Journal of Nomads

Watch more about Konya and Cappadocia in the video Dancing Dervishes and Hot Air Balloons .

How to get to Cappadocia

Turkish Airlines has daily flights from Istanbul, Antalya, and Izmir to the Nevşehir airport. From there, there is a bus that leaves from the airport at the top of every hour called the Tüzköy minibus.

This bus will take you to Gülşehir and from there you can catch a local city bus into the main city center of Cappadocia.

Where to stay in Cappadocia

  • BUDGET: Old Town Stone House ( see availability here )
  • MID RANGE: Lunar Cappadocia Hotel ( check prices here )
  • LUXURY: Sultan Cave Suites ( find more info here )

What to do in Cappadocia

Voted as one of the best destinations in the world for hot air ballooning, Cappadocia attracts people from all over the world who want to set sail up into the clouds and take in the wonder of its incredible landscape from the sky.

Awesome places to hitchhike in Turkey - Cappadocia - Journal of Nomads

If you choose a sunrise trip, you will be taken up for one hour over the fairy chimneys, orchards, and vineyards.

It’s wise to reserve your ticket ahead of time during the high season and the cheapest tickets for a standard flight are sold for about €90.

12. Sumela Monastery, Trabzon

Trabzon - Best non-touristic cities to visit in Turkey - Journal of Nomads

Nestled in a cliff, 1200 meters above sea level is where you’ll find the Sumela Monastery in Trabzon province on Turkey’s Black Sea coast, which is said to be more than a thousand years old.

This Greek Orthodox Ministry, built in the year 346 AD holds both cultural and historical significance and is a prominent tourist attraction.

Dedicated to the Virgin Mary, built to house an icon of her that was believed to possess miraculous properties. Built high into a cliff, access to the building is via a steep path through the forest and then via a narrow stairway.

The principal areas of the Monastery are the Rock Church, kitchens, students’ rooms, a library, several chapels as well as a holy water fountain.

Both the inside and outside walls of the church have been covered in intricate and detailed frescoes that depict biblical scenes from the lives of the Virgin Mary and Jesus Christ.

The murals of the chapel were painted in three different periods, on three different levels with most of those that are visible today dating back to the 18th century.

In 2000 the Monastery was added to the UNESCO World Heritage Tentative List and has been closed to the public since 2015 for safety reasons, however, the site was partially reopened in July 2020 after the completion of major restoration works.

This part of North-Eastern Turkey is quite unique with nearby Trabzon not only lying close to the Black Sea but also the epic Pontic Mountains passing through it, it’s an area of Turkey that has been sprinkled with bouts of silence and a lot of beauty.

Awesome places to hitchhike in Turkey - Hostel - Bageni Pansyon - Journal of Nomads

How to get to the SUmela Monastery in Trabzon

From Trabzon, you should be able to get a dolmuş (pronounced dol-moosh) direct from the east-bound dolmus station located along the highway.

They leave twice a day at 11 AM and 2 PM in the summer.

Reading Tip: 10 Best Non-Touristy Cities to visit in Turkey

Awesome places to hitchhike in Turkey - Ayder - Journal of Nomads

Artvin sits by the Black Sea, on the border of Georgia, and is yet another one of the beautiful places to visit in Turkey.

Surrounded by mountains, some reaching 4,000 metres, it’s dreamlike landscape carved by the Çoruh River (one of the longest-running in Turkey) is full of rock formations, steep valleys and forests of tall pine trees that will completely mesmerize all who visit.

This is a truly breathtaking place and among the wonders that everyone should see at least once.

This part of Turkey is also the area where you can find the Laz people. It’s a culture that has its very own language, called Laz that has been classified by UNESCO as an endangered language.

The Laz people have their own traditions, one of them involves the Tulum, a form of Turkish bagpipe that people dance the Horon to.

I visited this gorgeous place and met Evrim, the owner of a hostel there (see below) who is a descendant of the Laz people of Turkey.

I also had the honor of meeting Evrim’s father who told me all about the history and culture of the Laz people, recited some beautiful Laz poems and taught me some Laz words too.

How to get to Artvin

The fastest and easiest way to get there from Istanbul is to follow the highways E80 and E70 east. The road is long (1219 km) but you will see some of the most scenic landscapes that we have seen in Turkey.

You can fly from Istanbul to Erzurum (1hr 45 flight) and then from there you can take a bus (3h 36m bus) from Erzurum Otogar that leaves 5 times a day.

Where to stay in Artvin

Bageni Pansiyon is the perfect place to spend some time day gazing at the green valley below and the ocean in the distance.

Awesome places to hitchhike in Turkey - Hostel - Bageni Pansyon - Journal of Nomads

Things to do in Artvin

The most popular reason for visiting and exploring this area is for its natural beauty and the various trekking and hiking opportunities on offer.

Mount Kaçkar is one of the highest mountains in Turkey and is the most popular trekking route.

The Trans-Kaçkar route that takes you through Yusufeli Yaylalar Village to Rize – Çamlıhemşin Ayder Highlands is another option for avid trekkers and mountaineering groups.

Visitors also travel here to try out some of the more adventurous activities to do in Turkey such as skiing, rafting and canoeing.

We really hope this article has helped you plan for your trip and that you’re no longer asking the question of, ‘where should I travel to in Turkey?’.

We have tried our very hardest to cover what we believe to be the best places to visit in Turkey and the top things to do whilst you are there. Wishing you the most magical of trips!

Don’t forget to check out the articles below, in which we tell you everything you need to know about this beautiful destination!

MORE TURKEY TRAVEL POSTS

  • The 13 beautiful and unique places to visit in Turkey
  • 10 best non-touristy cities to visit in Turkey
  • 10 useful things to know to visit Turkey
  • The complete guide to the miraculous pools of Pamukkale
  • Top 17 things to do in Istanbul
  • Backpacking in Turkey on a budget – How much does it cost to travel in Turkey
  • Is Turkey dangerous? This is what we’ve learned so far!
  • In the Footsteps of the Nomadic Tribes
  • 25 photos that will trigger your wanderlust for Turkey
  • What happens when you overstay your visa in Turkey
  • One year of hitchhiking – the good, the bad, and the untold stories. Part 2: Turkey
  • Cycling in Turkey: 3 great routes

Related posts

Awesome places to hitchhike in Turkey - Pamukkale - Journal of Nomads

6 Top Things to do at The thermal Pools of Pamukkale – Complete Travel Guide to visit the Pamukkale Hot Springs

10 Things to know before visiting Turkey - Journal of Nomads

10 Useful Things to know to visit Turkey

Best non-touristic cities to visit in Turkey - Journal of Nomads

10 Best Non-Touristy Cities to Visit in Turkey

Top things to see and do in Istanbul

Top 17 Things to Do in Istanbul

Turkey on a budget. How much does it cost to travel in Turkey

Backpacking in Turkey on a budget – How much does it cost to travel in Turkey?

The 13 best places to visit in Turkey

One year of hitchhiking – the good, the bad and the untold stories. Part 2: Turkey

25 thoughts on “the 13 best places to visit in turkey”.

Thanks ! Was a great Post !

Thank you Kevin!

Hey! Loved the post and Im planning my trip. Whats the name and place of the hostel in Rize/Artvin?

Hi Hibbe, thank you so much! The name of this hostel is Bageni Pansiyon and it’s located in the mountains near the village of Findikli. You can find more info and the exact address of this hostel here: https://www.facebook.com/bagenipansiyon/

I came here as an aupair in 2017 and it is totally different than I thought. Turkey is a lovely country and thanks aupairinturkey, the agency in Turkey I had a chance to discover this country. You sohuld all visit here and people are so friendly

Thank you! We are visiting Turkey next week and want to avoid all of the conflict. We have based our trip on your itinerary and are looking forward to it (not hitting everything).

Hi Laura, very happy to hear you used this post as inspiration for your trip! Which places are you going to visit? Have a great trip and enjoy!!

Living in Turkey, this post put a big smile on my face. You’ve visited a diverse range of places and had some great experiences. We have a lot of dots to visit on our map of Turkey. The list keeps getting longer, regardless of how many places we visit. So when I read your post about overstaying on your visa, I could easily relate how that happened. Wishing you happy travels to come!

Hi Pascale! Your comment puts a smile on my face 🙂 Turkey has so many beautiful places and has so many varied experiences to offer! We still want to return to visit some places and regions that we had to skip last time. I can imagine that your list is only growing 😀 Where in Turkey are you based? Wishing you a great time exploring the country and ticking of your list 😀 Warm wishes!

Hi Cynthia, thank you for your kind wishes. We’re currently based in Faralya, which is near Fethiye. We do have plans to move around though!

thanks for the advice. what is effes?

Effes is a Turkish beer, I like it (and I’m from Belgium… 😉 )

Turkey has been on my radar after seeing so many beautiful pictures on Instagram. I would love to go on a hot air balloon in Cappadoci one day! And Pamukkale looks absolutely stunning!

You’ve discovered so many beautiful gems!! What’s your favorite??? I’m bookmarking this for when I take a trip to Turkey! I’d love to go to Pamukkale and Cappadocia most especially! And maybe ride on a hot air balloon! What a dream!

Woow! That’s one hell of an article. I loved every bit of it! I really like Turky, but i’ve been only to Istanbul so far. I really want to see each and every place you wrote about here and hopefully even more. Good luck on your trip! I admire u deeply! 🙂

Thank you Nastja 🙂 Turkey is a surprisingly varied ranging from fantastic beaches to stunning archaeological sites. Hope you go back there one day to explore more of this beautiful country!! 🙂

I was completely hooked to your post right from your first picture of Myra (and I ended up researching a lot about it later on). I have spent such little time in Turkey and I think it’s a shame. Bookmarking this post for planning my adventures there 🙂

Thanks!! Myra is definitely worth a visit! Where did you stay when you visited Turkey?

Turkey is a wonderland and all of these places that you have listed look breathtaking. Turkey has been in my bucket list since a long time and now I can’t wait to add these places in my bucket list. Amazing!

Pack your bags and go there NOW 🙂 We were very pleasant surprised when we discovered all these beautiful places that Turkey has to offer!!

All of these places look simply incredible, most of which I’d never heard of before! Patara and Myra remind me a lot of different archaeological sites in Jordan. I suppose given their geographical proximity they must share a little bit of history right? Also, I’ve never actually seen a photo of Cappadocia without balloons in it so haven’t ever fully appreciated the landscape. It definitely looks absolutely breathtaking!

Yes, Patara and Myra have definitely a similar look to the sites in Jordan. Cappadocia might be famous for its hot air balloon rides but we didn’t think that was the highlight of our visit there. That landscape is so outworldy and is beautiful to see with and without balloons 😉

Great post Nicholas, You posted covered almost all the must see sites Turkey. Love it. I must say that I had thought of visiting Turkey one day but the pictures from Myra, Pamukkale and Cappadocia are simply stunning. More interesting than the capital Istanbul, which everyone talks about.

Thanks man! We first had the idea to visit Istanbul but eventually never made it there. Instead we ventured through other parts of the country and we’re happy we did or we might have missed out on these beauties!

Leave a Comment Cancel Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Save my name, email, and website in this browser for the next time I comment.

You will be redirected to your dashboard shortly. We will also call you back in 24 hrs .

  • 7 Fun Things To Do In Summer In Turkey To Explore The Land Of Kebabs!

24 Jun 2023

As soon as summers arrive, the irresistible desire of exploring new places comes with it. The days are long enough to travel to distant places and to have an encounter with the distinct culture and traditions of that place. If traveling to eminent places and summers go hand in hand for you, then you should definitely put Turkey on your bucket list. Famed for its ancient ruins, grand monuments, and traditional food, Turkey is for those who love rich history, scenic beaches, delicious Kebabs, and spending summer in Turkey will ensure that all your wishes are fulfilled. It’s time for you to welcome the summer in the country where the legendary city of Troy exists. Fascinating enough? Get packed and leave for an intoxicating vacay right away!

Weather In Summer In Turkey

Weather in turkey

If you are wondering in which months summer sets in Turkey or what is the highest temperature observed in Turkey, then get ready to have your answers. Summer season rolls in Turkey in the month of July and stays till August. A lot of tourists visit Turkey in summer season as the country looks breathtakingly beautiful when the summer sun shines on it.

7 Things To Do In Summer In Turkey

An enticing summer vacation also requires a perfect list of things you can enjoy while you are in Turkey. So, here is a list including the best places in Turkey for summer where you can indulge in interesting things to do in Turkey. Take a look!

Europe Holiday Packages On TravelTriangle

Explore the most beautiful places to visit in Europe, from Paris to the Venice canals and from the Greek islands to the Swiss alps. Book customized packages by expert agents on TravelTriangle. Inclusive of airport transfers, cab, resort, sightseeing and meals. Best holiday experience Guaranteed. Book Now

best places to visit in turkey during summer

Magnificent Switzerland Holiday 6D/5N Package @ Rs 69,999

Plan your trip today!

best places to visit in turkey during summer

Magnificent Europe Tour 7D/6N Package @ Rs 70,975

Get quotes from multiple travel experts.

best places to visit in turkey during summer

France & Switzerland Tour Package 8D/7N @ Rs 90,000

Compare & customize quotes before booking.

best places to visit in turkey during summer

Scintillating Spain & Portugal Tour 11D/10N @ Rs 101,150

Have Questions? Talk to our travel experts today.

best places to visit in turkey during summer

6 Country Europe Tour Package 12D/11N @ Rs 118,650

Best prices guaranteed. EMI option available.

best places to visit in turkey during summer

See more at TRAVELTRIANGLE.COM

1. Tourist Attractions

A sunset shot of the Blue Mosque at Istanbul

From the scintillating city of Istanbul to the ancient city of Ephesus, there a lot of places to visit in summer in Turkey . Explore the famous historical spots in Istanbul like The Blue Mosque , Hagia Sophia or visit the port city of Ephesus, Turkey will make your summer trip a memorable one. Those of you who are history lovers will surely enjoy the ancient ruins which reflect the glorious past of Turkey.

Best Places To Visit: The Blue Mosque, Topkapi Palace Museum

Must Read: Turkey In May: An Exquisite Guide For Your Wanderlust Soul!

beach in turkey

Beaches in Turkey are meant for those who love the quintessential things like summer tan, cocktails and street food. The people of Turkey believe that you don’t need to go to food, it will come to you as there are many street vendors on the beaches who serve delicious local cuisines like honey-glazed peanuts, cone of sesame and more. So, which one are you going to try?

Best Beaches To Visit: Kabak Beach, Blue Lagoon, Cleopatra’s Beach

3. Cappadocia

things to do in Turkey

Are you a trekking enthusiast? Turkey has picturesque landscapes for you to trek on and capture on your polaroids. Explore the stunning valleys and chimney-shaped rock formations while you soak in the alluring view. Make your summer trip more enticing by taking a hot air balloon ride which is immensely popular among the tourists. Cappadocia is famous as the magical world straight out from the scenes of Star Wars. Don’t forget to explore the Love valley and to stay at the exquisite cave hotel when you are done with your trek.

Things To Do: Hot Air Balloon Ride, Trekking, Hiking

Suggested Read: 8 Incredible Restaurants In Turkey That Are Creating A Lot Of Buzz

4. Cemberlitas Hamami

Turkish bath

Image Source

Turkey is known for its historical Hammams and Cemberlitas Hamami is one of the most renowned one. Established by Mimar Sinan in 1584, Cemberlitas Hamami is a popular Turkish bath located at the Divanyolu Street. Get into the summer vacay vibes by heading here to relish an extravagant bath. Lie on the marble, soak in the essential oils applied to your body and soothe your body and soul.

Location: Mollafenari Mh., Vezirhan Cd. No:8, 34440 Fatih/İstanbul, Turkey

5. Local Delicacies

Turkish food

Learn how to cook Baklava or get to know the special ingredients used while making the traditional dishes in Turkey. Popular for its Kebabs, Turkey has different types of Kebabs that you must try. Stay at a homestay and cook with the locals. They are known to be friendly and for treating tourists remarkably by providing them a homelike stay and delicious food.

Must Try Dishes: Kebab, Baklava, Lahmacun

Suggested Read: 15 Best Honeymoon Destinations In Turkey For A Perfect Romantic Trip

Cay

Don’t miss out on the national drink of Turkey on your vacation in summer in Turkey . Cay is a Turkish drink that is served in tulip-shaped cups and is also offered for free in regional buses as it an important part of Turkish culture. Enjoy a cup of tea at bedtime to have a relaxing sleep.

Where To Try At: Cay-Tea’s Lunchroom & Deco Home

7. Dondurma

dondruma

Wondering what else you can try on your summer vacation? Another Turkish specialty is the Maras dondurması which means ‘the ice cream of the city’. Made by whipped cream, sugar, cream, mastic, salep, and sugar, Dondurma is famous as the ice cream which doesn’t melt very fast and which defies the law of gravity. Beat the summer heat while you try the tasty flavor of the ice cream which breaks all rules.

Suggested Read: 4 Best Ways To Experience Safari In Istanbul On A Thrilling Turkey Vacation

Tips For Your Summer Trip

Tips for travelling

  • Apply for your Turkey visa in advance.
  • Learn a few Turkish phrases which will help you for sure on your trip.
  • Use public transport as it is quite safe and budget-friendly.
  • Wear cotton clothes as Turkey is known for its hot and dry summers.
  • Wear decent clothes while visiting Mosques

Further Read: Islands In Turkey: 6 Spectacular Islands In The Europe Of Asia

Turkey is a beautiful country which should be explored by all those who love historical places and food. Don’t forget to explore all the cities in Turkey as each one of them will surely cast a spell on you! Already excited? Get packed, plan your Turkey vacay and get ready to fall in love with the country where once the Romans ruled!

Looking To Book An International Holiday?

Book memorable holidays on TravelTriangle with 650+ verified travel agents for 65+ domestic and international destinations.

best places to visit in turkey during summer

Trip to Sri Lanka at Rs 13,500/-

Plan Your Vacation Today!

best places to visit in turkey during summer

Trip to Singapore at Rs 20,499/-

Get Quotes From Local Experts

best places to visit in turkey during summer

Mauritius Holiday Starting at Rs 65,000/-

Talk to Our Experts Today

best places to visit in turkey during summer

Maldives Honeymoon Trip at Rs 39,800/-

Pay with easy EMI Option

best places to visit in turkey during summer

Europe Trip at Rs 89,999/-

All Inclusive Deals

best places to visit in turkey during summer

Vacation in Dubai at Rs 27,499/-

best places to visit in turkey during summer

Hong Kong Holiday at Rs 24,999/-

Money Safe Guarantee

best places to visit in turkey during summer

Thailand Holiday at Rs 7,999/-

Flights Excluded

Recent Posts

best places to visit in turkey during summer

18 स्पीति घाटी में करने के लिए चीजें जो 2024 में आपकी भटकती आत्मा को संतुष्ट करेंगी

best places to visit in turkey during summer

Les meilleurs 20 des choses à faire en Suisse pendant vos vacances en Europe en 2024

best places to visit in turkey during summer

2024 में 20 दार्जिलिंग में करने योग्य चीजें जो आपको किसी भी यात्रा गाइड में नहीं मिलेंगी!

कश्मीर में करने योग्य चीजें

पृथ्वी पर इस स्वर्ग का सर्वश्रेष्ठ देखने के लिए 2023 में 23 कश्मीर में करने योग्य चीजें!

श्रीनगर में करने योग्य चीज़ें

15 श्रीनगर में करने योग्य चीज़ें जो आपको कश्मीरी आकर्षण से प्यार करने पर मजबूर कर देंगी

La Suisse en juin

La Suisse en juin: pour une expérience de voyage merveilleuse au milieu des sereines Alpes suisses en 2024.

Trending Blogs

best places to visit in turkey during summer

20 Mysterious Places In India To Visit In 2023 More Bizarre Than The Bermuda Triangle

best places to visit in turkey during summer

10 Scariest Roads In India That Are A Driver’s Nightmare

best places to visit in turkey during summer

101 Places To Visit In India Before You Turn 30 in 2024

Skiing In Krasnaya Polyana

35 Exotic Places To Visit In December In India 2024 To Enjoy A Surreal Vacation

a couple in front of taj mahal

60 Best Honeymoon Destinations In India In 2024

Best honeymoon destinations in the world

95 Best Honeymoon Destinations In The World In 2023 For A Romantic Escape!

Best Places To Visit In India By Month

Best places to visit outside india by month.

  • TravelTriangle
  • International
  • Turkey »
  • Tour Packages
  • Honeymoon Packages
  • Family Packages
  • Budget Tour Packages
  • Luxury Tour Packages
  • Adventure Tour Packages
  • Group Tour Packages
  • Maldives Tour Packages
  • Bali Tour Packages
  • Dubai Tour Packages
  • Singapore Tour Packages
  • Thailand Tour Packages
  • Europe Tour Packages
  • Sri Lanka Tour Packages
  • Tour Packages From Delhi
  • Tour Packages From Mumbai
  • Tour Packages From Bangalore
  • Tour Packages From Chennai
  • Tour Packages From Kolkata
  • Tour Packages From Hyderabad
  • Tour Packages From Ahmedabad
  • Thailand Tourism
  • Bali Tourism
  • Singapore Tourism
  • Maldives Tourism
  • Mauritius Tourism
  • Dubai Tourism
  • Europe Tourism
  • Hotels in Thailand
  • Hotels in Maldives
  • Hotels in Mauritius
  • Hotels in Bali
  • Hotels in Dubai
  • Hotels in Singapore
  • Hotels in Sri Lanka

Sofia Adventures

17 of the Best Places to Visit in Turkey for Culture & Adventure Lovers

17 of the Best Places to Visit in Turkey for Culture & Adventure Lovers

Wondering where to go on vacation in Turkey? We asked seventeen professional travel writers for their recommendations for the best places to visit in Turkey. There’s everything from big cities to charming villages to UNESCO World Heritage Sites and natural wonders. 

Map of the Best Places to Visit in Turkey

[wpgmza id=”14″]

Travel Writers Tell Us Their Favorite Places in Turkey

In no particular order…

When I hear the word Istanbul, I’m immediately taken back to the images that first inspired my fascination with this city.

Its was these stunning aerial shots above the city with beautiful mosques like the Ayasofya (Hagia Sophia) and the Sultan Ahmed Mosque (Blue Mosque) sitting on the horizon, reaching for the heavens.

It was this gripping chase scene involving a motorcycle on the roof and inside of the historic Grand Bazaar as James Bond was in hot pursuit of a villain in possession of top secret information.

Turkey - Istanbul - Hagia Sophia - Collab

The movie was Skyfall and after watching that explosive opening scene, I knew I wanted to visit this beautiful city.

Istanbul sits on two continents (Europe and Asia) divided by the Bosporus Strait. It holds a strategic position along the historic Silk Road between Europe and the Middle East as well being the only sea route between the Black Sea and the Mediterranean.

Aside from Hagia Sophia, Blue Mosque and shopping at the Grand Bazaar you can get a taste of what it was like to live like a Sultan at Topkapi Palace or explore the cultural wonders of the Whirling Dervishes. From Taksim Square to Galata Tower, Turkish Coffee to Turkish Tea and romantic daytime and nighttime river cruises along the Bosporus. Be sure to head over to Galata Bridge which not only crosses the Bosphorus strait, on the top you’ll find men and boys fishing while beneath you’ll find some of the best fresh fish restaurants selling the fish freshly caught. Delicious.

My cousin married a Turkish woman and together with their son as well as a good friend of mine (Istanbul local) helped me put together a fantastic post called 48 Hours in Istanbul, Turkey . Check it out if you want to see more of this gorgeous city! 

Read: The Most Instagrammable Places in Istanbul

Dreamy photos of hot-air balloons over Cappadocia convinced me to add it to my Turkey itinerary – and boy was I glad when I reached there.  

The sheer joy of getting up in the air and admiring the Mars-like landscape of Cappadocia while gliding over its weird rock formations put a smile on my face that refused to go. Once that was done, there was Goreme’s open-air museum to explore. A curious place with past monastic enclaves, strange drawings, and rock-cut churches, this is a museum worth spending time at.

Turkey - Cappadocia - Collab

The next couple of days were spent exploring the rest of Cappadocia with stops in Nevsehir – the region’s main province, Uchisar – the highest point of the region, hiking through Pigeon Valley and exploring the underground city of Derinkunyu. The region is blessed with extraordinary beauty and taking it slow will give you enough time to explore the richness of this beautiful part of Turkey. While here, don’t miss an opportunity to stay in a cave hotel. It’s one of the most unique things you can do in Cappadocia. 

Having spent almost four days here, I can say with certainty that it was time well spent. All in all, it’s fair to say that Cappadocia is as beautiful on the ground as it is from up above.

Contributed by Priyanko from Constant Traveller

Read: The Most Instagrammable Places in Cappadocia

Bodrum is located in the Aegean region of turkey and has a little bit of everything. It’s a popular holiday destination due to its crystal clear water and lovely sand beaches, but there are plenty of other things to do in Bodrum too. Allow a week to see the sights and enjoy a little relaxation time.

Bodrum is a port city and has an impressive selection of historical sites including the Bodrum castle. Built from 1402 onwards by the Knights of St John, the Castle is now home to the Museum of Underwater Archeology – definitely worth a visit for some impressive shipwrecks!

Turkey - A Lovely Planet - Bodrum - Collab

Bodrum was once known as the ancient walled city of Halicarnassus, and the remains of one of the city’s gates can still be seen, as well as one of the seven wonders of the ancient world; the Mausoleum at Halicarnassus. This tomb was built around 353 B.C. for Mausolus, a satrap of the Persian Empire, and his wife.

Treat yourself to some Turkish Delight direct from the producers and don’t miss Gümüslük, an area of restaurants lining the water’s edge, lit with lanterns – it has to be one of the most romantic spots in Turkey! And finally – hit the beach – or book a trip on a sailing boat and enjoy the beauty of Bodrum from the Aegean.

Contributed by Hayley from A Lovely Planet

Fethiye is a coastal city located on Turkey’s southwestern Turquoise coast and is known for its natural harbor, incredibly beautiful (blue) water and some ancient places nearby. In my opinion, Fethiye is one of the best places in Turkey to spend beach holidays.

To get there, the easiest way is to catch a flight to Dalaman Airport, from where you can take one of the many buses for tourists.

While Turkey has many beautiful places to spend beach holidays, Fethiye has something special about it. I highly recommend taking a boat from one of the main beaches (mainly Oludeniz Beach), which will allow you to explore some of the most incredible beaches of Turkey.

Turkey - Fethiye - Collab

During these trips, you will explore “hidden beaches” (hidden because you can’t reach them without the boat), the incredible Butterfly Valley (which is a designated nature reserve) and much more. Food and drinks are usually included.

If you have the budget, it would be a good idea to get a private boat, as you could avoid other tourists and enjoy the beautiful places on your own.

One of the highlights is paragliding in Fethiye – which I also did, as the price was unbeatable (I paid around 70$ in 2017). The pilots are experienced and you will be able to enjoy the stunning views from above – if you’re lucky you can even spot some big turtles that are swimming around the bay of Fethiye.

As there are some interesting ancient sites around the area (like the ancient city of Tlos) I would recommend to spend at least 3 days in Fethiye – if you plan to do some relaxing beach holidays probably a bit more!

Contributed by Michael from mscgerber

Read:  15 Perfect Turkish Souvenirs

Turkey - Ephesus Library - Collab

The Library of Celsus in Ephesus

If you’re visiting Turkey, one of the highlights that you should see is the Library of Celsus in Ephesus. It was built in 135 AD by Gaius Julius Aquila in honor of his father Celsus, who was the governor of Asia at the time. His tomb was also located in a sarcophagus under the main floor.

At its peak, it held up to 12,000 scrolls, which meant it was the third largest library of ancient times. A single hall faces east so the morning sun can shine in. The library was also decorated with many colorful paintings, carvings, and statues.  

Turkey - Library of Celsus - Collab

The actual Library of Celsus was destroyed over time with invading armies, fires, and earthquakes. But it has been faithfully rebuilt to what all the records show it looked like.

If you want to have the Library to yourself, it’s best to go early in the morning at open or visit during low season in November. In the summer, it does get quite hot and crowded, so remember to bring sunscreen and water.

After seeing the Library, you should walk around the UNESCO listed city of Ephesus and see the other highlights such as the Amphitheater, terraced houses, and main harbor street. Some other places nearby include Isa Bey Mosque, Ayasoluk Castle, Ephesus Archaeological Museum and Temple of Artemis.

Contributed by Henry from This Life of Travel

Ruins of Myra

Myra is an ancient city founded on the river Myros and nowadays located 3 km away from the city of Demre.

It is not known exactly when Myra was founded, but the ruins and rock tombs located around Demre are dated back to the fifth century BC.

By the 3rd century BC, Myra became the most important city and a religious center of Lycia. The prosperity continued for many centuries until a huge flood in the 7th century. After that, the city began to lose its strength, but remained a place of pilgrimage, as the Church of St. Nicholas was located there.

The Church of St. Nicholas was built in the fourth century by Byzantine architects on the site of the ancient temple of Artemis. Throughout the centuries, the church suffered from war destructions and later from a major flood. A lot of time passed before the church was accidentally re-discovered in 1850.

Turkey - Ruins of Myra - Lycia - Pixabay

At present, there is little left of Myra. There is an open-air museum where you can see some remains of the past such as an amphitheater, sarcophagi, tomb rocks. Lycian rock-cut tombs in the cliffs of Myra are especially spectacular.

Opening hours are: daily from 9:00 to 19:00 (April – October), from 8: 00-17:00 (November – March). You can choose to visit Myra along with the Church of St. Nicholas as a day trip.

Contributed by Inna from the Executive Thrillseeker

Pamukkale 

Pamukkale in Turkey is the beautiful spot known for the unreal pictures of perfect blue pools of water in what appears to be snowy surroundings. This unreal spot is actually mineral-rich thermal waters flowing down white travertines (terraces) on a nearby hillside.

The gleaming white calcite terraces look like snowy slopes on photos and the warm mineral-rich waters form gleaming blue pools that is nice to swim in and a spot not to miss when you travel in Turkey.

Pamukkale - Turkey - Collab

Pamukkale means cotton castle in Turkish and the name is self-explanatory if you look at photos.

The terraces neighbors Hierapolis, an ancient Roman spa city founded around 190 B.C. Ruins there include a well-preserved theater and a necropolis with sarcophagi that stretch for 2km. This Unesco World Heritage site gets thousands of daily visitors arriving on tour buses that start arriving at about 9 in the morning.

The gates open early at 6 am. If you arrive when the gates open you can have this entire amazing site to yourselves for about 2 hours until hundreds of tourist buses start swarming the place. My advice would be to arrive early and walk around as much of the site as you can for the first 2 hours taking beautiful photos in the soft light with few tourists, then go and enjoy swimming in the pools when the masses arrive.

Contributed by Campbell and Alya from Stingy Nomads

On a hillside above the town of Pamukkale, white terraces stretch up towards the top. These terraces – called travertines – are one of the natural wonders of Turkey and have been designated as a World Heritage Site by UNESCO.

They’ve been formed over many years by calcium that has washed down in the water and gradually hardened. They are solid to touch but in many of them are pools of water.

There’s a path you can take up through the travertines but you need to take your shoes off so you don’t damage them. It’s worth going to the top because, up here, you can look down and get the best view of the cascading terraces.

Turkey - Pamukkale - Collab

Up the top, you can also see the ruins of the ancient spa city of Hierapolis. Well before today’s tourists started visiting, people were coming here to bathe in the waters in the travertines. It’s thought that they had special health benefits. These days you’re not allowed to go in them, though.

You only need a couple of hours to see the travertines at Pamukkale . I think the best time to go is at sunset because you get beautiful colors reflecting off the water.

But Pamukkale is also a good base to do a day trip to the nearby ruins of Aphrodisias, which are also a World Heritage Site.

Contributed by Michael from Time Travel Turtle

Saklikent Gorge

Saklikent Gorge  is the longest canyon in Turkey and the second longest in Europe. However, it’s not the length that makes it one of the best destinations to visit, but the fact that you can walk through it. The experience is very enjoyable, as the freezing cold water, the impressive scenery, and the hot air temperature keep walkers alert and focused on the present moment. This walk is mindfulness meditation at its best.

Saklikent Gorge is at 40 minutes of driving from Fethiye. As it is one of the most popular attractions in the area, there are lots of organized tours from Fethiye, Kalkan, Oludeniz or Patara, so you don’t really need to drive if you don’t want to. The area is organized as a national park, with bars, restaurants and cool activities such as rafting and kayaking.

Turkey - Saklikent Gorge - Collab

If you want to make the most out of your experience, it’s best to make it a full day trip. The walk itself may take anywhere from one hour to three or even four hours, but you’ll surely want to enjoy a nice lunch or some refreshments in one of those restaurants built above the river, just by the entrance to the canyon.

As you’ll walk through the river, you should wear water shoes. The bottom is rocky and slippery and the rapids can easily take away flip-flops and crocs. You’ll see such footwear floating along. If you’re fast enough, you may even catch some in your photos.  As there’s not much shadow along the way, you’ll need to wear a hat and a generous layer of sunscreen. You’ll also need to carry drinking water.

Contributed by Violeta from Violeta Matei

If you’re looking to escape the crowds that fill the beach towns along Turkey’s Mediterranean Coast, consider making a day trip to Kayaköy. 

Only a few kilometers south of Fethiye, Kayaköy was once a bustling community full of Greek residents.  However, in the 1920s the government of Turkey struck a deal with the government of Greece, in which all Greek Orthodox residents of Turkey would be exiled to Greece and, in return, all Muslims in Greece would be exiled to Turkey.  The town was abandoned within weeks, and further efforts to repopulate it were hindered by the dry, rugged environment and a huge earthquake in the 1950s.

Turkey - Kayakoy - Collab

Today, when you arrive in Kayakoy from Fethiye (either by car, minibus or foot, if you’re a skilled hiker) you might think you’ve stumbled upon Ancient Greek ruins.  There are crumbling churches, hundreds of windowless houses and uneven stairs connecting the remaining structures that line the hillside. 

It’s amazing to think that less than one hundred years ago, this was a self-sufficient town in its own right, as you feel like you’re looking at a thousand years of destruction.  You’ll want at least two or three hours to explore the entire ghost town of Kayakoy, and it’s preferable to visit in the early morning or the late afternoon as there is little shade during the hot mid-day hours. 

Although there are not many tourist services available in Kayaköy, there are a few family-owned restaurants around the entrances that serve delicious, home-cooked meals based on local, seasonal ingredients (often grown right in their own gardens).  Consider stopping for a meal before or after your ghost town tour. 

Contributed by Carly from Fearless Female Travels

The Dogu Express

It is not a specific place, rather you get to see most of Turkey. One of the best things to do in Turkey is the Dogu Express . The longest train journey from Ankara to Kars in the most Northeastern part of Turkey. It takes 24 hours through some of the most remote and beautiful parts of the country. Getting tickets for this train is not easy and they are often sold out in days.

This train is rightly popular. 24 hours might sound long, but with the beautiful scenery outside of your window, you will not be bored for one second.

Turkey - Dogu Express - Collab

The friendly people you meet along the way in the train are part of the experience. Not many tourists travel on this train and you will receive a warm welcome and some genuine curiosity what brings you to these parts of Turkey.  

The Dogu express is one of the cheapest ways to cross through the country and reach the isolated region of Northeastern Anatolia. The train stops at Kars and this could be the end of your journey or the start of a new adventure exploring one of Turkey’s more off the beaten path regions. Kars is a nice city in itself with the Kars castle. From here it is easy to visit the nearby Ani ruins or travel further to Dogubayezit for the Ishak Pasa Palace and famous Mount Ararat.  

Contributed by Ellis Veen from Backpack Adventures

Trabzon & Rize

Trabzon and Rize are on the Black Sea in northeastern Turkey and offer great places to base yourself for explorations of this part of Turkey. 

One of my favorite trips from Rize was to the Ayder Valley where you are surrounded by the lush green slopes of the Kaçkar Mountains. It seems there is a waterfall around every turn in this valley and some of the most picturesque stone bridges I have ever seen. Kaçkar Dağı is the highest peak in the Kaçkars at an elevation of 12.917 feet (3,937 meters).  The craggy peak presents a formidable challenge for climbers but offers hikers spectacular views.

Turkey - Collab - Stone Bridge Ayder Valley Turkey - Photo Jerome Shaw - TravelBoldly - 1024px -TBL-JFS_4756

The village of Ayder is a higgledy-piggledy array of houses, lodges, and businesses on the hillsides that rise up from the Kavran Dere /Kavran Creek.  I can recommend the Ayder Doga Resort Hotel. The walk up the steep hill is well worth it for the views across the valley.  They use a rope/pulley system to haul your luggage up from the road that runs through the center of town along the creek.

A visit to Ayder isn’t complete without a stop at the steam baths for a soak and coffee with the locals at one of the street-side cafes. The only thing I found more interesting than the mountains were the amazing faces of the citizens of Ayder.

Other things to see in the area are: 

  • Zilkale, a medieval castle built in the 14th or 15th century.  It is located in the nearby Fırtına Valley which translates to Stormy Valley.  The castle is built of the edge of a high cliff some 1,250 feet above the Fırtına Creek.
  • The amazing craftsmanship of the stone bridges over the Kavran Dere River. You can ride a Zipline under one of these beautiful bridges.
  • The Tar Şelalesi / Tar River Waterfall is accessed by a trail just off the Ayder Yaylasi Yolu / Ayder Yaylasi Road.
  • Nearer to Rize you can visit a tea plantation to see how this favorite beverage is grown in the terraced fields of the valleys.

Contributed by Jerome from Travel Boldly

Antalya & Upper Duden Falls

Antalya is the largest city on the Turkish Mediterranean coast. Gateway to Turkey’s turquoise coast, Antalya is a modern city famous for its stunning beaches and wonderfully preserved old-city. Whether you’re looking for a romantic getaway or an adventurous holiday, Antalya has everything you need .

With its many buildings from Roman times, lovely hotels and restaurants, Antalya’s historic center is the place you don’t want to miss. In Kaleiçi, you can admire the beautiful Hadrian’s gate, enjoy a stroll along shop-filled streets, or eat an ice cream near the harbor. Don’t forget to visit Antalya’s museum, you will be amazed by its incredible archeological collection.

Turkey - Antalya - Collab

If you’re looking for natural beauties, head to the Duden waterfalls. The Lower Duden Falls are unique, as they drop off directly into the mediterranean sea. The Upper Duden Falls is located 15km outside the city, and are totally worth a visit.

Antalya is also a great place to relax. Konyaalti beach is stunning, tucked between the cliffs and the Beydağları mountains. It stretches out for miles and is surrounded with plenty of restaurants and cafes. Your second option would be Lara beach, where you’ll also find the amazing open-air museum Sandland.

Antalya is a fantastic city that really deserves at least 3 to 4 days to be enjoyed. But there’s always something new to discover, so staying longer would be even better.

Contributed by Camille from Crafty Explorer

Antalya & Lara Beach

With 300 sunny days a year, Antalya is a paradise for beaches, water sports, gastronomy, and shopping. Recognized as the most popular holiday destination for the Turks, Antalya is the right choice for both a family holiday and an escape with friends.

The city has plenty of attractions to see. The oldest building in the old city is the Gate of Hadrian, built in AD 130, on the occasion of the arrival of the Roman Emperor in the city. Another important attraction is the famous Lara Beach, one of the longest beaches in Turkey.

Turkey - Antalya - Collab

To the east of the Antalya rocky slope, almost next to the Duden Falls, is Lara Beach, a strip of land with an exit to the Gulf of Antalya. Antalya is an attractive and picturesque city with palm-lined boulevards, narrow streets, luxurious hotels, and impeccable service. Definitely one of the best places to spend a few days in Turkey!

Şirince Village

Şirince is an ancient village in Izmir Province, located about 11 kilometers from Ephesus and 8 kilometers from Selçuk town.  The 15-minute ride from Selçuk to this hilltop village is winding and scenic with lush roadside mountain views.  The small village was once a Greek Orthodox settlement, where early Christians from Ephesus fled to evade persecution.  It was later populated with Turks after the governments of Turkey and Greece agreed to exchange Greeks living in Turkey with Turks living in Greece.

Today, Şirince Village is a living representation of the cultural fusion between Turks and Greeks.  Its narrow cobblestoned streets are rimmed with a red-tiled roof and old-fashioned stone houses typical of ancient Greek architecture.  Parts of the village had admittedly been touristy, lined with souvenir shops, fruit stands, restaurants and old Greek houses turned into guesthouses. 

Turkey - Sirince Village - Collab

After spending half a day in Şirince , I believe that this quaint village has nonetheless retained its authentic and rural charm.  You can see local women in traditional Turkish clothes pleasantly chatting around or selling handicrafts and homemade products.  Likewise, villagers remain engaged in farming, having olive oil and fruits as their major produce. 

Wine production from grapes, black mulberry, and other fruits is a popular cottage industry, as well.  Several wine houses around the village serve as attractions, where the locals will happily offer you a taste of their sweet wines.  Also unique in Şirince Village is the harmonious presence of a Greek Orthodox Church and a Muslim mosque within a small area of 700 inhabitants. 

A day in Şirince would be good enough for a relaxed exploration of the village.  On the other hand, an overnight stay is also recommended to witness the daily village life during the early morning and evening time while most day tourists are away.    

Dancing with the Laz People of the Black Sea in Rize

Start talking about Turkey and most travelers will immediately conjure up images of ancient Roman ruins, blue azure Mediterranean beaches, towering minarets, and massive domed mosques. Of course, that is Turkey, but there’s so much more to this amazing country once you leave the shores of the coast and wonders of Istanbul.

In fact, in the northeast of the country, travelers might be excused for feeling they’ve stepped off the bus and wandered into an Alpine paradise replete with rich green carpeted mountain meadows and craggy mountain peaks.

Turkey - Black Sea La Paz - Collab

This is the Kackar mountains and the home of the Laz people. These ancient wandering folk are said to be the descendants of Jason and have been trying to maintain their old customs, traditions, and language as the world changes around them. Most Sundays in spring and summer, if the weather is fine, impromptu gatherings will come out to the mountain pastures to share food and gossip and meet new friends.

As the gathering starts to grow and grow, a small traditional music group, replete with a curious sounding bagpipe, will launch into a merry tune and soon everyone is up and dancing in one large circle of 50-60 people or more. A trip to Turkey and the Black Sea would not be complete without a journey into the mountains around Rize to dance with the famous Laz people.

Contributed by Jim and Corinne of Reflections Enroute

Derinkuyu Underground City

Derinkuyu Underground City sits about 40 km from Goreme in Cappadocia, central Turkey. From above ground, you’d never know that beneath your feet is a subterranean network of caves and tunnels going down 85 meters and 11 floors deep.

The vast city was discovered in the 1960s when a man dismantled a wall in his cellar to find a room behind it. The room led to another room and another and eventually to a whole city which once gave shelter to thousands of people in times of siege. In key tunnels, massive millstones can be rolled across the entrances and locked in place and only operated from the inside.

This kept invaders out and the people inside safe. An underground river at the bottom of the city and air vents dropping down through the floors meant the occupants could survive inside for months on end. Food storage chambers and evidence of cooking fires can also be seen.

Turkey - Derinkuyu Underground City - Collab

Many types of chambers are found in the city with a myriad of tunnels leading to churches, family units, large halls, animal pens, and even a wine press. One particularly small and eerie tunnel leads to a temporary burial chamber. Some of the tunnels are so low that you’ll need to bend double to get through them.

The tours last around an hour and take in the key sites of Derinkuyu. You probably wouldn’t want to be underground any more than that and obviously, it’s not for the claustrophobic. Around 10% of the underground city is accessible to the public.

Tours can be booked to explore the cave network of Derinkuyu and other nearby attractions from tourist offices and hotels.

Contributed by Suzanne Jones from The Travelbunny

Don’t Leave for Turkey without Travel Insurance!

Finally, make sure you always travel to Turkey or anywhere in Europe with a valid  travel insurance  policy. Istanbul is a very safe place to travel, but accidents or theft can easily ruin your trip if you don’t have the travel insurance coverage to recover the losses. Recently my aunt fell on a train in France and needed surgery, but luckily her travel insurance covered the costs in full. Thank goodness!

For travel insurance, I use  World Nomads .  I’ve been a happy customer of theirs for almost three years, and I’ve never had an issue when making a claim. I’m happy to refer them to anyone I meet.

Get a travel insurance quote for your trip here.

Pin This for Your Trip to Turkey

17 of the Best Places to Visit in Turkey

Stephanie has been living in and traveling around the Balkans for the past three years. She’s written for National Geographic Online , appeared on CNN Arabic and in the New York Times , and ridden more Balkan buses than is good for a person.

Related posts

Very nice content. I liked the way you explained. I have not been there. But after reading this I want to visit turkey. Thanks for sharing your exploring things with us. I can see Turkey boasts some incredible sites that I should not be missed. I wants to tell you, there are so many more things to do in Turkey. So make content on them also.

We will be adding more content on Turkey soon!

Very nice site,thank you. We are going to turkey next year…hence my checking websites.

You’re welcome Kay! Hope we helped!

Submit a Comment Cancel reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

best places to visit in turkey during summer

New on Sofia Adventures:

  • How to Spend a Magical One Day in Istanbul: Mini Itinerary
  • 30 Insanely Delicious Greek Street Foods You Need to Try
  • 13 Things That EXIT Music Festival Visitors Should Know

Touropia Logo

Touropia Travel

Discover the World

10 Best Places to Visit in Turkey

By Becky Griswold · Last updated on April 30, 2024

Steeped in history with a landscape that encompasses beaches and soaring mountains, Turkey has acted as the gateway between Europe and Asia for thousands of years. Being a place of trade and of exchanging cultures has made Turkey a richly diverse country. The point where East meets West, the wealth of culture and breadth of influences has left its mark and is revealed in the country’s mouthwatering culinary landscape, as well as in the innumerable religious monuments and archaeological sites.

Istanbul, once the capital of the Byzantine and Ottoman Empires, features prominently in most travel plans but there are many more great destinations. You could enjoy your time here staying in boutique hotels inside caves and floating in hot air balloons above the otherworldly landscape of Cappadocia, wandering in the midst of the Greco-Roman world in Ephesus, or simply soaking up the sun in the luxury beach resorts along the Aegean Sea. Here’s a look at the best places to visit in Turkey:

10. Ankara [SEE MAP]

Ankara

Turkey’s capital city, Ankara, is a sprawling, modern city home to government buildings, commercial businesses, universities and foreign embassies. Located right in the center of the country and the Anatolia region, Ankara is an important transportation hub, linking nationals and tourists alike to other major destinations in Turkey. However, Ankara is not all business. This bustling city also offers a few historic sites and some arts and culture.

An old city once inhabited by various cultures including Hittite, Greek, Roman, Byzantine and Ottoman, Ankara is riddled with ancient structures and ruins reflecting its history. Some of the most notable of these are the Temple of Augustus, the Citadel, and a Roman Theatre. Numerous historic mosques can also be found throughout the city. An important 20th century landmark, Anitkabir, is a mausoleum housing the tomb of Turkey’s first President, Mustafa Kemal Atatürk.

Ankara boasts a lively arts and culture scene with a large concentration of theaters and museums, including the Museum of Anatolian Civilizations, which houses more than 200,000 objects. Traditional markets and modern malls provide fantastic shopping choices where items such as fresh produce, spices, carpets and electronics can all be purchased.

9. Mardin [SEE MAP]

Mardin

Perched on a strategic hilltop overlooking the plains of Mesopotamia in southeastern Turkey, Mardin is the capital of the Mardin Province. One of the oldest settlements in the region, Mardin is best known for its cultural diversity and Old City of sandstone buildings that cascade down the hill.

Mardin’s Old City is easily toured by walking. The maze of meandering streets leads visitors along terraced houses and popular sites like Deyrü’z-Zafaran Monastery, one of the oldest monasteries in the world, and the Sultan Isa Medresesi, a medieval monument that once served as an astronomical observatory. Zinciriye Medresesi, a 14th century Islamic school, features beautiful courtyards and art works.

The Great Mosque, with its soaring minaret, is hard to miss. Although closed to the public, the citadel presents fantastic photo opportunities. Throughout the Old City is a myriad of shops selling the likes of pottery, silverware, leather and traditional headdresses.

8. Konya [SEE MAP]

Konya

One of the oldest cities in the world and best known for its remarkable Seljuk architecture and Whirling Dervishes, Konya is a large city in Turkey’s Central Anatolia Region. In the 12th and 13th centuries, Konya prospered as a capital city under the rule of the Seljuk Dynasty. Today, attractive buildings from that era can still be admired such as the Alaeddin Mosque, which houses the tombs of several sultans. Another popular example is the Ince Minare Medrese, now a museum displaying artifacts from the Seljuk and Ottoman eras.

Although in ruins, the Seljuk Palace is also worth a visit. A modern day architectural attraction is the Seljuk Tower, one of the tallest skyscrapers in Turkey, featuring a revolving restaurant at the top two floors.

In the 13th century, Konya was the home of the Persian theologian and Sufi mystic, Rumi. His tomb, the Mausoleum of Rumi, with its neighboring Melvana Museum, is a must-see site in Konya. Rumi’s followers founded the Mevlevi Order, which are also known as the Whirling Dervishes due to their famous religious ceremonies in which they spin around and around on the left foot while wearing white, billowing gowns. These ceremonies, also known as Sama, can be observed weekly at the Mevlana Cultural Centre.

Konya also offers beautiful green spaces and parks such as Alaeddin Hill, in the city center, and the Japanese Park with its lovely pagodas, waterfalls and ponds.

Because Konya is one of Turkey’s more conservative cities, bars and nightclubs are not as plentiful. However, some hotels and cafes do offer alcoholic drinks.

7. Antalya [SEE MAP]

Antalya

Nestled along the beautiful Turkish Riviera on the Mediterranean coastline, Antalya is a large, vibrant city welcoming tourists with numerous resorts, hotels, bars and restaurants. Spectacular scenery frames the city with gorgeous beaches and lush green mountains dotted with ancient ruins. From swimming and sailing to mountain climbing, sightseeing and family fun, Antalya offers something for everyone.

A walk around Kaleiçi, the Old Quarter, offers a step back into the city’s ancient past with views of the old city walls, Roman gates, maze-like streets and historic structures that include the Clock Tower and beautiful, old churches, mosques and temples. At the heart of the Old Quarter is the Cumhuriyet Square, surrounded by shops, cafes, Turkish baths and street performers.

Antalya’s main beaches, Konyaalti and Lara, offer white sands, water sports, resorts, bars and restaurants. Nearby the beaches are water parks, amusement parks and a zoo. Several museums exhibit artifacts and relics from the area, including the award-winning Antalya Museum.

6. Marmaris [SEE MAP]

Marmaris

One of Turkey’s most popular seaside resorts, Marmaris is a picture-perfect setting of pine-clad mountains, sandy white beaches, turquoise waters and historic architecture. Located along the Turkish Riviera in southwest Turkey, this stunning cruise port is a tourist paradise with exceptional sightseeing opportunities, water sports, fantastic dining and buzzing nightlife.

Marmaris presents so much to see and do that visitors will be spoiled for choice. A walk along the cobblestone streets of the old quarter offers attractive architecture and a visit to the 16th century Castle of Suleyman the Magnificent. Various boating tours take visitors exploring around the picturesque bays and neighboring villages.

Horse safaris canter through lush pine forests, orange groves, traditional villages and around untouched bays and stunning waterfalls, while jeep safaris present off-the-beaten-track adventures.

Marmaris also features water parks for the whole family and Turkish baths for total pampering and relaxation. If that is not enough, there are a number of day trips from Marmaris to outstanding destinations like Dalyan, Ephesus, Pamukkale and Cleopatra Island.

The nightlife scene in Marmaris is one of Turkey’s most exciting. There are hundreds of restaurants featuring cuisines from all over the world from fast food to fine dining. Bars and clubs are found throughout the city and along the beaches. Not to be missed are the Turkish Night Show venues, which feature traditional Turkish food, mezes and belly dancing.

5. Side [SEE MAP]

Side

A major port in ancient Pamphylia and occupied by Alexander the Great in 4th century BC, Side today is a picturesque town of classic ruins and modern day resorts overlooking sandy white beaches. Located on Turkey’s Mediterranean Coast in the Antalya Province on a small peninsula, Side offers fantastic sightseeing, nightlife and outdoor adventure.

Side’s star attraction is an excavated site of ancient Hellenistic and Roman ruins that include the remnants of a colossal amphitheater, an agora, a Byzantine basilica, public baths, marble columns and various temples. The Roman baths are now restored to house a museum, which displays a number of Roman statues and artifacts. Overlooking the beach, the Temple of Apollo is a spectacular sight, especially at sunset.

Featuring narrow streets and attractive gardens, the charming town of Side offers many restaurants ranging from delis and pizza shops to upscale dining in a variety of cuisines. Just outside of town, the Manavgat River offers boat tours, white water rafting and impressive waterfalls.

4. Bodrum [SEE MAP]

Bodrum

Located in the Mugla Povince in the southern Aegean region of Turkey, Bodrum is the site of the ancient fortified city, Halicarnassus, which was once home to marble buildings, temples, statutes, paved streets and the Mausoleum, one of the Seven Wonders of the Ancient World.

After falling into ruins, the city remained a quiet fishing village until the 20th century when Turkish intellectuals brought popularity to it through their writings. Today, Bodrum’s intriguing ruins, stunning beaches and cliff-top resorts attract people from all over the world.

On Bodrum’s eastern side, tourists will find a beautiful beach overlooking brilliant blue water. Near the beach are plenty of cafes, bars and nightclubs. On the western side of town is the marina, shopping centers and restaurants.

No visit to Bodrum would be complete without seeing the Castle of St. Peter, also known as Bodrum Castle. Built from 1402 by the Knights Hospitaller it now operates as a museum. Other sights include the last remains of the Mausoleum, and ancient amphitheater and the Myndos Gate, which was once the scene of a bloody battle during a siege by Alexander the Great.

Besides sightseeing, other things to see and do in Bodrum include the award-winning Bodrum Museum of Underwater Archaeology which is housed inside Bodrum Castle, historic windmills, Turkish saunas and mud baths, windsurfing, scuba diving and boat tours that feature nightclubs and glass-bottomed dance floors.

3. Ephesus [SEE MAP]

Ephesus

Europe’s most complete classical metropolis, Ephesus is an ancient site located in Aegean Turkey. By the 1st century BC, Ephesus was one of the largest cities in all of the Roman Empire, boasting one of the Seven Wonders of the Ancient World, the Temple of Artemis. The ruins of Ephesus are well preserved and contained within a large archaeological site, making it one of Turkey’s most popular tourist attractions.

Ephesus was declared a Roman settlement in 133 BC, although it did not reach its peak until some 200 years later. At one point, when the city was the capital of Roman Asia Minor, Ephesus housed more than 250,000 permanent residents. St.Paul lived in Ephesus, fostering Christianity among many other religions. With the decline of the harbor of Ephesus, and the sacking of the city by Germanic Goths in the third century, Ephesus began its decline.

Big Theatre

For roughly 1,500 years, Ephesus was all but forgotten. The remnants of this incredible classical city were hidden from the world until the 1860s, when an international team of archeologists began unearthing the ruins. Today, less than 20 percent of Ephesus has been excavated, but it is still one of the largest accessible archeological sites in the world.

Without question, the most famous structure in Ephesus is the Temple of Artemis. The temple was once the largest on the planet, showcasing just how important the city of Ephesus was. Unfortunately, the temple itself was largely destroyed around the fifth century, but it is still possible to tour the ruins.

Some of the most recently excavated attractions in Ephesus, and certainly some of the most popular, are the Terraced Houses. These were the homes of the richest residents of Ephesus in approximately the first century, and they were built in a modern Roman style.

Remarkably, some of the homes had hot and cold baths, marble floors and even heating systems. On the walls, you can spot unusual artwork, mosaics and even love poems scrawled by hand.

No trip to Ephesus would be complete without seeing the famed Library of Celsus. Built in 123 AD, the library was once of the largest libraries in the ancient world, coming in third after the libraries of Alexandria and Pergamum. The library has been restored, making it easier to see its two-story design, its columns and its capitals.

Be sure to admire the four statues that represent the four virtues. While these are now replica statues, and not the originals, you can still see Sophia, representing wisdom, Episteme, representing knowledge, Ennoia, representing thought, and Arete, representing goodness.

Stone Carving of the Goddess Nike in Ancient Ephesus Turkey

Just two miles from Ephesus is the town of Selçuk, where many visitors choose to spend time before or after exploring the ruins of Ephesus. In the center of Selçuk, you might want to stop and admire the Roman aqueduct that once supplied water to the city, or you could learn a little more about the archeology of the region by exploring the collections at the Museum of Ephesus. You can also browse at the market or pick up double knot carpets, the most popular souvenir from the area.

2. Cappadocia [SEE MAP]

Cappadocia

Situated in Central Anatolia of Turkey, Cappadocia is best known for its fairytale landscape of unusual formations resembling chimneys, cones, mushrooms and pinnacles. Natural processes such as ancient volcanic eruptions and erosion have all sculpted these odd formations over the ages, with some of them rising as much as 130 feet (40 meters) high. However, thousands of years ago, mankind added remarkable touches to the landscape by carving out houses, churches and underground cities from the soft rock.

Inhabited as early as 1800 BC, Hittites and other residents chiseled out underground tunnel complexes, seeking safety from invading Persians and Greeks. Much later in the 4th century AD, Christians, fleeing out of religious persecution from Rome, sought refuge in Cappadocia’s tunnels and caves. Today, the region’s natural wonders and historic sites all make it a popular destination.

While much of Cappadocia is located in the province of Nevsehir, some of the main towns in the region are Ürgüp, Göreme, Avanos, Ortahisar and Mustafapasa. Many of these towns offer hotels, restaurants, nightlife options and attractions such as museums, rock castles, fairy chimneys, underground tunnels, old Greek villages, monasteries and handicraft markets. Some of the caves in the region are actually hotels and cater to tourists.

1. Istanbul [SEE MAP]

#1 of Best Places To Visit In Turkey

Once serving as the capital of the Ottoman and Byzantine Empires, Istanbul today is the largest city in Turkey and one of the largest in the world. Istanbul stretches across both sides of the Bosphorus, a narrow strait that connects Asia and Europe, making it the only city in the world spanning two continents. Impressive architecture, historic sites, dining, shopping, nightlife and exotic atmosphere all make Istanbul one of the world’s top tourist destinations.

See also: Where to Stay in Istanbul

The Old City is where most of the city’s impressive historic sites are found, which include the Hagia Sophia, Blue Mosque and Topkapi Palace. Another important district is New City, known for its modern day attractions, skyscrapers and shopping malls. Beyoglu and Galata are popular zones for nightlife and entertainment, while the Bosphorus area is home to beautiful palaces, waterfront mansions and urban parks.

There is no shortage of exciting things to see and do in Istanbul . A shopping affair not to be missed is the Grand Bazaar, one of the world’s oldest and largest covered markets. Visiting a Turkish bath is also a great way to experience the local culture. The nightlife scene in Istanbul abounds in numerous restaurants, pubs and nightclubs to suit every budget and preference.

Map of Turkey

Turkey Map

Turkey Travel Video

Share this post:.

best places to visit in turkey during summer

10 Best Beach Resorts in Turkey

best places to visit in turkey during summer

15 Best Cities to Visit in Turkey

Regions in Turkey

7 Most Beautiful Regions in Turkey

best places to visit in turkey during summer

10 Most Beautiful Cave Hotels in Cappadocia

Tourist Attractions in Turkey

26 Top Tourist Attractions in Turkey

Best Beaches in Turkey

16 Best Beaches in Turkey You Should Visit this Summer

A Beginner's Guide to Istanbul

A Beginner’s Guide to Istanbul: The City of Two Continents

Istanbul

17 Top Tourist Attractions in Istanbul

best places to visit in turkey during summer

6 Best Day Trips from Istanbul

Things to do in Cappadocia, Turkey

6 Things to do in Cappadocia, Turkey

Reader interactions.

' src=

June 29, 2018 at 12:49 pm

You must go to Rize too.

' src=

December 18, 2017 at 3:41 pm

Izmir is one of the best Turkey there is,lots of historic places and many great places to see

' src=

November 13, 2017 at 8:45 am

You should have added Bursa and Cumalikizik to your list. Bursa and its vicinities offer a lot for the visitors, who would like to taste great food, experience thermal baths, Turkish baths, visit bazaars, mosques, madrasas and enjoy beautiful nature…

' src=

June 29, 2017 at 1:56 pm

Turkey has a lot to offer for those who wants to see mixture of cultures, tradition and history. I have been to half of the places mentioned above and each place has its unique history and taste to it. Actually i am planning to move to live in Izmir with my family in less than a month time. We are so excited about this venture, and look forward to get more of Turkey in next few years.

' src=

June 21, 2017 at 10:33 pm

I can’t believe you skipped Kastamonu

' src=

May 30, 2017 at 2:29 am

I’m suprised you skipped Gaziantep. Gaziantep has the most beatiful Turkish cuisine. You have to taste beyran, kebab, baklava, kadayıf.. In addition, I strongly recommend you to see the ancient city of Zeugma . There are many wonderful muesums and castlle in Gaziantep. I must say that Gaziantep has the biggest zoo.

' src=

February 23, 2017 at 12:49 am

Black Sea would be the hidden Gem!! From amazing mountains to the Black Sea it has so much for all to see.

' src=

November 15, 2015 at 12:53 pm

I like Ankara, Istanbul, and Antalya. But I really love Ephesus because I really like Greek mythology and historical cities.

' src=

June 7, 2015 at 8:52 am

Antalya is definitely one of the best places. When I was a kid, I went there with my family for three days, the beach was sooo awesome!

' src=

May 16, 2015 at 12:43 pm

Turkey rocks. Its an amazing destination with a lot of beautiful n mesmerizing sights. Pammukale, Izmir, Uzungöl n safran bolu, Amasra, çanakale should b added to this list if u have time. Moreover u can skip Ankara.

' src=

February 26, 2015 at 1:16 am

in addition to: For the ones who are interested in history, Edirne is wonderful to see.

February 26, 2015 at 1:11 am

Don’t make a mistake and never go to Ankara. One of the worst cities in Turkey. I know because I live in Turkey and I lived in Ankara.

Bodrum, Istanbul, Ephesus, Kapadokya, Mardin (security is important), Side, Fethiye (dead sea), Datca and Cunda. These are the best i think

' src=

January 8, 2015 at 2:56 am

I cannot believe that you mentioned Ankara in the list. There should be Bursa which has 7 sites (5 Ottoman sultan complexes, Ottoman bazaar and Cumalıkızık Ottoman Village) in Unesco World Heritage list. The city is only 90 minutes by ferry from Istanbul. I highly recommend.

' src=

November 3, 2014 at 1:33 am

i’m planning to visit Turky soon ,because it is amazing

' src=

October 25, 2014 at 6:49 am

I think,Istanbul is the best to travel,however,Ankara is also awesome place.

' src=

October 11, 2014 at 7:42 am

I can’t believe you missed out Pamukkale! That place looks incredible! Other than that, great list! I can’t wait to explore more of Turkey.

' src=

September 8, 2014 at 6:26 am

I like Uzungol, Sultan Murat & Sekarsu nice climate, nature at Iis best …

' src=

September 2, 2014 at 7:30 pm

Nice list, Side is definitely amazing. Visiting ancient sites in Kas is something travellers shouldnt miss. Two cities are very different one is more touristy and both have great Roman ruins.

' src=

August 22, 2014 at 7:50 pm

Izmir is SOOOOOO much better than Istanbul , its crazy that its not even on this list

' src=

June 15, 2014 at 7:38 am

If you have 5 days in Istanbul , thats just nice to see it alone . Stay near the Grand Bazaar entrance, which is very near to the tram station of Beyjezit. you can walk to the Grand Bazaar, Blue Mosque, Hagia Sophia, Topkapi palace . and Citedel Basalica. Take a tram to Eminonu , where the Spice market and famous Fish restaurants, and then take the Bosphorus Cruise from there. On the third day take a City bus ride to see the outskirts of Istanbul. On 4th day you can go back to see more of what you havent covered the first three days.

' src=

April 12, 2014 at 1:01 pm

' src=

March 10, 2014 at 12:13 am

Very surprised that the Black sea region is not on your list

' src=

January 25, 2014 at 11:44 am

Can somebody advise where to go in turkey for 5 days.?

' src=

January 16, 2014 at 9:22 am

I visited Turkey last year and i must say i was impressed greatly! If you want a bit of everything on a trip then dont miss this place.

' src=

October 7, 2013 at 12:49 am

Wey!! I have done all of them apart from Ankara and looking to do that this winter

Leave a Reply Cancel reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed .

www.travelwkly.com

人毛MIXウィッグ  出産祝い

人毛MIXウィッグ 出産祝い

  • 購入数 1 2 3 4 5

作品画像1枚目

練習用カットウィッグ 3体 B-07s ショートレイヤー等に

新品!未使用 夏用頭頂部付け毛ヘア ダークブラウン長め医療用にも★洗える男女兼用

新品!未使用 夏用頭頂部付け毛ヘア ダークブラウン長め医療用にも★洗える男女兼用

2点セット メッシュエクステ お団子 三つ編み ピンク 簡単 アイドル コスプレ

2点セット メッシュエクステ お団子 三つ編み ピンク 簡単 アイドル コスプレ

BALLボールウォッチ スト ークマン ヴィクトリーNL2098C-S3J-WH

BALLボールウォッチ スト ークマン ヴィクトリーNL2098C-S3J-WH

フォンテーヌ ウィッグ グレー トップピース

フォンテーヌ ウィッグ グレー トップピース

カットウィッグ✂︎ショートカット 5体

カットウィッグ✂︎ショートカット 5体

▲JO Jullia Olger ジュリアオージュ 部分ウィッグ 前髪

▲JO Jullia Olger ジュリアオージュ 部分ウィッグ 前髪

お団子 おだんご ウィッグ エクステ つけ毛 茶色 簡単 オシャレ ブラウン

お団子 おだんご ウィッグ エクステ つけ毛 茶色 簡単 オシャレ ブラウン

国家試験カット用トレイセット

国家試験カット用トレイセット

【現品限り】original☆ヘアゴムエクステ 編み下ろし②50

【現品限り】original☆ヘアゴムエクステ 編み下ろし②50

namの人気コーディネート

ウィッグ人形 マネキン 美容師 5台

ウィッグ人形 マネキン 美容師 5台

フォンテーヌ ハーフウィッグ

フォンテーヌ ハーフウィッグ

ハイライト風✨茶×ゴールド お団子ウイッグ

ハイライト風✨茶×ゴールド お団子ウイッグ

お団子ウィッグ 86 つけ毛 おだんご シニヨン 簡単装着 ボリュームアップ

お団子ウィッグ 86 つけ毛 おだんご シニヨン 簡単装着 ボリュームアップ

ライトブラウン ウイッグ ポニーテールスタイル

ライトブラウン ウイッグ ポニーテールスタイル

セモアピーアンドエム ウエストニッパー

セモアピーアンドエム ウエストニッパー

めろん様 専用ページ

Amazonで購入[ブライトララ] ウィッグ 医療用 フルウィッグ ショートボブ

毛束 ブラック 黒髪 2個

毛束 ブラック 黒髪 2個

国試ウィッグ&オールウエーブ&ヘアアレンジ用ウィッグ

国試ウィッグ&オールウエーブ&ヘアアレンジ用ウィッグ

  • このコーディネートを通報する

通報理由を選択してください

  • コーディネートと無関係なタグ付け

このユーザーをブロックしますか?

ユーザーをブロックすると、そのユーザーからの コメントやフォロー等を受け付けなくなります。 ブロックをした場合、ユーザーへの通知はありません。

ブロックを解除しますか?

  • Facebookで共有
  • Pinterestで共有

Road is Calling

epic things to do in Turkey

20 Epic Things to Do in Turkey for a Bucket List Experience!

When I help others build their own Turkey itinerary , the first thing people ask me is what are the best things to do in Turkey that should be on a travel bucket list.

Well, there are quite a lot of activities and attractions as Turkey is huge and rich in diverse experiences. Depending on the region, there is a large number of unique landscapes and cultural offerings that make each area special.

But if you are not going to one particular region and need a general understanding of the best locations and sightseeing spots in Turkey as a whole, it is important to have a plan on where to go and what to see in the first place. With this post, you’ll be able to do just that.

Get inspired and experience all the most amazing activities in Turkey that are the top things to choose for getting to know this country. It is not just a mere inspiration but a full getaway to Turkey with must-do adventures and some hidden gems.

I have traveled around Turkey a lot (and continue to do so until this day) and want to share my knowledge to assist you in discovering as many wonders of this incredible destination as you can!

Best Things to Do in Turkey (Unusual Things & Lesser-Known Activities)  

To make it easier to browse through my list of things to see and do in Turkey, I organized them into three groups of experiences based on their popularity, kind of bucket list status, lesser-known locations, and just beautiful things to do that make Turkey special.

As I continue exploring Turkey, I constantly add more information on the best places to visit and what to do in different parts of the country. I intend to expand upon this guide in the upcoming months, so you’ll have more suggestions for things to do in Turkey.

Meanwhile, if you have other must-do activities in Turkey to add to my list, your suggestions are welcome, share them in the comments below.

Top 10 Things to Do in Turkey (Must Dos)

1. explore istanbul’s historic sights.

one day in Istanbul

Planning a trip to Turkey is impossible without including Istanbul on the list as it is one of the best Turkish cities with centuries-old history. Nowever else in the world will you find a place like it which has been the capital of Christian Byzantium and the Muslim Ottoman Empire, with its own long list of things to do.

Istanbul’s main landmarks like the Hagia Sophia, Blue Mosque, Topkapi Palace (once home to Ottoman sultans), and others are not just beautiful and important. They are living testimonies to the diverse cultures that shaped Istanbul over the years .

Once you go, besides checking out all the famous sights , take the time to go to Istanbul’s best restaurants and cafes, explore its romantic spots together with some hidden gem locations, of course don’t miss the iconic Istiklal Avenue together with Taksim area , and if time permits, check out one of the places not far from Istanbul .

If you’ll be spending in Istanbul 4 days or less, I highly recommend you do a walking tour that lets you visit both sides (European and Asian) like this Two Continents tour or a free tour from Europe to Asia if you are on a budget. In this way, you’ll see all the highlights and decide for yourself which ones you liked more and where you want to return on the following day.

Do you need more inspiration for what to do in Istanbul? I have a ton of posts on my Istanbul travel guide page!

2. Stay in All-Inclusive Hotel

Turkey tourist attraction list

Including a stay in an all-inclusive hotel in Turkey is a must-do for several reasons. #1 reason is that Turkey offers one of the best all-inclusive experiences globally with exceptional hospitality, breathtaking coastal locations, and a wide array of inclusive amenities.

The number of gorgeous properties for different budgets is just huge and there is a chance to stay in luxurious resorts that look more like mini-cities with direct access to the sea or charming boutique hotels, all offering the convenience of all-inclusive packages.

The finest all-inclusive deals are scattered throughout Antalya region, in Bodrum and Marmaris , Cesme, Belek, Kemer, and Side. But there are also smaller all-inclusive hotels in Dalyan for people on a budget.

Check out the majority here to have an idea of what all-inclusive hotels in Turkey are like.

3. Wonder at the Surreal Landscapes of Cappadocia

Uchisar in winter

Going to Cappadocia is going to be one of the best experiences in Turkey as this journey will allow a dreamlike realm that is both visually stunning and culturally rich.

Situated in central Turkey, it is a place with extraordinary geological formations, unique rock-cut architecture, and a landscape that seems to belong to another world.

The primary reason to come to the area is the iconic fairy chimneys created by volcanic eruptions and erosion over millions of years. They are scattered across the region, creating an atmosphere that captivates the imagination. 

Beyond the fairy chimneys, Cappadocia boasts an intricate network of cave dwellings, underground cities, and rock-cut churches. The Göreme Open-Air Museum , for example, showcases those churches adorned with ancient frescoes, providing a glimpse into the rich Byzantine heritage of the region.

Any number of days in Cappadocia is never enough, but if you have limited time in Turkey and traveling from Istanbul, plan to come to this region for at least 2 full days with the all-inclusive package .

4. Visit the Pamukkale Terraces & Cleopatra’s Pool

visiting Pamukkale

Pamukkale is one of the main attractions of Turkey, this is why it should sit high on every itinerary.

From Turkish, Pamukkale translates as “cotton castle” because of its striking appearance, resembling a cascading castle made of cotton. You’ll find it in the southwestern part of the country which is easy to visit on a road trip from Antalya , from Izmir, or when driving from Fethiye . 

One of the primary reasons to explore Pamukkale is the surreal appearance of the terraces that remind a cascade of frozen, cotton-like waterfalls. These terraces are formed by the flow of calcium-rich mineral water from hot springs, creating stunning, terraced pools over time. The sight is not only visually stunning but also unique in the world, earning Pamukkale recognition as a UNESCO World Heritage Site.

Swimming in these terraces is not allowed anymore but you can definitely put your feet or hands in the water and splash as much as you want.

And then for swimming, go take a dip in the healing waters of Cleopatra’s Pool which is among the best hot spring pools of Turkey . It is in the ancient city of Hierapolis , adjacent to Pamukkale.

Unusual Excursions to Pamukkale

5. Try a Turkish Bath (Hammam) Experience

romantic things to do in Istanbul

Trying a Turkish Bath is a cultural and rejuvenating experience that immerses you in the traditional Turkish way of relaxation and cleansing. A Hamam is a centuries-old practice, deeply ingrained in Turkish culture with a blend of physical and spiritual rinse.

It consists of a real cleansing ritual which includes relaxation in a warm and steamy room, scrubbing, and thorough soap massage, which helps release tension and stress, providing a holistic and soothing experience.

Going to a hammam is a unique thing to do in Turkey which resembles in some ways hammam experiences in Morocco and in Spain .

The number of hammams is big but my favorite ones are in Istanbul, Izmir, and Bursa. In Istanbul in particular you get the opportunity to immerse yourself in history and warm water simultaneously as most hammams are very old historic baths.

6. Explore Well-Preserved Ancient Greek & Roman Ruins in Ephesus

visiting Ephesus

Ephesus is one of the best ancient cities in Turkey and one of the most extensive and best-preserved archaeological sites in the world, that should be on everyone’s bucket list.

The significance of Ephesus lies in its role as a major Greek city and later a thriving Roman metropolis , making it a melting pot of cultures, architectural styles, and historical narratives. The city flourished during the Roman period and was famous for its grand structures, such as the Library of Celsus, the Great Theatre, and the Temple of Artemis – one of the Seven Wonders of the Ancient World .

Additionally, Ephesus is associated with biblical history , being mentioned in the Acts of the Apostles as a site where Saint Paul preached. The Terrace Houses, showcasing well-preserved Roman villas with elaborate frescoes and intricate mosaics, offer a glimpse into the lifestyles of the affluent during that period.

So visiting Ephesus provides a tangible link to the roots of Western civilization, offering a profound educational and cultural experience.

Learn more about Ephesus and its history here and if you decide to see it, visit in the first part of the day when going on your own or skip the lines with the guide if coming from the cruise.

7. Relax on One of the Beaches of Antalya

must visit beach in Turkey

Don’t get me wrong, Turkey has many gorgeous beaches. Some of my favorites are beaches in Bodrum , Marmaris, and even a couple of beaches in Istanbul. But Antalya’s beaches are so diverse and breathtaking that not going to at least one would be a huge miss!

Exactly in Antalya, you’ll find beaches near ancient ruins, those with blue waters like in Miami , or hidden beaches with golden sand and recreational activities. Many beaches also have Blue Flag status ensuring high quality standards.

And the best part – all public beaches in Antalya are free and the number of them is so high that you can visit a beach in any town or city you go to in the province! Some are awesome for sunbathing even in winter .

If I could highlight just a few, I’d say don’t miss a swim on Kaputas Beach (between Kas and Kalkan, a hidden gem with turquoise waters and a narrow gorge leading to the sea), Çıralı Beach (known for a mix of sand and pebbles and nesting sea turtles), and Kumburnu Beach in Oludeniz which has the most beautiful color of the water.

But for all beaches, you need to see my guide about the best beaches in Antalya.

8. Dine at a Meyhane (Turkish Tavern)

eating meze in meyhane

Many foodie experiences in Turkey should be on the list of must-have activities, including trying a traditional Turkish breakfast , traditional dinner, or just eating the best kebab. 

But one of the unique things to do is to dine in a Meyhane, a traditional Turkish tavern or pub that typically specializes in serving mezes (Turkish appetizers) along with alcoholic beverages, particularly Rakı (a traditional Turkish anise-flavored alcoholic drink). 

Meyhanes are made in a way that promotes social interaction and lively conversations over small plates of meal (in some way similar to tapas in Spain). Sometimes live music is present too to contribute to a convivial atmosphere.

Every city and town in Turkey will have a meyhane. But if you are in Istanbul, my top tip would be to join this tour that includes street food together with a night of meze and tradition.

9. Go on a Lycian Way Hike (At Least Some Part of It)

must-do thing in Turkey

Lycian Way is a very famous long-distance hiking trail stretching approximately 540 kilometers from Fethiye to Antalya. Established in 1999, it offers a diverse and one of its kind experience with breathtaking coastal views and ancient ruins along the challenging terrains. It is a must do thing in Turkey for hikers.

But not only professional hikers will love it since some parts of the trail are pretty accessible and easy to cover for people who don’t hike a lot, so it is possible to go even with little kids. And when there, you can do two different things – enjoy the scenery and touch upon ancient Lycian civilization.

When I lived in Istanbul , I often visited southern Turkey either to go to one of the quiet villages and coastal towns there or to hike in different locations of Lycian Way.

If I could share my favorite stretches of the trail, I’d say include a hike from Kalkan to Kas (with views of the Mediterranean, less challenging compared to other sections), Demre to Finike (a coastal section with a relatively flat and easy trail with beautiful sea views), and Olympos to Çıralı (known for its archaeological remains, including the Olympos Theater and the Lycian League Tower, and ancient city of Phaselis).

10. Go Shopping For Leather & Fur Clothing

Turkish leather clothes

Another famous thing that Turkey is known for is the production of high-quality leather and fur goods, particularly winter and demi-seasonal coats, including leather blazers , pants, trench coats, and suits. But leather shoes and accessories are of very good quality too.

So if you are going on holidays to Turkey , you may want to include a tour of the factory and adjacent store to see techniques on leather and fur production that are passed down through generations, and of course, buy something for yourself or your family members.

With a wide range of products and the opportunity for personalization, the experience extends beyond just shopping, as every visitor also gets a cultural immersion in vibrant bazaars and historical districts. Turkey’s historical connection to the leather industry adds significance to the purchase, making it a memorable and worthwhile activity for visitors.

Best places where to go to shop for leather and fur clothing are Istanbul, Izmir, Antalya, Bursa, and Bergama . But you can also go on a shopping tour in Cappadocia where you’ll have half a day to shop in a small group. 

Unique Things to Do in Turkey for Couples

11. go on a boat/yacht cruise.

best thing to do in Turkey for couples

To appreciate the beauty of Turkey in its fullness, you need to see it from the sea, receiving a unique perspective of its coastline. Doing it is easy from pretty much any big city or small town on the coast of Turkey as it has a myriad of cruise options, catering to different preferences and interests.

Pirate boats, historical excursions, leisurely sailing on a yacht, or vibrant nightlife on the water, there’s a cruise for every type of traveler. The cost of these cruises varies, ensuring flexibility for different budgets.

Turkish seaside, bordered by the Aegean and Mediterranean Seas, is adorned with pristine beaches, hidden coves, and small cute islands which are best to visit by boat. Opting for a cruise allows you to explore these coastal gems, each with its own charm and character. 

My favorite routes are those around Bodrum to crystal clear waters , around Marmaris (because they stop at hidden coves), around Antalya , and one to Kekova sunken city from Demre or Kas.

12. Take a Hot Air Balloon Ride Over the Fairy-Tale Landscapes of Cappadocia

adventurous thing to do in Cappadocia

You have probably seen magical photos of hot air balloons soaring into the sky with the first rays of the sun over fields with whimsical rock formation. They were taken in a beautiful land of Cappadocia known for its unique geological features (that are called fairy chimneys) and cave hotels .

Going on a hot air balloon ride is one of the must-do things in Cappadocia and best thing to do in Turkey which you will remember for the rest of your life. Imagine soaring where the sun paints the sky with hues of orange and pink, casting a warm glow over distinctive rock spires below.

As you float above the ancient cave dwellings, the silence of the morning is only broken by the occasional whisper of the wind. It’s that experience in Turkey that transcends the ordinary, leaving an indelible mark on your memories of this destination.

Flights take place every day but sometimes on winter days in Cappadocia they are canceled due to bad weather. Anyone can experience a hot air balloon ride – you just need to choose one of the numerous companies.

But if you are like me and are afraid to fly, then rent a car in Cappadocia (through my guide find out where is the best place to hire a car ) or go watch air balloons fly close (like in my photo)!

13. Spend a Day in the Beach Club

best thing to do in turkey in summer

Among summer activities to do in Turkey, going to a beach club is one of my absolute favorites because Turkish beach clubs provide a backdrop of crystal-clear waters, golden sands, and scenic beauty, creating an idyllic atmosphere for relaxation and enjoyment.

They are usually set by the stunning coastal landscape on the shores of the Aegean or Mediterranean Seas and have luxurious amenities like  comfortable sun loungers, private cabanas, and exclusive beachfront access. Many clubs offer high-end services such as spa treatments, VIP lounges, and gourmet dining, elevating the overall beach experience.

Every big city in Turkey by the coast will have a beach club. So if you go on a sea vacation to any of them, check on the maps what beach clubs are available in the area and have a fantastic day relaxing in one of them!

Here is my first reel from the very first beach club I visited in Bodrum:

            View this post on Instagram                         A post shared by Anya | Travel Planner (@roadiscalling)

14. Have a Tandem Paraglide Flight Over the Blue Lagoon

paragliding in Oludeniz

Doing a tandem paraglide flight over the Blue Lagoon in Oludeniz is an extraordinary and romantic experience for couples in Turkey , even though it might be considered scary and is not an adventure everyone might choose.

But if you enjoy thrilling experiences then this top tourist attraction in Turkey will be one of the most memorable things.

With it, you’ll be able to soar high above turquoise waters and Fethiye mountains , getting a full birds-eye view of the lagoon, the coastline, and the lush landscapes below.

Every time Mark and I visit Fethiye, we tell ourselves that we are going to do tandem paragliding. But every time I just chicken out and choose to sit on the beach watching paragliders fly above my head. That’s a separate attraction of its own as the entire process is quite mesmerizing and the beach in that area is totally gorgeous!

If you decide to participate in this bucket list Turkey activity, you can always make arrangements on spot in Fethiye. But for summer travel, it is better to pre-book it in advance. Check here the top ten paragliding experiences with prices .

15. Enjoy the Most Scenic Train Route Across Turkey in Doğu Express

most scenic train ride in Turkey

One of my absolute favorite and most scenic things to do in Turkey is to be a passenger of the Doğu Express picturesque train that runs between Ankara and Kars and covers a distance of 1300 kilometers within a 32-hour journey.

A trip seems to be long but in my experience, this much time is not enough to enjoy breathtaking Anatolian landscapes with Türkiye’s cultural richness. It is like a cruise where you explore the country not by ship but by train and make multiple stops in towns and villages along the route to do local exploration.

This train ride is among the top four most beautiful train routes in Turkey and if I had to compare it to other scenic train rides in the world, I’d say that it is as beautiful as train rides found in Switzerland , England, Japan, and Canada.

If you make this trip happen, be ready to ride through the unreal landscapes of Anatolia, where high slopes meet mountain rivers. Sometimes you go through tunnels, other times through gorges or valleys. But every time views resemble Switzerland and Italy which makes it challenging to look away from the window.

There are two ways to do this trip, one by a public train that runs every week throughout the year and on a tourist route that gives service only from December to March . The second option is better as you have more time in towns where train stops which allows some time for exploring the region. For more details, refer to this site .

Other Fun & Secret Turkey Activities (Great for Families, Young Adults & Everyone Else)

16. get amazed with the colossal statues & ancient tombs at mount nemrut.

amazing thing to see in Turkey

Traveling far to Mount Nemrut (located in southeastern Turkey near the city of Adiyaman. ) is going to be another adventurous thing you’ll do in Turkey that will be difficult to forget.

Mount Nemrut is a special place that is both a geographical feature and an archaeological site. It is a mountain with an elevation of 2,134 meters (7,001 feet) where a unique open-air museum sits on the summit with an ancient funerary complex built by King Antiochus I Theos of Commagene around 62 BC. 

This museum is basically an area with colossal statues (that remind me of a similar site in Juta village in Georgia ) and ancient tombs that represent various deities and kings and look as if they’ve been frozen in time. The hike to the statues on the top of Mount typically takes around 45 minutes to 1 hour, depending on your pace and the specific trail you choose. There are a couple of different paths to the summit that vary in difficulty.

You don’t really come to Mount Nemrut directly just to hike and see the statues. It is quite remote and is located in a region where there are not many things to do. 

The best way to visit this part of Turkey is on a tour through eastern Turkey where you travel to a few locations, including this one. There is for example a 2-night tour available from Cappadocia to Mount Nemrut that also includes a quick trip to Sanliurfa, a must-visit city in Turkey . 

17. See the Most Beautiful Mountains of Turkey – Kaçkar Mountains

hiking in Turkish mountains

In my experience, the Kaçkar Mountains in Turkey offer the most breathtaking mountains in Turkey with alpine landscapes, pristine lakes, and challenging trekking routes. The region is like a haven for people who love hiking, getting away in the wilderness, and seeing high-altitude areas with snowfields even in summer .

So if your main goal to travel to Turkey is to plan a trip for nature and you are all after mountain ranges, then make sure to add Kaçkar Mountains to your bucket list.

Best time to visit is from June to September from Rize or Artvin, both cities in the Black Sea region. If you come to Rize (part of the Karadeniz region), then combine a trip to the mountains with exploring local tea plantations as all Turkish tea you drink around Turkey comes from here.

The mountains area is quite remote and most people there don’t speak English. So you may want to plan a big multi-day trip to Eastern Turkey that will also include a visit to the Kaçkar mountain range. Otherwise, make arrangements with local guides to conquer Kackar Summit once you arrive in Trabzon.

Click here to see all tours of mountainous Turkey with the best tourist attractions and sightseeing spots.

18. Visit the Capital of Pistachios 

Gaziantep nature

One of the unique things to do in Turkey is to go to Gaziantep in the southeast of the country which is known among Turkish people as the pistachio capital of Turkey and celebrated for its pistachio-infused dishes, such as baklava and kebabs.

Culinary culture is enough of a reason to visit this city but besides it, there is much more to experience – a museum of Roman mosaics, a zoo, fortresses, mosques, and one interesting botanical garden.

The area of Gaziantep, one of the most important places of the Anatolian lands, as well as one of the oldest that is still inhabited, has been home to various civilizations, and it has a special place in the history of the Turkish War of Independence too. It was used to be called just “Antep”, but after the war, its name was changed to “Gaziantep”, with the addition of the word “Gazi”, meaning “war veteran” in Turkish. 

19. Witness the Beauty of One of the Most Beautiful Canyons in the World

visiting canyons in Turkey

Did you know that Turkey has some of the most impressive canyons each with its own unique features, geological formations, and opportunities for outdoor activities such as hiking, trekking, and even canyoning?

Yes, it does. And they offer not only breathtaking natural scenery but also opportunities for exploration and adventure.

Just like the renowned canyons in the US, Turkey’s diverse canyons also offer a ‘wow’ scenery with adventure, making them a must-visit place in Turkey for nature and explorations. 

The most popular canyons such as Goynuk, Koprulu, and Saklikent are located near famous resort cities. However, there are those that many may not have heard of like beautiful canyons in Artvin or Kastamonu. 

There is also The Ihlara Valley Canyon in Cappadocia which is often considered a smaller-scale version of the Grand Canyon. While it may not match the sheer scale of the Grand Canyon, Ihlara Valley impresses with its deep gorge, towering cliffs, and winding river, creating a similar sense of awe and wonder in a more compact setting.

20. Visit an Anitkabir Mausoleum in Ankara

lesser-known place in turkey

While there are many notable mausoleums worldwide, the uniqueness of Anıtkabir lies in its specific historical context and its association with a pivotal figure in Turkish history. This is why coming here is one of the unique and less-known things to do in Turkiye. 

The Anıtkabir Mausoleum is the final resting place of Mustafa Kemal Atatürk, the founder and first President of Turkish Republic. Located in Ankara, the capital city, it is a significant historical and cultural site that serves as a tribute to Atatürk’s leadership in the establishment of modern Turkey.

The mausoleum is a monumental structure and includes various sections, such as the Road of Lions, the Ceremonial Plaza, and the Hall of Honor, where Atatürk’s tomb is situated. The site is not only a place of remembrance but also a symbol of the Turkish War of Independence and the subsequent formation of the Republic.

While Ankara is not a top city to visit in Turkey, the mausoleum provides a great opportunity to learn about Atatürk’s life and legacy and witness ceremonial events held on special occasions. It holds immense importance for Turkish people and is a symbol of national pride and identity.

If you plan travel to Ankara around the following dates, you’ll see a grandiose performance around the mausoleum – April 23, May 19, Aug 30, Oct 29, and Nov 10.

Seeing all these things in Turkey in one trip can be somewhat challenging unless a trip is long or if you will be just hopping from place to place trying to cover it all.

Do not be in a hurry to travel everywhere. Choose your top places and activities and have fun exploring Turkey at a slower pace. 

Bucket List Things to Do in Turkey

Anya is originally from Ukraine but in heart she is a citizen of the world. She is working online and that’s why has an opportunity to travel a lot and live in different countries. At present time, she is based in Spain while waiting for the war in Ukraine to be over to be able to return home. On this blog, her main goal is to inspire others to travel to under-the-radar places and discover the world while working remotely.

Similar Posts

Istanbul Museum Pass Review & Tips – Is It Worth the Money?

Istanbul Museum Pass Review & Tips – Is It Worth the Money?

One of the most popular questions I often get in messages or comments is about two things – a 7-day Turkey itinerary and the Istanbul museum pass card. Is it worth buying it? Is…

Karakoy in Istanbul Neighborhood Guide: Safety, Best Things to Do, Nightlife & More

Karakoy in Istanbul Neighborhood Guide: Safety, Best Things to Do, Nightlife & More

Karakoy in Istanbul is one of the most vibrant and vivid neighborhoods that stands out as an ideal spot for tourists. It boasts centrality, prestige, sophistication, and a bohemian atmosphere in the European part…

What & Where to Eat in Istanbul: 29 Amazing Restaurants, Cafes and Terraces

What & Where to Eat in Istanbul: 29 Amazing Restaurants, Cafes and Terraces

Istanbul is one of the cities that smell like food no matter where you go. In fact, the number of aromas is so high that you constantly want to snack on something even if…

4 Days in Istanbul Itinerary – Alternative Route for First-Time Visitors

4 Days in Istanbul Itinerary – Alternative Route for First-Time Visitors

Before starting to write this 4 days in Istanbul itinerary it took me a while actually to decide how long my first sample itinerary for Istanbul should be. When I visited this city for…

Visiting Çakırlar – Traditional Village Near Antalya Famous For Turkish Breakfast

Visiting Çakırlar – Traditional Village Near Antalya Famous For Turkish Breakfast

One of the places to visit near Antalya, in my opinion, is the village of Çakırlar. It is situated at the foot of the mountains within the city limit and is famous for Turkish…

7 Cool Weekend Trips From Istanbul That You Didn’t Know About

7 Cool Weekend Trips From Istanbul That You Didn’t Know About

The number of weekend trips from Istanbul can be really big since the city’s location and the interweaving of centuries-old history hide many beautiful places around.  You can go on day trips from Istanbul…

Leave a Reply Cancel reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Turkey is a country for all seasons – here are the best times to visit

Jennifer Hattam

Jan 5, 2022 • 6 min read

Uzungol (English: Long Lake) is a lake situated to the south of the city of Trabzon, in the Caykara district of Trabzon Province, Black Sea region of Turkey. Uzungol is also the name of the village on the lake's coast. Over the years, the picturesque lake, its village and the surrounding valley have become popular tourist attractions. It was formed by a landslide, which transformed the stream bed into a natural dam, in the valley of the Haldizen Stream.

No matter the time of year, Turkey always has a good place to visit © Feng Wei Photography / Getty Images

With mountains, deserts, seashores and cities among its diverse offerings, there’s almost always a good place to travel to in Turkey no matter the time of year.

The country’s range of landscapes also means great regional variation in its traditional cuisine. Small towns and villages often host colorful festivals around the harvest period of their local crop, whether it be olives, grapes, artichokes or apricots.

It’s worth keeping in mind that the two most important Muslim holidays, Ramazan Bayramı (Eid al-Fitr) and Kurban Bayramı (Eid al-Adha), follow the lunar calendar so their dates shift slightly every year. These holidays are extremely popular times for Turks to travel, so expect more crowds and higher prices. Some small businesses may also be closed during those periods. (Think traveling around Thanksgiving or Christmas in the US to get an idea of the effect.)

Here’s how to get the best out of Turkey in every season. 

High Season: June to August

Best for beaches, black sea highlands and outdoor events.

Sun seekers both foreign and domestic flock to Turkey’s Aegean and Mediterranean coasts in summer, meaning crowds and costs go up with the temperatures. Booking ahead is a must in popular destinations, many of which also host lively outdoor festivals featuring performances by the seaside or in historic amphitheaters. If you’re not on the water, many parts of the country, including Istanbul and Cappadocia , can be unpleasantly hot in summer, but it’s a great time to explore the cooler green highlands of the Black Sea mountains.

Visitor admiring the architecture of Topkapi Palace in Istanbul, Turkey

Shoulder Season: April to May, September to October

Best for sightseeing, hiking and cultural events.

Spring and fall are pleasant times of year to be almost anywhere in the country, with temperatures often warm enough for outdoor dining and drinking but not oppressively hot. Istanbul and other big cities usually have a lively calendar of arts and cultural events. In the fall months, it’s still warm enough to swim, especially along the Mediterranean coast, and blissfully relaxed after school holidays end and most tourists return home. 

Low Season: November to March

Best for skiing and for bargains elsewhere.

Winter is high season in ski-resort areas, but elsewhere you’ll find good deals and few other visitors. The weather can be dreary, but Turkey’s many museums provide lots to do indoors, and its hamams (Turkish bathhouses) are great for warming up. Dinner in a meyhane (tavern) or ocakbaşı (grill house) is a cozy way to pass a lively evening. In coastal areas, you may find some accommodations and restaurants closed for the season, and local transportation more limited, but the weather can still be relatively mild.

Istanbul is generally cold, gray and wet, and coastal resorts are deserted, but ski season is in full swing on Mt. Erciyes in Cappadocia, as well as farther east in Erzurum and Kars , and at Kartepe and Uludağ within driving distance of Istanbul. Black Sea anchovies ( hamsi ) are at their fattest and most delicious. Key events: Greek Orthodox Epiphany, Selçuk Camel Wrestling Championship

Cagaloglu Hammam (Turkish baths) in Istanbul

Can’t warm up? A steamy hamam might do the trick. Early signs of spring are starting to crack through the winter chill along Turkey’s southern coast in places like Datça , which hosts an annual almond blossom festival. Key event: Datça Almond Blossom Festival

Kurdish communities in Turkey celebrate Newroz, a festival marking the beginning of spring. Wintry Istanbul starts to defrost, and days on the Mediterranean coast can be sunny and warm (though sea temperatures will take some time to catch up). Key events: Newroz, İzmir European Jazz Festival

Purple, yellow and red tulips in Emirgan Park

Tulips bloom in parks across Istanbul, as do wildflowers in many parts of the country, making April a wonderful (if occasionally rainy) time of year for hiking on southern routes like the Lycian Way and Carian Trail. Çanakkale draws visitors en masse for Anzac Day, the annual commemoration of Allied soldiers (mostly from Australia and New Zealand) killed on the WWI battlefields of Gallipoli . Key events: Istanbul Tulip Festival, Anzac Day, Istanbul Film Festival, Alaçatı Herb Festival, Urla Artichoke Festival

Istanbul’s sidewalk cafes and rooftop bars are hopping, and the Aegean and Mediterranean coasts are warm but not yet sweltering. Even Turkey’s far east is thawing out. It’s a good time to be pretty much anywhere in the country. Key event: Hıdrellez

The summer festival season kicks off with outdoor classical concerts in Istanbul, some at historic sites. Beaches are starting to get busy, and the heat in the country’s southeast is becoming formidable. Key events: Istanbul Music Festival, International Bursa Festival, Tekirdağ Cherry Festival

The green high pastures ( yayla ) in the mountains of the Black Sea region offer relief from the heat elsewhere. Lush lavender fields are blooming in Isparta’s Kuyucak village and İzmir ’s Seferihisar. Key events: Istanbul Jazz Festival, Bosphorus Cross-Continental Swimming Race, Istanbul Opera Festival, Bozcaada Jazz Festival, Kırkpınar Oil Wrestling Championships

Hikers with large backpacks in the Kaçkar Mountains

With beaches heaving with people during the high summer holidays, a blue cruise on a gulet (traditional wooden yacht) around the Aegean or Mediterranean coast is an ideal escape. In Istanbul, catch a breeze on a ferry ride or Bosphorus tour. It’s also prime time to hike the Kaçkar Mountains , which are snowed in for much of the rest of the year. Key events: Gümüşlük Classical Music Festival, Bodrum Ballet Festival, Ephesus Opera and Ballet Festival

Beach towns start to get a bit quieter (though remain wonderfully warm) as the school holidays end. Istanbul bustles again, with a packed cultural calendar, especially when it comes to visual art exhibitions and events. Key events: Istanbul Biennial (alternating years), Aspendos Opera and Ballet Festival, Bosphorus Cup Istanbul Regatta

Cappadocia and the coasts are generally still warm, Istanbul usually has more nice days than gray ones, the southeast is starting to cool off, and crowds and prices are diminished most everywhere. Key events: Istanbul Design Biennial (every other year), Republic Day, Cappadocia Ultra-Trail, Antalya Golden Orange Film Festival

Rainy season starts to set in around much of the country, making this a great time to invest in a museum pass. Brighten up a dreary day with a fresh-pressed juice – it’s pomegranate season! Key events: Istanbul Marathon, Istanbul Theater Festival, Istanbul Puppet Festival, Bursa Karagöz Shadow Puppetry Festival

Hot-air balloon floats over snow-covered mountains in Cappadocia, Turkey

The fairy chimneys of Cappadocia are even more otherworldly than usual when it snows (though inclement weather often keeps the famous hot-air balloons grounded). The central Anatolia city of Konya puts on a week of events commemorating the death of Mevlana, the Sufi mystic and poet better known in the West as Rumi. Key event: Konya Mevlana Festival

You might also like: The best beaches in Turkey The most incredible ancient sites in Turkey 12 stunning national parks in Turkey

Explore related stories

A young woman exploring a valley with rock formations and fairy chimneys near Uchisar castle in Cappadocia Turkey

Tips & Advice

Mar 14, 2024 • 6 min read

Cappadocia is incredibly popular with visitors to Turkey but where to start with so many attractions? These are 8 of our favorite places to visit.

best places to visit in turkey during summer

Mar 13, 2024 • 6 min read

best places to visit in turkey during summer

Mar 10, 2024 • 6 min read

best places to visit in turkey during summer

Mar 3, 2024 • 4 min read

Editorial-Templates.png

Jan 31, 2024 • 6 min read

1455023028

Dec 14, 2023 • 6 min read

Betancuria village with a church tower on Fuerteventura island.

Oct 25, 2023 • 7 min read

best places to visit in turkey during summer

Sep 28, 2023 • 6 min read

best places to visit in turkey during summer

Aug 4, 2023 • 11 min read

Trans-Siberian-badge.jpg

Jul 3, 2023 • 3 min read

Intrepid Travel Blog

Turkey in one week: The ultimate guide

Turkey one week guide

NOTE: This article was inspired by our 8-day Turkey Highlights trip.

Offering ancient history, bustling cities, pumping nightlife, jaw-dropping landscapes, blissful beaches and an incredible cuisine, there is something for everyone in Turkey.

Experiencing (nearly) everything in 7 days can be a daunting task, but with this itinerary you can do it a ton!

I didn’t know what to expect before heading to Turkey  – Western media coverage isn’t always glowing and in terms of tourism, you don’t hear about much outside of Istanbul and Cappadocia. Well, I was well and truly blown away by how open-minded and friendly the locals are, and the number of incredible and often overlooked attractions.

Turkey one week guide

Local interactions are one of the greatest parts of travel

READ MORE: 6 AMAZING DESTINATIONS IN TURKEY THAT AREN’T ISTANBUL OR CAPPADOCIA

It is also an excellent-value destination and is a safe place for tourists. Ready to dive straight in? Here’s your all-encompassing guide to a week there.

best places to visit in turkey during summer

Day 1: Istanbul

Istanbul is one of the world’s great destinations. A bustling, cosmopolitan metropolis at the crossroads of Europe and Asia, in 2,000 years of existence different civilisations have left their mark on the city. Istanbul is a 24-hour city where bars, clubs and restaurants are open all hours and shops, bakeries and even barber shops are open as late as 3am!

Begin in Sultanahmet where you will find most of Istanbul’s major attractions, including the Hagia Sophia, Topkapı Palace, the Blue Mosque and the Basilica Cistern.

Three tram stops away, yet feeling like a different world, is multicultural Aksaray. You can get a great-value lunch here; I had a delicious falafel roll and an ayran (salty yoghurt drink) for six lira (about $1.25 USD).

Next, make your way to the world famous Grand Bazaar. It’s one of the oldest and biggest covered markets in the world. Or, for an alternate experience, head downhill to Mısır Çarşısı for spices, jewellery and sweets.

Turkey one week guide

Istanbul’s dazzling Hagia Sophia

Take in the sunset and spectacular city views from the ferry to Kadıköy which is a great place to spend the evening. For dinner Borsam Taşfırın serves excellent wood-fired pide (like a Turkish pizza) and lahmacun (flatbread topped with mincemeat). End your day at any of the countless bars or shisha cafes in the laneways.

READ MORE: EVERYTHING YOU SHOULD DO IN ISTANBUL, FROM MUST-DOS TO HIDDEN GEMS

Day 2: Istanbul

Wake up to a traditional Turkish breakfast of menemen (Turkish scrambled eggs), white cheese, olives, fresh tomato and cucumber.

After breakfast, head to Süleymaniye Mosque which is less well-known than the Sultanahmet monuments, but just as stunning. Then cross the Galata bridge, passing the hordes of fisherman and head uphill to the Galata tower which offers panoramic views of the area.

Süleymaniye Mosque Turkey one week guide

The Süleymaniye Mosque

For lunch head to a lokanta –  a cafeteria-style eatery where food is served from a bain-marie. These are excellent value and a good way to try a range of dishes. Balkan Lokanatasi is one of the most popular ,with outlets across the city offering a large range of dishes including soups, vegetarian dishes and desserts. (Want to know more about the top Turkish eats? Read this guide.)

Spend the afternoon wandering around Beyoğlu. Work your way along the shoppers paradise of İstiklal Avenue, zig zagging in and out of its warren of side streets. Explore bohemian Cihangir and finish the day in Taksim Square.

MEET THE SYRIAN REFUGEES RUNNING THEIR OWN FASHION BRAND IN ISTANBUL

Day 3: Cappadocia

Cappadocia is one of the most unique destinations in the world, with a stunning landscape that looks unlike anything else you’ll ever see. Get up early to see thousands of hot air balloons floating above the landscape at sunrise. Whether witnessed from the basket of a hot air balloon or from ground level, it is jaw-dropping.

Next, head to the Göreme Open Air Museum, a collection of well-preserved orthodox churches dug into the hills. Afterwards, walk down the hill for Tokalı Kilise, one of the biggest cave churches in the area.

Cappadocia Turkey

Finish the day by climbing the hill that overlooks Göreme and join the crowds watching the landscapes change colour in a spellbinding sunset.

READ MORE: 7 INCREDIBLE VIEWS TO SEEK OUT IN CAPPADOCIA

Day 4: Cappadocia

Use your second day in Cappadocia to see some of its farther out attractions. Local transport can be inconsistent so a tour is the way to go. Ensure you visit at least one of the many underground cities in the region – Kaymaklı and Gaziemir are two of the best. Here you can witness how people lived their lives sleeping, cooking, eating and even keeping livestock deep underground.

Ihlara valley is another not-to-miss attraction featuring more cave churches but in a very different landscape from the rest of the area.

Turkey one week guide

Photographing the fairy chimneys

Uçhisar Castle, with its panoramic views of the whole area, is a fantastic final stop on the tour. I actually asked if I could be left here and walked back to Göreme through Pigeon valley. Walking through the amazing rock formations at sunset turned out to be one of my highlights of Cappadocia.

BROWSE ALL OF INTREPID’S SMALL GROUP ADVENTURES IN TURKEY

Day 5: Izmir /Ephesus

Izmir, Turkey’s third city, is a youthful and vibrant city that is a great place to base yourself to visit Ephesus.

The history and location of Turkey mean that there are stacks of ruins throughout the country but the most impressive are at Ephesus. Built by the Ancient Greeks in the 10 th century BC, Ephesus was one of the major cities of the ancient world.

It is worth devoting a full day to explore the ruins. The terraced houses are some of the finest examples of Roman homes and are a must-see, while the restored fresco of the library is stunning. The site of the Temple of Artemis, one of the seven wonders of the ancient world, is also worth a look, although barely any of it remains.

Turkey one week guide

Intrepid travellers exploring Ephesus

Upon returning to Izmir, check out Konak square and its iconic clock tower. Spend the evening wandering among the hipster bars and cafes in the laneways of Alsancak. These are open well into the night.

READ MORE: YOU WILL FEEL SAFE IN TURKEY – AND 5 OTHER MUST-KNOWS

Day 6: Pamukkale

After five hectic days, its time for a bit of relaxation among Turkey’s most Instagram-friendly destination after Cappadocia.

Pamukkale means “cotton castle” in Turkish which is a perfect way to describe the pearl white terraces with pools of spring water. Wander the travertines, bathe in the pools and admire the views of the village and surrounding plains.

If you’re not content just chilling out, there are numerous other attractions in the area. The region has been a spa area since Roman times and the ruins of the town of Hierapolis sit on top of the hill above the terraces and contain a large amphitheatre.

Pamukkale Turkey

READ MORE: WHY TO VIST PAMUKKALE (AND WHAT TO KNOW)

Day 7: Ölüdeniz

Turkey has many fantastic beaches and one of the best is found at Ölüdeniz. Consider spending your last day simply relaxing on the beach and maybe take a leisurely stroll down to the beautiful blue lagoon.

If you’ve still got energy left, there is plenty to see around Ölüdeniz including the beautiful Butterfly Valley and the hippie hideout of Kabak. Both places can be accessed by local transport or on a tour. If you go by local transport, stop at any of the restaurants along the road for a delicious gözleme, which is kind of like a savoury, stuffed pancake.

SUBSCRIBE TO INTREPID’S NEWSLETTER FOR DEALS, GIVEAWAYS, TRAVEL TIPS & STORIES

Turkey one week guide

Kabak Beach

From the bus stop you can trek down to the beach at Butterfly Valley, thought only if you’re a confident hiker and are wearing proper shoes. Once you’re down in the valley you can hang out on the beach or walk to a small waterfall.

What a photogenic way to end an otherworldly week in Turkey!

Ready to see this incredible country for yourself? Check out Intrepid Travel’s range of small group adventures in Turkey.

best places to visit in turkey during summer

(Kabak Beach photo courtesy of author Dylan Berg. All other images courtesy of Intrepid Travel.)

' src=

Dylan Berg is an Australian writer currently based in Lisbon, Portugal. He has travelled to over 40 countries and enjoys experiencing cultures through wandering around, checking out galleries and eating and drinking with the locals. Follow him on Instagram @berg2berg

You might also like

Is australia safe everything you need to know..., 10 fun facts you might not know about..., exploring the world through tea, 12 facts you probably don’t know about guatemala, the 7 best places to go on a..., 5 reasons to visit sri lanka in the..., why 2024 is the best year to see..., yellowstone vs yosemite: which national park to visit, 6 unique experiences you can have in el..., from delhi to udaipur, here are the five..., cinque terre vs amalfi coast: which destination to....

UK Edition Change

  • UK Politics
  • News Videos
  • Paris 2024 Olympics
  • Rugby Union
  • Sport Videos
  • John Rentoul
  • Mary Dejevsky
  • Andrew Grice
  • Sean O’Grady
  • Photography
  • Theatre & Dance
  • Culture Videos
  • Fitness & Wellbeing

Food & Drink

  • Health & Families
  • Royal Family
  • Electric Vehicles
  • Car Insurance Deals
  • Lifestyle Videos
  • UK Hotel Reviews
  • News & Advice
  • Simon Calder
  • Australia & New Zealand
  • South America
  • C. America & Caribbean
  • Middle East
  • Politics Explained
  • News Analysis
  • Today’s Edition
  • Home & Garden
  • Broadband deals
  • Fashion & Beauty
  • Travel & Outdoors
  • Sports & Fitness
  • Sustainable Living
  • Climate Videos
  • Solar Panels
  • Behind The Headlines
  • On The Ground
  • Decomplicated
  • You Ask The Questions
  • Binge Watch
  • Travel Smart
  • Watch on your TV
  • Crosswords & Puzzles
  • Most Commented
  • Newsletters
  • Ask Me Anything
  • Virtual Events
  • Betting Sites
  • Online Casinos
  • Wine Offers

Thank you for registering

Please refresh the page or navigate to another page on the site to be automatically logged in Please refresh your browser to be logged in

7 best Turkey holiday destinations – and when to travel to each one

Discover the transcontinental country’s vibrant cities, beach-strewn coast and geographical wonders, article bookmarked.

Find your bookmarks in your Independent Premium section, under my profile

Cappadocia is one of Turkey’s most well-known destinations

Sign up to Simon Calder’s free travel email for expert advice and money-saving discounts

Get simon calder’s travel email, thanks for signing up to the simon calder’s travel email.

A country steeped in history, Turkey combines lively cities, popular coastal towns, ancient historical sites and some of the most varied natural phenomena on Earth into one diverse nation.

From cosmopolitan Istanbul and the capital of Ankara to beloved beach resorts such as Bodrum, Alanya and Marmaris, the country’s main towns and cities attract millions of tourists a year to sample everything from culture to coastlines.

With an array of idyllic beaches, high-octane cities and incredible natural sites like the Pamukkalelake and the fairy chimneys of Cappadocia, Turkey has bagged a place among the world’s most popular tourist destinations – it welcomed over 44 million visitors in 2022 the fourth highest number of any country in the world.

If you’re planning a trip to this varied and storied country, read on; below, we’ve rounded up a list of some of its premier destinations.

The most populous city in Europe is where the west meets Asia. Having been the capital of three different empires, the city has over 2,500 years of history and its main attractions include Byzantine structures such as the Hagia Sophia and the soaring minarets of the Ottoman-era Blue Mosque.

Other popular tourist spots include the Topkapi Palace and the Basilica Cistern, but a simple visit to the Sultanahmet district will likely cover many of the ‘must-do’ things in the city. Those wanting to venture further afield will want to see the city’s famous Grand Bazaar, the Bosphorous Straight and neighbourhoods including Balat and Fener, where you can discover everything from foodie delights to local markets. For great views, try climbing the Galata Tower.

When to visit Istanbul

June and September are the most pleasant times to visit Istanbul. Average temperatures will hover around 22C, while you’ll avoid the peak summer crowds – perfect for enjoyable sightseeing and al fresco dining.

Where to stay

Located in the Taksim area of the city, Hotel The Public is set in a historic building – built in 1901 – on the well-known Istiklal Avenue. Interiors are contemporary but period features like exposed brick walls remain, creating an eclectic aesthetic right in the thick of the city.

Rooms available from {{#price}} {{price}} per night {{/price}} {{^price}} Check availability for dates and prices {{/price}}

Rates provided by Booking.com

Hotel Amenities

Health & wellbeing.

A destination that is popular with those wanting a taste of the Turkish coast, Bodrum is another city with links to ancient times. Once known as Halicarnassus (and home to one of the Seven Wonders of the Ancient World), Bodrum still houses some ancient ruins as well as its own famous medieval fortress, Bodrum Castle. Away from the sights, Bodrum has a vibrant and lively nightlife scene, with a mix of bars and clubs in the town, on the beaches and in the marina area.

However, most tourists flock here for access to some of Turkey’s best beaches. The surrounding region is a scenic mix of charming villages, rolling green hills and tranquil marinas, with dozens of fine golden sand-stretches lapped by turquoise water. Set back from the sea, several hotels and resorts offer a mix of luxury and more affordable stays.

When to visit Bodrum

Bodrum can be sweltering in the summer, with average daily highs hitting 35C in July and August. With average temperatures of 22C and very few crowds (apart from at half-term), October can be a good choice for a more affordable trip to the southern resort.

Kaya Palazzo is a large resort right on the Bodrum coast, just 15 minutes away from Bodrum itself. The accommodation features a private section of beach and a seasonal outdoor pool, while rooms are elegant and modern.

Read more on Europe travel :

  • Europe’s best trips to try in your lifetime
  • Spain travel guide: Everything you need to know before you go
  • Best European holiday destinations to visit by train from London in 2023

The chances are that a visit to the Cappadocia region will be unlike any other trip you’ve been on. Starting with nature, Cappadocia has a distinctive topography shaped by soft volcanic rock, volcanic activity and erosion that has caused various rock formations such as the so-called ‘fairy chimneys’ (rock spires seen in the image above), as well as the presence of a large range of caves throughout the region. Many of these caves now act as charming hotels, with rooms carved into the rock and restaurants that serve authentic local fare overlooking the hills.

While hiking, biking and visits to open-air museums are some of the popular activities in the area, the stand-out excursion is a hot air balloon trip, offering unforgettable views of mesmerising landscapes and orange sunsets. For a bit more exploration, the main towns in the region include Avanos, Goreme, Uchisar and Urgup.

When to visit Cappadocia

Daily temperatures at the height of summer can vary as much as 15 degrees between 32C and 17C, but with average temperatures around 24C, these months are a good choice for pleasant weather and hot air balloon watching.

For a sensational stay near Goreme, opt for Argos. Located in the hills near the centre of Uchisar, the hotel consists of a series of stone buildings offering accommodation options ranging from smooth stone rooms to large suites carved from tuff (a light rock local to the area) with private indoor pools.

Another popular destination on the southern coast, Antalya is the main city in the Antalya province. The province as a whole offers miles of coastline, ancient city ruins (including Perge, Aspendos, and Termessos) and a range of activities ( Belek is well-known for its range of golf courses), while the city itself is also an excellent choice for a holiday. Its charming Old Town (Kaleici) is a maze of narrow, paved streets, Ottoman-era architecture and ancient walls, while the marina and harbour areas offer sea views in a relaxed setting. There are many family-friendly sites too, including a zoo, aquarium and waterpark.

Near the city, the Duden and Kursunlu waterfalls are a dramatic site of natural beauty, while the Taurus Mountains offer opportunities for hiking. For soaking up the sun and taking a sip, Cirali, Konyaalti and Patara are some of the best beaches in the region.

When to visit Antalya

Antalya is another place where summer highs can reach over 35C, so July and August are best avoided. September generally receives little to no rain, and average temperatures will stay around a much more manageable 25C.

Tuvana Hotel is situated in the historical heart of Antalya, just 450m from Hadrian’s Gate. Traditional Ottoman decor and retained period features line the interiors, with several garden areas providing a great option for romantic drinks and dinner.

The third most populous city in Turkey may not be on most visitor itineraries, but this coastal hub has a rich history to add to its contemporary arts and cultural scene. There are nearby top-notch beaches in places like Cesme, Alacati, and Urla, while in Izmir itself you’ll find a 20th-century Clock Tower, the Agora and Kadifekale (an ancient castle). Modern living is showcased in the shops and restaurants of the lively Kordon Promenade or the city’s annual International Fair, and visitors can enjoy a blend of Turkish, Greek and Aegean cuisine.

When to visit Izmir

June and September carry average daily temperatures of 25C and 26C. Alternatively, for a better mix of cooler (but still pleasant) temperatures (think 21C on average) and far fewer crowds, visit in May or October.

Key Hotel is situated right on the city’s coastline, boasting spectacular sea views from its reception and restaurant plus some rooms.

Kas is another destination on Turkey’s Turquoise Coast, lying between Bodrum and Antalya. A popular destination for outdoor enthusiasts, it sits between the Taurus Mountains and the Mediterranean Sea, while the 320-mile Lycian Way hiking route runs near the town, providing excellent hiking opportunities and the chance to do a host of activities including kayaking, scuba diving and paragliding.

The town itself is a smaller settlement with whitewashed houses and russet-tiled roofs and cobbled streets, with a laid-back atmosphere both in the centre and on beaches such as Kucuk Cakil. Historical sites such as the ruins at Xanthos, Patara, and Myra, the Kas Amphitheater and the Sunken City of Kekova can all be found within the region.

When to visit Kas

Similar to Antalya, temperatures in Kos can get sweltering at the height of summer. Consider May and October to beat the crowds, with average highs that are perfect for some winter sun (think around 22C).

The Mandalina sits at the western tip of a peninsula just west of Kas (roughly 10 minutes away by car). The hotel has a pool with sweeping sea views and access to a private beach area, while the suites offer spacious and comfortable accommodation (some with balconies and private pools).

Oludeniz is one destination where nature is the focus. The main attraction is the Blue Lagoon, an idyllic bay where azure waters are surrounded by curved stretches of white sands backed by green hills. Oludeniz Beach is popular for swimming and water sports ranging from jet skiing to snorkelling, and there are plenty of other beaches in the nearby Kidrak National Park.

Away from the sea, Babadag Mountain has a range of hiking trails and is a popular paragliding spot, with panoramic views over the Blue Lagoon and other areas. The area around the village is a nature reserve, offering untouched landscapes and a peaceful atmosphere; for those who do eventually want to return to civilisation, the village itself has options for eating, drinking and nightlife, and the popular town of Fethiye is just a 30-minute drive away.

When to visit Oludeniz

June and September are the best options outside of school holidays, with average temperatures staying at 24C, providing optimal weather for relaxing by the sea.

Sitting just 50 metres from the beach, the Bronze Hotel has a large outdoor pool and terraced seating where buffet breakfasts are served every morning.

Read our reviews of the best hotels in Europe

Join our commenting forum

Join thought-provoking conversations, follow other Independent readers and see their replies

Subscribe to Independent Premium to bookmark this article

Want to bookmark your favourite articles and stories to read or reference later? Start your Independent Premium subscription today.

New to The Independent?

Or if you would prefer:

Want an ad-free experience?

Hi {{indy.fullName}}

  • My Independent Premium
  • Account details
  • Help centre
  • Turkey Tours
  • Turkey Travel Guide
  • When to Visit Turkey

Turkey in June: A Summer Family Trip

A hotel balcony with a thatched roof you can visit in Turkey in June.

  • ~ mins read

June marks the start of the high tourist season in Turkey, a time when the weather is just starting to get warmer and tourist crowds are building up. Most visitors head for coastal regions during this time to enjoy cool sea breezes from the Mediterranean and the Aegean.

If you can handle the heat, there are fewer tourists and local crowds in cities like Istanbul and Ankara. This means a lot of cultural and historic monuments are relatively quiet, thereby allowing you to marvel at the history and culture of Turkey more intimately. So what else can you expect from a trip to Turkey in June? Let us find out.

  • From England

Turkey Weather in June

A view of Bodrum on Turkish Riviera during amazing weather in Turkey.

Temperatures in Turkey in June start to rise, with an average of 25℃. This month marks the start of the summer season and the mercury in places like Ankara could rise up to 34℃. This is why most visitors avoid inland cities and head towards the windier coast instead.

The June heat in Turkey could get stifling and humid. For many, this could make the travel experience difficult. This makes coastal areas a great option for a relaxing beach holiday. June is also relatively drier, with seasonal rainfall of 8 to 14mm, although it is worth noting that June falls into the higher end of that bracket.

Looking for the perfect Turkey holiday? Here is the seasonal overview of the best time to visit Turkey .

Weather in Turkey in June - Rainfall and Temperatures

Why visit turkey in june.

Colorful hot air balloons flying over Cappadocia in Turkey in June.

June is the start of the peak season, there are plenty of great reasons to visit Turkey during this month. Here are some:

  • Summer family trip: If you are thinking of traveling to Turkey with your kids in tow, visit the Land of Legends theme park for a great family adventure. Nothing screams summer like throwing your hands up on a rollercoaster or splashing about in a water park. It is a great way to have fun with your family on a hot June day.
  • Get lost in nature: Looking for a way to cool off but also want to avoid sunny beaches? Check out the Duden Waterfalls for a cool, refreshing day.
  • Conquer the skies: It is no secret that the hot air balloons of Cappadocia are one of the biggest tourist draws in the whole of Turkey. June is a good time to take the ride, especially earlier in the month, to enjoy the cool, bracing air as you rise up.
  • Beaches galore: The beaches in this country including those in Bodrum are some of the best places to visit in Turkey in June as sea breezes make the heat more bearable.

Where to go and what to do

Panoramic view of an ancient amphitheater in Antalya.

If you find yourself in Turkey in the middle of June, head out to Cappadocia for the Cappadox Festival. Set against the gorgeous and wild backdrop of Cappadocia, this is a cool new event that celebrates Turkish music, art and food. You can party around, experience culture and try exciting dishes. It is the perfect way to experience the legendary land of Cappadocia. This is one of the best things to do in Turkey in June.

If you are a lover of all things dance and opera, you should definitely check out the International Aspendos Opera and Ballet Festival while on a trip to Antalya . Staged in a 2,000-year-old Roman amphitheater, this event showcases beautiful, ethereal acts from leading Turkish thespian talents.

For a sporting event that is unique and closely tied to the culture of Turkey, make sure that you attend the annual Kirkpinar Oil Wrestling Festival . This sporting event, which is on UNESCO’s list of intangible world cultural heritages, attracts thousands of visitors and athletes from around the world. It is a one-of-a-kind festival and something that you should not miss if you are around Edirne in June.

What to bring

The Temple of Apollo in Side town of Antalya Province.

June sets off the start of the summer season in Turkey . So you should pack light and breathable clothes. The coastal areas of Turkey are much cooler this time but do bring your sun protection. Women should carry a light scarf if they are visiting local religious sites. Turkey is a Muslim country, so you need to cover your head as a sign of respect when entering religious sites.

Barring the hot and humid conditions in inland areas, Turkey’s weather in June is glorious otherwise. Visit the country’s breezy coastal areas to make the best out of your tour. If you do not mind the heat, you can have a great experience in inland cities, exploring local attractions with little crowds around to distract you.

There is also a range of events and festivals to enjoy in a Turkish holiday in June. As the month marks the start of summer as well as the peak tourist season, various festivals celebrating Turkish arts and culture are held across the country.

All in all, June is an excellent month to discover this destination, especially if you are looking for a summer break before the climate becomes overwhelmingly hot.

Not sure how to fit everything into your Turkish itinerary? We provide customized trips tailored by our travel experts. Feel free to reach out to them if you are interested in a personalized itinerary.

Check out our tours to Turkey in June for more ideas.

More information

Turkey in May Turkey in July How many days to spend in Turkey Private tours in Turkey Group tours in Turkey

Related Articles

Best Time to Visit Turkey

Best Time to Visit Turkey

As a country that straddles Asia and Europe, ... read more

Turkey in January: Cold Weather and Ski Season

Turkey in January: Cold Weather and Ski Season

If you are visiting Turkey in January, you ha... read more

Turkey in February: Weather and Travel Tips

Turkey in February: Weather and Travel Tips

Ski up a storm on the Turkish slopes, dine on... read more

Turkey in March: Spring Holiday Tips

Turkey in March: Spring Holiday Tips

As winter transitions into spring, the weathe... read more

Turkey in April: Weather, Tips & Festivities

Turkey in April: Weather, Tips & Festivities

With spring in full swing, Turkey sees pleasa... read more

Turkey in May: Weather, Travel Tips and More

Turkey in May: Weather, Travel Tips and More

An abundance of cultural festivals and warm w... read more

Turkey in July: Weather, Tips & Treks

Turkey in July: Weather, Tips & Treks

July falls in the middle of the Turkish summe... read more

Turkey in August: Summer in Full Swing

Turkey in August: Summer in Full Swing

Do Mediterranean beaches, long sunny days and... read more

Turkey in September: Weather, Beaches and Cruises

Turkey in September: Weather, Beaches and Cruises

September is still considered part of a high ... read more

Turkey in October: Weather Tips and Travel Advice

Turkey in October: Weather Tips and Travel Advice

Looking to explore Turkey when the weather is... read more

Turkey in November: Ideal Hiking Weather

Turkey in November: Ideal Hiking Weather

Want to see a different side of Turkey? Well,... read more

Turkey in December: An Underrated Skiing Holiday

Turkey in December: An Underrated Skiing Holiday

December is the mildest winter month in Turke... read more

Summer in Turkey: Weather, Destinations and Activities

Summer in Turkey: Weather, Destinations and Activities

Located at the crossroads between Asia and Eu... read more

Related Categories

  • How Long To Stay In Turkey
  • Turkey Travel Advice
  • What To Do In Turkey
  • When To Visit Turkey
  • Where To Go In Turkey
  • Previous Post

Ozgur Ates

Popular Destinations

  • Europe Tours
  • Everest Base Camp Trek
  • Italy Tours
  • Spain Tours
  • Argentina Tours
  • Canada Tours
  • Sri Lanka Tours
  • Chile Tours
  • Antarctica Tours

TOP TOURS

Accessibility Links

times logo

16 of the best beaches near Istanbul

Our turkey expert reveals the very best beaches in striking distance of istanbul’s bustling city centre, for when you need a moment of calm.

Bathers at Menekse near Florya Gunes beach

T here are echoes of Istanbul’s past as a glamorous seaside city everywhere, from the grand summer mansions on the Princes’ Islands, an archipelago in the sea of Marmara, to the waterfront promenades in inner-city districts. Before the city’s expansion from the 1950s onwards, many of the neighbourhoods that are now considered inner districts were beach resorts where the Istanbul elites would spend summers in their second homes. Although you may not immediately think of spending a day at the beach when you visit, you should: there are plenty of spots where you can take a dip in the surprisingly clean waters, party among the beautiful people at fashionable beach clubs, or simply lie back and escape the stresses of the city.

If you’re an early riser, make like the hardy old men who dive in for a morning swim in all seasons before going about their day. Slightly further afield, there are plenty of wilder beaches on the Black Sea and Sea of Marmara which can be easily reached in a day trip. Expect to pay entrance fees for the best spots — but there are still some lesser-known stretches that you can visit for free.

Become a subscriber and, along with unlimited digital access to The Times and The Sunday Times, you can enjoy a collection of travel offers and competitions curated by our trusted travel partners, especially for Times+ members

This article contains affiliate links, which may earn us revenue

1. Uzunya beach, Kilyos

This deep natural harbour on the Black Sea at the very tip of the Bosphorus Strait is the most Instgrammable of Istanbul ’s beaches. It has golden sands and a deep blue sea, and in the height of summer you can (almost) imagine you’re on the Med, although the bracing coldness of the water will bring you back to reality with a not-unpleasant jolt. If you’re lucky, you’ll spot dolphins playing in the bay.

Advertisement

2. solar beach, kilyos.

Solar Beach

The best-known beach club on Istanbul’s Black Sea coast, Solar Beach hosts live music events every weekend throughout the summer, attracting a young, party-loving crowd. Swimming is way down on the list of attractions here, although the sea here is calmer than at many other nearby spots. There are beach volleyball courts and surfing lessons on offer, but if serious swimming is your thing, there is also an outdoor pool.

3. Kumbaba beach, Sile

A long stretch of sandy beach in the popular Black Sea resort town of Sile, Kumbaba was popular as far back as the Byzantine era, when bathers came to ease their rheumatism in its reputedly healing waters. These days its main attraction is its campsite, where you can pitch your tent or park up your caravan just metres from the water, which is the cleanest you’ll find around Istanbul.

4. Florya Gunes Plaji, city centre

Florya Gunes Plaji

This is the biggest public beach in the centre of Istanbul and a stark reminder that this metropolis of 16 million was once considered a seaside city. It’s surprisingly clean given its proximity to the churn of the city and the sheer numbers who visit it — come early if you decide to visit, especially on a weekend. Its location on the European side makes it the perfect place to unwind for a few hours before you head back into the whirl of urban life.

5. Eskibag beach, Buyukada

The biggest of the Princes’ Islands is often overcrowded in summer, but you can find a more secluded vibe at Eskibag, tucked away on the undeveloped southern tip of the island. You’ll have to take one of the electric buggies to get here, but once you arrive there’s everything needed for a full day of swimming and sunbathing. With its forest backdrop, it’s easy to forget you’re so close to the city.

6. Tirmata Beach, Kilyos

This beach club on Istanbul’s Black Sea shore is huge: 2,500 sun loungers and a large terrace and grassy area to boot. The restaurant serves up traditional Turkish cuisine – think grilled fish and mezze – and has a regular programme of live music. No wonder it’s a popular wedding venue for fashionable Istanbulites (if you’re planning a proposal, the club can arrange that too). This is one of the few beach clubs in the area with facilities specifically for children and there is a surf school catering to all levels.

7. Summer beach, Silivri

The harbour at Silivri

The beaches in Silivri, a small town on the Sea of Marmara just outside Istanbul, are easily reachable on a day trip but far less visited than those on the city’s Black Sea side. As a result, most of the spaces here are free to enter but still have great facilities and there’s an old-world seaside vibe that’s hard to find anywhere else in Turkey. Summer beach, with its long stretch of golden sand, is one of the most popular spots.

8. Sut Koyu beach, Burgazada

There are no facilities on this small pebble beach on one of the less-visited Princes’ Islands, but that means that you’re more likely to swerve the crowds if you come in July and August. It’s unknown even to most Istanbulites, and to reach it you’ll need a map and some decent shoes — though once you do you’re guaranteed one of the most peaceful spots in the city. There’s a small tea house a ten-minute walk away.

• Best affordable hotels in Istanbul • Best things to do in Istanbul

9. Bizimkoy Fire Beach, Silivri

On the southwestern fringe of Istanbul, you’ll find a clutch of cute seaside towns that feel a million miles from the metropolis. The biggest and easiest to reach is Silivri, where there are a clutch of decent beaches: Bizimkoy has the youngest vibe, with a bar, regular live events, and a fun, friendly atmosphere that means you’ll almost certainly make new friends. The beach itself is a lovely stretch of golden sand on the generally calm Sea of Marmara; arrive early to get a spot right at the waterside.

10. Burc Beach, Kilyos

Burc Beach

One of the best-kept and most beautiful beaches around Istanbul, this is the place to come for water sports, including windsurfing and kitesurfing. It’s a private beach owned by Bosphorus University so you’ll have to pay a small entrance fee but it’s well worth it for its excellent facilities, sunset parties and festival vibe in the evening, when revellers gather around campfires on the sand.

11. Elio beach, Sedef Adasi

Sedef Adasi is the most exclusive of the Princes’ Islands since it’s not included on the route of the main ferries from the city centre. Take a smaller boat from the Bostanci ferry terminal on the Asian side of the city, then head for Elio: a small beach club which hosts live DJs and has a restaurant serving delicious Turkish and international dishes.

12. Agva, Sile

Kilimli Beach in Agva

Some of the wildest coastal scenery in Turkey can be found around the village of Agva, a couple of hours’ drive from central Istanbul. This is the point where two rivers flow into the Black Sea and there are lots of lovely wooden guesthouses and restaurants built along the banks. Expect to uncover hidden bays, ancient ruins and caves in the area too, though the sea is often a little too rough for swimming.

13. Armutlu beach, Yalova

If you’re up for travelling a bit further out of Istanbul, venture towards the Yalova province on the Sea of Marmara. This region has become popular with tourists and second-home buyers from the Gulf in recent years due to its temperate climate and healing hot springs. Armutlu is a large, modern resort reminiscent of those on the Med and there’s plenty here to keep both children and adults entertained.

14. Cilingoz beach, Catalca

Cilingoz beach

This beach is a nature park on the sea, where you can hike through protected forests before hitting the sand and the waves. It’s a paradise for wildlife and birdspotters, with hawks, woodpeckers and owls living here, and for anglers who can fish in the Cilingoz creek. Istanbulites love it as a picnic spot and there’s a small campsite for those who want to get away from the city.

15. Akcakese beach, Sile

One of the most unspoilt beaches on the Black Sea, Akcakese is a couple of natural bays fringed with white sand, against a backdrop of grassy bluffs. Facilities are basic but its draw is that it feels truly wild, in stark contrast to the brash beach clubs on other parts of the coast. There are camping spots available and some basic B&Bs in the nearby village.

16. Caddebostan beach, city centre

Sunset at Caddebostan

Don’t expect scale or luxury from this beach on the Asian side’s fashionable Kadikoy district — there are some changing cabins, a tea stall and that is it. But you can take your recommendation from the local old men who come here for early morning swims in all seasons. The water is cleaner than you might think and it’s a bracing way to start your day. You also find large grassy parks right behind — perfect for a picnic.

• Best hotels in Istanbul • Best places to visit in Turkey

Sign up to the Times Travel newsletter for weekly inspiration, advice and deals here

Related articles

Soho House Istanbul hotel review: standout style and comfort in this picture-perfect palazzo

logo

'A place everyone should see!' Britons can enjoy a summer holiday for less than £400 in a city that promises 'spectacular' views

Side, Turkey

Britons should start packing their suitcases for an adventure in Turkey

Anna Barry

By Anna Barry

Published: 28/04/2024

Updated: 28/04/2024

The sites in Side, Turkey provide an 'unforgettable experience', and you won't have to spend a fortune

Don't miss, have your say - is it time to break up the home office - comment now, neighbour's horror after noticing house next door's cctv was recording her garden and hot tub, danny kelly doesn’t hold back in bbc rant as report finds ‘risks to impartiality’, harry dealt second huge blow after landing in uk with king to give new role to william, princess kate 'going through hell', says close confidante, harry's relationship with royal family in tatters as william move twists knife, meghan suffers fresh blow ahead of harry's return to the uk, prince harry not meeting king charles after duke made ‘certain demands', yorkshire building society overhauls savings accounts - full list of interest rates, trending on gb news, astrazeneca withdraws covid vaccine worldwide after admitting jab can cause rare blood clot.

Britons across the country will be busy planning their summer holiday escapes. And for those who have not yet decided on a destination, a resort in Turkey might be your best (and cheapest) bet.

Side, Turkey is synonymous with incredible beaches, stunning nature, and intriguing ancient ruins. A quiet beach hotel here offers a week in summer for under £400.

Britons can snap up a seven-night break in Side, Turkey, for £393 per person - including up to 23kg of checked luggage - with a stay at A Hotel Side.

Jet2holidays described A Hotel Side as a "simple and friendly complex offering a relaxed atmosphere, perfect for couples or families in search of a budget-friendly stay near the historic resort of Side".

'This ancient city is definitely a place everyone should see'

GETTY IMAGES

"The compact swimming pool is joined by a handy pool bar and restaurant serving snacks throughout the day so you will have everything in one place, ensuring all you have to worry about is kicking back and enjoying the warm sun."

The accommodation features a 24-hour front desk, airport transfers, room service and free WiFi.

Expect air-conditioned rooms offering a private bathroom with a shower, a wardrobe, kettle, minibar, safety deposit box and flat-screen TV. Guests can sit back and relax on their balcony, or take a dip in the outdoor swimming pool.

British holidaymakers can get a taste of home with a Full English or Full Irish breakfast, or a continental breakfast for a lighter morning meal.

For £393 per person, holidaymakers can snap up seven nights in A Hotel Side (bed and breakfast), plus return Gatwick-Antalya flights and 23kg hold luggage.

If you stay in Side, make sure to visit its "spectacular natural beauty spots as well as historical moments", recommended Excursion Side.

Manavgat Waterfall is a must-see and the perfect spot for a picnic or scenic walk. One visitor said: "Highly recommended if you are in the area. It has beautiful scenery, and is very nice and cool, especially on a hot summer day."

Another said: "What a beautiful place to visit. The entry fee is next to nothing and it is very much a favourite place for locals."

Köprülü Canyon is "one of Turkey's most spectacular natural wonders", according to the travel experts at Viator. For adventurers, the Canyon is "renowned as one of the best - and most picturesque - destinations for white-water rafting in Turkey.

LATEST DEVELOPMENTS

  • 'Once-in-a-lifetime!' Jet2 launches new flights to European city with 'jaw-dropping' views
  • 'Can't think of anything worse!' Expat in Spain shares why you might not want to move there
  • 'They will rip you off!' Expat in Portugal shares a restaurant warning

Beautiful Antalya is just an hour away from Side

For lovers of ancient architecture, one visitor couldn't speak more highly of the Greek Amphitheater.

They said: "It’s the most spectacular building in Side. I think it’s a must-see attraction. We had an unforgettable experience walking around and looking at the view. It was fantastic, don’t miss it."

A visit to the Apollon Temple is also essential for lovers of ancient history. A delighted visitor said on Tripadvisor: "This ancient city is definitely a place everyone should see."

The happy holidaymaker explained: "It has a wonderful environment, a peninsula extending into the middle of the sea, and ancient ruins everywhere. The Temple of Apollo is also at the most important point of the city, by the sea by the harbour. We highly recommend you visit it, especially in the evening at sunset."

You may like

Listen live

IMAGES

  1. 10 Unmissable Places to Visit in Turkey

    best places to visit in turkey during summer

  2. 21 of the most beautiful places to visit in Turkey

    best places to visit in turkey during summer

  3. 10 Unmissable Places to Visit in Turkey

    best places to visit in turkey during summer

  4. Best Places To Visit In Turkey : 10 Cities Worth Seeing

    best places to visit in turkey during summer

  5. 40 Incredible Places to Visit in Turkey

    best places to visit in turkey during summer

  6. 11 reasons you really should visit Turkey this summer

    best places to visit in turkey during summer

VIDEO

  1. A Dreamy Summer Paradise: We Call It The Turkish Riviera

  2. Top 10 Must-See Destinations in Turkey

  3. 10 Best Places to Visit in Turkey

  4. Amazing Places to Visit in Turkey 2023

  5. Türkiye awaits you in all seasons⎮Go Türkiye

  6. The 3 Must Visit Places in Turkey #shorts #travel #turkey

COMMENTS

  1. The Ultimate Guide to Summer Destinations in Turkey

    Small sleeping villages along with world renowned resort hotels, Turkey has much to offer to summer holiday makers. Now, let's get take a look at our ultimate summer destinations guide below! 1. Bodrum. Bodrum was a sleepy little seaside town at the intersection of the Aegean and the Mediterranean Sea twenty years ago.

  2. Summer In Turkey: Weather, What To Expect & Where To Go

    Summer in Turkey runs from June through August. During these months, the weather changes across the region, day to day. But you help, here is a guide that gives you a snapshot of the average temps. Region. High Temperature. Low Temperature. Mediterranean Coast. 30°C / 86°F. 20°C / 68°F.

  3. The 15 Best Places to Visit in Turkey (Updated for 2024)

    3. Oludeniz. Dijise/Shutterstock. Oludeniz, meaning "dead sea," is a bustling beach village known as the Blue Lagoon in Southwestern Turkey. Featuring wide, sandy shores in dazzling white and blue shades, this village overlooks Belcekız Beach and features great waterfront recreation and dining options.

  4. Best Places to Visit in Turkey During Summer

    Izmir, the best city for events and festivals in summer. Antalya, all u want from nature. Olympos. Pamukkale and a pleasant weather. Dalyan. Ephesus. And the Last Word. If you are planning a vacation this summer, here are some of the best places to see. You'll want to choose a city for your holiday - or a small town - with a great beach ...

  5. Explore the best places to visit in Turkey in the summer

    Summer in Turkey runs from June through to September and it gets hot. The average temperature is usually around 30°C during the day, and it's generally dry without much rain. Turkey has different climate zones throughout the country, but most regions share a hot, dry climate during the summer. Turkey in the summer: Beaches

  6. 25 Most Beautiful Places in Turkey: Hidden Gems & Must-sees

    A better time to visit Turkey is during spring or fall shoulder season. Winter is a great time to plan an Istanbul city break, just note that the east of Turkey and the mountainous regions experience very cold winters. See a list of the best places to visit in Turkey in winter. How to get around Turkey. One thing to know before you visit Turkey ...

  7. 10 of the best places to visit in Türkiye (Turkey)

    2. Cappadocia. Best for its unique landscape. Cappadocia is a geological wonderland in the center of Türkiye. The history of early Christians in Anatolia comes alive at the Göreme Open-Air Museum and the other cave churches and underground cities scattered around the valley.

  8. 25 Best Places to Visit in Turkey

    22. Koprulu National Park, Manavgat. Located in the Antalya region, Koprulu National Park is a huge canyon with welcoming, cool temperatures during the hottest summer months. It's one of the best places to go in Turkey for walking, fauna and flora, wildlife spotting, and generally being at one with Mother Nature.

  9. 53 Top Destinations In Turkey: Best Places To Visit In Turkey For All

    Experience the intersection of history and natural beauty in Çannakale. 11. Ancient City Of Ephesus. Located near the present-day town of Selçuk on Turkey's southeast coast, Ephesus is one of the world's most magnificent ancient ruins and is one of the top places to go in Turkey for ruins.

  10. The 13 best places to visit in Turkey

    Where should I travel to in Turkey - The 13 best places to visit in Turkey. 1. Istanbul. It's most likely that you'll begin your trip in the city of Istanbul, a city that straddles east and west, divided by the Bosphorus Strait that splits the city into two separate parts. The only city in the world that can lay claim to residence on two ...

  11. Summer In Turkey: A Pocket Guide For Your Summer Trip In 2023

    6. Cay. Don't miss out on the national drink of Turkey on your vacation in summer in Turkey. Cay is a Turkish drink that is served in tulip-shaped cups and is also offered for free in regional buses as it an important part of Turkish culture. Enjoy a cup of tea at bedtime to have a relaxing sleep.

  12. 17 of the Best Places to Visit in Turkey for Culture & Adventure Lovers

    Lycian rock-cut tombs in the cliffs of Myra are especially spectacular. Opening hours are: daily from 9:00 to 19:00 (April - October), from 8: 00-17:00 (November - March). You can choose to visit Myra along with the Church of St. Nicholas as a day trip. Contributed by Inna from the Executive Thrillseeker.

  13. Summer in Turkey: Weather Tips and Top Destinations

    The best time to see all these things is during summer, when the conditions are warm and dry throughout the country. Summer in Turkey runs from June to September, the time of year when the country draws a large number of visitors. ... Mount Ararat is one of the best places to visit in Turkey in the summer. This place, consisting of two separate ...

  14. 14 of the best places to visit in Turkey

    Seraphim cave hotel is a historic mansion set over an acre of fairy chimneys. BellaTurca Travel offers a two-day all inclusive Cappadocia tour from Istanbul with an overnight stay in a cave hotel ...

  15. Best Places to Visit in Turkey

    In the summer, Cappadocia is one of the most visited places in Turkey, so to get the best deals we'd recommend booking your flights early. Alternatively you can take a bus to Cappadociafrom Istanbul's main bus station. The journey currently costs 700TL-750TL and it takes around 11 hours.

  16. 10 Best Places to Visit in Turkey (+Map)

    9. Mardin [SEE MAP] Perched on a strategic hilltop overlooking the plains of Mesopotamia in southeastern Turkey, Mardin is the capital of the Mardin Province. One of the oldest settlements in the region, Mardin is best known for its cultural diversity and Old City of sandstone buildings that cascade down the hill.

  17. The Ten Best Places To Visit In Turkey This Summer

    3 - Butterfly Valley. If cities aren't your thing and museums give you a slight headache then why not check out the Butterfly Valley in Oludeniz. The crystal clear waters on the lake, accompanied by the endless hills, make this a journey right into paradise. Take a trip on a boat, go hiking or just take up a spot at the Rock Bar.

  18. 20 Epic Things to Do in Turkey for a Bucket List Experience!

    20. Visit an Anitkabir Mausoleum in Ankara. While there are many notable mausoleums worldwide, the uniqueness of Anıtkabir lies in its specific historical context and its association with a pivotal figure in Turkish history. This is why coming here is one of the unique and less-known things to do in Turkiye.

  19. The best time to visit Turkey

    With its diverse landscapes, Turkey offers good places to travel at almost every time of year. Here's how to get the best out of Turkey in every season. ... With beaches heaving with people during the high summer holidays, a blue cruise on a gulet ... 8 of the best places to visit in Cappadocia. Mar 14, 2024 • 6 min read ...

  20. Turkey in One Week: The Ultimate Guide

    BROWSE ALL OF INTREPID'S SMALL GROUP ADVENTURES IN TURKEY. Day 5: Izmir /Ephesus. Izmir, Turkey's third city, is a youthful and vibrant city that is a great place to base yourself to visit Ephesus. The history and location of Turkey mean that there are stacks of ruins throughout the country but the most impressive are at Ephesus.

  21. Best Turkey holiday destinations for 2023

    Monday 03 July 2023 14:20 BST. Comments. Cappadocia is one of Turkey's most well-known destinations (Getty Images/iStockphoto) A country steeped in history, Turkey combines lively cities ...

  22. Turkey in June: A Summer Family Trip

    Head to coastal cities like Bodrum to escape the higher temperatures in June. Temperatures in Turkey in June start to rise, with an average of 25℃. This month marks the start of the summer season and the mercury in places like Ankara could rise up to 34℃. This is why most visitors avoid inland cities and head towards the windier coast instead.

  23. Top 5 Summer Holiday Destinations in Turkey

    Fethiye. Fethiye / Muğla. Turkey, one of the most beautiful my summer vacation routes in Fethiye, is a nice town with a population of 100,000-200,000 people. But, when the summer comes, the population of Mediterranean lovers like me set off the roads, especially in summer, increase almost 3 times. When you come to Fethiye, the first thing is ...

  24. The 12 Best Summer Vacation Destinations For Families In The U.S

    July and August top the list of the best months to visit Acadia National Park due to the warmer weather (daytime temperatures average between 55 and 75 degrees).

  25. 16 of the best beaches near Istanbul

    The best-known beach club on Istanbul's Black Sea coast, Solar Beach hosts live music events every weekend throughout the summer, attracting a young, party-loving crowd.

  26. 'A place everyone should see!' Britons can enjoy a summer holiday for

    The entry fee is next to nothing and it is very much a favourite place for locals." Köprülü Canyon is "one of Turkey's most spectacular natural wonders", according to the travel experts at Viator. For adventurers, the Canyon is "renowned as one of the best - and most picturesque - destinations for white-water rafting in Turkey. LATEST ...