Best Places to Visit in Turkiye

There are few places on earth that boast a land as diverse and ravishing as Turkey, where history speaks for itself.

Trace the History of Countless Civilizations

When it comes to the cultural and historical heart of Turkey, Istanbul is a mind-bending destination. It is the historian’s playpen with Byzantine and Ottoman monuments anchoring a square or street every few steps. The famous Hagia Sophia is one of the best places to visit in Turkey to get a taste of the diversity that is an essential part of its character. But beyond that, you will revel in its boundless cosmopolitan vibes and forget about time. Spend a few hours in the frenetic Grand Bazaar, then head to the shimmering Bosphorus for unforgettable views.

The culinary scene here is extremely dynamic, experimenting with the combination of world cuisine and Ottoman tastes. Istanbul may be hard to leave behind. But, pay a visit to the history ladened lands of Troy and Gallipoli right down the coast while you are there. They are home to some of the best places to visit in Turkey.

Marvel at the Fantastical Landforms of Anatolians

Turkey has a geography so rich that it will have you wondering where to look first. At its heart, the volcanic land of Cappadocia is an otherworldly realm of fairy chimneys, wondrous underground cities, and an old-world culture deeply interwoven in the fabric of the touristic scene. It is by far one of the best places to visit in Turkey, known as the land of beautiful horses and endless sunsets. If not for the myriad rock formations, visit Cappadocia for its romantic atmosphere bolstered by tasty local wine and authentic living. 

Almost as bewitching, Pamukkale is irresistible, nestling a phenomenal marriage of nature and history. It represents another side of the geological diversity of Turkey. The travertines of Pamukkale tumble down the hill where one of the most glorious cities of Ancient Greece once thrived. Drench your feet in the waters of the mineral pools and head right up to Hierapolis. Not many places on earth are home to such an ancient thermal resort. So, savor its offerings to the fullest while you can.

best places to visit in Turkey
visit Samanlık Bay

Soak in the Mediterranean Sun on the Turquoise

The Mediterranean coast is electrifying and soothing all at once. Sailing tours in Turkey and its southern stretch offer a glimpse into its epic history with the intriguing remnants of numerous civilizations peppering the waterfront. Many civilizations like the Lycian and Ancient Greek dwelled on these limestone hills. Their time-worn relics will provide a change in the cerulean coastal views as you sail down the coast.

While the day is best described as a combination of spellbinding landscapes and leisurely summer activities, nights are as wild as a fever dream. If it is luxury you seek, the coast brims with stylish entertainment centers as far as the eye can see. But if you are more of a budget traveler, there are chill hangouts hidden away from their extravagance. Fethiye and Oludeniz are among the best places to visit in Turkey for a little bit of both.

Must-See Sights in Turkiye

Here is everything you need to know about the best places to visit in Turkey.

visit Asklepion

Asklepion

The Asklepion is a famed ancient medical center built in honor of Asclepius, the god of healing. It was also the world’s first psychiatric hospital.


Why You Should Visit:

Discover the ancient healing center of Asklepion, where history and health come together in a tranquil setting, offering a unique glimpse into the world of medicine.


Don’t Miss:

-Admire the ancient theatre, which offers stunning views of the surrounding area and was used for performances and events.

-Take a stroll along the Sacred Way, an ancient path that leads through the site.

-Visit the ancient library, which housed many important medical texts.


Keep in Mind:

-It’s best to wear comfortable shoes suitable for walking on rough ground.

-Be sure to bring water and wear sunscreen to stay hydrated and protected.

-Photography is allowed on the site, but it’s important to be respectful of other visitors and the ancient structures.

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visit Istanbul

Blue Mosque

The exterior features a beautiful cascade of domes, six minarets, and blue Iznik tiles adorn the interior of Blue Mosque.


Why You Should Visit:

Experience the grandeur and beauty of the iconic Blue Mosque, where stunning blue tiles and intricate architecture come together to create a truly unforgettable experience.


Don’t Miss:

-Take a walk around the courtyard and enjoy the peaceful atmosphere.

The mihrab, which is a niche in the wall indicating the direction of Mecca, is one of the most important features of the Blue Mosque.

-Be sure to look up at the dome and appreciate the impressive architecture.


Keep in Mind:

-Women should cover their heads, arms, and legs, while men should avoid shorts and sleeveless shirts.

-Visitors are required to remove their shoes before entering the mosque.

-The Blue Mosque is closed to visitors during prayer times, which occur five times a day.

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cappadocia

Cappadocia

Take the chance to discover underground cities carved into rock, fairy chimneys and many more incredible features in Cappadocia.


Why You Should Visit:

Experience the stunning beauty of Cappadocia’s unique landscape, with its iconic fairy chimneys, ancient cave dwellings, and hot air balloon rides, making it a must-visit destination for any traveler.


Don’t Miss:

-Experience a hot air balloon ride over the fairy chimneys and valleys.

-Visit the Goreme Open-Air Museum and see the rock-cut churches and frescoes.

-Experience the local culture by staying in a cave hotel and learning about the history of the region.


Keep in Mind:

-Cappadocia has a continental climate, so it can be very hot in the summer and very cold in the winter.

-The high altitude, dry climate, and physical activity can cause dehydration, so it’s important to drink plenty of water.

-Cappadocia is a hilly region, so it’s important to wear comfortable shoes.

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dalyan

Dalyan

Home of the famous Caretta Caretta turtles, Dalyan offers the popular mud bath and a fantastic boat trip to Iztuzu beach.


Why You Should Visit:

Dalyan has a unique blend of natural beauty, fascinating history, and Turkish culture, making it a must-visit destination for anyone seeking an unforgettable vacation experience.


Don’t Miss:

-A must-visit attraction in Dalyan, the mud baths are believed to have therapeutic properties and are a popular tourist spot.

-Visit Iztuzu Beach, famous as the breeding ground for loggerhead sea turtles.

-The ancient Lycian rock tombs carved into the cliffs above Dalyan are a must-see.


Keep in Mind:

-Dalyan can get very hot in the summer, so be sure to drink plenty of water to stay hydrated.

-Dalyan is a wetland area, so mosquitoes can be a problem, especially in the evenings.

-Dalyan hosts a number of seasonal events, such as the Dalyan Caretta Run in April and the Dalyan Rock Festival in July.

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Ephesus

Ephesus

The best preserved ancient town in Turkey, Ephesus takes you on a journey in ancient times.


Why You Should Visit:

Ephesus offers a captivating glimpse into the ancient world, with its well-preserved ruins, impressive architecture, and rich history that make it a must-see for history buffs.


Don’t Miss:

-Admire the impressive facade of the Library of Celsus, one of the most iconic structures of Ephesus.

-Visit the Great Theater of Ephesus, one of the largest and most impressive amphitheaters of the ancient world.

-Explore the well-preserved Terrace Houses of Ephesus.

-Discover the rich history and culture of Ephesus at the Museum of Ephesus.


Keep in Mind:

-Wear comfortable shoes and clothes that allow for easy movement.

-As a UNESCO World Heritage Site, Ephesus is a protected area. Respect the ruins by not climbing or touching them.

-Ephesus is a popular tourist attraction, so be prepared for crowds, especially during peak season.

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Fethiye

Fethiye is the perfect launching pad for the attractions and things to do along Turkey’s Turquoise Coast.


Why You Should Visit:

Visit Fethiye to experience the perfect blend of natural beauty and rich history, with its stunning turquoise coastlines, hidden beaches, historic ruins, and vibrant bazaars.


Don’t Miss:

-Known for its crystal-clear waters and stunning scenery, Oludeniz Beach is a must-visit destination in Fethiye.

-The abandoned Greek village Kayakoy is a fascinating glimpse into the history and culture of the region.

-Explore Saklikent Gorge with its towering cliffs, rushing waters, and stunning scenery.


Keep in Mind:

-Make sure to pack plenty of sun protection and stay hydrated.

-While many people in the tourism industry speak English, it’s always helpful to learn some basic Turkish phrases.

-While most businesses accept credit cards, it’s a good idea to carry some cash with you for smaller transactions.

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visit Asklepion

Hagia Sophia

The Hagia Sophia awaits you with all its magnificence. The hundreds of years old structure will fascinate you on sight.


Why You Should Visit:

Discover the stunning architectural marvel of Hagia Sophia, a UNESCO World Heritage Site that served as a cathedral, mosque, and museum.


Don’t Miss:

-Learn about the rich history of Hagia Sophia by exploring the museum exhibits.

-Take a stroll through the upper galleries for a unique perspective on the building’s architecture.

-Don’t miss the chance to climb up to the gallery level of the dome to experience the breathtaking view.

-Don’t miss the chance to see the Loge of the Empress, a small balcony reserved for the exclusive use of the Empress and her attendants during services.


Keep in Mind:

-Hagia Sophia is a religious building, and visitors must dress modestly. This means no shorts, skirts or dresses that are above the knee.

-Avoid loud talking, eating or drinking, and taking flash photography.

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Istanbul

Nestled between Europe and Asia, Istanbul is a city that seamlessly blends the old world with the new.


Why You Should Visit:

With its rich history, diverse culture, and stunning landmarks, Istanbul is a must-visit destination for travelers seeking a unique and unforgettable experience.


Don’t Miss:

-Visit the historic Hagia Sophia and Blue Mosque.

-Take a cruise along the Bosphorus Strait.

-Explore the iconic Topkapi Palace and its beautiful gardens.


Keep in Mind:

-Dress appropriately when visiting religious sites.

-Keep your valuables close to you, especially in crowded areas like markets.

-Try some of the local specialties like kebabs, baklava, and Turkish delight.

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pamukkale

Pamukkale

In the heart of Turkey’s Denizli province lies the breathtaking natural wonder of Pamukkale.


Why You Should Visit:

With its stunning white travertine terraces and rich history, Pamukkale is a must-visit destination with breathtaking natural wonders in the heart of Turkey.


Don’t Miss:

-Visit the ancient city of Hierapolis.

-Admire the Cleopatra’s Pool, a favorite of the famous Egyptian queen.

-Learn more about the history and geology of the area in the Pamukkale Museum.


Keep in Mind:

-Pamukkale’s terraces are fragile. So, make sure to follow the designated paths.

-The terraces can be slippery, so wear comfortable shoes with good traction.

-The sun can be intense at Pamukkale, so make sure to bring sunscreen and stay hydrated.

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Topkapi Palace

Roam through the royal palace of the Ottomans and see their most valued treasures.


Why You Should Visit:

The former residence of Ottoman Sultans, the palace is a must-visit destination in Istanbul, offering visitors a glimpse into the opulent lifestyle of the Ottoman era.


Don’t Miss:

The Harem is a fascinating glimpse into the private lives of the sultans and their families, make sure to visit.

-Take a tour in the Palace Kitchens, a testament to the opulence of the Ottoman era.

-Take a peaceful respite from the hustle and bustle of the city in the Palace Gardens.


Keep in Mind:

-There are strict rules about photography inside the palace, make sure to follow the signs.

-Topkapi Palace is a sprawling complex with many stairs and uneven surfaces, so wear comfortable shoes.

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Saklikent

This huge canyon is a beautiful natural wonderland where you can do trekking to secret waterfalls.


Why You Should Visit:

A visit to Saklikent offers a unique opportunity to experience the natural wonders of Turkey, with its breathtaking canyons, refreshing streams, and stunning landscapes.


Don’t Miss:

-Take a refreshing dip in the crystal-clear streams of the canyon.

-Hike through the nearby hills and mountains to discover hidden waterfalls and explore traditional Turkish villages.

-Don’t forget to bring your camera and capture the stunning scenery of Saklıkent Canyon.


Keep in Mind:

-Wear sunscreen, a hat, and bring plenty of water to stay hydrated.

-When engaging in outdoor activities like river rafting or canyoning, make sure to follow the safety instructions.

-Help preserve the natural beauty of Saklıkent by avoiding littering.

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visit Troy

Troy

In the legendary city of Troy you can outline layers of ruins of cities built on top of each other.


Why You Should Visit:

A visit to Troy offers a fascinating opportunity to step back in time and explore one of the world’s most legendary ancient cities.


Don’t Miss:

The Troy Archaeological Site is the main attraction and is where you can see the ruins.

-Learn about the fascinating engineering feat of Trojans at the Walls of Troy.

-Don’t miss the Sarcophagus of the Prince, a beautifully decorated tomb believed to belong to a Trojan prince.


Keep in Mind:

-You’ll be doing a lot of walking on uneven terrain. Make sure to wear comfortable, sturdy shoes.

-The sun can be intense in Turkey, so make sure to bring sunscreen.

-There are rules about touching or climbing on the ancient ruins. Make sure to follow the signs.

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Turkiye FAQ

Is Istanbul safe to visit?

Istanbul is generally a safe city to visit. However, like any big city, it is important to take certain precautions to ensure your safety. Be aware of your surroundings and stay alert, especially in crowded areas. Keep your valuables safe and secure, and be wary of pickpockets.

How many days are enough to travel to Turkey?

The number of days needed to travel to Turkey depends on what you want to see and do. For a comprehensive visit to Istanbul, plan to spend at least two days exploring the city’s historical sites, museums, and vibrant neighborhoods. To experience the unique landscape and attractions of Cappadocia, plan to spend at least two to three full days. If you plan to visit the beaches and resorts of the Turquoise Coast, consider taking a sailing trip in Turkey for a week.

What are the best beaches in Turkey?

Ă–lĂĽdeniz Beach – Located in Fethiye, this is one of the most photographed beaches in Turkey with its clear turquoise waters and beautiful backdrop of mountains.
Iztuzu Beach – This is a protected beach located near Dalyan, famous for its long stretch of white sand and the caretta caretta sea turtles that lay their eggs here.
Cleopatra Beach – Located in Alanya, this is a popular beach named after the legend that Cleopatra herself once swam here.

How long should I spend in Istanbul?

Istanbul is a vast and vibrant city that offers visitors a wealth of things to see and do. To fully experience the city’s highlights, it is recommended to spend at least 3-4 full days in Istanbul, but two days will also be enough with a packed itinerary.

With 3-4 days, you will have enough time to explore the city’s historical sites such as the Blue Mosque, Hagia Sophia, Topkapi Palace, and the Grand Bazaar. You can also take a leisurely stroll along the Bosphorus, visit the Spice Bazaar, and experience the city’s famous food culture.

What is the best time of year to visit Turkey?

In general, the peak tourist season in Turkey is from mid-June to mid-September, when the weather is warm and sunny, and the beaches and resorts are in full swing. However, this is also the busiest and most expensive time to travel, with crowds and high temperatures in many regions.

The spring and fall months of April-May and September-October are considered the best time to visit Turkey, especially for those who want to avoid the crowds and enjoy pleasant weather.

What are the top activities for families in Turkey?

Visit the ancient city of Ephesus: This is one of the most impressive ancient cities in the world. Go hot air ballooning in Cappadocia: This is a once-in-a-lifetime experience that offers incredible views of the fairy chimneys. Relax on the beaches of Antalya: Antalya is famous for its beautiful beaches and crystal clear waters. Explore the caves and underground cities of Cappadocia: The unique geological formations of Cappadocia also offer a chance to explore its underground cities.

What are the best food and drink experiences in Turkey?

Turkish breakfast: Turkish breakfast is a must-try experience, with a variety of cheeses, olives, bread, honey, jam, and traditional Turkish tea. Turkish coffee: Turkish coffee is a rich and strong coffee served in small cups. It is a traditional drink in Turkey and an essential part of Turkish hospitality. Meze: Meze is a selection of small dishes, similar to Spanish tapas, that are perfect for sharing. Kebabs: Kebabs are a staple in Turkish cuisine and come in many varieties, such as Adana kebab, shish kebab, and doner kebab. Raki: Raki is an anise-flavored spirit, also known as the Turkish national drink. It is usually served with meze dishes and sipped slowly over a long dinner.

What are the top museums to visit in Turkey?

Istanbul Archaeological Museums: The Istanbul Archaeological Museums consist of three separate museums that house over one million artifacts from the Ottoman Empire and beyond. Hagia Sophia Museum: Hagia Sophia was originally built as a church in the 6th century and later became a mosque before being converted into a museum, and then a mosque again. Topkapi Palace Museum: Topkapi Palace was the home of the Ottoman sultans for over 400 years and is now a museum. Ephesus Museum: The Ephesus Museum is located near the ancient city of Ephesus and contains a collection of artifacts and sculptures.

How can I experience the traditional Turkish bath, or hamam?

There are many hamams throughout Turkey, from the grand and luxurious to the more traditional and authentic. Do some research to find one that suits your preferences and budget. After changing, you will enter the warm room, which is heated by a central dome. Here, you will relax on a heated marble slab and adjust to the heat and humidity. Once your skin is warm and moist, a masseur or masseuse will come to scrub your skin with a rough mitt, known as a kese, to remove dead skin and impurities.

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