Last Updated on 18/10/2021

It’s where Europe meets the Middle East, where the ancient Silk Route met its final station, and where Europe’s history was re-written once again. Turkey is an astonishing yet majorly underrated country located on the Mediterranean coast, between Western Asia and Southeast Europe. Turkey started popping up in travel adverts quite recently than ever before thanks to its highly sought-after entertainment industry, cultural significance, and wonders with a platform to be taken across the Bosporus to other parts of the world. Before we get on with our list of best places to visit in Turkey, let’s take a quick look at the cultural beauty and its chivalrous history.

Leave Asia aside, once you discover Turkey’s diversity and the beauty of its landscapes, you’d be mesmerized, and it’s beyond comprehension. Due to the country’s constant involvement with Eastern Europe and Northern Africa, the land of the Ottomans have absorbed distinct values of all those nations throughout the ages. The Ottoman Empire reigned from the end of the 13th century until the early 20th century, capturing most of the Middle East, Eastern Europe, and Africa for over 600 years, influencing art, science, and medicine, making history as the longest-reigning dynasty in the world.

Some of Turkey’s mouthwatering dishes date back to the Ottoman period, such as the infamous almond dessert – Baklava, Iskender Kebab, and Lokum – Turkish Delights. The recipes have got little to no changes over the centuries, which makes them quite original, and can be found in any corner of the country. From the cultural heart of Istanbul to the resort city Antalya, let’s take a look at the best places to visit in Turkey starting from the most famous location;

Cappadocia – Top pick from our list of best places to visit in Turkey!

Best places to visit in Turkey Number 1 - Hot air balloons at Cappadocia with mountains in the backdrop.
Photo by Timur Garifov on Unsplash

Location

Once home to a bronze-age civilization, Cappadocia is one of the most stunning tourist destinations in Turkey. Famous for its photo-worthy hot air ballooning scenery at dusk, many travellers arrive here particularly to see that site. Located on the Taurus Mountains, Cappadocia is widely known for its fairy chimneys which are cone-shaped rock formations found scattered across the valley. Another visited destination here in Cappadocia is the Ihlara Canyon, home to many rock-hewn churches built by the early Christians. Comprising 9,800 hectares, this engulfing historic site was named a UNESCO World Heritage site in 1985. Situated right in the middle of Turkey, if you’re travelling to Cappadocia from Istanbul, the distance is around 567 kilometres. Nevertheless, it’s one of the best places to visit in Turkey.

Video footage of the famous Hot Air Balloon scenery at Cappadocia

Hagia Sophia

Best places to visit in Turkey Number 2 -Iconic Hagia Sophia in Istanbul, Turkey.
Photo by Adli Wahid on Unsplash

Location

Long before the Ottomans captured Istanbul, it was the Eastern Roman Empire of the Byzantines. Istanbul then was the old city of Constantinople. Byzantines were from Greek, Jewish or Arabic origins but were predominantly Christians. The Church of Hagia Sophia was initially built in the 6th century by Byzantine Emperor Justinian I. Named Megale Ekklesia in Greek – this cathedral has some of Turkey’s most illustrious Christian mosaics.

In the early 15th century, under the Ottoman rule of Mehmed the Conqueror, Constantinople was captured, and Istanbul was instated – after which Hagia Sophia was transformed into a Mosque. For years it was the heart of political alliances, and today it stands as a museum visited by over 3.7 million travellers annually. The beauty of religious co-existence still can be seen alongside Islamic inscriptions and Christian architecture. It is undoubtedly one of the best places to visit in Turkey.

Go on a visual journey across some of the best places mentioned in this article for an immersive experience!

Pamukkale Thermal Pools

Best places to visit in Turkey Number 3 - Pamukkale Thermal Pools.
Photo by Vladyslav Cherkasenko on Unsplash

Location

Translated to ‘Cotton Castle’, Pamukkale Thermal Pools are natural hot springs in Southwest Turkey. It befuddles many, and those who aren’t familiar with hot springs often mistake Pamukkale for snow-capped mountains. The travertines – or the white soil that surrounds the springs – are calcium that forms from mineral-rich water. The waters of the spring range from 35 to 100 degrees of temperature, and its formation is one of the most mysterious natural phenomena in the country. Many locals advise travellers to visit Pamukkale during winter, although the destination is lively all year around. It could very much be a day trip, and tourists usually hang around till sunset for a mesmerizing sight. For those travelling from Istanbul, it would take about 6 hours to reach the hot springs.

Museum of Anatolian Civilization

Best places to visit in Turkey Number 4 - Museum of Anatolian Civilizations.
Photo by Carole Raddato on Wikimedia Commons

Location

Located on the south side of the Capital city Ankara, the Museum of Anatolian Civilization is close to the Ankara Castle. Initially, the Museum was established in 1921 and later, over the years, artifacts and ancient ruins belonging to the Augustus Temple and Byzantine Hittite artifacts were brought in. Today the Museum of Anatolian Civilization features civilizational growth and Anatolian pieces of jewellery beginning from the Paleolithic Age in the Antalya caves to the late Hittites, Roman and Hellenistic ancient ruins. The two buildings that are now the museum was built by an Ottoman nobleman of the 15th century. The museum of Anatolian Civilization stands as a monument of Turkey’s golden and well-preserved history.

Topkapi Palace

Best places to visit in Turkey Number 5 - Topkai Palace.
Photo by Guilhem Vellut on Flickr

Location

Known as the heart of the Ottoman Dynasty, Topkapi Palace in Istanbul is one of the most awe-inspiring palaces in the whole of Europe. From the 14th century to the mid-19th Century the Topkapi Palace served as the administrative headquarters and royal residence for many Sultans and Sehzades who reigned over the years. The interior of the Palace is the most intriguing historic site. The walls are washed in colourful mosaics and the illustrious rooms are left the same as it was when it was handed over by the Ottomans in the early 20th century. The Palace is home to valuable European Porcelain used by the royals, the imperial treasury and weapons.

Another mesmerizing part of the Topkapi Palace is its Harem, which has its roots digging deep into Asia. Contradictory to Western cultures, Harems in Asian countries were quite common. A Sultan or Emperor would have hundreds of concubines that give birth to heirs. This method was adapted to keep the dynasty in power. But unlike other empires, concubines of the Ottomans were trained to be women of dignity and wisdom, as any one of them could someday become the Valide Sultana (mother of the Sultan). By being the mother of the Sultan a common slave girl had the privilege of ruling a state. Their power was so influential that during the Sultanate of Women, town advisories and noblemen had almost no influence over the Sultan. The Topkapi Palace was home to such historical female figures as the infamous Hurrem and Kosem Sultan. Today the Palace stands as a museum possessing all inscriptions and ancient ruins of the Ottoman Dynasty. It is one of the best places to visit in Turkey.

Blue Mosque 

Best places to visit in Turkey Number 6 - Iconic Blue Mosque.
Photo by Lewis J Goetz on Unsplash

Location

Another magnificent creation of an Ottoman Sultan, the Blue Mosque located in Istanbul, is a functioning mosque built by Sultan Ahmed I in the early 17th Century. The unique blue floor tiles and the blue walls reflect sunlight making the whole interior of the mosque, dazzle in blue, hence the name. As it is an active mosque, non-praying tourists aren’t allowed to enter during the five prayer times. However, travellers are advised to take the Hippodrome entrance of the old city, as it would help them see all the must-see places of the mosque.

Facing the famous Hagia Sophia museum, the Blue Mosque is considered to be one of the most prestigious Islamic worshipping locations in the whole of Europe and Asia. Tourists can visit this on a day trip. However, we insist tourists take at least a glimpse of this architectural masterpiece as it is one of the best places to visit in Turkey.

Grand Bazaar, Istanbul

Best places to visit in Turkey Number 7 - Grand bazaar in Istanbul, Turkey.
Photo by Ethan Jameson on Unsplash

Location

The Grand Bazaar in Istanbul is the oldest and the largest secluded market complex in the world that offers traditional goods of all kinds catering especially for tourists. It was established during the Ottoman dynasty’s initial conquest period in the mid-15th Century, under the commissioning of Sultan Mehmet II. The Grand Bazaar then used to be the financial and handicraft heart of the Mediterranean. Until recently, the Bazaar was home to a school, a mosque, and many fountains. Each street was named after specialized professions as well, but today the streets do not represent stores of those professions anymore. However, it has gotten better.

The market today comprises an area of 30,000 square meters and houses 4,000 street stores that attract over 200,000 visitors daily. From Turkish custom lamps to gourmet Baklava and traditional tea, the Grand Bazaar is a place for everyone. Tourists visiting Istanbul must visit the Grand Bazaar, as it is an icon of the old city of the Ottomans.

Galata Tower

Best places to visit in Turkey Number 8 - Galata Tower from afar.
Photo by Onur Binay on Unsplash

Location

Standing 67 meters in height overlooking the picturesque Mediterranean coast in Istanbul, the Galata Tower is a watchtower with great historical value. Built-in the 6th Century during the reign of Emperor Justinian of the Byzantine Empire, this medieval stone tower was later constructed in the 1300s by the Genoese, who named it ‘Christea Turris’ (Christ’s Tower). Once under the power of the Ottomans, the Galata Tower acted as a prison, playing a major role in protecting the city as well as making history as being the base for the first man to fly. Hezarfen Ahmet Çelebi – a 17th-century aviator, reportedly flew from the Galata Tower and landed safely in Uskudar in the Asian Istanbul. The architecture of the Galata Tower is enriched by Romanesque style. Today there are many things tourists can do here. It could be a day trip, but it’s definitely one of the best places to visit in Turkey.

Bursa

Best places to visit in Turkey Number 9 - Green Bursa.
Photo by Usman Omar on Unsplash

Location

Located close to the Sea of Marmara near Anatolia, Bursa is a large city located in the Northwest of Turkey. There are many historical sites, mosques, and ancient ruins belonging to the early Ottoman era. Due to the numerous green gardens – in the local tongue, the city is also known as ‘Yeşil Bursa’, which means Green Bursa. The infamous silk trade route starting from China also arrived in Turkey, and Bursa then was the largest silk center of the Mediterranean Coast and Europe. Bursa is generally regarded as a non-touristy destination as most resort cities such as Antalya provide the whole Turkish package, whilst cities like Bursa are more laid back.

Apart from the Grand Mosque, the Green Mosque, and Emir Sultan Mosque, one of the most captivating destinations here is the Uludag National Park. Famous for snow sports during the winter season, the National Park also accommodates the summer blooms of enchanting flora and is home to several animal species. To witness the town’s true beauty, locals suggest taking the cable car as it provides a 360-degree view of Bursa.

City of Antalya

Best places to visit in Turkey Number 10 - Scenic Antaliya.
Photo by Dragana Novoselska on Unsplash

Location

Besides Istanbul, Antalya is the next most admired city in the whole of Turkey. The southern turquoise Mediterranean coasts were once the thriving port during the Roman era. The Hadrian’s Gate at the entrance of Antalya stands as a monument that was built to honour the Roman Emperor Hadrian’s visit. The city today is famous for its nightlife, chic restaurants, and thrill-seekers who travel from across the world to bask in the Mediterranean sun and to get away from the grey urban. With its ancient Roman ruins and resort-like vibes, some souls would describe it as a modern-day Pompeii.

The best time to visit Antalya is October when the weather is much tolerable, and the summer crowds are reducing, but any time of the year, resort city Antalya is in its best display. Prices may be slightly on the higher side here in Antalya when compared to other cities, but the experience is definitely worth a holiday.

Sultanahmet Square 

Best places to visit in Turkey Number 11 - Sultanahmet Square.
Photo by Fatih Yürür on Unsplash

Location

As the historical centre of Istanbul, Sultanahmet Square not only showcases its Ottoman architectural values but the ancient Byzantine heritage as well. The key highlight of Istanbul’s old city of Constantinople is the Hippodrome of the Blue Mosque. This ancient ruin was said to be a circus at the time of its height, with chariots racing through stone streets. Although the Blue Mosque was built around this historic site, it still compliments Roman architecture.

Today most parts of the Hippodrome are renovated to preserve for long years, but tourists visiting Sultanahmet Square and the surrounding area, find themselves in a futuristic time portal that leads them back thousands of years into the past when the Muslim city of Istanbul was a Roman city.

City of Bodrum

Best places to visit in Turkey Number 12 - Bodrum.
Photo by Kaan Kosemen on Unsplash

Location

Home to one of the Seven Ancient Wonders of the ancient world, here’s a city often called non-touristy. Although many prefer Antalya’s beaches over those of Bodrum, the city is still a gem unlike any other. Located on the Southwest Coast and spans to the Aegean Sea, Bodrum houses the Mausoleum at Halicarnassus – One of the Wonders which was destroyed by earthquakes. The medieval Bodrum Castle, which is a highlight of this city, is believed to be built using stones of the Mausoleum. Those who enjoy history would find this town simply mesmerizing. But that’s not all! Travellers visiting the city are also promised of other experiences apart from ancient sightseeing. The beauty of Bodrum reaches Karaada – the mineral pool island, the underwater museum and the sunny Camel Beach – offers nothing much fancy, but tourists love the simple relaxation promised here.

Butterfly Valley

Best places to visit in Turkey Number 13 - Butterfly Valley.
Photo by Doğacan Düğmeci on Unsplash

Location

Located in the Mugla Province of the Mediterranean Coast, this wonderful valley gets its name due to the countless number of butterfly species that reside here. The landscapes of Butterfly Valley is beyond imagination. Comprising an area of 86,000sqm, travellers may come across 100 different species of butterflies. Getting there can be quite a challenge as it’s located off the coast, the only is through the ferry that leaves on scheduled times. Travellers must reserve an entire day to tick off this from their bucket list. But for those who love nature, insects, and national parks, Butterfly Valley is one of the best places to visit in Turkey.

Sumela Monastery

Best places to visit in Turkey Number 14 - Iconic Sumela monastery.
Photo by Bjørn Christian Tørrissen on Wikimedia Commons

Location

Located in the modern-day Trabzon Province, the Sumela Monastery is a Greek Orthodox Church built in the 4th Century by Athenian Monks. This Cliffside monastery stands tall in the direction of the Black Sea, hidden amongst the evergreens, overlooking the breathtaking Altindere Valley. Travellers visiting the Sumela Monastery also have the privilege of witnessing the magnificent Karaca Cave, housing many species of plants and stalagmites. The whole of Trabzon – including Sumela Monastery – is undoubtedly one of the best places to visit in Turkey. However, the road to get there is somewhat remote. Tourists are to arrive in their transport, and it may take an entire day to experience Trabzon. Reportedly the best views seen are during dusk when the sun sets behind the horizon of the Black Sea.

Safranbolu 

Best places to visit in Turkey Number 15 - Safranbolue.
Photo by Melih Piranlıoğlu on Unsplash

Location

A preserved Ottoman village located in Karabuk in the Black Sea region of Northern Turkey, Safranbolu is an old city with great historical value. It was the leading trade hub of the East and West during the 13th century, and a UNESCO World Heritage Site as well. The city consists of old craftsmen workshops, markets, houses, and vineyards. One of the fascinating factors about Safranbolu is its settlement. Although during the Ottoman period, the majority of Turks were Muslims, some parts of the country including this city was a host to Christians from across Europe who were allowed to live according to their traditions. Kıranköy of Safranbolu particularly stands out from the rest. Its medieval European stone structures stood out from the town of Çukur’s wooden housings, which were predominantly inhabited by Muslims. This gesture is evidence of Turkish hospitality.

Ephesus

Best places to visit in Turkey Number 16 - Ephesus city which is a UNESCO world heritage site.
Photo by Mehmet Turgut Kirkgoz on Unsplash

Location

The ancient city of Ephesus is located near Selçuk, in the Izmir Province. Home to the Temple of Artemis – one of the Seven Wonders of the Ancient World, this Bronze Age historic site bespeaks Greek heritage unlike any other historical location in the country. After Christianity was introduced in the 1st century, the Basilica of St. John was established in means of spreading the religion as Ephesus had a stronghold being a vital commercial centre back in the day. The city was a strategic economical location during the Byzantine time.

However, the city also suffered and survived multiple earthquakes and attacks in the 7th century. Hadrian’s Temple was added to the Ephesus Archaeological Museum during the Roman era before Emperor Hadrian visited Turkey. Those who enjoy ancient Greek and Roman history would find this part of the nation, absolutely fascinating. Surely it’s one of the best places to visit in Turkey.

Basilica Cistern

Best places to visit in Turkey Number 17 - Bascillica Cistern.
Photo by Hervé Bry on Flickr

Location

Located close by to Hagia Sophia, the Basilica Cistern is the largest underground cistern in Istanbul. The fairytale-like interior of this water supply system would surprise many travellers for its extraordinary architectural efforts. Built by the Byzantines using around 336 marble columns, the Basilica Cistern was once the most vital water supply source in ancient Constantinople. The most unusual site seen in the Basilica Cistern is the upside-down Medusa head lying mid-way in the waters of the chamber. It’s still a mystery to archaeologists as to why the head is placed in such a manner. It could be the final architectural sprinkle over the creation, or very well be a chamber of secrets. Annually around 2.2 million tourists visit the Basilica Cistern to witness its awe.

Konya

Best places to visit in Turkey Number 18 - Konya.
Photo by Hulki Okan Tabak on Unsplash

Location

Located in the south of Ankara city in the Anatolian region, Konya is yet another Ottoman-influenced city. The highlight of this destination is the museum where Poet Mevlana Rumi’s tomb rests. In the 13th century, Dervish Mevlana of Persia founded the famous tradition ‘Whirling Dervishes Ceremony’ and promoted love and humanity throughout his years. Today Konya is considered by many as a pilgrimage destination, but the history of Konya stretches back to the Neolithic periods.

Civilizations dawned during the 3rd century BC, and the city narrates some of the most unique legends in all of the Mediterranean. Tourists gather from across the world to witness the ceremony of the Whirling Dervishes, which remains to date as an Icon of Turkish culture. To those who love learning traditions, Konya is one of the best places to visit in Turkey.

Mount Nemrut

Best places to visit in Turkey Number 19 - Mount Nemrut, Turkey.
Photo by M Wrona on Unsplash

Location

A one of a kind ancient mausoleum located in Eastern Turkey, Mount Nemrut resembles the historic structures of Egypt and is generally referred to as the ‘Residence of Gods’ by Turkish citizens. Built as a funerary monument for Greek King Antiochus in 62 BC, this UNESCO World Heritage Site is a mystery for archaeologists. Mount Nemrut’s scattered, unorthodox stone heads are a unique sighting to witness even though history doesn’t reveal much. Adventure lovers would enjoy the journey more than others as it would take a hike of few hours to get to the summit. Travellers advise to avoid mid-day and encourage to visit during sunset for the best captures. From the top of the mountain, travellers can see the beautiful Euphrates Valley unfolded in front. This view is incomparable, hence why it’s one of the best places to visit in Turkey.

City of Marmaris 

Best places to visit in Turkey Number 20 - Marmaris.
Photo by Bugra Karacam on Unsplash

Location

Commonly known as the Turquoise Coast, lying along the Mediterranean Coast of Mugla Province is the secluded resort village – Marmaris. Although it’s a famous tourist spot amongst backpackers and party people, the city caters to a slightly premium crowd. The nightlife here is unbeaten by many other cities, and it almost compares to that of Antalya. Famous for luxury yacht sailing and diving, the resort town of Marmaris offers far more beyond just entertainment. The untouched scenic forests and the serene coastal promenades invite travellers from across the world for an experience like no other. For those who are in search of excitement and relaxation, the Turquoise Coast is one of the best places to visit in Turkey.

Edirne

Best places to visit in Turkey Number 21 - Edirne.
Photo by Yasin Hoşgör on Unsplash

Location

Once named Adrianople, Edirne in the Marmar region of Northwest Turkey, is one of the most captivating yet non-touristy destinations in the whole of Turkey. It also holds great historical value in terms of the Ottoman conquests. In the 14th century, it became the capital of the Ottoman Empire and the residence city of Sultan Mehmet who – from here – rode into battle to capture Constantinople – which later became Istanbul. One of the highlights here in Edirne is the Selimiye Mosque. Its Ottoman-inspired architecture and interior are sure to bedazzle anyone, even those who thought the Blue Mosque is incomparable.

Apart from its countless religious fortresses, the city is also home to the magical Iğneada Floodplain Forests National Park. As it’s located close to the Bulgarian border, the scenic landscapes of hiking tracks and sunflower fields resemble those found in Europe. Many tourists tend to skip Edirne due to a lack of experience, but it’s one of the best places to visit in Turkey.

Patara Beach

Best places to visit in Turkey Number 22 - Patara.
Photo by Harry Luff on Flickr

Location

So far, we’ve listed down resort towns and coastal villages, but not a particular beach. Here’s what will possibly make a difference. Patara Beach is located in the Turkish Riviera of the Antalya Province, nearby Fethiye. During Roman rule, Patara – also known in history as the Lycian City – was a key city for commercial trade due to its convenient location on the Mediterranean coast. Travellers can still witness the ancient bathhouses, theatres, temples, and the famous triumphal arch which was built towards the end of the 1st century. But that’s not all. The city offers more than historical sites to see. Patara Beach is one of the few beaches in the world where Loggerhead sea turtles still come ashore to lay eggs. It’s a highly protected area, so travellers must be careful of their actions.

Ankara

Best places to visit in Turkey Number 23 - Ankara, Turkey.
Photo by Olga Subach on Unsplash

Location

Located in the central Anatolia region, Ankara – the bustling capital of Turkey, offers travellers all things urban and contemporary. Compared to Istanbul, the city is much laid-back, with fewer tourist arrivals. Those looking to step away from the typical tourist experience can visit Ankara for a fresh breath of air. One of the highlights here in Ankara is the Anithkabir – a mausoleum built for Turkey’s first president Kemal Atatürk. With the Ottoman Dynasty coming to an end in the early 20th Century, Ankara was declared the modern-day Capital city. Travellers curious about learning Turkish Culture can visit the Ethnography Museum that solves most of the doubts about Turks and their origins. Besides the historical sites, tourists also find themselves enjoying the theme park experience at Wonderland Eurasia, Altinkoy Open Air Museum, the revolving restaurant experience at the Atakule Observation Tower, and many more. Ankara is undoubtedly one of the best places to visit in Turkey.

Mount Ararat

Best places to visit in Turkey Number 24 - Mount Ararat.
Photo by Oliver on Flickr

Location

Thousands of Christians travel from across the world to visit Mount Ararat – a snowcapped Volcano in the Armenian Highlands not just to witness its awe-inspiring site, but for a very different reason. According to the Bible, it is believed that Noah’s Ark rests here after the great floods. A team of Evangelic Christians have claimed to have found debris of the ark, but no evidence exists to prove it yet. Located in Eastern Turkey, the volcanoes stand at a height of 5,137 meters – the highest peak of Turkey. Hiking up Mount Ararat is a great challenge for many due to its altitude, but adventure lovers can challenge themselves to reach the summit. Guides are available for those who would love to climb up this mountain. There’s a chance of stumbling upon the debris of the ‘Ark’, after all. This is why we believe, Mount Ararat is one of the best places to visit in Turkey.

Maiden’s Tower

Photo of Maiden's Tower taken during sunset.
Photo by Hasan Akbas on Unsplash

Location

Besides Turkey’s opulent history, the legends too, are priceless. A tower standing in a small islet, about 200 meters away from Uskudur, Istanbul, Kiz Kulesi – the maiden’s tower has seen the whole history of the city unfolding through the years. Built-in 410 BC by Greeks for passage guarding purposes, the indefinite structure was erected later by the Romans in the 11th century. Up until the 15th century, the tower suffered many earthquakes and many renovations by the Byzantines and Ottomans. It is during the Ottoman era that the tower was commission to be re-built using stones.

The legends revolving around Kiz Kulesi are rather fascinating and diverse. The most captivating story is the one with the snake and the Emperor’s daughter. According to this legend, a Byzantine Emperor was told that his daughter would be bitten by a snake and die at the age of 18. In fear, the Emperor locked up his daughter in the tower but failed to stop the occurrence of her death either way. It is believed that the Emperor still feared snakes. He embalmed the body of her daughter and placed it in the highest walls of Hagia Sophia. Those who are intrigued by the legendary stories must visit Kiz Kulesi! It’s one of the best places to visit in Turkey.

Damlatas Caves

Photo of Damlatas caves.
Photo by BillBl on Wikimedia Commons

Location

Located in the Antalya Province, the Damlatas Caves are a Geological treasure discovered during the Harbour Construction in 1948. The insides consist of complex structures of stalactites and stalagmites, and the temperature remains at 22-23 degrees no matter which season it is. Unlike other caves located atop hills or hidden in jungles, the Damlatas open up to the scenic Cleopatra Beach in Antalya, promising a view following another. It’s widely known for its healing properties for asthma and respiratory patients, hence why travellers from all ages across the world visit the Damlatas Caves, not only for its picture-perfect sightings but for health reasons as well.

Izmir

Photo of ancient Temple ruins in Izmir Province.
Photo by Ulvi Safari on Unsplash

Location

The city of Izmir has been a central part of many historical scenarios of Turkey. Located in the Aegean Sea, according to historical findings, Izmir dates back more than 5,000 years into the past. It was established by ancient native Greeks called Aeolians. During the conquests of Alexander the Great, Izmir was one of the major cities in play, hence it’s believed Kadifekale – the velvet castle was built by him.

Today, what remains of the castle are the Roman antiquities. While in possession of Ottomans, more modern colour was added to the town’s livelihood. Although it’s a bustling city, it’s also a non-touristy destination compared to Istanbul and Antalya. But it sure is a valuable hub for Greek and Roman history and one of the best places to visit in Turkey.

Blue Lagoon in Oludeniz 

Aerial photo of beach strip at Oludeniz.
Photo by Artem Bryzgalov on Unsplash

Location

Amongst all coastal resort villages, Oludeniz – in the Southern Coast – is one of the few which qualifies as a top destination for a tranquil tourist holiday experience. Famous for adventure enthusiasts such as paragliders and mountain hikers, Oludeniz offers somewhat of a unique experience for all tourists – a destination that many miss out. Yes, the Blue Lagoon. Located close to the white-sand Belcekız Beach, the color-shading Blue Lagoon is one of the most photographed natural wonders of Turkey. Due to its shallow waters, swimming and canoeing are not challenging. Even amateurs can ride a paddleboat. However as it’s surrounded by a National Park, travellers are charged a fee, but the experience is so scenic, serene and one of the best places to visit in Turkey.

Fethiye

Photo of boats docked at Fethiye.
Photo by Feyza Dogan on Unsplash

Location

A sprawling port city on the Turquoise Coast, Fethiye is highly admired for its scenic landscapes, seascapes, and archaeological values. Many compare this city with the resort village – Oludeniz, and Fethiye always tops the list of any traveller. Home to the alluring Butterfly Valley, Fethiye’s historical findings are even more inspiring.

Back in the 5th Century BC, Fethiye (then Telmessos) was part of a Lycian Civilization. Few tombs and structures were found from the same era, but archaeologists are yet to uncover further information. There are islands on the shore which can be visited on a day trip. But as it’s a resort town, accommodation is slightly on the higher side.

Alanya Kalesi

Photo of  Alanya Kalesi.
Photo by Mert Kahveci on Unsplash

Location

Known as the Alanya Castle, this Game-of-Thrones piece of architecture in Antalya is a medieval masterpiece that has survived through millenniums. The initial establishment of Alanya Castle dates back to the Hellenistic Civilizations or even before. Later, when the Romans got hold of power, the castle was re-structured, then it passed on to Byzantines, Seljuk’s, and finally the Ottomans. Most of the remaining structure belongs to Seljuk architecture.

Today what attracts tourists to the site is the view, more than the historical story. The castle is situated slightly elevated above the city overlooking the sunny Mediterranean Coast. Undoubtedly it’s one of the best places to visit in Turkey.

Mardin

Photo of Historical monuments at Mardin.
Photo by Deniz Ateş on Unsplash

Location

A historic city located in Southern Anatolia close to the Syrian border, Mardin is a unique Turkish city also known as Kurdistan. It’s the most non-touristy destination in the whole of Turkey due to the reputation of its neighbouring country, but it’s a hidden marvel. Most cities in Turkey exhibits European heritage, whilst Mardin showcases Middle Eastern culture. It’s believed that civilizations dawned over 12,000 years ago when the Mardin soil was fertile, and the lands were home to the great Mesopotamians.

Most sites of Mardin belong to the old city, hence why new constructions are prohibited in order to preserve the old. Besides the old city, Mardin also houses local merchant stores dating back to the Byzantine and Ottoman periods. A few of the must-visit sites in Mardin include the Mor Hananyo Monestry, Mardin Castle, and Kasimiye Madrasah.

Datca

Photo of a vintage house at Datca.
Photo by Feyza Dogan on Unsplash

Location

Curious about how Greek-Turkish fusion looks like? Here’s the place. Datca, a port city facing the Aegean Sea, is the best definition to the above statement. The north of the Peninsula is home to lush vegetation, hills, and olive farms. First home to Carians – an ancient Greek civilization that existed in 2,000 BC, then the Greeks, Romans, Byzantines, and the Ottomans, Datca is home to countless historic sites – most of them belonging to the Romans, built during the trading days. Few of the ancient ruins include the Roman amphitheater, Goddess Aphrodite’s Temple, and the Kargi Koyu – a bay designated for swimming and sunbathing.

Apart from the historical marvels, the city also offers its visitors an experience that is rather unique and incomparable. Domuzbuku – a famous camping site is famous among campers and hikers. The Mediterranean sun provides just the amount of warmth to make it comfortable. Those who are inquisitive of this unique heritage can visit the old Datca neighbourhood that comprises old houses, cobblestone roads and walls with bougainvillea crawlers. It is undoubtedly one of the best places to visit in Turkey.

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