There are a plethora of remarkable places to visit in Turkey that cater to diverse interests, Istanbul, a captivating blend of East and West, is a must-visit with its iconic landmarks. Cappadocia’s surreal landscapes dotted with fairy chimneys and underground cities offer a unique experience, especially during a hot air balloon ride. ← This is a must by the way.
For history enthusiasts, Ephesus showcases well-preserved Roman ruins, while Troy and Hierapolis add to Turkey’s ancient allure. From the turquoise coast to Pamukkale’s stunning white terraces and thermal waters, there are many places in Turkey that would make any type of traveler start packing there bags.
Is Turkey worth visiting? In this article, I’ll go over the best places to visit in Turkey and any necessary tips that will give you a better understanding of what it’s like to travel in Turkey. The cultural richness, historic significance and stunning landscapes make Turkey an irresistible destination.
For the purpose of this article I will continue to call Türkiye, Turkey as that’s how most still refer to the country as and how this post will get found on google.
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Places to Visit in Turkey Quick List
Below I have listed the best places to visit in Turkey for easy viewing. If you would like more information about a specific place in Turkey, click on the blue links below.
Best Turkey Places to Visit
Of course you can not make a best places to visit in Turkey list without having Istanbul headline the show. Istanbul is an extraordinary experience that immerses you in a captivating blend of history, culture and natural beauty.
The city is a mesmerizing tapestry of ancient landmarks, such as the iconic Hagia Sophia and the stunning Blue Mosque, standing alongside modern architectural wonders. As you wander through the vibrant streets, you’ll be greeted by bustling bazaars, Turkish delights, cuisine and tea.
Every street in Istanbul is a beautiful journey, its truly one of the best Turkish cities. Don’t worry, if you came to this post looking for inspiration beyond the capital, there are plenty of other places to visit in Turkey other than Istanbul.
In my opinion, the best place to visit in Turkey is Cappadocia. Nestled in the heart of Turkey, the region is famous for its unique rock formations, known as fairy chimneys, which create a magical vista unlike anywhere else on Earth.
As you explore this captivating terrain, you’ll discover ancient cave dwellings, churches and even cities, dating back thousands of years. For the ultimate experience take a hot air balloon ride at dawn, floating above the ethereal landscape as the sun bathes the horizon is one of my best travel memories.
Cappadocia’s warm hospitality and the chance to stay in a cave hotel completes this unforgettable journey, making it truly one of the most beautiful places to visit in Turkey.
Monastery of Sumela
The Sumela Monastery is where to go in Turkey for a mesmerizing journey into the past. Perched on a sheer cliff face in the steep slopes of the gorgeous Pontic Mountains, this ancient monastery is a true architectural marvel and a symbol of Turkey’s rich Byzantine heritage.
The monastery is known for its intricate frescoes and stunning mosaics that adorn its walls. As you navigate through the winding corridors and explore the various chapels, you can’t help but feel a sense of awe and reverence.
Pamukkale’s Cotton Castle
Another one of the best places to visit in Turkey is the Pamukkale Travertine Pools. This natural wonder and UNESCO World Heritage Site, also known as the “Cotton Castle”, is a series of terraces made of dazzling white, mineral-rich deposits that cascade down the hillside.
As you walk barefoot on the warm, calcite-covered terraces, you can’t help but be amazed by the stunning contrast of the bright blue mineral-rich water that fills each pool. The therapeutic and healing properties of these thermal waters have been enjoyed for centuries, making it one of the most popular places to visit in Turkey for relaxation and rejuvenation.
Another must visit in Turkey is Hierapolis which can be explored the same day that you check out the travertine pools as the ancient city of Hierapolis stands atop the Cotton Castle. This archaeological site, is steeped in Roman and Byzantine ruins that transport you to a bygone era.
As you walk among the impressive structures, such as the grand theater, the well-preserved necropolis, and the vast Roman bath complex, you can’t help but be in awe of the monumental scale and intricate detail.
Another one of the best Turkey destinations is the city of Izmir. Izmir combines history, a vibrant food scene and stunning coastal landscapes. Plus there are many must-visit Turkey attractions nearby.
Known as the “Pearl of the Aegean”, Izmir boasts a unique blend of ancient ruins and modern city life. Explore the impressive Agora ruins, where you can wander through well-preserved columns or check out the Clock Tower, an iconic symbol of the city.
Indulge in the flavors of Izmir, renowned for its seafood, olive oil, and mezes. With its warm hospitality and salty breeze, Izmir is a must visit destination in Turkey.
Ephesus archaeological site is one of the best-preserved ancient cities in the world and its only an hours drive from the city of Izmir. This ancient city offers a glimpse into the grandeur and sophistication of the Roman Empire.
As you wander through its marble streets, you’ll encounter impressive structures like the Library of Celsus, the Great Theater and the Temple of Artemis, which was one of the Seven Wonders of the Ancient World. The site’s stunning mosaics, intricate frescoes, and well-preserved ruins provide a fascinating insight into daily life during Roman Times.
Ephesus is one of the top attractions in Turkey that allows you to connect with history in a tangible way and witness the extraordinary achievements of the ancient world. Arrive to Ephesus when the gates open to avoid some crowds.
Roman Theatre at Aspendos
Another ancient cultural attraction in Turkey is the Roman Theatre at Aspendos. The impressive structure of the theatre stands majestically admits the picturesque Turkish landscape.
This remarkable site, built in the 2nd century AD, showcases the incredible craftsmanship of the Roman Empire. The Theatre not only offers a glimpse into the past but also serves as a venue for modern-day cultural events, making it a must-visit destination in Turkey for history enthusiasts and art lovers alike.
The Pergamon Acropolis is another epic ruin to visit in Turkey that is an hours drive from Izmir. Perched on a hilltop, this ancient city boasts remarkable ruins and artifacts that are a testament to Pergamon’s once-flourishing civilization.
As you explore the Acropolis, you’ll encounter magnificent structures such as the Library of Pergamon, the Great Theatre and the Temple of Trajan. This is a great day trip from Izmir and usually not crowded if you arrive by 11 am.
Of course we couldn’t have a best places to visit in Turkey post without mentioning a few coastal cities. Start your journey by exploring the old town, with its narrow cobblestone streets, Ottoman-era houses, and charming boutique shops.
As you stroll along the vibrant marina, you’ll be greeted by stunning views of the Mediterranean Sea. When it comes to natural beauty, Antalya doesn’t disappoint. Be Sure to explore the breathtaking Duden Waterfalls, which cascade from cliffs into the sea, providing a picturesque backdrop for unforgettable memories.
Ahh Bodrum, the magical paradise on the turquoise coast of Turkey. With its picturesque white-washed buildings, vibrant bougainvillea flowers, and panoramic views of the Aegean Sea, Bodrum truly captivates the soul.
One can spend lazy days lounging on the golden beaches, indulging in delicious Mediterranean cuisine or exploring the marina filled with luxury yachts. Bodrum’s charming narrow street are a delight to wander through, encountering charming shops, bustling markets and authentic Turkish coffee houses.
You may be surprised to see Ankara make the best places to visit in Turkey list but Ankara offers a unique blend of history, culture and modernity. As you explore the city, you will come across iconic landmarks like the Ankara Castle, standing proudly on a hilltop, offering panoramic views of the city. It’s worth a day or two on your Turkey itinerary if time allows.
İshak Paşa Sarayı
İshak Paşa Sarayı is a palace strategically placed on the Silk Road near the border in Eastern Turkey. This grand complex, built during the Ottoman Empire, offers visitors a breathtaking glimpse into Turkey’s rich history and architectural prowess.
The Sarayı’s stunning facade and intricate details, combined with its strategic mountainous location overlooking the borders of Iran and Armenia, make this one of the best places to visit in Turkey.
Urla is a charming coastal town located next to Izmir. With its rocky beaches and picturesque vineyards, Urla provides a perfect balance of relaxation and exploration. Stroll along the beautiful shoreline, soak up the Mediterranean sun and indulge in a fresh seafood dinner at one of the waterfront restaurants.
Another one of the best natural attractions in Turkey is Lake Van. Located in the eastern region of Turkey, Lake Van with its deep blue waters surrounded by snow-capped mountains, presents a breathtaking sight.
The largest lake in the country, Lake Van is known for its historical treasures such as the Armenian Church of the Holy Cross on Akdamar Island. This is where to go in Turkey for an outdoor adventure.
Ending our list of 16 epic places to visit in Turkey is Beypazari. Beypazari is one of the best day trips from Ankara, its about a 2 hour bus ride one way from the capital.
Weekends in this charming getaway are busy with locals flocking to this historic town to eat gourmet food, marvel at restored Ottoman-era buildings, stroll the lively markets and fathom what life used to be like on the Silk Road.
Best Time to Travel to Turkey
The best time to travel to Turkey is in the spring and autumn months when the weather is mild and pleasant. During this time, the sun is out and the temperatures are warm, but not too hot, making it ideal for sightseeing and exploring the country.
Additionally, the summer months can get quite hot, so if you are looking to enjoy the beaches and the Mediterranean climate, summer is the way to go.
What to Pack for Turkey
Turkey has a beautiful coast line and on the coast in the summer you’ll have warm weather so a bathing suit, shorts and flip flops will come in handy. You’ll want to pack lightweight and breathable clothing.
Cappadocia is cold in the mornings and evenings if you are traveling to Turkey in the fall. Long pants, a warm jacket and scarf that will cover your head (if you’re a female) always comes in handy but it’s cheaper to buy a scarf or hijab in Turkey.
Here are a few key items not to leave home without.
- Comfortable Walking Shoes
- Water Bottle
- Rain Jacket
- Sweatshirt (for travel days)
- Power Bank Charger
- Headphones for bus journeys.
- Biodegradable Wet Wipes
- Purchase Travel insurance before you go
Turkey Travel Tips
Turkey is a fascinating destination where the East meets the West. Here are a few tips to know before traveling to Turkey.
- The okay sign 👌 is offensive.
- Tea is a sign of hospitality.
- You will probably need a Visa before you can enter the country.
- Book tickets for riding a hot air balloon in Cappadocia in advance.
- Renting a car is cheap and roads are well maintained and easy to drive on.
- Women must wear hijab’s on their heads when entering mosques as well having arms and legs covered.
- Don’t leave home without Travel insurance.
Onward Travel from Turkey
- Hop on a Train and head West to Bulgaria to begin exploring the Balkans.
- Ferry to Greece.
- Head East to explore Armenia.
- Press Northwest for an adventure of a lifetime through Georgia.
Turkey Travel Tips
📍Plan your Trip
- The Ultimate Guide to Turkey
- 16 Epic Places to Visit in Turkey
- 21 Tips to Know Before you Travel to Turkey
🗺 How long to travel Turkey? 2 Weeks to hit the highlights, 4 Weeks to really immerce yourself.
🛂 Visas: Get your E-Visa
☔️ Best Time to Visit: April, May, September and October are the best months to travel Turkey.
💰 Average Daily Budget: Expect to pay 30-50 USD’s a day for basic accommodations, sit down meals at a cafe and entrance fees.
⛺️ Turkey accommodation Guides
- Where to Stay in Ankara
- Where to Stay in Cappadocia
- 17 Cave Hotels in Cappadocia
- Where to Stay in Izmir
- Hot Air Balloon Ride in Cappadocia
- Exploring Ephesus
- Uchisar Castle
- Discovering Istanbul
- Pamukkale Cotton Castle
- Pergamon Ruins
- Magical Cappadocia
- The Coastal City of Izmir
- Wander the Capital of Ankara
🧳 What to Pack: What to Pack for Türkiye
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