Spanning across Europe and Asia, Turkey is one such country that is famed for its distinctive cultures, age-old traditions, breathtaking landscapes, and culinary heritage. It is one of the most visited countries in the world, and among the must-include places in Europe tour packages. Each city in Turkey has its own charm that draws thousands of tourists throughout the year. While in Turkey, one can enjoy their vacation by staying in boutique hotels inside caves and floating in hot air balloons above the otherworldly landscape of Cappadocia, wandering amid the Greco-Roman world in Ephesus, or simply soaking up the sun in the luxury beach resorts along the Aegean Sea.
Trawell.in presents some of the top places to visit in Turkey here.
Located in the very heart of the Eastern Edge of the great High Anatolian Plateau, Ankara is the capital and the second-largest city in Turkey. The sprawling city is known for its beautiful and long-spread yellow wheat fields, young volcanoes, and a huge number of ancient structures and ruins that represent a very old history that dates back to the 2nd millennium BC. The Temple of Augustus, the Citadel, the historic mosques, and a Roman Theatre are some of the notable structures that one should visit as part of Ankara tour packages. Besides, Ankara boasts a lively arts and culture scene with a large concentration of theaters and museums, including the Museum of Anatolian Civilizations.
Istanbul, historically known as Byzantium and Constantinople, is the most populous city in Turkey as well as its cultural and financial hub. Istanbul is one of the oldest and largest cities in Turkey 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. Known for its impressive architecture, historic sites, dining, shopping, nightlife, and exotic atmosphere, Istanbul is one of the most famous cultural destinations in Europe. The Hagia Sophia, Blue Mosque, Topkapi Palace, and Galata Tower, Yerebatan Cistern, the Archeology Museum, are the top places to visit in Istanbul.
Among the top Turkey tourist places, Antalya is a large, vibrant city nestled along the beautiful Turkish Riviera on the Mediterranean Coastline. Dotted with scenic waterfalls, gorgeous beaches, lush green mountains, several resorts, beautiful old churches, exquisite museums, and ancient ruins, Antalya offers something for everyone. The ancient city of Antalya is famous for its theatre which dates back to the 2nd century. The wide dramatic structure of this historic location with the sky-high walls and the open view captivates the audience. One can also visit the old city of Antalya called the Kaleici, Yivli Minare, Karain Cave, Aspendos, Olympos, and the Chimera while in Turkey, one of the most visited destinations in Europe. If you are an adrenaline junkie, then you can try out some adventure sports like rafting, quad biking, etc.
High on the Anatolian plateau, the curious landscapes of Cappadocia resemble a fantasy world makes it among the top places to visit in Turkey. Honey-colored rocks have eroded into unusual formations resembling chimneys, cones, mushrooms, and pinnacles with some of them rising as much as 130 feet high. However, thousands of years ago, mankind added remarkable touches to the landscape by carving out houses, churches, monasteries, and underground cities from the soft volcanic rock. This historic region in central Turkey was once a province of the Byzantine and Roman empire and was inhabited by several Christian communities over the centuries. The hot air balloon ride is the best way to catch the mesmerizing glimpses of the entire Cappadocia city from above the sky. Pasabag, Goreme Open Air Museum, Red Rose Valley, Devrent Valley, and Ihlara Valley are some of the best places to visit in the Cappadocia region. Besides, the Cappadocia’s villages are also an attraction in themselves, with their boutique hotels that allow you to bed down in a cave with full contemporary comforts.
Pamukkale is a natural wonder located in the River Menderes valley of Denizli Province in southwestern Turkey. Pamukkale, meaning “cotton castle” in Turkish, is well-known for its travertine terraces that overflow with thermal waters which are rich in minerals. The pure white travertine terraces of Pamukkale cascade down the slope looking like an out-of-place snowfield amid the green landscape. Since ancient times the ponds here have been utilized as a spa and this is one of the major reasons why tourists prefer being here more often. The magnificent calcite hill of Pamukkale is also home to the rambling remnants of Roman Hierapolis, which makes for another attraction of this place, alongside the breathtaking travertines. Visit this UNESCO world heritage site of Pamukkale at dusk to witness the travertines shine amazingly as the sun goes down the horizon.
Built-in the 10th century BC by Attic and Ionian Greek colonists, Ephesus was a city in ancient Greece on the coast of Ionia in Izmir Province of Turkey. During the Classical Greek era, it was one of twelve cities that were members of the Ionian League and came under the control of the Roman Republic in 129 BC. This is one of the most complete, still-standing famed cities of antiquity in the Mediterranean region. It has the largest collection of architectural Roman ruins in the eastern Mediterranean region. The Celcius Library is the most popular attraction over here that reminds people to value knowledge. The city also boasts one of the seven Wonders of the Ancient World, the Temple of Artemis. The House of Virgin Mary, Isabey Mosque, and the Sirince Village are some of the top places to visit in Ephesus.
Founded in the 11th century BC by the Aeolians, Izmir is the 3rd largest city and among the oldest cities in Turkey. Izmir is regarded as the frontier and sunshine city of Turkey. Earlier known as Smyrna, it is one of the beautiful locations for a unique holiday experience in Turkey due to its mountains and bays. With its outstanding history, the city’s landmarks include the partly excavated remains of its Agora and the ancient aqueducts of Kizilcullu. The archaeological museum has a fine collection of local antiquities. Izmir has lots of charming seaside towns famous with great beaches such as Cesme, Foca, Dikili, Urla, Gumuldur, Karaburun, Menderes, Alacati, Selcuk and Seferihisar.
Bodrum is yet another ancient fortified city located in the Mugla Province in the southern Aegean region of Turkey. 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, its intriguing ruins, stunning beaches, and cliff-top resorts attract people from all over the world. No visit to Bodrum would be complete without seeing the Castle of St. Peter, also called Bodrum Castle. The Museum of Underwater Archaeology, Myndos Gate, and the ancient Bodrum Theatre are other prominent attractions here. Cruising on a yacht is among the top things to do in Bodrum. The steep forest-clad slopes, hidden coves sporting tiny white-sand beaches, and hundreds of scattered islands are the perfect place for exploring by sea.
Want some hippie vibe and a tranquil beach vacation? Check out Fethiye in the Aegean Region of Turkey. The city is known for its natural harbor, blue waters, and numerous rock tombs including the 4th-century BC Tomb of Amyntas, carved into a bluff overlooking the city. It is one of the prominent tourist destinations in the Turkish Riviera. Calis Beach, Lycian Stone Sarcophagus, and the Roman Theatre are some of the top places to visit in Fethiye. This harbor-front town is the perfect launching pad to explore the many tourist attractions and things to do along with the famed slice of lush coastline known as the Turquoise Coast.
Located in the Southeastern Anatolia Region of Turkey, Gaziantep, previously called Antep, is a city whose roots go back more than ten thousand years, that reflects the power of Mesopotamia. The city is where ancient history meets vibrant culinary culture. It is one of the oldest inhabited cities in the world and among the Gastronomy cities of Turkey. With well-built stone houses, rich history, paved streets, delicious food, and covered bazaars, the city has something for everyone. An absolute must when visiting the city of Gaziantep is Zeugma Mosaic Museum, the biggest mosaic museum in the world. The museum displays the mosaic collections excavated from the city of Zeugma and the mosaics are more than two thousand years old and are breathtaking. Go back to the late Roman period by visiting Rumkale and discover the architectural ruins Romans left. One must try the famous Pistachio Coffee and Cheesecake Pistachio while in Gaziantep.
Sumela Monastery is one of the oldest monasteries in the world that date back to the 4th century. Situated outside Trabzon city, this beautiful monastery sits atop the majestic Zigana Mountain. It is one of the best places to visit along the Black Sea Coast, especially for architecture fanatics and spiritual souls. With an excellent architectural design, the monastery is dedicated to Virgin Mary and the interior walls are adorned with vibrant and dazzling frescoes. The monastery first opened during the Byzantine era and only ceased operation as a working religious center in 1923, when the monks were forced to leave as part of the Greek-Turkish Population Exchange. Also, the calm atmosphere and the isolated setting make it an ideal place for tourists to practice peaceful meditation.
Lake Salda is a mid-size crater lake located in Burdur Province of southwestern Turkey. Surrounded by beautiful mountains and lush green forests, this pristine lake lures a large number of tourists every year. The lake covers 4,370 hectares, and its depth reaches 196 m, making it one of the deeper lakes in Turkey. The lake has a unique atmosphere that astonishes everyone who visits it. The lake is also called as ‘Maldives of Turkey’ as the sand and the clear, turquoise blue water resemble the seawater as in the Maldives. The lake is also a popular site for researchers because of the hydromagnetic mineral found in its coastal waters, which is believed to provide a base material for therapies to treat certain dermatological diseases.
Safranbolu is a beautiful town located in the Black Sea region of northern Turkey. This UNESCO World Heritage town is one of the best places to visit in Turkey as the town is famous for its uniquely well preserved Ottoman Turkish houses dotted around its cobbled streets, as well as other great architectural features. The houses with modest floor plans, customs, and traditions, are a unique spatial account of Turkish lifestyle and culture based on respect for nature and neighbours. Incekaya Aqueduct, City History Museum, Kaymakamlar Museum House, Cinci Inn and Bath, Yoruk Village, Clock Tower, Safranbolu Houses, and Hidirlik Hill are some of the top places to visit in Safranbolu, Turkey, among the best European destinations for Indians.
Santhi is an avid traveler and primary contributor to the blogs at Trawell.in. She has explored most of the states in India and gained vast knowledge on tourist destinations in India and abroad. She also contributes content to other travel websites.