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10 Best Places to Visit in Turkey

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Golden Horn in Istanbul and view of Suleymaniye Mosque

Istanbul, Turkey

The 10 best places to visit in Turkey can immerse you in past empires or unveil surprising island treasures that capture the spirit of vibrant culture and enticing cuisine.

Gorgeous landscapes that display Mediterranean grandeur offer a touch of regional wonder, while the sunlight glints against ancient ruins paved with white marble. Epic history exudes from the turrets of the Hagia Sophia, while fairy-type chimneys emerge from the scenic mountain plateaus.

With active ways to explore and culinary delights to sample, the top places to visit in Turkey embrace local traditions and demonstrate the splendor of diverse landscapes as you find endless majesty.

  1. 1. Istanbul
  2. 2. Cappadocia
  3. 3. Ephesus
  4. 4. Turquoise Coast
  5. 5. Ankara
  6. 6. Edirne
  7. 7. Mount Nemrut
  8. 8. Izmir
  9. 9. Konya
  10. 10. Bursa
  11. Explore the Best Places to Visit in Turkey

1. Istanbul

Topkapi Palace in Istanbul, Turkey

Topkapi Palace in Istanbul, Turkey

Whether for its strategic position or beauty, Istanbul has been coveted by empires for millennia and remains treasured for its elaborate history and grand beauty. With a sense of magic and majesty, the city connects East and West with the sense of a living past that moves through the art, architecture, and culinary heritage.

From the wonders of the Hagia Sophia to the luxuries of the Topkapi Palace, the shores of the Bosphorus to the lively ambiance of the Grand Bazaar, Istanbul’s marvels are dizzying, captivating, and seemingly endless.

Recommended Length of Stay: 3-4 days

2. Cappadocia

Hot air balloons in Cappadocia, Turkey

Cappadocia, Turkey

Cappadocia has stepped out of a fairy tale, with whimsical chimneys rising out of a rugged landscape set against the Anatolian plains and honeycombed hills. The charm of the storybook scenery couples with a remarkable sense of human history that’s represented in underground networks, resulting in stunning architecture etched into the caverns.

With subterranean churches etched with frescos to hiking trails that lead to views of the dusky cream-colored hills, a hot-air balloon ride above the horizon to horseback rides alongside the dramatic cliffs or lush orchards, Cappadocia is a unique wonderland with a welcoming charm.

Recommended Length of Stay: 2-3 days

3. Ephesus

Ruins in Ephesus, Turkey

Ephesus, Turkey

The remarkable ruins of Ephesus capture the wide reach of ancient Greek states as ruins rise above the landscape, with marble columns and colonnaded streets that fade to Byzantine elements, Roman touches, and a castle that looms large in the expanse.

The grand architecture and classical aesthetic preserve and demonstrate the influence of the Ionian perspective that captures one of the renowned Wonders of the Ancient World and the collective beauty of the Mediterranean.

Recommended Length of Stay: 1-2 days

4. Turquoise Coast

Cirali beach on Turkey's Turquoise Coast

Cirali beach in Antalya, Turkey

The Turkish Riviera is an exceptional demonstration of the natural beauty of the Mediterranean Sea that spreads across the Teke Peninsula. Sandy shorelines sweep to the horizon and highlight the crystal-clear waters, with a backdrop of mountains blanketed with emerald forest.

Ancient cities add the glamour of the past to the luxuries of modern resorts. With rock tombs and inspiring coves reachable by yachts, archeological sites and protected wildlife habitats, you can find photogenic corners of Turkey often overlooked by travelers.

Recommended Length of Stay: 3-4 days

5. Ankara

The Anıtkabir, Mausoleum of Kemal Ataturk, in Ankara, Turkey

The Anıtkabir in Anakara, Turkey

Ankara is the capital of Turkey and has much more to offer than travelers realize. This is where the streets and skyline unravel the breadth of Turkey’s history.

A sophisticated ambiance, charming restaurants, and sidewalk cafés create a vibrant place nestled between the celebrated Museum of Anatolian Civilizations and the colossal tribute to modern Turkey’s founder.

Whether exploring the heartland of Anatolia or delving into the depths of preclassical history, Ankara has a special charisma you can experience immediately.

Recommended Length of Stay: 1-2 days

6. Edirne

Selimiye Mosque in Edirne, Turkey

Selimiye Mosque in Edirne, Turkey

Ottoman architecture takes center stage in Edirne, with a history that dates back to the Roman Empire and remarkable facades that bring the 14th century to life.

Imperial designs, notable culinary culture, and the lingering impressions of a grand civic tradition blend European spirit and Turkish passion along the banks of the Tunca and Meric rivers.

From the Selimiye Mosque to the Grand Synagogue, the Museum of Health to the medieval cobbled lanes of Kaleici, Edirne is unlike anywhere else in Turkey.

Recommended Length of Stay: 2-3 days

7. Mount Nemrut

Statues on top Nemrut Mountain, in Adiyaman, Turkey

Mount Nemrut in Adiyaman, Turkey

In the shadow of the mountain summit of Mount Nemrut, you can find the funerary mound of King Antiochus and the legend of a concealed tomb. Terraces texture the slope, while stone statues that once spoke of imperial majesty and the glory of the gods now sprawl ruined across the landscape.

The remote nature of the mountain only accentuates the connection between cultural and natural majesty that spreads across the setting as you witness the border between feuding Rome and Persia.

Recommended Length of Stay: 1-2 days

8. Izmir

Street in Alacati, Turkey

Alacati, Turkey

With the glimmering azure waters of the Bay of Izmir and the ancient history that continues to bustle along the Aegean port, Izmir is a seaside marvel that shimmers along the promenade with a rich and fascinating collection of cultures.

The cuisine alone represents the layers of Greek, Armenian, Levantine, Turkish, and Jewish communities which have added their particular touches to the culinary heritage of the city, embellishing the alluring mystery that plays out in the impressive bazaars and captivating museum.

Whether on a day trip to visit the ancient Roman road to the charms of Alacati, Izmir is a center for contemporary delights and historic wonders.

Recommended Length of Stay: 2-3 days

9. Konya

Whirling Dervishes

Whirling Dervishes

The charismatic ambiance of Konya emanates from the contemporary university, Seljuk culture, and its historical significance as home to whirling dervish orders. Traditional market districts create labyrinths nestled against fashionable neighborhoods and tea gardens fill the air with aromas of mint and honey.

From the tomb of Rumi to one of the largest Neolithic settlements in the world, dazzling ceramic art to Seljuk architecture, Konya is the embodiment of Turkey’s significant contribution to religious art, architecture, and spirituality.

Recommended Length of Stay: 2-3 days

10. Bursa

Golyazi, Turkey

Golyazi, Turkey

Brimming with monuments, mosques, and mausoleums, Bursa is Ottoman to its core. An abundant collection of parks creates charming green spaces, while marketplaces bustle during all hours of the day. A welcoming ambiance sweeps through the historic streets and the slopes of Uludag provide access to Turkey’s most popular ski resort.

Active exploration takes on a new perspective from the world’s longest cable car to the village atmosphere of Cumalikizik, the vivacious colors of the Grand Mosque to the lakeside village of Gölyazi. Bursa and its surroundings quickly delight, inspire, and surprise visitors from around the world.

Recommended Length of Stay: 1-2 days

Explore the Best Places to Visit in Turkey

Beach in Bodrum, Turkey

Bodrum, Turkey

Travel to Turkey results in a collage of colors and vibrant life, shifting landscapes and mesmerizing myths that culminate in a distinct perspective of local culture and national heritage. Embrace drama in the scenery, peel back the layers of time to find ruined empires, and enjoy the opportunity for immersion into unique culture with diverse cuisine on our Turkey tours and vacations.

From the Grand Bazaar to the Turkish Riviera, there are endless opportunities to enjoy where the borders of Europe and Asia converge to create undeniable and unrivaled passion as you explore our Turkey travel guide.

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