17 Natural Wonders In Turkey: Natural Attractions To Visit In Turkey

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Post author Nicky

Written by our local expert Nicky

Nicky, originally from the UK, is now a local in Turkey. She moved to Marmaris, Türkiye for love 12 years ago and is now your Turkey travel planner.

I always rave about Turkey’s unmatched beauty, and those who’ve visited tend to agree. With its vast landscapes, you’re in for diverse experiences in just one trip.

If you’re planning a trip to Turkey, make sure your list includes at least some of my must-see natural wonders in Turkey. Each offers a unique blend of Turkey’s history and natural beauty in a way that guarantees you an unforgettable experience.

Turkey Travel Blog_Natural Wonders In Turkey

Map Of My favorite Natural Wonders Of Turkey

From stunning hot air balloon rides in Goreme, capturing the sunrise over fairy chimneys, to the ancient ruins and carbonate wonders of Pamukkale, located in Denizli, Turkey’s blend of natural beauty and history is compelling. Let me not forget the underground cities and the serene Mediterranean coast; I have all the stunning natural attractions in Turkey below…

1. Pamukkale Hot Springs

Cotton Castle Pamukkale - natural wonder in Türkiye

Translated as “Cotton Castle,” Pamukkale is a UNESCO World Heritage Site renowned for its stunning terraces of white mineral-rich pools cascading down a mountainside. The calcium-rich thermal waters that have been flowing here for thousands of years create these exquisite natural formations, resulting in a surreal landscape that looks like something out of a dream.

Local legend claims that the thermal waters possess mystical qualities, known to cure ailments and rejuvenate the mind, body, and soul. However, I’d highly recommend you visit Pamukkale outside of the main holiday season; you won’t feel very rejuvenated if you’re fighting for space amidst crowds!

Pamukkale is also rich in historical significance. Towering above the terraces is the ancient city of Hierapolis, an ancient city that dates back to the 2nd century BCE. You can walk around this area and take in stunning views over the whole site, so remember your walking shoes.

2. Cappadocia – Unique Rock Formations, Fairy Chimneys & Ihlara Valley

Beautiful sunset view of valley near Cavusin village in Cappadocia - a truer natural wonder of Türkiye

At some point, everyone has seen a photo of Cappadocia. For me, this is one of the most beautiful places on the planet, and it’s a landscape like no other.

The most famous part of Cappadocia is the rock formations called fairy chimneys, also known as hoodoos or fairy houses. These whimsical rock formations dot the landscape of Cappadocia. These unique geological shapes have been carved over millions of years by the forces of wind and water, creating an otherworldly scene that seems straight out of a fairy tale.

What sets fairy chimneys apart is not just their peculiar shape but also the fact that many of them have been hollowed out and used as dwellings by humans over the centuries. You can explore these ancient cave homes, some of which date back to the Byzantine period, and marvel at their ingenuity and craftsmanship. I’d definitely recommend staying in a cave hotel, too.

Turkey Cappadocia, Rock Formations in Pasabag Monks Valley - Things to do in Cappadocia
Monks Valley, Cappadocia

Just a short distance away from the fairy chimneys lies the picturesque Ihlara Valley. This lush canyon stretches for over 14 kilometers and is adorned with lush greenery, dramatic cliffs, and the Melendiz River slowly meandering through it. It is believed that early Christians sought refuge in this hidden valley, creating over 100 rock-cut churches and countless frescoes that still mesmerize visitors today.

This is such a serene and tranquil place that you’ll forget you’re in the middle of one of the world’s most famous and popular tourist attractions.

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3. Lake Van – The Largest Lake In Turkey

Exploring geographical regions The Cathedral of the Holy Cross on Akdamar Island, in Lake Van

Lake Van might be slightly off the regular tourist trail, but I believe it’s well worth the effort to see it. Not only that, but you’ll have a much more authentic experience if you venture to the eastern reaches of Turkey rather than always staying in the tourist resorts.

Lake Van is the largest lake in Turkey, and it’s a must-visit for nature enthusiasts and adventure seekers alike. The waters are some of the clearest I’ve ever seen, and huge mountain ranges surround them. It’s definitely one for the photo album.

This lake is huge, spanning over 3,755 square kilometers, and there is plenty of history to explore, too. Its origin can be traced back to the dramatic volcanic activity that has occurred in the region throughout millennia. Mount Ararat, a dormant volcano, looms in the distance, providing a dramatic backdrop to the already picturesque scenery.

The lake is also home to Akdamar Island, which I highly recommend you visit via boat trip. This small island is famous for its historic Armenian Cathedral, known as the Church of the Holy Cross. The intricate stone carvings and exquisite craftsmanship of the church’s exterior are a testament to the region’s rich cultural heritage.

Apart from its general stunning appearance, Lake Van boasts a vibrant ecosystem brimming with diverse flora and fauna. The lake is known for its abundance of fish, making it a haven for fishing enthusiasts. Its shores are also home to numerous bird species, attracting birdwatchers from all over the world.

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4. Blue Lagoon, Ölüdeniz, Fethiye

Things to do in Oludeniz - Paragliding_Blue lagoon in Oludeniz_Turkey

One of my favorite places in the whole of Turkey, and probably my favorite beach overall, is the Blue Lagoon. Located in Ölüdeniz, which is hands down one of the most chilled-out places on the planet, this is a place everyone should visit at least once.

The Blue Lagoon itself sits on a breathtaking stretch of turquoise blue waters surrounded by majestic mountains and lush greenery. The water is so clear and pristine that you can see all the way to the bottom, revealing an underwater world teeming with colorful fish. The protected bay creates a sheltered area where the water remains serene, making it a perfect spot for swimming, snorkeling, or simply floating on the surface and soaking up the sun.

Blue Lagoon Oludeniz with people swimming

It goes without saying that this area gets bustling during the peak summer months. It can be difficult to find a sunbed, so I’d highly recommend going early if you can. Also, try and avoid the Turkish children’s summer holidays and the weekends, as they will be far too busy to be enjoyable.

There are plenty of facilities on site, including water sports, a restaurant, and even a Starbucks. You can pay by card but not cash, so make sure you’re organized before you go.

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5. Butterfly Valley, Fethiye

Best beaches in Turkey - Butterfly Valley in Oludeniz

Butterfly Valley is a short boat trip away from Ölüdeniz, Fethiye, and it’s one of the most popular places to visit during the summer months; it’s also one of the most beautiful.

The boat takes around 20 minutes, but a word of warning: it can be a little rough, even in summer. It’s worth it, though, because the moment you approach Butterfly Valley, you are immediately greeted by a stunning sight of steep cliffs towering above and crystal-clear turquoise waters lapping gently at the sandy shores.

The valley is a sanctuary for over 80 species of butterflies, including the critically endangered Jersey Tiger Moth, which gives the valley its name. Whether you see a butterfly or not is in the lap of the gods; I haven’t yet.

For nature enthusiasts, hiking enthusiasts, and adventure seekers, Butterfly Valley offers countless opportunities for exploration. You can set off on one of the many hiking trails that wind through the valley, where you may encounter hidden waterfalls, secret caves, and viewpoints that offer panoramic vistas of the valley’s awe-inspiring beauty.

6. Mount Nemrut

Hidden Gems In Turkey - Stone head statues at Nemrut Mountain in Turkey

Mount Nemrut is off the regular tourist trail, situated in southeastern Turkey, close to the city of Adiyaman. Again, I’d highly recommend you try to go. It’s one place that will blow your mind in all the best ways.

At an impressive height of 7,001 feet (2,134 meters), Mount Nemrut stands tall, proudly dominating the landscape. But it’s not just its size and the views that make it extraordinary; it’s also the mythical and historical significance that draws visitors from far and wide.

One of Mount Nemrut’s most striking features is the huge sculptures at the top, dating back to the 1st century BC. Here, you’ll find massive stone heads of various gods and rulers, each measuring up to 9 meters in height. These colossal sculptures were erected by King Antiochus I Theos of the Commagene Kingdom, who sought to merge Greek and Persian traditions with his own ancestral roots.

Hidden Gems In Turkey - Stone head statues at Nemrut Mountain in Turkey

If you can, I recommend getting to the top at sunset. You’ll be rewarded with panoramic views of the surrounding valleys, plains, and mountains.

If you’re not super-fit, don’t worry; Mount Nemrut offers a range of trails that cater to all levels of fitness, and climbing only takes just over half an hour. Whether you choose the more challenging routes or opt for a leisurely stroll, you’ll have a fantastic experience.

7. Saklıkent Gorge, Fethiye

Saklikent Gorge Turkey - natural wonder in Türkiye

Saklıkent Gorge in Fethiye is a true natural wonder that will leave you in awe of Mother Nature’s beauty. It’s effortless to get to; there are regular trips during the summer months from both Fethiye and Ölüdeniz, and I’d recommend a jeep safari if you want to add some extra fun to your day.

As you begin your journey through Saklıkent Gorge, you’ll be greeted by towering cliffs that seem to touch the sky. These magnificent cliffs, formed over thousands of years, create a narrow passage that stretches for 18 kilometers. There is a small section where you need to paddle through shallow water, and I’d suggest you take water shoes with you, as the rocks can be a little slippery.

What sets Saklıkent Gorge apart from other natural wonders is the crystal-clear, ice-cold waters that flow through it. The rushing river, originating from the Taurus Mountains, carves its way through the gorge, and it’s always really cool here, even in the middle of summer.

You can go kayaking or walk through and enjoy the wonder of nature. There are also cafes where you can sit have a tea or coffee and a full Turkish breakfast.

8. Salda Lake, Burdur Province

Best Day Trips From Antalya - Blue Salda lake. Aerial view of beautiful white sand beach and unreal blue coastline.

Nicknamed the “Turkish Maldives,” Salda Lake offers blinding white sand and a clear, blue sea. It really blew my mind, and the fact that it’s only a 2- 3 hour drive away from Marmaris and Fethiye means it’s pretty easy to reach, too.

The color of the water is because Salda Lake boasts a unique geological formation that makes it truly one-of-a-kind. With its high concentration of magnesium, the water takes on an otherworldly hue, resembling the colors of a tropical paradise. In fact, its resemblance to the Maldives has earned it a spot on many travelers’ bucket lists.

But Salda Lake is not just a feast for the eyes; it offers plenty of activities for outdoor enthusiasts. Whether you’re an adrenaline junkie or a serene nature lover, there is something for everyone. From swimming and snorkeling in crystal-clear waters to kayaking or paddleboarding, you’ll have endless opportunities to immerse yourself in the beauty of this natural wonder.

For adventure seekers, a hike up to the nearby Mount Karagöl provides a magnificent bird’s-eye view of the lake and its surroundings. The panoramic vista it offers will undoubtedly leave you in awe of the mesmerizing landscape below.

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9. Kaçkar Mountains National Park

Hiking Kaçkar Mountains
Kaçkar Mountains

Situated in the Eastern Black Sea region, this pristine natural spot is one for the camera roll. Not only does it have biodiversity, stunning landscapes, and a sense of tranquillity that can only be found in the arms of Mother Nature, but it’s also a must-visit for outdoor adventure lovers.

Stretching over 50,000 hectares, Kackar National Park is the perfect place to escape the stresses of modern life. With emerald-green valleys adorned with vibrant wildflowers, cascading rivers, and rugged mountain peaks that seem to touch the sky, I had my mind blown here. The park is home to the majestic Kackar Mountains, which boast an elevation of over 3,900 meters, making them a challenging paradise for hikers and mountaineers.

As you explore the park’s trails, you’ll encounter a diverse range of ecosystems, from alpine meadows to dense forests. The park is renowned for its incredible flora and fauna, with over 1,800 plant species and 150 animal species. Keep your eyes peeled for endemic species like the Caucasian salamander and Caucasian grouse, as well as the ever-elusive brown bear and lynx.

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10. Patara Beach, Antalya Province

Patara, Turkey: group of travelers sit on camping chairs and enjoy and watch the stunning sunset over the sand dunes of Patara beach, Antalya

Sitting pretty on the Turquoise Coast, Patara Beach is often referred to as one of Turkey’s hidden gems. It’s well worth finding because, for me, this is one of the best beaches in Turkey. It spans over 18 kilometers, so you’ll always find space to chill out.

The first thing that strikes you about Patara Beach is its untouched beauty. With golden sands and translucent waters, the beach is backed by magnificent sand dunes, creating a unique and picturesque landscape. This beach is also a protected area. In fact, it is part of the wider Patara-Kaş Protected Area, which spans nearly 130 kilometers and is home to various endangered species of flora and fauna. Environmental conservation efforts have been implemented to preserve the natural habitat, making it a haven for wildlife enthusiasts and nature lovers alike.

Beyond its dazzling scenery, Patara Beach holds a place of historical significance. It was once a thriving port city during the Lycian period and served as an important trade hub. Today, remnants of its glorious past can still be explored, including the famous Patara Ruins.

The beach also offers many thrilling activities for those seeking a bit of adventure. From parasailing high above the azure waters to venturing on a horseback ride along the shoreline, there is no shortage of excitement for adventurous souls. The beach is famous for its strong winds, making it a favored spot for windsurfers.

Be sure to look for the loggerhead turtles that choose this spot as their nesting grounds. The beach is a vital nesting site for these magnificent creatures, symbolizing the importance of conservation efforts to protect their fragile habitats.

11. Ayder Plateau, Rize

A small village in the mountains, known for its natural attractions in Turkey.

Located in the Rize province of Turkey, Ayder Plateau is a picturesque spot situated within the majestic Kaçkar Mountains. As you make your way up the winding roads, you will be treated to a mesmerizing panorama of lush green valleys, cascading waterfalls, and snow-capped peaks. It’s a sight that left me totally in awe.

One of the standout features of the Ayder Plateau is its natural hot springs, which are believed to have healing properties. The region is renowned for its thermal baths, where you can relax and unwind in natural, mineral-rich waters that are said to soothe aches, promote relaxation, and rejuvenate the body and mind.

In addition to the healing hot springs, the Ayder Plateau boasts mesmerizing hiking trails that wind through verdant forests, floral meadows, and charming villages.

If you need a bit of adrenaline, Ayder Plateau doesn’t disappoint. The region is a hub for adrenaline-inducing activities such as paragliding, mountain biking, and horseback riding. Whether you’re soaring through the skies, traversing rugged terrains on two wheels, or galloping along the meadows on horseback, Ayder Plateau is the place to be.

12. Dilek Peninsula – Büyük Menderes Delta National Park

A viewDilek Peninsula-Büyük Menderes Delta National Park - one of the breathtaking Natural Attractions to visit in Turkey.
Photo

Around one hour from the coastal town of Didim, you’ll find this little slice of paradise, one of my favorite places to go when I want to get away from it all.

Dilek Peninsula – Büyük Menderes Delta National Park, also known as “Milli Park” in Turkish, spans over 28,000 hectares. This protected area showcases the incredible diversity of flora and fauna that make up the unique ecosystems of Turkey’s Aegean region.

Covered in fragrant, pine-clad hills, crystal-clear turquoise waters, and unspoiled golden sandy beaches. The panoramic views from the clifftop trails are simply sensational and offer a fantastic opportunity for photography enthusiasts and hikers alike.

If you’re into nature, you’ll be able to spot more than 804 different plant species. This includes rare and endemic species, such as the Turkish pine, wild olive trees, and lavender fields, which fill the air with their beautiful fragrance.

For birdwatchers, the Büyük Menderes Delta, located within the national park, is a must-do. It serves as a vital stopover for migratory birds traveling from Europe to Africa. It offers a unique opportunity to observe over 250 bird species, including the iconic flamingos, herons, and pelicans.

To fully experience the magic of Dilek Peninsula, be sure to explore its hidden gem: the Zeus Cave. Legend has it that Zeus, the King of the Gods in Greek mythology, used to come here to bathe in its milky blue waters. With its intriguing stalactite formations and refreshing coolness, the cave invites you to step into the realm of mythology.

13. Ağrı Dağı (Mount Ararat) National Park

Hiking Mount Ararat at sunset_Turkey
Mount Ararat at sunrise

Mount Ararat, standing tall at 5,137 meters (16,854 feet), is the highest peak in Turkey and an iconic symbol of the country. It is also famous for its biblical significance as the supposed resting place of Noah’s Ark.

Located in the far east of Turkey, the park encompasses a vast area teeming with diverse flora and fauna. Explore sweeping meadows, dense forests, and sparkling streams, and look for rare species like the Armenian mouflon, Caucasian lynx, and even the rarely spotted Anatolian leopard.

The weather in some parts of the country can be changeable, so whenever you visit, make sure you dress for all seasons. It can also get very cold in the winter, so a very warm coat is a must-have.

For those seeking adventure, Mount Ararat is a mountaineer’s dream. Scaling this majestic peak is an experience like no other. Although it requires a high level of skill and fitness, the feeling of reaching the summit and witnessing the stunning panorama of snow-capped peaks is indescribable.

To do this, you will need a license and to be part of a group, so I suggest you make inquiries well before your visit.


14. Babadağ Mountain, Oludeniz, Fethiye

A group of people standing on top of Babadag Mountain with a paraglider, overlooking the breathtaking natural attractions in Turkey.

The first time I visited Ölüdeniz, the most striking thing was the sheer size of Babadağ Mountain, soaring high above the town. Standing at an impressive height of 1,969 meters, its name means “Father Mountain” in Turkish, perfectly capturing the awe-inspiring presence it holds in the area.

One of the main reasons why travelers flock to Babadağ is for its paragliding opportunities. If you have ever dreamt of soaring through the skies like a bird, this is the place to make that dream a reality. As you jump off the cliff with a professional instructor, you will be met with panoramic views of Fethiye Bay, the coastline, and the turquoise waters of the Mediterranean Sea.

However, Babadağ Mountain offers more than just paragliding adventures. Its hiking trails show the area’s true jaw-dropping beauty and the panoramic view from way up high is simply amazing.

There is a cable car that takes you up to the top of the mountain, mostly for paragliders, but you can also go just for views. There is also a really great restaurant at the top if you can, try to go for the sunset, as it will be one of the most amazing experiences.

15. Uzungöl, Near Trabzon

Uzungol - lake in the north-eastern part of Turkey

Welcome to Uzungöl, a hidden gem nestled in the lush green mountains of Trabzon on the north coast of Turkey. Uzungöl offers a tranquil escape from the bustle of everyday life. Surrounded by majestic mountains and a sparkling lake, this small village is a haven for nature lovers and those seeking a peaceful retreat.

The moment you arrive in Uzungöl, you’ll be greeted by spectacular views of the lake, reflecting the glorious hues of the surrounding landscape. I’d recommend just staying for a short while to breathe in the fresh mountain air and let the serenity of the surroundings wash over you.

One of the highlights of Uzungöl is exploring the dense forests surrounding the village. Lace up your hiking boots and embark on a scenic trek through the trails, which will lead you to stunning viewpoints and hidden waterfalls. The weather here can be quite rainy from time to time, so make sure you pack accordingly.

For those who prefer a more relaxed pace, stroll along the shores of the lake and soak in the beauty of the landscape. If you’re going to do one thing here, I’d recommend a full Turkish breakfast with a stunning view.

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16. Duden Waterfalls, Antalya

A rainbow is shining over Duden waterfalls, Antalya

Antalya is packed with amazing sights to behold, but for me, Duden Waterfalls are very close to the top of the list. The falls are divided into two sections, the Upper Duden Waterfall and the Lower Duden Waterfall, each offering a unique and awe-inspiring experience.

It’s much easier to see the lower falls, as they are just a 15-minute walk away from the city center on the way to Lara Beach. The waterfall is a majestic sight as the water plunges down from a staggering 40 meters, creating a mesmerizing spectacle of mist and foam with the odd rainbow.

There is a viewing platform where you can take plenty of photos, and the entire area is an excellent place for a slow walk on a sunny day. You can also take a boat trip around the falls during the summer months.

17. Yenice Forests, Karabuk

Located in the Black Sea region, Yenice Forests are renowned for their untouched beauty and tranquillity. If you want to get away from the hustle and bustle of daily life, this is the place to go.

To me, this spot looks like it came straight out of a fairy tale. Towering trees stretch towards the sky, forming a lush canopy that creates a serene atmosphere. The air is crisp and invigorating, making it the perfect place for a peaceful stroll or an adventurous hike.

Yenice Forests boast an incredible biodiversity, with countless flora and fauna species calling this place home. Nature enthusiasts will be delighted to spot various types of wildflowers, medicinal plants, and rare tree species, some of which can only be found in this region. Birdwatchers will have the opportunity to observe a wide array of avian species, including woodpeckers, owls, and eagles.

One of the highlights of Yenice Forests is the mesmerizing Lake Hasanerdiren. Surrounded by verdant greenery, the lake offers a stunning reflection of the surrounding trees and sky, creating a picture-perfect scene. This serene oasis is perfect for a calming boat ride or a picnic by the water’s edge.

Final Word On The Natural Wonders In Türkiye

Tourists in Goreme national park, Cappadocia in winter, Turkey

From the otherworldly landscapes of Cappadocia to the pristine beaches of the Turquoise Coast, this captivating country has it all. It’s one of the most beautiful in the world, and I never get tired of walking around various sites and taking photographs.

The only question you now need to answer is which natural spot you’re going to visit first!

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