Some posts contain compensated links. Please read this disclaimer for more info.
Best Places In Turkey To Visit For Every Kind Of Traveler
If you think that Turkey is all beaches and Istanbul, you’re very wrong!
Turkey is a huge country, packed with cities, towns, villages, beach resorts,… the list goes on. That means there is literally something for everyone. In this blog post, we tell you all about the best places in Turkey to visit for history, food, nature, partying, and more.
Sure, not every destination will suit every person but provided you know what you want to do and what you want to experience, you can find a place that fits the bill.
For instance, if you want to enjoy the nightlife, it’s not a good idea to head to somewhere like Adana, Aydin, Trabzon, or Rize. However, you will find fantastic opportunities to party the night away in Istanbul, Izmir, Antalya, and any beach resort along the south coast.
If you want to enjoy history, you’re probably not going to find what you’re looking for that much in Marmaris, but in Istanbul, you’ll have more history than you can possibly absorb into your brain!
It really comes down to what you want and then figuring out where you want to go.
If You Want To Shop
There is nothing you cannot find in Istanbul – in fact. Taksim is the ideal spot for High Street stores, but there are also huge malls across the city, such as Cevahir, Mall of Istanbul, etc. Izmir is also a great shopping spot, with a few other malls and plenty of your international names. If you want traditional souvenirs, you’ll find these in most places, but you can’t beat Istanbul’s Grand Bazaar for choice and experience!
If You Want To Party
Most people are pretty surprised when they see the amount of nightlife there is in Turkey. Sure, it’s not everywhere you look, and some of the smaller cities and towns still tend to be more traditional in terms of beer houses, mainly for men, etc., but you’ll find many International and modern bars too.
Taksim and Besiktas in Istanbul are ideal for party fans, but Izmir and Antalya will tick your boxes too. Taksim is home to some seriously loud nightclubs if that’s what you’re after!
If You Want To Eat
Turkish food all over the country is delightful, and if you can head to a small village, be sure to try the homemade fare there, but if you’re visiting a general place, you need to chow down in Istanbul. There is nothing you won’t find here, including traditional Turkish food. Be sure to try the street food also, as it’s not only cheap, but it’s super filling at the same time.
If You Want Nature
Saklikent National Park (Antalya)/Cappadocia
One of the most iconic travel photos the world over is the hot air balloons over Cappadocia, and this is a true must-visit. The strange landscape around here is something to behold, and the so-called ‘fairy chimneys’ formed by years of rock erosion are genuinely magnificent. You can even stay in a traditional cave hotel!
Alternatively, or possibly also, head to Antalya’s Saklikent National Park. You can go canyoning, rock climbing, sailing down the river, but it’s genuinely breathtaking whatever you choose to do.
Its name literally means “cotton castle” in Turkish; Pamukkale is one of Turkey’s best attractions for anyone. Whether you’re into nature or not, you’ll undoubtedly be impressed by the extraordinary features of this huge thermal spring. This natural UNESCO World Heritage Site is in inland southeastern Turkey but makes a great day trip for the major coastal cities.
Millennia of endless water flow and mineral deposits have created a stunning collection of travertine terraces, pure water, and snow-white limestone shimmering in the Turkish sun. Since antiquity, people have visited these hot springs and pools when it was the location of the Roman city of Hierapolis (Holy City).
Although the terraces and pools themselves are off-limits to visitors nowadays, you can still see them from up close on footpaths. The on-site Roman ruins and museums are worth visiting, too. Pamukkale is easily one of the best places to go in Turkey for a day trip from the coastal resorts.
If You Want History
Turkey is packed with history, and if you want to look at natural history, you should head to the southeastern region. While traveling there isn’t forbidden by any means and is relatively safe provided you’re careful, certain restrictions and places are not ideal to go to. Many governments warn their citizens not to go to the border area with Syria, for example. This is quite a shame because Mardin, which isn’t too far away from the Syrian border, is one of Turkey’s oldest and most historical parts.
Despite that, the single best place to go in Turkey for history, hands down, if not the entire world, is Istanbul. There are more historical sights here than you will ever have time to visit!
Located near the present-day town of Selçuk on Turkey’s southeast coast, Ephesus is one of the world’s most magnificent ancient ruins. This ancient Greek city dates from as far back as the 10th century BC, after which it grew to become of the twelve cities of the Ionian League in Classical Greece. The Romans conquered this stunning city in the 2nd century BC.
Now a UNESCO World Heritage Site, Ephesus is easily one of the best sites in Turkey to visit ancient architecture and history. It used to be home to the fabled Temple of Artemis, one of the Seven Wonders of the Ancient World. Simultaneously, other iconic buildings include the imposing Library of Celsus, the Gate of Augustus, and the Tomb of John of Apostle. If you only have time to visit one historic site in Turkey, this should be it.
Another spectacular Turkish site dating from antiquity is Aspendos. This ancient Greco-Roman city is near Antalya on the southern coast of Turkey. There’s plenty of history to discover and learn about here, making it one of the best places in Turkey to visit for history buffs. The absolute star attraction, however, is the massive Aspendos Theater.
One of the best-preserved theaters from antiquity, the Aspendos Theather, dates from the 2nd century AD and was once able to seat no fewer than 12,000 spectators. It is exceptional for its superb acoustics and impressive architectural design. What makes the Theater of Aspendos even more amazing is that it’s still in use today—it hosts the annual Aspendos International Opera and Ballet Festival.
City Of Safranbolu
Another one of the many beautiful places in Turkey, the old City of Safranbolu, used to be an important stop on the main east-west trade route between Europe and Asia in the 13th century. UNESCO designated it World Heritage for its significance to historic trade, as well as its well-preserved buildings.
The Çarşı District is home to beautiful Ottoman architecture, including hundreds of red-roofed houses that line cobblestone streets. Other top attractions in Safranbolu include the 17th-century caravansary of Cinci Han and the restored Tarihi Cinci Hamam bathhouse.
And here we have yet another historic UNESCO World Heritage Site in Turkey. By now, you’ve probably noticed that several of the best places to visit in Turkey are historical or cultural sites. Mount Nemrut is no different. Also known as Nemrut Dağ, Mount Nemrut sits is situated in southeastern Turkey and is one of the tallest mountains east of the Taurus mountain range.
This striking mountain is topped with several ruins and buildings, along with several famous statues. It is assumed to be the mausoleum of Antiochus, the former late-Hellenistic king of Commagene, which originated after Alexander’s empire fell. Seeing the temple tomb’s colossal statues and sculpted slabs is an experience that makes the trip out there more than worth it.
If You Want Authentic Culture
Many tour operators will take you into local villages and let you see the local way of life. If you visit cities and towns, sure you’ll see some of it, but it’s usually touched by modern life and changed a little. If you want to see how people live off the land, focus all their time and energy on family, and value communities, you have to visit a local village. The food is also excellent!
The good news is that there are many villages close to the main tourist resorts on the south coast, so this is something you can do if you hire a car too. Turkish people, by nature, are very welcoming, and hospitality is high up on their list. If you meet a local family and they invite you to their home, you’re more than blessed in terms of the culinary delights that will come your way too!
If You Want To Go Off The Beaten Track
Northern And Central Turkey
Turkey is a safe country, and provided you listen to advice, e.g., the advice we gave before about not going close to the Syrian border; you’re more than fine. This is a huge country, and it’s one that is exceptionally welcoming. Thanks to a very high-quality long-distance bus network, it’s straightforward to travel around Turkey, meaning you can go from place to place relatively cheaply.
If you want to go away from the main tourist resorts and cities, head to the Black Sea Coast, with destinations such as Rize and Trabzon. Central Turkey is also a delight, and this is where the capital city of Ankara is situated. Do be aware that during the winter, however, this part of Turkey sees heavy snowfall, but it’s a beautiful thing to see!
If You Like The Cold
Do you think that visiting Turkey is something which should be reserved for the summer only?
Wintertime in Turkey can be magical, a great opportunity to relax, recharge your batteries, see the traditional way of life, and of course, you can still embrace plenty of hectic action in the large cities, especially Istanbul.
Did you know that Cappadocia Is open all year round?
This beautiful fairy chimney landscape in Central Turkey is iconic for the hot air balloons that fly high at sunrise every single day. What you might not know is that Cappadocia doesn’t close, so even when the weather is freezing and the snow is falling, you can still head there and enjoy the scenery.
Whilst hot air balloons are subject to cancellation at any time of year, depending upon weather conditions, it’s more likely to be the case during the winter months – don’t let that stop you, however, as there are many days when flights take off exactly as scheduled! Even if you can’t get on the balloon, there are many things you can do around Cappadocia, with walking trails, cuisine, museums, archaeological sites, and of course, the chance to stay in a cave museum!
Winter in Turkey is certainly something you should do, and whilst you might not be able to jump into the sea and get a suntan, you’ll experience something far more valuable – authenticity!
If You Want To Sunbathe
Finally, if you simply want to kick back and relax, get a tan and enjoy the summer temperatures (although be warned, they’re hot), you should definitely head south and visit one of the many tourist resorts on the south coast. Lapped by the Aegean and Mediterranean, you can choose between Kusadasi (close to Izmir so ideal for a city and beach break), Bodrum (very cosmopolitan and has a beautiful castle), Gumbet (party central), Icmeler (beautiful), Marmaris (a bit of everything), Alanya, Side, the list goes on. Not to mention, these cities along the southern coast are perfect for day tripping in Greece!
As you can see, there really is something for everyone in Turkey!Share