15 Most Beautiful Cities In Turkey You Haven’t Heard Of

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Post author Enes

Written by our local expert Enes

Originally from North Macedonia, Enes is a well-traveled enthusiast residing in Türkiye. He combines his extensive knowledge and avid wanderlust to bring you insightful narratives of his Turkish adventures.

Planning a Turkey holiday but don’t want to revisit the same old places? Let’s discover the hidden gems of Turkey!

Turkey Travel Blog_Beautiful Cities To Visit In Turkey

Turkey is known as one of the best countries to visit. However, many people, even frequent visitors, only explore a few well-known places. That’s why I want to share some hidden gems with you. Keep reading to discover the most beautiful Turkish cities that you may not have heard of.

Beautiful Cities In The Black Sea Region 

1. Sinop

Sinop, Türkiye coastal cityscape featuring residential buildings on a hillside, a waterfront promenade, and docked boats with people walking along the shoreline and colorful flowers in the foreground. This scene encapsulates one of the most beautiful cities in Turkey, an undiscovered gem waiting to be explored.

The enchanting city of Sinop is one of the hidden gems of the Black Sea region. The city is known for its glamorous nature, where unfathomable mountains tower over tiny villages. Of course, its tranquil atmosphere is definitely one of the best reasons why Sinop is perfect for serenity-seekers.

Although Sinop is a popular destination for travelers visiting the Black Sea region, it’s absolutely underrated. Its untouched coves and crystal-clear water make the city a great alternative to the Mediterranean destinations. Also, being one of the most developed cities in the area, Sinop offers myriad activities and experiences.

2. Trabzon

Church of Hagia Sophia in Trabzon

Trabzon is the iconic symbol city of the Black Sea region. Although it’s geographically similar to Sinop and other Black Sea cities, Trabzon has its own distinct qualities.

When we say “Karadeniz,” Black Sea, in Turkish, we usually mean Trabzon – even though there are over 15 cities in the region. The reason behind this association is both historical and cultural. Trabzon has been the largest city in the region for centuries. In fact, during the Ottoman period, the Province of Trabzon covered a large area from Samsun in the west to Batumi in the east.

Besides historical significance, Trabzon is known for its rich culture and diverse cuisine based on cornbread, fish, and pastries. Trabzon’s nature is also unmatched, with magnificent mountains and lush plains, making the city one of the best holiday destinations for nature enthusiasts.

3. Rize

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

While Rize is not one of the most well-known tourist destinations, it is among the best options for a peaceful family holiday. This tiny Black Sea city is known in Turkey for its green plateaus and resort hotels.

Rize is particularly popular among adventure-seekers for its untouched nature. The city offers many activities, such as hiking or camping, providing an unforgettable journey for true nature lovers.

Rich accommodation options, unique holiday resorts, and various activities make Rize one of the best family holiday destinations. Nevertheless, another advantage of visiting Rize is its budget-friendliness. This Black Sea gem has lower prices than major tourist cities, making it an ideal spot for those seeking cheap holiday destinations in Turkey.

4. Artvin

A panoramic view of Artvin Turkey a riverside town with modern buildings on a lush hillside, surrounded by green mountains under a cloudy sky showcases one of the beautiful cities in Turkey.

Are you looking for a tranquil getaway? Artvin is the way to go! This charming Black Sea city might be the least-known one on this list. Despite being in close proximity to major cities such as Erzurum, Trabzon, and Kars, Artvin preserves its pristine character.

It’s true that Artvin doesn’t have many big malls, historical landmarks, or magnificent structures. However, this small city with approximately 25,000 inhabitants has a unique, untouched nature. Artvin’s gorgeous landscape is full of verdant valleys, crystal-clear lakes, and stunning canyons.

Plus, since Artvin offers winter sports activities, particularly skiing, those looking for a peaceful winter holiday may pick Artvin as their destination. Although Artvin’s Atabari Ski Resort is smaller than other ski resorts in Turkey, it is almost never crowded and has decent facilities.

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Best Cities In The Mediterranean And Aegean Regions

5. Aydın

Palm trees on one of Turkey's best beaches in Kuşadası - Lost Paradise Beach

The neighbor of famous İzmir, Aydın, is one of the best places to visit in Turkey. This small city is home to some great beaches and various ancient structures.

While its geography and landscape closely resemble İzmir or Muğla, Aydın has a unique atmosphere. It’s more peaceful and silent than those tourist cities, which makes Aydın the best option for having a calming getaway without sacrificing Aegean beaches.

Kuşadası, Doğanbey, and Didim are three of the most famous towns of Aydın. They have many golden beaches and pristine coves where you can truly enjoy your time alone or with family.

In addition to its gorgeous nature, Aydın also offers delicious Mediterranean cuisine. In Aydın, you can taste some of the best mezze with the finest Turkish raki.

Remember to visit Aydın’s ancient cities! Despite its size, many ancient Greek and Roman settlements are within Aydın’s boundaries. If you’re planning to visit Kuşadası, the famous Kuşadası Castle must also be on your itinerary.

6. Mersin

Best Island Of Turkey - Ancient fortress named Kizkalesi or Maiden Castle at mediterranean island aerial view. Kizkalesi, Mersin province, Turkey

Antalya is the most famous holiday destination in Turkey’s Mediterranean region. However, its neighbor, Mersin, is also a lively and charming destination for those seeking an entertaining beach vacation.

Erdemli and Silifke are the most popular destinations among Turkish beachgoers. There are many pristine beaches along the city’s Mediterranean coast, where you can relax, swim, and sunbathe. In addition to untouched gems, Mersin also has many beach resorts with excellent facilities and water sports opportunities.

Mersin is a great starting point for an unforgettable island-hopping journey as well! You can catch a ferry from Mersin to Cyprus and then travel to the Greek islands from there. So, if you’re seeking a Mediterranean Turkey holiday, consider visiting Mersin this time!

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7. Çandarlı, İzmir

Dikili beach looking towards Lesbos island

Çandarlı is a peaceful and calm beach town in the Dikili municipality of İzmir. Despite being located far from the city center, this pretty town is an ideal destination for a tranquil summer vacation with sun, sand, and sea.

The town is home to various pristine beaches and many beautiful resorts with rich facilities. In addition to its natural beauty, Çandarlı also boasts the unique Aegean cuisine of İzmir.

Compared to other tourist towns in İzmir, Çandarlı is quite affordable and more peaceful. So, if you’re looking for a getaway far from the urban crowd, Çandarlı might be one of the best Turkey places to visit.

Marmara Region Has Some Of The Most Beautiful Coastal Cities

8. Edremit, Balıkesir

The Hasanboguldu river and waterfalls in Edremit district of Balikesir province of Turkey.

Edremit is another charming Aegean town with a peaceful atmosphere, crystal-clear sea, and verdant landscape. The town’s unique culture and spectacular nature make it among the best holiday destinations in Turkey.

While the town is quite popular among Turkish visitors, it is not as popular with international tourists. So, Edremit is usually less crowded than Mediterranean or Aegean destinations. Its gorgeous beaches, unfathomable mountains, and lush canyons make Edremit an excellent spot for adventure seekers.

9. Çanakkale

Day Trips From Istanbul - Try Canakkale Troy Horse Turkey

Çanakkale is the green gem of the Marmara region. Its historical significance, colorful culture, and beautiful nature are what make this city so unique. As it’s quite close to Istanbul, you can visit Çanakkale on a day trip once you have done all Istanbul things to do.

Today, Çanakkale is known for two significant wars: the Trojan War and the Gallipoli Campaign. You can visit museums and areas associated with these wars to learn more about the history of Anatolia.

Of course, that’s not all that Çanakkale offers. The city has many pristine beaches where you can enjoy the sea without crowds. Although there aren’t many popular beach resorts or clubs, you can still find very good venues with decent facilities.

Since Çanakkale isn’t a popular tourist destination, it’s usually cheaper than Istanbul and other major cities. So, if you’re on a budget, Çanakkale might be a good spot for your next vacation.

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10. Bursa

View of historical Cumalikizik village - Bursa, Turkey

Bursa might not be the first place that comes into mind when we say sea or sand. However, this gorgeous city has a great history and one of the best cuisines in the entire country – they even invented İskender kebab.

Although Istanbul and other major cities have overshadowed it, Bursa is actually one of the most developed cities in Turkey. It was the capital of the Ottoman Empire between 1335 and 1365, which significantly contributed to the city’s identity.

Bursa is home to many Ottoman-era structures and landmarks, making it a great destination to have a glimpse of the region’s past. The historical bazaar, Bursa Castle, and the Great Mosque of Bursa (Ulu Cami) are also among the city’s highlights.

Besides these cultural attractions, Bursa has many natural wonders. You can visit Bursa’s caves, lakes, and famous waterfalls to bask in nature’s tranquil atmosphere. Alternatively, you might head to the city’s north, to the Marmara coast, and explore its golden beaches.

11. Tekirdağ

Tekirdağ_City near Istanbul Turkey

This city is known for its beautiful coastline along the Sea of Marmara, its vineyards, and the famous Tekirdağ köftesi (meatballs). It offers a mix of natural beauty, historical sites, and culinary delights, making it a great addition to your list of hidden gems in Turkey.

Best Cities In Turkey’s Central Anatolia Region 

12. Konya

A group of Whirling Dervishes, dancing in front of a building in Konya.

Konya is a significant city with a rich history. Being the largest city in Turkey, Konya is quite large and offers a vast variety of activities.

Since Konya was the capital and most significant city of the Rum Sultanate, it is home to many historic structures built by Seljuq Turks.

Unlike the cities mentioned so far, Konya doesn’t have coasts or beaches. Nevertheless, the city boasts a rich geography with verdant valleys and wastelands. The only desert in Turkey, the Karapınar Desert, is also within the city’s borders.

Being a major industrial center, Konya is a modern and developed city. From large shopping centers to a variety of entertainment options, Konya offers everything you could want for a holiday.

13. Kayseri

Aerial view of Kayseri city at night featuring a prominently lit mosque with twin minarets, surrounding buildings, and distant mountains in the background, capturing the essence of one of the beautiful cities in Turkey.

If you’ve seen all the best places to visit in Istanbul, you might head towards the Central Anatolia region to explore Turkey’s hidden gems. A large and historic city, Kayseri is a spectacular city situated in the heart of Turkey. Here, you can explore the unique cuisine and culture of the Central Anatolia region.

Kayseri is a popular destination among Turkish visitors because of its thriving carpet industry and unique Ottoman-era architecture. Thanks to its authentic atmosphere, Kayseri offers a peaceful and unforgettable adventure.

Another reason why Kayseri is a popular destination is its rich winter sports activities. The city sits at the foot of Mount Erciyes, an extinct volcano that is now a popular destination for hiking, skiing, and other outdoor activities in the winter. So, Kayseri might be an ideal destination for winter sports.


Best Cities In Turkey’s Eastern And Southeastern Anatolia Region

14. Van

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

The gem of the Eastern Anatolia Region, Van offers a unique experience for travelers. Its spectacular nature and rich history make Van the perfect destination for visitors seeking a tranquil getaway. The city’s rich history, on the other hand, makes it a prime spot for cultural tourism.

If you’re planning to visit Van, you should add various historical landmarks, such as the famous Van Castle, to your itinerary. You can also take a trip to the stunning Lake Van to bask in its scenic beauty. Akdamar Island, in the middle of Lake Van, is also a popular spot for visitors with its 9th-century church.

15. Mardin

Cities in Turkey - Mardin, Turkey

A city of unique architecture and rich diversity, Mardin is one of the most beautiful cities in Southeastern Anatolia. Its Old Town, famous for its honey-colored houses, is a UNESCO World Heritage Site.

The city’s rich cultural mosaic is what makes it so spectacular. Mardin is known as “the City of Religions” in Turkey. Its sizable Christian and Muslim population lives harmoniously, shaping the city’s culture.

Your Mardin itinerary should definitely include Assyrian churches and historical mosques. You might also taste delicious Assyrian wines, which are made from local wine grapes.

Mardin’s strategic location offers breathtaking views of the Tigris River Valley and its surrounding plains. The 12th-century Mardin Castle is a great spot to explore the city’s rich past.

Final Word On Turkish Cities To Visit

When planning your next holiday, consider exploring beyond Istanbul and discover some of the best cities in Turkey that offer unique experiences. From the beautiful coastal towns of the Aegean Sea to the charming cities in the Black Sea region, Turkey’s cities are rich in history, culture, and natural beauty.

Whether you’re interested in the archaeological sites of Central Anatolia, the modern cityscapes of Marmara, or the serene landscapes of Eastern and Southeastern Anatolia, there’s a beautiful city to visit for everyone.

Don’t miss out on these captivating cities to visit in Turkey, which promise unforgettable memories and adventures.

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