Discover Aydin City With Its Ancient Cities In The Aydın Province

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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.

Aydin Province is huge, and sadly, it’s so overlooked. However, by reading this blog, you can put that right and head out to explore everything Aydin has to offer—which is plenty. Here is your guide to Aydin.

Turkey Travel Blog_Discover Aydin Province Ancient Cities

You no doubt know about Istanbul; you probably also know about Antalya, Marmaris, Bodrum, Izmir, and Ankara. But do you know about Aydin Province?

This part of the country is so beautiful and historical that it’s basically an open-air museum. Here, you’ll find some of the oldest and most interesting spots, including the world-famous Ephesus.

But it’s not all history: you’ll also find stunning beaches, a vibrant city center, and a more traditional way of life that will teach you a lot about regular Turkish life.

I find this area super underrated. I should know, as my husband is from Aydin, that I spend a lot of time there. Most people focus their attention on the south coast beach resorts and Istanbul, and while they’re 100% must-visits, don’t overlook the beauty and experiences in Aydin Province.

Where Is Aydin Province?

Exploring the Ancient City of Ephesus in Turkey.

Situated on the Aegean coast and extending inland, Aydin is a charming and picturesque destination that offers a perfect blend of rich history, beautiful landscapes, and warm hospitality.

Aydin province is located in the western part of Turkey, bordering the Izmir and Mugla provinces. The capital city, also named Aydin, is a vibrant urban center with a population of over one million people.

It serves as a gateway to other popular tourist spots in the region, such as Kusadasi, Didim, and the ancient city of Ephesus, which you must visit at least once in your life.

One of the highlights of Aydin province is its stunning coastline, stretching for about 160 kilometers along the Aegean Sea. The crystal-clear waters, sandy beaches, and breathtaking coves make it an ideal destination for sun-seekers and water sports enthusiasts.

Kusadasi and Didim are two of the area’s most famous beach spots. Whether you want to relax on the beach, try your hand at sailing, or explore underwater marine life through snorkeling or diving, Aydin province has something for everyone.

What To See In Aydin Province

Turkey is a massive country, so it should come as no surprise that some places are considered hidden gems. The thing is, Aydin Province is huge, and the fact it’s so overlooked is really quite sad. However, by reading this blog, you can put that right and head out and explore everything Aydin has to offer – which is plenty.

To give you an idea of where to start, let’s explore 15 things you must see and do while visiting this delightful destination:

1. Explore The Ancient City Of Aphrodisias

Ruins of Afrodisias (Aphrodisias) Ancient City - UNESCO Sites Turkey

Step back in time as you wander through the stunning ruins of this once-thriving Roman city. Admire the well-preserved marble sculptures, the beautifully restored stadium, and the grand Temple of Aphrodite.

2. Hike Through The 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.

Lace up your hiking boots and discover the pristine beauty of this national park. With its rugged cliffs, crystal-clear waters, and diverse flora and fauna, it’s a paradise for nature lovers.

3. Indulge In Traditional Cuisine

Women eating Traditional Turkish Village Breakfast served in restaurant. Meze

Don’t miss the opportunity to taste Aydin’s mouth-watering dishes. From the succulent kebabs to the delectable olive oil-based mezes, prepare your taste buds for an unforgettable culinary journey.


4. Visit The Temple Of Apollo In Didim

Ancient stone columns and carved reliefs at a historical ruin site in Aydın Province under a clear blue sky.

Marvel at the colossal columns that remain from this ancient Greek temple dedicated to the god Apollo. The sheer size and splendor of this archaeological site will leave you awestruck.

5. Relax At The Beautiful Beaches

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

Aydin Province boasts numerous stunning beaches along its coastline. Whether you prefer lively and vibrant shores or secluded and serene coves, you’ll find the perfect spot to unwind under the warm sun.

6. Discover The Ancient City Of Miletus

Panoramic view of an ancient Roman amphitheater in Aydın Province, with surrounding ruins and a scenic backdrop of rolling hills under a clear sky.

Explore the ruins of this once-great city, known for its strategic location and influential role in history. Wander through the remnants of its theatre, agora, and baths, and envision what life was like in this bustling metropolis.

7. Take A Dip In The Pamukkale Thermal Pools

Cotton Castle Pamukkale magic

Immerse yourself in the surreal beauty of these terraced, calcium-rich pools. The vibrant blue waters cascading down the white mineral deposits make for a truly mesmerizing sight.

8. Experience The Local Traditional Crafts

A ceramic pitcher with a unique loop handle and a speckled blue base stands on a wooden table, bathed in sunlight.

Venture into the charming villages of Aydin Province and witness skilled artisans at work. From carpet weaving to pottery making, you’ll have the chance to admire and even take home some exquisite, handmade souvenirs.

9. Climb The Ancient City Walls Of Priene

Explore the remains of this well-preserved Hellenistic city and get a bird’ s-eye view of the surrounding countryside. The panoramic vistas from atop the city walls are simply breathtaking. This is definitely one for the camera.

10. Visit The Picturesque Village Of Sirince

Lush greenery surrounds traditional white houses with tiled roofs in a hilly village in Aydın Province.

Wander through the narrow streets of this enchanting village known for its traditional Greek-style houses and terraced vineyards. Sample the local fruit wines and immerse yourself in the idyllic atmosphere.

11. Delve Into History At The Aydin Archaeological Museum

Uncover thousands of years of history at this comprehensive museum. From prehistoric artifacts to Byzantine-era treasures, the exhibits offer a fascinating glimpse into Aydin’s rich past.

12. Attend A Turkish Cultural Event

A decorated camel walking in a sandy arena with spectators in the background at a cultural festival in Aydın Province.

Immerse yourself in the vibrant local culture by attending a traditional music concert, dance performance, or folk festival. The lively music, colorful costumes, and joyful atmosphere will leave you with lifelong memories.

Aydın Province hosts a variety of cultural events that reflect the rich traditions of the region. One notable event is the camel wrestling festival, which occurs annually in January.

This festival is a significant cultural highlight in Aydın, showcasing the nomadic Yörük culture, where camels adorned in colorful saddles compete in a nonviolent wrestling match. This event not only provides entertainment with folk dances and feasts but also serves as a social gathering for the community.

Additionally, Aydın celebrates numerous other local festivals throughout the year. These include the Aydın International Tourism and Handicrafts Festival, the Didim International Jazz Festival, and the Kuşadası Arts and Culture Festival. Seasonal events like the Olive Harvest Festival and various food and agriculture-themed festivals such as the Germencik Watermelon Festival and the Köşk Cherry Blossom Festival are not to be missed. 

13. Explore The Cave City Of Tralleis

Venture beneath the surface into a hidden world of tunnels, chambers, and passages in this ancient city carved into the rock. The intricate network of underground dwellings is a marvel to behold.

14. Go Wine Tasting In The Region’s Vineyards

A woman istria leaning against a wall.

Aydin Province is renowned for its wine production, and a visit isn’t complete without sampling the local vintages. Take a tour of the vineyards, learn about the winemaking process, and savor the flavors of the region. The Yedi Bilgeler Vineyards are a particular favorite of mine.

15. Soak Up The Local Atmosphere At Aydin’s Bustling Markets

Experience the liveliness of the local bazaars, where vibrant stalls offer everything from fresh produce to colorful textiles.

Immerse yourself in the sights, sounds, and smells of the market as you interact with friendly vendors and find unique souvenirs. The Tuesday market in Aydin city center is certainly an experience if you want something super-authentic.

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Where To Stay In Aydin

Aydin Province is a large area, so you need to base yourself close to things you want to see and do. Here is a rundown of the main towns and cities within the province to help you figure out where to stay.


As the capital of Aydin Province, Aydin City is the administrative center and a hub of cultural and economic activities. With its well-preserved historical sites and modern infrastructure, Aydin offers a compelling blend of old and new.

The city’s highlights include the Aydin Archaeological Museum, which showcases artifacts from various ancient civilizations, and the Aydin Ataturk House Museum, which is dedicated to the founder of modern Turkey.


Kusadasi - Aegean Coast Turkey

Situated on the Aegean coast, Kusadasi is a popular tourist destination and a vibrant resort town. Known for its stunning beaches, crystal-clear waters, and lively nightlife, Kusadasi attracts visitors from all over the world.

It is also very close to the impressive ancient city of Ephesus (around 25 minutes by road), one of the most well-preserved Roman cities in the world. History enthusiasts must visit this city.


Located on the southern coast of the province, Didim is a charming coastal town famous for its golden sandy beaches and tranquil atmosphere.

The town is mainly known for the Temple of Apollo, an ancient Greek ruin dating back to the 6th century BC. Didim is a perfect spot for relaxation, beach hopping, and exploring ancient history.

While Didim isn’t as commercially touristic as some of the other beach towns on the south coast, such as Bodrum, Marmaris, and Fethiye, it does have a traditional charm. It’s a great spot if you want to enjoy beach days but don’t want to be immersed in international tourism nightlife.


Nestled in the fertile Nazilli Plain, this town is known for its agricultural activities, particularly the production of olives and cotton.

Nazilli offers a glimpse into rural life in Aydin Province, with its traditional markets, friendly locals, and peaceful countryside ambiance. Exploring the quaint streets, visiting the local mosques, and trying regional delicacies are among the highlights of a visit to Nazilli.


Situated in the picturesque Menderes Valley, Germencik is a charming town surrounded by breathtaking natural beauty. With its lush green fields, vineyards, and idyllic countryside, it is an ideal destination for nature lovers.

Germencik is also famous for its delicious local wines, and visitors can enjoy wine tastings and vineyard tours in the area.


Located on the banks of the Büyük Menderes River, Soke is an important agricultural center in Aydin Province. The town is known for its fertile lands, where various fruits and vegetables are grown, including figs, olives, and citrus fruits. Soke is also home to a beautiful bird sanctuary, attracting bird watchers who come to observe the rich avian species in the area.


Situated in the northern part of the province, Sultanhisar is a small and charming town with a long history. It offers a peaceful ambiance, surrounded by olive groves and vineyards. Sultanhisar is famous for its ancient city of Nysa, which boasts remarkable archaeological remains, including a Roman theatre and a well-preserved stadium.

These are just a few of the main towns and cities in Aydin Province, each with its own unique charm and attractions. Whether you’re looking to explore ancient ruins, relax on pristine beaches, experience local culture, or indulge in delicious cuisine, Aydin Province has something for everyone.

Now that you know where to base yourself, you can plan your exciting, hidden-gem holiday.

Foods To Eat In Aydin Province

Drinks in Turkey - Roko drinking Ayran

Driving around Aydin Province, you’ll notice something: it’s very green, and it’s full of fields and trees growing fresh produce.

That’s why the fresh markets in Aydin are so amazing. You’ll be able to taste some of the most delicious fruits and vegetables, including fresh corn, cherries, strawberries, and the juiciest tomatoes.

Aydin City, in particular, is packed with street food options, and you have to try their toast. This isn’t any old toasted bread but a toasted sandwich with cheese, salad, sucuk (fermented sausage), and tomatoes. It’s also really delicious and pretty cheap.

No matter where you go when exploring the culinary delights of Aydin province, you will be treated to a wide range of delectable dishes that perfectly showcase the region’s diverse flavors. From traditional recipes passed down through generations to unique delicacies specific to Aydin, there’s something to satisfy every palate.

Here are some of the main foods and drinks you must try when visiting Aydin:

  • İçli Köfte. Start your culinary journey with these savory balls of pleasure. İçli köfte consists of a mix of bulgur, ground meat, onions, and a blend of spices.
  • These delicious parcels are then deep-fried, resulting in a crispy outer layer that gives way to a flavourful, juicy interior.
  • Çökertme Kebab. A specialty native to Aydin, çökertme kebab is a must-try dish. It features tender slices of grilled lamb or beef served over a bed of pita bread soaked in a rich tomato-based sauce. Topped with melted butter and yogurt, this dish bursts with layers of flavor and will leave you craving more.
  • Zeytinyağlı Dolma. In Aydin, the fertile land provides an abundance of fresh vegetables, which makes zeytinyağlı dolma a popular dish. Stuffed with a delightful mixture of rice, herbs, and spices, vegetables like vine leaves, bell peppers, and tomatoes take center stage. These dolmas are then gently simmered in olive oil, resulting in a dish that is both healthy and bursting with flavor.
  • Ayran. To accompany your meals, indulge in a refreshing glass of Ayran. This traditional Turkish drink is made by mixing yogurt with water and a pinch of salt. It has a cooling effect and perfectly complements the rich and bold flavors of Aydin’s cuisine.
  • Mecidiye Köftesi. Pay homage to Aydin’s Ottoman heritage with Mecidiye Köftesi. These tender meatballs are prepared using lamb or beef mixed with breadcrumbs, onions, and a blend of aromatic spices. Cooked until golden brown and served over a bed of rich tomato sauce, these meatballs offer a taste of history and culture.
  • Güllaç. Finish off your Aydin food adventure with a delightful dessert called güllaç. This light, milk-based dessert is made by layering thin sheets of starch wafers and sprinkling them with crushed pistachios and rose water. Served chilled, it offers a delicate combination of flavors and textures that will truly satisfy your sweet tooth.

These are just a few examples of the irresistible dishes and drinks you can savor while exploring Aydin province. Whether you’re a fan of meaty kebabs, vegetarian delicacies, or mouth-watering desserts, Aydin has something extraordinary to offer every food lover.

Indulge in the rich flavors, embrace the warm hospitality, and experience the unique culinary traditions that make Aydin a food lover’s paradise.

Aydin Province FAQs

Kuşadası Beaches are crowded with people. Beautiful Ladies beach in Kusadasi, Aydin province, on a sunny summer day


Where is Aydin Province located?

Aydin Province is located in Turkey’s Aegean region, bordered by the provinces of Izmir, Mugla, and Denizli.

What is Aydin Province known for?

Aydin Province is known for its rich history, beautiful landscapes, ancient ruins, and vibrant cultural heritage. It is home to popular tourist destinations such as the ancient city of Ephesus, the temple of Apollo at Didyma, and the stunning beach resort town of Kusadasi.

How can I reach Aydin Province?

Aydin Province can be easily accessed by air, land, or sea. The closest airport is Adnan Menderes Airport in Izmir, which is about a two-hour drive away. Major highways connect Aydin to the rest of Turkey, and frequent bus services are available. If you prefer traveling by sea, the nearby Izmir port offers ferry connections.

What are some must-visit attractions in Aydin Province?

Ephesus is undoubtedly the most famous attraction in Aydin Province. The well-preserved ruins of this ancient city are a UNESCO World Heritage site and offer a fascinating glimpse into the past. Other noteworthy sights include the Temple of Apollo at Didyma, the ancient city of Priene, the picturesque village of Sirince, and the stunning beaches of Kusadasi and Didim.

What outdoor activities can I enjoy in Aydin Province?

Aydin Province offers a wide range of outdoor activities for nature enthusiasts. You can explore the Dilek Peninsula-Büyük Menderes Delta National Park, which is a haven for birdwatching and hiking. The nearby Bafa Lake is perfect for fishing, kayaking, and scenic boat tours. Additionally, Aydin boasts beautiful beaches along its coastline, ideal for swimming, sunbathing, and water sports.

Are there any local festivals or events in Aydin Province?

Aydin Province hosts several colorful festivals throughout the year, showcasing its vibrant culture and traditions. Some notable festivals include the Didim International Jazz Festival, the Didim Olive Festival, and the Kuşadası Culture and Art Festival. These events offer visitors the opportunity to experience local music, dance, culinary delights, and traditional crafts.

What is the local cuisine like in Aydin Province?

The culinary scene in Aydin Province is deliciously diverse, influenced by both Aegean and Mediterranean flavors. Traditional dishes often feature olive oil, seafood, fresh vegetables, and herbs. Don’t miss out on trying regional specialties like Aydin çöreği (a local pastry), sulu köfte (meatballs in a tomato-based broth), and Aydin inciri (Aydin figs).

Are there any accommodation options in Aydin Province?

Aydin Province offers a wide array of accommodation options to suit different budgets and preferences. The resort town of Kusadasi and the city of Aydin have a range of hotels, guesthouses, and holiday rentals. For a more unique experience, you can even stay in boutique hotels or traditional stone houses in charming villages like Sirince.

Is Aydin Province safe for tourists?

Aydin Province is generally considered safe for tourists. However, as with any travel destination, it is always good to exercise caution and take common-sense precautions. For a safe and enjoyable visit, it is advisable to stay informed about current travel advisories and follow any local guidelines or regulations.

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