A country rich in history and culture, Turkey has an incredible amount to offer for all kinds of travellers. It’s home to numerous UNESCO World Heritage Sites and many other historical places guaranteed to delight you in awe and wonder. From the magical landscapes of Cappadocia to the fascinating resort city of Antalya, here are the most incredible places to visit in Turkey.
Perched high on the Anatolian plateau, Cappadocia’s magical landscape resembles a fairy-tale world. The stunning formation of its valleys is due to the frequent eruption of volcanoes in the area, creating layers of lava deposits, basalt, and volcanic ash. Earthquakes and erosion have led to the formation of the stunning “fairy chimneys,” transforming it into a fascinating land drawing all kinds of visitors.
Cappadocia’s history is as fascinating as its landscape. Cave dwellers first inhabit the place during the Bronze Age, carving houses, monasteries, and churches out of its volcanic rocks. Later on, Christians fleeing Roman persecution dwelled in these underground settlements. Nowadays, locals of Cappadocia inhabit many of these cave houses, treating them as permanent homes. Some are turned into cave hotels, offering a unique place for visitors to stay.
Cappadocia looks spectacular from the ground but is even more mesmerising if you admire it from above ground through a hot air balloon ride. These colourful hot air balloons soar in the sky during sunrise each morning, making Cappadocia look even more captivating. These balloons seamlessly float above the cave dwellings, along with other balloons that look like a scene from a fairy-tale movie.
While Cappadocia is a must-see destination, Izmir offers a less touristy and laid-back vibe worth considering on your trip to Turkey. It is a vibrant ancient city in western Turkey, famous for its lovely beaches, stunning natural beauty, and fantastic resorts. If you want to explore fascinating historical landmarks and discover scenic landscapes with fewer tourist crowds, Izmir is an ideal place to visit.
Izmir is one of Turkey’s hidden gems, often overlooked by tourists in favour of the more popular destinations like Istanbul and Cappadocia. While these places are great, they are always crowded with tourists, making it difficult to immerse in the local culture. But Izmir offers a more laidback and authentic travel experience, ideal for those who want to explore at a relaxing pace.
Izmir is home to Kemeralti Market, considered the soul of the city, often frequented by locals. It’s the best place to immerse in the Turkish culture and observe how locals go about their daily life. Kemeralti has the same vibe as the Grand Bazaar of Istanbul, with an intricate maze of streets home to stalls selling everything, from clothing to spices, souvenir items, and accessories.
You will likely start your trip to Turkey in Istanbul, a bustling city straddling east and west, with the Bosporus Strait dividing it in two. With so many places to discover in Turkey, you should consider booking a tour around Turkey for a more seamless adventure. There are some excellent tours in Turkey from Istanbul, allowing visitors to explore the country’s highlights.
Istanbul is the only city occupying two continents, Europe and Asia, making it one of the world’s most unique cities. With over 2,000 years of history, tradition, and incredible landmarks, it is a complete cultural melting pot and worth a stop on your Turkish holiday.
Another unique thing about Istanbul is it served as the capital of four different empires. The remains of these empires are still visible today, from ancient old buildings and historical landmarks that are a testament to the city’s splendid past. Many still stand proudly today, from the Hagia Sophia to the Blue Mosque and Basilica Cistern.
Marvel at the stunning Hagia Sophia, a Byzantine structure built as a Christian church during the 6th Century under the reign of Emperor Justinian I. During the Ottoman, it became a mosque and museum. The building exemplifies the various religious changes in Istanbul over the centuries, featuring Islamic inscriptions and elegant mosaics of Christianity.
Sitting in Southwest Turkey’s Bodrum Peninsula, Bodrum is a charming port city famous for offering a relaxing beach getaway. Exuding an old-school Turkish charm, it has a striking balance between a seaside resort town and a historical destination. The city has a long occupation history, starting in the Ottoman Empire in 1500. Nowadays, it boasts stunning beaches, a vibrant nightlife scene, and numerous restaurants offering delectable cuisine.
Bodrum offers the perfect setting for a relaxing summer escape. Like much of the Southern Mediterranean, visitors can experience several days of heat in summer and mild weather in autumn and winter. Bodrum’s favourable climate makes it more suitable for winter holidays than northern cities like Istanbul.
Bodrum lies on the Turkish Riviera, stretching across the Southern coast, including Marmaris and Antalya. Famous for its magnificent beaches and lively nightlife scene, the Turkish Riviera is home to luxury resorts and excellent tourist infrastructure. Bodrum is the perfect spot for a beach holiday in the Turkish Riviera. It has a lovely port making it a strategic base for exploring the region by boat.
Like Bodrum, Antalya is renowned for its stunning beaches and exhilarating water sports. The region is also steeped in history, giving visitors a taste of ancient ruins and historic towns. Whether you are seeking to enjoy a relaxing tropical holiday or a culturally enriching getaway, Antalya is perfect for you.
Antalya’s biggest draw is its world-class beaches. It has long stretches of sandy beaches with crystal-clear waters, offering the perfect spot for swimming and enjoying water sports. In fact, it’s one of the cities in the world with the highest concentration of blue flag beaches.
Antalya is one of Turkey’s most ancient cities, established by the Greeks in the 2nd Century BC before the Romans came. During the Roman time, it flourished as a port city and became a centre for culture and trade. Nowadays, you can find many archaeological sites around Antalya, from the Hadrian’s Gate in Kaleici to the Perge Ancient City.