Best Things to Do and See in Turkey

Travelling to Turkey is like taking a trip through time and history, with breath-taking scenery, rich customs, and remnants of past civilizations coming together to create an unforgettable travel experience. Istanbul, the cultural and historical center of the nation, is located on the border of Europe and Asia and is home to famous sites like the Blue Mosque, the Hagia Sophia, and the busy Grand Bazaar. It is easy to feel the lively spirit of the city as you stroll through its old streets, which powered by its diverse population.

Cappadocia provides a singular and otherworldly experience with its bizarre landscapes of rock formations and cave homes reminiscent of fairy tales. Take a hot air balloon ride over the captivating terrain of the area for an amazing view of this geological marvel.

With well-preserved ruins like the Great Theatre and the Library of Celsus, the ancient city of Ephesus reveals the wonders of classical antiquity. The mineral-rich thermal waters of Pamukkale’s terraced travertine pools provide a restorative and aesthetically pleasing experience.

The Aegean and Mediterranean Seas round Turkey’s coastline, which is home to charming cities like Bodrum and Antalya with its perfect beaches, historic sites, and exciting nightlife.

For those looking for a harmonic fusion of the old and the new, Turkey offers a varied and immersive travel experience, from the rich history of Troy to the natural marvels of Pamukkale and the contemporary charm of Istanbul. In this article, we will give you what the best things to do and see when you visit Turkey.

  1. Visit Istanbul

Istanbul is a place where history comes to life, where the East and the West collide and stunning old buildings coexist with vibrant new architecture. The metropolis, which spans two continents, presents a captivating fusion of cuisine, architecture, and cultures.

A UNESCO World Heritage site, the Hagia Sophia is an architectural wonder that has functioned as a mosque, cathedral, and museum. Its enormous dome and elaborate mosaics highlight the history of the city.

The Blue Mosque, also known as Sultan Ahmed Mosque, is a calm space for introspection and a monument to Ottoman architecture with its six minarets and exquisite blue tiles.

One of the biggest and oldest covered markets in the world, the Grand Bazaar entices with its winding alleyways teeming with colorful vendors offering fine Turkish carpets, fabrics, and spices.

A boat ride over the Bosphorus Strait provides sweeping vistas of Istanbul’s skyline, emphasizing the contrast between modern structures and old palaces.

Once the home of Ottoman sultans, the Topkapi Palace is home to lavish rooms, gardens, and the well-known Harem.

Istanbul’s lively streets, busy marketplaces, and the tantalizing aromas of Turkish food combine to produce an immersive experience that perfectly encapsulates the ageless beauty of the city. Istanbul is a city that skillfully blends tradition into the fabric of modernity, providing a travel experience like no other. From the eerie call to prayer resonating through the air to the vibrant energy of the spice merchants.

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  1. Beach Resorts in Turkey

Beautiful beach resorts dot Turkey’s varied coastline along the Aegean and Mediterranean Seas, providing the ideal combination of sun, sea, and culturally rich activities. Bodrum, sometimes called the “Turkish Riviera,” has luxurious resorts tucked away with historic ruins. It is a popular vacation because of its exciting nightlife, azure waters, and opulent lodging.

Known as the “Turkish Riviera,” Antalya is well-known for its immaculate beaches, important historical sites, and upscale resorts. Popular options that provide the ideal balance of entertainment and leisure are Konyaaltı and Lara Beach.

For those who enjoy the beach, Ölüdeniz is a delight with its turquoise lagoon and the well-known Blue Lagoon. With their stunning views of the Aegean shoreline, the nearby resorts offer a peaceful haven.

The Cesme Peninsula’s Alaçatı is well-known for its picturesque stone homes, cobblestone streets, and windsurfing spots. In this area, boutique beach resorts combine luxurious accommodations with a relaxed vibe.

Another beauty on the Aegean coast is Çeşme, with its sandy beaches and thermal springs. Visitors can unwind in mineral-rich waters and take in the seaside beauty at thermal beach resorts.

These beach resorts in Turkey offer a spectacular coastal retreat in this fascinating country, catering to a variety of preferences, from those wanting bustling nightlife to those wishing for calm surroundings.

  1. Visit Ancient City of Ephesus

Located in Turkey’s Aegean area, the Ancient City of Ephesus is a striking example of the magnificence of classical antiquity. Ephesus, which flourished throughout the Roman era, was formerly a significant port city and a hub for trade, culture, and religion.

One of the most famous buildings in Ephesus is the Library of Celsus, a magnificent two-story façade with elaborate figures and reliefs. This historic library embodies the sophisticated architectural style of the era and held thousands of scrolls.

One of the biggest theatres in antiquity, the Great Theatre of Ephesus held gladiatorial fights and theatrical productions for audiences of more than 25,000.

Ephesus was originally home to the Temple of Artemis, one of the Seven Wonders of the Ancient World. Its ruins, though mostly in ruins now, convey the grandeur of the metropolis in times past.

Visitors can travel back in time and picture the vivid life that once flourished in this ancient metropolis by taking walks down the marble-paved Curetes Street, touring the Terrace Houses with their well-preserved paintings, and standing in the magnificent Odeon.

The Ancient City of Ephesus, a UNESCO World Heritage site, never fails to astonish with its archaeological treasures, offering a clear window into the artistic and architectural triumphs of Anatolia’s Greco-Roman past.

  1. Visit Cappadocia

It is like walking into a bizarre dreamscape when you visit Cappadocia, where the natural wonders of old volcanic activity meet with a rich cultural heritage. This area, which is in central Turkey, is well-known for its surreal scenery, which includes chimneys straight out of fairy tales, cave homes, and wacky rock formations.

Sunrise hot air balloon excursions above the valleys of Cappadocia are a must-do, providing amazing panoramic views of the dreamlike landscape. With murals from the Byzantine era, the distinctive rock-cut chapels and cave monasteries of Göreme Open-Air Museum highlight the religious and historical significance of the area.

The cleverness of the ancient occupants who excavated elaborate tunnel networks for defense against invaders demonstrated by the underground cities of Derinkuyu and Kaymaklı.

Explore Göreme National Park’s distinctive geological formations by following its hiking paths and stopping at its picturesque vantage points, which include Love Valley and Pigeon Valley.

An immersive experience, a cave hotel offers a fusion of contemporary comfort and classic ambience. The visit enhanced with a savory depth by the local food, which includes meals like manti and testi kebab.

With its unmatched natural beauty and cultural riches, Cappadocia creates an enthralling travel destination that captivates the senses and leaves guests with enduring memories of this mystical Turkish paradise.

  1. Visit Ankara

Turkey’s capital and second-largest city, Ankara, is a bustling metropolis where historical richness and modernism coexist. Ankara, the nation’s political and administrative hub, provides a distinctive fusion of governmental offices, historical sites, and a bustling metropolitan way of life.

The Atatürk Mausoleum (Anıtkabir), a colossal homage to Mustafa Kemal Atatürk, the man who founded modern Turkey, is the focal point of Ankara. Situated atop a hill, the mausoleum encircled by expansive ceremonial gardens and museums, signifying the country’s veneration for its visionary leader.

Landmarks like the Haci Bayram Mosque and the old Roman Temple of Augustus enhance Ankara’s rich tapestry of cultural heritage, both located in Ulus, the city’s historic center.

One of the city’s modern architectural marvels, Kocatepe Mosque, dominates the skyline with its majesty and acts as the center of religious activity.

Ankara’s dynamic marketplaces, lively neighborhoods, and growing arts sector display the city’s modern side. The city’s main square, Kızılay Square, is a hive of retail areas, cafes, and cultural institutions.

Ankara is a fascinating destination for people looking for a multidimensional Turkish experience is a city where history and progress meet. Visitors invited to discover its diverse facets, which range from the solemnity of historical sites to the bustling vitality of its urban spaces.

  1. Go Paragliding in Öludeniz

In Ölüdeniz, a charming town on Turkey’s southwest coast, paragliding provides an incredible, dreamlike experience amidst breath-taking scenery. Ölüdeniz is renowned for its blue waters, white sandy beaches, and the famous Blue Lagoon. It is also one of the top paragliding locations in the world.

Paragliders take to the sky from the top of Babadağ Mountain, lifting off and taking in views of the surrounding lush landscapes and the blue waters of the Mediterranean. With the tandem paragliding experience, thrill-seekers may enjoy the adventure with more seasoned pilots, who will make sure the flight is safe and fun.

A sense of freedom and amazement created when participants fly through the air while taking in the breath-blowing vistas of Ölüdeniz’s distinctive landscapes below them. The flight frequently features exhilarating manoeuvres that highlight the tranquil lagoon and stunning shoreline.

After the descent, participants land gently on the well-known Belcekız Beach, where they can celebrate their successful aerial adventure. Ölüdeniz offers a unique experience for both experienced and novice paragliding enthusiasts, fusing the exhilaration of flight with the unparalleled splendor of Turkey’s Mediterranean coast.

  1. Take a Cruise on the Bosphorus

A voyage down the Bosphorus is a captivating experience that reveals Istanbul’s splendor from an uncommon angle. This fascinating boat excursion takes place in the Bosphorus Strait, a natural river that separates Europe and Asia.

Passengers are given to a panoramic view of Istanbul’s cityscape as the boat cruises around the Bosphorus, where old and new buildings coexist together. The recognisable shape of the Hagia Sophia, the magnificent Blue Mosque minarets, and the commanding Topkapi Palace creates a striking scene.

The voyage shows the captivating spectacle of the two continents’ linking Bosphorus bridges as well as the energetic waterfront sceneries of Ortaköy and Beşiktaş. The coastlines are dotted with yalıs, or waterfront villas, that showcase the richness of Ottoman and Turkish architectural styles.

Passengers may see where Europe and Asia converge as the boat sails beneath the magnificent Bosphorus Bridge. When the city lights glitter against the evening sky at sunset, the journey takes on an especially spectacular quality.

Travelers may experience Istanbul’s rich history, a variety of neighborhoods, and the strategic significance of this ancient waterway, which has defined the city’s identity for ages, by taking a Bosphorus cruise.

  1. Visit the Düden Waterfalls

Düden Waterfalls is a breathtaking natural wonder that enthralls tourists with its beauty and might. It is located close to Antalya on Turkey’s Mediterranean coast. These cascades, which are separated into the Upper and Lower Düden Waterfalls, provide a cool natural retreat.

Situated 15 km northeast of Antalya’s city centre, the Upper Düden Waterfall cascades over cliffs into a tranquil pool encircled by thick vegetation. The peaceful ambience created by the natural surroundings beckons guests to unwind in the surrounding trees’ shade.

In contrast, the Lower Düden Waterfall is a striking sight at the point where the Düden River and the Mediterranean Sea converge. The sight of the water plunging straight into the sea from a sheer cliff is breath-taking. Boat cruises that leave from Antalya provide a special viewpoint that lets guests see the majesty of the waterfall from the water.

Excellent photo opportunities may be found in both portions of Düden Waterfalls. The sound of rushing water and the refreshing mist in the air create a sensory experience that enhances the breath-taking sights. Düden Waterfalls is a natural oasis that beckons visitors looking to escape the heat of the city to enjoy the splendor of this alluring Turkish location.

  1. Visit Antalya

A compelling fusion of vibrant culture, rich history, and breath-taking natural beauty found in Antalya, a treasure on Turkey’s Mediterranean coast. Known as the “Turkish Riviera,” this seaside city skillfully combines the glamour of the present with traces of its illustrious history.

Kaleiçi, the city’s historic center, is a tangle of winding cobblestone alleyways, homes from the Ottoman era, and quaint boutique hotels. Remaining examples of Antalya’s Roman and Byzantine past are the historic Hadrian’s Gate and the Kesik Minare (Broken Minaret).

The beaches of Antalya entice sun worshippers and water lovers with their beautiful sands and glistening waves. Popular options Konyaaltı and Lara Beach provide both a lively beach scene and tranquilly.

One of Turkey’s top archaeological museums, the Antalya Museum, has an amazing collection of artefacts from the ancient civilizations of the area, such as the Lycians, Pamphylians, and Romans.

Hıdırlık Tower, perched on a hill overlooking the city, offers sweeping views of Antalya and the Mediterranean, making it a charming backdrop for those who enjoy watching sunsets.

History buffs can get a peek of the region’s legendary past by visiting the ancient ruins of Perge, Aspendos, and Termessos through Antalya. Visit Antalya and discover its many features with its lively environment, historical charm, and seaside allure.

  1. Go Watch a Football Game in Istanbul

Istanbul football matches are an exhilarating event that fully immerses guests in Turkish football culture. The city is clearly passionate about sports, as evidenced by the ardent support that supporters have for their favorite teams, which fosters a spirit of excitement and unity.

Istanbul is home to a number of elite football teams, each with a strongly devoted fan base and a rich history, such as Galatasaray, Fenerbahçe, and Beşiktaş. The games, which take place in renowned venues like Vodafone Park, Şükrü Saracoğlu Stadium, and Türk Telekom Arena, are known for their fierce rivalry and electrifying atmosphere.

A spectacle not to be missed is the famous Istanbul derby, which pits Galatasaray, Fenerbahçe, and Beşiktaş against one another. The vibrant displays, passionate shouts, and deafening roar of the supporters combine to create an amazing atmosphere that extends beyond the pitch.

Attending a football game in Istanbul offers visitors an immersive cultural experience, complete with meeting fervent locals and seeing unusual pre-match customs. Football is more than just a sporting event in Istanbul because of the contagious energy and sense of community it creates. It’s a celebration of the city’s identity and a chance to see Turkish football in its purest form in one of the football-crazy cities in the world.

  1. Festivals in Turkey

Turkey’s festivals, which combine traditional customs with contemporary festivities, are a vivid representation of the country’s rich cultural legacy. Turkey has a plethora of events all year long that provide tourists an opportunity to fully experience the depths of Turkish culture.

A significant global cinematic occasion, the Istanbul International Film Festival draws filmmakers and moviegoers from all over the world. Occurring in the vibrant metropolis of Istanbul, the festival presents a wide range of Turkish and foreign films, enhancing the city’s standing as a center of the arts and culture.

The Istanbul Jazz Festival, which presents internationally recognized jazz artists in storied locations throughout the city, is a highlight for music lovers. A harmonious synthesis of musical experiences is produced by the festival’s broad line up, which includes a wide range of genres.

The International Dark Sky Festival in Cappadocia honors the distinctive celestial beauties of the area. Along with stargazing amid the breath-taking scenery, astronomy workshops and cultural events are offered to attendees.

The Mevlana Whirling Dervishes Festival honors the Sufi poet Rumi, who lived in the thirteenth century, in Konya. Mesmerizing Sufi dance performances are a feature of this spiritual feast, which creates a sublime environment.

Turkey’s rural traditions are on display during traditional festivals like the Camel Wrestling Festival in Selçuk and the Oil Wrestling Festival in Edirne, which provide a glimpse into the cultural tapestry that distinguishes Turkey’s festivities.