With cities steeped in history, beaches, and beautiful countryside, a visit to Turkey promises an enchanted vacation. Diverse offerings such as the ancient ruins of Ephesus to the luxury beach resorts along the Aegean Sea will enthrall and captivate even the most jaded traveler. Istanbul, once the capital of the Byzantine and Ottoman Empires, features prominently in most travel plans but there are many more great destinations. An overview of the best places to visit in Turkey.
Turkey’s capital city, Ankara, is a sprawling, modern city home to government buildings, commercial businesses, universities and foreign embassies. Located right in the center of the country and the Anatolia region, Ankara is an important transportation hub, linking travelers to other major destinations in Turkey. The city itself city offers a lively arts and culture scene with a large concentration of museums, including the Museum of Anatolian Civilizations.
Perched on a strategic hilltop overlooking the plains of Mesopotamia in southeastern Turkey, Mardin is the capital of the Mardin Province. One of the oldest settlements in the region, Mardin is best known for its cultural diversity and Old City of sandstone buildings that cascade down the hill.
One of the oldest cities in the world and best known for its remarkable Seljuk architecture and Whirling Dervishes, Konya is a large city in Turkey’s Central Anatolia Region. In the 12th and 13th centuries, Konya prospered as a capital city under the rule of the Seljuk Dynasty. Today, attractive buildings from that era can still be admired such as the Alaeddin Mosque and the ruins of the Seljuk Palace.
Nestled along the beautiful Turkish Riviera on the Mediterranean coastline, Antalya is a large, vibrant city welcoming tourists with numerous resorts, hotels, bars and restaurants. Spectacular scenery frames the city with gorgeous beaches and lush green mountains dotted with ancient ruins. From swimming and sailing to mountain climbing, sightseeing and family fun, Antalya offers something for everyone.
One of Turkey’s most popular seaside resorts, Marmaris is a picture-perfect setting of pine-clad mountains, sandy white beaches, turquoise waters and historic architecture. Located along the Turkish Riviera in southwest Turkey, this stunning cruise port is a tourist paradise with exceptional sightseeing opportunities, water sports, adventure, fantastic dining and buzzing nightlife.
A major port in ancient Pamphylia and occupied by Alexander the Great in 4th century BC, Side today is a picturesque town of classic ruins and modern day resorts overlooking sandy white beaches. Located on a small peninsula, Side offers fantastic sightseeing, dining and nightlife. Its star attraction is an excavated site of ancient Hellenistic and Roman ruins that include the remnants of a colossal amphitheater and various temples.
Located in the southern Aegean region of Turkey, Bodrum was once home to the Mausoleum, one of the Seven Wonders of the Ancient World.Today, its intriguing ruins, stunning beaches and cliff-top resorts attract people from all over the world. No visit to Bodrum would be complete without seeing the Castle of St. Peter, also known as Bodrum Castle. Built from 1402 by the Knights Hospitaller it now operates as a museum.
By the 1st century BC, Ephesus was one of the largest cities in all of the Roman Empire, boasting one of the Seven Wonders of the Ancient World, the Temple of Artemis. The ruins of Ephesus are well preserved and contained within a large archaeological site, making it one of Turkey’s most popular tourist attractions. Its attractions include the massive Theater, the Temple of Hadrian and the magnificent Celsus Library, a two-story structure that was built to house more than 12,000 scrolls.
Situated in Central Anatolia, Cappadocia is best known for its fairytale landscape of unusual formations resembling chimneys, cones, mushrooms and pinnacles. Natural processes such as ancient volcanic eruptions and erosion have all sculpted these odd formations over the ages. Thousands of years ago, mankind added remarkable touches to the landscape by carving out houses, churches and underground cities from the soft rock.
Once serving as the capital of the Ottoman and Byzantine Empires, Istanbul today is the largest city in Turkey and one of the largest in the world. Istanbul stretches across a narrow strait that connects Asia and Europe, making it the only city in the world spanning two continents. Impressive architecture, historic sites, dining, shopping, nightlife and exotic atmosphere all make Istanbul one of the best places to Visit in Turkey.