Turkey is truly where East meets West and it is precisely this mixture that makes travel in Turkey so interesting. The country remains an excellent vacation destination and one of our recommended best places to visit, it is likely that Turkey will be as inviting location in the future as it is today.
Turkey has 81 main cities for you to explore. From these you can plan your trip to iconic destinations. Every city has some unique characteristics, attractions and festivals. Turkey is a country of great diversity, in terms of both culture and economics. Big Turkish cities usually enjoy a more modern, western style culture and a wide array of economical options.
Turkey offers a wealth of different kinds of destinations to travelers. From the dome and minaret filled skyline of Istanbul to the Roman ruins along the western and southern coasts, from the beaches of Antalya and the Mediterranean seaside resorts to the misty mountains of Eastern Black Sea. So consider this list of some popular tourist destinations as just the start of a great holiday in Turkey.
With one foot in the East and the other in the West, Istanbul is the perfect city destination with its captivating blend of sights, sounds and colours.This is one of the greatest cities in the world where you can see a modern western city combined with a traditional eastern city, it’s a melting pot of many civilizations and different people. The skyline here is a glittering ribbon of palaces, mosques, and minarets, but also of sleek skyscrapers, where the sybaritic restaurant and nightclub scene easily rivals New York’s or London’s.
In an extraordinary meeting of nature’s artistic splendor and humankind’s resourcefulness, Cappadocia is one of those rare places that must be experienced at least once in a lifetime. With soaring rock formations, uniquely-rippled landscapes, splendid walking trails, mysterious underground cities and rock-cut churches, Cappadocia is the must-see destination in Turkey.
Ankara, Turkey’s capital city, is important to diplomats, bureaucrats, lobbyists and military, and has a few significant sights for visitors.It is a very old city with various Hittite, Phrygian, Hellenistic, Roman and Ottoman archaeological sites. Ankara is geographically central in Turkey.There are too many museums and archeological sites to see.
Bursa was the first capital of the Ottoman Empire and has a history that dates back to 4000BC. Bursa is Turkey’s fourth largest and technologically advanced city. Bursa city was the capital for many civilisations and religions and as so it is home to many monuments and rich historical interests.
Edirne is a gateway of Turkey opening to western world in Thrace, the first stopover for newcomers from Europe. Situated between the Greek, Bulgarian and Turkish borders, this beautiful city is famed for its many mosques, the elegant domes and minarets which dominate the panoramic appearance of the province. It was the capital of the Ottoman Empire from 1416 until the conquest of Istanbul by Mehmet II in 1453.
Safranbolu, an Anatolian city that brings history to life through its mosques, market, neighbourhoods, streets and original houses, was inscribed to the UNESCO World Heritage List in 1994. The city is in the Paflagonia region that was described by Homer in his epic poem, The Iliad and its known history dates back to 3000 BC.
Troy, with its 4,000 years of history, is one of the most famous archaeological sites in the world. The first excavations at the site were undertaken by the famous archaeologist Heinrich Schliemann in 1870. In scientific terms, its extensive remains are the most significant demonstration of the first contact between the civilizations of Anatolia and the Mediterranean world.
Gallipoli Peninsula Historical National Park established in 1973 and included in the UN List of National Parks and Protected Areas, covers 33.000 hectares (330 km2) at the southern end of the Gallipoli Peninsula on the European side of the Dardanelles (Canakkale Straight).The Gallipoli peninsula is in modern-day Turkey but in 1915 it was part of the Ottoman Empire. The Ottomans were fighting alongside Germany. Britain and its allies wanted to knock them out of the war. The plan was to land forces at Gallipoli, move inland and take the capital Constantinople (now Istanbul). The plan did not work.
Built on a conical hill rising 1,000 feet above the surrounding valley, Pergamum (also spelled Pergamon, from the Greek for “citadel”) was an important capital city in ancient times. Its modern successor is the Turkish city of Bergama. A lack of modern accommodations means that Bergama is often a very quick stop, if visitors bother to come at all. But it is worth a long stop, for Bergama is home to two of the country’s most celebrated archaeological sites: Pergamum’s Acropolis and Asklepion are both listed among the top 100 historical sites on the Mediterranean.
Once famous for figs, Izmir (formerly Smyrna), is now Turkey’s 3rd-largest city, the “capital” of the Aegean region, a major port and commercial center set dramatically around a huge bay and backed by mountains to the south.Once the ancient city of Smyrna, İzmir is now a modern, developed, and busy commercial center, set around a huge bay and surrounded by mountains. The broad boulevards, glass-fronted buildings and modern shopping centers are dotted with traditional red-tiled roofs, the 18th century market, and old mosques and churches, although the city has an atmosphere more of Mediterranean Europe than traditional Turkey.
Kusadasi, one of Turkey’s principle holiday resorts, offers an excellent environment for an unforgettable holiday. Situated on the west coast of Turkey- 90km south of Izmir, Kusadasi, is reputed for one of the most attractive city of the Aegean, as it is close to the important historical sites including Ephesus, Didyma, Priene, Miletos-the principals of ancient times, and ideal for sightseers.
Antalya is a city where three out of four seasons are spring and the other is summer, where you can ski on a magnificent mountain in the morning and swim in the deep blue waters of the Mediterranean in the afternoon. When King Attalos first set eyes on Antalya he called it “Paradise on Earth”. Its fertile soil and natural harbour made it favourable for settlers throughout the ages.
Pamukkale is one of the most interesting places in the world.Deriving from springs in a cliff almost 200 m high overlooking the plain, calcite-laden waters have created at Pamukkale (Cotton Palace) an unreal landscape, made up of mineral forests, petrified waterfalls and a series of terraced basins. At the end of the 2nd century B.C. the dynasty of the Attalids, the kings of Pergamon, established the thermal spa of Hierapolis. The ruins of the baths, temples and other Greek monuments can be seen at the site.
Bodrum wins the title of “Saint Tropez of Turkey” by NYTimes magazine.Today, Bodrum is one of the most important centers of trade, art and entertainment as it has been since centuries ago… This coastal town in which traditional and modern life go along hand in hand in an excellent harmony opens it arms for those who want to be acquainted with her and live her.
The early permanent settlements in Konya and its province go back to prehistoric times. So many findings of the cultures of the Paleolithic, Neolithic, Chalcolithic, Early Copper and Bronze Age were discovered within the period of time in the province of Konya.Konya is an important place for Christians as well because St.Paul and St.Barnabas came to the city on one of their journeys in Asia Minor around 50 AD. St. Paul preached in Konya but they angered both Jews and Gentiles so they had to leave the city and went to Derbe and Lystra.
While many visitors flock south to the Mediterranean or west to the Aegean, the Black Sea (Karadeniz) is equally deserving, particularly because it is so different from the other coasts. After Amasra’s seaside-holiday vibe and Trabzon’s big-city buzz, you can relax in pint-size fishing villages or head inland and up to alpine yaylalar (mountain pastures). And the spectacular coastline makes for a scenic route across Turkey to other parts of Anatolia.
The Eastern Anatolia Region is the largest geographical region in Turkey. It covers 21 percent of Turkey with a surface area of 163,000 km2. It is adjacent to the Black Sea, Central Anatolian, the Mediterranean and the Southeastern Anatolia Regions. It also has borders with Georgia, Armenia, Nakhichevan, Iran and Iraq.
The Southeastern Anatolia Region covers 10 percent of the lands in Turkey with a surface area of 75,000 km2. It is adjacent to the Eastern Anatolia and the Mediterranean Regions. It also has borders with Syria and Iraq. As in the other regions, the borders of the provinces do not coincide with the regional border. Sanliurfa and Mardin Provinces, with the exception of some very small sections, are within the region. Some sections of the other provinces are either in the Eastern Anatolia or Mediterranean Regions.
Gaziantep has been the home of various civilizations throughout the history because of its geographical location. The city is between Mesopotamia and Mediterrenean lands, it has been housed since the pre-historic ages, the historical silk road passes through the city, it is at the intersection point of the roads. All these reasons have made the city popular in commercial, cultural and artistic fields so far.
The city cherishes a long history that dated back to the Pre-Roman era. It served as a capital to many empires like Sumerians, Akkadians, Assyrians and the Medians. Later, it acquired the status of a large province when it became a part of the Ottoman Empire. Situated on the banks of the river Tigris, Diyarbakir is an ancient south eastern Turkish city full of lively spirit. It is renowned for its Black Basalt Walls, Arab style architecture and is a culture hub for the Kurdish population.
Mardin’s history reads like a who’s-who of conquest. The Assyrians, Arabs, Seljuk Dynasties, Kurdish, Persians, Mongols and Ottomans have all played a game of rule here. Today, this town of old stone houses spread out below a cliff ridge in a tumble of labyrinthine alleyways has become something of a tourism hot-spot. With its wealth of historic buildings (some now converted into boutique hotels), Mardın’s timeless allure is attracting a brand new batch of visitors who soak up the cultural heritage by sightseeing rather than invading and conquering.
Sanliurfa, known as the City of Prophets, has a very rich and far reaching background, due to its location in the great fertile plain of upper Mesopotamia. The archaeological and ethnographical museums exhibit finds of the Neolithic and Chalcolithic eras from the lower Euphrates region. You will notice a cave here, with several mosques around it here. This cave is believed to be the birthplace of Abraham. The Meviid Halil Mosque is also of another interest. Sanliurfa was praised as the city of the prophets Hiob, Jethro and St. George, besides Abraham, who were said to have lived here.
Adiyaman is very important aspect of tourism. The cradle of the oldest civilizations in history, is among the most important provinces in Turkey from the aspect of tourism. Especially, on the Nemrut Mountain in Kahta District, the graves, temples and the statues of kings are extremely interesting for tourists. The province has recorded great developments in agriculture thanks to the introduction of irrigation with the GAP project, and industrialization has accelerated in recent years.
Hasankeyf is an ancient and touristic district of Batman.It is located in Mesopotamia that one of humanity’s most ancient settlements.Hasankeyf was declared a natural conservation area in 1981.In ancient times, it had always attracted attention with thousands of caves used as a dwelling and maintained its strategic importance through the ages.