Often tagged as a transcontinental country, Turkey has a Eurasian feel. The country straddles two continents and is rich in historic, cultural, and natural elements that make it a fascinating destination. Turkey is usually visited primarily for Istanbul, which is perfectly fine for a short vacation. But if time is not a constraint, it is best to look beyond Istanbul and venture out to other places which are bountiful with amazing attractions and experiences. While there are many things to see and do in Turkey, the following are some of the places you shouldn’t miss while visiting the country. Check these out!
A region filled with quaint towns, unruly terrain, and colourful hot air balloons suspended in the skies, Cappadocia is a place of dramatic sights. It is a place popularly known for hot air ballooning tours, camel and horse ride tours, and hiking excursions. The landscape is quite surreal and consists of underground caves, fairy chimneys, canyons, and a variety of natural rock formations. The region is a stark contrast to what Turkey is normally portrayed as and is a wonderful choice as an offbeat destination.
The white travertine pools of Pamukkale are an iconic attraction to visit in Turkey. The uniqueness of the attraction allures globetrotters and is considered one of the most picturesque sites to visit in Turkey. However, there is more to explore than the limestone cascades. Pammukale is also quite popular for thermal springs and Roman ruins. Attractions like Hierapolis Theatre, Pamukkale Antique Pool, Laodikeia to name a few are a must-visit if you are a history buff.
Istanbul Old City
Istanbul would undoubtedly feature on your itinerary if you had decided to get a Turkey visa. A trip to Turkey is not complete without visiting Istanbul as the major hub city of the country is brimming with some amazing heritage monuments, food, and cultural scenes. Sultanahmet, otherwise known as Istanbul Old City, is known for its Ottoman and Byzantine architecture marvels, vibrant Turkish bazaars, and gorgeous views of the Bosphorus Strait. The Old City in Istanbul is home to many ancient architectural wonders, including such iconic landmarks as Hagia Sophia, Topkapi Palace, and the Blue Mosque. This side of Istanbul has a rustic essence to it and is also famed for picturesque sunset views that you can enjoy from atop an alfresco dining venue or while sailing on a Bosphorus cruise.
Nestled in the southwest of Turkey, Ölüdeniz is a charming resort town located near the shores of the Aegean and the Mediterranean Sea. The destination offers sweeping views of turquoise water, dramatic cliffs, bright blue lagoons, and a pristine coastline, making it a paradise for beach lovers. Visitors flock to get soaked in the sun and enjoy a bit of adrenaline rush with adventure sports. It is particularly famous for paragliding activities. The destination is also famous for adventurous hikes and one of the places to head to for a thrilling nature hike is the Butterfly Valley which is just a boat ride away from Ölüdeniz. It is one of the most picture-perfect spots to visit in Turkey and the nature trek leads you to a verdant patch teeming with countless Jersey Tiger butterflies.
An Aegean region sheathed in cobblestoned towns, rustic historic remnants, and pleasant views of the bright blue sea, Bergama is another popular destination to visit in Turkey. You will witness rolling hills etched with Hellenistic and Roman ruins built centuries ago. Bozcaada is a petite coastal shore in Bergama but it is breathtakingly gorgeous and an apt place to relax, sunbathe, swim and enjoy some refreshing time amid the pristine beauty of nature. Head to Alaçatı Village – a scenic village with beautiful traditional stone houses that also has an extravagant food scene for you to explore and enjoy.
Antalya Old Town
Ranked among the top summer spots to visit in Turkey, Antalya is a fascinating blend of seashores and rustic Roman relics. But the sea views and harbour-front areas of the city really take the spotlight among visitors as a laid-back leisure attraction. However, the Old town is amazing to stroll around and delve into the food culture. Don’t miss a visit to Yivli Minare and Aspendos while you are in Antalya.
Ankara is often dubbed as the quieter version of Istanbul. Though overshadowed by Istanbul’s popularity, Ankara does have some fascinating attractions up its sleeves on a Turkey holiday. Ankara also offers some of the best shopping malls for a shop-till-you-drop experience and an array of museums and art galleries for visitors to get an insight into Turkish heritage. Ankara Castle perched on a cliff is one of the prominent tourist attractions to visit in the city. The capital city is also quite verdant and is a host to green landscapes, parks, and gardens compared to other Turkish cities.
Köprülü Canyon National Park
This stellar national park needs a special mention as it is the perfect place to get a jolt of adrenaline rush. Stretching along the Köprü River, this cluster of verdant wilderness offers an amazing assortment of hiking and trekking options. However, it is most popular among adventure lovers as a place to have the ultimate adventure in Turkey. You can enjoy a plethora of activities such as river rafting, rock climbing, jeep safaris, and camping. Even if you are not so keen on an adventure experience, you can visit simply to cherish the beauty of nature and enjoy sublime moments soaking, swimming in the clear waters, and getting rejuvenated.
An understated tourist attraction in Turkey that not many globetrotters know about, Bodrum is an enigmatic city that enchants visitors with stunning sea views, ancient architectural structures, and natural panoramas. Located in South West Turkey, it is prominently known for its sunny riviera location and lively nightlife. The sundrenched coastline is definitely the biggest allure for tourists and boasts to have over 60 breathtaking beaches many of which are ideal for watersports. The Turquoise Coast is perhaps the most picturesque coast in Bodrum and should definitely feature on a beach lover’s Turkey itinerary.
One of the oldest known sites in Turkey, Izmir is a coastal town bursting with archaeological treasures from the Greek, Ottoman, and Roman Empires. Though it is the 3rd largest city in Turkey, it is quite underestimated for its tourism flair. However, it is one of the cities where the western essence seamlessly fuses to cultural Turkish features. Izmir is quite a carefree city and it is great to just wander around and take in its vibrant vibes. You can stroll around at Keremalti Market, visit the open-air museum – Agora that preserves a part of ancient Smyrna and get a gorgeous sweeping view of Izmir from Asansör. A day spent exploring Izmir is an idyllic way to enjoy a slow-paced life.
For a Turkey visitor, a potpourri of rich culture, delicious food, and breathtaking natural scenery awaits. Turkey is known for its topography laced with historic heritage and cultural flair, making it a much-loved destination for discerning travellers from around the world. In Turkey, a short vacation will introduce you to the magical vibes of the country, and the best place to experience that is Istanbul. The Turkish world beyond Istanbul, however, is strikingly extraordinary and has a lot to offer. Combining Antalya, Izmir, and Cappadocia to name a few on a Turkish vacation can be eye-opening, refreshing, and a journey to be remembered.