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20 Amazing places to visit in Turkey

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Quite frankly there are too many amazing places to visit in Turkey to put into one post! This country has a bit of everything and then more.

Turkey is a magical country. You will find many wonders in this vast country some of which are very popular with tourists such as Ephesus and some which are known only to locals, and even then not many know about them. 

We first visited Turkey in 2017 during our hitchhiking trip from Thailand  to Spain and we were blown away by the incredible generosity of the people and the magnitudes of different landscapes. One year later we were back again for another six weeks of exploring this historic country.

In this post you will find a wide range of amazing places in Turkey that need to be visited from cities, beaches, villages, ancient cities and much more.  We have asked some of our fellow blogger friends who love Turkey to tell us about their favourite spots in this fascinating country.

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When we tell people that we have hitchhiked in Turkey for two months we always get the same question, even people from Turkey as us, ‘isn’t it dangerous?’ Our answer is always no. In the two months that we spent hitchhiking and travelling around Turkey we meet by wonderfully hospitable people who would go out of their way to help us and on occasions even host us in their homes.

So, to answer the question. Yes, Turkey is safe and you should visit as soon as you get the chance. Turkish people are famous for their hospitality and their love of tourists and travellers. Maybe this goes back the ancient silk road times and having plenty of traders and travellers crossing their immense country.

In our experience it doesn’t matter which part of Turkey you are in, you will always meet someone friendly who will be more than willing to help you out! Don’t believe us? Check out this video where we were invited to stay in someone’s extra house and then taken to a Turkish wedding!

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Religion and people

The people of Turkey are some of the nicest people you will find anywhere in the world. I know that Malin and I say that a lot about people from different countries, but we really do mean this about Turkey. It doesn’t matter which part of the country you go to, you will always get a big smile from a local.

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The people in Turkey will smother you with their generosity

This generosity stems from partly from their history as well as their religion. Islam is the majority religion in the country with 98%. That said, it is a secular country which allows the population to partake in activities that wouldn’t be possible in other Islamic countries. This also means that people are free to choose their religion and women are not obligated to wear a headscarf.

Transport in Turkey

Transportation in Turkey is very well organised and you won’t have any problems getting around.  The easiest and cheapest way to get around the country is by using the buses.  There are buses running between all the bigger town and cities and you can book you trips online.

You can also take the train between certain cities. The train network is not as well established as the bus system, unfortunately. Alternatively you can also take generally very cheap domestic flights with Turkish Airlines and Pegasus.

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Turkey is a perfect country to hitchhike in

Another way to get around Turkey is by hitchhiking (‘otostop’ in Turkish). We spent six weeks hitchhiking around Turkey in 2018 and had an amazing time meeting hundreds of incredibly friendly locals. It is possible to hitchhike almost anywhere, we even managed to hitchhike in some of the cities when we were trying to get out of them! That is pretty unusual in most countries.

Languages in Turkey

The main language in Turkey is of course, Turkish. The language itself is very interesting and we really recommend that you learn a few phrases before you go and the locals with definitely appreciate the gesture. 

You will also find people speaking Kurdish in the south east of Turkey. However, because of past disputes, and to be honest, continued problems in the area the Kurdish language isn’t considered an official language of Turkey.

You will find that English is not widely spoken in Turkey especially outside of the touristy areas or the big cities.  You will be hard pressed to find many people speaking English in the small villages and towns so it is best to have Google Translate at the ready.

When to visit Turkey

You can visit Turkey all year round depending on what you want to get out of your trip.  If you are looking for a cheap skiing holiday then you can visit during the winter months and head to Bursa.  

Another place that would be truly magical to visit during the cold months would be Cappadocia. If you are interested in visiting Cappadocia then check out our guide to this incredible place.

If you are looking for a great trip to an exciting country full of beautiful places to visit, Turkey is the right destination. It doesn’t really matter what time of year you go. You can find somewhere to go that will pleasant even in the deepest of the winter months. 

20 Amazing places to visit in Turkey

Istanbul

Your first stop in Turkey is likely to be Istanbul. This historic city is full of different areas that are just waiting to be explored. Of course, the top sights are totally worth visiting such as: Hagia Sophia, The Blue Mosque, Basilica Cistern and many other popular places. 

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The impressive Blue Mosque

These are all fantastic places to see but don’t forget to take the boat over the Bosphorus and up to Taksim Square (or take the metro) and slowly wander down the pedestrian street to Galata Tower before strolling back across the Galata Bridge where you can watch the locals lining up along the barriers with their fishing rods. You can also grab a fish sandwich from one of the vendors which seems to be quite popular.

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The Grand Bazaar is a treasure trove for those on the hunt

Another great thing about visiting Istanbul is that you can try different specialities of food from all over Turkey. One of the most famous dishes in Turkey is Adana Kebab from Adana. Of course, regional specialities are never going to be quite as good as they are in their place of origin but it comes pretty close. 

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Stopping for Cay with the locals is the best way to get to know the city

Malin and I loved strolling around the little streets of Istanbul and sitting down to sip on a typical cup of Çay (tea) that you can find on many of the streets. It is a great way to observe local life and maybe even make some friends.

Check where to stay in Istanbul on Booking.com

Cappadocia

Cappadocia remains one of the most memorable places that we have ever visited. It is unlike any other place we have ever been to. Arriving in Goreme, you get a feeling of having just stepped onto another planet, it is so unreal.

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Cappadocia will blow your mind with these surreal landscapes

Sure, it is one of the most popular places for people to visit in Turkey, but this is not without reason. There are so many spots to see when you visiting Cappadocia. Our preference is to avoid the really touristy spots (or get there early) and just explore on our own. Cappadocia is the perfect place to do this. There are so many areas to see that you could spend weeks there.

Most people tend to go on one of the prearranged tours whizz you around the martian landscape in one whirlwind day. This might be great for some but Malin and I like to take things a little slower and explore at our own pace. We even hitchhiked to get around between different locations which was a lot of fun.

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Watching the hot air balloons take off was worth getting up for

We visited Cappadocia toward the end of May and the temperatures were still really pleasant and even a little chilly in the evenings and early mornings. If you want to see Cappadocia in a mystical magical way then you should visit during the winter when it can be covered in snow. Do a Google Images search to see what I mean.

Check where to stay in Cappadocia on Booking.com

Patara ancient city and beach

Set behind the longest beach in Turkey you will find the ancient city of Patara. This ancient city was lost, quite literally, to the sands of time.  Archaeological digs have uncovered a large portion of the city but as always there is more to be discovered and they are still in progress. 

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Patara beach is one of the last turtle nesting beaches in the country

We saw one of our largest Ancient Roman Theatres at Patara. It is breathtaking and still in relatively good condition.  Along the base of the theatre you can still see carvings of soldiers in armour and other inscriptions around the area. We wrote a guide to historic places in Turkey for beach lovers which included Patara, don’t forget to check it out for travel inspiration.

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The ancient Parliament building was recently rebuilt

Recently, the Lycian Parliament building was renovated giving visitors an idea of just how carefully crafted these ancients buildings were. Unfortunately, we felt that it was somewhat over restored and it was hard to get a feeling for the history of the building.

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Walking along this ancient road takes you back in time

A short walk from the ruins you will find yourself on the longest beach in the country.  It is a beautiful beach but you need to be careful where you walk during some parts of the year as these shores are an active breeding ground the loggerhead turtles. This beach and a few others are some of the last beaches where this still happens. The breeding usually takes place between May and October. You can learn more about the turtles here

Check where to stay in Patara on Booking.com

Fethiye

Visiting Fethiye was a really pleasant surprise for us. It is a relaxed little town where things are done at a slow pace. This quaint town is usually overlooked by tourists in favour of the more famous places such as Istanbul, Ephesus, Pamukkale and Cappadocia. But don’t let that put you off, there is plenty to do here.

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Explore the abandoned town of Kayakoy and feel the history

We had a lovely time just wandering along the promenade stopping for an ice-cream or a tea here and there whilst doing a bit of people watching (one of our favourite things to do in a new city). One thing that we heard about when we arrived in Fethiye was the ‘Ghost Town’. Yeah, I know, that sounds kind of strange, and because it sounded so odd we just had to visit.

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Kayakoy Ghost Town is an eerie place to wander around

The Ghost Town, formally known as Kayaköy, was abandoned during the population swap between Turkey and Greece in 1923. It is quite incredible to think that the whole population of a town just upped and left and that it was left abandoned as a testament to the past.

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The historic city of Fethiye should be on your list

Fethiye makes a great hub to visit different locations in the nearby area such as Kabak Koyu, Oludeniz and many other beautiful spots.

Check where to stay in Fethiye on Booking.com

Olympus ancient city and beach

I know Malin and I say this a lot but Olympus Ancient City really is one of our top destinations in Turkey! There is something really incredible about the ruins. Maybe it is the location, in between a high gorge and right next to a pristine beach. Or maybe it because the ruins are slowly being reclaimed by the surrounding forest, either way it has to be on your list of places to visit.

Check out our guide to historic places in Turkey for beach lovers.

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Climbing up to this viewpoint will give you unbelievable views

Walking around the ruins, which if you visit just outside the high season, you will find yourself lost and most likely alone amongst tree roots and plants taking back their land from the ancient city. Some parts of the ruins are in better conditions than others and the theatre has almost disappeared under a layer of leaves and roots.

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The ancient city of Olympus is slowly being reclaimed by mother nature

You can take a hike up to a stunning view point which gives you great views in all directions. You can see the coastline running up to the end of the bay with the turquoise water below shimmering in the sunlight. Behind, you will see the ruins and the valley with the little stream running back up the gorge. 

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The views from the view point are just stunning

There is also another interesting spot to visit when you head to Olympus. A short walk from Olympus you will reach the foot of the mountain where you can walk up to visit the Yanartaş. The Yanartaş (there are about 12) are small gaps in the rocks where fires are continually burning. Apparently sailors and fishermen used to use these fires as a guide. It is best to visit these burning pits at night to get the best experience.

Check where to stay in Olympus on Booking.com

Datça

We stayed in Datça, well just outside the Datça, with our couchsurfing for almost a week as we explored this beautiful peninsula. The town itself it quite popular with tourists, although not as much so as its neighbouring town of Marmaris, and can get very busy during the summer months. We recommend going there just outside of the peak season to get a more laid back feeling for this seaside town.

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There are incredible little bays right next to the city of Datca

Another place that you should really check out for its tiny little streets and old houses is Eski Datça. This was another town that was almost abandoned after the population swap in 1923 between Turkey and Greece. Here, however, unlike Kayaköy there are still people living and many of the buildings have been restored. It is a wonderul little place to wander around and grab a coffee or a bite to eat.

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This quaint little village shouldn't be missed when you visit Datca

While we were in Datça our host took us to several little beaches that required a walk along the mountains that hug the coastline. The views were spectacular and when we arrived at the beach we were alone there as it seems to be a bit of a secret.  Have a little look on Google Maps satellite view and try to find the beach (to the west of the town)!

If you want to see some truly remarkable ruins head over to Knidos, which is 35 km further along the peninsula right at the end. The road leading there is impressive on its own but the ancient ruins you will find at the end are positioned in an amazing setting. We wrote a guide about historic places to visit in Turkey for beach lovers and Knidos was one of our favourites! 

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The views across Knidos are fantastic

We really recommend you to take a trip along the scenic ocean and mountain road that leads to Knidos if you are visiting Datca. It is a very special site that few tourists make it to. You can watch our video from Knidos below.

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Check where to stay in Datca on Booking.com

Pamukkale

Just outside of the city of Denizli you will find Pamukkale. It is one of the most tourist spots in the whole of Turkey and receives 2 million visitors every year. So, to be sure that you get the most out of your trip to the travertines, get there early! The bus loads of people don’t normally arrive until around 10 am.

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The travertines have been formed over millennia

People don’t only visit Pamukkale for the unique cloudy white terraces but also for the ancient city that lies just above. The ancient city of Hierapolis can sometimes be overlooked by the many tourists that visit which is a real shame. Take a look at our visit Pamukkale guide for a better idea of this special place.

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This is one of the best Roman Theatres we have seen

The ruins are perfect for exploring, few people around, no fences to stop exploring (responsibly) and the theatre in enormous. The Roman theatre is one of the best we have ever seen. Add this to your list when you visit Pamukkale.

Check where to stay in Pamukkale on Booking.com

Mardin

South-East Turkey is a part of Turkey that few tourists venture to. Many people think that this area, due to is location close to the Syrian border, is a dangerous part of Turkey. In the past this was definitely true but in recent years the area has settled down a lot and is perfectly safe. We even hitchhiked on the road that runs close to the border.

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The ancient city of Mardin will take you back in time

The city of Mardin itself is divided into to parts; the new city and the old city. Whilst researching about Mardin I came across this fascinating PDF describing the history, people, myths and legends of Mardin. It is really worth reading to get a better idea of the area.

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Walking through the old town of Mardin is really special

The history of this city goes back thousands of years and has been controlled by many empires throughout history and walking around the small ancient streets and alleys you can really get a sense of it.

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We were lucky enough with witness evening prayers during Ramadan

We were lucky enough to have been taken to Kasımiye Madrasah by our couchsurfing host during the evening to watch the evening prayers which don’t normally take place here but because it was Ramadan we got to experience something very special. The Madrasah actually dates back to 1469.

Check where to stay in Mardin on Booking.com

The Ancient City of Aphrodisias

Recommended by Vaibhav Mehta from The Wandering Vegetable 

Located near the Geyre village in Aydın Province, Aphrodisias is the best archaeological site in Turkey and a must-do in your Turkey itinerary. The city became a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 2017. Aphrodisias was once an ancient Greek city that was named after Aphrodite, the Greek “Goddess of Love”. Later, under the Byzantine empire, it got converted into a Roman city. However, the city was ultimately abandoned after the violent earthquakes that occurred in the 4th and 7th centuries.

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The ancient city of Aphrodisias is names after the Greek goddess of love

You can get to this off-the-beaten-path destination by either taking a private car or a public Dolmuş (mini-van). The entrance fee for the site is 20 Turkish Lira. It includes your entry to the museum. After you’ve reached the parking, a fancy tractor attached to a compartment will come to receive you and drop you at the entrance to the actual site.

First, you can check out the Archaeology Museum that contains more than 12,000 neatly organised sculptures from Greek and Roman times. The intricate carving and skilful sculpting of the sculptures leave you awestruck. Then, you can walk along the pathway that guides you to all the important sites of the city.

Aphrodisias is located in the beautiful and picturesque countryside. You get to enjoy picturesque scenery of the hills and valleys from every part of the city. A 3 km walk way takes you to all the major attractions like the Amphitheatre, the Augusteum stadium, the Temple of Aphrodite, the massive Gateway, and the Bath complexes.

As the pathway is flat, exploring the city on foot doesn’t require a lot of effort on your side. In fact, because the city is located in an open green valley, the conditions are generally windy and cool. There are restrooms, a cafe, and a gift store near the entrance. The site is closed on Mondays.

Check where to stay in Aphrodisias on Booking.com

Marmaris

Recommended by Esther from The adventurous feet

Marmaris, a little Mediterranean resort town tucked away in the province of Muğla is the perfect destination in Turkey for beach lovers.

Welcomed by beautiful views of the sea and palm trees that surround the various beaches, a trip to Marmaris offers a breath of freshness that can’t be found anywhere in this Eurasian country. And coupled with a big number of chic restaurants and bars dotted along the coastline, Marmaris sets its self apart as a hub of relaxation with a touch of a fun lifestyle!

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Stroll along the port of Marmaris and relax with a cup of çay

No, it’s not just chilling on the beach and hopping from one resort bar to the next for an amazing nightlife, there are so many incredible things to do in Marmaris.

From participating in the various water sports, spending a day on a cruise ship to Dalyan to enjoy a mud bath, going for the famous Turkish bath to shopping till you drop in the grand bazaar (yes Marmaris also has a grand bazaar, though smaller than the one in Istanbul), there are a number of activities that will fill up your Marmaris itinerary.

On top of those amazing things, just like any other Turkish city, the food scene in Marmaris is next level serving all kinds of delicious meals that foodies will drool over! 

Though Marmaris might not be as famous as other resort towns in the country, it’s truly one of the best places to visit in Turkey! 

Check where to stay in Marmaris on Booking.com

Gaziantep

Recommended by Deb Pati from The Visa Project

Gaziantep is probably the only place I have been to where you are always in the company of pistachios. The highway leading to Gaziantep is lined with Pistachio groves, and there is a local store almost everywhere selling salty roasted pistachios. If you are a foodie visiting Turkey, you should definitely head to this city. Be it all the varieties of baklavas, the Antep kebabs, lahmacun- you are never gonna run out of things to try. 

While it’s the culinary capital of Turkey, the next best thing in Gaziantep is its museum scene. Do visit the largest mosaic museum in the world, that displays some of the finest Roman, Greek, and Gypsy mosaic work. The castle’s museum is worth a visit to understand the Turkish point of view of all that happened in WWI and the dissolution of the Ottoman empire, as well as a great view of the city from the top.

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Visit the castle of Gaziantep to get great views of the city

Then there are other ones like the ethnography museum, archaeology museum as well. And since food is celebrated out here, they also have a kitchen museum to guide you through Turkish traditional cuisine, ingredients, and tools.

You can go for a stroll through the old city district and discover all the mosques like Alaüddevie Mosque, Kurtulus Mosque, etc. And if you are looking for souvenirs, head to the Bakırcılar Çarşısı, a traditional bazaar in the centre of the city. The rates are surely lower than the bazaars in Istanbul. 

Check where to stay in Gaziantep on Booking.com

Kaputas Beach

Recommended by Nick & Val from Wandering Wheatleys

Located along Turkey’s Southern Riviera, Kaputas Plaji is one of the most picturesque beaches in the country. To reach this beautiful bit of coastline you’ll need to drive ~21 kilometers west from the small coastal town of Kas. This road winds along the seaside offering excellent panoramic views the entire way. Even if you’re not planning on spending the day at Kaputas Plaji, this drive might be one of the most scenic in all of Turkey. 

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Kaputas Arguably one of the most recognisable beaches in Turkey

When you arrive at Kaputas Plaji you’ll look down from the road to a perfect little stretch crystal clear Mediterranean water lapping the shore of a white pebble beach. The tall white cliffs provide the perfect backdrop to this often photographed scene. In fact, you have probably spotted this little beach on Instagram without even realising it was located in Turkey. 

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The water along the coast of this part of Turkey is astoundingly clear

There is a small cafe for food and drinks as well as umbrellas and beach chairs for rent. Parking can be quite tricky at this beach due to the limited amount of space and it’s popularity with locals. It’s best to arrive early and have some patience when looking for a place to leave your car – just make sure it is completely off the road so you’re not impeding traffic. 

Check where to stay in Kaputas on Booking.com

Cadianda/Kadyanda

Recommended by Sasha from Mog and Dog Travels 

If you are looking to escape Turkey’s sweltering summer temperatures and fancy a little trip back in time, then look no further than the hidden, ancient ruins of Cadianda (Kadyanda in Turkish). Located in a secluded pine forest, just outside the charming village of Üzümlü, the hilltop settlement of Cadianda is an easy, relaxing day trip from Fethiye. 

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Visit Cadiana to escape the sweltering summer temperatures

Unlike most of Turkey’s major archaeological sites, Cadianda is not well maintained and many of the ruins remain partly submerged beneath the forest, yet this simply adds to the area’s unique charm and the sense of an ancient civilisation reclaimed by nature.  A leisurely stroll around the area will allow you to see the remnants of the public baths, amphitheatre, necropolis and stadium. 

If you’ve had your fill of historical sites in Turkey, don’t worry, a visit to Cadianda isn’t just about ancient ruins. A steep hike up to an area known as the ‘Heroon’ rewards you with spectacular views of the mountains and of the town of Fethiye in the valley below. The perfect place for a picnic!

Cadianda is a great place to visit both in the summer and the winter (the scenery in the winter is especially gorgeous as the mountain tops will be covered in snow). The area receives hardly any visitors, so you will most likely find yourself alone, admiring the scenery and dreaming about days gone by.

Check where to stay in Cadianda on Booking.com

Kabak Koyu

Recommended by From Ruma from The Holiday Story

Kabak Bay is a nice tourist attraction in Turkey. It’s an hour’s journey to reach Kabak via Oludeniz by taxi or car. Frequent Minibuses run from Oludeniz until 19:00. The local sandy beach is perfect to kick back and relax and take a break from visiting the incredible ruins in Turkey. 

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Kabak Koyu is a stunning bay nestled amongst mountains

Visitors must enjoy walking trails which link up to the Lycian Way. Following the trail up behind the village you will find some great waterfalls and canyons that are breathtaking. The Hiking trail starts just behind the village and is well marked. 

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Isn't this beach just totally majestic?

There is plenty of nice accommodation available for visitors and some guesthouses even offer Yoga courses. You will find a few excellent restaurants such as Lazy Fish Cafe (near the beach), Mama’s House (upper village), Olive Garden (upper village) in Kabak. They offer delicious meals starting at 15-25 TL pp. 

There are a few family-orientated camping grounds nearby which also have bungalows for rent. Check out Full Moon, Reflections, Sultan, Kabak Valley.  Kids between 0-6 stay for free and the bungalows cost around 50/90 TL pp with a private bathroom. 

You will also be able to find some lovely treehouses to stay in for around 50/70 TL pp. They usually include breakfast in the price which is amazing because Turkish breakfasts might just be the best in the world. If you bring your own tent it costs around 40 TL pp including food. These places offer free Wi-Fi, internet cafe, hang out areas and nice pools. 

Alternatively you can always join some of the locals and do a bit of wild/free camping. There are a few spots around the bay where you can find a flat area to pitch your tent.

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Hike up the Lycian trail behind the beach to reach this small waterfall

When you are in Kabak you will still manage to get a fairly decent signal on your phone to use the internet and remember to bring enough cash with you as there is no ATM in the village (the nearest ATMs are in Oludeniz). One small grocery store is found in the upper village and there is a small house just up from the beach where you can buy vegetables and delicious freshly baked bread. 

The best time to visit Kabak is during the spring or autumn as the day temperatures stay between 24C-34C.

Check where to stay in Kabak Koyu on Booking.com

Trabzon

Recommended by Diana Lesko from The Globetrotting Detective

Trabzon is a coastal city situated in the northeastern part of Turkey on the historical silk road, 230 km from the Georgian-Turkish border.

I travelled to Trabzon only to see the spectacular Sümela Monastery and that was going to be the highlight of my trip to Trabzon. But the highlight turned out to be something else, something more personal. 

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Trabzon is a must see if you are travelling on the Black Sea Coast

The most precious experience I had in Trabzon was my encounter with the locals. I really feel urged to tell you that people in Trabzon are so genuine, open, kind, friendly, helpful, and generous. I feel honoured and humbled that Turkish people welcomed me and treated me with care and respect. This was a game-changer for me. I fell so much in love with the culture and the people that instead of the planned short visit, I stayed in Trabzon for quite a long time.

In Trabzon there is more to see and learn than you would expect. When discovering Trabzon and its surroundings, you will quickly realise that it’s been a melting pot of different religions and cultures. For example, I was stunned to learn about Turkey’s Christian heritage in Trabzon. One of the most fascinating highlights of the city is the Hagia Sophia Museum which was built as a church in the 13th century. 

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Sumela Monastery is perched on the edge of a steep cliff-face

From the city of Trabzon, you can also take day trips to explore some of the most enthralling jewels of the Black Sea region. Two of the most popular day trips are the ones to the Greek Orthodox church, Sümela Monastery, which was constructed in the 4th century literally on a dramatic and steep cliff that will absolutely blow your mind, and Uzungöl which is a magical tiny village built around a charming lake and nestled in a breathtaking lush green valley. 

Check where to stay in Trabzon on Booking.com

Kas

Recommended by Anna and Trevor from Delightful Travellers

The town of Kaş lies about halfway between Fethiye and Antalya. While staying in the much larger city of Fethiye we decided we wanted to find a smaller seaside town. After asking around and searching the coast along Google Maps we discovered this quaint town. It came highly recommended by locals so we packed our bags and took a two hour bus ride  south along the coast. 

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The quaint streets of old Kas are perfect for wandering around

Kaş sits on a steep hill overlooking the Mediterranean. It has one large main square, and small, bright, pedestrian streets full of restaurants, small bars and boutiques. This is not a town you come to party. It’s laid back and quiet. 

You’ll find absolutely amazing (although somewhat expensive compared to some other towns in Turkey) restaurants, quiet bars to enjoy cocktails and wine, and boutique hotels. In Kaş you will not find sprawling resorts and large hotels but you will get an array of small to large beaches both inside and outside the town.

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Head up to the theatre for the best view of the sunset

It also has one the best sunsets we’ve come across during our travels. At the end of the day people gather just outside the town at the ancient theatre to get the best views of the sunset, then head back into town for drinks and dinner. 

Check where to stay in Kas on Booking.com

Ankara

Recommended by Baia from Red Fedora Diary

Ankara, Turkey’s capital, isn’t a popular town among travellers compared to other cities to visit in Turkey, and it’s a pity! The town is home to plenty of historical sights left from Byzantine, Ottoman, and Roman eras, as well as museums and recreational areas. 

There are plenty of things to do in Ankara. For instance, marvel through the historical neighbourhood of Ankara with well preserved white houses of Ottoman reign, explore the remains of the Roman Bath, see the Temple of Augustus, and enjoy the view from the Ankara Castle.  

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Visit one of the many museums in Ankara

The capital has plenty of museums to pique your curiosity and learn more about the Anatolian Civilisation, visit the Uluncanlar Prison Museum, or see how Turks lived in the Ethnography Museum.

The most famous landmarks in Ankara is the mausoleum of Mustafa Kemal Ataturk – Anitkabir with its garden, burial area, and a museum. Unlike other museums, Anitkabir is free to enter and features Ataturk’s memorabilia in a well-presented manner spanning several rooms.

One more venue to explore is the Rahmi M. Koc Museum featuring the development of every technology, such as calculators, engines of all sorts, air force machinery, and all types of vehicles’ to name a few. The museum is very interesting and quite large, so make sure you have enough time planned for it.  Absolutely mind-blowing exhibits and artefacts are from the private collection of a Turkish businessman Rahmi Mustafa Koc.

Check where to stay in Ankara on Booking.com

Antalya

Recommended by Anca & Sinan from Dream, Book and Travel

Rightfully, Antalya is mainly associated with all-inclusive hotel stays and seaside relaxation holidays. Turkey’s most famous Mediterranean city boasts endless sand beaches, turquoise waters, and breathtaking landscapes on the backdrop of the Taurus mountains. 

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The old city of Antalya is perfect for strolling around

However, the city itself knew a millennial history from its founding during the Hellenistic period, having been ruled, in turns, by the Romans, the Byzantines, the Seljuks, and the Ottomans. Like everywhere in Turkey, traces of the past mingle harmoniously with the vibes of the present, making a sightseeing expedition a cultural and gourmet experience and an amazing opportunity for shopping. 

Within the city limits, one should spend time exploring the old quarter Kaleiçi, with shaded cobblestone streets flanked by restored Ottoman mansions, offering fleeting views of the sea and the Taurus mountains. You find here restaurants and music venues, as well as authentic souvenir shopping opportunities. A panoramic lift is available for those who want to enjoy the vistas over the old port. 

History aficionados will not be disappointed at the Antalya Archaeological Museum, but they are advised to take a stroll around town for more architectural remnants of epochs past such as the Hıdırlık Tower and Hadrian’s Gate. A mere 50 km from Antalya, one can explore the ancient theatre of Aspendos, the best-preserved theatre of antiquity with amazing acoustics. It is used even nowadays as a venue for concerts and opera performances. 

And since you’re already looking at day trips you can take in the region, there are plenty of Antalya excursions you can organise, from a visit to the Manavgat waterfalls to exploring ancient cities such as Side or Perge. 

Check where to stay in Antalya on Booking.com

Ephesus

Recommended by Wendy from The Nomadic Vegan

History fans will definitely not want to miss a visit to the ancient city of Ephesus. Originally founded by the Greeks, much of the ruins visible today date from the ancient Roman empire. Ephesus has rightly been listed as a UNESCO World Heritage Site in recognition of the incredible state of preservation of some of its structures.

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Ephesus is one of the most popular tourist destinations in Turkey

In ancient Greek times, the most famous building at Ephesus was the Temple of Artemis, one of the seven wonders of the ancient world. Unfortunately, it was destroyed in the fifth century AD, and little of it remains today. Nowadays, the building that’s featured on all the postcards and tourism office brochures is the Library of Celsus. Gaze up in awe at the still intact façade of this building that once held more than 12,000 scrolls. 

Another noteworthy monument at Ephesus is Hadrian’s Temple, named after the emperor who is famous for building, among many other things, Hadrian’s Wall in England.

The town of Selçuk makes a good base for exploring Ephesus. From there, it’s a four-kilometre walk to the archaeological site, or you can rent a bike from your hotel or take a local minibus. It’s possible to see the whole site in half a day. 

I recommend starting at the upper gate, called the Magnesia Gate, and then exiting at the lower harbour gate. This way, you’ll be walking downhill pretty much the whole time you’re in the site.

Check where to stay in Ephesus on Booking.com

Diyarbakir

Recommended by Diana Lesko from The Globetrotting Detective

Diyarbakır is located in the southeastern part of Turkey on the banks of the Tigris River. According to foreign authorities, tourists are advised to avoid visiting Diyarbakır which is one of the most nonsense things you could ever read about  Diyarbakır or generally about the southeastern part of Turkey.

This city, in fact, one of the most magnificent and remarkable places not only in Southeastern Anatolia but in whole Turkey for a myriad of reasons.

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The ancient city of Diyabakir needs to be on your must visit list

It has around 5,000 years of history and throughout this time it’s been a cradle for 26 different civilisations like the Roman, Ottoman, or Byzantine civilisations. The impressive basalt walls and towers of the buildings and mosques of the city centre left me speechless.

But what makes this place truly special is its extraordinary atmosphere. People in Diyarbakır are so unbelievably friendly, warm-hearted, and talkative. The streets are lively and bustling both during the day and at night. I loved roaming the streets of the city on my own while I was continuously being entertained by street vendors, singers, dancers, and storytellers in front of the great mosque. I felt so connected with the community as I lived there in my entire life.

The street vendors were so kind and spoilt me with loads of coffee and sweets. You will find the most unique coffees in Diyarbakır, Dibek from high-quality coffee beans or Menengic from roasted Pistachio seeds. Drinking the local coffee on the street accompanied by roasted hazelnuts while listening to street music in this medieval town is an absolutely out of the world experience.

The culinary scene is also incredible. The must-try heavenly dishes are ciğer (liver), dolma (stuffed vegetables), and kaburga dolması (stuffed lamb ribs). 

We hope this list of must see places in Turkey has given you some inspiration of different places to visit in this incredible country! If you feel there are some places we have missed then please comment in below to let us know. 

Don’t forget to check out the blog posts from our fellow bloggers linked in the different places to visit in Turkey.

Check where to stay in Diyabakir on Booking.com

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This Post Has One Comment

  1. erotik izle

    Good post. I learn something new and challenging on websites I stumbleupon on a daily basis. Briny Kristos Debbie

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