Top 50 Things to Do and to See in Turkey

Turkey, officially the Republic of Turkey, is a transcontinental country, situated mostly on Anatolia in Western Asia and on East Thrace in Southeastern Europe. Turkey is one of the most famous tourist destinations of the world where you can find variety of attractions to suit all requirements and budgets. Family holidays, adventure holidays, cruises and water sports are a few of its major attractions. The country of Turkey is rich in both natural and historical sites. Turkey has become an ideal holiday destination with historical battlegrounds, ruined castles and palaces of great empires. One of the major cities of Turkey, Istanbul is the hub of the markets, bars and the mod Ottoman cuisine rates as the tastiest. It very well reflects both East and West culture. Fifty things that you can enjoy in Turkey along with your family are listed below:

1. Hagia Sophia

Hagia Sophia Hagia Sophia is one of the major tourist attractions of Turkey is to be found in Istanbul. It was believed to be a basilica built for the Eastern Roman Emperor Justinian I in the sixth century. A masterwork of Roman engineering, the huge dome covers what was for over 1000 years the largest enclosed space in the world. The Hagia Sophia is one of the best preserved ancient buildings in the world. During the year 1935 it got transformed into a museum.

2. Göreme Fairy Chimneys

Cappadocia is renowned as one of the exceptionally beautiful historical heritage and one of the most popular tourist attractions of Turkey. It is also popular for its weird and wonderful natural rock formations and regarded as one of the best places to see these strange formations is the town of Göreme, which is situated among a large number of tuff cones, termed fairy chimneys. The fairy chimneys have been formed as the result of wind and water erosion of two different volcanic layers: A thick layer of tuff (consolidated volcanic ash) covered by a thin layer of basalt that is more resistant to erosion. It is well an absolute must site of Turkey to visit.

3. Aspendos Theatre

Aspendos Theatre is considered to be among the top 10 tourist destinations of Turkey and boasts one of the finest preserved ancient theatres of antiquity. It was constructed during the rule of Marcus, the most renowned Roman Emperor, in the year 155 AD. This magnificent theater can seat between 15,000 and 20,000 spectators. The Aspendos Theatre has been able to survive to this days without losing almost any of its original qualities.

4. Blue Mosque

Blue Mosque One of the extremely popular masterpieces of Europe is located in Turkey and called as the Blue Mosque. This magnificent Mosque of Turkey is also famous as Sultan Ahmed mosque, looks absolutely beautiful with its six minarets and sweeping architecture. It is indeed the major landmark of Istanbul. It was built between 1609 and 1616 and like many other mosques contains the tomb of the founder. Inside the mosque, the high ceiling is lined with the 20,000 blue tiles with different patterns that give the mosque its popular name.

5. Patara Beach

Patara Beach Turkey is undoubtedly any travelers dream destinations and one of its major sources of attraction is the superb beaches that it offers. Among them Patara Beach is believed to be most visited. Patara is one of the longest stretches of sandy beach found anywhere in the Mediterranean. The beach is backed only by ancient Lycian and Roman ruins and swooping dunes. The nearby village of Patara was the birthplace of St Nicholas, the 4th-century Byzantine bishop who later passed into legend as Santa Claus.

6. Pamukkale

The literal meaning of the word Pamukkale is “cotton castle” in Turkish, is an unreal landscape located towards the westerner side of the country. It is one of the top tourist attractions of Turkey and renowned for its white terraces. The terraces are made of travertine, a sedimentary rock deposited by water with a very high mineral content from the hot springs. The ancient Greek city of Hierapolis was believed to be constructed on top of the hot springs by the kings of Pergamon. The ruins of the baths, temples and other Greek monuments can be seen at the site.

7. Bodrum

Bodrum is definitely one of the most popular tourist attractions of Turkey, worth a visit. This popular city of Turkey is renowned for having some of the finest sandy beaches. It offers numerous of attractions to visitors and has long been the favorite seaside retreat in Turkey. The city was called Halicarnassus in ancient times and was home to the Mausoleum of Mausolus, one of the Seven Wonders of the Ancient World. Sadly, earthquakes destroyed the monument but other historical attractions such as Bodrum Castle, constructed during the 15th century by are surely worth a stop. The castle overlooks the internal marina of Bodrum filled with millions of dollars worth of sailing crafts.

8. Mount Nemrut

The country of Turkey is definitely among those country that has abundance of natural and historical attractions and Mount Nemrut is one among such fabulous attractions. Nemrut Mountain is as high as 2,134 meter located towards the southeastern part of Turkey. The summit of Mount Nemrut provides a great view of the surrounding mountains. The main attraction is to watch the sunrise from the eastern terrace which gives the body less heads a beautiful orange hue and adds to the sense of mystery of the place.

9. Olüdeniz

One of the beautiful little villages of Turkey that offers some of the finest attractions is Olüdeniz. You will find it located towards the south west coast on the Aegean Sea. It has a secluded sandy bay at the mouth of Ölüdeniz, on a blue lagoon. This spectacular beach is renowned for its shades of turquoise and remains one of the most photographed beaches on the Mediterranean. This region of Turkey is internationally famous for offers best opportunities to paraglide due to its unique panoramic views.

10. Library of Celsus

The Library of Celsus in certainly a major tourist attraction of Turkey. The ruins of Ephesus are a wonderful tourist attraction on the west coast. The city of Ephesus was once famed for the Temple of Artemis, one of the seven wonders of the ancient world, which was destroyed during the year 401 A.D by a mob led by the archbishop of Constantinople. The library was constructed around 125 AD to store 12,000 scrolls and to serve as a monumental tomb for Celsus, the governor of Asia.

11. Ephesus

The beautiful country of Turkey is home to some of the best ancient cities of the world, making it tough to select just one for this list. Among the spectacular ancient cities, Ephisus is considered to be the most popular and most visited city. It is renowned for some of the best preserved Greek and Roman ruins. Some of the most impressive attractions at Ephesus include the Library of Celsus, the Temple of Hadrian and the ancient theatre.

12. Cappadocia Underground Cities

The underground cities of Cappadocia are regarded among the most attractive tourist destinations of Turkey. It is believed that it took hundreds of years to complete its construction. The main tourist locations are the underground cities of Kaymaklı, Derinkuyu, Özkonak, Mazi and Ürgüp.

13. Topkapı Palace

Among the top tourist attractions of Turkey is the 15th century Topkapi Palace. It is indeed one of the major landmarks of the city. It was the former residence of the Ottoman Sultans to be found in Istanbul. It is an impressive, huge, ornate palatial compound which was a focal point of Istanbul’s social and political life for hundreds of years. A UNESCO World Heritage site, is also renowned for Muslim and Christian relics. A must see sight, it consistently ranks among the top attractions in Turkey.

14. Anzac Cove

There are plenty of interesting attractions waiting to be explored in Turkey and one of them is Anzac Cove. It is one of the most impressive tourist spots of the country. In modern times, the battlefields of this campaign are marked with a series of memorials, museums and cemeteries where visitors can pay their respects and learn about the sombre history of these costly events. Today, it is at Anzac Cove where the annual memorial Anzac Day ceremonies are conducted.

15. Basilica Cistern

Basilica Cistern Basilica Cistern is considered to be a hidden gem of Turkey is also its major attraction. An ancient an underground wonder and one of Istanbul’s best Byzantine sites, this former water storage chamber is composed of imposing columns, vaulted ceilings and even ornate carvings of the ancient gods. It is certainly one of the most astonishing ancient places on the planet and has to be seen to be believed.

16. Troy

The story of Troy is among the major tourist attractions of Turkey. It has had everything from Homer’s ancient yarns to the full Hollywood stylings. Visit Turkey to explore its walls and take a stroll around its streets, homes and theatres, to get the real feel of ancient environment. Did the famed events described by Homer take place here? While you stroll through this timeless place you might just find yourself happily believing the legends…

17. Aegean Coast

The Aegean Coast of Turkey is considered to be the most significant archaeological sites of the country and also Turkey’s top tourist attraction. Aegean Coast contain the ancient city of Ephesus and mostly renowned for magnificent beaches. You will find some of the best attractions here.

18. Anatolia

Anatolia is one of the famous tourist spots of Turkey. It is located towards the southern part of the country. Once here you can notice that this region is filled with interesting historical and archaeological sites. The town of Antalya is the most popular tourist destination in the area. It is a busy resort town which draws in large numbers of tourists.

19. Istanbul

Another most exciting place to visit in Europe is Istanbul which is Turkey’s most populous city. It is well known for its cultural and financial center. It is to be found on both sides of the Bosphorus, the narrow strait between the Black Sea and the Marmara Sea, Istanbul bridges Asia and Europe both physically and culturally. It is said that Istanbul is a must visit place of Turkey,

20. Antalya

Antalya dates back to Greek and Roman times, like most of the cities of Turkey. Antalya is one of the most beautiful tourist destinations of Turkey and an ideal holiday spot. The Kale, the Ottoman citadel, is the most graphical part of the town. Here you will find some of the best unspoiled beaches, also famous for water sports including; scuba diving, sailing, paragliding, rafting, mountain climbing, tracking and much more.

21. Alanya

One of the perfect holiday destinations of Turkey is Alanya located towards the southern part of the country. It is renowned for its exotic beaches and beautiful natural scenery. The old town is a historical hub with old houses, towers, mosques and a small harbor. The beach is well organized offering water sports, including water skiing.

22. Marmaris

Marmaris is the most famous Yacht Charter, Sailing and Holiday Resort of this beautiful country. It is indeed renowned for its immense natural beauty. Marmaris has more forest and natural beauty, making it an ideal tourist spot of the country.

23. Kusadasi

Kusadasi is located towards the southern Aegean Coast is undoubtedly one of the most popular tourist attractions of Turkey. Number of attractions is responsible for making it a perfect holiday spot such as sandy beaches, crystal waters, water sports, scuba diving and snorkeling. The Grand Bazaar in Kusadasi, is one of Turkey’s largest shopping centers, with more than 1,000 stores.

24. Ankara

Ankara Ankara is considered to be one of the most exceptionally beautiful tourist attractions of Turkey. It is one of the largest cities of Turkey and also its capital. With a continental climate with hot and dry summers and cold winters is an ideal destination for summer and winter vacations. Numerous of attractions are waiting to be explored in this unique city of turkey.

25. Nemrut Dagi National Park

Nemrut Dagı National Park is one of the most popular tourist attractions of Turkey, offering numerous of things to do and see. This park has been a significant attraction, especially at sunrise and sunset when tourists are visiting to see the stones. Once here you can also witness art from the Commagene civilisation, the Eskikale (Old Castle), Yenikale (New Castle), Karakus Hill and Cendere Bridge. The National Park is located between Kahta (9km) and Adiyaman (43km).

26. Göreme Open-Air Museum

The Göreme Open-Air Museum is one of the most famous world heritages sites of Turkey considered to be an absolute must tourist destination of the country. It was previously an important Byzantine monastic settlement that housed some 20 monks, then a pilgrimage site from the 17th century, the cluster of rock-cut churches, chapels and monasteries is 1km uphill from the centre of Göreme.

27. Topkapı Harem

One of the major landmarks of Istanbul is certainly the Topkapi Harem, these were the imperial family quarters, and every detail of Harem life was governed by tradition, obligation and ceremony. It is one of the most visited attractions of Istanbul.

28. Dolmabahçe Palace

Another magnificent landmark of Istanbul is the Dolmanbahce Palace. One of the most attractive parts of this palace is its neoclassical exterior and over-the-top interior fit-out clearly don’t share their disdain, though. This palace of turkey is worth visiting

29. Princes’ Islands

One of the extremely famous tourist attractions of Turkey is located in Istanbul, the Princes’ Island. You will find located around twenty kilometers southeast of the city in the Sea of Marmara, and regarded as an ideal holiday destination. A lot of attractions are waiting to be explored here.

30. Galata Tower

Galata Tower Another fascinating landmarks of Istanbul is the famous Galata Tower, built during the year 1348 and holds historical significance. Well it was the tallest structure in the city for centuries, and it still dominates the skyline north of the Golden Horn. Its vertiginous upper balcony offers 360-degree views of the city.

31. Basilica of St John

The Basilica of St john is a wonderful example of ancient works, worth visiting and worth admiring. Continuous efforts are being made for its restoration, today it is still a skeleton of its former self. However, it makes for a pleasant stroll and warm-up to Ayasuluk Fortress, and the hilltop views are simply breathtaking.

32. Anıt Kabir

Anit Kabir is one of the most historically significant tourist attractions of Turkey. It is the magnificent monumental mausoleum of Mustafa Kemal Atatürk, who has contributed a lot in turkey’s development and hence called as the founder of modern Turkey. It is situated high above the city with its abundance of marble and air of veneration.

33. İstanbul Archaeology Museums

Istanbul Archaeology Museums is considered to be an essential stop of tourist while in Istanbul. This magnificent museum complex has three sections, the Archaeology Museum (Arkeoloji Müzesi), the Museum of the Ancient Orient (EskiŞark Eserler Müzesi) and the Tiled Kiosk (Çinili Köşk). These museums house the palace collections, formed during the 19th century by archaeologist and artist Osman Hamdi Bey (1842–1910).

34. Hippodrome

Tourist attractions are in abundance in Istanbul and Hippodrome is definitely not an exception. During the Byzantine era, it was decorated by obelisks and statues, some of which remain in place today. Recently re-landscaped, it is one of the city’s most popular meeting places and promenades.

35. Süleymaniye Mosque

Süleymaniye Mosque The fabulous city of Istanbul is home to several of beautiful mosques and the Süleymaniye crowns one of the seven hills dominating the Golden Horn and is certainly a spectacular landmark for the entire city. It was commissioned by the greatest, richest and most powerful of the Ottoman sultans, Süleyman the Magnificent (r 1520–66), and was the fourth imperial mosque that was constructed in İstanbul.

36. Military Museum

The Military Museum is one of the most interesting museums of Turkey, although less visited because of less popularity but certainly worth a visit. the huge museum is spread over two floors. On the ground floor are displays of weapons and Turkish military uniforms through the ages, as well as glass cases holding battle standards, both Turkish and captured. These include Byzantine, Greek, British, Austro-Hungarian, Italian and many more.

37. Patriarchal Church of St George

The famous Patriarchal Church of St George belongs to the year 1836 and is a major part of the Greek Patriarchate. It is one of the popular churches of Istanbul. The artifacts that you will find insider it are Byzantine mosaics, religious relics and a wood-and-inlay patriarchal throne. The most eye-catching feature is an ornately carved wooden iconostasis that was restored and lavishly gilded in 1994.

38. Great Palace Mosaic Museum

Istanbul is home to some of the best historical heritages and great museums of turkey and among them is one the interesting museum is the Great Palace Mosaic Museum. This stunning mosaic pavement was recently discovered, featuring hunting and mythological scenes. Dating from early Byzantine times, it was restored from 1983 to 1997 and is now preserved in this museum.

39. Safranbolu

Safranbolu is considered to be one of the most famous tourist spots of the country with some of the wonderful collection of old Ottoman houses. These ancient Ottoman houses are beautifully preserved and are listed in the UNESCO World Heritage sites. A visit to Safranbolu is undoubtedly worth a stop.

40. Limyra

The ancient region of Limyra is considered to have been in existence right from the fifth century; it is very much there even today despite a hug earthquake that struck in the mid 19th century and despite its evacuation in the 7th and 9th centuries, following Arab invasions. The city composes of three section; the acropolis, areas of settlement, and necropolis.

41. Pergamon

One of the most ancient cities of Turkey, Pergamong is situated around 100 km from north of Izmir in the Bakırçay river basin, Bergama is one of the Turkey’s oldest civilized settlements, which has been inhabited from pre-historic times through the Ionic, Roman and Byzantine civilizations. It is considered to be an absolute must for history lovers as it offers plenty of historical stuffs.

42. The Temple of Athena

The temple of Athena is one of the oldest temples of Turkey and its columns and architrave pieces can be witnessed even today in Berlin. Temple of Athena, reflects the religious tradition of Western Anatolia. Eumenes II had a two-storey covered walkway constructed along the length of the eastern and northern sides in the Hellenistic style, to honor his successful war against the Seleucids, Celts and Macedonians.

43. Acropolis

Acropolis The Acropolis was constructed on an extremely steep hill, exceptionally designed city, religious, official, social and commercial buildings are all found side-by-side. It is one of the most ancient regions of the country and mainly attracts those history lover tourists. You will also find Temple of Athena, as well as the Library and the Temple of Trajan. The Altar of Zeus was carefully placed below these buildings on a terrace.

44. Pergamum Library

The famous Pergamum library is one of the most renowned historical structures of turkey. Today what all we find are the remains of this magnificent library, this library is from the reign of Eumenes II and contains a magnificent reading room measuring 13.53 x 15.35 metres. Equipped with wooden shelves, the library also contained a 3.5m high statue of Athena, which is now in the Berlin Museum.

45. Pergamum Theater

One of the must visit spots of this region remains its magnificent theater that was actually constructed on a very steep slope. This theatre is one of the Hellenistic period’s finest architectural achievements. The steepest amphitheatre in western Anatolia, it has a capacity of 10,000 people. The stage was made of wood; set up for the performances and then taken down again.

46. The Temple of Serapis

One of the major sources of attractions and the biggest structure to be found in the town is the Kizil Avlu (Red Basilica) is certainly the temple of Serapis. This temple was made of red brick dedicated to the gods of Egypt. The temple lies in what is now the modern day town of Bergama. During the Byzantine period, it was turned into a church by extensive remodeling, especially to the apse sections, and was dedicated to the Apostle John.

47. Aphrodisias

Aphrodisias is considered to be an exceptional city that was named after Aphrodite, the goddess of beauty and love. This city’s origins belong to the Neolithic ages. Following the rise of the Roman supremacy in the region during the 2nd century BC, a holy attribute had been added to the city. Today it is a very well-preserved ancient site, despite being hit by earthquakes. Tetrapylon, the richly decorated gate erected in the 2nd century, is among the must-see remnants of the city.

48. Xanthos

Xanthos is considered to be the biggest and the most ancient city of Lycia. It was independent until the invasions of the Persians in 4292 B.C. After losing the power the people of this region completely destroyed themselves. The re-established city thenceforth strengthened its connection with the west and became an important center. However, approximately 100 years later, the city was totally destroyed by a great fire, despite it being an important center of the country.

49. The Temple of Dionysos

The ancient temple of Dionysos was constructed by the people of Pergamum, it is said to be a very alluring temple located towards the north side of the 250m – long theatre terrace. This well-preserved temple with its beautiful profile is considered to be a must visit destination of Turkey. The original Hellenistic and Roman pieces are in the Museum of Berlin.

50. The Altar of Zeus

The Altar of Zeus is situated around 25m below the lower terrace of the Temple of Athena, is one of the most famous spots of this region. It was positioned at the very centre of a 69m x 77m area. The altar, only the foundation of which is still in Pergamum, has been rebuilt and is today on display, with all of its reliefs, in the Berlin Museum

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