Mosque Istanbul Turkey

Things to Do in Turkey丨Places to Visit, Attractions & More

Turkey is a truly incredible country. With a rich, complex history and culture as well as breathtaking landscapes, the list of things to do and places to see in Turkey is almost never-ending.

With so many potential things to do, choosing the right attractions and places to visit can be overwhelming. Luckily, this list contains all of the very best spots to visit and will ensure you get the most out of your trip to Turkey.

Turkey Tourist Attractions – Places to See in Turkey

Turkey has no shortage of both intriguing and stunning sites to admire. Below are some of the top attractions in the country. Adding these sites to your list will ensure you get to see the very best of Turkey.

Hagia Sophia

This famous attraction is as breathtaking in real life as it is in pictures. Built in 537 CE by the Byzantine Emperor Justinian, this mosque has withstood many conquests over the years.

While visiting the Hagia Sophia, be sure to take the time to appreciate the Deesis and Saint John Chrysostom mosaics adorning the walls. Enrico Dandolo’s tomb is another fascinating feature to see in the mosque.

Two other must-see attractions include the Blue Mosque and Basilica Cistern – they’re both just a short walking distance from the Hagia Sophia.

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Ephesus

While ancient ruins may be all that is left of the mighty port of Ephesus, this attraction is still well worth a visit. Having survived many conquests throughout its existence, Ephesus holds many secrets.

As you stroll amongst the crumbling temples, houses, libraries, and statues, you’ll learn of Ephesus’ complex history. It intertwines the Greeks, Romans, and even Christian evangelists, all of which had their time in this ancient town. One of the show-stopper buildings to see here is the Temple of Artemis, which is one of the Seven Wonders of the ancient world.

Aspendos

If you’re fascinated by Romans, this is the attraction for you. This incredibly well-preserved theatre was built during Marcus Aurelius’ rule and holds 15 000 seats. Imagine the crowd in those days!

Located south of Antalya, it’s an excellent site to visit on a day trip. When you’re not taking in the significance of the construction, you’ll find many surrounding areas and ruins to view – such as a Byzantine-era basilica and Roman aqueduct.

Aspendos Theater Turkey

Topkapi Palace

Many sultans of the Ottoman Empire lived out their reign within the walls of this magnificent palace. As you navigate the elaborately decorated hallways, you’ll come to realize the true power and wealth this ancient empire once possessed.

Apart from the architecture, there are many other treasures to behold here. The Imperial Treasury houses numerous arms collections and the Imperial Council building is where ‘royal business’ was once conducted. There are also many Harem rooms, which is where the women of the court tended to spend their days.

Pergamum

Located in modern-day Bergama, ancient Pergamum is home to many incredible remnants of the Greco-Roman era. Amongst the remaining ruins, you’ll come across the likes of Asklepion, a once-renowned medical school.

There’s also an ancient library that was almost as prominent as that of Alexandria’s. Pergamum also offers breathtaking views of the countryside.

Best Places to Visit in Turkey

Turkey is an incredibly diverse country, teeming with innumerable ancient attractions and stunning landscapes. You’re sure to have a long list of things to do in Turkey, with so much to do and see.

Hot air balloons Cappadocia Turkey

Cappadocia

Have you ever seen the magical Instagram posts of the vibrant hot air balloons floating around the Turkish sky? Well, Cappadocia happens to be the place in Turkey to go if you want to experience a hot air balloon ride for yourself. It’s a great way to take in the gorgeous, moon-like landscape.

However, there’s more to Cappadocia than hot air balloons. You’ll also discover churches that have been cut into the rocky cliffs (like Göreme Open-Air Museum) and buildings featuring Byzantine-era architecture.

Antalya

How could you possibly come to Turkey and not spend some time cruising along its spectacular, Mediterranean coast? Antalya is the perfect seaside town to do exactly that.

Besides its gorgeous beaches, you can spend your time strolling around the ancient city center, browsing museums, and visiting the attractions surrounding Antalya.

The white terraced slopes of Pamukkale (or ‘Cotton Castle’ in English) look other-worldly compared to the surrounding green and brown landscape. Now the best way to enjoy Pamukkale is to spend several hours floating in the hot springs, soaking up the mineral goodness.

When you’ve had enough time relaxing in the warm waters, do spend some time strolling around the ancient ruins of Hierapolis, an ancient spa town.

Pamukkale Turkey

Sumela Monastery

Situated on the coastline of the Black Sea in Turkey’s north-eastern region, this isolated attraction draws many tourists throughout the year. Why would this be, you may ask? This Byzantine-era monastery was carved into the cliffs hugging the coast.

Monks lived out their lives here from the Byzantine era until the early 1900’s when the Greek-Turkish Population Exchange forced the monks to abandon this religious sanctuary. Today, as you stroll through the halls, you’ll get a true sense of what such a life may have been like. Many of the vibrant frescoes are still in perfect condition.

Ölüdeniz

You’ll come across many other beach destinations here, but this is perhaps the most beautiful place in Turkey. One you should absolutely consider traveling to is Ölüdeniz. Immense cliffs and rolling hills covered in iridescent forests give way to white-sandy beaches and clear oceans as blue as the Bahamas.

Now, it can often get crowded because Ölüdeniz is an easy-to-reach destination (it’s only 25 minutes from Fethiye). However, there’s a better way to take in the beauty of Ölüdeniz than on the ground. Paragliding off of Mount Baba and getting a bird’s eye view is possibly the best way to revel in the spectacular scenery.

Oludeniz Beach Turkey

Final Thoughts on Attractions in Turkey

Turkey is a 1900s Byzantine-eras destination, boasting many attractions of historical significance and a diverse, breathtaking landscape. While there are many more things to do in Turkey than what you’ll find in this list – it is certainly a great place to start when planning your adventures in this Mediterranean country.

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