Turkey is one of the most beautiful and historical countries in the world. From its cultural cities to beachside havens, there’s just about everything here, and it’s where Europe and Asia collide. It’s so jaw-droppingly beautiful that we’ve put this guide together telling you all about the best places to visit. So read on and discover a country where there’s a mixture of flavours, cultures, religions and histories all wrapped up into one.
Balat, Istanbul 🎨
Perhaps the most famous city in Turkey, Istanbul offers culture in abundance. On your trip here, make sure you visit Balat, an artistic neighbourhood with cobbled streets, bright-painted houses, and steep lanes. You can stop by Incir Ağacı Kahvesi cafe, admire the street art on offer, find a gem in the vintage shops, and even enjoy live music venues. Balat is somewhere that’s full of vibrancy and colour.
Located in southeastern Turkey, Mardin is the capital of the Mardin Province and one of the oldest settlements in the region. It’s well known for its cultural diversity and sandstone buildings that trickle down the hill. If you’re up for exploring, head to the Old City and wander the streets, admiring the terraced houses and landmarks such as the Deyrü’z-Zafaran Monastery, which is one of the oldest monasteries in the world. And don’t forget to grab a photo or two of the citadel, which is closed to the public but makes for a great Instagram snap.
Located along the Turkish Riviera, Marmais is a resort area surrounded by mountains, pine forests and turquoise waters. Go for a splash before enjoying horse rides in Marmaris National Park. There are also traditional Turkish baths, just in case you’re looking for a wellness experience. And let’s not forget Aquadream, a waterpark perfect for a thrill or two with its rides and slides. In the evening, the town lights up with an array of restaurants, bars and nightclubs.
There are many ancient sites in Turkey, with Ephesus right at the top of the list for historic attractions. It’s a UNESCO-protected site, thanks to the Temple of Artemis, which stood tall in this ancient city and was one of the original Seven Wonders of the World. Ephesus is more than 9,000 years old, and there are traces of Roman, Christian, Ottoman, Hellenistic and Greek monuments found along with temples, archways and an amphitheatre. Ephesus is the place to go if you want a little slice of history.
Another seaside gem, Antalya is located along the Turkish Riviera on the Mediterranean coastline. It’s a large city full of buzz and charm with lively restaurants, plenty of hotels, bars, and nightclubs. You could easily spend all day lazing on the pristine beaches, but that would mean missing out on the lush mountains full of greenery and ancient ruins and the city itself. Spend some time in the Old Quarter, where you can soak up the city’s ancient past. But of course, the beaches are the main draw here, with Konyaalti and Lara the best of the bunch thanks to their white sands, water sports, resorts and beachside bars and restaurants.
Not only is Cappadocia one of the best places to visit in Turkey, but it’s also right at the top of the list for must-see destinations all over the world. The surreal rock valleys offer postcard-perfect looks that need to be seen to be believed. Hop in a hot air balloon and take in the views that include lunar scapes, pinnacles and wave-like rocks. You’ll feel like you’re in a dream state in Cappadocia, where there’s also underground cities and other gems from the Byzantine Era to discover.
Bordered by the Aegean Sea, Bodrum is another summer escape where you can while the days away at the beach. This is a city that caters to relaxation and leisure, whether you’re after fine gastronomy, water-sports adventures or five-star resorts. No wonder they refer to it as the Turkish Saint-Tropez. It’s not all about the glam, though. During your stay, take some time to visit Bodrum Castle or hop on a boat to the Greek island of Kos.
The Blue Lagoon in Olüdeniz 🔷
The poster child of the Turquoise Coast, The Blue Lagoon in Olüdeniz is pure beauty. From the sands of Belcekiz beach to the seascapes with blue and white waters, the Blue Lagoon is almost supernatural in its looks. Spend some time here and enjoy pure bliss at this bay of beautiful turquoise water and soft sands.
The best places to visit in Turkey
Turkey is a country with such a diverse range of landscapes, which makes it a must-visit on your travels. Whether you’re in the buzzy city of Istanbul, lying on a beach along the coast or are discovering ancient cities and villages, Turkey offers a little something for everyone and memories that will last for a lifetime.