5 Must Visit Destinations in Turkey
Anyone looking at destinations in Turkey for a family friendly, solo, couple or group holiday will be delighted with the choice. As the 37th largest country, vast landscapes include thousands of towns, village, cities, and coastal seaside resorts hosting tourists from all over the world.
Each destination also has something special to offer, making it unique and a niche specialist. Indeed, when it comes to holidaying in Turkey, you can be picky and choosy, and tailor your trip according to your lifestyle preferences and choices.
However, certain places are leading the tourism industry to new heights. Over 40 million people descended in Turkey in 2018. Some were repeat visitors, which is normal given the country has a knack of drawing you in with addictive vibes.
Others were here for the first time and went to the top 5 destinations hosting the highest number of tourists. Let us look at where they are and why they stand out as ideal holiday destinations.
5 Must Visit Destinations in Turkey
1: Famous Istanbul: The Best City Break in Turkey
Istanbul looks to reclaim its top ten position of popular world city break destinations. With an ability to blend old with new and traditional with modern, Istanbul always surprises and delights even the most hardened travellers.
With a wealth of attractions and things to do, diversity makes it stand out. Whether you want to explore traditional neighbourhoods, party in large, modern nightclubs or spend countless amounts of cash in boutique shops, it would require a lifetime to get to know the city.
First-time visitors should head to Fatih’s Sultanahmet district. Holding all the historical attractions that make Istanbul a top visited destination, it was the former ruling capital of both the Ottoman and Byzantine empires. Landmarks buildings include the 17thcentury Blue Mosque, Hagia Sophia, once the world’s largest domed building and Topkapi Palace, a large compound holding untold secrets from Ottoman days.
Heading over the Golden Horn, visitors arrive at new Istanbul. This revolves around the Taksim area of Beyoglu and Istiklal Avenue, the busiest street in Turkey. Here you can shop, dine, and enjoy endless choices of entertainment. Another recommended attraction is a Bosphorus cruise. Visitors can buy tickets with lunch and entertainment included, but budget travellers use the local ferry services to travel as the locals do.
2: Beautiful Cappadocia: A Fairy-Tale Holiday
To see Cappadocia with your own eyes is to witness Mother Nature’s power. Visitors often compare the landscape, dotted with fairy chimneys, and cave churches to the moon’s lunar landscape.
For centuries, locals carved homes in soft tufa rock, formed by volcanic lava thousands of years ago. These days, that theme has evolved into traditional cave hotels, which makes your stay super unique.
As an early centre of Christianity, hundreds of cave churches are the top attraction, but head to Goreme Open Air Museum. This collection of churches dating between the 9th and 14th centuries are home to marvellous frescoes depicting Biblical scenes.
Another top attraction and one putting Cappadocia on the map as a global destination is an early hot-air balloon ride drifting over fairy chimneys and valleys. Couples on honeymoon especially enjoy this romantic moment.
While the landscape captivates and wows everyone, also go underground into Derinkuyu, a maze of tunnels and rooms that protected locals against invading forces. Other top attractions include the green Ihlara valley, Zelve open air museum, taking a pottery lesson in Avanos and sightseeing at Uchisar and Ortahisar castles.
Also Read: Cappadocia travel tips: A guide for first-time visitors
3: Destinations in Antalya: Family and Luxury Holidays in Turkey
The Antalya region covering 516 kilometres of Mediterranean Turkey is the country’s second most popular tourist destination. Attracting many nationalities including Middle-Eastern, European, Brits, Americans, Indians, and Asians, a large city centre and smaller coastal resorts, each offering a speciality niche make up the region.
The feather in its cap is Belek, Turkey’s top golfing destination that hosts world championships and in 2016, the G20 summit. Five-star plus hotels also sell spa and wellness treatments for anyone looking to relax and destress.
Otherwise, historical Side earns its fame from ancient ruins and the seaside landmark of Apollo Temple, where urban legends say Cleopatra and Mark Anthony met in secret. At the far eastern point, Alanya, a fast-growing destination, also attracts many foreigners looking to live in Turkey all year round.
At the westernmost end, exclusive Kalkan commands respect for its large, luxury villas making the perfect base for a family or couple holiday. Don’t neglect the city centre hub though. Families would do well to look at massive all-inclusive, themed hotels in Lara beach district, that along with Konyaalti hosts two of Turkey’s best beaches.
Find out More About Antalya: Including destination information, shipping, nightlife, transport, beaches and more, this area guide has many hints and advice for first-time visitors.
4: Popular Fethiye: A Destination to Fall in Love With
Ah, gorgeous Fethiye. You can’t help but fall in love with the region, and its scenic landscape plays a large part in doing that. Backed by the Taurus Mountains range, and fronted by the blue Mediterranean Sea, natural landscapes that wow everyone include Oludeniz beach, the Blue Lagoon, Saklikent Gorge, and Butterfly Valley.
Separating into the main city centre, and smaller coastal resorts like Hisaronu, Ovacik, the already mentioned Oludeniz and Calis beach, such is Fethiye’s popularity, it also hosts hundreds of foreigners who live in Turkey all year round.
Fethiye, also a major Turkish riviera hub, plays a large part in Turkey’s sailing scene and attracts many RTW backpackers looking to complete the time-honoured Blue Voyage cruise from Fethiye to Antalya. Despite its large size, the slow-paced lifestyle will deliver everything you want and more.
5: Bodrum in Aegean Turkey: Where All the Fun Happens
Bodrum’s hedonistic atmosphere has lured holidaymakers for decades. A seaside, laid-back lifestyle is what it is all about, and artisans prefer the area for the inspiration vibes it inspires. As another destination excelling in diversity, it boasts of upmarket 5 star plus hotels to room only pensions for budget travellers, making it an all-rounder.
Bodrum also presents a wide range of shopping opportunities but is an expert at dining and entertainment, and a beachside and sailing lifestyle. To prove its popularity, look at the long list of celebrity and royal names who visit including Kate Moss, Beyoncé, Tom Hanks, Uma Thurman, and every year, someone from the Saudi royal family will drop by.
The name Bodrum refers to the main city centre but also the larger peninsula hosting smaller resorts like Gumbet, the British favourite, and upmarket Turkbuku, where luxury villas often sell for six digits or more. Out of all the destinations in Turkey though, we like rustic Gumusluk, a small village, disconnected from modern life, where we relax and soak up amazing Aegean vibes.
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