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6 June 2017 / Lifestyle

Turkey, A World Famous Tourism Destination

Turkey is one of the most visited countries in the world for many reasons that combine together to present the ideal holiday destination. There is more than enough to see and do, from popular tourist destinations to archaeological sites and beautiful beaches. But it isn't just about beautiful destinations. Turkish charm extends far beneath the surface, and the country oozes an ambience that no European country can match.

This keeps local tourism industries going because Turkey hosts new arrivals yearly, and many repeat visitors also choose the country for their annual summer holidays. Millions of international visitors flock every year from Russia, Germany, the United Kingdom, and many more countries.  In fact, some tourists also buy summer holiday homes or property to retire and live here all year round.

The success of the tourism sector is also because of Turkey's vision plan that started 20 years ago. This plan aimed to elevate tourism to such a level that it became a major contributor towards the economy. Indeed, the success of Turkey’s tourism industry isn’t pure luck but hard work as well.

Although tourism took a dip during the COVID-19 pandemic, Turkey bounced back and is now the 4th most visited country after France, Spain and the USA. So, from European tourists to Middle Eastern and Asia visitors, let's look at why millions of incoming tourists make Turkey a popular global destination.

                                              Why Turkey is One of the Most Visited Countries

Turkey Tourism

Historic Sites Galore

Turkey's remnants of ancient civilizations span thousands of years and attract many tourist arrivals. From ancient Ephesus to surreal landscapes of Cappadocia dotted with cave dwellings and fairy chimneys, Turkey's historical treasures captivate the imagination of the time. The country's strategic spot made it a battleground for various civilizations, and they left behind an unparalleled tapestry of historical sites, including Troy, Pergamon, and Hierapolis, that today’s tourists love to explore.

The pinnacle of Turkey's historical significance is Istanbul, Turkey's bustling city that straddles two continents. Formerly called Byzantium and later Constantinople, Istanbul was the capital of the Roman, Byzantine, and Ottoman Empires. The Hagia Sophia, Blue Mosque, and Topkapi Palace are just a few architectural marvels that witness this rich history. Sure, Istanbul is brimming with historical sites, but don’t neglect the rest of the country because you could spend a lifetime exploring them all.

Cultural Sites and Diversity

Turkey's cultural diversity captivates tourist visitors with its geographical position and historical evolution. This amalgamation of influences grew into unique and vibrant cultures evident in the architecture, cuisine, and traditions. Cultural tourism refers to immersing oneself in a destination's cultural, historical, and artistic experiences.

It is easy to do this in Turkey, whether exploring a particular community or region's traditions, customs, art, architecture, history, and lifestyle. Cultural tourism goes beyond traditional sightseeing, aiming to foster appreciation of a destination's heritage and cultural diversity. This type of travel in Turkey can be both educational and enriching, allowing tourists to engage with local ways of life.

Diversity of Nature

Turkey's natural beauty is as diverse as the cultural tapestry. The country's landscapes range from pristine beaches and turquoise coastlines to snow-capped mountains and arid plains. Popular tourism destinations host millions every year, and all have one thing in common: fascinating landscapes, from landscape rock formations in Cappadocia to green plateaus in the Kackar mountains to ski and snow resorts of Uludag and Kayseri.

Of course, hot spot destinations also include beaches on the Mediterranean shores that host blue flag status. The incredible diversity of fantastic scenery means every holiday differs, leading to favourite memories. If you want spectacular scenery photos, Turkey is the place to head to.

Affordable Luxury in Abundance

Turkey stands out with the perfect balance between affordability and luxury. While visitors can indulge in opulent experiences, like staying in a luxury cave hotel in Cappadocia or enjoying traditional Turkish baths, living costs in Turkey remain relatively affordable compared to many Western countries.

The affordability of travel in Turkey extends to accommodation, dining, and transportation. Visitors savour delicious street food at a fraction of acceptable dining costs, and boutique hotels often provide luxurious experiences without breaking the bank. This accessibility makes Turkey an ideal destination for travellers, from budget-conscious backpackers to luxury-seeking tourists.

Istanbul Turkey

Modern Metropolises Brimming with Stylish Trends

Beyond travel industries, Turkey is home to vibrant and modern cities that offer dynamic contrasts to ancient sites. Istanbul's skyline, punctuated by minarets and modern skyscrapers, is where the past seamlessly merges with the present, and travel plans are forgotten. The bustling Grand Bazaar and chic boutiques of Istiklal Street coexist with contemporary art galleries and trendy cafes.

Cosmopolitan Ankara, the capital of Turkey, showcases the country's administrative and political prowess. The peaceful Aegean city of Izmir is a bustling metropolis known for its lively waterfront, historical sites, and vibrant cultural scene. These cities contribute to Turkey's economic development and provide glimpses into a progressive and forward-thinking outlook. Other recommended cities to visit include Ottoman Bursa and Trabzon, the gateway to the Kackar Mountains.

Hospitable Local Culture

The warmth and hospitality of Turkish people are often cited as critical reasons visitors feel deep connections to Turkey. From bustling markets to tranquil villages, local friendliness and generosity leave a lasting impression on travellers. Turkish hospitality, known as "misafirperverlik," is deeply ingrained in the culture.

Visitors are often invited to share cups of tea, indulge in home-cooked meals, or participate in local festivities. This genuine warmth fosters a sense of belonging and makes travellers feel more than just visitors; they become part of extended Turkish families. Hence, they return yearly, and many buy holiday homes or retire in Turkey.

Accessibility and Connectivity

Turkey's location between Europe and Asia makes the country easily accessible for travellers from various regions. The country's well-developed transportation infrastructure, including modern airports, highways, and a comprehensive public transportation system, facilitates smooth travel. With two international airports and major transit status, Istanbul serves as a gateway for travellers flying in from around the world.

Other prominent airports include Antalya, Dalaman, and Bodrum. Given that the country borders seven countries and has 7000 kilometres of coastline, Turkey is easily reached by sea and road. The connectivity between different regions of Turkey allows visitors to explore diverse landscapes and experiences within a relatively short period.

Cappadocia Turkey

UNESCO World Heritage Sites

Turkey boasts an impressive array of 19 UNESCO World Heritage Sites, each narrating compelling cultural and historical tapestry tales. Among these distinguished sites is the ancient city of Troy. This city enchants and reflects the layers of civilizations that once thrived. The archaeological wonders of Ephesus showcase the grandeur of Greco-Roman urban planning, with well-preserved structures like the Library of Celsus and the Great Theatre.

Cappadocia, famed for surreal landscapes, ancient cave dwellings, and rock-cut churches, is captivated by unique geological formations. Hagia Sophia and Istanbul's historic areas embody the city's role, transitioning from Byzantine and Ottoman influences. From fairy chimneys of Goreme National Park to archaeological Aphrodisias, these UNESCO World Heritage Sites collectively testify to Turkey's diverse heritage and enduring global significance.

Medical Tourism in Turkey

Medical tourists in Turkey have surged in recent years, drawing visitors from around the world seeking high-quality and affordable healthcare services. The country has become a hub for various medical procedures, mainly focusing on hair transplants, dental surgery, and cosmetic procedures. One primary reason is the cost-effectiveness. Compared to many Western countries, the costs are considerably lower, making Turkey attractive for quality treatment without breaking the bank.

Medical facilities in Turkey also adhere to international standards and are equipped with state-of-the-art technology and modern infrastructure. Clinics often provide comprehensive packages with accommodation, transportation, and post-operative care, ensuring seamless experiences for international patients. Positive reviews and success stories from satisfied patients bolster Turkey's reputation.

Many patients opt to recover in Turkey's scenic locations, taking advantage of the country's natural beauty and comfortable climate. This enhances the healing process and allows medical tourists to enjoy a rejuvenating experience.

Hair Transplants: Turkey has gained global recognition for excellent hair transplant procedures that attract many Arab tourists. The country boasts of skilled and experienced surgeons specialising in hair restoration, and Turkish clinics have embraced cutting-edge technologies and techniques, offering advanced treatments like Follicular Unit Extraction (FUE) and Direct Hair Implantation (DHI).

Dental Surgery: Turkey has emerged as a top destination for dental tourism, offering various dental procedures, from routine check-ups to complex surgeries. Dental clinics in Turkey maintain high standards of care, often employing English-speaking staff and internationally trained dentists. This encourages dental tourists to flock to Turkey for cosmetic dentistry, dental implants, veneers, and orthodontics. The comprehensive nature of dental care makes Turkey ideal for addressing multiple dental issues in a single visit.

Cosmetic Procedures: Turkey has become a hotspot for cosmetic procedures, offering various treatments like liposuction, breast augmentation, rhinoplasty, and facelifts. The country's cosmetic surgeons are renowned for their expertise and ability to deliver natural-looking results, and cosmetic surgery clinics in Turkey house board-certified surgeons with extensive experience performing aesthetic procedures. This expertise and commitment to patient safety attract individuals seeking reliable and professional cosmetic interventions.

beaches in Turkey

Tourism Infrastructure in Turkey

Hosting millions of visitors annually is okay, but you need to ensure they enjoy their travel and hotels, alongside the destination they visit. So, Turkey invested significantly in tourism infrastructure to accommodate growing visitors and enhance tourists' experiences, by improving transportation, accommodation, attractions, and services.

Stylish Airports: Turkey's well-developed network of international and domestic airports includes Istanbul Airport, Turkey's most significant and busiest, which serves as a primary international gateway. Other major airports include Sabiha Gökçen International Airport in Istanbul, Esenboğa Airport in Ankara, and Antalya Airport on the Mediterranean coast.

Transportation: Turkey's infrastructure includes an extensive road network, high-speed train services, and a well-connected bus system. Additionally, ferry services operate between various coastal cities and islands, facilitating travel across regions.

Accommodation: Turkey offers diverse accommodation options to suit various preferences and budgets. In addition to international hotel chains, the country boasts boutique hotels, resorts, hostels, and traditional accommodations like Ottoman-era mansions converted into boutique lodgings. Popular tourist destinations have witnessed significant investments in hotel and resort developments.

Historical and Cultural Attractions: Turkey's tourism is anchored in rich historical and cultural heritage, as seen in the preserved and promoted archaeological sites, museums, and landmarks. Popular attractions like the Hagia Sophia, Topkapi Palace, Ephesus, and Pamukkale are well-maintained and equipped to handle high volumes of tourists.

Natural Wonders and Adventure Tourism: Regions like Cappadocia, Pamukkale, and the Turquoise Coast have seen developments to support adventure and nature-based tourism. Infrastructure includes hiking trails, adventure sports facilities, and well-maintained natural reserves catering to outdoor enthusiasts.

Tourist Facilities: Popular tourist destinations have many facilities to cater to tourists' needs, including information centres, guided tours, and transportation services. Bazaars, shopping districts, and entertainment venues contribute to a vibrant tourism experience.

Cruise Tourism: Turkey's strategic location at the crossroads of Europe and Asia made the country famous for cruise tourism. Ports like Istanbul, Izmir, and Kusadasi accommodate cruise ships, providing passengers easy access to historical sites and cultural attractions.

Medical Tourism Facilities: Turkey developed a robust medical tourism sector, with state-of-the-art medical facilities offering healthcare services. Renowned for procedures like hair transplants and cosmetic surgery, Turkey attracts international patients seeking high-quality medical treatments.

Government Initiatives: The Turkish government implemented various initiatives to support and promote tourism, including marketing campaigns, infrastructure development projects, and efforts to preserve cultural heritage sites. These initiatives enhance tourism experiences and attract diverse ranges of visitors.

Digital Infrastructure: Digital platforms, online booking systems, and mobile applications heavily contribute to efficient tourism services. This digital infrastructure enhances communication, accessibility, and convenience for domestic and international tourists.

Turkey's tourism infrastructure is comprehensive and continually evolving to meet the demands of growing and diverse tourism markets. The country's commitment to preserving cultural heritage, developing sustainable practices, and investing in modern amenities positions it as a competitive and appealing destination for global travellers.

Domestic and Outbound Tourism in Turkey

Don’t just think it is all about international visitors, though. Domestic tourists also contribute heavily to Turkey's overall tourism industry. Turkish tourists often explore their country, drawn by diverse landscapes, must-see sites, and vibrant culture. Residents of Turkey often visit historical sites like Ephesus, Troy, and the Hagia Sophia, as well as cultural hubs like Istanbul and Cappadocia. The country's diverse geography, including stunning coastlines, mountains, and unique landscapes like Pamukkale and Cappadocia, attracts domestic travellers seeking nature-based experiences.

Turkey's Mediterranean and Aegean coasts are popular destinations for beach holidays among locals, with cities like Antalya and Bodrum favoured locations. Local festivals, cultural events, and traditional celebrations draw domestic tourists, providing chances to experience the country's rich cultural tapestry. Significant cities like Istanbul and Ankara are business and conference tourism hubs, attracting domestic travellers attending professional events.

Turks also engage in outbound tourism, exploring destinations beyond their national borders. With increased disposable income, more Turks can afford international travel to experience different cultures, broaden their perspectives, and engage in cross-cultural exchanges. Turks travel abroad for leisure, seeking diverse experiences like shopping, entertainment, adventure, and relaxation in destinations worldwide. Additionally, Turkish students often travel abroad for educational purposes, enrolling in international universities or participating in exchange programs.


From ancient marvels that narrate stories of civilizations to modern cities that embody progress and innovation, Turkey offers many immersive travel experiences. The country's culinary delights, breathtaking landscapes, and genuine hospitality create harmonious blends. Whether exploring Istanbul's historical treasures, indulging in culinary journeys along the Turquoise Coast, or marvelling at natural wonders in Cappadocia, travellers find Turkey to satisfy the senses.

As the world continues to appreciate Turkey's cultural, historical, and natural heritage, its status as one of the most visited countries in the world looks set to continue. If you want to learn more, our blog about Turkey talks about the destinations, food, culture, history, and living and buying property here.

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