Türkiye What to See and Do

Türkiye What to See and Do – Guide 2024

Things to see and visit in Turkey offer a travel experience in a country that, like a thin line, unites the worlds of East and West offering numerous things to do here. The imposing past of the Byzantine Empire has led to a present rich in traditions and cultures that give this country a multi-faceted face. From the Hittites to the Ottomans, every people who have lived in this land represents a fundamental piece of the magnificent mosaic of the Anatolian Peninsula . With this article, let’s discover together what to see and do in the country, to better enjoy every facet of your trip to Turkey!

Türkiye, Why Visit It

Thanks to the rich history of Turkey, and the various populations that have succeeded one another on this land, a trip to this country is perfect to satisfy the needs of every traveler. From modern Istanbul to the breathtaking scenery of Cappadocia and its fairy chimneys , among the things to see in Turkey we will find priceless and majestic archaeological sites, then arriving at the wonderful bays and sea of ​​the Aegean Coast . Visiting Turkey, a country that is divided between Western Asia and Eastern Europe, offers the discovery of a varied and fascinating culture . The various peoples who have succeeded one another on this earth, bringing their influences here, are those of Ancient Greece, Persia, the Ottoman, Byzantine and Roman Empires.

Among the things to see absolutely during your visit, we find the fascinating Istanbul on the Bosphorus Strait, such as the iconic Hagia Sophia and its monumental dome, as well as the interiors enriched with Christian mosaics. But also the Blue Mosque and the ancient residence of the sultans, the Topkapi Palace . But there are many things to do in Turkey and to see in this fascinating country, so let’s see them in detail in our travel guide!

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Read also: Trip to Türkiye – From the border to Cappadocia, a travel diary

Top 10 Türkiye What to See

1. Istanbul

At the top of the list of 10 things to see in Turkey , there is certainly Istanbul. This large city is divided into two areas, the European and the Asian. This contrast perfectly represents the ambivalence that distinguishes ancient Constantinople. In fact, we will find the contemporaneity of a metropolis that has nothing to envy of our capitals. At the same time we will experience the memories of the great Ottoman Empire . Here, the ancient walls of Byzantium, the ancient cemeteries, the mosques and the great monuments coexist peacefully in the context of today’s city. Hagia Sophia should not be missed among your visits to Istanbul.

Also, don’t miss the Blue Mosque, or Sultan Ahmet Cami, in the same district as Hagia Sophia. Topkapi Palace is also an unmissable place among the things to visit in this wonderful city of Turkey. Ancient palace complex dating back to the 15th century. Finally, among the things to do here in Turkey, don’t miss the true soul of Istanbul, the Grand Bazaar. One of the oldest and largest covered markets in the world, which includes over 4,000 shops. One of the most visited tourist attractions in the world, as well as being the ideal place for your souvenirs from Turkey.

Galata Bridge, Istanbul

2. Cappadocia

The Cappadocia Region must absolutely appear in every travel guide among the things to visit in Türkiye. The wonderful gullies and the iconic Fairy Chimneys will leave you speechless. During your trip to Cappadocia, we recommend not to miss Goreme with its open-air museum and rock churches, the Devrent Valley and the village of Uchisar. Without a doubt, flying in a hot air balloon allows you to enjoy breathtaking views of these incredible landscapes.

The natural beauty of these places is further enriched by the thousand-year history of populations who, to defend themselves from enemies, built astonishing underground cities: we recommend a visit to Saratli or Kaymakli. For outdoor enthusiasts, we also recommend a Trekking Tour in Cappadocia, which guarantees an even more direct and profound experience of this wonderful territory. Finally, among the things to do in Turkey, don’t miss a magical hot air balloon flight over Cappadocia.

a group of hot air balloons in the sky over a city

3. Pamukkale

Among the 10 things to see in Turkey, we certainly find Pamukkale . In fact, here you can admire shining white waterfalls that create an almost surreal context: this is why this place is also called the ” Cotton Castle “. Over time, the calcium-rich waters that flow from the hot springs have sculpted these grand terraces. Alongside this majestic natural work, we will also have the opportunity to explore the archaeological site of Hierapolis . Here, you will be able to discover splendid examples of Greco-Roman architecture in Türkiye. Absolutely among the places to visit in Türkiye during your trip!

4. Ephesus and the Aegean Coast

The journey among the 10 things to see continues with Ephesus. In particular, its archaeological site preserves the precious remains of the ancient city dating back to the Roman Empire. Among the points of greatest interest, we find the marvelous Library of Celsus , the temple of Hadrian , the theater and the temple of Artemis , considered one of the Seven Wonders of the Ancient World. The grandeur of this site tells of the enormous importance of Ephesus as a cultural center of the Mediterranean.

Furthermore, nearby, particularly in Selçuk, you will find it interesting to visit the ” House of Mary ” where it is said that the Virgin spent her last days. Finally, if you are interested in the archaeological sites of Aegean Turkey, we recommend visiting Didima , Miletus , Priene , Çanakkale and the legendary city of Troy .



Ankara is another stop that cannot be missed on your trip to Türkiye. In a strategic position on the Anatolian Plateau, Ankara has been an important meeting point between the main trade routes since the past . Over the millennia, therefore, its land has been a crossroads for numerous peoples who have written history. We will be able to better understand the great history of the region by visiting the interesting Museum of Anatolian Civilizations . Furthermore, we recommend seeing the evocative Mausoleum of Mustafa Kemal Atatürk , founding father of the Republic of Turkey who proclaimed Ankara the capital in 1923 .

If you have the chance, we also recommend a photo stop at the Tuz Gölü salt lake which is about an hour and a half from the city. Finally, you cannot miss the extensive and precious archaeological site of Hattuşa . Here, built on a majestic hilly landscape, you will find yourself in front of the ancient capital of the Hittite empire.

6. Bodrum and the Coasts of Türkiye

Bodrum definitely deserves a place among the 10 things to see in Turkey . It is an excellent seaside resort on the Aegean coast, which offers activities and attractions for all tastes. On the one hand, it tells us about its interesting past with the Castle of San Pietro overlooking the sea and the Mausoleum of Halicarnassus , also included among the Seven Wonders of the Ancient World. On the other hand, nature shows itself in all its beauty to those who decide to go on an excursion in gülets , traditional Turkish boats that will allow you to reach isolated and quiet coves . In addition, in Bodrum you will find restaurants where you can taste Turkish cuisine, clubs and shops that will make you spend pleasant and fun evenings.

This southwestern town is also in an excellent position for reaching some Greek islands. In half an hour by ship, you can visit Kos, for example. This proximity, in the past, allowed this area of ​​Türkiye to acquire Hellenic influence. There are other beautiful Türkiye places to visit where you can experience a relaxing beach stay in Türkiye. Among these, we can certainly suggest the Lycian Coast , of which the submerged city of Kekova deserves particular attention . We also recommend Marmaris and Ölüdeniz of the wonderful Turquoise Coast .

7. Il Monte Nemrut

In this article on the 10 things to see in the country, it is necessary to tell you about Mount Nemrut. First of all, the location helps to make this place unique. You will find yourself at the highest point of Northern Mesopotamia , among the peaks of Eastern Taurus . The work is completed by the sense of solemnity and grandeur that will present itself before your eyes. Here, the sanctuary dedicated to King Antiochus I of Commagene stands out, found in 1953 . This tomb consists of a stone mound on a base of three terraces that form the sanctuary, enriched by altars and gigantic sculptures with the heads placed in front of the rest of the body. It is precisely the direct contact with nature and its atmospheric phenomena that makes this site even more fascinating.

8. Lake Van and Mount Ararat

We cannot fail to include some records in our list of things to see Türkiye. Lake Van and Mount Ararat are in fact the largest and highest in Turkey respectively . Lake Van has witnessed the history of the most powerful empires that passed through Turkish territory such as the Armenian one of Ararat around 1000 BC, subsequently the Byzantine and Seljuk ones. In this enchanting place we suggest visiting the Van Castle and the island of Akdamar with the Church of the Armenian Holy Cross dating back to the 10th century.

Afterwards, we also recommend a hike to Mount Ararat on the border with Armenia. This mountain, closely connected to biblical events , is surrounded by a mystical atmosphere. Genesis seems to indicate precisely here the place where Noah’s Ark stopped during the Flood. For this reason, especially the Armenian people are intimately and religiously linked to this mountain despite the territorial borders. For those who love trekking, we suggest a Trekking Tour on Mount Ararat , which will offer a splendid view of unique and breathtaking landscapes.

9. Trabzon and the Black Sea Region

Trabzon is located in the north-east, on the Turkish coast washed by the Black Sea. The city has always had an important role thanks to its strategic position along the route that connects Asia to Europe . It is no coincidence that the legendary Silk Road passed right through here. We recommend a visit to Hagia Sophia , the city museum and Atatürk’s residence . Near Trabzon, we also suggest visiting the Sumela Monastery , an ancient jewel nestled in the mountains.

Plus, in the Black Sea Region , we can point you to other noteworthy cities. The first is Samsun , the place of important decisions by Kemal Atatürk that led to the birth of the Republic of Turkey. In fact, a museum was built here in honor of the Turkish founder . Furthermore, we also recommend making a stop in Safranbolu : with its traditional houses that will take you back to the elegance of the Ottoman past, the city has earned a place in the list of UNESCO World Heritage Sites . Finally, we have Amasya : here you will have the opportunity to stay in some historic homes dating back to the time of the Ottoman sultans, now redeveloped and transformed into guesthouses .

Sumela Monastery - places to visit in Türkiye - Türkiye places to visit
Sumela, the monastery built into the rock

10. Mesopotamia

To conclude, in this article Turkey What to visit , it is impossible not to talk about Mesopotamia . This territory of scholastic memory extends between the Tigris and the Euphrates and therefore includes the south-east area, on the border with Syria . This strip of land has seen the birth of the greatest civilizations that have directly influenced today’s civilization . It will therefore be inevitable to breathe in the thousand-year history by visiting some places. Undoubtedly, it is worth reaching Sanliurfa , an emblematic city for Judaism, Islam and Christianity. In fact, in sacred texts we find numerous references: Abraham’s Fish Tanks are a valid example. After that, you can continue towards Gobekli Tepe .

Some studies have shown that this site is probably the oldest temple ever found , dating back to 9500 BC . about. It is a building surrounded by decorated monoliths and built with huge circular stones. Then, we recommend you visit Mardin , a city carved in stone that develops on a hill, at the top of which is the old citadel. Reaching the top, you will have an exceptional view of the territory of Mesopotamia. Finally, you can go as far as Diyarbakir , a fortress city built on the banks of the Tigris and surrounded by three rings of black basalt walls and a wonderful historic centre.

Sanliurfa in Türkiye - Türkiye What to See - Things to See in Türkiye
View of the city of Sanliurfa

Türkiye What to do, the 5 experiences not to be missed

After describing what to visit in Turkey, we want to tell you about the unique and wonderful experiences that we think you should live during your trip to Turkey. We will take you to high altitude with the wonderful hot air balloon flight and we will write an indelible memory in your minds. If, however, you prefer to stay with your feet on the ground, we will propose a tour of Istanbul with which you will discover the true essence of ancient Constantinople.

So, let’s see together what the 5 unmissable experiences in Turkey are !

1. The hot air balloon flight

Without a doubt, a hot air balloon flight over Cappadocia is unmissable. All the details that make up this experience add up to leave any traveler breathless. From the indescribable colors of dawn reflecting on the gullies to the adrenaline of finding yourself at high altitude. From the incredible and majestic landscape to the amazement of being able to almost touch the tuff when the hot air balloon descends and enters the narrow valleys carved out by atmospheric agents over time. In these 50 minutes of flight , it will seem as if time almost stops in the silence of the early hours of the morning.

a group of hot air balloons flying over a rocky landscape

2. Bosphorus sunset cruise

Among the things to do in Turkey, we will certainly tell you about the Bosphorus Cruise . This is an excursion that lasts about an hour and a half and takes place at sunset . This moment of the day was not chosen by chance either, because it will allow you to enjoy the view of both banks of the Golden Horn illuminated by the pink light of the setting sun . You will see various scenarios passing by you which will further confirm the heritage of the city. During the excursion we will be able to observe the Yali from the water’s point of view , the typical wooden villas on the water’s edge, the sultan’s luxurious summer residences and ancient Byzantine fortresses .

3. The Whirling Dervish show

In our column “What to do in Turkey”, we certainly cannot exclude the representation of the ritual of the Whirling Dervishes , a Sufi brotherhood founded by Mevlana . Often, this show takes place in old caravanserais , decidedly suggestive contexts that nourish the veiled oriental atmosphere of a moment that we would define as almost intimate. In fact, during this dance, man tries to become the point of conjunction between the earthly and the divine world , accompanied by a hypnotic song .

4. Gulet cruise

The Gulet Cruise is another unmissable experience that we highly recommend. We think it is the best way to have the opportunity to enjoy the unspoiled nature of the beautiful Turkish coasts. You will be able to reach hidden corners that hold crystal clear waters , lush and sometimes wild vegetation. You can relax immersed in the intense green and turquoise blue that meet between land, sea and sky.

5. Istanbul Tour

Finally, we recommend a tour of Istanbul. This type of excursion will introduce you to the main points of interest of the city , but will also give you the opportunity to discover the most hidden and authentic sides of a fascinating and multifaceted metropolis. For example, you will have the opportunity to explore the two most important markets in Istanbul, the Grand Bazaar and the Spice Bazaar . Here, you can savor aromas, colors, foods and perfumes and it will be possible to buy typical Turkish souvenirs.

white and gray concrete building under cloudy sky during daytime

Türkiye What to See, FAQ

What to see in Türkiye in 7 days?

With a week at your disposal to discover Turkey, we recommend a trip to discover the most significant places on the Anatolian Peninsula. So don’t miss Istanbul, Cappadocia, Konya, Pamukkale, Ephesus and Bursa.

What to see in Türkiye in 10 days?

In 10 days in Turkey, you will be able to not only discover the most iconic places in the country, but also treat yourself to a few days at the seaside on the Aegean coast, in Bodrum. Or explore the country’s history with the cities of Pergamon and Troy.

What to see in Türkiye in 15 days?

With 2 weeks in Turkey, you will be able to easily visit the most important places in the country,
from Istanbul, Cappadocia, Konya, Pamukkale, Ephesus and Bursa. Finally, it will be possible to treat yourself to a multi-day beach holiday in Bodrum, relaxing on the shores of the Aegean coast, perhaps after flying in a hot air balloon over Cappadocia.

Türkiye What to Visit, possible itineraries

Now that we have told you what to see and do in this wonderful country, you can start planning your trip along the Anatolian Peninsula .

In conclusion, after having identified what are the things not to be missed in Turkey, you are ready to go !

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Read also:   CAPPADOCIA What to See and Do – Guide 2024

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