Best 20 Things to Do in Turkey

From extreme sports to gourmet tours; historical places to touristic activities… We’ve listed the best 20 things to do in Turkey for you. You’ll find any information in our article that you’re going to need while you’re planning your trip.

In vacations, you may be eager to do all the activities that you’ve heard of since you don’t want to miss any beauties still, this is unfortunately impossible as you have limited time. But we’re here for helping you to decide about what to do in Turkey! You can find the best 20 things to do in Turkey below. 

1. Take a Historical Tour in Istanbul

Istanbul, the house of the countless civilizations since the old times, has a huge background of history to dig up. The best way to learn history is experiencing it oneself and therefore, exploring the city of Istanbul feels like you’re travelling in time and teach you a lot.

The Historical Peninsula has most of the important historical places that you must visit such as Blue Mosque, Grand and Spice Bazaar, Topkapi Palace, Suleymaniye Mosque, etc. Arnavutkoy, Ortakoy, Kadikoy, and Uskudar are the other historic districts that you need to be on your list. 

Since we’ve talked about the most beautiful cities that you can explore in Turkey, you can have a look at our next article for a detailed Turkey route: The most beautiful cities in Turkey  

2. Take a Baloon-Ride Tour in Cappadocia

Baloon Tour - Things to do in Turkey
Baloon Tour – Things to do in Turkey

Cappadocia is among the most interesting places to visit in Turkey. The different shaped rocks that you see in there were formed by winds, rain, and volcanic eruptions and during the time people also carve them to build houses, churches and underground cities. Due to their bizarre structure, they’re started to be known as Fairy Chimneys in time.

Having a look at the unique scenery from the hot air balloons is a very popular activity. You’ll see both the spectacular landscape of Cappadocia and sunset at the same time from the balloons because the tours are taken place in the very early hours of the day.

3. Go Skiing at Uludag – Things to do in Turkey

Skiing in Turkey

Having a winter vacation in Turkey may be a great idea especially for the ones who love skiing. Since Uludag is in Bursa and close to Istanbul, it is one of the most visited ski resorts in Turkey.

After skiing, you can drink hot chocolate or eat sucuk-ekmek (sandwiches with sujuk) and take a rest. There’re hotels near the ski center so, don’t worry about finding a place to stay. 

4. Explore the beautiful plateaus in the Black Sea Region

turkey things to do -karadeniz

You’ll be amazed by the natural beauties in the Black Sea Region. There’re lots of plateaus in this region where you can take a deep breath thanks to fresh air unlike the polluted one in the cities.

  • Ayder (Rize),
  • Gorgit (Artvin),
  • Pokut (Rize),
  • Mount Sis (Giresun),
  • and Persembe (Ordu) are our top ones 5!

By the way, if you ever happen to go Rize, you should also visit Anzer Plateau and taste the worldwide known Anzer Honey which is produced from the plants in this plateau. 

5. Visit the Pamukkale Travertines -Things to do in Turkey

turkey – best things to do – pamukkale

Another one of the best things to do in Turkey is visiting the Pamukkale Travertines. The cotton castle is a preserved territory and enlisted in the UNESCO World Heritage List. Keep in mind that you’re not allowed to wear shoes while you’re wandering around so that the travertines can not be damaged. 

6. Buy a ticket for Blue Cruise in South Aegean Region

Travelling along the idyllic coast of the Aegean Region on yachts and boats is called as Blue Cruise. There’re different routes from Bodrum to Antalya but it really doesn’t matter which to take as all you’re gonna see is dreamy places.

Swimming in the flawless turquoise, exploring the ancient cites and eating the tastiest sea-foods make this cruise an unforgettable memory for you. 

7. Watch the picturesque sunset from the Mount Nemrut 

The site, which is currently within the boundaries of Adiyaman, was regarded as sacred for the Commagene Kingdom because of the statues and tablets situated there.

The enormous statues and the other remnants are preserved very well in the course of 2000 years of time and UNESCO enlisted the Mount Nemrut in the World Heritage List in 1987. The top of the mount is one of the best places in Turkey where you can watch the sunset in peace.

8. Visit the Lake Cildir in Winter

cildir lake

The second largest lake in Turkey, Lake Cildir is in Ardahan in the Eastern Anatolia of Turkey. The lake is mostly visited during the winter as it is completely frozen. The most popular activity is catching fishes from the holes in the ice. 

9. Explore the Ancient Sites – Things to do in Turkey

things to do in turkey – ancient cities

To expand your historical knowledge about Turkey, go on an archeological journey! The numerous ancient sites in the country make you witness the different periods of history.

In Konya you can visit Catalhoyuk known for its splendid wall paintings, see the Neolithic sanctuary Gobeklitepe in Sanliurfa, explore the Troy in Canakkale that is recognized for the Trojan Horse and lastly, you can go to Ephesus in Izmir where you can see the ruins of Roman Empire. 

10. Travel to Kars by Train on Eastern Express 

things to do in turkey -dogu ekspresi

In recent years, travelling on Eastern Express suddenly became popular and it is one of the best things that a tourist can experience in Turkey. The train leaving from Ankara arrives Kars in nearly 24 hours.

During the journey, the train will go through Kayseri, Sivas, Erzincan, and Erzurum (Be ready to take photos of the gorgeous views!) and when you get to Kars, your first destination must be Ruins of Ani!

11. Go Trekking Along the Lycian Way

If you are a trekking person, walking along the Lycian Way is definitely one of the best things you can do in Turkey. The starting point of your adventure of 500 kilometers is Fethiye, Hisaronu and at the end you’ll reach the top of Cedar Mountain.

You’ll pass through amazing places like Butterfly Valley, Kalkan, Mount Olympos, Goynuk Canyon, countless ancient sites and beaches along the Mediterranean coast. There’re also restaurants, hotels, and beaches on the way to take a rest, swim or eat.  

12. Get Lost on the Streets of Mardin

Travelling to southeastern Turkey will be one of the most extraordinary journeys that you’ll ever experience in your lifetime. And Mardin is definitely one of the best cities in this territory.

The imposing architecture of the stone houses, churches, mosques, and monasteries show corporally the cultural diversity of the city. Since the temperatures in winter and summer are extreme, the best times of the year to visit Mardin are spring and autumn.  

13. Go to Fethiye for Paragliding

paragliding – best things to do in turkey

Not only in Turkey but also in the world, Fethiye is one of the best places to do paragliding. You’re accompanied by a professional pilot as you’re floating like a bird above the Dead Sea (Ölüdeniz) and watch the excellent nature! The flight takes nearly half an hour and the prices vary from 450-750 Turkish Liras. 

14. Take Your Route to Kas for Scuba Diving with Caretta Carettas 

Aside from swimming in the pale blue water of Kas, there’s another activity you can do that is going to draw your interest. It’s scuba diving! Kas may be the best place to do scuba diving in Turkey with its 21 different diving spots. The Canyon, Camel Reef, and Oasis Reef are only a few of them.

If you decide to go diving in any of them, you’ll have the chance to see cute Caretta Carettas as well as the various kinds of fishes and plants! 

15. Visit the Paradise Islands of Turkey: Gokceada and Bozcaada

gokceada – best things to do in turkey

There is no need to think twice when it comes to deciding which island to visit in Turkey. Because the answers are always the same: Gokceada and Bozcaada!

The island where you can watch fascinating sunsets, Gokceada is also a very favorable place for surfing as the weather is always windy. On the other hand, Bozcaada offers many interesting streets that make you aspire to explore. We shouldn’t forget to say that the sea of Bozcaada is slightly cold but it’s totally worth swimming because it has very clear water shining like a crystal. 

16. Take a Food Tour in Hatay, Gaziantep, and Sanliurfa

Of course, we have mostly gourmet recommendations in our Top 20 Things to do in Turkey list. To go on a gourmet tour, you should steer to more east where the best places for having a feast are hidden! The first thing comes to mind about Hatay is Kunefe (a delicious dessert made of cheese).

The hometown of another luscious Turkish dessert, Baklava is Gaziantep and one of the best places to eat Kebab in Turkey is Sanliurfa. Needless to say, that you’re going to gain weight during this trip! 

17. Taste the Traditional Turkish Breakfast of Van

It’s a fact that Turkish people have a hearty appetite! And breakfast is the most important meal for them. You can observe that they prepare the table enthusiastically even it’s very early in the morning.

You can find various kinds of cheese, olives, and marmalades along with traditional foods like sucuklu yumurta (egg mixed with sujuk), menemen (a mixture of egg and tomato) and simit (a different kind of pretzel). If you ask what makes the breakfast in Van special, it is the organic honey indigenous to Van and their fresh foods.     

18. Don’t Forget to Drink Turkish Coffee and Eat Turkish Delight

As we speak of traditional delicacy, it’s impossible not to mention Turkish Coffee and delight. From the times of Ottoman Empire, Turkish Coffee is essential for Turkish Cuisine and the delight is a sort of sweet appetizer accompanying it.

Some of the best places to drink Turkish Coffee in Turkey goes like this:

  • Pierre Loti Cafe (Istanbul), 
  • Kizlaragasi Hani (İzmir),
  • Tarihi Tahmis Kahvesi (Gaziantep),
  • Corlulu Ali Pasa Medresesi (Istanbul),
  • Madam Dibek Kahvesi (Gokceada)… 

19. Explore the Vineyards and Wine Cellars Things to do in Turkey

Wine tasting – 20 things to do in Turkey

Whereas the best wine routes of Turkey are in İzmir, Trakya, and Cappadoccia, the biggest vineyard resources for producing wine are placed in the Marmara Region. You can take a part in the wine-tasting events, festivals arranged at different times of the year and expand your knowledge by visiting wine cellars.

20. Go for Raki-Balik at Your Last Night

20 things to do in Turkey – raki

The worst part of a vacation is saying goodbye and going back to your home. You can do it in a relatively pleasant way while eating fish and drinking Raki at your last dinner here. In Istanbul, there’re plenty of options but some of the best ones are Adem Baba, Asmali Cavit, and Balikci Sabahattin. Mimoza (Mugla), Trilye (Ankara) and Deniz Restaurant (İzmir) are among the other best ones in the country. 

This is all we want to say about the top 20 things can to do in Turkey. If you have any questions, please leave a comment below or contact us on Instagram .

20 Best Places to Visit in Turkey

20 Best Places to Visit

in Turkey

From east to west, Turkey has many extraordinary historical places, impressive nature and hidden beauties that makes it a unique country. So, if you’re planning to come here soon, you better check out the list we’ve made!  Here is “the 20 best places to visit in Turkey” list!

1. Istanbul, Historical Peninsula

Places to visit in İstanbul – Bosphorus Views

It doesn’t matter how many days you’ll spend in Istanbul; you have to put the Historical Peninsula in the first place on your “must visit in Turkey list”. You can easily reach the area by all mediums of transportation.

Hagia Sophia, Blue Mosque, Grand and Spice Bazaar, Topkapi Palace, and Basilica Cistern are only the ones that come to mind at the first step. You can make a detailed plan after reading our previous articles about Istanbul!

2. Cappadocia – Nevsehir

Cappadocia - Turkey - Places to visit
Cappadocia – Turkey – Places to visit

It is one of the most awe-inspiring locations in Turkey where you feel like you’re in a fairytale. Located near Nevsehir, Cappadocia is best known for its intriguing rock formations sculpted by wind, rain, and volcanoes over the years. These structures seem so magical that people gave the name fairy chimneys to them.

People also carves these rocks to build churches, houses, and underground cities. You can have an aerial viewpoint of the gorgeous landscape from the hot air-balloons if you like.

3. Pamukkale Travertines – Denizli

best Turkey destinations- Pamukkale
best Turkey destinations – Pamukkale

Enlisted in UNESCO World Heritage List, Pamukkale Travertines is a thermal spring in fulfilled with minerals. There are some mythological stories about the formation of Pamukkale but more reasonably, it can be said that they’re products of various chemical reactions.

The Ancient Theater and Cleopatra Antique Pool which are the remnants of the Roman city of Hierapolis are situated in the same area. Lastly, we recommend visiting the little underground version of Pamukkale Travertines, Kaklik Cave. It’s 40 kilometers far away from the original one.  

4. Ephesus – Izmir

ephesus – best turkey destinations

Ephesus, known for housing one of the seven wonders of the world Temple of Artemis, was indeed one of the largest cities of the Roman Empire. During its time, it was the capital of trade, cultures, and religions. The site is very significant especially for Christians as the House of Virgin Mary is located there. 

5. Duden Waterfalls – Antalya

Another touristic attraction, Duden Waterfalls are undoubtedly considered among the most fantastic natural wonders in Turkey. The waterfalls are actually a group of waterfalls and consists of two parts: The upper and the lower Duden Waterfalls. You can eat at the restaurants near the waterfalls and spend some time around. 

6. Oludeniz – Mugla

Oludeniz will steal your heart at the first moment with its unbelievable beauty. And even its beauty was proved in 2006 when it was chosen as the best beach in the world. As it has very still water, it’s named as ölü deniz (dead sea). Apart from swimming, there’re another activities you can do like skydiving.

7. The Ancient City of Aspendos – Antalya

An example of the well-preserved historical ruins of the Roman Empire, Aspendos is placed in Antalya. It was a trade center and had great importance during its time. Probably the most splendid remnant of the city is the Ancient Theater and it’s acknowledged as one of the best acoustic theaters in the world. Aside from the theater, you should also see Acropolis and Aqueduct!

8. Yedigoller National Park – Bolu

yedigoller- best places to visit in Turkey
yedigoller- best places to visit in Turkey

The park takes its name from the seven lakes (yedi göller) that it has. Even though the park is mostly known for them, you’ll surely be charmed by the huge trees and cute animals too. You can also go there for camping and embrace nature. 

9. Anitkabir – Ankara

The mausoleum of Ataturk, the great leader of Turkish people, is located in the capital of Turkey. After his decease in 1938, his body remained in Ethnography Museum until the construction of Anitkabir was done. You’ll see many citizens and authorities visiting there on national holidays and 10th November, his anniversary of death. 

10. Safranbolu – Karabuk

Being famous for its Ottoman-style houses may be drawing attraction the most, but there’re another touristic places in Safranbolu that worth visiting. Eski Carsi (a big shopping center), Cinci Hamami (a Turkish Bath) and Kristal Terrace (an excellent point to see the Tokatli Canyon) are only a few of them. Safranbolu is also among the places enlisted in the UNESCO World Heritage List.

11. Lake Van

The biggest lake in Turkey, Lake Van was formed as a result of a volcanic eruption of Mount Nemrut. You may see the remains of Armenian Churches and Monasteries all along the coast of the lake. The 10th Century Holly Cross Cathedral is the most recognized one. The four touristic islands on the east side of the lake are also popular.

12. Ayder Valley – Rize

Ayder – Best Turkey Destinations

You’ll find the glorious shades of green, fresh air and the tranquility that you are long for somewhere in the Black Sea Region. As an alternative travelling plan, go to camping on Ayder Valley and if you like extreme sports, you should consider going rafting in Firtina Valley which is accessible by walking from Ayder. Or you can just lie on your back and drink the famous black tea of the Black Sea Region across the idyllic scenery of the Kackar Mountains.

13. Sumela Monastery -Trabzon

Sumela Monestry
Sumela Monestry

Another important landmark in the Black Sea Region is Sumela Monastery. It’s a hidden temple situated in the amid rocks on Pontic Mountains. The monastery is dedicated to the Virgin Mary and according to a legend, it was constructed by two monks who are coming from Athens. You can visit this mystic place after climbing up long and narrow stairs.

14. Uzungol – Trabzon

Uzungol is used both for referring the name of the astonishing lake (Long Lake) and the neighborhood on the coast of it. It is one of the most visited villages in Trabzon. The scenery of the foggy mountains and lush trees resembles a paradise. 

15. Gobeklitepe – Sanliurfa

Gobeklitepe- turkey best places to visit

The first temple in the world, Gobeklitepe is placed in the Southeastern Anatolia of Turkey. As it has 12 thousand years of history, it came out that it is older than the Pyramids in Egypt and Stonehenge in England. The discovery of the area goes back to 1963 and it shows that religious services have been taken place since even before the settled life. 

16. Balikli Gol – Sanliurfa

One of the other noteworthy places in Sanliurfa is Balikli Gol (lake of fish). It is believed that when Prophet Abraham who is mentioned in the three divine religions, Islam, Christianity, and Judaism, was tossed into the fire the flames were turned into water and logs into fish. From that day on, the lake and the fishes inside have started to be regarded as sacred.

17. Mardin Stone Houses

Mardin - best places to visit in Turkey
Mardin – best places to visit in Turkey

Mardin has hosted many various nations since prehistoric times. The reflection of this diversity can be seen in architecture too. The stone houses that became the symbol of the city, are constructed for the aim of protecting against severe weather conditions. It is impossible not to be impressed by these excellent structures! 

18. Ruins of Ani – Kars

Best touristic places in Turkey- Kars

The site of Ani witnessed several wars and housed many civilizations throughout the history . The ruins of countless worship places, 40 churches, chapel, and mausoleum were found out there hence, the site is also called as “The City of 1001 Churches”. If you’re interested, you should see the site closely.

19. Harran – Sanliurfa

Harran is one of the oldest residential area of North Mesopotamia. You can still see the untouched artifacts in there. For instance, the famous Beehive Houses may be adduced for the city’s unique composition. They’re made of unburnt clay or mud since the city has high temperatures in summer. The city is also important in terms of science considering the oldest Islamic University (Harran University) is placed there. 

20. Gokceada – Bozcaada

Best Places to Visit in Turkey - Gokceada
Best Places to Visit in Turkey – Gokceada

Gokceada is the westernmost point of Turkey and therefore it’s the best place to watch fascinating sunsets in Turkey. Don’t forget to eat the famous sakizli muhallebi (mastic-gum pudding) of Barba Hristo if you ever happen to Gokceada. 

Another peaceful island in the Aegean Sea, Bozcaada is the second biggest island in the country (the first one is Gokceada!). The breezes of Turkish and Greek cultures can be felt on the colorful streets that are ideal for taking photos. The island is also known for its wines so, you can visit the wine distilleries and taste some. 

Bonus: Kas, Kalkan – Antalya

If you’re planning a trip in summer months, you shouldn’t skip visiting Kas. Kalkan is a touristic district of Kas and mostly famed for its luminous beaches. Kaputas, Patara, and Buyuk Cakil Beach are only a few of them. Fresh seafoods are also another important factors that make Kalkan attractive. You may try fish soup and octopus salad.