Top destinations of the moment in Europe
  • Tour Ideas
Trip Types
  • Travel Style
  • Interests and Activities
  • Tour Ideas by Month
  • Continents and Regions
An update from Evaneos

Best places to visit in Turkey

A huge country on the borders of Europe, Turkey is the door to the East; it is a fascinating country of ancient cultures. The centre of the Ottoman Empire, it was proclaimed a republic in 1923 and Atatürk, its first president, guided the country towards secularity and growth. In 2002, the moderate Islamic party Justice and Development Party (AK) obtained the majority vote in parliament and pursued the economic development of the country.

Travelling in Turkey presents no major risks. However, given the events on the Syrian border, you should make enquiries at the Foreign Office in London, especially if you wish to visit the Eastern Anatolia Region or the Southeastern Anatolia Region. These regions are home to very beautiful cities that have a wealth of cultural heritage, such as Gaziantep and Sanliurfa, and let's not forget Ishak Pasha Palace and Lake Van.

Above all, don't leave Turkey before exploring the wonders of Istanbul. Take the time to soak up the exuberant, warm atmosphere of the megalopolis. Discover Taksim Square—a popular venue for protests—and then visit the Hagia Sophia, the Blue Mosque (Sultan Ahmed Cami Mosque), and the Topkapi Palace. Go and have tea on the Galata Bridge and cross the Bosphorus on one of the many steamers to reach the eastern coast. From there, you can easily enjoy the beaches along the Black Sea on the country's northern coastline; they are very popular with the region's inhabitants.

Situated inland, the capital city of Ankara holds little interest for tourists if it is not on their way to Cappadocia, where you can find "fairy chimneys" or hoodoos and other cave churches in the Göreme National Park.

Still on the huge plateau, explore Konya, the country's most conservative city. Plan to arrive on Saturday to enjoy the Mevlevi Order's ceremony: the whirling dervishes. When you set off again, visit the underground towns and the very pretty Ihlara Valley with its cave churches at the back of a canyon.

Make the most of the mild climate by the Mediterranean Sea to walk along the Lycian coast and explore magnificent towns like Demre or Izmir. Visit Nemrut Dağı, where the last Hellenistic king ordered a temple built, or Ephesus, unless you prefer a less-frequented site like Pergamon. Don't forget the region's natural wonders either, especially the magnificent Pamukkale.

The western peninsula of Asia, Anatolia is the main part of Turkey.
Ani (Turkey)
Ani is an unusual site. The ruins of the medieval capital of Armenia are today within the borders of Turkey, separated by an Armenian canyon which they dispute. On the site, eloquent ruins of churches, mosques and palaces.
Antakya is situated in the province of Hatay, on the border of Syria. This is a city with a long and rich history; you will not believe your ears when you listen to all the things you are told about it!
One of the best preserved and least visited sites in the country, Pergamon should definitely be on your Turkish itinerary.
The Princes' Islands comprises of 9 islands, situated to the south of Istanbul, in the Marmara Sea. The biggest and most beautiful is Büyükada. Lots of Istanbul residents have summer homes on the island.
Cinarcik is a popular coastal city located off the Marmara Sea.
Datça (Turkey)
A must if you are going to Bodrum, Datça is a peninsula in the Mugla province to the south of Turkey. It's close to the big touristy towns and borders the Mediterranean Sea.
Demre (Turkey)
An ancient Lycian city, Demre (also known as Myra or Kale) still retains its ancient treasures.
Considered as the capital of Turkish Kurdistan, Diyarbakir is a very beautiful city overlooking the Tigris Valley and encircled by walls dating from the Roman Empire.
A frontier town on the eastern edge of Turkey, Dogubeyazit benefits from amazing views of Mount Ararat.
The pretty town of Eğirdir is located in Turkey's Lakes Region and stands on a narrow peninsula surrounded by impressive natural scenery. Lying on the road between Cappadocia and Pamukkale, it is an ideal place to spend a relaxing break
Magnificent landscapes classified as a World Heritage site by UNESCO.
The greatest Christian monument until the capture of Constantinople by Fatih Sultan Mehmet in 1453. Hagia Sophia then became a mosque, then a museum.
A must-see. This city is amazing and the perfect introduction to Turkey. It sums up Turkey's Eurasian heritage.
Covering 1.5km, Istiklal Avenue stretches from Taksim Square to the Galata quarter.
8 km south of Fethiye, Kayaköy looks like a ghost village, but is also an open-air museum.
Kizilçukur, the "Red Valley", lies at the heart of Cappadocia and is one of the scenic highlights of Turkey. These surrealist fairy chimneys and badlands – tuff formations ravaged by erosion and exhibiting a range of tones all the way from orangey hues to reds – are simply incredible.
Mardin (Turkey)
A must-see stop-off point during a trip to Eastern Turkey. Mardin is North of Mesopotami and is mainly populated with Kurdish people.
Nemrut Dağ, a mountain in the province of Adiyaman, is a UNESCO World Heritage Site. The last Hellenic king, Antiokhos l (69-49BC) built a temple and sanctuary dedicated to Greek and Persian gods.
Heavenly scenery between the sea and the mountains.
An amazing little Cappadocian town, whose development has adapted itself to its bizarre geology, Ortahisar is a marvel that's not yet on the usual tourist radar.
Safranbolu has the best preserved and restored Ottoman architecture in Turkey. 
Taksim is located in the Beyoğlu District of Istanbul's European side and has been the site of numerous protests.
It's an ancient Greek city, abandoned on a mountain.
Tokat is a large city in the northern central Anatolia region. It boasts a preserved district of the Ottoman period and contains a host of historical monuments: a fortress, mosques, madrasas, konagi, Greek churches.
A village, a lake and a valley of fascinating natural beauty.
Lunar landscape located at the centre of Anatolia, the White Valley belongs to the region of Cappadocia. The latter has been classified a UNESCO World Heritage site since 1985.
In this steep valley in Turkey, men and women hollowed out the walls to build the churches. A true explorer's path, very fun for children (big and little).
The Peristrema Valley differs from the large valleys of Cappadocia. It does not contain unusual rock formations, though it is nevertheless spectacular: a deep canyon with sheer rock walls and a smattering of rock churches. It truly is a beautiful place.
Van  (Turkey)
The largest lake in Turkey, Lake Van lies at an altitude of 1,600 meters at the eastern extreme of the country.

Best time to visit Turkey

See when to leave