Turkey's cities offer everything from sandy beaches to amazing nightlife, Roman ruins, fascinating aquariums, and hot air balloon tours.
Travelers headed to Turkey can't miss Istanbul since it is the largest city in the country. It is also one of the most visited cities in the world, welcoming more than 13 million tourists per year according to Statista.
This city is Turkey's historic and cultural center, although not its political capital. It is a true melting pot of old and new as well as east and west. Visitors may choose to visit the many UNESCO historical and architectural sites located in Istanbul. Others may prefer the lively nightlife, exquisite restaurants, or traditional Turkish baths.
Some of Istanbul's top attractions include: The Grand Bazar, one of the world's largest covered markets; The Istanbul Aquarium; Miniaturk, a park set up as a miniature model of Turkey; The Blue Mosque, an architectural wonder with 6 minarets; and Hagia Sophia, a museum with gorgeous mosaics.
Ankara has been Turkey's capital city since 1923. Over the past hundred years, it has become an important cultural center. Tourists can enjoy fine dining, concerts, ballets, and art museums.
The Museum of Anatolian Civilizations is one of Ankara's main attractions. People can see artifacts dating back to the Paleolithic era through to the Ottoman period. There are exhibits from Greek, Roman, and Assyrian civilizations.
Ankara is also home to a castle dating back to the 8th century BC. Visitors can climb to the top for a panoramic view of the city.
Travelers hoping to fly in a hot air balloon or sleep in a cave hotel can live their dream in Urgup.
Urgup is located in the Cappadocia region of Turkey. Tourists visit the area to enjoy its gorgeous landscapes, peculiar rock formations, and enigmatic underground cities. For example, Urgup is a half an hour car ride away from Kaymakli, one of the most visited underground cities in the region.
Taking a hot air balloon tour is a fantastic way to take in the amazing landscapes of Cappadocia's Goreme National Park. To see the unique rock formations called fairy chimneys from the ground, visitors can visit the nearby Three Beauties or drive fifteen minutes to the town of Goreme. Here, naturally formed monoliths are interspersed among the houses.
People also know Urgup for its unique cave hotels. For example, Yunak Evleri Hotel offers guests the option of staying in a room carved directly out of a cliff face. The structure was originally an 1800s mansion, but now it's been repurposed to accommodate travelers. Patrons can also cool off in the pool after a long day of sightseeing.
It's hard to imagine a more romantic destination than the resort town of Antalya with its sunny beaches and gushing waterfalls. Of course, there's plenty for families to do as well.
When visitors aren't soaking up the sun on the beach, they can watch dolphins at the dolphinarium, go white water rafting, or scuba dive. Travelers can dine in beachfront restaurants on the Turkish Riviera or board an Agean sea cruise here.
Antalya's parks are spectacular and full of waterfalls. Duden Fall runs straight off a cliff and into the ocean below. The Upper Duden Falls in Duden Park is a peaceful place for a walk and a picnic. Visitors can see the waterfall from every angle, even from a cave behind it.
Home to the Antalya Sand Sculpture Museum (aka Sandland), the city also hosts an annual sand sculpting festival.
This city on the Aegean Sea is set up for fun. Backpacking students will love partying at beachfront nightclubs. Water parks, ancient ruins, and beaches will attract families on summer vacation.
Bodrum offers snorkeling and scuba diving tours. Divers can swim among dolphins and sea turtles. They will also get to explore sunken ships and planes.
Bodrum Castle, built in the 15th century, is now the site of Bodrum Museum of Underwater Archaeology. In addition to learning about Bodrum's history, visitors can take in the spectacular view from its four towers.
Nature lovers and history buffs will get a kick out of this Turkish town. Visitors can take a riverboat tour to see Iztuzu Beach, also known as Turtle Beach. This essential nesting ground for endangered loggerhead turtles is protected, but tourists can enjoy it too.
Just across the Dalyan river, visitors can see the ancient ruins of Kaunos. Here, people can experience the beauty and elegance of Lycian tombs. The ancient inhabitants of the area carved these structures by hand straight into the face of stone cliffs. The city, abandoned in the 15th century AD, also boasts a theater, Roman mosaics, and a residential quarter.
Exhausted travelers can recoup their energy to the north of Dalyan at Sultaniye's thermal mud baths. They can reach the nearby spas by taking the local ferry across the Koyceguiz Golu Lake. People believe that bathing here can improve the complexion and heal maladies.