43 Best Cities In Turkey To Visit – 2024 List & Map

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Post author Nicky

Written by our local expert Nicky

Nicky, originally from the UK, is now a local in Turkey. She moved to Marmaris, Türkiye for love 12 years ago and is now your Turkey travel planner.

Turkey is not just Istanbul; the fascinating country Türkiye has many cities worth your vacation time. I have been traveling to Turkey for 15 years and still have not seen them all.

That said, here is a list of the best cities in Turkey I loved, from the Aegean Coast to the Black Sea and everything in between. I list what you can see and do in each of the top cities – and why you should visit each one.

BEST CITIES IN TURKEY TO VISIT

Here’s the combined list of cities in Türkiye, both in Turkish spelling and English spelling in brackets, sorted alphabetically:

1. Adana (Adana)
2. Alanya (Alanya)
3. Alaçatı (Alaçatı)
4. Amasya (Amasya)
5. Ankara (Ankara)
6. Antalya (Antalya)
7. Ayvalık (Ayvalık)
8. Bartin (Bartin)
9. Belek (Belek)
10. Bodrum (Bodrum)
11. Bursa (Bursa)
12. Ceşme (Ceşme)
13. Datça (Datça)
14. Diyarbakir (Diyarbakir)
15. Edirne (Edirne)
16. Eskisehir (Eskisehir)
17. Fethiye (Fethiye)
18. Gaziantep (Gaziantep)
19. Göreme (Göreme)
20. Isparta (Isparta)
21. Istanbul (Istanbul)
22. Izmir (Izmir)
23. Kahramanmaras (Kahramanmaras)
24. Kars (Kars)
25. Kaş (Kaş)
26. Kemer (Kemer)
27. Konya (Konya)
28. Kusadasi (Kusadasi)
29. Mardin (Mardin)
30. Marmaris (Marmaris)
31. Mersin (Mersin)
32. Nevşehir (Nevşehir)
33. Rize (Rize)
34. Safranbolu (Safranbolu)
35. Samsun (Samsun)
36. Sanliurfa (Sanliurfa)
37. Selçuk (Selçuk)
38. Trabzon (Trabzon)
39. Uludağ (Uludağ)
40. Van (Van)
41. Yalova (Yalova)
42. Çanakkale (Çanakkale)
43. Şırnak (Şırnak)

Turkey Travel Blog_Best Cities To Visit In Turkey

Türkiye is not just about beaches. Sure, the south coast is dotted with countless stunning clear-sea beaches, but if you assume that’s all Turkey is about, you’re missing out in a big, big way!

The authentic Turkish way of life is something every visitor should experience, and the single best way to do that is to head away from the beach resorts and visit a couple of cities in Türkiye.

You’ll experience the culture and traditions of ancient Turkish cities and enjoy the best cuisine. You’ll also see history in abundance.

Of course, Turkey is a big country, which means there are many urban places to visit in Türkiye. To help you figure out the best cities in Turkey to head to, let’s check out where to go in Türkiye for urban vibes, historical landmarks, and delicious cuisine.

Map Of The Best Cities In Turkey

1. Istanbul

Best Hotels Near The Blue Mosque -
Blue Mosque, Istanbul

Without a doubt, Istanbul is Türkiye’s most famous city, and not just because it straddles both Europe and Asia. Once known as the capital city of Constantinople, Istanbul is the busiest and largest city in Turkey. Of course, it’s not the capital city anymore, but that doesn’t stop millions of visitors from heading there yearly to experience that bustling Istanbul city life and sometimes mistaking it for the capital.

What to do in Istanbul:

  • 🚢 Enjoy the city view with live music and stage performances on this cruise with private tables
  • 🚶 Discover the Basilica Cistern beneath the streets of Istanbul with a guided tour
  • 🕌 Enter the magnificent Hagia Sophia, which is the world’s largest place of worship, built by Emperor Justinian in 532 AD on this tour
  • 🍲 Eat your way through Istanbul and sample Turkish delicacies with a guided tour of local favorite food spots
  • 🏰 Skip the line and enter one of the most interesting museums of Turkey – Topkapi Palace and the Balkan Peninsula with this ticket

 

Istanbul is a city like no other and is undoubtedly one of the best Turkish cities.

Firstly, it’s the only major city in the world to straddle two continents; half of Istanbul is in Europe, and the other half is in Asia! You cross the Bosphorus, and you’re literally in another continent entirely. Cool, right?

The other reason people head to Istanbul is that it’s packed with history. The buildings in Istanbul will make your jaw drop, but there is plenty of modern-day architecture there, too. History, gastronomy, shopping, nightlife, you name it, you’ll find it. There’s far too much to mention here, so let’s summarize it.

What To See

Everything! The problem with Istanbul is that it’s so big and hectic. This is one of the biggest cities in Türkiye, Europe, and the world. That means you can’t get to see everything in the space of one visit.

So, you have to shortlist the must-visit spots for you. Everyone is different, but if I had to recommend a few places, I’d say Dolmabahce Palace, Blue Mosque, Hagia Sofia, Grand Bazaar, Basilica Cistern, and Topkapi Palace. All of those are among the top sights to see in Turkey.

Those are the most famous spots, but make sure you head to Taksim for shopping and nightlife, visit Cevahir Mall for major credit card shopping damage, and stop by Besiktas for some of the best (and cheapest) food around. Oh, and if you want a beachside vibe, head to upmarket Bebek for waterside chills and seafood.

When To Go

You can go to Istanbul any time of year, but bear in mind that the heat can make the crowds very difficult to deal with during the summer months!

Istanbul doesn’t reach the scorching temperatures that the south coast hits. Still, it can be hot indeed, and during July and August, temperatures hit 30 or more regularly.

Winter is the most popular time to visit, and the potential for snow makes the landscapes simply beautiful.

However, Istanbul can be very cold and wet during the winter too. You have to put up with whatever weather Istanbul throws at you, but you’ll be so busy enjoying yourself that you won’t notice.

How To Get There

There are direct flights from almost all major cities via a range of airlines. If you’re already in Türkiye and want to head to Istanbul for a few days, you can take an internal flight with Sun Direct, Pegasus, or Turkish Airlines or take the bus.

Pamukkale and Kamil Koc are two of the most popular, but do remember that you’re looking at around 12 hours on the bus from the south coast to Istanbul compared to 1 hour on the plane!

2. Ankara

Things to do in Ankara Turkey - Ankara and Kocatepe Mosque

Ankara is Turkey’s capital city, second largest city, and symbol of modern Turkey.

Located in the center of the country, this is where you’ll find the main government buildings, a large amount of history, and a very traditional vibe.

For those who want to experience authentic Turkish life and see one of the major cities in Türkiye, a visit to Ankara is a must.

Many tourists avoid Ankara and stick to Istanbul, but that’s a mistake because the capital is a great place to experience. This sophisticated modern city also has a fun side, and you’ll find some great restaurants and nightlife spots, too.

What To See

Without a doubt, a visit to Anitkabir is a must. This is the mausoleum of Ataturk. The founder of the Republic of Turkey, Mustafa Kemal Atatürk, was the first president of Türkiye.

It is enormous, so make sure you take time to appreciate its stunning beauty while also understanding that it is a bustling place too. When it comes to Turkish history, this is one of the best places in Türkiye to visit.

The other spots to head to are the Museum of Anatolian Civilizations, Ankara Castle, and the beautiful Kocatepe Mosque. Don’t forget to make dinner reservations at Ankara Atakule, a massive communications tower with a top-quality restaurant – dinner with a view!

Book your private Ankara tour with a local here!

 

When To Go

Ankara is another one of those famous cities in Turkey you can visit at any time, but during the winter months, you can expect snow, and sometimes lots of it.

The central part of Türkiye can become very cold during the winter, so perhaps the shoulder months of April and May or October and November would be a better option. The summer isn’t the wrong time to visit, but it can be pretty hot without any sea breeze to cool you down for many miles.

How To Get There

Ankara is connected to most major cities via direct flights, and even if you can’t get a direct flight, you can always fly to Istanbul and then connect via domestic flight.

Again, long-distance bus networks within Turkey are an excellent way to get to the capital. Remember that the journey can be long – you’re looking at around 7 hours from Istanbul to Ankara.

Alternatively, consider taking the Istanbul to Ankara train!

3. Izmir

Things to do in Izmir Turkey
Izmir Clock Tower at twilight at the Konak Square in Izmir, Türkiye.

Izmir is often seen as Turkey’s second most modern city, which is home to a youthful vibe. 

Located in Western Turkey, with the blue Aegean Sea lapping at its shores, Izmir is a wonderful city to visit, and it has many beach resorts dotted around it too. If you’re looking for beach cities in Türkiye to see, this is a fantastic destination.

If you’re looking for shopping and nightlife, this is the place to visit after Istanbul. The city has a very young feel to it, and you’ll see students heading to universities around the city, dining out during the evenings, and enjoying time out with friends on weekends. The weather is also beautiful most of the year, and there are some vast shopping malls to splash the cash in.

What To See

Izmir, Turkey’s third largest city, is quite sprawling, but you should be sure to head to the seaside. Here, you can enjoy chilled-out days and evenings and even take a horse-drawn carriage ride!

The promenade doesn’t feel like it’s in the middle of a vast city at all, but just behind the beachside, you’ll find huge roads that spread all around the city’s reaches, to huge malls and beyond. There are countless places to eat, drink, and party, but if you want to shop here

d to the old bazaar, where you can haggle for your souvenirs.

Of course, Izmir Clock Tower, Konak Square, and Yali Mosque are all must-visit spots.

When To Go

Anytime! Izmir is a fantastic city to visit year-round, although you should head there between May and October if you want to enjoy the beach. July and August are sweltering when temperatures can often hit 40 degrees, but even during the winter, the temperatures are generally relatively mild compared to many other places in Europe.

How To Get There

Direct flights from most cities head to Izmir all year round. From Istanbul, the flight time to Izmir is just 1 hour. Again, the coach network within Turkey will also get you to Izmir from many other cities.

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4. Konya

Cities in Turkey - Konya, Beysehir stone bridge view in town.Historic stone bridge on Beysehir lake

Konya is located in Central Anatolia and somewhat off the beaten track for many tourists.

However, that doesn’t mean it’s not an excellent spot to head to, and it’s also a common drop-off point for people visiting nearby Cappadocia.

Konya is perhaps most famous for being the former home of Rumi, the Persian poet, and you’ll also find the Mausoleum of Rumi in Konya.

While Konya is one of the most conservative towns in Türkiye compared to other tourist spots in Turkey, such as Izmir and Istanbul, that means you’ll get to see authentic traditions here, and that’s what travel is all about.

What To See

Nightlife In Istanbul - Whirling Dervish_Turkey

The Mausoleum of Rumi is a very popular spot, and it’s also fascinating to learn more about the whirling dervishes. Head to the Mevlana Museum to find out more, and you might also see a whirling dervish performance at the Mevlana Cultural Centre.

Another interesting spot is the Alaeddin Mosque, which is beautiful in design and surrounded by peaceful gardens atop a hill with stunning views over the city. The mosque dates back to the 12th century.

Of course, Konya is also home to fantastic cuisine. You should 100% head to traditional ocakbasi restaurants and seafood spots to enjoy some of the finest Turkish food you’ll ever taste.

When To Go

Again, you can visit Konya anytime, but summers are hot, with cold and often wet winters. Significant snowfall can be seen during the winter, especially in December and January. April, May, September, and October are delightful months when it’s not too hot and there is far less rain.

How To Get There

Fly direct to Istanbul from most major cities and then connect to an internal flight to Konya with Pegasus or Turkish Airlines. The flight from Istanbul to Konya takes 1 hour and 10 minutes.

5. Bursa

Cities InTurkey - Bursa, Turkey

Bursa is a young and bustling university city that is also perfect for winter skiing! Bursa is around half an hour from the famous Uludag Mountain, which hosts some of the best winter sports in Türkiye. Even during the summer months, Bursa is a great place to head, and here, you’ll get to enjoy a more authentic experience compared to some of the more touristy cities.

Bursa, the fourth-largest city in Turkey, is famed for being the first capital of the Ottoman Empire and is now a green city with countless parks and open spaces, which is refreshing for a large city. Some charming small coastal towns also surround it, so you can easily extend your exploration a little.

What To See

Uludag Mountain is simply beautiful, and you should undoubtedly head there, even if you’re not considering skiing! During the summer, there are walking and climbing trails available. Uludag Teleferik is also considered the longest aerial tramway in Europe and will give you some fantastic views over the mountain range.

Check out the stunning Ulu Cami, or Great Mosque, which dates back to the 14th century. The mosque is beautiful in design, and it has 20 domes.

Of course, this being a large city, Bursa is also fantastic for shopping, with Korupark Shopping Centre considered one of the best.

When To Go

If you want to ski, you should head to Bursa between November and the end of March. However, if skiing isn’t on your schedule, summer is an excellent time to visit the city. The city’s green looks stunning against the cloudless blue sky, and you can also head out to one of the small beach towns for a dip in the sea.

How To Get There

Bursa is just under 2 hours away from Istanbul by road (making it a great day trip from Istanbul!), so you can use the Pamukkale or Kamil Koc bus service to reach Bursa, having flown to Istanbul directly from most major cities.

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6. Adana

Traditional Turkish Adana Kebab or Kebap

Adana is located on the south coast, east of Antalya. Often overlooked by visitors looking for a beach break, this city is slightly more conservative than Antalya and other beach resorts. Still, it’s an excellent spot for those who want to enjoy a more authentic way of life.

Adana is located on the Seyhan River, and it is just inland. However, you can reach the warmth of the Mediterranean Sea in just over 15 minutes by car. You should undoubtedly check out many historical buildings around the area, but there are also many modern spots, such as busy cafes and restaurants.

The city is also the birthplace of the famous Adana kebab. It’s a bit spicy but nothing short of delicious; make sure you try the authentic recipe while you’re in the city. You must try this meat dish while in Turkey, which you’ll become instantly addicted to.

What To See

Be sure to wear your walking shoes, as Adana has plenty to see. Stone Bridge is a great starting point, a bridge built in Roman times and the beautiful Sabanci Merkez Mosque. The mosque has six minarets and sits in a stunning waterfront location.

On the other hand, City Park is a great place to enjoy a little people-watching, while Seyhan Dam is a pleasant spot to escape the city and enjoy peace. Ataturk Museum and Ataturk Park are also must-visits when in the area.

While there, the place to stop is the famous Roman-era harbor known as the “ancient harbor of Phaselis.”

Phaselis is an ancient Lycian city located in the province of Antalya. The city boasts three harbors: the Northern Harbor, the Battle Harbor, and the Protected (Sun) Harbor. Of these, the Northern Harbor was the most important during Roman times. The ruins of Phaselis offer a glimpse into its rich history, including Roman baths, agoras, and a theater, among other structures. The site is surrounded by beautiful beaches, making it a popular spot for its historical value and natural beauty.

When To Go

Adana is an excellent spot to visit regardless of the time of year, although again, during the summer, it can be sweltering indeed. During the winter, you’ll find relatively mind temperatures but more in the way of rain. It’s not unusual to reach the high 30s regularly throughout the peak summer months.

How To Get There

Flying direct to Istanbul is the best option here, and as before, there are many direct flights to Istanbul from most cities. You can then connect via domestic flight, which will take 1 hour and 30 minutes.

7. Antalya

What To See In Antalya - Waterfall Duden at Antalya, Turkey

Antalya is one of Türkiye’s most visited spots and one of Turkey’s best destinations. This is also where most tourists will head if they intend to stay in one of the Antalya Province beach resorts, such as Kas, Lara Beach, Alanya, Kemer, Side, etc. However, Antalya is a city in its own right, packed with history, beauty, and plentiful modern-day amenities.

Located along the Mediterranean coast, the city has soaring mountains to one side and the impossible blue of the sea to the other. It’s worth heading out to one of the smaller beach resorts during your stay, although Antalya has some beautiful beaches and incredible natural wonders within very close reach.

So, if you’re looking for the best place to holiday in Turkey with beaches, it doesn’t get much better than beautiful, sunny Antalya.

What To See

In the city itself, you’re spoiled for choice. Duden Waterfalls are just a few minutes from the airport, and the dramatic spill of the water down into the sea is something you have to see for yourself. It’s one of Türkiye’s most beautiful, unique places to visit.

Hadrian Castle Gate is another must-visit, as well as Antalya Castle and Kursunlu Waterfall. Of course, the beach – Konyaalti Beach is one of the most famous in the country, and it’s a must-visit for summer fun!

Antalya is also an excellent spot for nightlife, shopping, and food. You’ll find some fantastic restaurants around the city serving traditional and international dishes.

When To Go

The good thing about Antalya is that it’s pretty mild all year round, although the heat does turn up during the summer months. If you want to swim in the sea, head to Antalya between May and the end of October.

However, remember that Antalya is one of the most visited cities in Turkey in summer, so crowds from June to September can be a problem. The temperatures are their hottest in July and August.

During the summer, the temperatures are very mild indeed, and although it can rain occasionally, your break is unlikely to be a washout.

How To Get There

There are direct flights to Antalya Airport from most cities throughout the summer months. However, during the winter, you may need to go via Istanbul. Flight time from Istanbul to Antalya is just 1 hour and 10 minutes.

8. Gaziantep

Cities In Turkey - Gaziantep_Zeugma

For those adventurous travelers who want to explore a couple of off-the-beaten-track cities of Türkiye, Gaziantep is the perfect spot. This city is welcoming and beautiful, with natural beauty, history, and many traditions. The food here is nothing short of amazing, and you’ll leave with a genuine appreciation for Turkish cuisine.

Gaziantep is located in southeast Turkey, and it’s where pistachios are farmed. You’ll also hear it called ‘Antep.’ Packed with historic and beautiful old buildings, this part of Türkiye isn’t where most tourists tend to tread, but that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t.

The issue for most is that it is closer to the Syrian border than many other Turkish cities and resorts, but it isn’t an unsafe city by any means.

For those who want to explore a different side to what they probably know of Turkey, Gaziantep will help you uncover what you seek.

What To See

Head to the Gaziantep Archaeology Museum to learn more about the area and ancient times; many artifacts have been uncovered in this very historic part of the Türkiye.

Gaziantep Castle is a great starting point as this will show you the whole city before you; there is also an interesting military museum inside. Zeugma Mosaic Museum is another excellent spot to head to, especially if you’re trying to avoid the harsh summer sun.

Of course, most people will visit Gaziantep to learn about traditions and try some famous food. Known for its gastronomy, this is one of the best cities in Türkiye to visit for food. It’s here you can try the very best of Turkish cuisine. Meat kebabs here are something else entirely, and be sure to try lahmacun, meatballs, and ayran, too.

When To Go

Gaziantep is very hot during the summer, and there is virtually no rain. During the winter, the temperatures drop suddenly, and the showers tend to arrive; however, there are often clear days in between. It’s not unusual to see an abundance of snowfall during the deepest winter days. Therefore, Gaziantep is best visited in April and May or perhaps late September into October.

How To Get There

A flight from Istanbul is your best option, like a bus from any significant Turkish city will take many hours. A flight from Istanbul will take just 1 hour 35 minutes.

9. Trabzon

Cities in Turkey - Trabzon - Sumela Monastery

Located on the Black Sea Coast, Trabzon is an overlooked city but a huge hidden gem. In the northeast of the country, you’ll see a completely different way of life from the rest of the country, although you will also get to see more rain here than anywhere else!

Trabzon’s black sea beaches are stunning and much less crowded than the ones you’ll see packed out on the south coast. Paradise Beach is also the best spot for sunsets. The city is mainly known for its high, green mountains, beautiful scenery, and anchovies. Yes, you heard right; Trabzon is famous for hamsi, a type of anchovy that is highly famous throughout the country – be sure to try some as fresh as possible!

In short, for a combination of beautiful coastal scenery, beaches, cuisine, and fewer tourists, Trabzon is one of the best Turkish cities to visit.

What To See

We’ve just mentioned Paradise Beach, but be sure to head to the mountains and have a proper Turkish breakfast amongst stunning scenery. In the city itself, the Hagia Sofia (not that one, a different one) dates back to the Byzantine era and Cag Megarasi, a cave network that is open to the public. Sera Lake is also a beautiful spot for nature, with pedal boats and fantastic restaurants.

When To Go

March to May and September to November are the best times to visit Trabzon. Outside those months, you’ll see high summers with a fair amount of rain and cold temperatures with rain during the winter. Snow isn’t unusual from late December into January. Humidity can be a problem during the summer in this part of the country.

How To Get There

A flight from Istanbul to Trabzon takes just 1 hour and 35 minutes.

10. Sanliurfa

Cities in Turkey- Gobeklitepe, Sanliurfa / Turkey
Gobeklitepe

Sanliurfa, often called ‘Urfa’ by locals, is in southeast Turkey and is a fantastic place to visit if you want to explore the history, food, and local way of life. Here, you’ll have a totally different experience than if you were visiting one of the beach resorts on the south coast, and you’ll meet wonderful locals who will be more than happy to teach you about local customs and culture.

What To See

Urfa is the birthplace of the Prophet Abraham and a city full of history and culture. It is also the former site of Edessa, the Byzantine city. You’ll find Gobeklitepe here, an archaeological site you can visit, checking out the neolithic monoliths that now have UNESCO World Heritage status.

In the center of Urfa, you’ll find some of the most delicious street food, and make sure you give cig kofte a try – the appearance might put you off, but it’s truly delicious and very healthy, too!

You’ll find unique architecture around the center of Urfa, and be sure to head to the Archaeological Museum to learn more about the area’s ancient history and Urfa castle.

When To Go

In reality, Urfa is an all-year-round city to visit; however, during the summer months (particularly June and August), the temperatures are scorching, and it hardly rains. You’re looking at 40 degrees during this time quickly and often more. So, if you’re not a fan of heat, perhaps avoid this time and stick to the shoulder months, between May and June and late September into early November.

Winter times can be freezing, especially at night, and it often rains and possibly snows on high ground. However, early December and early February are still relatively mild, so these are good times to go.

How To Get There

You will need to take a domestic flight from Istanbul to Sanlifurfa, or you could opt for the bus, but this will take you multiple hours – around 17-22 hours on average.

Check Turkish Airlines and Pegasus for daily flights.

11. Fethiye

Fethiye King Tombs, Fethiye center of the 4th century BC, carved into the rock tomb. The Lycian Amintas King Tombs were built in Ionian style and carved from a single piece of rock.

We may be cheating here because, strictly speaking, Fethiye is a large town and not a city, but it is growing at a fast rate, and you could argue it might as well have city status! It’s also a top spot to visit regardless of the month, and you’ll find relatively mild temperatures even during the winter.

Fethiye is located on the south coast, around an hour from Dalaman Airport.

What To See

you have plenty to see and do. This is the peak summer season, and beach time is a must. Olu Deniz is very close by, around 20 minutes away by road, and there you can see the famous Blue Lagoon and perhaps even check out paragliding – this is one of the best places on the planet for this rather hair-raising sport! It depends on when you’re going, but you have plenty to see and do if you’re visiting during the late spring and summer months.

Fethiye is also the start of the Lycian Way, so if you’re into walking and ancient ruins, this is a must for you. Saklikent Gorge is a beautiful spot during the summer months and will show you the very best of Mother Nature. Xanthos is a stone’s throw away, too – one of Turkey’s most famous archaeological sites with plenty of history and ruins to check out.

In Fethiye, the beautiful natural harbor is a gorgeous place to walk and grab a coffee; you can also take a boat trip or watch the stylish boats come and go.

When To Go

To get the best out of your visit, head to Fethiye between April and the end of October; however, remember that July and August are when temperatures soar, and there are likely to be more crowds at that time, too. June is beautiful as it’s not too hot yet, and the crowds aren’t quite at their highest point. However, the end of September and the beginning of October are also pleasant.

In winter, temperatures are relatively mild, except for January, when it rains and gets quite cold. However, during the winter, you’ll also find that the tourist attractions and spots are all closed until the end of April.

How To Get There

You can find direct flights to Dalaman Airport from most locations during the summer months, and during the winter, you can fly to Istanbul and then take a domestic flight down to Dalaman from there.

It is around one hour by road from Dalaman to Fethiye, and there are regular buses and transfers to take you there and back.

12. Edirne

Most beautiful mosques in Turkey - Selimye Mosque - Edirne

Edirne is located in northwest Türkiye, right on the border with Bulgaria. This is a beautiful city that is lined with essential and impressive architecture. Once the Ottoman Empire capital, this is where Mehmet II launched his offensive to conquer Constantinople (nowadays Istanbul).

What To See

Simply walking around the city is a joy, with plenty of old buildings and architectural types to spot. However, Selimye Mosque is a must-visit spot; the architecture here will bring tears to your eyes, such is its beauty, and it’s also famed as one of the most beautiful historic mosques designed by Sinan, the famous architect from Ottoman times.

Because Edirne was such an important city during the Ottoman Empire, you’ll see countless buildings and historical monuments to check out. The Old Town is undoubtedly a spot to explore, and you can taste local delicacies here too. The waterside area is also beautiful, especially during the spring and summer.

You should also think about hiring a car and getting out into the local countryside as there are some amazing spots to visit, with colorful fields of sunflowers and grapevines. Iğneada Floodplain Forests National Park and Kurşunlugerme Aqueduct should also be on your visit list.

When To Go

It’s possible to visit Edirne at any time of the year; however, remember that December and January are pretty cold, and it can rain quite a lot at this time of year.

The peak summer months of July and August are pretty hot here, but not as hot as on the south coast, so perhaps June to early July and September and October would be good choices for you.

How To Get There 

If you are visiting from Bulgaria, you will cross the border (known as Kapıkule on the Turkish side), and then the city center is around half an hour away by road. Check out visa requirements for your country of origin if you plan to do this.

The other option is to fly into Istanbul and then take the bus to Edirne, which is around 3.5 hours by road. It makes for a great day trip from Istanbul!

13. Bodrum

Sailing Turkish Coast - Gumbet, Bodrum, Turkey
Bodrum

Located on the southwest coast, the resort city of Bodrum has become a glittering destination for the rich and famous over the last few years. Still, even if you’re not swimming in cash, this town is a stunning place to visit during the summer months in particular.

What To See

Bodrum Castle and the Museum of Underwater Archaeology are must-visits in the area, and the views from the castle are stunning.

The promenade is a great spot to enjoy a romantic walk and definitely a top spot for sunsets.

Bodrum is known for its food, and some amazing restaurants are around the area. The most expensive are around the waterfront, but if you head back a little, you’ll find the smaller restaurants that locals visit, offering cheaper prices and more authentic food.

Bitez Beach is the place to go for beach time, with plenty of opportunities to laze on the sand. You can enjoy watersports, and there are many dive spots around Bodrum, with some for beginners, going all the way up to more experienced areas to see some of the most diverse marine life.

When To Go

While Bodrum is a year-round destination in some ways, it’s more of a summer spot. In the winter months, many of the tourist bars and restaurants will close until the following April, and while some places stay open 12 months of the year, it’s more limited.

The weather is amazing during the summer, but if you’re not into extremely high temperatures and have zero chance of rain, avoid the end of June to the beginning of September. May and the end of September into October are delightful times to visit, with still very warm temperatures but less humidity and fewer crowds.

How To Get There

Bodrum has its own airport, accepting international and domestic flights. The city is also connected to the rest of the country via long-distance buses, and it is only a 3-hour drive from Izmir.

14. Canakkale

Day Trips From Istanbul - Try Canakkale Troy Horse Turkey

Many people think that the Battle of Troy took place in Greece, and back in those days, it did. However, that area is the Turkish mainland, known as the city of Canakkale.

If you saw the film Troy with Eric Bana, Orlando Bloom, and Brad Pitt, you’ll have seen the famous wooden Trojan horse – that can be seen in Canakkale. It’s a major pull for tourists, but the area is beautiful regardless of that. Lapped by the waters of the Aegean, Canakkale offers a beach town feel with a more traditional vibe.

What To See

The Museum of Troy and the famous Trojan Horse are top spots to visit in Canakkale, but there’s more to it than that. Cimenlik Castle offers impressive views and plenty of history to explore. At the same time, Akbas Cemetery is a sad place to visit and reflect on the bloody history that has marred the area.

If you want beach time, head to Kabatepe Beach or Mitos Beach.

When To Go

You can visit any time to explore the history of the area, but if you want beach time, it’s best to visit between May and October.

How To Get There

Canakkale is a bus ride away from Istanbul, with the journey taking around 3 hours and 40 minutes. You can drive by following the E84 and O-6 roads.

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15. Kusadasi

Kusadasi - Aegean Coast Turkey

Kusadasi is a port city close to Izmir on the west coast of Turkey, lapped by the warm waters of the Aegean Sea. The two locations are only around an hour’s drive away from one another, which makes it a great place to visit for locals on weekends or public holidays.

Kusadasi is known for its British-style entertainment, and countless large hotels are available for summer fun. However, it also offers a more local vibe if you head away from the main beach area.

What To See

Kusadasi Castle is a must-visit, which sits just off the mainland and is connected by a walkway. The views are amazing, and you can learn a lot about the area’s history too.

Of course, you might be after beach time, and in that case, Ladies Beach is the famous spot to head to. This golden sand beach is wide and sweeping; it’s ideal for families.

Families will also enjoy Adaland, a huge water park, or you could head off shopping at Kusadasi Market.

When To Go

Kusadasi all but closes down during the winter months, and while some things remain open for locals, you won’t get to explore much of the area. It’s best to visit between the end of April and the middle of October when the weather is warm and everything is open for the summer months. However, avoid July and August if you don’t like extreme heat.

How To Get There

The best way to get to Kusadasi is to fly into Izmir Airport and then take a transfer or bus, which should last for just over one hour.

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16. Belek

The Land of Legends in Belek, Turkey

Belek is a beach town in the Antalya region on the Mediterranean coastline. It’s a famous spot for amazing beaches, but it’s also known for golf courses and thermal spas. Belek is quite upmarket and small; however, during the summer months, it gets hectic.

There are many historical sites around Belek, including Aspendos and Perge.

What To See

  • Families will enjoy the Land of Legends Theme Park, packed with rides and attractions. There is also a nearby waterpark called Troy.
  • Belek Clock Tower is a famous and well-photographed spot. However, the area is primarily famous for its golf courses and beaches.
  • Carya Golf Course and Cornelia Golf Club are two of the most notable; however, The Montgomerie Maxx Royale Golf Club is another that is extremely exclusive. If you’re into beaches, make sure you head to Kadriye Beach. History lovers should undoubtedly check out Aspendos, with its huge amphitheater.

When To Go

Belek is a summer destination, and you won’t really get much of an experience if you visit in the winter months. For the best of the weather, I recommend May and June and the end of September into October. The Antalya region’s summer season lasts slightly longer than the rest of the coastline, often stretching into mid-November.

July and August bring scorching temperatures with high humidity and large crowds.

How To Get There

The best way to get to Belek is to fly to Antalya Airport and then take a bus or private transfer. The journey takes around 40 minutes, depending on traffic.

17. Diyarbakir

DIYARBAKIR, TURKEY - Markets

Diyarbakir is a little off the beaten track for most visitors to Turkey, but it’s an area that’s rich in culture and traditions while offering some of the best food in the country.

Located in the southeast, Diyarbakir is the largest city in that region of Turkey and is famous for its ancient city walls and exceptional natural sights.

What To See

The city walls and Diyarbakir Grand Mosque are two of the most famous sights to see, but the Cahit Sıtkı Tarancı Museum is also a great spot to visit.

You can shop around the city and find some great bargains, and also make sure that you try some of the local food as it’s some of the tastiest you’ll find in the whole of Turkey.

Diyarbakir Castle is a great place to explore history and take fantastic photographs, but if you’re craving high-street shopping, head to Forum Diyarbakir or Ninova Park Shopping Centre.

When To Go

Diyarbakir isn’t a beach town, so it’s best to avoid it during the peak summer months, as the temperatures can get extremely hot without any relief from a sea breeze. The winter months can be very harsh, and snowfall isn’t rare. Therefore, I’d recommend visiting during the spring or fall months, with April, May, October, and November as good times to go.

How To Get There

Diyarbakir has its own airport; however, most flights will go via Istanbul. You can fly into either Sabiha Gokcen Airport on the Asian side of Istanbul or the Istanbul Airport on the European side. From there, take a domestic flight to Diyarbakir Airport, which should take around 1 hour and 50 minutes.

Driving or going by bus isn’t the best idea unless you have a lot of time. The journey from Istanbul to Diyarbakir by road can take around 15 hours.

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18. Marmaris

Things to do in Marmaris Turkey
Marmaris

Marmaris is a very popular coastal town in the Mugla region. Surrounded by many villages and lots of beautiful countryside, Marmaris is a stunning mixture of blue and green, and during the summer months, it’s extremely busy, often with British and Scandinavian tourists.

However, over the last few years, Marmaris has become more of a domestic tourist spot, which means a more authentic experience if you venture off the main beachfront.

What To See

Spending time on the beach is a must-do, and Uzunyali Beach is a long and golden stretch that is backed by countless hotels, bars, and restaurants. Your sun lounger and parasol will be free if you purchase food and drinks from the bar or restaurant to which part of the beach belongs. However, I recommend heading to Icmeler Beach instead. This is just a ten-minute taxi drive away and offers a more chilled-out experience, with a wider beach area and a safer spot for children to roam away from the main road.

You can also take a boat trip around the bay, stopping at several islands and enjoying the stunning scenery. Jeep safaris head into the countryside, allowing you to visit small villages and take in sweeping views. Marmaris Castle is another must-visit while haggling at the Grand Bazaar, which will give you plenty of bargains to return home.

When To Go

During the peak summer months between the middle of June and the middle of September, Marmaris is HOT. There is zero chance of rain, and temperatures often hit 40 degrees or more. However, May and the start of June and the middle of September to the end of October are great times to visit, with still very warm days, cooler evenings, and fewer crowds.

Marmaris is very quiet during the winter months, and while some places do stay open, it’s more of a summer destination if you want the full experience.

How To Get There

You can fly to Dalaman Airport from most European cities during the summer months or from Istanbul on a domestic flight. The transfer time from Dalaman to Marmaris is 1 hour 30 minutes, and you can take the local Havas Bus or a shuttle/private transfer.


19. Cesme

A beach in Turkey adorned with wooden lounge chairs and umbrellas, perfect for celebrating the New Year.

Cesme is a charming seaside town located on the western tip of Turkey’s Izmir Province. Known for its beautiful beaches, crystal-clear waters, and historic architecture, Cesme attracts a mix of international and local tourists seeking relaxation and cultural experiences.

This town boasts a vibrant atmosphere, especially during the summer months, with its lively waterfront, marina, and bustling night markets. Despite its popularity, Cesme has managed to maintain an authentic Turkish charm, with narrow cobblestone streets, traditional eateries, and local shops offering a genuine glimpse into Turkish coastal life.

What To See

A visit to Cesme wouldn’t be complete without spending time at its famed beaches. Ilıca Beach is particularly popular for its expansive stretches of soft, white sand and thermal springs, which are believed to have healing properties. Another must-visit is Alacati, a nearby town known for its windmills and stone houses and as a hotspot for windsurfing and kiteboarding enthusiasts due to its ideal wind conditions.

Exploring the Cesme Castle is also highly recommended. This 16th-century fortress now houses a museum that showcases the town’s history and offers panoramic views of Cesme and the Aegean Sea. For a unique experience, take a day trip to the Greek island of Chios, just a short ferry ride away, to enjoy its distinct culture and landscapes.

Shopping in the local markets and bazaars is a great way to find unique souvenirs, from handmade crafts to traditional Turkish textiles. The cuisine in Cesme is not to be missed, with an abundance of fresh seafood, local specialties, and Aegean dishes that reflect the region’s rich culinary heritage.

When To Go

The best time to visit Cesme is from late spring to early autumn, between May and October, when the weather is warm and sunny, making it perfect for beach activities and exploring. July and August are the peak tourist months, so visiting in the shoulder months of May, June, September, or October can offer a more serene experience with milder weather and fewer crowds.

Cesme is quieter in the winter months, but its mild climate still makes it a pleasant destination for those looking to escape the cold.

How To Get There

The nearest airport to Cesme is Izmir Adnan Menderes Airport, which serves both international and domestic flights. Cesme is approximately an hour’s drive away from the airport. There are regular bus services and shuttle transfers available, providing convenient access to the town. For those looking for a more scenic route, renting a car allows for stops along the beautiful Aegean coastline.

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20. Van

Exploring geographical regions The Cathedral of the Holy Cross on Akdamar Island, in Lake Van

Van is an enchanting city situated in the eastern part of Turkey, renowned for its rich history, cultural heritage, and stunning natural landscapes. Nestled on the shores of Lake Van, the largest lake in Turkey, this city is a gateway to exploring ancient Armenian ruins, traditional Kurdish villages, and breathtaking scenery. Van’s unique location, surrounded by rugged mountains and vast plains, makes it a fascinating destination for adventurers, history buffs, and those looking to experience the diversity of Turkey’s eastern regions.

What To See

Exploring the historic Van Castle is a must-do for any visitor. This ancient fortress, built by the Urartians in the 9th century BC, offers spectacular views of Lake Van and the city. The site also includes the old town of Van, which was tragically destroyed during World War I, adding a poignant layer to its rich history.

A visit to the Holy Cross Church on Akdamar Island is another highlight. This medieval Armenian church is adorned with intricate carvings and is accessible by a short boat ride on Lake Van, providing a peaceful retreat with stunning views.

For nature enthusiasts, a trip to the Muradiye Waterfalls and the Nemrut Crater Lake, located within a couple of hours’ drive from Van, offers the chance to see some of Turkey’s most beautiful natural wonders. Birdwatching is also a popular activity around Lake Van, which is a stopover for migratory birds.

The city’s bazaars are vibrant and bustling, offering an array of Kurdish textiles, traditional crafts, and the famous Van breakfast, renowned across Turkey for its variety and richness, including local cheeses, honey, and herbs.

When To Go

The best time to visit Van is during the spring (April to June) and autumn (September to November) months, when the weather is mild and the natural landscapes are particularly beautiful. These seasons are ideal for exploring historical sites and taking part in outdoor activities without the extreme temperatures of summer and winter.

Van experiences harsh winters with heavy snowfall, which can add a magical touch to the city’s historical sites but might limit access to some attractions.

How To Get There

Van is served by Van Ferit Melen Airport, offering domestic flights from major Turkish cities such as Istanbul, Ankara, and Izmir. The city is also well-connected by road and rail, with bus and train services available from various parts of Turkey. Once in Van, local transportation options such as buses, taxis, and car rentals make it easy to explore the city and its surrounding attractions.

21. Eskisehir

Eskisehir, Turkey : Colorful Odunpazari District

Eskisehir, a vibrant university city located in the northwestern part of Turkey, blends a rich historical heritage with modern-day cultural dynamism. Known for its lively student population, Eskisehir is a hub of creativity, entertainment, and innovation. The city is distinguished by its unique geographical features, including the Porsuk River, which meanders through the city, offering charming canal views reminiscent of some European cities. With its parks, museums, and cultural sites, Eskisehir appeals to a wide range of interests, from history enthusiasts to nature lovers and art aficionados.

What To See

One of the city’s most iconic attractions is the Odunpazari Modern Museum (OMM), which showcases contemporary art within a stunning architectural masterpiece. The museum’s collection and exhibitions offer a fascinating glimpse into modern and contemporary art, both Turkish and international.

The historical district of Odunpazari itself is worth exploring for its beautifully preserved Ottoman-era houses, now repurposed as cafes, shops, and boutique hotels, offering a picturesque backdrop for a leisurely stroll.

For a touch of nature and relaxation, Kent Park and Sazova Park are perfect destinations. Kent Park features a large artificial beach and green spaces ideal for picnics. At the same time, Sazova Park, also known as Science, Art, and Culture Park, combines a fairy tale castle, pirate ship, and space house with scientific and cultural exhibits, making it a hit with families.

A cruise on the Porsuk River provides a unique perspective of the city, with several companies offering boat tours that navigate through Eskisehir’s heart, allowing visitors to enjoy the scenic beauty and vibrant atmosphere from the water.

When To Go

Eskisehir is delightful to visit in the spring (April to June) and autumn (September to November) months when the weather is pleasant, and the city’s parks and gardens are in full bloom. These seasons offer the ideal climate for exploring the city on foot, enjoying outdoor cafes, and participating in various festivals and events.

The summer months (July and August) can be pretty warm, but the city’s numerous shaded parks and river breezes provide ample opportunities to cool off. Winters are cold and sometimes snowy, offering a different charm as the city takes on a serene, picturesque quality.

How To Get There

Eskisehir is well-connected to the rest of Turkey by road and rail, making it easily accessible for visitors. The city’s train station is a major hub for high-speed trains, offering quick and convenient connections to Ankara, Istanbul, and Konya.

For those preferring to drive, Eskisehir is located between Istanbul and Ankara, with well-maintained highways making the journey comfortable and scenic.

Although Eskisehir does not have its own airport, the nearby airports in Ankara and Istanbul provide good alternatives for international and domestic flights, with bus and train services available for the final leg to Eskisehir.

Turkey Travel FAQs About Turkish Cities

FAQs ABOUT THE BEST TURKISH CITIES

What are the best Turkish cities to see on my first trip to Turkey?

For your first trip to Turkey, some of the best cities to visit are Istanbul, Cappadocia, Ephesus, and Pamukkale, each offering unique experiences and historical landmarks. 

What famous cities in Turkey should I see?

Some famous cities of Turkey that you should consider visiting are Istanbul, Ankara, Antalya, Izmir, and Bursa, each with its own cultural and historical significance.

How do you pick which cities in Turkey to visit?

When deciding which cities to visit in Turkey, consider your interests, whether you prefer history, beaches, architecture, or natural landscapes. Also, plan your Turkey itinerary based on the duration of your trip.

What cities of Turkey are the most populated?

Istanbul is the most populated city in Turkey, followed by Ankara, Izmir, and Bursa.

What are famous cities in Turkey from the past?

Some famous cities in Turkey from the past include Ephesus, Troy, Pergamon, and Hierapolis, which are ancient historical sites with rich archaeological heritage.

Cities in Turkey to visit with kids?

Antalya, Bodrum, and Side are great cities in Turkey to visit with kids, offering family-friendly attractions and beautiful beaches.

Tourist cities in Turkey that have to be seen at least once?

Istanbul, Cappadocia, and Pamukkale are tourist cities in Turkey that are must-visit destinations, offering unique experiences and breathtaking sights.

What towns in Turkey are the best?

Some of the best towns in Turkey to visit are Alaçatı, Kas, Safranbolu, and Fethiye, known for their charm, history, and natural beauty.

What are the best cities to visit in Turkey as a family?

Antalya, Izmir, and Bodrum are excellent cities to visit in Turkey as a family, offering various family-friendly activities and accommodations.

Most beautiful cities in Turkey?

Istanbul, Cappadocia, and Fethiye are often considered among the most beautiful cities in Turkey, each boasting unique landscapes and cultural richness.

What are the important cities in Turkey from the Ottoman era?

Istanbul, Bursa, and Edirne are important cities in Turkey from the Ottoman era, playing significant roles in the empire’s history and architecture.

Best cities in Turkey to visit solo?

Istanbul, Izmir, and Ankara are great cities in Turkey to visit solo, offering vibrant urban environments, cultural experiences, and plenty of major attractions.

Famous Turkish cities from history?

Ephesus, Troy, and Pergamon are famous Turkish cities from history, known for their archaeological significance and ties to ancient civilizations.

 

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