Turkey is a truly vast country with such a varied territory that ranges from the sea to the mountains to beautiful cities, passing through valleys, rock formations, natural pools and much more.
Defining the most beautiful attractions and cities is not at all easy and yet, given that Turkey deserves several days, having few available, in an area of over 780,000 square kilometers what you would choose to visit
Here is a small guide for you on what to see in Turkey : cities, attractions and itineraries.
Main cities and attractions
1 – Istanbul
Always an obligatory stop for those visiting Turkey, Istanbul is particular and fascinating, with a long imperial history behind it. Its peculiarity is the position between two continents : the city is in fact defined global as its territory belongs halfway to Europe and halfway to Asia, divided by the banks of the Bosphorus river.
In the landscape of Istanbul the very high columns of the Hagia Sophia and the Blue Mosque stand out, sacred places with an impressive Byzantine style. Also not to be missed are the Basilica Cistern and the Topkapi Palace, but the most popular attraction is certainly the Grand Bazaar, the largest oriental market in the world .where to get lost among a thousand objects, colors and scents. In addition, Istanbul is very cheap, contrary to what you might think, for example you can find accommodation from € 15.00, you can eat for only € 5.00 and transport costs a few cents.
SEE ALSO : What to see in Istanbul
2 – Ankara
It has been surpassed by Istanbul in terms of tourism, but the Turkish capital Ankara is no less and still deserves to be visited. It has different characteristics from the previous city and is the ideal destination if you are fascinated by ancient history and music .
Ankara is in fact the seat of the Opera, the State Ballet and the Presidential Symphony Orchestra. The attractions not to be missed in the city are the Anitkabir mausoleum, the Museum of Anatolian Civilizations which exhibits archaeological finds from the Paleolithic to today, the Roman temple of Augustus, the Kocatepe Mosque and the Ankara Castle inside which there is a real and its own Ottoman village with ancient alleys. In addition, Ankara is famous for the production of angora wool and a myriad of handicrafts can be found in the shops along the street called “of the weavers”.
Ankara is also very cheap , for some things, such as food, even more than Istanbul!
3 – Smyrna
Also known as Izmir, Smyrna and thethird city in Turkey by number of inhabitants and tourist influx, immediately after Istanbul and Ankara. Izmir is mostly a place of industrial and commercial interest due to its port position on the Aegean Sea, but thanks to its historic center represented by the Konak district and other places of interest, many tourists arrive every year.
Also not to be missed is the Alsancak district, a small Turkish Italy, the Agora of Marcus Aurelius, the Church of San Policarpo, the Clock Tower, the Kemeralti covered market, and many museums, mosques, synagogues and parks.
Also interesting to visit are the nearby villages such as Filadelfia, Sardi and Laodicea which together with Smyrnaform the Seven Churches mentioned in the book of Revelation by St. John .
In terms of prices, Izmir also respects the economic standard of the whole of Turkey and here even the prices are even lower than the first two cities listed.
4 – Pamukkale
What words to use to describe the wonderful landscape of Pamukkale
In the southwest of Turkey there is a natural site that is a real paradise , with a shape that resembles a staircase, white and blue colors, and with limestone rocks and very hot waters thermal . After all, Pamukkale means “cotton castle”!
Visiting Pamukkale meansindulge in a day of well-being between the visit of the site and a dutiful immersion in the natural pools that can only benefit your health. The complex opens at 8:00 am and admission costs just € 10.00. The visit includes the limestone pools and waterfalls, the ruins of Hierapolis located in the park, and any muds for those who want to do it.
To reach Pamukkale the nearest station is Denizli, connected only to Izmir but not to the other main cities . If you want you can opt to stay a couple of days staying at an average cost of € 15.00 per night in one of the many family-run accommodations nearby.
5 – Bodrum
Bodrum is one of the main seaside resorts in Turkey, in the southwest. The strong point of this town are the long beaches spread over the two bays that characterize the area . On both bays there are many resorts in which a night costs around € 80.00 with breakfast and various services included. Here the prices of everything are higher than the Turkish standard as it is now a very popular tourist resort .
However, Bodrum is also a beautiful city to visit! The main attraction is Bodrum Castle, a medieval stone fortress included among the 7 Wonders of the Ancient World. Following the Museum of Underwater Archeology inside the castle where wrecks and historical artifacts are exhibited. But that is not all! Since Bodrum has beenbuilt on the old city of Halicarnassus , it still preserves the remains of many Greek buildings such as the Myndos Gate and the Amphitheater currently in use for concerts. And to make Bodrum truly complete is the crowded Cumhuriyet Street, also called Bar Street, on which there are numerous evening and night clubs. Finally Bodrum is the arrival and departure point of several cruise ships!
6 – Goreme and Cappadocia
In the famous region of Cappadocia, considered the most beautiful in all of Turkey , Goreme is a small village of just 2,000 inhabitants but with an incomparable charm given to it by its lunar landscapes, wonderful to the point of being defined as fairytale. It is no coincidence that the famous rock formations around Goreme are called the Fairy Chimneys! We are talking about the Goreme National Park, a World Heritage Site since 1985 and an open-air museum testimony of Byzantine life.
Although the main attraction of Goreme is the park, also famous for the balloon flights that can be seen in all the photos of Cappadocia proposed by each local agency, this village also has several churches and mosques such as the most characteristic Tokali Kilise carved into the rock. . But what makes Goreme truly extraordinary is its tranquility despite being a very popular tourist destination . As for the costs of a stay, the rooms must be calculated starting from € 15.00 and possibly the balloon tour at no less than € 180.00.
7 – Marmaris
From the rock formations we return to a seaside destination: Marmaris, on the Mediterranean coast! Also called the Turquoise Coast , this town boasts an enviable position in a valley between the mountains and on a long pebble beach lapped by very blue waters .
But Marmaris is also a great place to visit! Its streets are mostly narrow and steep alleys that give a sense of ancient to which are added historic buildings, inns and markets. The main attraction is the Castle of Marmaris , a stone fortress inside which is the Archaeological Museum and a truly suggestive panoramic point.
Also from Marmaris it is possibletake boat trips to the coves of the coast and to the nearby Sedir islet , or enjoy a day of fun in the numerous water parks in the area.
Finally we mention its energetic nightlife along Bar Street , a street full of clubs of all kinds, from quiet pubs, to discos, to live music. How much does a stay in Marmaris cost ?
It must be borne in mind that the prices here are higher than Turkey’s standards !
8 – Konya
Konya is among the ancient Turkish cities, another of those places that preserve history and culture. It is located on the central plateau, in the homonymous region which today is the largest in Turkey, but in Roman and Byzantine times it was located along the road that connected Constantinople to Antioch. From that time there are extraordinary testimonies such as the Mevlana Mausoleum, the Alaeddin Mosque and the Selimiye Mosque , built according to the Ottoman architecture of the 1500s.
In addition, in Konya there is the largest tropical butterfly garden in Europe with many species of butterflies. and tropical plants in their natural environment created especially for them.
Despite its characteristics Konya keeps onefairly cheap price standard . In fact, you can stay with an average of € 15.00 per night, eat with a few euros and move around with a few cents.
9 – Uchisar
If you have visited Goreme and are fascinated by it, then you should also consider Uchisar, just 5 kilometers away from Goreme, in the immediate vicinity of the National Park. It is a bizarre monument, a rocky fortress 60 meters high , which in ancient times housed a particular citadel in tuff with defensive purposes, which has now become another important tourist attraction .
Inside, several churches and rooms carved into the rock have been discoveredand it is possible to enter and go through an intricate system of tunnels and alleys until you reach the top where a beautiful panorama awaits you, especially at sunset when Cappadocia lights up with warm colors .
To reach Uchisar from Goreme and therefore combine the visit of the two destinations, there are shuttles every half hour but some daredevils set out on foot and follow a path of about two hours, admiring the beautiful surrounding landscapes better . Furthermore, Uchisar is cheaper than Goreme and you can stay from just € 12.00.
10 – Antalya
Last, but not least, the city of Antalya, also known as Adalia in Italian, one of the most famous places in Turkey. Located on the southern coast, which overlooks the Mediterranean Sea, it is considered the pearl of the Turquoise Coast . A cross between East and West, between antiquity and modernity , this is Antalya. In addition to the beautiful beaches, you will find mosques and interesting museums.
In your visit to the city, you certainly cannot miss the beautiful old port, which during the sunset offers a spectacular and evocative landscape. And just behind the harbor, is the picturesque district of Kaleici. Obviously , miss out on walking around the Old Town, you will feel like you are stepping back in time. And finally, you will find several beaches ready to satisfy the needs of anyone, both those looking for relaxation, those on vacation with the family or those in search of nightlife.
Being the capital of tourism in Turkey , the prices and costs that you will have to face will be a little higher than the average of the rest of the country. For example, a room will cost you a minimum of € 40.00 per night.
SEE ALSO : What to see in Antalya (Antalya)
11 – Manavgat
Photo by HALUK COMERTEL. Manavgat is another city overlooking the turkish mediterranean coast from which it is only 4 kilometers away, a place where nature has given its best, in fact, it rises on the slopes of the Taurus Mountains and extends into the plains surrounded by expanses of meadows and agricultural land where cotton is grown. It is crossed by the homonymous river which in some points turns into beautiful waterfalls, and finally includes a long and bright sandy coast. It is no coincidence that the name of the city means “Temple of Mother Nature” !
The main places to visit in this wonderful place, besides its beaches of course, are the Kulliye Camii Mosque, the Manavgat Falls and the Koprulu Canyon National Park, perhaps extending the visit to the nearby village of Side located a few kilometers away.
The beauty of Manavgat is that mass tourism has not yet arrived hereand that makes it a place not for everyone! Nonetheless, average prices per night have already reached quite high figures by Turkish standards, such as € 35.00 per room, while the cost of food and transport is still quite low.
The main itineraries in Turkey
11 days itinerary: Istanbul and gulet cruise on the Turkish coast
- First day : arrival in Istanbul, hotel accommodation and evening visit of the city
- Day two : Istanbul city center tour to visit Sultanahmet Old Quarter, Hagia Sophia Cathedral, Blue Mosque and Grand Bazaar
- Third day : visit of the Spice Market, the Rustempasa Mosque and excursion of the Bosphorus by boat to admire Istanbul from the water and see the “border line” between Asia and Europe
- Fourth day : transfer to the airport, flight to Bodrum and welcome on board the gulet; possibility to visit the center and to become familiar with the boat
- Fifth day : start of navigation towards the island of Orak where you can dive into clear and crystalline waters; continue towards the port of Cokertme, a small fishing village where it docks for the night
- Sixth day : departure at dawn for the “Seven Islands”, an area with several islets where you can swim, dive or go down to walk in the pine forests; before sunset we reach the English port where we dock for the night
- Seventh day : navigation to the island of Sedir with the famous Cleopatra beach characterized by clear sand and crystal clear waters; then we reach the village of Karacasogut a delightful village not too far from Marmaris
- Eighth day : departure for the Bay of Longoz where you can swim or go down to the coast to walk in the woods; afternoon and night in Tuzla Bay
- Ninth day : navigation to first reach Kargili Bay for a dip and then continue to Kisebuku where we dock to visit the remains of the Byzantine monasteries and spend the night
- Tenth day : departure for Pabucburnu stop for a dip, then continue to Yaliciftlik bay for other swimming and in the evening return to Bodrum for the last night in a caique
- Eleventh day : Transfer to the airport and return to Italy
How much does it cost
- Price per person starting from : € 1,100.00 per person
- The fee includes : transfers to and from the airports, internal flight Istanbul-Bodrum, 3 nights in hotel in Istanbul, 2 collective tours in Istanbul, 1 week of gulet including food and accommodation in a double cabin
- The fee does not include : the flight from Italy to Istanbul, meals not indicated, drinks during the week on the gulet
9 days itinerary: Istanbul and Cappadocia
- First day : arrival in Istanbul, transfer to the hotel and free evening for the city
- Second day : tour of ancient Istanbul, visit to the ancient district of Sultanahmet, the Hagia Sophia Cathedral, the Blue Mosque and the Grand Bazaar. free dinner and an overnight stay in hotel
- Third day : visit to the Spice Market, the Rustempasa Mosque and excursion to the Bosphorus by boat to admire Istanbul from the water and see the “border line” between Asia and Europe
- Fourth day : departure at dawn, transfer to the airport and internal flight to Cappadocia; visit to the Devrent Valley, the Pasabag Valley with its famous fairy chimneys, lunch in Kizilirmak and continuation to Goreme; last stop at Uchisar castle and hotel accommodation
- Fifth day : visit of the Red Valley, of the ancient Greek village of Cavusin and then we reach the Pigeon Valley with the underground city of Kaymakli; arrival in Ortahisr, accommodation and overnight
- Sixth day : day dedicated to the discovery of the Ilhara region, visit to the city of Deerinkuyu, walk in the grand canyon and afternoon at the Selime Monastery
- Seventh Day : Transfer by car from Cappadocia to Hierapolis and then to Pamukkale famous for its hot springs
- Eighth day : early morning departure towards Afrodisias, visit of ancient Ephesus and finally Izmir
- Ninth day : after breakfast, transfer to the airport and return to Italy
How much does it cost
- Price per person starting from : € 1,300.00 per person
- The fee includes : transfers to and from airports, domestic flight Istanbul-Cappadocia, 3 nights in Istanbul with breakfast, 5 nights in Cappadocia with breakfast, tour of Istanbul and Cappadocia tour, transfer by car to Izmir
- The fee does not include : flights to and from Italy, lunches and dinners, visit by balloon (optional), show of the Dervishes (optional)
Turkey and a vast country between Europe and Asia whose territory belongs in part to both continents. Lying between the Black Sea, the Aegean Sea and the Mediterranean Sea, Turkey borders to the west with the European states and to the east with the Asian states.
When to go: weather and best time
In general, the best times are spring and autumn .
Each area has a particular climate, but in general the months of May-June and September-October are perfectto visit most of the country. These periods also correspond to the approach of the high season, but nevertheless it is possible to save money especially by booking flights and hotels in advance and avoiding bridges and holidays.
For a beach-only holiday, the best time is summer : along the north and north-east coasts you will have to choose July and August, even if this is an area often subjected to western currents and rainfall throughout the year; along the west coast (Izmir, Bodrum) the best time is from June to September: along the south coast the summer is really too hot , the best months are those of June and September. Obviously, this period also corresponds to the high season.
- Best period : in general from May to October, with a preference for May-June and September-October.
- Not recommended period : in general winter, with cold temperatures in areas such as East Thrace and the Anatolian Plateau and rains throughout the nation.
Travel informed: useful information
- Inhabitants : 77,695,904
- Capital : Ankara
- Languages : Turkish
- Local currency : Turkish lira (TRY) / € 1.00 = TRY 6.40
- Climate : mild on the coast, continental in inland areas (average temperatures: 13 ° / 22 °)
- Time Zone : + 1h compared to Italy during the summer, + 2h during the winter
- Distance from Italy : 1,721 km (2-5 hours flight) from Rome to the capital Ankara
- Travel / health insurance : recommended. With us you get a 10% discount and you have full coverage, 24h medical insurance and unlimited telephone advice. Get
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Security, visa and necessary documents
- Entry requirements : passport or identity card valid for expatriation in perfect condition and with residual validity of at least 5 months; visa not required for tourist reasons for a maximum period of 90 days. To drive an Italian driving license is sufficient
- Vaccinations : no vaccinations required
- Restrictions : for temporary visitors there are no particular restrictions except the prohibition on the purchase of corals, fossils and antiques outside the main and most common tourist and commercial circuits
- Security : since 2018 Turkey is no longer in a state of emergency, however terrorist attacks sometimes occur; the Turkish authorities, however, adopt high security measures, always monitoring the situation; the provinces of Hatay, Gaziantep, Kilis and Sanliurfa have been declared “areas of particular protection”: the whole country also has a high seismic risk; before leaving, always consult the official website of the Farnesina in the Turkey section
Tours, excursions and balloon flights
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