The 25 most beautiful cities in Turkey
You must have seen these cities in Turkey. Due to its location at the eastern end of Europe and the Near East, Turkey is full of cultural highlights and fascinating natural spectacles. / most beautiful cities in Turkey
You can still feel the different influences of the Greeks, Persians, Romans, Byzantines and Ottomans up close today. When you think of a holiday in Turkey, the first thing you probably think of is a beach holiday, right? But you should not ignore the numerous Turkey cities. From modern to traditional charm you can discover some surprises. Embark with us on a great journey from the Turkish Riviera to the Black Sea region – a colorful mix of cultures awaits you.
1. Istanbul – The city on the two continents
The metropolis of Istanbul, which has a good 15 million inhabitants, is undoubtedly one of the most exciting cities in Turkey. As soon as you start your city trip on the Bosphorus, all your senses are addressed and an initial overstrain quickly turns into pure enthusiasm.
Between Orient and Occident you can experience a special cultural diversity. The must-see Istanbul sights include the Hagia Sophia, the Sultan Ahmed Mosque, the Topkapi Palace or the views of the Golden Horn.
You should also plan a trip to the Princes’ Islands or stroll through districts such as Ortaköy, Balat, Beyoglu, Sariyer or Karaköy. As you embark on a discovery tour, you will be surrounded by a fascinating ambience around every corner. By the way, you cannot get bored in a city with almost 2600 years of history and numerous highlights.
2. Ankara – The capital of Turkey
Yes, Ankara is the capital of Turkey and is located in the Central Anatolia region. The second largest city in the country is located in the foothills of the Köroğlu Dağlari Mountains and is home to sights such as the Kocatepe Mosque, Anıtkabir (mausoleum of Atatürk, the founder of the Turkish state) and the Ankara Citadel.
You should also put some destinations on your to-do list outside of Ankara. This includes, above all, the city of Beypazari on the old Silk Road. There you embark on a journey through time to the Ottoman Empire!
You should definitely inform yourself about the city of Konya, the pink salt lake Tuz Gölü or the ruins of Hattusa when traveling to the interior of Turkey.
3. Antalya – Well-known holiday destination on the Mediterranean Sea
If you are planning a holiday on the Turkish Riviera, or in Antalya, and want to experience some time away from the sea, it is worth taking a look at the historic old town of Kaleici, visiting the thundering Düden waterfall or visiting the ancient city of Termessos.
Also, don’t miss the breathtaking views of Antalya Fortress. The mix of relaxation, culture and action makes Antalya one of the most special cities in Turkey. In addition, the beautiful Olympos National Park or the Kursunlu Waterfall are not far away.
4. Izmir – metropolis on the Turkish Aegean Sea
Whether it’s a stroll through the Kemeralti Bazaar, a Turkish coffee or a trip to the Kadifekale hill – in the historic and former trading city of Izmir there are numerous opportunities to experience a varied stay.
If you’re ever vacationing in the area, you should plan a trip to the ancient city of Ephesus or enjoy the dreamlike flair in Çeşme and Alaçati. The latter enchant with breathtaking bays and colorful streets.
5. Bursa – The “Cradle of the Ottoman Empire”
The path takes us from the Aegean Sea to the northwest of the country, near the Sea of Marmara. Now you’re probably wondering where exactly that is?
Here is a small excursion: Together with the river Bosporus and the Dardanelles strait, this forms the connection between the Black Sea and the Mediterranean Sea.
But now to the city of Bursa, one of the most beautiful and interesting cities in Turkey. But why exactly? At the foot of the almost 2,000 meter high mountain Uludag you can explore the fantastic old town of Bursa, which is now even a UNESCO World Heritage Site.
If you want to learn more about the history of the Ottoman Empire, you should not only check out the sights of Bursa, but also discover the traditional buildings in the village of Cumalikizik.
As if that weren’t enough, you can go hiking in Uludag National Park or experience Turkey’s largest winter sports resort up close.
6. Adana – The student city
The city of Adana is located in the fertile Cukurova plain, in the eastern part of Turkey’s Mediterranean coast. But in the city there is not only the largest university in the country, but also historical testimonies of bygone times.
For example the Roman bridge Taşköprü or the Ulu Mosque. You can also admire the second largest mosque in Turkey, the Sabanci Central Mosque, in Adana. If you are planning a road trip along the beautiful coastal region, you should pay a visit to the city of Mersin.
7. Trabzon – Lively Atmospheres & Beautiful Mountains
On the south coast of the Black Sea you will find the city of Trabzon. One of Turkey’s top cities is best known for its scenic location on the Zigana Mountains and the outdoor opportunities that come with it.
There you can visit the historic Sumela Monastery from Byzantine times. Tip: pack your camera because the building is built on a cliff in a special way. This includes the village of Uzungöl with the lake of the same name as the perfect starting point for outdoor activities.
8. Gaziantep – The Unknown City
The city in the south-east of Turkey is currently one of the most modern and at the same time one of the oldest in the country. Gaziantep, also known as Antep, has long been considered a major commercial and artistic center.
Well-known sights are the Zeugma Mosaic Museum and the Citadel of Gaziantep. During your stay you must try the numerous specialties of the well-known Gaziantep cuisine.
9. Mardin – The city of architectural masterpieces
When you see images of the city of Mardin, you probably immediately think of the unique backdrops of 1001 Nights. Located in the landscape of Mesopotamia, the city inspires with an incomparable old town in Arabic style.
A thousand-year-old culture hovers between the stone houses that have been elegantly built into the slopes.
10. Fethiye – Culture & Beach Holiday
Back to the Turkish Riviera and to Fethiye. In the port city you can immerse yourself in a historical past and experience an unforgettable holiday by the sea.
If you want a change from everyday beach life, you can simply plan a trip to the rock tombs of Fethiye or the theater of Telmessos. In addition, you should not miss one of the most beautiful beaches in Turkey: Ölüdeniz Beach.
11. Bodrum – Holidays by the sea
A special destination of the Aegean is the city of Bodrum. The whitewashed houses, the historic castle or the secluded bays exude a special character.
Does the city even count as one of the most beautiful vacation spots in Turkey? You absolutely have to convince yourself of this. Another special feature is the proximity to the Greek island of Kos.
12. Denizli – A trip to Pamukkale
Furthermore, Denizli is one of the most beautiful cities in Turkey. You probably haven’t heard of the city, have you?
But you certainly have an image of Pamukkale’s luminous limestone terraces in your head. If you have enough time, a trip to the historic city with its soothing thermal waters is an absolute must. It couldn’t be more unique!
13. Marmaris – Charming Mediterranean city
Back on the Turkish Riviera, our way leads us to the city of Marmaris. With forested mountains behind and beautiful bays in front of you, Marmaris is an ideal destination for the whole family.
As soon as you approach one of the most beautiful cities in Turkey, you can look forward to a varied holiday full of outdoor opportunities (such as hiking or cycling), culture and relaxation. Exciting excursion destinations in the area include places like Turunc or Amos.
You can also easily combine a holiday on Rhodes with a stopover in Marmaris.
14. Goreme – Paradise in Cappadocia
Colorful hot air balloons between enchanted, rugged rock formations – that’s Cappadocia in central Turkey. Fascinating landscapes meet unique history here.
If you want to visit these fairytale landscapes, the small town of Goreme is the perfect starting point for an incredible stay. The so-called “fairy chimneys” with their conical shape not only create dreamy atmospheres, but are also home to underground cities, cave dwellings and sacred buildings.
In this area of the country you will find one of the most extraordinary places in Turkey. Especially when the sun rises or sets over the countless rocks of the dream world, a breathtaking fascination arises.
15. Çeşme – The Peninsula with Alacati
Are you looking for an original and authentic holiday region? Then you are in the right place in one of the most beautiful small towns in Europe, the city of Çeşme on the peninsula of the same name.
Not far from Izmir you will find a gem characterized by endless sandy beaches with crystal clear water, traditional stone houses, delicious food and historical sights such as Çeşme Castle.
The village of Alacati in particular is the ultimate destination. A relaxed boho style awaits you on site with beautiful houses and colorful flowers.
Also, don’t miss Urla, Sigacik, and Karaburun. You can use the proximity to Greece for you. You can take the ferry to the small island of Chios every day without much effort.
16. Kuşadasi – Culture & Beach Holiday
Do you not only want to spend your time on the beach, but also get to know the country and its people? In the province of Aydin you will find the city of Kuşadasi, one of the most beautiful cities in Turkey. You should literally take a closer look at these.
In addition to numerous beaches, you can discover some sights in Kuşadasi, such as the castle on Pigeon Island. In addition, there are some ancient sites in the vicinity that promise an exciting holiday routine.
Whether it’s the Temple of Apollo in Didyma, the ancient city of Miletus, the Dilek National Park or the citadel of Selcuk, you will immediately fall in love with the diversity of the area.
17. Dalyan – With beautiful nature on the Dalyan River
The fantastic city of Dalyan stands for an active holiday in a class of its own. The location on the river of the same name, between the Mediterranean Sea and the lake Köycegiz Gölü, promises fun and magic for young and old.
As soon as you have arrived in the nature reserve, you have the opportunity to admire a varied flora and fauna. Numerous species of birds and the loggerhead turtle have found their home here.
Accordingly, you can now imagine that boat trips are part of the must-do program. You absolutely have to plan a visit to the famous Iztuzu Beach.
Historical highlights are the ancient city of Kaunos or the rock tombs of Dalyan. You should also take a dip in the Dalyan hot springs.
18. Kaş – On the Lycian coast
Far away from the tourist strongholds, you will find the idyllic holiday resort of Kaş in south-west Turkey, between Kemer and Fethiye. In this region of the country you can relax in numerous bays or explore nature between the rocky coast and the hilly hinterland.
The ambiance in the city will remind you a little bit of a Greek place. But that’s no coincidence either, as just a stone’s throw away and the Greek islands of Strongyli and Kastellorizo tower up.
Here you can combine a beach holiday with an active holiday. One tip is Mount Uyluk. You should also look for a quiet place on Patara Beach or Kaputaş Beach – it’s worth it!
Is the city and the surrounding region still a real insider tip? Convince yourself and explore the picturesque area. But make sure you rent a car.
19. Belek – Well-known resort
One of the most famous resorts of the Turkish Riviera is the city of Belek. Tourism dominates the everyday life of the locals here.
If you are longing for an all-inclusive holiday, you have come to the right place. From beautiful hotels to golf resorts, there is something for everyone. Yes, you read that right – Belek is an ideal destination for a golf holiday.
Apart from the beach holiday, there are also some special sights in Turkey in the vicinity. In the amphitheater of Aspendos or the city of Perge you can take a journey back in time to the ancient past.
20. Alanya – vacation with family
You are probably familiar with the holiday resort of Alanya, aren’t you? Almost 130 kilometers southeast of Antalya you will find a perfect travel destination for your family vacation.
Beaches like Kleopatra Beach and Dalmatas Beach make for an action-packed seaside holiday. If you don’t want to “laze around” all day and let the sun’s rays shine on your body, ancient sites such as the historic city of Syedra make a welcome change. Or you can take a trip to the resort of Side and visit the Manavgat Waterfall.
21. Amasya – The hinterland of the Black Sea coast
If you are looking for an exciting adventure, you should find out more about the Turkish Black Sea coast with the hilly hinterland. The city of Amasya, located in the valley of the Yesilirmak River, is a top tip.
Due to their location in the Pontic Mountains, the traditional houses blend beautifully into the rocky landscape. A special postcard motif with a thrilling story awaits you here.
Hiking is a must during your stay. Accordingly, you should definitely dress properly from head to toe and think of your hiking clothes.
22. Bozcaada – Island vacation in Turkey
Strictly speaking, the island of Bozcaada is not a city. Nevertheless, you should definitely save the small island and village of the same name on your must-see list.
In addition, a holiday on the dreamy and quiet island can be combined with a stay in the city of Canakkale and the island of Gökceada. And Bozcaada is also known for its good wines – so make a stopover in one of the wineries.
23. Safranbolu – Historical town
Back in the Black Sea region, we look at the town of Safranbolu, which is relatively unknown to holidaymakers. What do you immediately think of when you hear the name?
That’s right, the saffron plant. But the origin of the name should have nothing to do with this. Rather, the city with its historic “Tarihi Safranbolu Evleri” houses was an important trading post on the Silk Road.
Due to the preserved magic of former heydays, the old town is a UNESCO World Heritage Site. In addition to the traditional houses, some of which have been extensively restored, you can marvel at a caravanserai and a hammam in Safranbolu.
24. Sinop – port city on the Black Sea
There are also some Turkey cities on the Black Sea that should not go unmentioned. Such as the port city of Sinop.
With its own airport, the holiday resort is well connected to the other cities in the country and is predestined as a starting point for various excursions in the area.
25. Amasra – The city with beautiful views
Finally, we dedicate ourselves to the city of Amasra, which knows how to inspire with its location on a peninsula in the Black Sea. Due to these unique geographical conditions, you can look forward to a fantastic ambience.
In addition to picturesque beaches, you have above all the opportunity to experience centuries-old history up close. The interplay of cultural heritage (Byzantine castle & historic port facility) and lush green nature makes the city an interesting destination in Turkey.