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Which 10 cities in Turkey should you visit?

Find out what are the top 10 cities to visit in Turkey with our guide. Get to know what do while traveling and what to take on your trip.

Carolina S.

February 26, 2024

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Are you planning to visit Turkey? If so, chances are you want to know what the 10 most popular cities in Turkey are to visit as a tourist. If that’s your case, we have a guide that will help you with that!

Here, we will tell you all about the top 10 most popular cities in Turkey and how you can visit them. What should you pack for your trip, what can you do there, and more importantly, how can you stay connected to the internet in Turkey, and many other things will help you on your trip with our travel guide!

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The 10 Turkish cities you should visit

Turkey is located in the Anatolia region, on the continents of Europe and Asia. This has given Turkey’s cities a special and distinctive culture, with its rock-hewn villages, mosques, and countless archaeological treasures.

To help you in your travel search, we have made a list of the most interesting places in this country which you should not miss. Something similar to a travel guide for Turkey that you can check!

>Learn how to change your Euros for Turkish Liras<

Istanbul: Capital of 3 civilizations in Turkey

The most well-known city in Turkey is undoubtedly Istanbul. Although it’s not the capital, it’s the tourist and cultural center of the country. So, for all those travelers looking for genuine sites, Istanbul is the ideal destination.

In this city, you’ll see the imposing mosque “Hagia Sophia” or the “Blue Mosque” which are its major attractions. But you can also visit the Topkapi Palace, the Spice Bazaar, the Dolmabahçe Palace, the Gülhane Park, or the Eyüp Sultan Mosque.

Another key recommendation is to enjoy the sunset from a boat on the “Bosphorus” or from the “Galata Tower.” And if you want to buy local products, walk through the “Grand Bazaar,” where you’ll find antiques, carpets, and jewelry of the finest quality.

You may be interested in how to get mobile internet in Istanbul once you are there with an eSIM for Istanbul.

Galata Tower Istanbul
Galata Tower, Istanbul. Source: Osman Koycu in Unsplash

Ankara: Turkish Capital

And if you were wondering what is the capital of Turkey, it is actually Ankara. This city keeps the magic and charm of the ancient Ottoman culture, which is represented in its squares, markets, and bazaars.

What to visit in Ankara? We recommend you start with the Anitkabir Mausoleum, and then you could follow with the Ankara Castle and the Museum of Anatolian Civilizations. After that, you can visit the Haci Bayram Mosque, the Kizilay district, the Gençlik Park, the Rahmi M. Koç Museum, or the Ulucanlar prison museum.

And finally, visit the famed Ataturk Mausoleum and the Temple of Augustus and Rome, as they will teach you much more about the history of this beautiful country.

Antalya

One of the top destinations in the Mediterranean is Antalya. You’ll appreciate the people, the gastronomy, and also the beaches on the “Turkish Riviera.”

Places of interest in Antalya are The Clock Tower, Hadrian’s Gate, the streets of the Old Town or Kaleiçi, the Antalya Archeology Museum, the city’s aquarium, the ancient theater of Aspendos, and the Olympos.

But if what you want is to relax, we’ll let you know that you’ll also find two amazing beaches: Mermeli Beach and Konyaaltl Beach, where you’ll enjoy turquoise waters that evoke peace. However, if you’re searching for freshwater attractions, you can visit the Duden waterfalls, and we suggest you witness the phenomenon of Chimera.

Göreme

In Göreme, you can appreciate several monasteries and religious enclosures with unique architecture whose decorations stem from Byzantine art, so we assure you that you’ll be surprised. Moreover, in this city, you’ll find the Görem National Park in Cappadocia, the Valley of Love, and the Uchisar Castle.

In Cappadocia, you’ll find “Derinkuyu,” the deepest subway city in the world. Did you know that this is where the most popular hot air balloon show in the sky is held? You’ll have the possibility to experience a hot air balloon ride!

It is important to realize that many of these places now have hotels and restaurants, perfect for a unique experience for travelers.

Capadoccia
Capadoccia. Source: Thomas Griggs in Unsplash

Izmir: The Pearl of the Aegean in Turkey

The beaches of Izmir are the perfect place for your vacation. As a curious fact, we can tell you that this city is also called “The Unfaithful City” because its inhabitants are very liberal and modern, thus opposing “Islamism.”

Get ready to take a bike ride along the Kordon (promenade), and after this, pay a visit to the Kemeralti Market, where you will discover a myriad of stores, restaurants, and cafés. Don’t miss the chance to drink typical beverages such as Turkish tea or coffee.

You can also include in your tour places like the clock tower, the Atatürk Monument, the archaeological museum, the city of Ephesus and the city of Pergamon, the house of the Virgin Mary, and the Kadifekale, from where you’ll capture the best views of the city. Very close to Izmir, you’ll have the chance to visit the town of Denzel, where the world-famous natural pools that resemble absorbent cotton are located.

The Turkish city of Alanya

We will share with you the things you can do and see in Alanya because this city is filled with good energy, tasty food, and ancient fortifications.

We will start with Alanya Castle, the Red Tower built with stones and bricks, the Aspendos Theater, and the Damlataş Cave. The latter is a small cave with stalactites and stalagmites very close to Cleopatra Beach, where you can spend a day sunbathing.

Alanya Beach in Turkey
Alanya, Turkey. Source: Mert Kahveci in Unsplash

Bursa

Perhaps Bursa is not very popular among travelers, but this Turkish city holds the Green Mosque or Yeşil of Íznik, the most beautiful in the country.

Bursa is known for being the first capital of the Ottoman Empire, and today, it’s a city with a lot of history. Some of the tourist points of interest that we can mention are Cumalikizik village, Bursa City Museum, Tombs of Osman Gazi, and Orhan.

Mardin

One of the most beautiful destinations in Turkey is undoubtedly Mardin, a city of preserved stone, where the Assyrian, Arab, Turkish, and Kurba cultures are mixed, which makes this place an unmissable destination for sightseeing in Turkey.

What to see in Mardin? Among the narrow streets, you’ll find a myriad of monuments, and likewise, places like the Sakıp Sabancı Museum, the ancient Islamic school Madrasa of Sultan Isa, beautiful churches, and the Ruins of Dara with free admission.

In Mardin, you can buy the famous Aleppo Soaps and enjoy nearby cities such as Savur and Midyat, which have delicious cuisine.

Turkey Mardin City
Mardin, Turkey. Source: Melis Tosun in Unsplash

Trabzon or Trebzon City

If you want to mix tourism, history, sun, and beaches in Turkey, Trabzon offers the best options for you. Located on the Black Sea coast, this city features the Church of Hagia Sophia, an orthodox temple with walls covered with well-preserved fresco paintings.

In addition, it’s possible to visit museums, ancient fortifications, and picturesque squares, and you’ll even enjoy landscapes similar to those of a tropical forest, something very common here.

Canakkale

Canakkale is a small Turkish city where you’ll witness the scene of the First World War on the Gallipoli Peninsula, full of memorials and cemeteries of fallen soldiers.

In the center of the city, you’ll find the Cimenlik Castle, the Mirror Bazaar, and, of course, the Ruins of Troy.What to see in Troy? We assure you that you won’t see Brad Pitt playing Achilles like in the movie, but you’ll find archaeological remains showing stages of the “9 Trojans” and a gigantic wooden horse as a symbol of the city.

Gelibolu Gallipoli Turkey
Gelibolu peninsula, Gallipoli. Source: Mert Kahveci in Unsplash

To wrap up, we have compiled for you a special edition of what to pack in your bag to Turkey, so we recommend you take a look at it. And remember! If you want to have an internet connection, please keep in mind your Holafly eSIM for Turkey, as you’ll get unlimited data from the moment you land without worrying about how many days you will stay!

FAQs about Turkey

What are the most important cities in Turkey?

Istanbul: Capital of three empires.
Ankara: Residence of Alexander the Great.
Izmir: Sun, beach, sand, and “The Ruins of Ephesus”, the archaeological jewel of Turkey.

What are the most beautiful cities in Turkey?

The most beautiful Turkish cities are Istanbul, Ankara, Izmir, and Antalya.

How many cities are there in Turkey?

Turkey is divided into 81 provincial capitals, with a total of 83 million inhabitants.

What is the largest city in Turkey?

The largest Turkish city is Istanbul, which is also one of the largest cities in Europe. This city has both European and Asian territory, which is evidenced by the separation of the Bosphorus Strait.

Recommendations for visiting the cities of Turkey

  • Travel to Turkey in spring or autumn to enjoy a much more pleasant climate. If you travel in the summer, it’s better to visit in the morning.
  • Crime is not something common, but you still have to keep an eye on your belongings. 
  • It’s better for you to book your tours with authorized travel agencies.
  • Before traveling, check if you need a visa to enter Turkey.
  • Remember to read the travel recommendations given by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs to visit Turkey.
  • When buying an eSIM for Turkey from Holafly, remember you can customize it according to how many days and eSIMs you need for the trip and still get unlimited data with it.
  • If you are planning on visiting Turkey and more European countries, getting a Europe digital data SIM card is the best option for your pocket.

Now that you know the 10 must-see Turkish cities for your trip, get on the “Trojan Horse” because Turkey awaits you!