It is mesmerizing, enchanting and awe-inspiring…the more you speak about Turkey the less it will be to define the grandeur of the city. When we say 10,000 years of human civilization for Turkey, age is certainly not just a number in this case. With some of the most beautiful landscapes, a couple of heritage site, marvelous mosques, and one of the seven wonders in the world, there are a plethora of things to do in Turkey.
It has a culture that has matured like old wine, natural beauty that has got accentuated with time, the architectural landmarks that show constant up-gradation from traditional to modern structures all existing on the same patch of land under the sun. A vacation in Turkey will surely be incomplete if you miss out the following interesting things to do in Turkey:
23 Most Invigorating Things To Do In Turkey
Are you planning a vacation to Turkey and looking for the activities that makes your stay memorable? Here are some of the best things to do in Turkey on your tour. So are you ready to take a virtual tour of the mosque city? Let’s go for it!
- Pamukkale Thermal Pools: Take A Natural Sauna
- Goreme National Park: Explore Limestone Formations
- Cemberlitas Hamami: Enjoy A Turkish Bath
- Dervish: Watch The Sacred Dance
- Ruins Of Ephesus: Visit The Ruins
- Nargile Bars: Try Turkish Tobacco
- Archaeological Site of Troy: Take A Trip Back In Time
- Kapali Carsisi: Collect Artifacts
- Mount Nemrut: Go Hiking
- The Bosphorus Ferry Ride: Behold The Views!
- Ankara Castle: Revisit The History
- Aqua Vega Aquarium: Witness The Turkish Marine Life
- Dolmabahce Palace: Spectate The Architecture
- Gobekli Tepe: Visit This Iconic Landmark
- Hagia Sophia: Learn About Turkish History
- Cappadocia: Behold The Beauty
- Erimtan Museum: Soak In The Turkish Artistic Side
- Hippodrome Of Constantinople: Embrace The Historic Importance
- Lycian Rock Tombs: Take A Look At The Intriguing Past
- Blue Mosque: Embrace The Tranquility
- Clubs And Cafes: Taste The Local Raki
- Galata Bridge: Grab A Fish Sandwich And Pickle Juice
- Pigeon Valley: Fall In Love With Pigeons
1. Pamukkale Thermal Pools: Take A Natural Sauna
The Pamukkale Thermal Pools are a very rare and splendid sight that can make you spellbound. The white calcareous landscape that is formed by the thermal springs loaded with limestones that result in a unique phenomenon of calcium deposits that takes various shapes of potholes, stalactites and cataracts. When you get to glance over the expansive white landscape with turquoise springs formed in different layers with the blue sky above, it is truly a mesmerizing sight. The pools are filled with therapeutic water that has the power to heal diseases such as skin ailments, eye problems, rheumatism and asthma among many. This is one of the most popular things to do in Turkey.
Location: Kale, 20190 Pamukkale/Denizli Merkez/Denizli, Turkey
Timing: 6:30 am to 9 pm
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2. Goreme National Park: Explore Limestone Formations
Turkey is home to vivid landscapes. One such is found in the Goreme National Park. This place can be best explored by walking. The beautiful sedimentary rock formation that results from volcanic deposits in Cappadocia has given this place a unique character. Goreme National Park is one of the UNESCO World Heritage sites. Cappadocia offers the rarest sights of underground cities and churches that are carved out of rocks. The dazzling lunar landscape of Cappadocia makes visiting it one of best things to do in Turkey.
Location: Central Anatolia plateau, Cappadocia
Timing: Open 24 hours
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3. Cemberlitas Hamami: Enjoy A Turkish Bath
One of the very unique cultural signatures of Turkey is the Cemberlitas Hamami. The age-old bathhouse was designed by Mimar Sinan in the year 1584. The historic Turkish bath calls for a little breaking of the initial inhibition but ensures a lifetime experience that is so relaxing and unique at the same time. We suggest you to visit the place early in the morning to book yourself a bath.
Location: Mollafenari, Vezirhan Cd. No:8, 34440 Fatih/İstanbul, Turkey
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4. Dervish: Watch The Sacred Dance
Dervish is a Sufi spiritual ceremony that involves people dancing to the music that is dedicated to the almighty. This involves spiritual practices called Sama and Dhikr that have been initiated by the Sufi saint, Rumi in the 13th century. This involves soothing songs, playing musical instruments, dance and soulful poetries that aim at spiritual upliftment. The swirling moves of the Sufi dancers in vibrant attires at the backdrop of soothing spiritual music can be one of the most soul refining experiences you can ever imagine.
Location: Galipdede Caddesi, Turkey
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5. Ruins Of Ephesus: Visit The Ruins
The ancient most landmark in Turkey is the ruins of the erstwhile Greek city Ephesus which was built in 10th century BC. The remains of the city and the Temple of Artemis which is also one of the Seven Wonders of the World has been a major crowd puller since ages. The Library of Celsus is another popular landmark of Ephesus that attracts tourists from all across the world. The remains of this eminent Greek city that has stood tall across generation and ages to be a witness of the rise and fall of empire gives a peek into the grandeur of the past. Visit this to delve deep and feel the age-old vibes of the city of Ephesus.
Location: Atatürk, Park İçi Yolu No:12, 35920 Selçuk/İzmir, Turkey
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6. Nargile Bars: Try Turkish Tobacco
Yet another layer to the ever so rich and opulent culture of the city is the tradition of the communal hookah pipe. You can experience the richness of Turkish tobacco in the Nargile bars. Just take a puff at the contemporary cafes where the traditional water pipe is served with coffee and other niceties. The beautifully adorned glass and wooden bottles of varied shapes and sizes with a long pipe attached make you feel like a sultan as you take a puff in élan.
Location: Anadolu Nargile Çorlulu Ali Paşa Medresesi, Erenler Hookah
Timing: 7 am to 2 am
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7. Archaeological Site Of Troy: A Trip Back In Time
Apparently, what your eyes meet at the first glance of the remains of Troy is a cluster of debris and concrete. However, the soil under your feet when you stand over it has been of the immense political significance of an erstwhile era. The soil that bred gallantry heroes has also been a muse to many an author and literary dignitaries. History buffs will surely feel elated to touch and feel the remains of the temples, altars, and the other fortifications that speak about the bygone era. It is one of the best things to see in Turkey.
Location: Northwest Turkey
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8. Kapali Carsisi: Collect Artifacts
Looking to carry something back home? Apart from the innumerable memories and the priceless moment that the city offers at every juncture, it also has the Grand Bazaar or Kapali Carsisi of Istanbul that will offer you plenty of knick-knacks to carry home. At the onset, the expansive marketplace will enthrall you through its vibrancy. The varied collection of jewelry, artifacts, spices, antique pieces, handcrafted items and carpets – for a curator of unique items, this is surely a treasure trove. And what is more interesting is that you can bargain for your purchases.
Location: Walled city of Istanbul
Timing: 8 am to 7 pm
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9. Mount Nemrut: Go Hiking
The enthralling look of the humongous pale sandy monuments and heads of the ancient gods at the backdrop of the beautiful landscape is something that you can’t miss. Also, the Nemrut Dag National Park which is touted to be one of the World Heritage Site is a must visit without which your trip will not be complete. We suggest you to wear comfortable shoes and buy a hiking pole, though the latter is not mandatory.
Location: Southeastern Turkey
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10. The Bosphorus Ferry Ride: Behold The Views!
A spot where the Black Sea meets the Mediterranean Sea guarded by the tall Rumeli fortress with the view of the Galata Bridge at a distance calls for the most beautiful view of the cityscape at the Bosphorus. Take a ferry and enjoy the most important and beautiful geographical location of the planet. The views are to die for. Visit the site in advance to reserve yourself a seat.
Location: South to North Turkey (Marmara And Black Sea)
Timing: 2:30 pm to 4:30 pm
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11. Ankara Castle: Revisit The History
A jewel of the medieval era in Turkey, Ankara Castle is one of the last standing fortifications from the 7th century in the country. Ankara Castle blankets an extremely rich and diverse history by being a significant construction for many empires including Roman, Byzantine, Crusaders, Ottoman, Seljuq Turks, and many others. A paradise on earth for history buffs out there, the grounds of this castle are also covered with houses from the golden era of Turkey. One can witness the designs and architectural styles from different periods that make the jaws drop.
Location: Kale, 06240 Altındağ/Ankara, Turkey
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12. Aqua Vega Aquarium: Witness The Turkish Marine Life
Tagged as one of the largest underwater worlds in the whole of Europe, Aqua Vega Aquarium is home to the third-largest tunnel aquarium. Proving to be an impeccable spot for families to spend some time together, this aquarium is home to some of the most exotic sea creatures from all over the world. Aqua Vega blankets various exhibits such as the Sea Shell Museum, Jungle Corner, Adrenaline World, and many others that give travelers an opportunity to get a close view of various fascinating marine life such as sharks, napoleon fish, clownfish, koi fish, and many more.
Location: Akşemsettin, Doğukent Bulvarı Nata Vega Outlet, 06480 Mamak/Ankara, Turkey
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13. Dolmabahce Palace: Spectate The Architecture
Sitting in the heart of the famous city of Istanbul, Dolmabahce Palace has significant history latched to itself. Once considered as an administrative center of the Ottoman Empire, this Palace exhibits amalgamated stunning and eye-catching architecture from baroque, ottoman, and neoclassical eras. The palace houses around 46 halls and 285 rooms. The interiors of this palace are as magnificent as its architecture. Gold-adorned ceilings, Iznik tiles, world’s largest crystal chandelier of the Bohemian style, and many such elements can be witnessed by the visitors of this palace.
Location: Vişnezade, Dolmabahçe Cd., 34357 Beşiktaş/İstanbul, Turkey
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14. Gobekli Tepe: Visit This Iconic Landmark
One of the iconic and alluring archaeological sites in Turkey, Gobekli Tepe or the ‘Potbelly Hill’ has been standing for thousands of years now. The tell is approximately 50 feet high and 980 feet in diameter, making it one of the greatest attractions in the country. It is believed that during the phases of the Pre-Pottery Neolithic period, the tell enveloped social or ritual nature. With its deeply rooted and rich history, this Tepe gives travelers an opportunity to learn about the sanctuary.
Location: Örencik, 63290 Haliliye/Şanlıurfa, Turkey
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15. Hagia Sophia: Learn About Turkish History
Hagia Sophia, initially an imperial mosque and a Greek Orthodox Christian patriarchal basilica, is a present-day museum. Earning itself a place on the list of UNESCO World Heritage Sites, Hagia Sophia is another iconic building that possesses historic significance. The building exhibits a massive dome that is considered to be a turning point for architecture in that era. The Deesis mosaic, Saint John Chrysostom mosaic, 19th-century market of the tomb of Enrico Dandolo, and other elements are a few characteristic features of this beauty.
Location: Sultan Ahmet, Ayasofya Meydanı, 34122 Fatih/İstanbul, Turkey
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16. Cappadocia: Behold The Beauty
Located in the Central Anatolia region of Turkey, visiting Cappadocia is one of the most popular things to do in Turkey for couples. The hills and rock sites of this destination take away the breath of the spectators. Home to one of the most popular UNESCO World Heritage Sites, Gerome National Park, Cappadocia oozes out an aura of romance and love. The diverse and unique heritage of this region and numerous marvels of mother nature has led this destination to earn a spot in the bucket list of many travelers and explorers.
Location: Cappadocia, Turkey
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17. Erimtan Museum: Soak In The Turkish Artistic Side
A comparatively new addition to the Turkish landmarks, Erimtan Museum is an art museum that was constructed in the year 2009 and visiting this museum is one of the best things in Turkey. Influenced by the Yuksel Erimtan, a civil engineer who discovered an extensive collection of artifacts while working on various construction sites, this museum earned popularity silently but quickly. The collection that is featured in this museum includes ancient jewelry, coins, glasses, ceramics, seal stones, and many others that have been unearthed in the Anatolia region of Turkey.
Location: Kale, Gözcü Sk. No:10, 06240 Altındağ/Ankara, Turkey
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18. Hippodrome Of Constantinople: Embrace The Historic Importance
Once a focal point of social gatherings and sporting events, Hippodrome was one of the most significant buildings during the Byzantine Empire. Known as Sultan Ahmet Square in the present times, visitors actually get to witness the original structures that have survived all these years. Some of the features that visitors get to witness are a couple of thousand years old and includes the Serpent Column, the Obelisk of Thutmose III, and many more. Travelers also get to witness the magnificent base of the obelisk that depicts offering of a laurel wreath by Emperor Theodosis.
Location: Binbirdirek, Sultan Ahmet Parkı No:2, 34122 Fatih/İstanbul, Turkey
Timing: Open 24 hours
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19. Lycian Rock Tombs: Take A Look At The Intriguing Past
Still wondering what to do in Turkey? Embracing a spooky and religious history, Lycian Rock Tombs have been carved into the mountains during the ancient times of Turkey. Constructed with the purpose of storing and preserving the bodies of the dead high above in the sky so that it’s easier for the magical winged creatures to carry them to the afterlife, these tombs were built by Lycians. The tombs feature gates that look exactly like an entrance to the temples. Rugged rocks and wooden panels that have been used for the construction of this structure definitely forms a sight to behold and is one of the top things to do in Turkey.
Location: Teke Peninsula, Western Taurus Range, Southern Anatolia
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20. Blue Mosque: Embrace The Tranquility
Also known as Sultan Ahmed Mosque, Blue Mosque attracts flocks of tourists that are paying a visit to Turkey by virtue of its bluish interiors. Paying a visit to this place of worship is certainly one of the things that locals suggest when asked about what to do in Turkey. Built by a sultan from the Ottoman era, this mosque stands facing another famous landmark, Hagia Sophia. This mosque features a courtyard, both outer and inner, six minarets, and various balconies. The inner courtyard can be seen paved in marble and surrounded by a small domed portico.
Location: Sultan Ahmet, Atmeydanı Cd. No:7, 34122 Fatih/İstanbul, Turkey
Timing: Dawn to midnight
21. Clubs And Cafes: Taste The Local Raki
If you love tasting local alcohols then Raki is one such local drink that you must not ignore on your vacation in Turkey. Traditionally Raki is served with water and ice but you can innovate your own ways of drinking it, however, whatever you add to it, the experience will surely be amazing!
Timing: 9:00 PM – Midnight
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22. Galata Bridge: Grab A Fish Sandwich And Pickle Juice
Your vacation to Turkey will surely be incomplete if you miss out on grabbing their exclusive fish sandwich served with a shot of pickle juice. Do head to the Galata Bridge, located on River Bosphorus where you will find the best fish sandwiches of the country. This is one of the most famous activities to do in Turkey.
Location: Galata Bridge
Timing: 10:00 AM-10:00 PM
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23. Pigeon Valley: Fall In Love With Pigeons
Pigeons might not sound glamorous to you but if you are in Turkey, the bird is known for enormous love and care. Plan a visit to the Pigeon Valley where you will be glancing a huge amount of pigeons including different species also. Don’t forget to capture the pictures of the tree covered in blue evil eyes here! This is one of the most interesting things to do in Turkey on a vacay with family.
Location: Pigeon Valley
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So, which of these things to do in Turkey will you be trying out first? Take a trip to Turkey with TravelHub and immerse in its vibrant culture and traditions that you’ll remember for a lifetime!
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Frequently Asked Questions About Things To Do In Turkey
A. Two of the best things to do in Turkey are:
1. Hot-air ballooning
2. Relaxing at a Turkish spa
A. One can cover the attractions in Istanbul and Cappadocia in 5 days in Turkey.
A. A hot air balloon ride in Turkey costs anywhere between INR 9935 to INR 17750 depending on the duration of the flight.
A. Yes, hot air ballooning is quite a safe activity and accidents are quite rare.
A. One can explore Cappadocia in 2 nights and 3 days.
A. Some of the things to avoid doing in Turkey are:
1. Getting in taxis that do not have a logo
2. Buy stuff without bargaining
3. Wear shoes at places of worship
A. Turkish Mosaic lamps are beautiful and famous to buy in Turkey.
A. No, if planned well, Turkey isn’t too expensive to visit. The tour packages for Turkey for 2 nights and 3 days begin at INR 20,999.
A. Yes, it is safe to stroll around in Istanbul at night.
A. No, tap water isn’t safe to drink and one must carry bottled water with them at all times in Turkey.
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