Turkey is a mesmerizing country that blends ancient history with vibrant culture and breathtaking landscapes. From its bustling cities to its serene coastal towns, there are endless opportunities for exploration and adventure. If you’re planning a trip to Turkey, here are some must-do things to do in Turkey to include in your itinerary.
Whether you’re a history enthusiast, a food lover, or an adventure seeker, Turkey has something for everyone. In this article, we’ll guide you through the top things to do in Turkey, ensuring an unforgettable journey.
- Explore Historical Sites
Turkey is home to a myriad of historical sites that provide a glimpse into its fascinating past. When visiting Turkey, make sure to explore the following iconic landmarks:
Visit Hagia Sophia
Hagia Sophia, a UNESCO World Heritage site, is a masterpiece of Byzantine architecture. Originally built as a cathedral, it later became a mosque and is now a museum. Marvel at its impressive dome, intricate mosaics, and rich history that spans over 1,500 years.
Explore Topkapi Palace
Step into the opulent world of the Ottoman sultans by visiting Topkapi Palace in Istanbul. This grand complex houses stunning courtyards, ornate chambers, and impressive collections of artifacts, including the famous Topkapi Dagger and the Spoonmaker’s Diamond.
Discover the Blue Mosque
Also known as the Sultan Ahmed Mosque, the Blue Mosque is an architectural gem in Istanbul. Admire its six minarets, cascading domes, and exquisite blue tiles that give it a unique identity. Don’t forget to explore its peaceful courtyard and witness the beautiful call to prayer.
- Cruise the Bosphorus
A trip to Turkey wouldn’t be complete without a scenic cruise along the Bosphorus. This strait separates Europe from Asia and offers breathtaking views of Istanbul’s skyline, including iconic landmarks like the Dolmabahce Palace and the Bosphorus Bridge.
Relax on a traditional Turkish boat, known as a “gulet,” and soak in the beauty of this vibrant city.
- Wander through the Grand Bazaar
Immerse yourself in the vibrant atmosphere of the Grand Bazaar in Istanbul. With over 4,000 shops, this bustling market is a shopper’s paradise. From colorful ceramics and exquisite textiles to traditional spices and handcrafted jewelry, you’ll find an array of unique treasures to take home as souvenirs.
- Experience Turkish Cuisine
Turkish cuisine is renowned for its rich flavors and diverse dishes. Indulge in the following culinary delights during your visit:
Taste Authentic Turkish Delight
Satisfy your sweet tooth with the famous Turkish delight. These gelatinous treats come in various flavors, including rose, pistachio, and lemon. Sample different varieties at local confectioneries or visit the renowned Haci Bekir store in Istanbul, where Turkish delight has been made since 1777.
Enjoy Traditional Turkish Breakfast
Start your day like a local with a traditional Turkish breakfast, known as “kahvalti.” Feast on a spread of olives, cheeses, tomatoes, cucumbers, honey, fresh bread, and a variety of jams. Pair it with a cup of strong Turkish tea and experience the warmth of Turkish hospitality.
Indulge in a Turkish Tea Ceremony
Turkish tea, or “çay,” is an integral part of Turkish culture. Take part in a traditional tea ceremony, where black tea is brewed in a double teapot and served in small tulip-shaped glasses. Sip on this fragrant beverage while enjoying engaging conversations with locals.
- Relax at Turkish Hammams
Experience ultimate relaxation at a traditional Turkish hammam. These steamy bathhouses offer a rejuvenating experience that involves a series of steam sessions, exfoliation with a kese (scrubbing mitt), and a soothing massage. Let go of your worries and emerge feeling refreshed and rejuvenated.
- Take a Hot Air Balloon Ride in Cappadocia
Cappadocia, a region in central Turkey, is famous for its unique landscapes and hot air balloon rides. Witness the surreal beauty of fairy chimneys, ancient cave dwellings, and sprawling valleys as you float above the picturesque terrain. Capture breathtaking views and create memories that will last a lifetime.
- Visit Pamukkale’s Thermal Pools
Marvel at the otherworldly beauty of Pamukkale, a natural wonder known for its cascading white terraces of mineral-rich thermal pools. Take a dip in the warm, turquoise waters that are said to have healing properties, and admire the stunning panoramic views of the surrounding countryside.
- Explore the Ruins of Ephesus
Step back in time at the ancient city of Ephesus. Walk through the well-preserved ruins and imagine life in this bustling Roman city. Highlights include the Library of Celsus, the Great Theatre, and the Temple of Artemis, one of the Seven Wonders of the Ancient World.
- Discover the Fairy Chimneys in Goreme
Goreme, located in the Cappadocia region, is known for its enchanting fairy chimneys. These unique rock formations were created by volcanic eruptions millions of years ago. Explore the hidden caves and churches carved into the soft volcanic rock and admire the surreal beauty of this UNESCO World Heritage site.
- Experience Whirling Dervishes
Witness the mesmerizing Sufi ritual of the Whirling Dervishes. This mystical dance represents a spiritual journey and is accompanied by captivating music and chanting. Experience the trance-like state of the dervishes as they whirl gracefully, creating an atmosphere of serenity and transcendence.
- Enjoy a Traditional Turkish Folk Dance Show
Immerse yourself in the lively rhythms and vibrant costumes of a Turkish folk dance show. Watch talented dancers perform traditional dances, such as the energetic “halay” or the elegant “zeybek.” Get ready to be entertained and captivated by the cultural richness of Turkey.
- Participate in Turkish Carpet Weaving
Discover the art of Turkish carpet weaving by participating in a hands-on workshop. Learn about the intricate techniques and symbolism behind these beautifully crafted carpets. Under the guidance of skilled artisans, try your hand at weaving and create your own unique masterpiece to take home.
- Enjoy a Turkish Cultural Music Performance
Delight your senses with the enchanting melodies of Turkish music. Attend a traditional music performance where talented musicians play instruments like the oud, ney, and kanun. Let the rhythmic tunes transport you to the heart of Turkish culture and experience the harmony of different musical traditions.
Turkey offers a diverse range of experiences that cater to every traveler’s interests. Whether you’re fascinated by history, captivated by natural wonders, or simply seeking culinary delights, Turkey has it all. Immerse yourself in its vibrant culture, explore its ancient sites, indulge in delicious cuisine, and create unforgettable memories that will last a lifetime.
The visa requirements for Turkey vary depending on your nationality. Some countries are eligible for visa-free travel or can obtain an e-visa online, while others may require a visa obtained from a Turkish embassy or consulate. It’s important to check the visa requirements specific to your nationality before traveling to Turkey.