Must-Visit Attractions in Turkey

As the meeting point of Europe and Asia, Turkey has diverse architecture and monuments plus a fascinating history
As the meeting point of Europe and Asia, Turkey has diverse architecture and monuments plus a fascinating history | © Gaertner / Alamy Stock Photo
Feride Yalav-Heckeroth

Having witnessed the rise and fall of many empires as well as the lives of many different cultures and religions, Turkey is chock-full of historical wonders. From abandoned monasteries and ancient cities to the most popular touristic structures, check out this round-up of the most important attractions in the country where Europe and Asia meet. Did you know – Culture Trip now does bookable, small-group trips? Pick from authentic, immersive Epic Trips, compact and action-packed Mini Trips and sparkling, expansive Sailing Trips.

Hasankeyf

Ruins of old bridge and fortress at Hasankeyf, Eastern Anatolia, Turkey

Hasankeyf is an ancient town that runs alongside the Tigris River, and you should witness the stunning remains from the Artuqid period before a dam project floods it.

Mardin

Historic centre of Mardin, Southeastern Anatolia Region, Anatolia, Turkey

The narrow streets, historic stone houses and hidden churches of Mardin are absolutely mesmerising.

Alahan Monastery

Alahan Monastery, 4. century A.D., Mut Mersin Turkey

The Alahan Monastery dates back to the fifth century and is one of the best examples of Isaurian stonemasonry, hidden away at an altitude of 1,200m (4,000ft).

Ani

Ruins of the ancient capital of Bagradit Armenian Kingdom, Ani, in Kars, Turkey.

This once magnificent Medieval Armenian city may lie in ruins, but the remains continue to stun visitors, especially because of their location in the idyllic Kars province landscape.

Kayaköy

Abandoned houses, village of Kayakoy

An ancient city once inhabited by a Greek-speaking population, Kayaköy is now a stunning ghost town with two beautiful Eastern Orthodox churches.

Safranbolu

Traditional Ottoman villas of Safranbolu, Turkey. A UNESCO World Heritage Site

A Unesco World Heritage site, the city of Safranbolu is home to very well-preserved Ottoman-era houses and architecture.

Sumela Monastery

Sumela monastery one of the most impressive sights in the whole Black Sea region, in Altindere Valley, Trabzon province, Turkey.

Built into a steep cliff in the Trabzon province, the Greek Orthodox Sumela Monastery is not only beloved for the architecture but also the frescoes.

Rumkale

Aerial view of Rumkale and Euphrates River, Halfeti, Turkey

Once a powerful fortress on the Euphrates river, Rumkale continues to amaze because of its location across a glistening blue peninsula.

Şanlıurfa

Domed houses of the town Harran in Sanliurfa, Turkey.

Şanlıurfa is a stunning city where historic structures (dating as far back as 304BCE) stand alongside modern constructions, and the excellent cuisine reflects the deep history.

Olympos

Remains of the ancient Lycian city of Olympos

Çıralı is not only known for its gorgeous beach but also the remains of the ancient Lycian city of Olympos, which is believed to have been constructed around the fourth century BCE.

Alanya Kalesi

Fortress in the city of Alanya (Alanya Kalesi).

This beautiful castle was built in 1226 under the Seljuk Sultanate of Rum and continues to overlook the city from a rocky peninsula.

Cappadocia

Great variety of shapes, forms and colors in the landscape of Cappadocia, Nevsehir, Turkey.

The fairy chimneys and underground cities of Cappadocia are truly stunning – as is the famous hot-air balloon tour. You can visit the underground city of Kaymakli on a guided tour as part of Culture Trip’s immersive 12-day Turkey adventure.

Ephesus

Library of Celsus, elevated view, Ephesus, Turkey

This ancient Greek city is among the most visited historical sites in the world due to the excellent state of the magnificent structures there.

Aspendos

Exterior of The Roman amphitheatre of Aspendos Turkey

This ancient Greco-Roman city in the Antalya province continues to wow with an incredibly well-preserved theatre.

Pergamon

Trajan temple in ancient city of Pergamon in Turkey.

Once a powerful ancient Greek city, the ruins of Pergamon, a Unesco World Heritage site, continue to amaze visitors.

Mevlana Museum

Mevlana Museum, Konya, Central Anatolia, Turkey

The mausoleum of the famous Sufi mystic and poet Jalal ad-Din Muhammad Rumi is a hugely important attraction in Konya.

Nemrut Dağı

Nemrut Dağı National Park is known for its statues

At the summit of this 2,134m-high (7,001ft) mountain is a collection of ancient sculptures believed to be a royal tomb.

Anıtkabir

Anitkabir memorial to Kemal Ataturk founder of Turkish Republic Ankara central Anatolia

The mausoleum of Mustafa Kemal Atatürk is a true feat of architecture.

Aya Sofya

Elevated view of Aya Sofya (Sancta Sophia), UNESCO World Heritage Site, in Sultanahmet, Istanbul, Turkey, Europe

A visit to Istanbul would not be complete without exploring this stunning Greek Orthodox Christian patriarchal basilica that now serves as a museum.

Pamukkale

Pamukkale

The hot spring and pure white travertines of Pamukkale have become an iconic image associated with Turkey.

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