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Turkey’s capital city is much more than a center for everything bureaucratic. From the walls of an historic castle overlooking the city all the way to its trendy shopping streets, Ankara has plenty to see and do in two days.
Start your day in Ankara by going back to its historic roots and wandering around the famous Ankara Castle, one of the city’s oldest sites and dating back to the Roman, Seljuk, and Ottoman Empires. After taking in the amazing view, make your way down to Hamamönü or the Old Quarter and enjoy the Ottoman-style timber houses, and stop by one of the many arts and crafts shops to buy handmade souvenirs.
After working up an appetite, drop by Süha’nın Yeri to eat the famous döner, which is cooked over a wood fire. This is a great place to get a quick bite with the locals (more specifically a döner sandwich accompanied by ayran yogurt drink) and continue on your way.
Süha’nın Yeri, Küçükesat Mahallesi, Esat Cd. 33/A, Çankaya/Ankara, Turkey, +90 312 447 42 33
Of course, no meal is complete without some dessert, and Ankara has plenty of sweet treats on offer. Make sure to try some baklava in the city’s most famous baklava shop, Hacıbaba. Open since 1949, you’ll find every kind of baklava variety prepared perfectly.
Baklavacı Hacıbaba, Necatibey Cad. No: 20/D, Sıhhiye, Çankaya/Ankara, Turkey, +90 312 229 47 09
One of Ankara’s most important museums, the Museum of Anatolian Civilizations, hosts exhibitions that focus on Anatolian archaeology from the Paleolithic era to the Neolithic, as well as the Assyrian, Hittite, Greek, Roman, Byzantine, Seljuk, and Ottoman Empires.
You’ll have to make reservations in advance at this excellent seafood restaurant that’s also a bit on the fancier side. Definitely one of Ankara’s best restaurants, Trilye serves up freshly prepared Aegean and Mediterranean meze and the day’s freshest catch, best accompanied by a few glasses of rakı.
Kazım Özalp Mah. Kuleli Caddesi No.32 Gaziosmanpaşa +90 312 447 12 00
Anıtkabir is not only the the mausoleum of Mustafa Kemal Atatürk, the founder and first president of the Turkish Republic, but also an architectural masterpiece. Composed of concrete, travertine, and marble, the structure is as beautiful as it is imposing.
Cafemiz is one of Ankara’s most popular cafes, and you’ll see lots of locals meeting up here over coffee, tea, and cake to discuss life. Cafemiz also has a great lunch menu, which you can enjoy in their rococo-style interior or the garden, complete with floral patterns and shiny chandeliers.
If you want to take back some sweet treats from Ankara as a souvenir, make a stop at Ali Uzun, Ankara’s historic candy shop that has been around since 1935. You’ll find akide şekeri (Turkish hard candy) with hazelnut, mint, strawberry, lemon, or cinnamon, as well as lokum (Turkish delight), helva, pişmaniye (floss candy), and almond paste.
If you’re into modern art, then CerModern is the place to go during your Ankara visit. The city’s most important hub for contemporary art, the museum features exhibitions from Turkish and European artists, as well as a great café and plenty of events and workshops.
Altınsoy Street, Number: 3, Sıhhiye +90 312 310 00 00
At the end of day two, it’s time to eat some excellent kebab! Bursa Hacı Bey Kebabçısı has been open since 1961 and serves up some of the best döner kebab in town as well as other varieties of kebab in all their delicious glory.