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About Turkey

The most popular museums in Turkey include the Istanbul Archaeology Museums, the Museum of Anatolian Civilizations in Ankara, the Hagia Sophia, and the Topkapi Palace Museum. The İstanbul Toy Museum and Rahmi M. Koç Museum are also favorites among visitors.
On rainy days, consider taking shelter in Istanbul's Grand Bazaar for a shopping tour, exploring the vast underground city of Derinkuyu in Cappadocia, or enjoying the Istanbul Museum Pass for access to multiple indoor venues, such as the Turkish and Islamic Arts Museum.
Top tours in Turkey include guided visits to Istanbul's historical district, cultural and gastronomy tours in Izmir, and archaeological journeys in the ancient cities of Ephesus and Troy. Gulet cruises along the Aegean coast and wine tasting tours in Cappadocia also come highly recommended.
When visiting Turkey, the Hagia Sophia, Ephesus, and Cappadocia's Göreme Open Air Museum are essential must-see attractions. The architectural splendor of the Blue Mosque, the historical depth of the Topkapi Palace, and the natural beauty of Pamukkale's Travertine Pools also top the list of Turkey attractions.
Family-friendly activities in Turkey include visiting the Istanbul Aquarium, exploring the fairy chimneys in Cappadocia via hot air balloon, enjoying the beaches of Antalya, and experiencing the magic of The Land of Legends Theme Park. Historical sites like Troy and children's museums are also educational and fun.
For outdoor enthusiasts, Turkey offers paragliding over Oludeniz, hiking the Lycian Way, sailing the Turkish Riviera, and ballooning in Cappadocia. Turkey's diverse landscapes also provide opportunities for mountain biking, diving in the Aegean Sea, and trekking through the valleys of Anatolia.
Cultural enrichment abounds indoors, with visits to the Istanbul Modern Art Museum, the Ankara Opera House, and the Zeugma Mosaic Museum in Gaziantep. The Basilica Cistern and Harbiye Military Museum offer intriguing historical explorations, while traditional Turkish baths provide a relaxing retreat.

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Topkapı Palace Museum Tickets & Tours

Best Things to Do In Turkey

Discover the wealth of cultural experiences and historical marvels on your self-guided journey through Turkey.

Edirne: Selimiye Mosque

What is it?
A masterpiece of Ottoman architect Mimar Sinan, featuring an elegant dome and minarets.
Why you should go?
The Selimiye Mosque stands as an iconic symbol of Edirne's skyline and is considered one of Mimar Sinan's greatest works. This UNESCO World Heritage site's grand dome surpasses even that of Hagia Sophia in its architectural perfection and innovation. With its detailed calligraphy, intricate tile work, and symmetrically arranged courtyards, the mosque is a must-visit. The surrounding complex, with its schools and markets, provides a deep insight into the Ottoman era, making the Selimiye Mosque one of the most rewarding Turkey activities for culture and history buffs.

Sanliurfa: Göbekli Tepe

What is it?
An archaeological wonder often touted as the world's oldest temple site.
Why you should go?
At approximately 12,000 years old, Göbekli Tepe predates Stonehenge and the Egyptian pyramids, offering a unique window into prehistoric times. The site features circular structures and towering T-shaped pillars carved with animal motifs, which challenge our understanding of early human societies. A visit here is akin to stepping into a time machine, and the mysterious nature of the site's origin and purpose tantalizes the imagination. For anyone interested in the origins of civilization, Göbekli Tepe is among the top things to do in Turkey.

Kaş: Kekova Sunken City

What is it?
The ruins of an ancient Lycian city, submerged and visible through clear turquoise waters.
Why you should go?
Kekova Sunken City, off the coast of Kaş, is a nautical marvel. The area is accessible by boat, allowing you to glide over the vestiges of the past that lie beneath the sea's surface. Witnessing the remains of houses, staircases, and the outlines of streets underwater provides a haunting yet magical experience. This archaeological site offers a unique adventure for explorers and divers alike, cementing it as one of the most intriguing places to visit in Turkey.

Mount Nemrut: The Nemrut Dagı National Park

What is it?
Home to monumental statues and a royal tomb from the Kingdom of Commagene.
Why you should go?
As the eighth wonder of the ancient world, Mount Nemrut's summit houses a collection of colossal statues and a tomb that are breathtaking both in scope and historical significance. The colossal heads of deities and kings gaze out over the Taurus range, offering one of the most surreal sunsets or sunrises imaginable. This UNESCO World Heritage site is among the best things to do in Turkey for those seeking to experience the grandeur of ancient civilizations under the vast expanse of the Anatolian sky.

Ephesus: The Library of Celsus

What is it?
A striking ancient Roman building, once a grand library and now a symbolic ruin.
Why you should go?
Part of the larger site of Ephesus, The Library of Celsus stands as a poignant relic of literary and architectural heritage. Built in 117 AD, the library was once home to thousands of scrolls and is admired for its ornate facades featuring statues symbolizing wisdom and knowledge. Its two-story façade has been meticulously restored, allowing visitors to marvel at the architectural finesse of the Romans. Beyond its aesthetics, Celsus Library symbolizes the historical reverence for learning, making it one of the essential things to see in Turkey.
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Bursa: The Grand Mosque of Bursa

What is it?
An exemplary piece of early Ottoman architecture, known for its 20 domes and 2 minarets.
Why you should go?
The Grand Mosque of Bursa, or Ulu Camii, is a centerpiece of Ottoman Turkish architecture and religious heritage. Built in the late 14th century, this mosque is an icon of the city of Bursa and deeply entwined with its cultural identity. The interior's vast prayer hall, distinctive calligraphy-engraved walls, and serene courtyard with a fountain make it a key spiritual site. For those interested in the development of Islamic art and architecture, the Grand Mosque is a cornerstone attraction among places to visit in Turkey.

Ankara: Anıtkabir

What is it?
The mausoleum of Mustafa Kemal Atatürk, the founder and first President of the Republic of Turkey.
Why you should go?
Anıtkabir is not just a mausoleum; it's a symbol of modern Turkey. The grandiosity of this structure and the historical significance it bears cannot be overstated. Visitors can explore the museum detailing Atatürk's life and witness the changing of guards at his tomb. This important monument also provides insight into the respect and reverence the Turkish people have for their founding father. It is truly one of the top things to do in Turkey for anyone seeking to understand the country's recent history.

Mardin: Deyrulzafaran Monastery

What is it?
An ancient Syrian Orthodox monastery, known for its golden-colored stones and unique history.
Why you should go?
Perched on a hillside near Mardin, the Deyrulzafaran Monastery is a beacon of the rich religious diversity found in the region. The site has been a religious sanctuary for nearly two millennia, and the monastery's structure reflects periods of both glory and hardship. Visitors can explore the ornate church interiors, learn about the religious art, and absorb the tranquil atmosphere that hovers over this sacred place. For those seeking spiritual encounters, this is definitely what to see in Turkey.

Trabzon: Sumela Monastery

What is it?
A dramatic monastic complex etched into a mountainside, offering stunning frescoes and views.
Why you should go?
Nestled in the steep cliffs of Trabzon's Altındere Valley, the Sumela Monastery is one of the most astonishing Turkey tourist attractions. The sheer engineering and willpower required to create this sanctuary is awe-inspiring. The monastery boasts vibrant frescoes that have survived the ravages of time and offers a unique window into the religious past of the region. Looking out from its precipice grants visitors expansive vistas of the surrounding verdant national park – a truly unforgettable experience among the best things to do in Turkey.

Konya: Mevlana Museum

What is it?
The former lodge of the whirling dervishes, now a museum honoring the mystic poet Rumi.
Why you should go?
In the heartland of Anatolia lies Konya, a city steeped in Sufi tradition, and the Mevlana Museum is its jewel. The museum, which is also the mausoleum of Rumi, resonates with the spirituality of his teachings and the practice of the whirling dervishes. Intricately decorated with turquoise tiles, this site is not only a place of deep spiritual significance but also a masterpiece of Seljuk architecture. The museum provides a serene and contemplative environment, inviting visitors to ponder the teachings of one of the most significant poets in history, making it a profound inclusion in Turkey activities.

Istanbul: Hagia Sophia

What is it?
A historic architectural marvel, once a church, then a mosque, now a museum.
Why you should go?
Visiting Hagia Sophia is a journey through time. As one of the most significant Turkey attractions, the structure stands as a testament to the country's multifaceted history. With its colossal dome and intricate mosaics, Hagia Sophia is a pinnacle of Byzantine architecture and an emblem of the diverse cultural influences that have shaped Istanbul. This monumental edifice is not just an aesthetic masterpiece; it's a symbolic crossroads of East and West that offers a profound glimpse into the nation's soul.

Cappadocia: Göreme Open Air Museum

What is it?
An enchanting complex of rock-cut churches and frescoes in a lunar-like landscape.
Why you should go?
The Göreme Open Air Museum epitomizes the astonishing human ingenuity behind Cappadocia's historical dwellings. Carved into the soft volcanic rock, the cluster of monastic buildings adorned with vibrant frescoes reveals a spiritual past that dates back to the 10th century. This UNESCO World Heritage site not only offers a peek into the ascetic life of early Christian monks but also provides panoramic views that are considered among the best things to see in Turkey. The museum's tranquil atmosphere and impressive history make it a must-visit for any traveler.

Antalya: Düden Waterfalls

What is it?
A breathtaking natural wonder offering serene and picturesque cascades.
Why you should go?
The Düden Waterfalls offer a refreshing reprieve from Antalya's urban pulse and serve as an exquisite illustration of nature's artistry. One of the top things to do in Turkey, the falls cascade into the Mediterranean Sea in a powerful display that captivates and invigorates visitors. The surrounding park provides a peaceful setting for picnics or leisurely strolls, and the thundering sound of water plummeting into the sea delivers a multisensory experience. Any visit to Antalya is incomplete without witnessing the sheer beauty of Düden Waterfalls.

Pamukkale: Travertine Terraces

What is it?
Surreal, snow-white terraces formed by calcium-rich mineral springs.
Why you should go?
Pamukkale's transcendent Travertine Terraces offer a visual spectacle unlike any other. These thermal springs have sculpted the landscape over millennia, creating a series of tiered pools that have been likened to a cotton castle. Visitors flock to this natural phenomenon to bathe in the healing waters as they take in views of the ancient ruins of Hierapolis nearby. As one of the premier places to visit in Turkey, Pamukkale combines otherworldly natural wonders with the relics of antiquity, offering an experience that is both rejuvenating and breathtaking.

İzmir: The Agora of Smyrna

What is it?
Remains of the ancient market place, steeped in history and Roman architecture.
Why you should go?
The Agora of Smyrna is an impressive archeological site that stands as a famed testament to the grandeur of Roman engineering. As a visitor, you'll be walking through the columns and arcades where marketplace activity once buzzed, offering an authentic feel of ancient times. Learning about the earthquake that led to the reconstruction of the agora in the 2nd century amplifies the sense of resilience found here. This attraction provides a tangible connection to the classical world and is listed among the foremost what to do in Turkey for history enthusiasts and curious travelers alike.

TOP-5 Free Tours in Turkey

  • Explore Istanbul's vibrant streets, where the tapestry of history unravels through Byzantine architecture and bustling bazaars; a top thing to see in Turkey.
  • Delve into the ancient city of Ephesus, a truly magnificent Turkey attraction, to witness the remnants of a once-flourishing civilization.
  • Gaze upon the otherworldly terrain of Cappadocia from a unique perspective, making it one of the best things to do in Turkey.
  • Stroll through the ruins of Hierapolis, a perfect example of Turkey's historical wealth and one of the must-see Turkey tourist attractions.
  • Amble along the marbled streets of Aspendos, taking in the grandeur of its well-preserved theatre, echoing with the past Turkey activities.