9 of the most beautiful places in Turkey (must see!)

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Matthew Hillier

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With more than 10 UNESCO World Heritage sites in Turkey, it’s not surprising it’s one of the most popular tourist destinations in the world (the 6th most popular, in fact). Turkey is a place for every traveler, whether you want to enjoy the metropolitan cities, or explore ancient cities and stunning nature. 

After living in Turkey for over a year now, we feel that coming to Turkey for a short vacation is not enough to fully appreciate what the country has to offer. Still, there are a couple of spots in Turkey that natives and tourists alike must visit at least once in their lives.

So, if you’re planning a trip to Turkey, we hope reading this guide to all the most beautiful places in Turkey will help you get your itinerary ready. 

Most beautiful places in Turkey

Here are our top picks for the most beautiful places to visit in Turkey:

1. Cappadocia

View of Cappadocia

The first place we have to mention in Türkiye is Cappadocia. You’ve probably seen thousands of pictures of Cappadocia’s landscape, cave dwellings, and hot air balloons. 

Riding in a hot air balloon 

Riding a hot air balloon overlooking the gorgeous region is a must-try activity. Even if you’re afraid of heights, you’ll still appreciate the distinctive fairy chimneys and splendid rock formations of Cappadocia.

Goreme Valleys

If you like nature and hiking, Gerome in Cappadocia is for you. It encompasses four valleys: Red, Rose, Love, and Pigeon.

One of the most breathtaking Cappadocia valleys is the Red and Rose Valley, filled with pink-hued sandstones.

The best part about Gerome is that the hiking trails are all interconnected, which means you can visit all the stunning locations in one go.

Goreme Cave Hotels

If you decide to visit Goreme or any other area in Cappadocia, there’s no better choice than staying in one of the many cave hotels. Not only will you get a real, historic feel of Turkey, but it’ll also make for a distinct experience that you’re unlikely to find in any other city.

The cave hotels are more comfortable and luxurious than they sound. With their distinct architecture and mesmerizing views, it’s hard to believe how budget-friendly they are.

2. Istanbul 

Hagia Sophia

Hagia Sophia is the crown jewel of Istanbul which was the world’s largest cathedral for nearly a thousand years. This architectural marvel carries the culture of Turkey, as it was once a church, a mosque, a museum, and now, an essential piece of history.

When you walk through the 6th-century building, you’ll be greeted with a blend of marvelous mosaics in gold and silver depicting Christian scenes and unique Islamic calligraphy. 

Underneath the majestic dome is a wall with windows, and during the day the sunlight streaming in obscures the pillars and makes it look like it is suspended from the sky. 

Grand Bazaar

Istanbul has plenty of amazing spots for tourists and natives alike. However, Grand Bazaar tops our list as a must-visit when you’re in Turkey.

It’s one of the largest shopping districts in the world, with over 4,000 shops covering 61 streets. So, if you want to buy your friends and family souvenirs, just head over to Grand Bazaar for all your shopping needs.

At Grand Bazaar, you’ll feel like you’re in an old Middle Eastern spice market. Even if you don’t like shopping, grabbing a bite and enjoying the Turkish vibes will be worth it.

3. Butterfly Valley

Arial view of Butterfly Valley

Butterfly Valley near the popular tourist town of Fethiye isn’t just your average beach. The secluded, sandy area, the crystal-clear water, and the stunning, rocky mountains are enough to put you in a trance.

Unfortunately, while the Butterfly Valley gets its name from the vast population of butterflies native to the area, due to tourism the beautiful creatures migrated elsewhere.

Still, Butterfly Valley is the spot to visit if you want to enjoy a peaceful hike or have a yacht party in the middle of the Mediterranean.

4. Pamukkale

Thermal pools 

Pamukkale thermal pools

Another exotic location in Turkey is the white travertine thermal pools of Pamukkale. Located near Hierapolis, this famous tourist attraction is believed by some to cure all illnesses and renew your energy. These thermal pools make for an indulgent experience if you want to relax.  


Hierapolis colosseum

You simply can’t visit Turkey without seeing the glorious Hierapolis, an ancient Roman spa city just 2.5 kilometers from the village of Pamukkale. Inaugurated in honor of the goddess Cybele, Hierapolis is a wonder of Turkey. The city’s historic pools, amphitheater, and temples rival those of Greece and Italy.

5. Mt. Nemrut

Mount Nemrut historical site

If you’re looking for a unique way to spend your Turkish vacation, a visit to Mt. Nemrut should be on top of your list. There, you’ll find several resilient statues of ancient gods, dating over 2,000 years.

While the sight of Mt. Nemrut will leave you breathless, the hike is rather easy, taking only 30 minutes. The best place to visit this gorgeous mountain as around sunrise. 

6. Antalya City

Antalya old city from the sky

For a metropolitan vacation, Antalya is the place to be. You could fill up your itinerary with all the fun, cultural, and relaxing activities of the city, and not even get the time to visit the rest of Turkey!

Some of the best things to do in Antalya include:

  • Visiting Hadrian’s Gate
  • Shopping in the Old Bazaar
  • Walking the streets of Kaleici
  • Sightseeing Duden Waterfalls
  • Hiking the Lycian Way
  • Having dinner in the Old City Marina

7. Kaputaş Beach 

Kaputas beach view

As if the list of activities to do in the city of Antalya wasn’t diverse enough, the wider province has some of the most magnificent beaches, one of which is Kaputaş Beach in the holiday town of Kaş. In summer the town is known for scuba diving, seaside dining and its houses covered in bougainvillea. 

This impressive beach nearby is popular for its clear, azure blue water and magnificent cliffs. You can enjoy a day of sunbathing on the Mediterranean, as well as enjoy the numerous cafés and facilities available on the beach.

8. Ephesus

Ephesus in Western Turkey

A stunning piece of Roman and Greek history is the ancient city of Ephesus, home to the Temple of Artemis, one of the seven wonders of the ancient world. It also contains one of the largest Roman libraries in the world, the Library of Celsus.

That’s not all, though. Walking through this city, you’ll find pieces of Christian history, such as the Catholic shrine of the Virgin Mary and the Church of Mary. 

9. Bodrum

View of Bodrum

Last, but not least (at least for this list), is breathtaking Bodrum. This tourism hub is unique in that it has activities that suit every traveler. Whether you want to explore the ancient ruins or relax in the Mediterranean climate, Bodrum has it all.

The Turkish city has an array of beaches, markets, and clubs. If you want to immerse yourself in the nightlife, you can head to Bodrum’s bar street or take a boat trip on the peninsula.

Listing all the most beautiful places in Turkey would take too long. There is way more to explore. The country has a history spanning from the Roman to the Ottoman Empire, not to mention its metropolitan cities, museums, markets, mountains, and beaches. We hope you enjoy discovering the many beauties of Turkey.

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