Preserving the mystical charm and European sophistication, Turkey is a blossomed tourist destination. The country is famously known for its wide variety of natural landscapes, lively cities, mouthwatering cuisine, and exciting opportunities for adventure.
It offers an ideal vacation with numerous things to do in Turkey such as lounging on a Mediterranean beach, hiking in untamed mountains, or discovering the intricate cultural layers forged over thousands of years of history. Even though one can't do it all in one trip, here are our top picks to get you started.
10 top things to do in Turkey
Turkey offers an amazing experience to visitors of all ages. The country is dotted with beautiful mosques, historic castles, relaxing hammams, and mesmerizing landscapes. Tourists can indulge in the following activities to explore Turkey in a personalized way.
1. Visit the Blue Mosque in Turkey
The Blue Mosque, also known as the Sultan Ahmed Mosque, draws global visitors for its unique bluish interiors. This mosque was constructed by an Ottoman sultan and is situated next to Hagia Sophia, another well-known structure. It has an interior and exterior courtyard, six minarets, and several balconies. The interior courtyard is enclosed by a small domed portico and has a marble floor.
Timings of the Blue Mosque: Dawn until midnight.
Address: Binbirdirek, At Meydanı Cd No:10, 34122 Fatih/İstanbul, Turkey
2. Explore the Hagia Sophia Mosque in Turkey
The Hagia Sophia is another well-known building with historical value in Turkey. It is on the UNESCO World Heritage Sites list. Hagia Sophia was once both an imperial mosque and a Greek Orthodox Christian patriarchal basilica and is now a museum. The design features a huge dome, regarded as a turning point for that era's architecture. The Deesis mosaic, the Saint John Chrysostom mosaic, and the 19th-century market of the tomb of Enrico Dandolo, among other things, are a few distinguishing features of this beauty.
Timing of Hagia Sophia: 9 am – 5 pm
Address: Sultan Ahmet, Ayasofya Meydanı No:1, 34122 Fatih/İstanbul, Turkey
Suggested Read: Nightlife in Turkey
3. Revisit the history of Ankara Castle
Ankara Castle, one of the country's final remaining fortifications from the 7th century, is a gem of the medieval era. It was a significant building for many empires, including the Roman, Byzantine, Crusader, Ottoman, Seljuq Turks, and many others, covering an incredibly rich and varied history. The grounds of this castle are dotted with homes from Turkey's golden age, making it a heaven on earth for history buffs. One can see jaw dropping designs and architectural styles from various periods.
Timing of Ankara Castle: Monday to Friday, 10 am – 8 pm; Saturday, 8 am – 10 pm; and Sunday, 8 am – 9 pm.
Address: Kale, 06240 Altındağ/Ankara, Türkiye
Suggested Read: 7 Top-Rated Places To Visit In Turkey
4. Hike at Mount Nemrut in Turkey
Mount Nemrut hike provides a peek into massive sand-colored monuments and standing statues of ancient gods in the background while providing a refreshing hike. The Nemrut Dag National Park, which is recognized as one of the World Heritage Sites, is also present within the Mount Nemrut area. Sunrise and sunsets are extremely beautiful from the mountain. It is recommended to wear comfortable shoes and purchase a hiking pole, though the latter is not required. The hike is among the top adventure activities in Turkey to enjoy with friends.
Elevation: 2,134 m
Location: Mount Nemrut Adıyaman Province, Turkey
5. Shop at Kapali Carsi
Aside from the countless memories and priceless moments the city offers at every turn; it has Istanbul's Grand Bazaar, also known as Kapali Carsisi that imparts unique experiences in Turkey. Tourists can find numerous souvenirs to bring back with themselves. The Bazaar gets a footfall of 250,000 to 400,000 tourists daily. It has around 4,000 shops selling all sorts of items. The diverse collection of jewelry, artifacts, spices, antique pieces, handcrafted items, and carpets is undoubtedly a treasure trove for a curator of one-of-a-kind items.
Timing of Kapali Carsisi: 8:30 am – 7 pm; closed on Sundays
Address: Beyazıt, 34126 Fatih/İstanbul, Turkey
6. Scout the ruins of Ephesus
The oldest landmark in Turkey is the ancient Greek city of Ephesus, which was built in the 10th century BC. The city's ruins and the Temple of Artemis, one of the Seven Wonders of the World, have attracted numerous visitors since antiquity. The Library of Celsus is another well-known landmark in Ephesus that draws visitors from all over the world. The ruins of this illustrious Greek city, which have endured through generations and ages to witness the rise and fall of empires, provide a glimpse into the splendor of the past.
Timings of Ephesus: 8 am – 6:30 pm
7. Enjoy a Turkish bath at Cemberlitas Hamami in Istanbul
One of Turkey's most distinctive cultural characteristics is the Cemberlitas Hamami. Mimar Sinan built the ancient bathhouse in 1584. The traditional Turkish bath requires some initial inhibition-busting, but it guarantees a one-of-a-kind, relaxing experience. Additionally, it is said to have medicinal values.
Timing of Cemberlitas Hamami: 7 am–12 am
8. Witness the limestone formations at Goreme National Park in Turkey
Turkey has beautiful landscapes. One of these can be discovered in Goreme National Park. Walking is the best way to discover this area. Cappadocia's beautiful sedimentary rock formation, which is the result of volcanic deposits, gives the region its distinctive personality. It is listed as a UNESCO World Heritage Site. One can find the most unusual sights in Cappadocia, where churches and underground cities have been carved out of rocks. It is one of the top things to do in Turkey.
Destination Course: Turkey Destination Specialist
9. Enjoy the natural sauna at Pamukkale Thermal Pools Turkey
A very uncommon and magnificent sight that can leave you speechless is the Pamukkale Thermal Pools. The thermal springs that create the white calcareous landscape are loaded with limestones, which causes a rare phenomenon of calcium deposits that take the forms of potholes, stalactites, and cataracts. It is a truly mesmerizing sight to look out over the vast white landscape with turquoise springs formed in various layers with the blue sky above. Asthma, rheumatism, eye conditions, and skin conditions can all be treated with the therapeutic water found in the pools. It is one of the best activities to do in Turkey.
Timing of Pamukkale Thermal Pools: 6:30 am to 9 pm
10. Enjoy the turkish delicacies
Rich in flavors, Turkish cuisine is full of surprises and delicious dishes. Tourists can eat at various authentic restaurants while enjoying the traditional hospitality. Beside the famous Turkish coffee, one can enjoy a range of sweet dishes. The most famous delicacies include Baklava, Kofte, Pide, Kumpir, Meze and more. It is one of the best things to do in Turkey for families.
Top restaurants in Turkey: Nicole Restaurant, Hünkar, Borsa Restaurant, Orfoz, Yeni Lokanta
Suggested Read: Best Food Tours in Turkey
Turkey's culture has developed over the years. Its natural beauty has become more prominent over time, and its architectural landmarks continuously transition from traditional to modern constructions while coexisting on the same plot of land under the sun. A trip to Turkey would be incomplete if you did not include the above-listed exciting things to do in Turkey.
Frequently Asked Questions
Q.1 How long does it take to explore Turkey?
A.1 Turkey has some of the most breathtaking sights that you must see at least once in your life. A tour of 8-10 days is sufficient to explore Turkey. If you want a full picture of this beautiful country, a two-week tour should suffice.
Q.2 What are some adventurous things to do in Turkey?
A.2 Hot air ballooning, scuba diving, kiteboarding, skiing, etc are the top adventurous activities to do in Turkey.
Q.3 What are the things one should not do in Turkey?
A.3 Avoiding activities in Turkey include riding in unbranded taxis, making purchases without haggling, wearing shoes inside places of worship, and carrying anything that is illegal in Turkey.