The Most Popular Cities in Turkey for Tourism

Turkey is a unique country that has treasures in every corner. Those who want to enjoy and experience cultural tourism in Turkey are coming to this country every year to see the historical and natural beauties it offers. This country, located in a strategic region of the world in terms of its geographical location, enchants those who see its historical texture, which maintains impressiveness. There are many places to visit and see in Turkey, which hosted many civilizations from east to west.

If you want to visit Turkey’s unique beauty treasures, please continue reading this article we have prepared for you.

1. Istanbul

Istanbul is one of the most important and beautiful metropolises in the world. The city center is surrounded by magnificent hills spread on both sides of the Bosphorus. In this unique city, there is an influx of tourists every season of the year. As each district has its unique texture, smell, and history, Istanbul is an authentic cosmopolitan city. Besides that, the Republic of Turkey’s Ministry of Culture and Tourism organizes various events in Istanbul to attract more tourists every year.

For all the details you want to know about Istanbul, you can check the Things to Know About Istanbul article, and also for further information on properties Real Estate in Istanbul with its magnificent areas.

What are the must-see places in Istanbul?

To make it easier to visit Istanbul, we have listed the most popular historical artifacts and museums. The list below includes the places you must see in Istanbul.

  • Topkapi Palace: Topkapi Palace, which was turned into a museum in 1924, is the first museum of the Republic. Covering a huge area of 300,000 square meters. This is home to a magnificent building and garden.
  • Haghia Sophia: Hagia Sophia exhibits the most characteristic examples of 6th-century Byzantine ornamental art. It has been converted into a mosque in recent years.
  • Grand Bazaar: Grand Bazaar is a covered bazaar, which is the oldest historical building, and contains thousands of shops and businesses.
  • Galata Tower: Galata Tower is a special structure that was built as a watchtower and is now used as an exhibition space and museum.
  • Maiden’s Tower: Maiden’s Tower, which is the symbolic structure of Uskudar, is a structure built on the sea with a tragic story.

What to Eat in Istanbul?

Besides the historical beauty, Istanbul opens a different door for you with its flavors that have been protected by the Ministry of Culture and Tourism. Let’s see what the famous dishes of Istanbul are. Kokorec, a special dish made from the gut of suckling lamb, and mussels, which are taken from the sea and stuffed with spicy rice, are often preferred as a great late snack. Kumpir is a famous taste in Ortakoy, which is formed by combining the desired flavors after a specially selected baked potato is flavored with cheddar and butter. We guarantee you that the fish bread you try from the fishermen in front of Eminonu will be the most delicious fish bread you’ll ever taste. You can buy a winter drink called Boza made from millet semolina, water, and sugar from peddlers, especially in winter.

2. Antalya

Antalya, located in the south of Turkey and the west of the Mediterranean Region, is one of the important cities in terms of tourism. This city, which is built on two plains, is a place where the sea, sun, nature, and history are integrated. Antalya continues to host domestic holidaymakers and tourists in all seasons with its mild climatic conditions. Although summer tourism is quite vigorous, you can visit Antalya whenever you want to visit historical places since it has a temperate climate. The Ministry of Culture and Tourism of Turkey is also actively working in this province.

What are the must-see places in Antalya?

The must-see places you should see in Antalya are as follows:

  • Alanya: Alanya is the district that hosts the most tourists in the city of Antalya. In this district, you can do various sea sports and enjoy your lunch and dinner in stylish places.
  • Kaleici: Many houses in the narrow streets of Kaleici have been restored to their original form, turned into entertainment venues, restaurants, and souvenir shops, and turned into a historical tourism center.
  • Yanartas: Yanartas, a town in Antalya’s Kemer district, is known as eternal fire. This region, which is flooded with tourists, offers a miraculous experience with the unquenchable fire among the stones close to the sea.
  • Alara Khan Castle: Alara Han Castle, located on the top of the hill on the side of the Alara Stream, about 40 km from Alanya, was built by the Seljuk ruler Alaaddin Keykubat I. This historical place offers a special experience.
  • Aya Yorgi Church: Aya Yorgi Church, one of the 5 Orthodox Greek churches in Kaleici, is among the historical structures of Antalya, you must see. With its structure that sheds light on the recent history of the city, the church entered a restoration period that lasted for 2 years after the population exchange. After the restoration, it was put into service as the exhibition hall of the Kaleici Museum.
  • Olympos Ancient City: The city, also known as the City of Gods, is located within the borders of the Kumluca district. When you go to Olympos, which is the most important city in ancient Lycia, don’t miss the chance of swimming on the famous Olympos Beach. This place is a cultural heritage for Turkey’s cultural tourism.

What to Eat in Antalya?

Each region of Turkey is adorned with special flavors and has restaurants that offer you these flavors in the best way. There are also some flavors unique to Antalya.

Tahini Piyaz, also known as Tahinili Piyaz, has a reputation that goes beyond provincial borders with a history of nearly a century. Onion and dried beans. Pumpkin dessert with tahini is a famous taste in Antalya as it is both a light dessert and a dessert consumed especially in winter. Antalya’s most popular street food is Meatball Skewers. The chirping skewers on the charcoal grill, prepared by a master chef, create a unique flavor. Also, if you wish you can add peppers to increase the flavor. His is a special dish made by Arabic regions but this special appetizer is loved and reinterpreted by the people of Antalya and is served to you as an interesting taste. Burnt Ice Cream, which reflects the harmony of hot and cold in the best way, is the most indispensable taste of the summer months.

3. Bursa

Bursa, known as little Istanbul with its developed industry, is located in the south of the Marmara Region. This favorite city, where 4 seasons are experienced, hosts many domestic and foreign tourists thanks to the skiing activities it offers during the winter months. In addition, it is one of the cities with an intangible cultural heritage and sustainable tourism in Turkey.

What are the must-see places in Bursa?

If you go to the city of Bursa, famous for its rich history, the places you should visit are listed below:

  • Muradiye Complex: Muradiye Complex, which has vital importance among the historical places in Bursa, was built during the reign of Sultan Murat II. There are hammams, mosques, madrasahs, and tombs inside the complex.
  • Tophane Clock Tower: Built by Sultan Abdulaziz, this clock tower was demolished and rebuilt over the years. The tower is one of the most original historical places in Bursa and has a digital clock now.
  • Koza Han: Koza Han was built by II. Bayezid is one of the most touristic places in Bursa. There are silk fabrics, scarves, shawls, accessories, handcrafted products, home textile products, and gift items in the shops located in this old Han, which is known as the historical shopping center of Bursa.

What to Eat in Bursa?

Bursa is a city famous for its unique flavors. Iskender is Bursa’s most famous dish. It is served with soft lamb roast slices and a special oily sauce on a pita bed with yogurt. Durum is a wrapped kebab with peppers and tomatoes. This dish is presented in a way that is unique to each region. The most famous dessert of Bursa is candied chestnuts (kestane sekeri in Turkish). It can be ordered plain, covered in chocolate, in cakes, candies, and many other variations. You should try chestnuts at least. Kemalpasa dessert is made with a famous cheese ball from the Kemalpasa region and served with cream on the side.

4. Canakkale

Canakkale is the most important Turkish city that shows heroism when it comes to independence and freedom. Canakkale, which also has archaeological sites such as Troy, Assos, Alexandria Troas, Apollon Smintheus, and Parion, is a region that should be visited with its history and nature.

What are the must-see places in Canakkale?

Canakkale is a city famous for its history and social life. You can take a look at the places you can visit with the list below:

  • Mirrored Bazaar: This special bazaar, which has gained even more fame with its folk song written on it, was built in 1890. After the city was bombed during the War of Independence, it was restored and regained its present appearance in 1967.
  • Lanyard Strap: When you come to Canakkale, you should go for a walk to experience this view. You can experience a magnificent adventure against the view of the Gallipoli.
  • Canakkale Maritime Museum: This museum, which includes the Nusret Mine Ship from the Ottoman Navy, opened its doors to museum lovers.
  • Trojan Horse: According to the legend, the two cities went to war when Paris of Troy kidnapped Helen, the wife of the king of Sparta. During this time, Paris killed Sparta’s best warrior, Achilles, with an arrow, resulting in Troy’s favor. The Spartans send a wooden horse statue to Troy as a peace gift. which is a weapon with thousands of soldiers hidden inside this statue.

What to Eat in Canakkale?

You can experience a feast of tastes in Canakkale, which is famous for its milk and dairy products. Ezine Cheese, which is made from goat, sheep, and cow milk, has been produced in the region since 1953 with its unique robustness and taste. Cheese Halva identified with Canakkale stands out among the richness of the regional cuisine with its unique recipe. Scorpion Soup is a local dish in which scorpionfish turns into a unique flavor. Don’t forget to taste this flavor when you go to Canakkale. Tumbi, one of Canakkale’s famous snack dishes, is served as an excellent choice for lunch hours.

5. Mugla

Facing the Aegean at one end and the Mediterranean at the other, this city, is famous for its unique natural beauties, such as its ancient cities, canyons, and beaches. Mugla hosts many domestic and foreign tourists every year.

What are the must-see places in Mugla?

Mugla, the hidden paradise of Turkey, has many places to visit and explore. You can look at these places on the list below:

  • Knidos Ancient City:  A pleasant holiday in the clear waters of a magnificent ancient city is what you will find in Knidos ancient city. In addition, the Temple of Aphrodite in the ancient city is also of unique beauty.
  • Oludeniz: Oludeniz received the title of the most beautiful beach in the world in 2006. The sea is extremely calm and waveless.
  • Cleopatra Island: Also known as Sedir Island, it is the island that takes place in the legend of Cleopatra.
  • Saklikent Canyon: Saklikent Canyon is a natural wonder region. Here you can spend time in touch with nature.

What to Eat in Mugla?

Mugla is famous for its air water and magnificent flavors. For example, Cokertme Kebab, which stands out among the most famous dishes of Mugla, is usually made with beef. Meat lovers must taste this special flavor. Turkish cuisine, which offers very rich recipes for home cooking, offers you an incredible taste with this special sour taste of Mugla called the cowpea sourdough. Octopus Rice of Mugla cuisine, which is famous for its seafood recipes, is a very popular delicacy. Bodrum Manti is cooked differently in each region. This Bodrum Manti is also served with tomato paste sauce and butter. One of the most popular local flavors of Mugla, keskek is made by pounding wheat into a different form.

6. Izmir

Izmir, the Pearl of the Aegean, is the third-largest city in Turkey. The people of Izmir are famous for their fondness for fun and nature. This city also has a rich history that was home to ancient Greece.

What are the must-see places in Izmir?

The city of Izmir has many special places and places to visit and discover. These places are in the list below.

  • Historical Kemeraltı Bazaar: Izmir’s Historical Kemeraltı Bazaar, which has been in the most important position in the region for thousands of years, carries out commercial activities on an international scale.
  • Smyrna Ancient City: Entrance to this city, which is among the important historical places of Izmir, is free of charge.
  • Izmir Clock Tower: This clock, which has been operating continuously since 1901, is a touristic area in Konak.
  • Historical elevator: Nesim Levi, one of the Jewish businessmen, had this elevator built to embellish the neighborhood. Before this elevator, people had to climb a 155-step ladder. Now, for those who want to see the view, there is no charge at the entrance to climb to the top of the Elevator.

What to Eat in Izmir?

Izmir, which is full of the delicious tastes of the Aegean, has   magnificent cuisine with special dishes that will appeal to all. Boyoz, which was popularized by the Jews in Izmir, means small loaves in Spanish. Boyoz is now an indispensable taste in breakfasts. Kumru, which is made with sausage, salami, and tongue cheese between Izmir’s famous sesame toast bread, is a wonderful street flavor. The sour flavor of the bread made with offal called Sogus is an extraordinary street flavor. This street delicacy called Izmir Lokmasi which is made with sweet sherbet unique to Izmir can be found on every street.

7. Mardin

Mardin, called the cradle of civilizations and cultures, is a city built on the land known as Mesopotamia. In addition, there are many historical monuments in this city.

What are the must-see places in Mardin?

Mardin, the cradle of civilization, is home to many must-see places, from historical places to touristic places.

  • Mardin Castle: Also known as the Eagle’s Nest, this castle has hosted many civilizations since the Sumerian period. This castle, which has many structures inside, can still be visited today.
  • Hasankeyf: Hasankeyf Caves and Hasankeyf Ruins are a nature feast that will enchant those who see them.
  • Mor Gabriel Monastery (Deyrulumur): This structure, which is still standing, was built by the Assyrians in 397 AD.
  • Deyrulzafaran Monastery: This building, which is an important religious place and also known as Mor Hananyo Monastery, is located in the Artuklu district. Also, do not forget to visit the Sun temple inside.

What to Eat in Mardin?

Mardin is home to many different cultures as well as many different flavors. You can take a look at a few of these flavors in the list below. Irok, which is similar to the stuffed meatballs known in Turkey, is cooked in a special way specific to Mardin. Sembusek, which we can define as closed lahmacun, is made by covering it in the shape of a moon. Hasu Rice which is a  stuffed pilaf made with lamb and almonds is a very different Mardin flavor. Also known as Mardin pastry, Syriac Donut is a special almond dessert of Mardin. Harire is a special dessert prepared with molasses, flour, sugar, and cinnamon.

8. Edirne

Edirne, which is located on the European continent in the northwest of the Marmara Region, is populated mostly by immigrants from Greece, Bulgaria, and Romania. It also has a temperate climate with a Mediterranean climate.

What are the must-see places in Edirne?

Edirne, which has a European atmosphere, is home to many historical buildings, as well as it is famous for its nature. The must-see places in Edirne are as follows:

  • Edirne Health Museum: This building, which served patients over time from 1488 to the Ottoman – Russian War, welcomes its visitors as a museum today.
  • Selimiye Foundation Museum: This building, which was designed as a small mosque and classroom by Mimar Sinan, now welcomes history lovers with its magnificent garden and works.
  • Edirne Saraclar Street: This street, which is the most symbolic structure of the city, has a wide variety of shops and cafes.
  • Kirkpinar Square: Kirkpinar Oil Wrestling Private Square is a sports paradise that hosts wrestlers and wrestling races every year.

What to Eat in Edirne?

Edirne has a special cuisine that hosts many different tastes. Tava Ciger which is Edirne’s most touristic delicacy is served dried and fried with special spices. Kallavi cookie dessert, which is another famous taste of Edirne, is a favorite of those who visit Edirne. This dessert containing pistachio and hazelnut promises a magnificent feast of taste. Another flavor of Edirne, the cheddar cheese placed in the meat of the meatball adds a different flavor to the meatballs while they are cooking.

9. Gaziantep

Gaziantep, also known as Antep, is a city with a very old history located in the Southeastern Anatolia region. Everyone coming to Turkey should visit this city, which is famous for its unique local cuisine.

What are the must-see places in Gaziantep?

Being a city with a very old history, it offers you many places to visit. Below is the list of places where you can visit Gaziantep.

  • Coppersmith Bazaar: Gaziantep’s famous Coppersmiths’ Bazaar takes its name from the copper utensils sold there. The price of the products sold is determined according to the weight of the copper used.
  • Customs House: There are workshops/shops of copper, mother-of-pearl, kutnu, and marbling masters in Gumruk Han, where you can find all the crafts still practiced in Gaziantep.
  • Kaleoglu Magarasi: The owners, who have transformed the historical cave into a cafe and carpet shop, invite you to visit this place with Turkish coffee.

What to Eat in Gaziantep?

Gaziantep is a unique city in southeastern Anatolia, which is famous for its dishes and cuisine. For example, Kusleme, which is made with very special and wonderfully delicious meat, is made with a very small amount of meat on the animal’s back. This meat is famous for being easy to eat because it is soft without nerves. Ali Nazik, which is an Antep style kebab, is prepared with a special long process with eggplant yogurt, garlic, and salt. Yuvalama is a flavor of pistachio that is frequently made in special invitations and ceremonies. This flavor is a kind of soup and it is to strengthen the immune system.

10. Eskisehir

The old city, which is the city where Turkey is most intertwined with art and students, is a magical place that offers many opportunities. Although it is famous for the cold of winter, you will never get bored in Eskisehir, which offers many activities.

What are the must-see places in Eskisehir?

Eskisehir will fascinate you both with its activities and with its natural beauties. Listed below are where you should go when you visit Eskisehir.

  • Porsuk Stream: Porsuk Stream is a branch of the Sakarya River, and it is a special place with cafes around it that add a Venetian atmosphere to the city.
  • Meerschaum Museum: You should visit this place, which is famous for its meerschaum engravings, which is an Eskisehir stone.
  • Odunpazari Modern Museum: This museum, which offers a very different experience to its visitors, also exhibits the work of Chikuunsai IV, the bamboo master of Japan.

What to Eat in Eskisehir?

This city, which is famous for its local pastries, opens the door to many different tastes.  Cig borek, known as local pastry, will give you an incredible feast of taste with its magnificent crispness. Yufka Buryan is the magnificent taste of chicken with rice and spices. Kiygasa, which looks like a bagel, is fried by adding dill to the dough without adding anything inside and becomes a delicious snack for breakfast and lunch. Kavurmali borek which is taken from Tatar cuisine and brought together with local tastes is one of the favorite dishes of Eskisehir.

What are the 4 Major Cities in Turkey?

There is a total of 81 provinces in Turkey, but only  4 of these provinces have become the leading provinces of the country in terms of surface area, population, and economy. These provinces are listed below.

Istanbul: Istanbul is the city at the heart of the world with its magnificent natural beauty, unique architecture, and cultural heritage that unites two continents. This province is also the most important city that ensures the development of Turkey’s economy.

Ankara: Ankara is the capital city of Turkey and is a special province that hosts the Anıtkabir where Atatürk is located. Many historical sites such as museums and amusement parks can be found here. With Anatolia in the middle, it is a unique city that reflects both eastern and western cultures.

Izmir: Adopting a western approach with its lifestyle, İzmir is a metropolitan city located at the western end of Turkey. It has a different aura with its extraordinary history and excavation areas with ancient ruins. In addition, as a cultural city, it hosts different international fairs and film festivals from time to time.

Bursa: Bursa, which was once the capital of the Ottoman Empire, is one of our unique cities today, home to a rich history and magnificent cuisine. It stands out because it is an industrial area and specializes in textiles.

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