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  • Writer's pictureNaureen Chhipa

15 Amazing Things to See and Do in Turkey

Updated: Feb 23, 2021

Whether flying or on a road trip, here are 15 amazing things you can see and do throughout your Turkey travels. Let's travel, explore, wander and discover beautiful Turkey.

Beautiful places to visit in Turkey. Hagia Sophia in Istanbul.
View of the Blue Mosque from Hagia Sophia - Istanbul, Turkey

There's so much to see and do when planning a trip to Turkey; it can get a bit overwhelming! But not to worry-- we've got you covered. Here's a list of what you should not miss in Turkey, the most beautiful part of Turkey, and adventurous things to tick off your bucket list.

See -- Take in those epic views in Istanbul, Turkey

Istanbul is so photogenic and full of life. The streets are filled with an undeniable hustle and bustle energy. Sync that up with ancient architecture, epic-looking mosques resembling a scene from Aladdin, the Bosphorus straits, and seagulls flying by, and you'll get an electric, vibrant city filled with beautiful places to roam around, get lost, and photograph.

Places to travel and take the ferry in Istanbul Turkey
Bosphorus Strait - Istanbul, Turkey
Secret Cafe in Istanbul Turkey with a hidden bar for city views.
Rooftop views from the Grand Bazaar in Istanbul
Rooftop views of Istanbul, Turkey and travel guide.

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Do -- Shop and Bargain at the Bazaars in Turkey

The Grand Baazar is iconic in Istanbul, so many movies have been filmed there. No visit to Istanbul is complete without passing by; there haggling is an art form, so be sure to negotiate the price for whatever you buy. If you're up for an adventure, you can also find some of the hidden rooftop cafés in the area boasting spectacular Istanbul city views. I highly recommend buying some Turkish scarves and handmade ceramics to bring back home. I've had mine for over nine years-- you can't beat the quality! My favorite bazaar in Istanbul, however, is the Spice Bazaar. The spices and teas are exceptional. The Spice Bazaar in Istanbul is a top place to shop for edible souvenirs to bring back home. If you're offered tea at any of the shops, accept politely. Tea offerings are a gesture of welcoming you into their shop, whether you're buying or not, and it's a great way to strike a conversation with the locals; they want to know about you and where you're visiting from just as much as you want to know about them. My favorite part of traveling is always connecting with the locals.

Shopping at the grand bazaar in Istanbul, turkey. Inside view of the grand bazaar. Turkey Destinations.
Grand Bazaar - Istanbul, Turkey
Spices and teas at the spice bazaar in Istanbul, Turkey.
Spice Bazaar - Istanbul, Turkey

under the roof Turkish coffee house, hidden cafe in Istanbul, Turkey.

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See -- The Beautiful Hagia Sophia Museum

This place took my breath away. Hagia Sophia has gone through so many changes throughout time and is one of the most important Byzantine structures ever built. When you visit, you're able to see traces of ancient Christianity artwork being recovered from when they were initially painted. If your time is limited in Istanbul, Hagia Sophia is a site you should not miss. Visiting Hagia Sophia is one of the most famous things to do in Turkey, so I recommend arriving when it opens to avoid long lines.

Places to travel to in Turkey. Istanbul, Visiting Hagia Sophia
Hagia Sophia Museum - Istanbul, Turkey

Do -- Take a dip in Cleopatra's pool "Antique Pool"

My favorite place to swim in Pamukkale! A gift from Marc Anthony to Cleopatra, this pool has the original marble columns fallen from the nearby Apollo Theater during an earthquake, making this a sacred pool. This hot spring pool is filled with mineral-rich waters that are said to heal illnesses, skin disorders, circulatory problems, and rheumatism. Plus, how cool would it be to bathe in a pool that belonged to Cleopatra and where she would swim regularly?

Original ruins from the Apollo Theater inside Cleopatras pool in Pamukkale, Turkey.
Cleopatra's Pool - Hierapolis, Turkey
Pool gifted from Marc Anthony to Cleopatra.
Cleopatra's Pool - Hierapolis - Pamukkale, Turkey.

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See -- The Epic Looking Hierapolis Theater

Hands down my favorite theater in all of Europe!! So stunning and well preserved.

Well preserved Roman theater in the city of Hierapolis, Pamukkale, Turkey.
Hierapolis Theater - Hierapolis, Pamukkale, Turkey

Do -- Visit The Cotton Castle in Pamukkale

Pamukkale, meaning "cotton castle" in Turkish, is mostly famous for its cascading waterfalls made of travertines: carbonated minerals that have been left by the flowing water, forming pockets of healing water pools. These waterfalls are perched upon a hill, giving the climber spectacular views of their surroundings and the city below.

Hierapolis, Turkey. Pamukkale Hot Springs.
Pamukkale Hot Spring
Turkey Destinations: Pamukkale what you should not miss in Turkey.
Pamukkale "Cotton Castle" Turkey

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See -- The Beautiful Town of Guzelyurt

Tourist-free and well preserved. The village of Guzelyurt was my favorite stop along the way to Cappadocia. Stroll the street, marvel at the history, and take some beautiful postcard-worthy photographs!

Turkey Destinations, The most beautiful part of Turkey.
Door to a home in the quaint village of Guzelyurt, Turkey.

Do -- Go Hot Air Ballooning in Cappadocia

Hot air ballooning at sunrise in Cappadocia is magical beyond words; the entire city is! We found Cappadocia to be one of the most beautiful places in the world.

See -- The Fairytale Landscape of Cappadocia

Cappadocia, with its unreal-looking landscape, will take your breath away. Visit the underground cities, hike the valleys, and fall in love with raw natural beauty.

The most beautiful part of Turkey is Cappadocia and its landscape.
Cappadocia, Turkey

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Do -- Swim in the Aegean Sea

Pick a city, town, or village bordering the Turkish Riviera and go for a swim in the open sea! Some beautiful places to visit are Kusadasi, Izmir, Selcuk, Bodrum, and Marmaris.

Turkish Riviera. Kusadasi, Turkey. Aegean Sea
Swimming in the Aegean Sea
Places to travel in the Turkish Riviera, Turquoise Coast
Korumar Hotel - Kusadasi, Turkey

See -- The House of Virgin Mary

Visiting Virgin Mary's House in Mt. Koressos, Turkey -- Probably one of the most peaceful places I've ever seen. Set atop a hill, with magnificent birds-eye views. Getting there is a bit of a trek, but it's so worth it! I can honestly say that when I was planning this visit, I was curious about the location but did not have many expectations. I thought,

"oh, it'll be a cute little place to visit if we have extra time, but let's see, I might skip it completely." I'm so glad that was not the case, and we went! Just the drive there set the tone for that morning-- surrounded by nature, green olive trees, mountains, the sound of flowing water, and birds neighboring the area. It almost sounded like those white noise soundtracks one might use to sleep, but this one played in real life. Visit if you can!

Lighting a candle at the house of Virgin Mary in Turkey.
The House of Virgin Mary in Turkey.

Do -- Explore the ruins of Ephesus

The ruins of Ephesus are filled with so much history and beauty! These ruins are awe-inspiring and so well preserved. Here you'll find the Temple of Artemis-- the goddess of the hunt, chastity, childbirth, wild animals, and the wilderness. Originally from Greece, this temple was built to honor Artemis. It's considered one of the seven wonders of the ancient world. Another not-to- miss spot here is the library of Celsus.

The seven wonders of the ancient world. Ephesus, Turkey. Turkey Destinations.
Ephesus, Turkey

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See -- A Whirling Dervishes Ceremony

The Whirling Dervishes are part of the Sufi branch of Islam. The ceremony itself is around 1hr. Even though you can buy tickets and attend more than a performance, this is an actual ritual-- a form of physically active, rapid-spinning, mindful meditation.

Turkish Culture. Whirling Dervishes Performance.
Whirling Dervishes Ceremony

Do -- Experience a Hammam "Turkish Bath"

Experiencing a hammam in Turkey is a must! They're so relaxing and a great way to learn some cultural norms and lifestyle while exfoliating out all those toxins!

Turkish Bath- What you should not miss in Turkey.
Hammam in Turkey
Top things to do in Turkey; experience a Turkish bath.
Turkish Bath "Hammam"

See - Balat; The Jewish Quarter of Istanbul

The Jewish Quarter of Istanbul and my favorite neighborhood! This area is filled with cute cafés, antique shops, and hidden treasures. Still not super touristy, you genuinely do get that "local" feel here. If you can, I recommend booking your stay in this area.

Cafes in Balat, Turkey.
Balat - The Jewish Quarter of Istanbul

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Thanks for reading! Don't forget to share, like, and comment if you enjoyed this post.

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