Most Beautiful Cities In Turkey

Due to its location at the eastern end of Europe and the Middle East, Turkey is full of cultural highlights and fascinating nature. Even today, you can feel the different influences of the Greeks, Persians, Romans, Byzantines, and Ottomans up close. When you think of a holiday in Turkey, the first thing that probably comes to mind is a beach holiday, right? But you shouldn’t ignore the most beautiful cities in Turkey. From modern to traditional charm, you can discover some surprises. Come with us on a great trip from the Turkish Riviera to the Black Sea region – a colorful mix of cultures awaits you.

The most beautiful cities in Turkey at a glance

1. Istanbul – The city on two continents

Türkiye, Istanbul

Istanbul, with a population of around 15 million, is one of the most exciting cities in Turkey. From the moment you start your city trip on the Bosporus, your senses will be overwhelmed, quickly turning into pure excitement.

Situated between the East and West, Istanbul offers a unique cultural diversity. Must-see sights include the Hagia Sophia, Sultan Ahmed Mosque, Topkapi Palace, and views of the Golden Horn.

Don’t miss a trip to the Princes’ Islands or a stroll through districts like Ortaköy, Balat, Beyoglu, Sariyer, or Karaköy. Each corner of these areas boasts a captivating atmosphere. With a history spanning nearly 2,600 years and countless highlights, boredom is never an option in Istanbul.

2. Ankara – The capital of Türkiye

Türkiye, Ankara

Ankara is the capital of Turkey and is located in the Central Anatolia region. The country’s second-largest city is located in the foothills of the Köroğlu Dağlari Mountains and is home to sights such as the Kocatepe Mosque, Anıtkabir (mausoleum of the Turkish state founder Atatürk) and the Ankara Citadel.

You should also add some destinations outside of Ankara to your to-do list. These include the city of Beypazari on the old Silk Road. There you can go on a journey back in time to the Ottoman Empire!

If you are traveling to the interior of Turkey, you should find out about the city of Konya, the pink salt lake Tuz Gölü, or the ruins of Hattusa.

3. Antalya – Famous holiday destination on the Mediterranean

Turkey, Antalya

If you are planning a holiday on the Turkish Riviera, or in Antalya, and want to spend some time away from the sea, it is worth taking a look at the historic old town of Kaleici, visiting the roaring Düden waterfall, or exploring the ancient city of Termessos.

You also shouldn’t miss the breathtaking views from the Antalya fortress. The mix of relaxation, culture, and action makes Antalya one of the most special cities in Turkey. The beautiful Olympos National Park and the Kursunlu Waterfall are also not far away.

4. Izmir – metropolis on the Turkish Aegean

Türkiye, Izmir, Konak Square

Whether strolling through the Kemeralti Bazaar, enjoying a Turkish coffee, or taking a trip up the Kadifekale hill – in the historic and former trading city of Izmir there are numerous ways to experience a varied stay.

If you are already on holiday in the area, you should plan a trip to the ancient city of Ephesus or enjoy the wonderful atmosphere in Çeşme and Alaçati. The latter was enchanted with breathtaking bays and colorful alleys.

5. Bursa – The “Cradle of the Ottoman Empire”

Türkiye, Bursa

The route takes us from the Aegean Sea to the northwest of the country, near the Sea of ​​Marmara. Now you’re probably wondering where exactly that is.

Here is a little excursion: This, together with the Bosporus River and the Dardanelles Strait, forms the connection between the Black Sea and the Mediterranean.

So now to the city of Bursa, one of the most beautiful and interesting cities in Turkey. But why exactly? At the foot of the almost 2,000-meter-high Uludag mountain, you can explore the fantastic old town of Bursa, which is now even a UNESCO World Heritage Site.

If you want to learn more about the history of the Ottoman Empire, you should not only take a closer look at the sights of Bursa but also discover the traditional buildings in the village of Cumalikizik.

As if that wasn’t enough, in Uludag National Park you have the opportunity to go hiking or experience Turkey’s largest winter sports resort up close.

6. Adana – The student city

Türkiye, Adana

The city of Adana is located in the fertile Cukurova Plain, in the eastern part of Turkey’s Mediterranean coast. But the city is not only home to the largest university in the country but also historical relics of times gone by.

For example, the Roman bridge Taşköprü or the Ulu Mosque. In Adana, you can also marvel at Turkey’s second-largest mosque, the Sabanci Central Mosque. If you are planning a road trip along the beautiful coastal region, you should visit the city of Mersin .

Adana is also one of the cities severely affected by the devastating earthquake in February 2023.

7. Trabzon – Lively atmospheres & beautiful mountain landscapes

Türkiye, Trabzon

On the southern coast of the Black Sea, you will find the city of Trabzon. One of Turkey’s top cities, it is known for its picturesque location on the Zigana Mountains and the associated outdoor opportunities.

There you can visit the historic Sumela Monastery from Byzantine times. Tip: Pack your camera, because the building was built especially on a cliff. This includes the village of Uzungöl with the lake of the same name as a perfect starting point for activities in nature.

8. Gaziantep – The Mysterious City

Türkiye, Gaziantep

The city, located in southeastern Turkey, is currently one of the most modern and at the same time oldest in the country. Gaziantep, also known as Antep, was long considered an important trade and art center.

Famous sights include the Zeugma Mosaic Museum and the Gaziantep Citadel. During your stay, you must try the numerous specialties of the famous Gaziantep cuisine. 

In February 2023, a catastrophic earthquake occurred in the region, in the border area with Syria.

9. Mardin – The city of architectural masterpieces

Türkiye, Mardin

When you see pictures of the city of Mardin, you probably immediately think of the unique setting of 1001 Nights. The city, located in the Mesopotamian landscape, impresses with its incomparable old town in the Arabian style.

A millennia-old culture hovers between the stone houses that are elegantly built into the hillsides.

10. Fethiye – culture & beach holiday

Turkei, Fethiye

Back to the Turkish Riviera and Fethiye. In the port city, you can immerse yourself in a historical past and experience an unforgettable holiday by the sea.

If you want a change from everyday beach life, simply plan a trip to the rock tombs of Fethiye or the theater of Telmessos. And don’t miss one of the most beautiful beaches in Turkey: Ölüdeniz Beach.

11. Bodrum – Holiday by the sea

Türkiye, Bodrum

A special travel destination in the Aegean is the city of Bodrum. The whitewashed houses, the historic castle, and the secluded bays give it a special character.

Is the city perhaps one of the most beautifuholiday destinations in Turkey. You have to see for yourself. Another special feature is its proximity to the Greek island of Kos.

12. Denizli – A trip to Pamukkale

Turkei, Denizli, Pamukkale

Furthermore, Denizli is one of the most beautiful cities in Turkey. You probably haven’t heard of the city, have you?

But you will certainly have an image of the glowing limestone terraces of Pamukkale in your head. If you have enough time, a trip to the historic city with its soothing thermal water is an absolute must. It doesn’t get much more unique than this!

13. Marmaris – Charming Mediterranean town

Türkiye, Marmaris

Back on the Turkish Riviera, our route takes us to the city of Marmaris. With wooded mountains behind us and beautiful bays in front of us, Marmaris is an ideal destination for the whole family.

As you approach one of the most beautiful cities in Turkey, you can look forward to a varied holiday full of outdoor opportunities (such as hiking or cycling tours), culture, and relaxation. Exciting excursion destinations in the area include places such as Turunc or Amos.

14. Göreme – Paradise in Cappadocia

Turkei, Göreme, Cappadocian

Colorful hot air balloons between enchanted, rugged rock formations – that is Cappadocia in central Turkey. Here, fascinating landscapes meet unique history.

If you want to visit these fairytale landscapes, the small town of Göreme is the perfect starting point for an indescribable stay. The so-called “fairy chimneys” with their conical shape not only create a dreamy atmosphere but are also home to underground cities, cave dwellings, and sacred buildings.

In this part of the country, you will find one of the most extraordinary places in Turkey. When the sun rises or sets over the countless rocks of the dream world, a breathtaking fascination arises.

15. Çeşme – The peninsula with Alacati

Turkey, Cesme, Alacati

Are you looking for an original and authentic holiday region? Then you have come to the right place in one of the most beautiful small towns in Europe, the city of Çeşme on the peninsula of the same name.

Not far from Izmir, you will find a jewel characterized by endless sandy beaches with crystal clear water, traditional stone houses, delicious food, and historical sights such as the Castle of Çeşme.

The village of Alacati is the ultimate destination. A relaxed boho style with beautiful houses and colorful flowers awaits you there.

You should also not miss Urla, Sigacik, and Karaburun. You can also take advantage of the proximity to Greece. You can easily get to the small island of Chios by ferry every day .

16. Kuşadasi – culture & beach holiday

Türkiye, Kusadasi

Do you want to not only spend your time on the beach but also get to know the country and its people? In the province of Aydin you will find the city of Kuşadasi , one of the most beautiful cities in Turkey . You should take a closer look at it, literally.

In addition to numerous beaches, you can discover several sights in Kuşadasi, such as the castle on Pigeon Island. There are also several ancient sites nearby that promise an exciting holiday experience.

Whether it is the Temple of Apollo in Didyma, the ancient city of Miletus, the Dilek National Park, or the Citadel of Selcuk, you will immediately fall in love with the diversity of the area.

17. Dalyan – With beautiful nature on the Dalyan River

Turkei, Dalyan

The fantastic town of Dalyan is perfect for a top-class active holiday. Its location on the river of the same name, between the Mediterranean and Lake Köycegiz Gölü, promises fun and magic for young and old.

As soon as you arrive at the nature reserve, you have the opportunity to marvel at the diverse flora and fauna. Numerous species of birds and the loggerhead turtle have found their home here.

Accordingly, you can now certainly imagine that boat trips are a must. You must plan a visit to the famous Iztuzu beach.

Historical highlights include the ancient city of Kaunos and the rock tombs of Dalyan. You should also definitely take a dip in the hot springs of Dalyan .

18. Kaş – On the Lycian coast

Turkey, Kas

Far away from the tourist hotspots, you will find the idyllic holiday resort of Kaş in the southwest of Turkey, between Kemer and Fethiye. In this region of the country, you can relax in numerous bays or explore nature between the rocky coast and the hilly hinterland.

The atmosphere in the town will remind you a little of a Greek place. But that’s not a coincidence, because just a stone’s throw away, the Greek islands of Strongyli and Kastelorizo ​​tower into the sky.

Here you can perfectly combine a beach holiday with an active holiday. One tip is Mount Uyluk. You should also look for a quiet spot on Patara Beach or Kaputaş Beach – it’s worth it!

Is the city and the surrounding region still a real insider tip? See for yourself and explore the picturesque area. But be sure to rent a car.

19. Belek – Famous holiday resort

Türkiye Belek

One of the most famous holiday resorts on the Turkish Riviera is the town of Belek. Here, tourism dominates the everyday life of the locals.

If you are looking for an all-inclusive holiday, this is the place for you. From beautiful hotels to golf resorts, there is something for everyone. Yes, you read that right – Belek is an ideal destination for a golf holiday.

Aside from the beach holiday, there are also some special sights in Turkey in the surrounding area. In the amphitheater of Aspendos or the city of Perge, you can take a journey back in time to the ancient past.

20. Alanya – Holiday with the family

Turkei, Alanya

You’re probably familiar with the holiday resort of Alanya , aren’t you? Just 130 kilometers southeast of Antalya you’ll find a perfect destination for your family vacation.

Beaches such as Cleopatra Beach and Dalmatas Beach ensure an action-packed holiday by the sea. If you don’t want to spend the whole day lazing around and soaking up the sun, ancient sites such as the historic town of Syedra provide a welcome change. Or you can take a trip to the holiday resort of Side and visit the Manavgat Waterfall.

21. Amasya – The hinterland of the Black Sea coast

Turkei, Amasya

If you are looking for an exciting adventure, you should find out more about the Turkish Black Sea coast and its hilly hinterland. The city of Amasya, located in the valley of the Yesilirmak River, is a top tip.

Due to their location in the Pontic Mountains, the traditional houses blend beautifully into the rocky landscape. A special postcard motif with a stirring story awaits you here.

Hiking is a must during your stay. Accordingly, you should dress properly from head to toe and remember your hiking clothes.

22. Bozcaada – Island holiday in Turkey

Turkei, Bozcaada

Strictly speaking, the island of Bozcaada is not a city. Nevertheless, you should put the small island and the village of the same name on your must-see list.

You can also combine a holiday on the dreamy and quiet island with a stay in the city of Canakkale and the island of Gökceada. Bozcaada is also known for its good wines – so make a stop at one of the wineries.

23. Safranbolu – Historical City

Turkei, Safranbolu

Back in the Black Sea region, we look at the town of Safranbolu, which is relatively unknown to holidaymakers. What do you immediately think of when you hear the name?

That’s right, the saffron plant. But the origin of the name has nothing to do with that. Rather, the city with its historic “Tarihi Safranbolu Evleri” houses was an important trading station on the Silk Road.

The old town is a UNESCO World Heritage Site because it has retained the charm of its former heyday. In addition to the traditional and partly lavishly restored houses, you can admire a caravanserai and a hammam in Safranbolu.

24. Sinop – port city on the Black Sea

Türkiye, Sinop

Some Turkish cities on the Black Sea should not go unmentioned. Such as the port city of Sinop.

With its own airport, the holiday resort is well connected to the other cities in the country and is ideal as a starting point for various excursions in the surrounding area.

25. Amasra – The city with beautiful views

Türkiye, Amasra

Finally, we will focus on the city of Amasra, which is unique for its location on a peninsula in the Black Sea. Thanks to these unique geographical conditions, you can look forward to a fantastic atmosphere.

In addition to picturesque beaches, you have the opportunity to experience centuries-old history up close. The combination of cultural heritage (Byzantine castle and historic port) and lush green nature makes the city an interesting day trip destination in Turkey.