Posted by: Andy | February 13, 2010

The Top 10 places to visit in Turkey

According to my students, these are approximately the 10 best cities to visit in Turkey:

10. Pamukkale

This translates to “cotton castle.”  It is famous for hot springs and archaeology, being built near the ancient city of Hierapolis.  I’m surprised that more students haven’t suggested this as a place to visit.  It sounds intriguing to me.

9. Eskişehir

I cannot figure out why students suggest this place.  It seems to me to be void of any real attractions.  Its name means “old city” yet there aren’t very many old buildings left in the city.  Every time I ask a student what I should see while I’m there, they have no answer.  It is on the train route to Istanbul from Ankara, so maybe I’ll have to just see what it’s like.

8. Bursa

Not a common listing of top places to visit, but Bursa is Turkey’s fourth largest city and sports a number of museums, palaces, beaches and mosques to visit.

7. Adana

Turkey’s fifth largest city, located on the south coast, near Syria, Adana has many festivals and is of course the birth place of the famous Adana Kebab.

6. Trabzon

An unlikely suggestion from the North.  Trabzon sits on the Black Sea and is famous for fish and simply being one of the only parts of the country that is very lush and green.  Trabzon also has its own version of the Hagia Sofia (Istanbul has a more famous version) which is another Byzantine church.

5. Mersin

A fairly common suggestion is this beautiful city on the South coast.  Viewing pictures of this city, I can see why it is suggested; it looks beautiful.  It perhaps has few famous places to visit, but I’d be happy to bask in its sun and beauty.

4. Cappadocia (in Turkish – Capadokya)

This region is at the top of my list to visit.  It is a place where you can stay in a cave hotel.  How cool is that?  It is located near the city of Kayseri and has some of the most beautiful landscape in all of Turkey.  It is particularly famous for its underground cities, utilized largely by early Christians escaping persecution and for the “fairy chimneys”.  I’m hoping for a hot air balloon ride over this beautiful area sometime in April.

3. Antalya

A tourist attraction purely because of its warmth and the sea.  Located on the South coast of Turkey, Antalya is one of the few places Turks suggest for a holiday that is not deeply historical.  It’s simply a lovely place to relax and enjoy the beauty of the sea and the warmth of the air.

2. Izmir

Turkey’s third largest city (after Istanbul and Ankara) is famous for many things, but if you ask a Turkish student what it is famous for, they will unequivocally say “beautiful girls.”  I haven’t yet been to Izmir, but it seems to be the place where Russian and European tourists flock to in the summer months.  It hosts beautiful beaches and is very near the ruins of Ephesus.

1. Istanbul

It is no secret that this is one of the most beautiful cities in the world, not to mention it is steeped in more history than people can fathom.  Istanbul provides nearly everything iconic about the country of Turkey.  It is also saturated with English speakers, so it’s not a bad place for people to visit who know little to no Turkish.  It is Turkey’s most exciting city, but it certainly has its downsides.  Traffic and far too many people highlight the list of reasons to go somewhere else on vacation, but everybody still loves it, so long as they’re not driving across the Bosphorus.



  1. Is the hot air balloon ride a “hint, hint, Stephanie, what a great Birthday/Anniversary present!” thought?

    • It may be – but what about my anniversary gift?

  2. we wish to see you in Antalya!

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