Turkey is one of the most visited countries in the world and welcomes over 35 million people annually. It is a pleasant, attractive country that is rich in culture. Turkey has suitable lodging alternatives for all budgets, from motels to all-inclusive resorts, from trendy boutique hotels to luxury facilities. In addition, Turkey is located in a particularly unique location because it boasts various tourist places.
Anatolia, often known as the Asian side of the country, had numerous distinct civilizations. For people who appreciate the historical and cultural holidays, Turkey preserves remnants of these many civilizations and many historical locations.
With over 8,400 kilometers of coastline and activities ranging from exploring ancient ruins to white water rafting to climbing the mountains of the Black Sea, Turkey impresses every holidaymaker with its diverse selection of activities and attractions.
What Region of Turkey is Best for a Holiday?
Whether you are a beach person, a culture seeker, or a party lover, Turkey has the places to go on a holiday for everyone. Here are the most significant places for all kinds of holidays in Turkey.
- Outdoor Activities: With a 10-kilometer golden beach, luxury hotels and resorts, and an airport within 30 minutes (Antalya Airport), Belek is the best place in Turkey to go on holiday, even as a family.
- Cultural Cities: Bodrum is a stylish resort town with a fascinating blend of ancient beauty and modern structure. It is full of white buildings, blue-spired minarets, and wooden gulet boats anchored in the port.
- Best for Beach Enthusiasts: It is impossible to imagine a more beautiful location than Oludeniz’s Blue Lagoon (90 minutes from Dalaman Airport).
- Best for Nightlife: Gumbet is perfect for an early evening beverage by the sea. The musical tunes can please every mood, from hip hop to traditional Euro-disco music.
Which Places are the Best for Sea Vacation?
A sea vacation is all about discovering the beaches. It is a traditional holiday concept for families, couples, and even solo travelers. Here are the best places to go for a sea holiday in Turkey.
1. Bodrum Peninsula
From 2020 until today, Bodrum has 32,801 inhabitants covering a surface area of 656,06 km2. It takes 50 minutes by boat to get to Kos from Bodrum, with at least three companies providing transportation services many times a day.
The weather in Bodrum is quite good in winter, averaging at 15°C (59°F) with a pleasant, humid climate. Summers are hot and full of strong sunshine, temperatures averaging at 34°C (93°F).
The overall cost of living in Bodrum is roughly US$459, with an average rental expense of US$292 a month for a one-bedroom flat in the town center and around US$46 per month for utilities. Other expenses cost about US$213, covering one person’s grocery, transportation, entertainment, and sports activities.
You can enjoy a boat ride in Bodrum, as each coastal spot provides a range of cruises. Go down to the local boat harbor (before 10 am or after 6 pm) and locate one of the freestanding boats that can accommodate a maximum of 10-12 people. These boats provide unforgettable sailing trips to the Aegean Sea along with calm winds.
A day trip to Ephesus is one of the most popular activities in Bodrum. It is a three-hour drive, allowing you to visit the ancient Greek site.
Discover the Turkish baths (hammam) since most large hotels provide Turkish bath facilities as a part of their spa. Other Turkish baths include Bodrum Hamam and Rayola Hamam.
The culinary experience is incredible. The meals are nutritious and well-known for their classic Mediterranean flavors. Plants such as chicory, radish leaves, bull mallow are used for making vegetable meals. The best ones are stuffed zucchini blossom (Kabak cicegi dolmasi), smoked eggplant combined with yogurt (kopoglu mezesi), gypsy salad (cingene salatasi), purslane salad with yogurt, bitter orange marmalade, and pickled cucumbers.
2. Patara Beach
It is 20 kilometers long, 50 meters wide beach located seventeen kilometers west of Kalkan, along the Mediterranean coast of Turkey. Patara Beach is never crowded because there are a few hundred sunbeds for tourists inside the town.
The horse safari trip allows you to ride a horse on the beach, similar to a ride in the desert. Patara Beach is also ideal for water sports, such as kayaking, canoeing, paragliding, and scuba diving.
If you are into hiking, you will enjoy doing activities in Turkey. One of them is the Taurus Mountains combined with fresh air, stunning views overlooking the mountains, and a wonderful stroll to the hills, only a 20-minute walk from the beach.
Kaputas Beach may be accessed by boat, while other famous beaches like Oludeniz, Saklikent, and Kas are accessible by local public transport services called dolmus. The town of Gelemis is near the beach and individuals who spend their vacation in that area usually choose to stay in Gelemis village. The village also offers a variety of local eateries and sophisticated restaurants. In addition, there are several nightclubs and bars in the area.
3. Cesme Peninsula
Cesme, a district of Izmir province, is located 80 km west of Anatolia with a surface area of 2,601 km2. It is a lovely tourist town and tourism is the primary economic activity in this region. Many young individuals work at hotels for the summer as there are plenty of job opportunities in the region. The natural beauty of Cesme attracts a large number of people during the summer.
Top historical sites in Cesme are listed below.
- Cesme Castle: The castle, built-in 1508 by Beyazit II, is a magnificent place to visit in Cesme.
- Kervansaray: Kervansaray adds a distinctive feature to Cesme. Built-in 1528 by Sultan Suleyman the Magnificent, it was used to accommodate foreign merchants, today serves as a hotel with 45 rooms.
- Cesme Museum: A small but informative museum located in the center of Cesme.
- Erythrai (Ildir): A small ancient town that is worth exploring.
Here are some activities to enjoy in Cesme.
4. Konyaalti Beach
Antalya is the biggest city on Turkey’s Mediterranean coast and the eighth-largest city in the country, with a population of more than one million people. Konyaalti Beach is one of the two main beaches in Antalya. The other one is called Lara Beach, located in the western part of the city and runs for 7 kilometers.
Antalya’s Mediterranean climate is hot and dry during summertime and moderate and humid in the winter. There are approximately 300 sunny days per year on average. The coldest month is February with temperatures dropping to 6°C and the hottest month is July in Antalya, temperatures as high as 34°C.
Apart from its beautiful beaches, Antalya has a fascinating history and a strong art scene. Kaleici is the Old Quarter of the city, filled with narrow and winding streets that are fun to explore. The area is surrounded by ancient city walls. In the northern part of the Old Quarter, you will find lots of souvenir shops and restaurants.
If you want to experience the city’s charm in a peaceful setting, make your way to the Kilincarslan neighborhood. Don’t miss visiting Yivli Minare, Saat Kulesi, Hadrian’s Gate, Yat Limani, Kesik Minare Tower, and the Home of Ataturk in the area.
Karaalioglu Park is another fantastic area to visit in Antalya. A hotel, a rotating restaurant, and a nightclub that primarily hosts private parties are also located on the roof. Finally, a picturesque tour of the area is a must. You can take a boat from the harbor but try bargaining the price. The boats leave when they are nearly full.
In terms of costs, the average hotel room in Antalya for a couple is US$51. A one-week trip to Antalya for two people costs US$738 on average.
Belek is a town in the Serik district in Antalya Turkey. During the low and high seasons, the local population fluctuates between 750 and 10,000 people. It is an excellent year-round tourist destination and the best months to visit are May, September, and April.
Belek is a relaxed town. Tourists will feel secure no matter what their ethnicity or religion is. The cost of living in Belek is usually higher than in a typical city. Hotels can be cheaper than holiday rentals. Luxury holiday rentals in Belek are expensive due to the high costs for the property.
Whether you are shopping or getting local food, Belek has lots of entertaining activities. This town has numerous fascinating attractions which will keep your journey alive. Regardless of your hobbies, Belek offers something for everyone.
You can visit Aspendos Theater, arguably the main attraction in Belek, built in the 2nd century by architect Zenon. You can also explore the walls of the city and the Hadrian Gate, historical relics of Roman architecture. In addition, Belek offers a large selection of activities such as windsurfing, skiing, sailing, rafting, and climbing. If you are into adventure, Belek is the right place for you in Turkey.
Which Places are the Best for Cultural Vacation?
Cultural vacation is to discover a place, a city, or a town for their historical sites, art scene, local cuisine, and traditions. The best places for a cultural holiday in Turkey are listed below.
Located in Europe and Asia, Istanbul is divided by the famous Bosphorus, with a population of over 15 million people, accounting for 19% of Turkey’s total population. Istanbul is the most populous metropolis in Europe and the fifteenth-largest city in the world. In 2018, Istanbul had more than 13.4 million visitors, eight years after it was chosen as the European Capital of Culture.
Istanbul was previously the capital of the Ottoman and Byzantine Empires and today, it is Turkey’s largest metropolis. Istanbul spans across both sides of the Bosphorus, a short strait connecting Asia and Europe, making it the world’s only city to contain two continents.
The new city districts of Istanbul are also notable, as they are known for their modern attractions, towers, and shopping malls. Beyoglu and Galata are two top nightlife and entertainment districts in Istanbul.
Seaside of Bosphorus is home to stunning palaces and taking a Bosphorus Cruise is a popular activity to see them. The best cruise is the state-run ferryboat. It either takes 90 minutes each way or a 2-hour non-stop ride. Tickets can be purchased near the Eminonu terminal, located just east of the Galata Bridge.
Hammams, often known as Turkish baths, are excellent places to visit in Istanbul. Most neighborhoods have at least one hammam. Another popular activity is smoking a hookah, often known as a water pipe. There are a handful of hookah-smoking places around the Grand Bazaar.
Istanbul is not a very expensive city. For travelers, here are some ideas of the average cost of one day for one person.
- Lodging US$22 per day
- Transportation US$7 per day
- Food US$20 per day
- Activities US$7 per day
The average daily cost of traveling in Istanbul is US$56 per day in total.
Bursa is a city in the northwestern part of Turkey. It is Turkey’s fourth-most populous city and the second-most populous in the Marmara Region and one of the top industrial centers in the country. Bursa is home to the majority of Turkey’s car manufacturing.
Here are some of the activities and places you can enjoy in Bursa.
- Ride the Bursa Teleferik: The world’s longest cable car.
- Shopping and Sightseeing: Explore the Central Bazaar, stroll the alleys of Cumalikizik.
- The Muradiye Tombs: Bursa was the first Ottoman-era capital. This complex holds the tombs of the empire’s earliest sultans and families.
- Skiing in Uludag: Easily accessible from Istanbul and Bursa, Uludag is Turkey’s busiest ski resort.
- Mevlevi Sufis: Mevlevi cultural center in Bursa is great for watching the Mevlevi shows.
In Bursa, the average cost of accommodation ranges from US$16 in a hotel to US$32 in a 3-star hotel. A luxury hotel costs around US$67 per night. And the security is excellent. However, always keep an eye on your belongings and be aware of your surroundings.
Izmir is a metropolitan city near the west edge of Anatolia and follows Istanbul and Ankara, as the third-largest city in Turkey. It is also the second-largest city on the Aegean Sea after Athens.
Here are the most visited places in Izmir.
- Izmir Agora: Strolling through the Roman-Greek marketplace will take you back in time.
- Ephesus: The ancient Roman town of Ephesus is one of the most popular places to visit in Izmir, attracting over two million visitors every year.
- Pergamon Acropolis: The former Greek town of the Pergamon Acropolis, a center of authority in the 2nd century BC, is situated high on the hilltop overlooking the current city of Bergama.
- Market Kemeralti: It offers all kinds of handmade goods.
- Sirince Village: A town filled with delicious wine scenes and old Greek houses.
- Alacati: Windsurfing is one of the most popular activities to do in Alacati. Strong winds and big waves pound its coastline at least six months a year. It is surfers’ favorite destination in the world.
4. Nevsehir (Cappadocia)
Cappadocia is the capital district of Turkey’s Nevsehir Province in Central Anatolia. The province has a total population of 117,890 people, of which 82,110 live in the capital region of Nevsehir. The region has a total size of 535 km2 (207 square miles) and the town is located 1,224 meters (4,016 ft) above sea level.
Cappadocia is an exciting region in central Turkey known for its fairy-tale landscapes, caves, amazing rock formations, and of course, the hundreds of hot air balloons that ascend in the sky each morning during sunrise. There are also many amazing hiking trails in Cappadocia that will take at least a week to explore.
Some of the best activities in Cappadocia are listed below.
- Flying in a hot air balloon at sunrise.
- Hiking Red Valley and viewing the sunset.
- Visiting Goreme open-air museum as it is one of the most important historic sites in Cappadocia.
- Exploring churches and cave houses.
- Enjoying the sunset from Uchisar Castle. There is also a very unique lake called Lake Tuz (the pink salt lake).
Cappadocia is a magical place in summer and it gets more beautiful in the winter. When it snows in Cappadocia, it is a truly stunning sight and something out of this world.
5. Denizli (Pamukkale)
Located in Denizli Province in the southwestern part of Turkey, Pamukkale is known for its natural carbonate minerals left by the hot spring water. The region has a mild climate for most of the year.
Pamukkale, along with Hierapolis, is a World Heritage Site, designated in 1988. Because of its historical significance and natural beauty, it is a popular tourist destination.
The best remaining structures are from the ancient city of Hierapolis, which flourished under the reign of the Roman Empire in the second and third century A.D. The city was destroyed by an earthquake in A.D. 60 and later rebuilt. Visiting the ruins of the Byzantine city walls, the octagonal Martyrs’ Church of St. Philipus, and the Arch of Honor of Emperor Domitian are accompanied by views of the fantastic “Cotton Castle”.
Pamukkale is truly a wonder of nature. In the last 20 years, the area’s popularity has skyrocketed as an increasing number of local and foreign tourists have visited the hot springs.
Pamukkale, along with Ephesus, Pergamum, Sardis, and Aphrodisias are now one of the most visited sites in southern Turkey.
According to UNESCO, Pamukkale is legally protected by national conservation legislation, although there is no specific legislation to protect World Heritage assets. People in this place are usually quite pleasant and friendly, however regular travel precautions should be followed.
Denizli is important for farming and business, but not so much for tourism. Unless you count on the hot-spring spa resort of Pamukkale, which is 18 kilometers (11 miles) to the northeast.
Some of the places to visit in Pamukkale are listed below.
- Hierapolis Theater
- Pamukkale Antique Pool
- Kervansaray near Pamukkale
- Karahayit hot springs
Is It Possible to Live in Holiday Cities in Turkey?
Yes, it is possible. As discussed earlier, Turkey is one of the most desirable holiday destinations as well as its suitable districts to live in. The real estate market is developing rapidly each day and with the right decision, you can effortlessly find real estate to buy with a professional team. Here are some of the reasons why holiday cities in Turkey should be your next home.
- With medium or low income, you can have a decent life quality.
- Inexpensive property maintenance and low annual tax.
- The perfect Mediterranean climate.
- Affordable, high-quality health care.
- Transportation and logistics are accessible all over Turkey.
- Numerous amount of entertainment activities is to satisfy any type of people.
- Turkey offers great food experiences that combine east and west.
- Profitable property investments and high financial returns.