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12 Ultimate Things To Do in Turkey for a Memorable International Vacation

TeamAckoNov 22, 2023

Turkey is known to be one of the most culturally and geographically diverse and appealing regions in the world. Turkey's culture is undoubtedly erratic, featuring everything from early-morning prayers to late-night celebrations. The country also has several historical and archaeological monuments, as well as various UNESCO World Heritage sites. 

When you plan a vacation to this country, you will almost certainly have a big bucket list of things to do in Turkey. To help you pick through those options, we've created a list of the top 12 things to do in Turkey on your next trip.

Things To Do In Turkey

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Top 12 Things To Do in Turkey 

Are you planning a trip to Turkey and are searching for activities to keep you engaged? On your tour, here are some of the best things to do in Turkey. Let's get started!

1. Explore the Ruins of Ephesus 

Turkey's most famous historic site is the remains of the ancient Greek city of Ephesus, which dates back to the 10th century BC. Large crowds have always been drawn to the city's remains as well as the Temple of Artemis, one of the Seven Wonders of the World. Another well-known monument in Ephesus that attracts tourists from all over the world is the Library of Celsus. 

The ruins of this eminent Greek city, which has stood tall across generations and ages to witness the rise and fall of empires, provide a glimpse into the past grandeur. Visit here to delve deep and feel the ancient vibes of Ephesus.

  • Location: Atatürk, Park İçi Yolu No:12, 35920 Selçuk/İzmir, Turkey

  • Timings: 8 am – 6:30 pm

  • Best Time to Visit: April to June, September to October

  • Major Attractions: Library of Celsus, Ephesus Theatre

2. Visit Hagia Sophia

Hagia Sophia is a museum that was once an imperial mosque and a Greek Orthodox Christian patriarchal basilica. Being another iconic building with historic significance, it has been designated as a UNESCO World Heritage Site. The structure features a massive dome that was regarded as a watershed moment in architecture at the time. 

The Deesis mosaic, the Saint John Chrysostom mosaic, the 19th-century market of Enrico Dandolo's tomb, and other elements are some of this beauty's distinguishing features. If you are looking for things to do in Turkey for families, visiting this place should top your list. 

  • Location: Sultan Ahmet, Ayasofya Meydanı, 34122 Fatih/İstanbul, Turkey

  • Timings: 9 am – 5 pm

  • Best Time to Visit: April to May, September to October

  • Major Attractions: Hagia Sophia Museum, stunning Byzantine architecture.

3. Take a Trip to the Archaeological Site of Troy 

When you first see the ruins of Troy, your eyes are met with a jumble of debris and concrete. However, the soil beneath your feet when you stand on it has immense political significance from another era. Considering this, visiting the archaeological site of Troy is considered one of the best things to do in Turkey. 

Many authors and literary dignitaries have found inspiration in the soil that bred gallant heroes. History buffs will be delighted to touch and feel the ruins of temples, altars, and other fortifications from a bygone era. It is one of the most beautiful sights in Turkey.

  • Location: Northwest Turkey

  • Timings: NA

  • Best Time to Visit: March to May, September to October.

  • Major Attractions: Ancient city ruins.

4. Take a Sauna at Pamukkale Thermal Pools 

Pamukkale Thermal Pools are a spectacular sight that will take your breath away and are definitely one of the top activities in Turkey. The white calcareous landscape is formed from thermal springs loaded with limestones, resulting in a one-of-a-kind phenomenon of calcium deposits. It is present in the form of potholes, stalactites, and cataracts. 

It is truly a mesmerising sight to look out over the vast white landscape with turquoise springs formed in different layers. The pools contain therapeutic water, which has the ability to heal diseases, such as skin ailments, eye problems, rheumatism, and asthma, among others. This is one of the most common things to do in Turkey.

  • Location: Kale, 20190 Pamukkale/Denizli Merkez/Denizli, Turkey

  • Timings: 6:30 am - 9 pm

  • Best Time to Visit: April to June, September to November

  • Major Attractions: White terraces, Hierapolis ancient city, natural thermal pools.

5. Relive History at Ankara Castle 

Ankara Castle, a jewel of the mediaeval era in Turkey, is one of the country's last remaining 7th-century fortifications. Ankara Castle has a rich and varied history as a significant structure for many empires including Roman, Byzantine, Crusaders, Ottoman, Seljuq Turks, and others. The grounds of this castle are also covered in houses from Turkey's golden era, making it a heaven on earth for history buffs. One can see designs and architectural styles from various periods that will make one's jaw drop. 

  • Location: Kale, 06240 Altındağ/Ankara, Turkey

  • Timings: 9 am – 6 pm

  • Best Time to Visit:  April to June, September to October

  • Major Attractions: Ancient fortress, panoramic views of the city

Also Read: Best time to visit Turkey

6. Visit Aqua Vega Aquarium to See Mesmerising Marine Life

Aqua Vega Aquarium is home to the third-largest tunnel aquarium in Europe and is regarded as one of Europe's largest underwater worlds. This aquarium is home to some of the most exotic sea creatures from all over the world, making it an ideal place for families to spend time together. You can consider this place on your bucket list if you are looking for things to do in Turkey with kids. 

Aqua Vega encompasses various exhibits such as the Sea Shell Museum, Jungle Corner, and Adrenaline World. Some of these exhibits allow visitors to get up close and personal with various fascinating marine life such as sharks, Napoleon fish, clownfish, koi fish, and many others. 

  • Location: Akşemsettin, Doğukent Bulvarı Nata Vega Outlet, 06480 Mamak/Ankara, Turkey

  • Timings: 10 am – 8 pm

  • Best Time to Visit: All year round

  • Major Attractions: Diverse marine life exhibits, underwater tunnel.

7. Explore the Hippodrome of Constantinople 

Hippodrome was one of the most important buildings during the Byzantine Empire, serving as a place for social gatherings and sporting events. Visitors can see the original structures that have survived all these years in Sultan Ahmet Square, also presently known as Sultan Ahmet Square. 

The Serpent Column, the Obelisk of Thutmose III, and many other features that visitors get to see are several thousand years old. Visitors can also view the magnificent base of the obelisk, which depicts Emperor Theodosis offering a laurel wreath.

  • Location: Binbirdirek, Sultan Ahmet Parkı No:2, 34122 Fatih/İstanbul, Turkey

  • Timings: Open 24 hours

  • Best Time to Visit: April to October

  • Major Attractions: Obelisk of Theodosius, Serpent Column

8. Enjoy the Stunning Architecture of Dolmabahce Palace

Dolmabahce Palace, located in the heart of Istanbul, has a significant history attached to it. This Palace, once considered an administrative centre of the Ottoman Empire, now displays stunning and eye-catching architecture from the Baroque, Ottoman, and Neoclassical eras. There are approximately 46 halls and 285 rooms in the palace. 

This palace's interiors are as magnificent as its architecture. Visitors to this palace can see gold-adorned ceilings, Iznik tiles, the world's largest crystal chandelier in the Bohemian style, and many other elements. If you are a history enthusiast, visiting this place must be on your list of things to do in Turkey.

  • Location: Vişnezade, Dolmabahçe Cd., 34357 Beşiktaş/İstanbul, Turkey

  • Timings: 9 am – 4 pm 

  • Best Time to Visit: April to June, September to October

  • Major Attractions: Opulent palace, Crystal Staircase

9. Visit the Iconic Gobekli Tepe 

Gobekli Tepe, also known as the 'Potbelly Hill,' is an iconic and alluring archaeological site in Turkey that has stood for thousands of years. The tower is approximately 50 feet high and 980 feet in diameter, making it one of the country's largest attractions. It is thought that during the Pre-Pottery Neolithic period, the place encompassed social or ritual nature. This Tepe, with its deeply rooted and rich history, allows visitors to learn about the sanctuary.

  • Location: Örencik, 63290 Haliliye/Şanlıurfa, Turkey

  • Timings: NA

  • Best Time to Visit: April to October

  • Major Attractions: World's oldest temple complex

10. Go Hiking at Mount Nemrut 

The fascinating look of the enormous pale sandy monuments and heads of the ancient gods against the beautiful landscape is unmissable. In addition, the Nemrut Dag National Park, which has been designated as a World Heritage Site, is a must-see stop on any trip to the area. We recommend that you wear comfortable shoes and purchase a hiking pole, although the latter is not compulsory for all.

  • Location: Southeastern Turkey

  • Timings: NA

  • Best Time to Visit: April to October

  • Major Attractions: Giant statues, sunrise and sunset views

11. Visit Kapali Carsi 

Looking to bring something back home? Apart from the endless memories and priceless moments that the city provides at every turn, you can visit the Grand Bazaar or Kapali Carsi of Istanbul, to help you bring a piece of Turkey back with you. Seasoned travellers have always considered visiting this place as one of the most unique things to do in Turkey. 

The huge marketplace will captivate you at first due to its liveliness. The diverse collection of jewellery, antiquities, spices, antique pieces, handcrafted goods, and carpets is undoubtedly a treasure trove for a curator of one-of-a-kind items. What's more, you can haggle over the price of the items catching your eye.

  • Location: Walled city of Istanbul

  • Timings: 8 am to 7 pm

  • Best Time to Visit: All year round

  • Major Attractions: One of the world's oldest and largest covered markets, diverse shops and stalls.

12. Go to the Blue Mosque 

The Blue Mosque, also known as Sultan Ahmed Mosque, is one of the many exquisite mosques erected by the Ottoman Empire in Turkey. The mosque, one of city's most prominent tourist attractions, has been in operation since it was completed in the 17th century AD. 

During your visit, you will be captivated by the hand-painted blue tiles that decorate the domes and minarets. The whirling blue interiors of the Blue Mosque are equally as beautiful as its exteriors. If you are looking for some unique things to do in Turkey for families, this should be on your list! 

  • Location: Sultan Ahmet, Atmeydanı Cd. No:7, 34122 Fatih/İstanbul, Turkey

  • Timings: Dawn to midnight

  • Best Time to Visit: All year round

  • Major Attractions: Stunning blue tile interior, six minarets, and courtyard architecture 

Turkey is a treasure trove of experiences waiting to be explored. From the ancient wonders of Istanbul to the breathtaking landscapes of Cappadocia, the list of things to do in Turkey is endless. Moreover, if you are planning a trip to Turkey, you should get travel insurance. Travel insurance will protect you in the event of a medical emergency while on your trip. Also, it will help you in the event of a loss of travel funds, passport, flight delays, or checked-in baggage.

Frequently Asked Questions

ou may still have a few questions in mind regarding things to do in Turkey. Check the section below to get answers to a few common questions related to the same.

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1. Is it expensive to visit Turkey?

No, if properly planned, a trip to Turkey is not prohibitively expensive. Turkey tour packages for two nights and three days start at INR 20,999. Turkey is a well-liked vacation area where people may travel on a budget and still have an incredible time.

2. How much time does it take to explore Turkey?

Turkey offers some of the most stunning sites that everyone should experience at least once in their lives. the country may be explored in 8-10 days on a trip. A two-week journey should be enough to gain a thorough impression of this magnificent place.

3. What are the top activities to do in Turkey?

Some of the best things to do in Turkey are taking a hot-air balloon ride, exploring the top sights in Istanbul, sampling the popular cuisine, and strolling through the beautiful streets. 

4. What are the best things to do in Istanbul?

Top Istanbul attractions to visit include Hagia Sophia Mosque, Topkapi Palace, Blue Mosque, Basilica Cistern, Hippodrome, Istanbul Archaeology Museum, Süleymaniye Mosque, Dolmabahce Palace, Yedikule Fortress, and Grand Bazaar. 

5. What romantic activities are there for couples in Turkey?

There are many things to do in Turkey for couples. Couples may make lasting memories by taking a romantic hot air balloon trip in Cappadocia, strolling through the historic districts of Istanbul, or relaxing on the gorgeous beaches of Antalya.

6. Are there kid-friendly activities in Turkey?

Absolutely! From exploring the fascinating ruins of Ephesus to enjoying the playful dolphins at Antalya Aquarium, Turkey offers a plethora of kid-friendly activities. 

7. What can you discover in Turkey in five days?

If you just have 5 days in Turkey, you may explore some of the most popular landmarks in Istanbul and Cappadocia. Because Turkey is known for its diverse culture, it makes sense to sample a variety of Turkish cuisine during your journey.

Disclaimer: The content on this page is generic and shared only for informational and explanatory purposes. It is based on several secondary sources on the internet and is subject to changes. Please consult an expert before making any related decisions.

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