Turkey in the public imagination is synonymous with either the remnant of the powerful Othman empire or thanks-giving dinner meal for Americans. 🙂 Either one has a really good merit in the history books. Today, Turkey (the country) has changed dramatically from its heavy baggage of the Othman era, and presents a more secular and modern image to the world. That is what makes Turkey one of the most popular travel destinations in the world.

Turkey has a huge tourism industry geared towards international travelers. It is one of the best value for money destinations where one enjoys a top destination and service at affordable prices. Because of its geographic location across two continents and between two seas, Turkey is a year-around destination with various climates and seasons. Turkey mostly attracts travelers for either the beach and all-inclusive scene of the Turkish Riviera or Istanbul! Although both deserve a high rating, Turkey has much to offer in the likes of breathe-taking natural attractions, history-filled cities, a vibrant city life and cultural scene.


Attractions: Must see places are the Ayasofya church and Topkapi palace in Istanbul, and the rock formations in Cappadocia. Istanbul offers a lot for history, culture, and museums lovers; While Antalya, Bodrum, and Izmir are best for beach and night life. Ephesus is a must see for its Roman ruins.

Itinerary: For less than 4 days, Istanbul offers so much to see and do. For a one week trip, Cappadocia is a great addition. To have a good trip, however, 10 days or more is recommended which makes it possible to see Ephesus and have time to relax at beach destinations in Bodrum or near Antalya.

Food: Kebab, Baklava, Manti (Turkish raviole), Menemen (shakshuka), Lahmacun (Turkish pizza).

Famous People: Ataturk the father of modern Turkey. Suleyman the Magnificent, the Sultan for 46 years in the 1500s. Erdogan, the current controversial president.

Recommended Books: “The Museum of Innocence” by Orhan Pamuk the Nobel literature prize winner.

Recommended Music: Tarkan (pop), Sezen Aksu (pop), Gaye Su Akyol (Psychedelic Rock), Kudsi Erguner (classical Sufi), and The Away Days (Rock).

Recommended Movies: Once Upon a Time in Anatolia (2011), Winter Sleep (2014), and The Wild Pear Tree (2018).

Visitor Tip: Turkey is a history-filled place and it pays to know some of it before a visit. Before modern history, the regions has been a melting pot of Othmans, Seljuks, and Mongols; Christians and Muslims, and many others.

Ranking: ★★★★ (8.8/10) Read more

Top 5 Favorites

1. Istanbul

Ayasofya, Istanbul.

The most popular destination in Turkey and one of the largest cites in the world. The neighborhood of Sultanahmet is the historic center of the city, where many of the top sights are within walking distance. Must see are: Ayasofya Museum, Topkapi palace, Blue mosque, Grand bazaar, and Spice Bazaar.

2. Cappadocia

Rock formation in Cappadocia.

Some incredible rock formations can be seen in Cappadocia. It is an ancient inhabited site and some of the rock formations served as houses of 5 stories tall. Underground housing was more strategic to avoid enemies, and entire towns with as many as eight stories are hidden underground.

3. Ephesus

Celsus Library, Ephesus (Wikimedia).

Ephesus was one of the largest cities in the Roman Empire, and the site of one of the old Seven Wonders, the Temple of Artemis. It is a well preserved and large archaeological site. Its main attractions are the two story Celsus Library, the Temple of Hadrian, The terraced houses, and the Ephesus Archaeological Museum.

4. Bodrum

Bodrum castle (Wikimedia).

Bodrum offers a nightlife scene among the best in Turkey and on the Mediterranean sea.

5. Antalya

Antalya’s old port (Wikimedia).

Mostly known for the all-inclusive resorts and large hotels, Antalya is a starting point to explore pristine Mediterranean beaches nearby.

Don’t Miss These Places If You Have Time

Pamukkale. Thermal hot-springs with glaring white terraces. Very unique.

Izmir. Well connected city with budget airlines. Starting point to see Ephesus.

Ankara. The Capital city offers many museums and modern attractions.

Side. Closer to Antalya. Offers beaches and ancient ruins of temples, theaters, and more.

Marmaris. Another beach city on the Turkish Mediterranean riviera.