Top 25 Attractions & Things To Do In Turkey

When the progressive West meets the traditionally Islamic East, it may either end up in a disaster or breed a multi-faceted construct that stuns with inherent contrasts and uniqueness. Luckily, the latter is true for Turkey, Istanbul being the ripest fruit of this dichotomy.

Following some research into the preferences and opinions posted by users of various social media sites, such as Twitter and Facebook, as well as own resources and reviews by the most popular travel sites, Open Travel has compiled a list of top 25 things to see or do on your Turkey Vacations. The country in a goldmine of fascinating sights and intriguing traditions that will together make your stay enjoyable, inspiring, and unforgettable.

  1. Location: İstanbul, Turkey

    Sultan Ahmed Mosque / Blue Mosque (Sultan Ahmet Camii)

    Photo by zoutedrop


    Seeing the Sultan Ahmed Mosque from afar, with its ascending system of domes and sky-cutting minarets, is already much of a thrill, but come inside and this initial excitement will instantly melt away giving way to speechless admiration and awe. This combination of spaciousness, wondrous mosaics...

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  2. Location: Pamukkale, Turkey

    Pamukkale Thermal Pools

    Photo by Vandalizer

    Leave your skis at home for this is not a glacier or any snow formation. No skiing down the slope or speedy slaloms; what you can enjoy instead are healing sessions in thermal pools. The amazing frosty landscape of dazzling white calcareous castles has been formed by limestone-laden thermal sprin...

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  3. Location: İstanbul, Turkey

    Whirling Dervishes

    Photo by shioshvili

    What a spectacle of color and spirituality it is! You may not be able to understand the purpose behind sema - a Sufi ceremony aiming at a mystical union with God and religious purification - but you will certainly be hypnotized with the whirling fabric, communal recitation, controlled ecstasy, an...

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  4. Location: Göreme, Turkey

    Goreme National Park (Goreme Milli Parklar)

    Photo by Mila Zinkova

    Why don't you feed your travel bug with some moon dust this time? Set in the deep heart of the country, Cappadocia will have you agape and bewildered with its spectacular lunar landscape. With white volcanic ashes sprinkled over ‘fairy chimneys' and other astonishing rock formations it does mak...

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  5. Location: İstanbul, Turkey

    Cemberlitas Hamami

    Photo by myhsu

    If you belong to those who put culture exploration over any other benefits that stem from traveling, you can't be closer to the heart of Turkey than that. There's nothing like Adam and Eve nudity plus a good scrub in an age-old hamam. It may take a bit of self-inhibition breaking, but is definite...

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  6. Location: İstanbul, Turkey

    Hagia Sophia Museum / Church (Ayasofya)

    Photo by exfordy

    Dedicated to the Holy Wisdom, Hagia Sophia was the largest cathedral in the world for over a thousand of years. First a patriarchal basilica later converted to a mosque is today a magnificent example of Byzantine and Islamic art alloy. With its majestic body crowned with an enormous dome it make...

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  7. Location: Turkey

    Blue Cruise

    Photo by Erdal

    Once the Turkish writers realized how powerful an inspiration can be derived from a voyage along the Turkish Riviera, they successfully introduced the concept to literature and even gave it a name - The Blue Cruise. Once the Turkish Tourism Industry realized that the men of letters had bred the h...

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  8. Location: Selçuk, Turkey

    Ruins of Ephesus

    Photo by Kitkatcrazy

    Asia Minor, home to one of the Seven Wonders of the World and a large port in the past, today Ephesus is the most visited antic site of Turkey. With its biblical association with the Virgin Mary and the Evangelists along with immense archaeological remains, it represents a great treat to archeolo...

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  9. Location: Turkey

    Nargile Bars

    Photo by myhsu

    Nargile is yet another brick in the wall of Turkish adventure. And just like a wall will still stand with one brick missing, your visit will too remain valuable without a puff of Turkish tobacco from the communal hookah pipe, but neither the wall nor your experience can then be called complete. D...

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  10. Location: Turkey

    Çoruh River Valley

    Photo by Travelling Runes

    Kayakers feel like riding the white waters of the Çoruh River to no end, hikers don't want the meandering trails to end, and nature buffs tread carefully not to miss a single species of extraordinary flora. Smelling of orchid, universally recognized as one of word's few biodiversity hotspots, an...

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  11. Archaeological Site of Troy

    Photo by myhsu

    With its record of 4,000 years of history, the Archaeological Site of Troy shall surely not be overlooked. Immortalized by Homer in his memorable Iliad, this site is a real treat for the history buffs truly interested in archeology. The extensive remains including altars, mounds as well as temp...

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  12. Location: İstanbul, Turkey

    Grand Bazaar (Kapali Carsisi)

    Photo by pdbreen

    Do prepare for the visit to the Grand Bazaar in Instanbul for the biggest and most vibrant shopping experience awaits you! Just plunge into the world of jewelery, hand-painted ceramics, carpets, embroideries, spices and antique shops. Let the jostling vibe of its labyrinthine streets lead you thr...

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  13. Location: Turkey

    Mount Nemrut (Nemrut Dağı)

    Photo by I was in Turkey

    As it usually happens, places of unique beauty are remote and not too easy to reach. Undoubtedly, Mount Nemrut confirms this theory. But the unforgettable sight of huge carved monuments and giant heads of the Ancient gods watching you combined with the breathtaking scenery make the long escapade...

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  14. Location: İstanbul, Turkey

    Yerebatan Sarayi (Underground Cistern)

    Photo by Taco325i

    James Bond rowed through it in From Russia With Love, and now you have a chance to follow in his footsteps. The first thing you notice when you enter the Basilica Cistern, across the street from the Hagia Sophia, is the soothing, subterranean coolness that revives your body and mind battered with...

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  15. Location: Ankara, Turkey

    Parks of Ankara

    Photo by PD-old

    It may be the capital, it may have amazing mosques and museums, but it definitely comes second after Istanbul in the popularity race. Let it be, but there's something that the city has got and Istanbul cannot boast, namely the parks. With numerous delightful open spaces and vast well-landscaped p...

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  16. Mount Ararat

    Photo by Attaleiv

    For a true trekking experience head for the Mount Ararat, the huge inactive volcano towering above the arid steppes of Eastern Turkey. The supposed final resting place of the Noah's Ark, the mount has fascinated mountaineers, geologists and Ark hunters for decades. As the area is a military one y...

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  17. Location: Antalya, Turkey

    Mamure Kalesi

    Photo by Allie_Caulfield

    Sandwiched between the highway and the Mediterranean coast, the place is so impressively well preserved one may think it is a modern reconstruction. In fact, Mamure Kalesi rests on 3rd-century foundations, and was continually rebuilt or innovated due to various twists in its history. Home to the...

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  18. Location: İstanbul, Turkey

    Ibrahim Pasa Palace (Museum of Turkish and Islamic Arts)

    Photo by Ollios

    Housed in the restored 1524 palace of Ibrahim Pasha, the museum boasts a near comprehensive collection that covers all historical periods and includes notable examples of all fields of art that has ever played a role in the formation of the broadly defined Turkish culture. From Turkish carpets, i...

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  19. Location: Van, Turkey

    Lake Van

    Photo by gozturk

    If you're looking for wilderness and stark beauty, this is where your path should lead. Bordered by high mountains to the south, by plateaus to the east, and by a complex of volcanic cones to the west, dotted with uninhabited islands connected to the land by small boats' service, and so salty tha...

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  20. Location: İstanbul, Turkey

    Topkapi Palace

    Photo by Gryffindor

    Once inside the vast Ottoman palatial complex, there are myriad directions to follow, including spacious grounds, lofty chambers, four courtyards, and a magnificent Treasury, but funnily enough, most visitors rush straight to the Harem. What they've known from oriental tales about sultans and the...

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  21. Location: İstanbul, Turkey

    The Bosphorus Ferry Ride

    Photo by KeRR

    One magnificent palace rubs shoulders with another, giant Rumeli fortress casts a grave shadow onto a smooth body of water, historical waterfront houses flank its sides, the Maiden's Tower rises from its depths, and the inspiring Galata Bridge spans the Golden - the Bosphorus is not just one of...

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  22. Location: Trabzon, Turkey

    Sumela Monastery

    Photo by Attaleiv

    Guided by a black icon of the Virgin Mary to a high spot on the cliff of Mt Mela, two monks, Barnabus and Sophronus started what is now a large monastic complex. Known as the Sumela Monastery, the building clings tenaciously to the rock and seems to defy gravity. The climb of 1200 m might be a s...

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  23. Location: Turkey

    Lycian Way

    Photo by chany14

    Put your hiking boots on and off we go! The 500km way-marked trail will make you meander past spectacular mountain and coastal scenery and numerous historical remains from the Lycian and Roman periods. Let the footpath walk you through pine forests, olive groves and tiny picturesque villages to e...

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  24. Location: Amasya Province, Turkey

    Yalıboyu Houses in Amasya

    Photo by Grizurgbg

    Endowed with historical and cultural abundance as well as rich natural beauty, a perfect inland climate and unique fertility, Amasya welcomes its visitors with juicy apples, cherries and peaches. But it also pleases the eye with great examples of the Ottoman architecture, the Yalıboyu Houses. Si...

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  25. Location: Bergama, Turkey

    Pergamon

    Photo by Radomil

    Usually too short a stop down the trail of Turkey's tourist attractions, Pergamum does deserve a bigger interest. Sitting atop a high hill and overlooking fertile plains, it once was an important capital city of the ancient times. Looking for the greatest of monuments and the most spectacular of...

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USER RECOMMENDATIONS

  1. bozkurt Jan 5, 2011 3:51 PM

    Turkey is a land of myth, a cradle of civilizations, a canvas of nature's most aesthetic bounties & a confluence of varied streams of culture. Owing to its favourable position, Turkey is the bridging nation between the East & West (Europe & Asia) & therefore boasts a spicy blend of oriental & modern, splendor & sleekness, which makes diversity its other name. In Turkey every visitor can find something for themselves. The world class cuisine, vibrant cities, warm hospitality, recreational facilities, historical attractions, cultural heritage & an unparallel natural beauty make Turkey an irresistible holiday & tourism destination for independent or group travelers

  2. veena Jan 27, 2011 4:52 AM

    Turkey is such a beautiful country! I visited once in 2006. These pictures make me want to pack my bags!



  3. Rudolph.A.Furtado Mar 3, 2011 4:16 AM

    Will be visiting Turkey in 2011 as a tourist. Although have sailed below Istanbul bridge numerous times on board ocean ships during employment as a "marine engineer", have never stepped ashore in Istanbul, a beautiful city as viewed from ships. your photographs are beautiful and hope i am able to view most of the exotic locations in Turkey and blog about the same for future travellers, backpackers and adventurers.Backpacker touring of the World city's and blogging as well as photographing is my expensive hobby and Turkey will be a new experience in my travels.

  4. I love me Mar 21, 2011 8:15 PM

    I like turkey. Both kinds.

  5. hi Mar 21, 2011 8:17 PM

    Weird.

  6. Wanderlust Jun 15, 2011 3:33 PM

    Will be traveling through Turkey for 45 days. Leaving in less than a week! I have to leave Shengen for at least 30 days. After the tour I will return but it may end up that I return to Turkey to teach English.

  7. HEY I LIKE TO DANCE Aug 4, 2011 10:48 AM

    Yeah I really wanna go now :)

  8. Jen Aug 24, 2011 8:47 AM

    It looks amazing. I have family moving there and can't wait to go and visit.

  9. Phil Jan 30, 2012 12:05 PM

    It looks amazing.What incredible architecture-will be working toward a trip in 2013.

  10. Shanaynayyyyyyyyy Feb 2, 2012 8:26 PM

    LOVEEEEE TURKEYYYYYYYYY

  11. yo mama Feb 6, 2012 3:22 PM

    shes amazing

  12. 619 Jul 16, 2012 5:46 PM

    ...........................................................................................................................................holy crap i

  13. Taylor Lautner Sep 25, 2012 3:42 PM

    LOL

  14. Sahin Oct 24, 2012 3:29 PM

    One of the most rare and most historical country

  15. someone Nov 5, 2012 5:26 PM

    this is weird

  16. hey Nov 5, 2012 5:27 PM

    i love the way they put this wow im amazed

  17. poo Dec 2, 2012 1:07 PM

    poo

  18. Sunderfools Jan 12, 2013 7:48 AM

    You must visited this country.Turkey is awesome.!

  19. Gaz Jan 30, 2013 11:12 PM

    Am off to turkey sept 2013 - 3 nights Istanbul then travelling around on public transport. Well that's the aim anyway! Looks fantastic - cannot wait!!!

  20. Nikki Jan 31, 2013 5:19 PM

    SO PRETTY I WOULD LOVE TO VISIT :)

  21. Kai Feb 11, 2013 1:39 PM

    Chiken taste tons better fags

  22. hassen Feb 16, 2013 12:43 PM

    we too will be visiting turkey this march looks like a beautiful country.heard that the food is awesome

  23. joseph Mar 28, 2013 2:20 AM

    best trip ever i am going to go there again
    best trip ever my whole family is going turkeys AWESOME

  24. prettygir rock101 May 8, 2013 10:05 PM

    tirkey is so lame an wack so yeah peace.

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  26. pir Jun 29, 2013 11:08 AM

    I LOVE TURKEY! WILL BE ROAD TRIPPING THERE THIS SUMMER! THIS LIST IS AMAZING BUT THERE ARE STILL TONS OF OTHER BEAUTIFUL VERY VERY IMPRESSIVE PLACES TO SEE!

  27. alphonza Jul 17, 2013 4:25 PM

    the thermal pool of turkey is awesome.....the most beautiful pool

  28. Behrooz Aug 6, 2013 10:05 AM

    Hi.would someone say me please which places to see are there in Ankara?man says that Ankara isn't beautiful.

  29. hChirco Sep 4, 2013 6:35 PM

    Behrooz, Ankara is the least favourite place we visited in Turkey.
    You might want to do some research as far as attractions in Ankara. There are some wonderful street shopping but not as great as Bursa or Istanbul.

    Turkey is beyond beautiful. We visited Israel and Turkey for a month and we fell in love with Turkey. We will definitely go back again to Turkey for many years to come. The street food is amazing better than eating at any restaurants in north America. Enjoy the people, history, and much more the country has to offer.

  30. hobo mada jobo Nov 21, 2013 9:33 AM

    hobo mada jobo is my real name

  31. chan ho lei Dec 7, 2013 2:15 AM

    chan ho lei is my real name.
    iiiiiiiiiiiiiii hhhhhhate Israel!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  32. twerkey werkey Dec 7, 2013 2:17 AM

    I love turkey! I mean the other turkey the chicken like turkey!!!!!!!!

  33. ozzyb Dec 27, 2013 1:55 PM

    there are so many amazing places in Turkey...people are so friendly and make you welcome to their land..food is out of this world .so much history happened in this great country.i dont think many people who visit Turkey seen real Turkey..

  34. 2 Jan 3, 2014 3:18 PM

    wp

  35. cool Mar 12, 2014 2:35 AM

    wow this is beautiful would love to go there someday!!!

  36. ezylryb May 14, 2014 3:09 PM

    ezylryb is my real name.

  37. ezylryb May 14, 2014 3:09 PM

    ezylryb is my real name.

  38. Arya Jun 26, 2014 6:40 PM

    I have been waiting to go there for 3 summers, but every summer something happens to prevent me from going. I hope to go this summer :(

  39. jk u mum Jul 15, 2014 3:33 PM

    turkyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyy!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  40. messi Jul 15, 2014 3:38 PM

    hiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiii

  41. messi Jul 15, 2014 3:38 PM

    hiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiii

  42. joe Jul 15, 2014 3:39 PM

    are you messi

  43. messi Jul 15, 2014 3:39 PM

    yes why

  44. messi Jul 15, 2014 3:41 PM

    http://i282.photobucket.com/albums/kk247/RATM1986/messi12.jpg go to the link

  45. joe Jul 15, 2014 3:41 PM

    cool

  46. messi Jul 15, 2014 3:52 PM

    who is the best footballer in the world

  47. joe Jul 15, 2014 3:52 PM

    you

  48. nick Jul 22, 2014 8:07 AM

    very informative blog

  49. nick Jul 22, 2014 8:07 AM

    very helpful blog http://opentravel.com/Things-To-Do-In-Turkey-Attractions#comment-30991

  50. kHALID PERVAIZ ALVI Aug 11, 2014 1:58 PM

    i AM SO MUCH INSPIRED TO SEE IMMAGES OF TURKEY THAT I WANT TO VISIT TURKEY JUST NOW. NO DOUBT TURKEY IS FANTASTIC COUNTRY. ONE SHOULD MUST GO THERE.

  51. Sufi Love Sep 2, 2014 4:43 AM

    Going this Thursday :)

    Cant Wait to See, Istanbul & Konya

  52. Name: Nov 1, 2014 6:02 AM

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