Turkey is a captivating and enchanting destination that defies definition. When we talk about its 10,000 years of human civilization, we are not just talking about a number. With its breathtaking landscapes, UNESCO World Heritage sites, magnificent mosques, and inclusion of one of the seven wonders of the world, Turkey offers a plethora of captivating experiences.
Turkey’s culture has aged like fine wine, its natural beauty has been enhanced over time, and its architectural landmarks showcase a seamless blend of traditional and modern designs. A vacation in Turkey would be incomplete without experiencing the following remarkable activities:
23 Exhilarating Activities to Embark on in Turkey
Are you planning a trip to Turkey and seeking unforgettable experiences? Below are some of the finest activities to partake in during your visit. Are you ready to embark on a virtual tour of this city of mosques? Let’s dive in!
- Pamukkale Thermal Pools: Indulge in a Natural Sauna
- Goreme National Park: Discover the Majesty of Limestone Formations
- Cemberlitas Hamami: Revel in a Turkish Bath experience
- Dervish: Witness the Sacred Dance
- Ruins of Ephesus: Explore Ancient Ruins
- Nargile Bars: Sample Turkish Tobacco
- Archaeological Site of Troy: Journey Back in Time
- Kapali Carsisi: Acquire Traditional Artifacts
- Mount Nemrut: Embark on a Thrilling Hiking Adventure
- The Bosphorus Ferry Ride: Behold Breathtaking Views!
- Ankara Castle: Immerse Yourself in History
- Aqua Vega Aquarium: Observe Turkish Marine Life
- Dolmabahce Palace: Admire Exquisite Architecture
- Gobekli Tepe: Visit this Iconic Landmark
- Hagia Sophia: Deepen Your Knowledge of Turkish History
- Cappadocia: Marvel at Its Otherworldly Beauty
- Erimtan Museum: Immerse Yourself in Turkish Art
- Hippodrome of Constantinople: Embrace Its Historical Significance
- Lycian Rock Tombs: Discover the Intriguing Past
- Blue Mosque: Find Serenity in its Tranquil Ambience
- Clubs and Cafes: Indulge in the Local Raki
- Galata Bridge: Savor a Fish Sandwich and Pickle Juice
- Pigeon Valley: Fall in Love with the Charm of Pigeons
1. Pamukkale Thermal Pools: Indulge in a Natural Sauna
The Pamukkale Thermal Pools are an extraordinary and rare sight that will leave you spellbound. These luminous white terraces, created by thermal springs rich in limestone, showcase a unique display of calcium deposits in various forms such as pools, stalactites, and cascades. The expansive white landscape dotted with turquoise springs, all under the blissful blue sky, is truly mesmerizing.
The pools are filled with therapeutic water that possesses healing properties for ailments like skin conditions, eye problems, rheumatism, and asthma. It is no wonder that this is one of Turkey’s most popular attractions.
Location: Pamukkale/Denizli Merkez/Denizli, Turkey – Find us at Kale, 20190, Pamukkale/Denizli Merkez/Denizli, Turkey.Timing: Our operating hours are from 6:30 am to 9 pm.
For more information, check out: Discover 5 Amazing Places To Visit In Pamukkale Showcasing Turkey’s Captivating Natural Beauty
2. Uncover the Marvels of Goreme National Park
Experience the unparalleled beauty of Goreme National Park, nestled in Turkey’s diverse landscapes. The enchanting formations of sedimentary rock shaped by volcanic activity in Cappadocia create a truly unique atmosphere. Recognized as one of UNESCO’s World Heritage sites, Cappadocia is also known for its mesmerizing underground cities and churches carved out of rocky terrain. Explore the lunar-like landscapes and immerse yourself in the wonders of Cappadocia, a must-visit destination in Turkey.
Location: Find us on the Central Anatolia plateau, CappadociaTiming: We are open 24 hours a day.
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3. Indulge in the Pleasures of Cemberlitas Hamami
Immerse yourself in the rich cultural heritage of Turkey by visiting Cemberlitas Hamami, one of the country’s iconic Turkish bathhouses. Designed by Mimar Sinan in 1584, this historic bath offers a truly unique and rejuvenating experience. Overcome any initial hesitations and embark on a journey of relaxation and tranquility. We recommend visiting in the morning to secure your spot for an invigorating bath.
Location: Join us at Mollafenari, Vezirhan Cd. No:8, 34440 Fatih/İstanbul, TurkeyTiming: We are open from 6am to 12am.
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4. Witness the Sacred Dervish Dance
Immerse yourself in the spiritual practice of the Dervish dance, a Sufi ceremony dedicated to divine devotion. Originating from the teachings of the 13th-century Sufi saint Rumi, this enchanting experience involves soul-stirring songs, traditional musical instruments, graceful movements, and profound poetry. The vibrant twirls of the Sufi dancers, accompanied by soothing spiritual music, offer a transformative journey for the soul.
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Location: Galipdede Street, TurkeyTiming: Not available
5. Explore the Ancient Ruins of Ephesus
Experience the captivating remnants of the ancient Greek city of Ephesus, which dates back to the 10th century BC. The ruins of this remarkable city, along with the iconic Temple of Artemis, one of the Seven Wonders of the World, have attracted countless visitors throughout the ages. The Library of Celsus, a renowned landmark within Ephesus, never fails to leave tourists in awe. Standing as a testament to the rise and fall of empires, these remains offer a glimpse into the grandeur of the past. Embark on a journey to Ephesus and immerse yourself in its ancient vibes.
Location: Atatürk, Park İçi Yolu No:12, 35920 Selçuk/İzmir, TurkeyTiming: 8am–6:30pm
6. Delight in Turkish Tobacco at Nargile Bars
Discover another facet of the city’s rich and opulent culture through the tradition of communal hookah smoking. Indulge in the exquisite flavors of Turkish tobacco at Nargile bars, where traditional water pipes are accompanied by coffee and other treats. The elegantly adorned glass and wooden hookahs, with their various shapes and sizes, allow you to feel like royalty as you savor each puff.
Location: Anadolu Nargile Çorlulu Ali Paşa Medresesi, Erenler HookahTiming: 7 am to 2 am
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7. An Expedition to Ancient Troy: An Immersive Journey through Time
At first glance, the remains of Troy may appear as a conglomeration of debris and concrete. However, the soil beneath your feet holds immense historical and political significance from a bygone era. This very soil witnessed the bravery of heroes and served as inspiration for numerous authors and literary personalities. For history enthusiasts, exploring the remnants of temples, altars, and other fortifications is an exhilarating experience. Without a doubt, it is one of the most captivating attractions in Turkey.
Location: Northwest TurkeyTiming: Not applicable
8. Kapali Carsisi: Acquire Exquisite Artifacts
Seeking to bring back a piece of Istanbul with you? In addition to the countless memories and priceless moments that the city offers at every turn, there’s the magnificent Grand Bazaar, also known as Kapali Carsisi. This sprawling marketplace immediately captivates visitors with its vibrant atmosphere. For collectors of unique items, it’s truly a treasure trove, boasting an impressive range of jewelry, artifacts, spices, antiques, handcrafted goods, and carpets. The icing on the cake is the opportunity to negotiate prices for your purchases.
Location: Walled city of IstanbulTiming: 8 am to 7 pm
9. Mount Nemrut: Embark on a Thrilling Hike
The awe-inspiring sight of colossal pale sandy monuments and ancient god heads against a backdrop of mesmerizing landscapes is an experience not to be missed. Exploring the Nemrut Dag National Park, a revered UNESCO World Heritage Site, is an essential part of any visit to Turkey. We advise wearing comfortable shoes and consider purchasing a hiking pole, although the latter is not obligatory.
Place: Southeastern part of Turkey
Time: Not Applicable
10. The Magnificent Experience of Sailing on the Bosphorus
Imagine yourself sailing through the stretch where the Black Sea meets the Mediterranean Sea, witnessing the protective Rumeli fortress standing tall and catching a glimpse of the Galata Bridge from a distance. This Bosphorus ferry ride offers a breathtaking view of the cityscape, making it one of the most extraordinary geographical locations on Earth. Don’t forget to book your seat in advance to secure the best experience.
Location: Southern to Northern Turkey (Marmara and Black Sea)Time: From 2:30 pm to 4:30 pm
11. Rediscovering History at Ankara Castle
Ankara Castle, a precious gem from the medieval period, proudly stands as one of the few remaining fortresses dating back to the 7th century in Turkey. Steeped in an enchanting and diverse history, this castle has witnessed the rise and fall of numerous empires, including the Roman, Byzantine, Crusaders, Ottoman, and Seljuq Turks, among others. History enthusiasts will find themselves in paradise as they explore the castle grounds, adorned with houses from Turkey’s golden era. Prepare to be amazed by the distinctive designs and architectural styles that span across different eras.
Location: Kale, 06240 Altındağ/Ankara, TurkeyTime: From 9 am to 6 pm
12. Delve into the Depths of Aqua Vega Aquarium
Prepare to be captivated by the wonders of Aqua Vega Aquarium, one of Europe’s largest underwater worlds and home to the third-largest tunnel aquarium. A perfect destination for families, this aquarium offers a unique opportunity to observe a variety of exotic marine creatures from around the globe. Explore exhibits such as the Sea Shell Museum, Jungle Corner, and Adrenaline World, providing a close encounter with fascinating marine life, including sharks, Napoleon fish, clownfish, and koi fish.
Location: Akşemsettin, Doğukent Bulvarı Nata Vega Outlet, 06480 Mamak/Ankara, TurkeyTime: From 10 am to 8 pm
13. Dolmabahce Palace: Witness the Magnificence of Architecture
Located in the heart of Istanbul, Dolmabahce Palace holds immense historical significance. Once serving as the administrative center of the Ottoman Empire, this palace showcases a captivating blend of architectural styles from the baroque, Ottoman, and neoclassical periods. With 46 halls and 285 rooms, the palace’s interiors are as magnificent as its exteriors. Visitors will be enthralled by the gold-adorned ceilings, Iznik tiles, the world’s largest crystal Bohemian chandelier, and many other exquisite elements.
Location: Vişnezade, Dolmabahçe Cd., 34357 Beşiktaş/İstanbul, Turkey
Opening Hours: 9am–4pm
14. Gobekli Tepe: Embark on a Journey to a Captivating Landmark
Gobekli Tepe, also known as “Potbelly Hill,” stands as an iconic and mesmerizing archaeological site in Turkey, attracting visitors for thousands of years. This tell, approximately 50 feet high and 980 feet in diameter, holds immense historical value and is considered one of the country’s greatest attractions. It is believed to have served as a social or ritual center during the Pre-Pottery Neolithic period. Exploring Gobekli Tepe provides travelers with a fascinating opportunity to delve into its deep-rooted past and learn about the ancient sanctuary.
Location: Örencik, 63290 Haliliye/Şanlıurfa, Turkey
Opening Hours: Not Available
15. Hagia Sophia: Uncover the Secrets of Turkish History
Originally an imperial mosque and a Greek Orthodox Christian patriarchal basilica, Hagia Sophia is now a renowned museum. This architectural masterpiece has earned its rightful place on the UNESCO World Heritage Sites list and holds great historical significance. The building features a majestic dome that marked a turning point in architectural history. Visitors will be captivated by the Deesis mosaic, the mosaic of Saint John Chrysostom, the 19th-century market of the tomb of Enrico Dandolo, and other unique elements that define this magnificent structure.
Location: Sultan Ahmet, Ayasofya Meydanı, 34122 Fatih/İstanbul, TurkeyTiming: 9am–5pm
16. Cappadocia: Witness the Splendor
Source of Visual Inspiration
Situated in the heart of Central Anatolia, Turkey, a visit to Cappadocia is an absolute must-do for couples. The mesmerizing hills and rock formations captivate every onlooker. Cappadocia is home to the renowned UNESCO World Heritage Site, Gerome National Park, and emits an air of romance and love. The rich and distinctive heritage, along with the breathtaking wonders of nature, have placed this destination at the top of many travelers and explorers’ bucket lists.
Location: Cappadocia, Turkey
Timing: Not Applicable
17. Erimtan Museum: Immerse Yourself in Turkish Artistry
Source of Visual Inspiration
A relatively recent addition to Turkey’s landmarks, the Erimtan Museum is an art museum that was established in 2009. Visiting this museum is an absolute highlight when in Turkey. Inspired by Yuksel Erimtan, a civil engineer who stumbled upon an extensive collection of artifacts during his construction projects, this museum gained popularity rapidly yet discreetly. The museum’s collection includes ancient jewelry, coins, glasses, ceramics, seal stones, and various other treasures unearthed in Turkey’s Anatolia region.
Location: Kale, Gözcü Sk. No:10, 06240 Altındağ/Ankara, Turkey
18. Hippodrome Of Constantinople: Embrace the Historical Significance
Source of Visual Inspiration
Once an epicenter of social gatherings and sporting events, the Hippodrome held immense importance during the Byzantine Empire. Presently known as Sultan Ahmet Square, visitors can witness the original structures that have withstood the test of time. Among the extraordinary features are ancient relics that date back thousands of years, including the Serpent Column and the Obelisk of Thutmose III. Travelers also have the opportunity to admire the grand base of the obelisk, which depicts Emperor Theodosius offering a laurel wreath.
Place: Binbirdirek, Sultan Ahmet Parkı No:2, 34122 Fatih/İstanbul, TurkeySchedule: Open 24/7
19. Lycian Rock Tombs: Witness the Fascinating Past
Still pondering over what to explore in Turkey? Lycian Rock Tombs provide a captivating glimpse into the ancient history of Turkey. These tombs, chiseled into the mountains, were created by the Lycians as resting places for the deceased, enabling mystical winged beings to carry them to the afterlife. The tombs are adorned with gateways that resemble temple entrances. The striking combination of rocky terrain and wooden panels used in the tombs’ construction makes it a truly mesmerizing spectacle and ranks high among the must-do activities in Turkey.
Place: Teke Peninsula, Western Taurus Range, Southern AnatoliaSchedule: Not applicable
20. Blue Mosque: Embrace the Serenity
Also known as Sultan Ahmed Mosque, the Blue Mosque enthralls countless tourists who visit Turkey with its captivating blue interiors. Visiting this place of worship is highly recommended by the locals when seeking suggestions on what to explore in Turkey. Constructed during the Ottoman era by a sultan, this mosque stands in the presence of another renowned landmark, Hagia Sophia. The mosque boasts an inner and outer courtyard, six minarets, and multiple balconies. The inner courtyard is beautifully adorned with marble paving and surrounded by a small domed portico.
Place: Sultan Ahmet, Atmeydanı Cd. No:7, 34122 Fatih/İstanbul, TurkeySchedule: From dawn until midnight
21. Nightclubs and Cafés: Savor the Local Raki
For those who relish experiencing local beverages, Raki stands out as a must-try drink during your vacation in Turkey. Traditionally served with water and ice, you can add your own twist to the concoction, yet rest assured, the experience will be nothing short of exceptional!
Place: IstanbulSchedule: 9:00 PM – Midnight
22. Galata Bridge: Enjoy a Unique Fish Sandwich and Pickle Juice
Your trip to Turkey will not be complete without trying their exclusive fish sandwich paired with a shot of pickle juice. Make sure to visit the Galata Bridge, located on the Bosphorus River, where you can find the country’s best fish sandwiches. This is one of the most popular activities in Turkey.
Location: Galata BridgeOperating Hours: 10:00 AM-10:00 PM
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23. Pigeon Valley: Experience the Fascination of Pigeons
Pigeons may not seem glamorous, but in Turkey, these birds are cherished and loved. Plan a visit to Pigeon Valley, where you’ll be amazed by the large number of pigeons, including various species. Don’t forget to take pictures of the trees adorned with blue evil eyes. This is one of the most interesting things to do in Turkey for a family vacation.
Location: Pigeon ValleyOperating Hours: NA
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So, which of these activities in Turkey will you try first? Embark on a trip to Turkey with Fred and Fuzzys and immerse yourself in its vibrant culture and traditions that will leave a lasting impression.
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Frequently Asked Questions About Activities in Turkey
What are some of the top activities to do in Turkey?
There are many exciting things to do in Turkey, such as going on a hot-air balloon ride, exploring the famous attractions in Istanbul, indulging in the local cuisine, and taking leisurely walks through the beautiful streets.
What are the must-see attractions in Turkey in 5 days?
If you have 5 days in Turkey, make sure to visit Istanbul and Cappadocia. These cities offer a variety of major attractions to explore. Additionally, experiencing the rich culture and delicious Turkish cuisines is highly recommended.
Is it safe to visit Turkey during the COVID-19 pandemic?
As the tourism industry gradually reopens, it is possible to visit most of the mentioned places while adhering to the guidelines and precautions. However, it is essential to stay updated on the latest travel advisories, COVID-19 measures, and the number of cases before your departure. It is generally safer to travel solo or in small groups to less crowded areas with fewer reported cases.
What are the best attractions to visit in Istanbul?
Some of the top attractions to visit in Istanbul include the Hagia Sophia Mosque, Topkapi Palace, Blue Mosque, Basilica Cistern, Hippodrome, Istanbul Archeology Museum, Süleymaniye Mosque, Dolmabahce Palace, Yedikule Fortress, and Grand Bazaar.
How much does a hot air balloon ride cost in Turkey?
The cost of a hot air balloon ride in Turkey ranges from INR 9935 to INR 17750, depending on the duration of the flight. It is important to check the weather forecast before planning your ride, as it plays a significant role in determining whether the ride can take place.
What are the things to avoid doing in Turkey?
When in Turkey, it is advisable to avoid taking taxis without logos, make sure to bargain while shopping, remove your shoes at places of worship, and refrain from carrying any illegal items.
Is Turkey an expensive destination to visit?
No, Turkey can be an affordable destination if planned well. Tour packages for 2 nights and 3 days start at INR 20,999. As a popular tourist destination, Turkey offers budget-friendly options while providing an amazing experience.
How many days are recommended to explore Turkey?
Turkey offers breathtaking sights that are worth experiencing at least once in a lifetime. A tour of 8-10 days would be sufficient to explore the highlights of Turkey. However, if you want a more comprehensive experience, a 2-week tour would be ideal.