Turkey Highlights: Top Things to See and Do
Unsure where to start planning your Turkey trip? We've compiled a list of some of the country's top highlights.
Located in central Turkey, Cappadocia is a fairy-tale land of cone-shaped rock dwellings and lunar-esque landscapes that must be seen to be believed. Take to the skies and soar over it all on a sunrise hot air balloon ride then descend into a myriad of subterranean caverns and tunnels that once formed Kaymakli Underground City. Built by Christians escaping Arab oppression, this otherworldly city among the rocks is now used for hotels, storage areas, and cellars.
Swim, sail, snorkel, and scuba dive your way along the sun-drenched Turquoise Coast on Turkey's southwestern Mediterranean coast. Renowned for its glistening aquamarine waters and golden sandy beaches, this picturesque coastal region is a treasure trove of outdoor adventure and history. Hike through butterfly-filled valleys, explore charming beach towns like Kas, sail along the coast on the famous Blue Voyage Route, visit the stately Mausoleum at Halicarnassus, or look for endangered loggerhead turtles. At every turn, you're greeted by some of the most stunning coastal scenery anywhere in the world, with lush mountains descending to pristine bays ringed by white, sandy beaches.
Following an ancient Lycian trade route along the coast, the 320-mile Lycian Way is one of the most famous long-distance coastal walking paths in the world. Undertake the full route for a 29-day voyage along towering cliffs, secluded beaches, and lost-to-time historic sites, or go on shorter day hikes to scenic viewpoints like Butterfly Valley. Explore the deserted streets of ghostly Kayakoy, peer over limestone cliff tops for far-reaching views across the ocean, hike through lush pine forests and open farmland, swim in the calm waters of Patara Beach, and kick back in a waterfront café in the beautiful port of Kas.
Straddling Asia and Europe on the Bosphorus Strait, the grand, multi-faceted city of Istanbul has been where worlds collide since it was first founded in the 7th century BCE. Glittering mosques with sky-piercing minarets and domes like the Hagia Sophia and the Blue Mosque dominate the skyline as architectural marvels blending Ottoman and Byzantine influences. Peruse the wares in the stalls of the kaleidoscopic Grand Bazaar, one of the oldest covered markets in the world, feel like royalty walking past the artifacts and grand decor of Topkapi Palace, and take a boat ride on the Strait to take it all in. Istanbul's culinary scene is also a delight, with sizzling street food, traditional Turkish tea, and decadent Turkish delights.
Walking the ancient stone streets of the Roman ruins at Ephesus feels like going back in time. This remarkably well-preserved archaeological site houses many incredible attractions including the Library of Celsus, the Temple of Artemis, and the Great Theater.
Striking white terraces of mineral stone, filled to the brim with thermal water, cascade down the hill at this beautiful town in western Turkey. Best of all, you can bathe in the warm waters while gazing across the countryside beyond.
Famous for the legendary Trojan War, the ancient city of Troy is a must-see on any trip to Turkey. Explore the ruins, walk through the reconstructed ancient city walls, and see a replica of the famous Trojan Horse itself.
Solo travel in Turkey
Our small group trips to Turkey are popular with couples, friends and solo travelers alike. Everyone who travels with us is looking for a fun and authentic adventure so whether you’re traveling alone, with friends or with family, you’ll most likely make friends along the way. Your local tour leader will ensure you see all of the must-see sights and well as the lesser-known hidden gems of Turkey during the trip and they’ll also look after all of the every-day logistics.
Best time to go to Turkey
Turkey is a year-round destination. But, as a large country, the seasons can vary significantly from north to south and between coastal and inland areas.
Typically, the best time to visit Turkey for cultural and discovery tours is in late spring/early summer and September. These months boast beautifully warm yet comfortable temperatures that are perfect for swimming in the glistening turquoise seas. You’ll also benefit from fewer tourists in the cities and at popular ancient sites. Even Winter on the Turquoise Coast can be comfortable for swimming, and this coastline is temperate year-round with drops of snow on the tops of the mountains.
Multi-Activity and Family Tours
For blazing hot summer days, travel to Turkey’s sun-drenched Turquoise Coast in June, July or August. Temperatures can soar into the late 86°F’s, but sea breezes will make it feel cooler. Feel the sun on your back as you kayak around craggy inlets on our Turkey activity vacation
and take a refreshing dip in the warm, crystal-clear waters of a deserted bay.
Cycling and Walking Tours
April, May, September and October are great times to visit Turkey if you’re joining one of our Cycling or Walking tours. The temperatures are a bit cooler, so Spring and Autumn are perfect for exploring by bike or on foot. Follow quiet, dusty trails along the Lycian Way
for stunning vistas of glistening turquoise blue waters and golden beaches. Or join our Cycle Turkey trip
to pedal through deserted rural farmland and uncover ancient ruins without the crowds.