While 97 percent of Turkey’s large landmass lies in Asia, three percent of it is located on the Balkan Peninsula in Southeast Europe, separated from the rest of the country by the Bosphorous, Sea of Marmara, and by the Dardanelles.
Bordering the Aegean Sea, Black Sea, and Mediterranean Sea, Turkey has a long and beautiful coastline. Many mountains and plateaus lie within its interior, which also has the Euphrates, Tigris, and Aras rivers running through it.
As so many civilizations and empires have ruled its landmass over the millennia, the country is full of impressive historical and cultural landmarks, with lots of breathtaking archaeological sites and ruins.
Surrounding the Sea of Marmara after which it is named, Marmara is where East meets West. This is best exemplified in its thriving cosmopolitan city of Istanbul, which straddles both sides of the Bosphorous. Due to its geostrategic location, the city has been ruled by the Romans, Byzantines, and Ottomans. Each impressive civilization has left its mark in terms of many amazing monuments, old buildings, and rich cultural heritage; one could spend a lifetime exploring everything it has to offer.
Encompassing the low-lying plains of Eastern Thrace on the European side and Turkey’s most populated region in the east, which is a bit more hilly, the rest of Marmara is unfortunately often overlooked by visitors, who mainly focus on Istanbul. Both Edirne and Bursa, however, have lots of interesting historical sights for you to enjoy. Yalova is set among some beautiful mountains, with hot springs and sparkling waterfalls dotted here and there.
In addition to all this, the WWI battlefields and memorials at Gallipoli, the ancient archaeological site at Troy, and the majestic Mount Uludag are all well worth a visit. The latter offers some great hiking and skiing opportunities, while some of Marmara’s islands – such as Gokceada and Bozcaada – are also very pretty to behold.
Covering Turkey’s western coastline on the Aegean Sea, this wonderful region is a delight to visit, as it boasts a wide range of landscapes for you to enjoy. While its hilly interior is full of fertile valleys and picturesque villages, its scenic coast is bordered by warm and inviting waters that glimmer in the sun. Dilek Peninsula National Park provides the most wild and remote stretch of breathtakingly beautiful coastline.
The region has a wealth of fantastic cities and seaside towns for you to check out, with Izmir, Bodrum, and Kusadasi among the most popular due to their amazing historical sights, lively city life, and beautiful beaches.
While Aegean Turkey is renowned for its beautiful coastline and the ample watersports it offers up, it is also home to some of the most impressive archaeological sites and ancient city ruins in the country; Aphrodisias, Ephesus, and Sardis are some of the highlights, alongside those at Pergamon and Assos. The region is also famous for Pamukkale – its dazzlingly white travertines attract a lot of visitors who come to bathe in the hot springs.
Bordering the Mediterranean Sea in the south of Turkey, this lovely region really does have it all. Dramatic mountain scenery lies next to sparkling clear waters, and ancient ruins, thriving cities, and charming villages can be found tucked away among its many landscapes.
While >a href=”https://www.touropia.com/things-to-do-in-antalya-turkey/” target=”_blank”>Antalya – the capital of the Turkish Riviera – is undoubtedly one of its most popular destination, the scenic coastline is fantastic to explore, with Fethiye, Side, Kas, and Marmaris all home to beautiful beaches, incredible historic sights, and lots of great watersports.
Nestled away in between the awe-inspiring Taurus Mountains and the glimmering Mediterranean Sea, the region is replete with wonderful, untouched nature. Oludeniz – the ‘Blue Lagoon’ – and the delightfully named Butterfly Valley are particularly worth visiting. In addition to this, the ancient ruins of Anemurium, Xanthos, and Letoon are all fascinating to explore.
Home to Ankara, the nation’s capital and second-largest city, Central Anatolia covers a vast swathe of territory in the center of Turkey. Most of its landmass is made up of endless, interminable steppe.
As it has been home to so many different civilizations over the ages, the region is awash with a breathtaking array of amazing historic landmarks and archaeological sites. Konya boasts the famous poet Rumi’s mausoleum, Divrigi a beautiful and majestic Great Mosque, and Afyonkarahisar a stunning hilltop citadel.
While Aizanoi and Catalhoyuk also have their fair share of impressive historical sights, the most famous tourist destination in Central Anatolia is Cappadocia. With amazing underground cities, ‘fairy chimneys,’ and of course balloon rides over its spectacular locale, it really is a magical place to visit.
Making up the mountainous eastern realms of the country, Eastern Anatolia is full of dramatic scenery; remote plateaus and steep valleys lie between its towering peaks, with ancient castles, churches, and monasteries hidden away amongst its harsh, uninviting terrain.
Due to its proximity to both Armenia and Georgia, many of its monuments and archaeological sites derive from these two ancient civilizations. Around the enormous Lake Van and the southeast of the region, you’ll find that people mostly speak Kurdish.
While Erzerum is the largest city and the gateway to the region, there are lots more interesting places to visit in Eastern Anatolia. Elazig and Darende are both located in stunning settings, with fascinating historical sights and beautiful nature all around them. The region also offers some fantastic hiking and climbing opportunities, with Nemrut Dagi and Mount Ararat the most popular places to adventure into the wild.
Bordering Syria and Iraq in the southeast of Turkey, Southeastern Anatolia is a very flat, low-lying region; much of it is made up of endless plains and steppes with very little to punctuate the monotony other than the Euphrates and Tigris that run through it.
Surrounded by city walls, Diyarbakir’s old town is one of the highlights. Madrin, a beautiful hilltop city, boasts some breathtaking architecture and historical sights and is also well worth a visit, alongside Urfa, home to the oldest temple in the world – Gobekli Tepe.
Although the region is often overlooked by visitors to Turkey, it certainly warrants a visit for the astounding array of amazing historical sights and the diverse range of people, languages, and cultures. It’s a fascinating part of Turkey to explore.
Black Sea Turkey
Very mountainous and bursting with beautiful forests, valleys, alpine meadows, and more, Black Sea Turkey is an outdoor lover’s dream; it offers up the best of both worlds, with towering mountains bordering the sparkling sea.
High up in the mountains you can find amazing glaciers and glacier lakes, as well as scenic mountain villages such as Abant, Ayder, and Sumela. If you’re keen to head out into the fresh air, you’ll be pleased to discover a myriad of hiking and climbing activities waiting for you here.
Along the rugged Black Sea coastline, you’ll find history-filled cities and seaside towns, with Amasya, Safranbolu, and Sinop the pick of the lot. Get lost in ancient history as you discover rock-cut tombs, monasteries, and fortresses.