Cities to See in Turkey: Top Destination for 2021

A Top Destination for 2021, Turkey holds a truly dynamic character. Straddling both the European and Asian continents, Turkey delivers variety among its historic sites, open-air markets, beaches, and greenspaces. If your clients are thinking of going to Turkey, keep reading to scratch the surface of what Turkey’s main cities have to offer:

Istanbul, Turkey

Istanbul Airport (IST) in Istanbul, Turkey

Turkey’s main airport is in Istanbul, so that is likely where clients will land and begin their Turkish adventure. Istanbul is Turkey’s largest city and is considered the economic, cultural, and historical center.

The city is rooted with fascinating history in its stories and attractions. Hagia Sophia, in the southern part of the city, is an immediate must-see to visitors. It began as a Patriarchal cathedral before becoming an Imperial Mosque and then settling as a colossal museum that the public can enjoy.

Hagia Sophia-Turkey
Hagia Sophia, the largest cathedral in Turkey, is immediately seen in Istanbul’s cityscape.

If clients plan to see Hagia Sophia, they can create a historic walking tour by heading southwest to visit the campus of Topkapi Palace; once home to generations of sultans, it is now a museum that lets visitors step into the life they lived.

A shorter stroll west of Hagia Sophia goes to the Basilica Cistern, and underground showcase of the drinking water transportation system used back in the day. South of the Basilica Cistern, passing through the green spaces of Sultan Ahmet Park, clients will be in the presence of the Blue Mosque (a.k.a. Sultan Ahmed Mosque). Nicknamed for its blueish interior, the beautiful building owns a sense of power, especially when backed by an amazing sunset over the nearby Sea of Mamara.

Shopping in Istanbul

spice buckets at Egyptian Market-Turkey

When it comes to purchasing Turkish goods and souvenirs, the Grand Bazaar is the place to go. It has been around for over 500 years and is comprised of a network of 61 covered streets yielding over 4,000 shops. Tell your clients to bring a tote.

Coming in as the second most famous covered market in Istanbul is the Egyptian Bazaar (a.k.a. Spice Bazaar). Here, baskets filled to the brim with local spices are found. Clients who have a knack for cooking and food will love spending time here among the alluring aromas.

Between the Grand Bazaar to the Egyptian Bazaar is the Mahmutpasha Bazaar, a large open-air market between where people find the best bargains in the city.

Ankara, Turkey

The top of Ankara castle gives visitors a 360 degree view of Turkey’s capital.

Ankara is the capital of Turkey and holds its share of the country’s best attractions. A glance at the cityscape alone reveals one of its most stunning, the Kocatepe Mosque. A pyramid of dome roofs huddle toward the center and are surrounded by four large pointed pillars. The interior is equally remarkable and, unlike many other mosques, is open to the public.

After clients have had a chance to gape at the Kocatepe Mosque, they can head to the Ankara Castle to absorb its majesty through a 360 degree view of the whole city. The castle, in the northeastern part of central Ankara, sits atop a rocky hill and is the oldest part of Ankara. Visitors can explore the grounds of architecture blended by its history of different empire rule. Climb to the viewing deck for an unbeatable look at Ankara.

Those fascinated by endearing history and preserved relics find their fill in Ankara. The Museum of Anatolian Civilizations is situated just on the south side of the Ankara Castle and holds a cornucopia of interesting artifacts. Anitkabir, translated as “memorial tomb,” is a mausoleum and museum filled with a massive collection of paintings and exhibits. When clients are ready for an outdoor break in some greenspace, guide them to Genclik Park (just west of the Museum of Anatolian Civilizations). This huge public park fills over 65 acres with water features, gardens, cafés, an open-air theatre, and a Ferris Wheel.

Genclik Park in winter-Turkey
Genclik Park offers a nice break among greenspaces when spending the day hopping between Ankara’s museums.

Find More Ruins in Ephesus

If your clients love exploring ancient ruins and archaeological sites, urge them to visit the archaeological City of Ephesus in western Turkey. It is an entire ancient Greek city that many Turkey travelers make a point to explore. Remarkably preserved ruins leave visitors breathless as they appreciate the still-standing construction and detail dating from the 10th century BC.

 

Cappadocia, Turkey

balloons floating over goreme

The Cappadocia region of Turkey is most famous for its unreal images of flocks of colorful hot air balloons floating high above waves of rock formations. Aside from being the best city to go to during a Turkish summer, Cappadocia is home to the popular cities of Goreme and Urgup.

Goreme

Goreme National Park is where the marvelous hot air balloon spectacle takes place as hot air balloon rides over the otherworldly landscape are a huge attraction and on many peoples’ bucket lists. Tons of hot air balloon tours happen daily, so even those at ground level can absorb one of Turkey’s most magnificent events, regardless of when they come. If clients are traveling to Goreme in July, they are likely to cross paths with the annual Cappadocia Hot Air Balloon Festival.

Urgup

Just outside of Goreme National Park is the city of Urgup, a haven for wine enthusiasts or people who simply appreciate a glass or two. Known for its red and white wines, wine tasting tours are an unrivaled thing to do while here. Turasan Sarapcilik is the local winery in Urgup and is known to produce delicious reds at a good price. Turkey’s Pigeon Valley, west from Urgup on the other side of the park, also has a collection of wineries worth visiting.

Find More Unique Landscapes in Pamukkale

If clients love the fairy chimneys and strange terrain of Goreme National Park, consider adding Pamukkale to their Turkey tour. Translated to “cotton castle,” Pamukkale’s bleach white landscape contrasted by Turkey’s surrounding greenery and the blue shades of its hot springs delivers more than a treat for the eyes.

Fethiye, Turkey

A retreat to the small port town of Fethiye on Turkey’s west coast is choice for those wanting to spend time near or on the water. Located in the Turkish Riviera, a sailing tour is the best way to experience this city, its mesmerizing blue waters, and beaches. Tours lasting from hours to days are available and are definitely worth the splurge for a completely new experience. Because you can also book tours in the WINGS Booking Engine, you can find which ones are operating during your clients’ visit and incorporate one into their trip. Plus, you can earn commission on tours booked with WINGS!

Tomb of Amyntas-Turkey
The Tomb of Amyntas is the highest of the mountainside tomb carvings and delivers wonderful views of the city below.

Fethiye also has its own repertoire of historic sites including the Lycian Rock Tombs carved into the mountainside by Lycians in 350 BC. Getting to the tombs will involve some hiking, but it is worth witnessing the astounding subtlety in which these detailed facades emerge from the cliffs. The Tomb of Amyntas stands at the highest point and is considered the largest and most important of the tombs. It is said that the Lycians took care during construction to ensure Amyntas could enjoy excellent views in his afterlife, so the positioning of this tomb delivers unbeatable panoramic views of Fethiye below.

 

Izmir, Turkey

seaside in izmir-turkey

Izmir is like a more populated version of Fethiye. Still graced with seaside charm and a laid-back lifestyle, Izmir is popularized by more tourist attractions like the Syma Agora Ancient City (a.k.a. Agora of Izmir). Remains of this ancient public space date back to 4th century BC and its structures remain incredibly intact. Archways, tunnels, columns, and outlines of streets throw visitors back in time, connecting them with the noteworthy and mundane events that must have happened in this ancient public space.

West of the Syma Agora Ancient City is Konak Square where the impressive Clock Tower stands tall in the center. A well-known landmark and named “the symbol of Izmir,” it was constructed in 1901 for Abdulhamid II’s 25th anniversary of ascending to the throne. From here, head west to the Kent Tarihi Park Walkway for a seaside stroll or east to go into the city and hit up the Kemaralti Market for more shopping.

There is a lot to choose from when planning a clients’ trip to Turkey. The all-inclusive WINGS Booking Engine provides the tools to let you search and book flights, hotels, cars, land packages, and tours without having to scour the whole Internet. And those registered access exclusive prices on all of it.

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**Keep yourself updated on the latest COVID-19 information and restrictions by visiting our COVID-19 page, organized so you can easily access the most informative resources having to do with traveling during COVID-19.

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