Istanbul has so much historical significance to Turkey. One cannot talk about Turkey without mentioning the ever famous destination Istanbul and rightfully so because it’s the only city in the world that straddles on both continents, Europe and Asia. However, Istanbul is merely the beginning of what Turkey has to offer.
Turkey is one of the largest countries in the world with more than 500 cities for you to explore. Turkey is a country of great diversity and every city has some unique characteristics and attractions. In this article I will unveil 7 kept-secret holiday destinations in Turkey that nobody talks about. From these iconic cities you can choose and plan your next trip.
Van, an adventurous trip
Van is a small and beautiful city in Eastern Turkey, on the shore of the Van Lake and that’s where the name came from. The city is the one of best holiday destinations to visit in eastern Turkey. It is known that Van’s antiquity goes back to the 9th century BC when history and natural beauty were mixed to shape the city’s identity. Van is undoubtedly a small city but it has everything you need for a perfect vacation. The city center has affordable hotels, traditional cafes, restaurants and markets. A small city with a lot to offer to travelers and adventurers.
Trabzon, a great natural beauty
Trabzon is located in the Black Sea region (Karadeniz) of Northeast Turkey. A peaceful, scenic city with rugged hills, and deep valleys. The evergreen mountains accommodate diverse cultures and traditions of the Black Sea from traditional clothes to food and historical places. Trabzon’s Uzungöl village is the perfect holiday destination for Instagramers and photography lovers visiting the Black Sea region in Turkey. The village was named after the lake situated in the heart of its valleys offering a perfect-picture view to locals and tourists.
Marmaris, a welcoming holiday retreat
Marmaris city mostly referred to as a tourist town is located on the Aegean coast of Turkey. The blue holiday destination hosts around 400.000 visitors each Summer. It is home to the most luxurious hotels, resorts and apartments, a place where you can enjoy your vacation swimming in one of the isolated crystal clear bays or the wonderful beaches of your hotel. When taking a break from the water activities go check the authentic center of Marmaris, the old town where the historical infrastructure dates back to the Ottoman era in the 16th century. Moreover, the well-organized transportation of the city offers easy access to other outstanding cities and towns in Turkey such as Fethiye, Mugla and Datca.
Izmir, Turkey’s cultural hub
The third most populous city in Turkey. Located in the Aegean Sea, the ancient city of Izmir has recorded more than 3000 years of urban history. The city was first discovered by the Greeks and it was then taken over by the Romans in 334 B.C. An hour’s flight from Istanbul, the city of Izmir is considered an economic and cultural hub. It accommodates several attractions from different eras. One cannot leave Izmir without being to both the Sprawling ruins of Ephesus, one of the ancient world’s greatest cities, it is just 45 miles south of Izmir and of course the centerpiece of Konak square, the 117-year-old clock from the Ottoman time.
Antalya, the paradise on earth
We are not done with the Anatolian Peninsula yet. On Anatolia’s southwest coast located the city known as the turquoise coast, Antalya. One of my favorite holiday destinations in Turkey, a vibrant city with ancient history and traditional Turkish culture. In Antalya’s old town named Kaleici you can explore its pristine architecture and slow-paced life. More than that, the region around Antalya provides astonishing natural landscapes and sights. The nearby Duden park offers an excellent view of The Düden Waterfalls plunging straight into the sea.
Mardin, Turkey’s Jerusalem
Located on Turkey’s South-Eastern border with Syria, Mardin is one of the richest cities in Turkey, religiously and culturally. A place where centuries of mixed civilizations and history meet. Turks, Christians, Arabs and Kurds are all living peacefully in Mardin sharing the same daily lifestyle. The old city known as the capital of stones is a glimpse of Jerusalem with its limestone houses and mosques. When you are on top of the hills overlooking the city you can’t help but startle at the magical views. The stone houses, above, are cascading down the hillside above the Mesopotamian plains.
Amasya, an under-explored destination
It is hard to not fall in love with Amasya. This Northern city in the Black Sea region was the birthplace of many kings, artists, scientists, and poets from both the Roman and Ottoman Empires. Amasya is a clear reminder of the oriental building style. With its 7500 years of history many people consider it as an outdoor museum where the tombs of Kings of Pontos and Amasya Kleisi are definitely worth the visit. Standing on the mountains above the Black Sea coast, the tropical city is located in a narrow valley along the banks of the Yesilirmak River.
Further reading for Turkey
Turkey, a country located on both the Asian and European continents, bears the history of several eminent civilizations. A country of countless legends that bear testimony to its multicultural history. Here is a selection of posts and travel guides that you might need to further plan your next trip to Turkey.
If you are an Istanbul lover and you are thinking to relocate here make sure to check out this post about us moving to Istanbul. It is a great guide that will answer some of your questions and expectations.
The Southern coast of Turkey boasts vivid turquoise colored beaches and untouched destinations. One of the best town destinations to visit is Kas, just 2 hours from Antalya. Read more about our road trip to the turquoise coast, Kas Turkey
You are probably avoiding Istanbul in Winter. We spent our best Summer trip in Turkey especially Istanbul. When we moved to Istanbul we had no idea what Winter would be like. What we can tell you now is that visiting Istanbul in Winter is a good idea.
Turkish Coffee is among the ancient and cultural traditions that date back to the ottoman empire. Turks enjoy every sip of their coffee cup on a daily basis. Make sure to read about the Turkish coffee tradition before you visit Turkey. Here is a link to an article to help you find the best coffee house in Istanbul.