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Related Travel Pages
- Getting Around
- Hotels in Turkey
- Nightlife In Turkey
- Places Of interest
- Things To Do Around Antalya
- Things To Do Around Bodrum
- Things To Do Around Cappadocia
- Things To Do Around Dalaman
- Things To Do Around Istanbul
- Things To Do Around Izmir
- Things To Do Around Kalkan
- Tours Of Turkey
- Turkey Beaches
- Turkey History
- Turkey Medical Services
- Turkish Culture
- Turkish Culture
- Useful Travel Information
Cities In Turkey
You'll find history at the heart of Turkey's nature, embedded within the architecture and surroundings. This is what makes its cities so mystical, in that they can simultaneously transport you between the modern day and the past.
The traditional hospitality of the locals, vibrant cuisine available, colourful and bustling bazaars and cultural artefacts are some of the main highlights to be found, making a city exploration the perfect way to immerse you in the Turkish way of life and experience the authentic culture of the country.
The beautiful cities in Turkey provide a unique look at Turkish life with the ability to get away from a traditional beach package holiday, although some have the best of both worlds with many
Turkish cities that are only moments from the sea making this opportunity to experience the beauty of natural Turkey alongside the bustle and hospitality of modern Turkey, City breaks are perfect.
City of Istanbul
Istanbul is one of the most well known and best loved cities in the world; with a population almost double that of London and culture and historical sights to rival any on earth. The historical significance is impossible to miss, with the minarets and domes of mosques and palaces defining the skyline, and with such an expansive metropolis, it's easy to find something completely unique to do day after day. Istanbul is the largest city in Turkey, and one of the most popular destinations for city break holidays. It was named the European Capital of Culture in 2010 and has a rich historical background, having served as the Capital of four empires - Roman, Byzantine, Latin and Ottoman.
Split over two continents and with the Bosphorus River winding through the divide, there is a great range of cultures, histories and people. From the reverent and historical old city to the modern and lively new, Istanbul is breath-taking and understandably easy to lose yourself in, in the absolutely best way. Istanbul truly has something for everyone from the nightclubs of Taksim, to the museums of Sultan Ahmet and the traditional markets and restaurants of. well everywhere!
What makes Istanbul especially unique is the fact it spans across two continents, establishing a mixture of the western cosmopolitan with the eastern tinted traditional. You'll have the opportunity to enjoy the usual city offerings such as a delicious variety of restaurants, bars, clubs and even shopping malls while also having the option to explore the ancient bazaars, Turkish baths, tea houses and museums. Istanbul truly offers the best of both worlds, with such a range of culture bathed beneath the spiritual ambience of the city skyline. You won't find another city like it.
Exploring a city as big as Istanbul might seem a bit daunting, but with their fantastic metro service you needn't worry too much. There is also a tram, train, dolmus, funicular (for getting up steep inclines) and taxi services, so you'll always manage to find a way to help you get around the area (just maybe keep a travel guide/map on you in case!)
City of Antalya
Antalya is an eternally popular city break and it's no surprise, because lying right between the fantastic Turkish countryside and the perfection of Lara Beach is this sprawling and exciting city. A modern Mediterranean city, Antalya has great transport links and a great locality to surrounding historic sites like Side and natural waterfalls as well as bars, clubs and cafes that create a truly Turkish atmosphere where the beauty of history meets the fun of modernity.
Antalya is a city resort located on the South-Western Coast of Turkey. It is a popular destination, having been titled the world's third most visited city in 2011, calculated by the number of international arrivals. The fact that Antalya is also a sea resort means that it is perfect for travellers looking to have a fun beach holiday, where they have the opportunity to relax in the sun with the choice to also explore the hustle and bustle of a culture infused Turkish town.
You'll be able to find a balance between the peaceful and the active, perhaps visiting the famously beautiful Lara Beach in the day and then at night making the most of the bars, restaurants and shops (a chance to give your haggling skills a practice!) The marina is great for those who prefer traditional and fresh sea food restaurants as well as historical Ottoman mansions that have been reformed into special class hotels. The shopping opportunities are also amazing for people who want to find the perfect souvenir for their loved ones.
Antalya's setting is that of an old harbour town and contains a variety of attractions representative of the traditional and the developed. In particular on the streets of Kaleici, in the Old Quarter you'll find many historical sights, including mosques and a clock tower - the ideal place to get some tourist snaps and become acquainted with Turkey's past. Transport around Antalya takes the form of taxis and the dolmus service.
City of Izmir
If you're especially interested in the history of Turkey then Izmir is the city for you. It is the third largest city and was once the ancient city of Smyrna. Surrounded by beautiful Turkish mountains modern buildings with a traditional twist parade the streets. You will find once again a mixture of the old and the new with shopping malls and an 18th century market, restaurants and mosques.
The city is said to be the birthplace of Homer and has a wealth of fascinating past, perfect for travellers that want to spend their trip exploring and discovering within the friendly and sun warmed Turkish atmosphere. So if you decide you want to add a lively rush of culture and activities to your holiday Turkey has a lot to offer with the above three cities along with others all offering an exciting and intimate insight into the country.
Izmir City in particular is great for seeing many historical gems, including the Asansor (a 51 metre high elevator), the Saat Kulasi (clock tower) and the Kadifekale. The majority of resorts offer day trips to visit some of these sights, though if you are especially interested in seeing as much of the Turkish culture as you can, then take a look at our tours. Direct Traveller tours have been put together specifically to create a trip that allows travellers to get as much wonder out of their visit as possible.
150 miles from Izmir city is Bodrum, a popular and upmarket coastal marina town offering Bohemian architecture and great level of nightlife.. perfect for couples, families and friends.
Both Gumbet and Bodrum City are some of the best clubbing locations in all of Turkey, with Istanbul the only region able to compete for the sheer number of clubs and bars that give you the opportunity to party on well past sun rise. For those looking for the perfect sun, sand and sea holiday, with a little bit of adult fun thrown in, Gumbet is the perfect choice. The landscape is hilly and is absolutely outstanding at night when the twinkling lights of the apartments, hotels and bars can be seen amongst the black, creating an unbelievably beautiful image.
UNESCO World Heritage Sites in Turkey
UNESCO world heritage sites are places (either natural or manmade) that are deemed of special cultural or physical significance. These sites are protected, as UNESCO considers it in the interest of the international community to preserve them for future generations, much like they have so far been preserved for us. As of 2012, 962 sites have been listed worldwide and each is able to obtain funds from the world heritage fund if necessary for preservation or protection.
Designated sites are also protected under the Geneva Convention and the Hague Convention for the protection of cultural property in the event of armed conflict, ensuring that no matter the civil status of a country, these beautiful sites are maintained and unharmed.
Turkey lays claim to 11 world heritage sites, nine of which are cultural (man made) and two which are both natural and manmade (the rock formations of Cappadocia which have been carved into an underground city and the beautiful calcium travertine’s of Pamukkale). A further 37 sites have been nominated and submitted on the tentative list such as Ephesus, Karain Cave and the ancient city of Perge, which are yet to be fully submitted as having a protected status.
The most popular and well known sites are the archaeological site of Troy and the historic areas of Istanbul, however the beautiful terracotta coloured stone heads at Nemrut Dag is definitely worth visiting if you can. Overall the universal sign of UNESCO's world heritage sites prove that there are dozens of locations in Turkey that are undeniably world class.
Others include the Ancient Site of Xanthos-Letoon, which was once the capital of Lycia which spectacularly brings this past era to life once more. Ephesus is one of the most famous sights to see within Turkey, being the best preserved ancient city of the country. It presents you with the chance to wander through a 2nd century BC environment and offers a strong connection to what life would have been like in the Eastern Roman Empire. It includes such artefacts as the great theatre, the Library of Celsus and the Temple of Hadrian.
Turkey is a country of rich historic culture, with a fusion of the past and present in much of the natural scenery. Those that visit often focus on the remarkable beaches, but there is so much more to see.
Take the Pamukkale cotton castle for instance, which is an almost surreal looking sight of hot springs that slip over calcified tiers, providing a therapeutic activity for travellers that want to bathe in the waters and take in the magnificent scenery. This is just one of the Turkish wonders that are part of the UNESCO world heritage sites.
UNESCO, otherwise known as The United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization only select the most outstanding sites in the world, which makes it quite an accolade to boast.
Included in the World Heritage List are the following places:
- The Archaeological Site of Troy
- The ancient site of Xanthos-Letoon
- The City of Safranbolu
- The Great Mosque and Hospital of Divrigi
- Hattusha: The Hittite Capital
- The historic regions of Istanbul (including The Ancient Hippodrome of Constantine, The 6th century Hagia Sophia and The 16th century Suleymaniye Mosque)
- Nemrut Dag
- The Neolithic Site of Catalhoyuk
- Selimiye Mosque and Complex
More Historic Sites Worth Visiting
If visiting Turkey seeing some of these sites is a fantastic opportunity to delve into the countries past, as well as to experience historical artefacts that hold a fascinating universal resonance.
You'll be spoilt for historical choice here and it is sure to leave visitors both awe-inspired and educated. There is also the emotional yet fascinating sight of the Gallipoli Battlefields, with a museum, the Lone Pine and Chunuk Bair memorials, ANZAC cove and Johnston's Jollyall available to visit. Oh, and we can't forget to mention Troy, the location from which the famous Trojan horse is so well know.
You'll find wonders all over Turkey, with the Lycian tombs scattered in various cliffs, watching over the Turkish scenery as a memory of what has passed.