Top 10 Off the Beaten Path Destinations in Turkey

Top 10 Off the Beaten Path Destinations in Turkey

Are you an avid traveller who can’t stand tourist crowds? Have you already visited Istanbul, Antalya, Cappadocia and all the other touristic spots in Turkey? Then keep reading, because we gathered some of the best-kept secrets of Turkey on a list.

Turkey is perhaps one of the most versatile countries in the world when it comes to weather, sporting activities, nature reserves and city life. It has a long-established culture and incredible historical significance.

From Mesopotamia to ancient Rome, Turkey is home to some of the greatest Heritage Sites, architectural landmarks, monuments, and rich cuisine. So unlocking the secrets of its special destinations takes time.

Here’s the Top 10 Off the Beaten Path Destinations in Turkey.

1 - Kaçkar Mountains

For nature lovers who are good at hiking and trekking, Kaçkar Mountains are the ultimate destination in Turkey. They are the highest mountains in Turkey’s Black Sea region. The mountains are alpine in character, and the peaks become gorgeously white in winter with snow. In spring, nearby plateaus become colourful with spring flowers.

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Hotels near Kaçkar Mountains

Kaçkar Mountains

2 - Ancient City of Aphrodisias, Aydın

In the 3rd Century B.C, Ancient Rome Emperor said that amongst all the cities in Asia, he chose the city of Aphrodisias. It’s no surprise that the city takes its name from the Greek Goddess Aphrodite and that there is a temple to her name.

This huge ancient city was made from local marble and it is incredibly well preserved. The craftsmanship of the structures and sculptures are worth seeing.


The Ancient City of Aphrodisias, photo credit: Claus Paul Heibel

Hotels near Ephesus, Aydın

3 - Kekova Island

Kekova Island is not only known for its crystal clear water, but also for the incredible historical remains. The Ruins of Kekova and the ancient underwater Lycian city looks like something out of a film scene. Gulet tours from Kaş visit this island and you can swim above the underwater city. There are also countless amazing bays nearby.

Hotels near Kekova Island

kekova island

Kekova Island, photo credit: Mehmet Deveci

4 - Akyaka, Muğla

Akyaka is deemed a small piece of Eden, and it’s a beautiful coastal town in Muğla, near touristy spots Bodrum and Marmaris. Despite the proximity, it’s a “slow city” (cittaslow), where locals and tourists alike just slow down to relax the rivers, the sea, the food and the good company.

You can stroll the local markets, kitesurf, sunbath, hop on a boat and visit different bays, everything is possible!

Akyaka, photo credit: Haluk Comertel

5 - Sinop, Karadeniz

This old port town in the Black Sea region is known for its greenery and natural wonders. The old Roman and Byzantine architecture is still present in the town, and Sinop is also known as the birthplace of quirky philosopher Diogenes.

Just outside the town, nature lovers can find Turkey’s most beautiful natural wonders such as Erfelek Waterfalls and Akgöl (Lake). There is an air of peace in Sinop that’s not quite present anywhere else in Turkey. No wonder it’s the happiest town in the country!

6 - Mount Spil, Manisa

Mount Spil or Mount Sipylus (in Greek) is between Manisa and İzmir. Boasting Turkey’s best picturesque views, the mountain looks over canyons, vales and the forest. There is also a famous stone statue of a man near Mount Spil, which is believed to have been carved in Byzantine period. The mountain is also close to the beautiful Sülüklü Lake.

Hotels in Manisa

7 - Kütahya

Kütahya is a great destination for history lovers, as it was the capital of the Germiyan Emirate in the 12-13th century before Seljuks - eventually the Ottoman Empire - took over. You can visit the Kütahya Castle to have a good look over the city, take a walk in Enne Nature Park, photograph old wood and stucco houses on the Germian Street.
The Aizanoi Ancient City is also under an hour away from the city centre, and it boasts a well preserved Roman temple: the Temple of Zeus.

Kütahya is very well known for its porcelain art and you can see this throughout the city; on drinking fountains, buildings and restaurants. You will have lots of opportunities to shop for beautiful tiles, vases and kitchenware.

8 - Ani

Ani is known as the ‘City of a Thousand and One Churches’, and it is a medieval Armenian city near the eastern border of Turkey. For those who don’t mind the cold weather and like exploring the outdoors, Ani is a great place of discovery. The town is on Turkey’s list of “keenest to conserve”.


9 - Safranbolu

Safranbolu is amongst the most picturesque small towns in Turkey, which is why it’s listed on the UNESCO World Heritage List. Safranbolu’s streets offer you a chance to travel past in history, with its cobbled stone streets and traditional Ottoman houses. The name of the town literally means “lots of saffron”, because the best quality saffron in the world is produced here.

The best Turkish delight you will ever have is also made in Safranbolu.


10 - Seferihisar

The Aegean town Seferihisar is the first cittaslow town in Turkey, and it’s surrounded by historical sites and nature. Carrying the true spirit of the cittaslow movement, Seferihisar is a calm, relaxing town where you can still enjoy an active holiday; cycling, swimming and visiting the local market. Most importantly, you’ll enjoy delicious Aegean cuisine and fresh fruit and vegetables that are grown in the village.


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