Turkey has some of the most beautiful towns and cities in Europe and there’s plenty of family-friendly fun to be had. This post will take you through the most beautiful cities in Turkey and the most beautiful towns in Turkey to help you plan the perfect trip to Turkey with kids.
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Beautiful Towns and Cities in Turkey Map
Beautiful Towns in Turkey
If you’re looking for a pretty town in Turkey for your next trip, there are some fantastic hidden gems waiting to be discovered. Whether you have 2 days or 2 weeks in Turkey, here are the most beautiful towns in Turkey to add to your bucket list.
Goreme in the Cappadocia region of Turkey is one of the best holiday destinations in Turkey. It is known for its fairy chimneys, a unique rock formation and is on the UNESCO World Heritage Site for a very good reason. This area of Turkey also is famous for the thousands of hot air balloons that take off each morning. It is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to see such a landscape.
Best Things to do in Goreme with Kids
- Rise early and watch the hot air balloons take off. Even ride in one as it will be a fantastic memory to bring the kids along for. Rainbow Balloons is a reputable balloon company to book with.
- Visit the Ope air museum one of the best things to do in Goreme and a great place to see the finest of the rock-cut churches and their frescos.
- Take a sunset ATV tour and ride through the valleys of Cappadocia visiting famous landmarks like Love and Rose Valley. View tours, prices and availability here.
- Visit Uchisar Castle, another well known tourist attraction in the area.
- Try a local dish like clay pot kebap. The best place to eat this is at Cafe Dibek.
Where to Stay in Goreme with Kids
The best place to stay is in a cave hotel and a wonderful option is Cappadocia Cave Suites. The hotels are very affordable in the area and often have rooftops where you can admire the hot air balloons from.
To get to Goreme you can fly into Kayseri Erkilet Airport (ASR) or Nevşehir Kapadokya Airport. From there, you can take a 1-hour shuttle into Goreme.
Recommended by Jackie of Jou Jou Travels
Many tourists flock to Turkey to enjoy the sun and beaches and it is well worth your while to do so. One of the best-hidden secrets in the small town of Kizkalesi. Located on the Mediterranean coast and not far from Adana or Mercin, this town is the epitome of rest, relaxation, and fun.
Kizkalesi means “Maiden’s Castle,’’ because not far from shore is a small castle that was built by a sultan to protect his daughter from death proclaimed unstoppable by a fortune teller.
Unfortunately, the fortune teller was correct, and as legend has it, the sultan’s daughter did die, but the castle, although in ruins, is small and fun to wander around. It lies only 200 meters from the beach, and you can swim to it, which is great fun.
The town is unique in that it also hosts a second castle, which is along the beach and easier to access.
Best Things to do in Kizkalesi with Kids
There are lots of things to do in Kizkalesi, and it’s a great place to spend a few days doing the following:
- Relaxing in the sun
- Eating the freshest seafood
- Exploring both castles
- Renting a boat for a day or going on a group swimming cruise.
- Venturing off to see some ruins close by.
When visiting the beach town of Kizkalesi, you might want to stay in the Park Admiral Hotel located right on the beach.
Recommended by Corinne Vail, Reflections Enroute
gleaming white travertine terraces. In Turkish ‘Pamukkale’ means ‘Cotton Hill’ and it is easy to see why.
Many of the photos you see online show small white pools with turquoise water but since these photos were taken the water has been redirected. A few newer pools have been built but it is no longer permitted to walk among the old travertine terraces and there is no water in them. However, it is still possible to paddle in the newer pools.
Best Things to do in Pamukkale with Kids
- Paddle in the travertine pools.
- Take a hot air balloon ride over the travertine terraces and Hierapolis ruins (min age 6).
- Explore Kaklik cave
- See Pamukkale amphitheatre (included in access ticket for travertine pools).
- Visit Aphrodisias Ancient city
Where to Stay Near Pamukkale
Recommended by Kristin from Adventures with Ensuite
Ortahisar is in Cappadocia which is located in the middle of Turkey. The area is famous for its surreal rock formations. Ortahisar is no exception with its 90m high rock castle which can be seen from anywhere around town. It is a steep and exposed climb to the top so if you are afraid of heights this probably isn’t for you.
From the top of the castle, there are panoramic views in all directions. However, the best views are from one of the restaurants on the other side of the canyon such as Ethem Ustanin Yeri Seyir Tepesi. Put this into Google maps for directions. It is a short drive or a 10-minute walk from the rock castle.
Best Things to do in Ortahisar with Kids
The 5 best things to do in the area are:
- Climb the rock castle in the middle of Ortahisar
- Take a hot air balloon ride over the rock formations (min age 6)
- Explore abandoned rock-cut churches in Rose Valley
- Take an ATV tour (min age 12)
- Try to find the rocks that looks like animals in Devrent Imaginary Valley
Orthisar is smaller and much less touristy than some of the more well-known towns in Cappadocia. Hotel accommodation across all price ranges is available but it is worth splashing out to stay in an atmospheric cave hotel such as Hezen Cave Hotel or Cappadocia Alba Cave.
Recommended by Kristin from Adventures with Ensuite
Most Beautiful Cities in Turkey
Turkey has some of the most beautiful cities in Europe. Here are some of the best Turkish cities to visit on your next trip.
Istanbul is unique in the world in that it is located on two continents. The Bosphorous Strait splits the city between Europe and Asia.
A melting pot of cultures and religions, ancient Istanbul is a fascinating place to visit. You are spoilt for choice for things to do in Istanbul.
Many of the buildings date back centuries. The Blue Mosque, Hagia Sophia and Tokapi Palace near the centre, as well as the impressive 6th-century Basilica Cistern, are perfect to explore.
Have a look around the Grand Bazaar and the Spice Markets and sample the many varieties of Turkish Delight rolled in pistachios, rose petals or sesame seeds.
Cross over to the Asian side to see Galata Tower, the Dolmabahce Palace and on Tuesdays visit the traditional Kadıköy market.
A cruise on the Bosphorous is the best way to see the extent of Istanbul and includes stops along the way.
Booking a hotel such as the Pierre Loti Hotel in the centre of Istanbul or the Seagull Hotel. makes it easier to get to the main attractions. Just outside are the tram stops to take you to the harbour and beyond.
Best things to do in Istanbul with Children
- River cruise on the Bosphorous
- Istanbul Aquarium
- Istanbul Toy Museum
- Vialand Amusement Park
Recommended by Larch, The Silver Nomad
One of the best parts about life in Turkey is that every day can be an adventure. While Istanbul, with its well-known Islamic history and culture, gets most of the accolades, I think Antalya, on Turkey’s southern coast, is the best choice for a family adventure in Turkey.
Antalya is a city rich in history and beautiful architecture that is far from the touristy and more expensive Istanbul. Families on a budget can still enjoy exploring Antalya’s historic buildings built in the early 1st and 2nd centuries. With a long list of well-preserved monuments walking around Antalya is like touring a museum of Ancient Roman.
Best Things to do in Antayla with Kids
My Top 3 Must-Sees Include:
- Kaleici Old Town- This neighbourhood, close to all the sites, is my recommendation on where to stay.
- A Roman amphitheatre built around 160 AD and part of the ancient city of Aspendos
- The famous Hadrian’s Gate, built for the visiting Roman emperor in 130 AD
When the kids get tired of the cultural activities or just need a break from walking, families can cool off swimming in the Mediterranean Sea along Turkey’s southern beaches.
The two most popular beaches are
1) Konyaaltı Plajları– To the west of Old Town
2) Lara Beach– East of Old Town
The next day, the adventures can start over after the kids enjoy a Turkish breakfast, including fresh fruit and yoghurt, plus traditional pastries, bread, and meats.
Recommended by Marco Sison, Nomadic FIRE
Marmaris is a Mediterranean resort town along the Turquoise Coast in Turkey and is a very popular summer holiday destination for couples and families. The town sits opposite a long seafront promenade and is known for its beautiful beaches, restaurants, ancient relics and bargain shopping.
Best Things to do in Marmaris with Kids
There are so many things to do in and around Marmaris you will be spoilt for choice! Some of the best activities for families include:
- Taking an inexpensive boat trip around the coves and mountainous shoreline. You will see ancient ruins and hidden caves, and visit the neighbouring towns of Icmeler and Turunc. For approximately 25 TL per person including drinks and lunch, these are great value.
- Enjoying your day at the Marmaris Atlantis Waterpark. Enjoy the numerous waterslides, wave pool, mini golf, restaurants and entertainment. Located right on the seafront, the adults can base themselves on the private beach with free use of sunbeds and umbrellas all day while the kids have fun!
- Visiting the Museum of Beekeeping will show you everything you need to know about the local traditional craft of beekeeping.
- A day trip to the holiday town of Dalyan and the Carian Rock Tombs. The boat will take you across Koycegiz Lake where you will experience a mud bath, see ancient and beautifully preserved ruins, visit Turtle Beach, and catch and eat your own crabs.
- Shopping at the famous Grand Bazaar for local products such as Turkish Delight, Turkish carpets, clothing, shoes, handmade goods, souvenirs etc.
Where to Stay in Marmaris with Kids
The best family-friendly area to stay in is in the Armutalan area at the back of Marmaris. There are lots of hotel options, including fully self-contained apartments.
Recommended by Peta and Jonas of Exit45 Travels
The city of Kars is located in the east of Turkey and is off the beaten path as far as many people visiting it goes and is great to visit if you love history. The main attraction in the area is the ruins of Ani, an ancient Armenian city with many church ruins and set in a beautiful landscape not far from Kars.
In Kars itself, there are a number of things to see. Take a walk up to the citadel (castle) that overlooks the city and children will love scrambling around the old walls there. The Kafkaz Cephesi Harp Tarihi is an interesting museum showing a lot of the history from the area with good displays to see.
For good views across the historical city head to the 17th-century Ulu Camii mosque. For a more Christian look at the history of Kars head to the Kars Culture & Art Association where an amiable local historian will fill you in with many little details.
The Cheltikov Hotel is a great place to stay situated in an old historical building. One of the best ways to get to Kars is to take the Dogu Express sleeper train from Ankara and view the scenery along the way.
Recommended by Jonny, Backpacking Man