Attractions Nearby Ankara, Day Trips and Excursions
For those wishing to explore the many Turkish attractions of Anatolia and Cappadocia, and also the shoreline of the Black Sea, Ankara makes a very convenient base for day trips. Some of the most popular attractions include the coastal city of Antalya
, the historical town of Beypazari, and also Cappadocia, which resides within Central Anatolia, in the heart of the Anatolian Peninsula and to the south-east of Ankara, where it has become rather well known for its unusual rocky landscape, appearing rather like something off the moon.
The bus station of Ankara means that the city is well connected to much of Turkey and it is even possible to drive all the way to Lebanon, although this will take around 15 hours. However, it is the selection of attractions within the lively city of Istanbul
that prove the biggest draw card and lend themselves to a worthwhile excursion.
The city of Antalya was formerly named Adalia and lies alongside the Mediterranean coast, directly to the south-west of Ankara and on the south-westerly side of Turkey. Antalya is especially rich in both art and history, and its many attractions reflect this. Kaleici
is the Old Quarter of Antalya and features many winding alleys and streets, being enclosed by ancient stone walls and best entered through the imposing Hadrianus Gate
. An endless selection of mosques are to be found within the Kaleici area of Antalya, such as the Balibey, Iskele, Murat Pasa, Musellim, Seyh Sinan Efendi and the Tekeli Mehmet Pasa mosques. If you have the time, do consider taking a short cruise along the coast, with boats regularly departing from the harbour throughout the day.
Beypazari is a truly historic and traditional town, previously known as Lagania and located within the Ankara Province, some 100 km / 62 miles to the north-west of the city itself. Although this Anatolian town may be relatively small, there is a lot to see and this is certainly one of the most visited towns within the entire region. Tourists will find much in the way of Ottoman architecture and a very lively bazaar. The mineral water of Beypazari is also worth checking out.
The spectacular rock formations of Cappadocia are the main attraction and the reason that this area has become so popular, being created by natural erosion of a period of many thousands of years and best viewed by hot-air balloon. There are also some incredible underground cities, tunnels and connected sites, which number around 300 in total and were first created almost 2,500 years ago and greatly extended during Roman times, remaining so well hidden that they were only discovered in the 1960s.
As the biggest Turkish city by far, the attractions of Istanbul certainly come in plentiful supply. Istanbul stands to the north-west of Ankara and is famous for its immense Grand Bazaar
, which encompasses almost 60 streets, boasts around 6,000 shops and can attract up to 400,000 shoppers in just one single day. Sightseers coming to Istanbul will enjoy exploring the fragrant Spice Market, the Dolmabahce Sarayi palace, the Suleymaniye Bath, and the ancient basilica best known as the Hagia Sophia
(Aya Sofya). The Istanbul Archaeology Museum (Arkeoloji Muzesi)
also comes highly recommended.
The historic city of Kayseri is brimming with monuments and attractions dating from the Ottoman and Seljuk periods, and can be found to the south-east of Ankara. Within Kayseri, the Hunat Hatun Camii is well worth a look, while the recreational activities on offer on Mount Erciyes are particularly seasonal, with the mountain being Turkey's second-highest and a popular destination for skiers. Kayseri is close to Bunyan, which is famed for its hand-woven carpets.
Formerly known as Iconium, the city of Konya is known to have been inhabited for over 5,000 years, and so is home to a selection of ancient attractions and excavated artefacts, many of which are on display within the Mevlana Museum. Konya is to be found south of Ankara and is filled with old buildings with exquisite Seljuk architecture, adding much character to the city. The Iplikci Mosque is one of the oldest cites still standing in Konya and dates from the 13th century. Also of interest is the Aleaddin Tepesi, an eye-catching man-made hill standing in the very heart of Konya, which serves as a city park and was created by the Seljuk Sultan Aleaddin Keykubat.
Capital of the Zonguldak Province, the city of Zonguldak is to the north-west of Ankara and connected by daily trains and buses. Zonguldak enjoys an especially scenic setting, on the northerly coastline of Turkey and next to the Black Sea. Zonguldak is known for its Turkish coal and mining industry, and although there is little in the way of tourist attractions, the coastline and harbour is quite captivating, and regular ferries head to both Istanbul and Trabzon. Around one hour away by bus is the charming seaside resort of Akcakoca, while also nearby is the coastal town of Amasra and the World Heritage Site of Safranbolu.