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10 Best Hidden Gems in Turkey (Türkiye)

Add them to your itinerary!

Sean
SeanTravel Writer
10 Best Hidden Gems in Turkey (Türkiye)

Turkey/Türkiye is one of the most beautiful and diverse countries in the world. With its stunning landscapes, cultural sites, and friendly locals, it's hard not to fall in love with this intriguing country.

But as the country gets more and more popular, some of the most famous attractions in Turkey are getting overcrowded. Luckily, many hidden gems in Turkey often go overlooked.

From underground cities to secluded ruins and breathtaking natural wonders, Turkey has a wealth of attractions that are off-the-beaten-path and worth exploring.

Sumela Monastery

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Photo from Dailysabah.com

Located in the Macka District of Trabzon, Sumela Monastery is a sacred site that dates back to the late 4th century. It was established by two Greek monks, Barnabas and Sophronius, as they sought shelter from religious persecution.

The monastery was built on the rocky mountainside of the Pontic Mountains and surrounded by lush greenery. Over the centuries, it served as an important center of pilgrimage for Orthodox Christians, particularly during the Byzantine period when it became an important center of learning and culture.

Considered one of the most spectacular monasteries in the world, Sumela is renowned for its breathtaking views and stunning architecture - including its intricate frescoes preserved over hundreds of years. 

Today, visitors to Sumela can explore its ancient ruins, which have been painstakingly restored over time, taking in views of magnificent surroundings and appreciating its rich history as a center of faith and devotion.

Mount Nemrut

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Photo by Martin Gray/Sacred Sites

Mount Nemrut is a magnificent mountain in southeastern Turkey that stands at an imposing 2134m. The mountain is crowned by a large stone tumulus, surrounded by two concentric walls of broken stones and terraces with colossal statues of gods, kings, and heroes.

It was built in the first century B.C. by King Antiochus I of Commagene and served as his tomb. The statues, carved from limestone and standing up to 8m tall, represent Greek, Persian, and Armenian gods such as Zeus-Oromasdes, Apollo-Mithras, and Heracles-Artagneses.

Today Mount Nemrut is a UNESCO World Heritage Site, but unfortunately, due to its remote location, it does not have the number of tourists it deserves!

Zelve Open-Air Museum

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Photo from New Goreme Tour

The Zelve Open-Air Museum is an attraction in Cappadocia offering a unique glimpse into the culture and history of the region.

Located near the town of Avanos, this open-air museum is comprised of three interconnected valleys, which were inhabited until 1952, when the residents were relocated because the structural integrity became too weak.

The three valleys are ancient cave dwellings, rock-cut churches, and chapels with colorful frescoes, monasteries, dovecotes, terraces, and much more scattered throughout.

It is an incredible place where you can learn about the history of the region and admire the stunning geological formations that made Cappadocia so famous. Better yet, you can take one of the hot air balloons in Cappadocia to fully appreciate its magic!

The Burning Flames of Chimaera

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Photo by Ezgi/Antalya Tourist Information

The Burning Flames of Chimaera is a spectacular natural phenomenon and an iconic landmark of the region. Located near the small village of Cirali, this area has been burning continuously since antiquity.

The origin of the flames is said to be mythological — as legend has it, they are the remains of Bellerophon's fire-breathing monster Chimera. Every day, tourists flock to Chimaera to witness its mesmerizing red and yellow flames shooting up from an underground chamber beneath a rock formation.

It is a short hike from the parking lot to the eternal flames, so make sure you wear comfortable shoes. If you can, visit Mount Chimaera at night when the flames are much more prominent!

Manavgat Waterfall

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Photo from Dailysabah.com

Manavgat Waterfall in Turkey is one of the most beautiful natural wonders in the country. Located in the Manavgat district of Antalya Province, it is a magnificent sight to behold.

The Manavgat Waterfall isn’t conventionally beautiful. It doesn't cascade from a great height, but the waterfall cascade from over a wide area. Along with the high flow of volume of water, the falls create a gorgeous sight.

Alacati

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Photo from GoTurkiye

Alacati is a beautiful and charming village on the Aegean coast of Turkey. It is recognized as one of the most picturesque towns in the country, with its cobblestone streets, whitewashed houses, and colorful bougainvilleas.

Many visitors come to Alacati to relax and enjoy its laid-back atmosphere. There are plenty of things to do, from exploring the ancient ruins in Ilica or strolling along the waterfront promenade lined with restaurants and cafes.

Alacati is also known for its wineries, where visitors can sample some of Turkey's finest wines. It is a great place for a romantic holiday or a relaxing weekend getaway!

Amasra

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Photo by Mehmet Dığış/Pexels

Amasra is a small fishing village located on the Black Sea coast in Bartin Province. It is an idyllic destination with cobblestone streets, old wooden houses, and colorful fishing boats.

Amasra is also home to several ancient Byzantine churches and a castle built by the Genoese in the 14th century. Visitors can explore these historical sites or take a stroll along the waterfront while admiring the stunning views of the Black Sea.

The town is also known for its seafood, so make sure you try some of the local delicacies while here!

But even with all those attractions, Amasra remains a hidden gem in Turkey. It's the perfect place to get away from the hustle and bustle of the big city and just relax!

Alanya

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Photo by ArthurHidden/Freepik

Alanya is a historic coastal city located in the Antalya Province of Turkey. Set between the Taurus Mountains and the Mediterranean Sea, it is the perfect place for tourists seeking beachfront relaxation and stunning views.

Historically, due to Alanya's strategic position, the city served as a port of trade and cultural exchange between Europe and Asia Minor. Nowadays, Alanya is known for its pleasant climate, which makes it an excellent location for vacationers throughout the year.

It offers a variety of attractions, such as beautiful beaches with crystal clear waters that are perfect for swimming or sunbathing, ancient ruins from various empires such as the Alanya Castle, picturesque harbors lined with restaurants serving local seafood dishes, and much more!

Gaziantep

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Photo Jin & De Wet/Museum of Wander

Gaziantep might be one of the best-hidden gems in Turkey, especially if you are a big foodie. It is a city in southeastern Turkey located relatively close to the Syrian border and was once an important outpost in the Roman Empire.

Today, Gaziantep is known for its delicious cuisine, which has been influenced by both Turkish and Syrian cultures. There are plenty of incredible restaurants and cafes serving traditional dishes such as baklava, künefe, and kebab – it is a foodie paradise!

Visitors can also explore the city's numerous historical sites, including the Gaziantep Citadel, or take a stroll through its bustling markets filled with spices, dried fruits, nuts, herbs, and much more!

Egirdir

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Photo by Gül Demirci/expatguideturkey.com

If you are looking for a hidden gem in Turkey for a relaxing vacation, then the peaceful town of Egirdir in the Isparta province of Turkey is perfect for that. The town is located on the southern shore of Lake Egirdir and offers tourists a great place for swimming, fishing, and other water sports.

It's a sleepy town and has remained relatively untouched by the modern world. You won't find towering skyscrapers, modern infrastructure, or anything similar. It is a town surrounded by rolling green hills and forests, making it a great destination for nature lovers.

It is a nice place to spend a weekend, but it can get boring if you spend an extended time in Egirdir!

Conclusion

From the historic Zelve Open-Air Museum to scenic Amasra, Turkey has so many amazing hidden gems. Whether you're looking for a romantic getaway or just want to experience local culture and cuisine, Turkey has something for every traveler!

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