Popular cities in Turkey (partly in Asia)

Istanbul, one of the most popular cities in Turkey, has a history and cultural heritage that dates back thousands of years. This enchanting city is unique in that it spans two continents, with its European side in the west and its Asian side in the east. Istanbul’s significance lies in its rich history as the capital of three empires – the Roman, Byzantine, and Ottoman Empires. Today, it continues to thrive as a bustling metropolis and a melting pot of diverse cultures. With iconic landmarks such as the Hagia Sophia, Grand Bazaar, and Topkapi Palace, Istanbul attracts millions of tourists each year.

As we move to the Asian side of Turkey, we come across the city of Bursa, known as the first Ottoman capital. Bursa holds great historical significance as it played a crucial role in the establishment of the Ottoman Empire. This vibrant city is not only renowned for its history but also for its natural beauty. Nestled at the foot of the Uludağ Mountain, Bursa offers breathtaking landscapes, making it a popular destination for nature lovers and outdoor enthusiasts.

Continuing our journey, we arrive in Antalya, a city located on the Mediterranean coast of southwestern Turkey. This picturesque city is known for its stunning beaches, turquoise waters, and ancient ruins. With its pleasant climate and remarkable natural beauty, it is no wonder that Antalya has become a top choice for beach vacations. Additionally, Antalya is home to numerous historical sites, including the well-preserved Roman-era Hadrian’s Gate and the ancient city of Perge.

Moving towards the eastern part of the country, we encounter the city of Gaziantep, often referred to as the culinary capital of Turkey. This gastronomic paradise is celebrated for its rich culinary traditions and mouthwatering cuisine. From its renowned baklava to its flavorful kebabs, Gaziantep offers a unique and indulgent experience for food enthusiasts. In addition to its culinary delights, the city also boasts a fascinating history, with its ancient ruins and well-preserved mosaics.

Without a doubt, Turkey’s popular cities, spanning both Europe and Asia, offer a captivating blend of history, culture, natural beauty, and culinary delights. From the architectural wonders of Istanbul to the beachside charm of Antalya and the culinary delights of Gaziantep, each city holds its own unique appeal. Whether you seek ancient history, natural wonders, or simply a delightful culinary experience, Turkey’s popular cities have something to offer for every traveler. So pack your bags and embark on an unforgettable journey through the enchanting cities of Turkey.

Popular cities in Turkey

What are the top tourist destinations in Turkey, with a touch of Asia?

Explore the vibrant and captivating cities of Turkey, where you can experience a unique blend of eastern and western cultures. From the bustling streets of Istanbul to the breathtaking landscapes of Cappadocia, these popular cities in Turkey offer an enchanting travel experience. Immerse yourself in the rich history, indulge in mouthwatering cuisine, and discover the hidden gems that await you in this diverse country. In the next part, we will delve deeper into each of these cities, unveiling their captivating attractions and must-visit landmarks.

Popular cities in Turkey (Partly in Asia)

Turkey, a transcontinental country located mainly on the Anatolian Peninsula in Western Asia, along with a smaller portion on the Balkan Peninsula in Southeast Europe, is a popular tourist destination known for its rich history, stunning landscapes, and vibrant culture. The country offers a unique blend of Asian and European influences, making it an intriguing destination for travelers. Here are some of the popular cities in Turkey, particularly those located in Asia:


Istanbul, the largest city and economic hub of Turkey, is uniquely positioned on two continents, with its western side in Europe and its eastern side in Asia. As a result, it effortlessly combines influences from both continents, creating a fascinating cultural fusion. Visitors flock to Istanbul to explore its iconic landmarks such as the Hagia Sophia, Sultan Ahmed Mosque (Blue Mosque), Topkapi Palace, and the Grand Bazaar. The city also offers a vibrant food scene, bustling markets, and a lively nightlife.


Situated on the southwestern coast of Turkey, Antalya is a popular tourist destination known for its stunning beaches, luxury resorts, and historical sites. The city offers a perfect blend of natural beauty and rich history, with attractions such as the ancient Roman ruins at Aspendos and Perge, the cascading waterfalls of Duden and Kurşunlu, and the beautiful coastline of the Turkish Riviera. Visitors to Antalya can indulge in sunbathing, water sports, and exploring the charming old town known as Kaleici.


Izmir, the third-largest city in Turkey, is located on the country’s western coast, facing the Aegean Sea. Known for its vibrant atmosphere, lively nightlife, and rich cultural heritage, Izmir offers a unique experience to visitors. The city is home to numerous historical sites such as the ancient Roman agora, Kadifekale (Velvet Castle), and the clock tower in Konak Square. Izmir’s Kordon, a waterfront promenade, is a popular spot for leisurely walks as it offers panoramic views of the sea and the city skyline.


Situated at the foot of Mount Uludağ in northwestern Turkey, Bursa is an ancient city known for its Ottoman architecture, hot springs, and ski resorts. It was the first capital of the Ottoman Empire and still preserves its historical charm with attractions such as the Grand Mosque (Ulu Cami), the Green Mosque (Yesil Cami), and the Bursa Citadel. Bursa also offers opportunities for outdoor activities, including skiing in winter and hiking in the surrounding mountains. The city is famous for its delicious cuisine, particularly the traditional dish known as “İskender kebab.”


Gaziantep, located in southeastern Turkey, is renowned for its rich culinary heritage and well-preserved historic sites. The city embraces both traditional and modern aspects, offering a unique blend of ancient architecture and contemporary art. Visitors can explore the UNESCO-listed Gaziantep Castle, marvel at the mosaics in the Zeugma Mosaic Museum, and sample the city’s famous delicacies such as baklava and pistachios. Gaziantep’s bustling bazaars and vibrant culture make it an intriguing city to visit.

These are just a few examples of the popular cities in Turkey, particularly those located in the Asian part of the country. Each city showcases a unique blend of history, culture, and natural beauty, offering visitors a memorable experience. With its diverse attractions and warm hospitality, Turkey continues to attract millions of tourists from around the world.

Statistic: According to the Turkish Statistical Institute, Turkey welcomed over 51 million international tourists in 2019, with Istanbul being the most visited city in the country.


FAQs for Popular cities in Turkey (partly in Asia)

1. Which cities in Turkey are located partly in Asia?

The cities in Turkey that are partly in Asia are Istanbul and Izmir.

2. How are the cities in Turkey divided between Europe and Asia?

Istanbul is divided by the Bosporus Strait, with the European side on the west and the Asian side on the east. Izmir, on the other hand, is mainly located on the western coast of Anatolia but has some parts that extend into Asia.

3. Why is Istanbul such a popular city in Turkey?

Istanbul is popular due to its rich history, vibrant culture, and stunning architecture. It is home to world-famous landmarks such as the Hagia Sophia, Blue Mosque, and Topkapi Palace. The city also offers a unique blend of European and Asian influences.

4. What attractions should I visit in Istanbul?

Some must-visit attractions in Istanbul include the Hagia Sophia, Topkapi Palace, Blue Mosque, Grand Bazaar, and the Basilica Cistern.

5. What can I expect from a visit to Izmir?

Izmir offers beautiful coastal views, a lively city atmosphere, and a vibrant food scene. Some attractions to explore in Izmir are the Kordon Promenade, Kadifekale Fortress, and the ancient city of Ephesus.

6. Are there any specific cultural practices or customs I should be aware of in these cities?

In Istanbul and Izmir, it is important to respect Islamic customs and traditions. Dress modestly when visiting mosques and religious sites, and be mindful of local customs when interacting with people.

7. How can I travel between the European and Asian sides of Istanbul?

There are several modes of transportation available to travel between the European and Asian sides of Istanbul. You can take a ferry, use the Marmaray underground railway, or cross one of the many bridges that span the Bosporus Strait.

8. Can I visit both Istanbul and Izmir in one trip?

Yes, it is possible to visit both Istanbul and Izmir in one trip. There are domestic flights, trains, and buses that connect these two cities, making it convenient for travelers.

9. Do I need a visa to visit these cities in Turkey?

Most visitors to Turkey, including citizens of many countries, will need to obtain a visa before their trip. However, the visa requirements may vary, so it is best to check with the Turkish embassy or consulate in your country.

10. What is the best time of year to visit Istanbul and Izmir?

The best time to visit Istanbul and Izmir is during the spring (April to June) and autumn (September to November), when the weather is pleasant and the tourist crowds are relatively smaller. Summers can be hot and crowded, while winters can be chilly and rainy.


In conclusion, Turkey boasts a multitude of popular cities that showcase its rich history, vibrant culture, and stunning landscapes to travelers from all over the world. Istanbul, the country’s largest city and a transcontinental metropolis, stands out as a historical and cultural hub. With its iconic landmarks such as the Hagia Sophia, Blue Mosque, and Topkapi Palace, Istanbul offers a fascinating glimpse into Turkey’s ancient roots. Additionally, the city’s bustling markets, vibrant nightlife, and diverse culinary scene make it a must-visit destination.

Moving further afield, the historical city of Ephesus captivates visitors with its remarkably preserved ancient ruins, including the well-known Library of Celsus and the impressive Great Theater. Ephesus allows tourists to step back in time and immerse themselves in the ancient Roman world. Meanwhile, the unique Cappadocia region, known for its surreal rock formations and cave dwellings, offers breathtaking landscapes and hot air balloon rides that provide unforgettable experiences.

Other notable cities such as Bodrum, Antalya, and Pamukkale also leave a lasting impression. Bodrum, nestled on the Aegean coast, combines beautiful beaches with a lively nightlife scene, attracting sun-seekers and party-goers. Antalya, on the Mediterranean coast, offers not only stunning beaches but also a glimpse into Turkey’s past with its Roman ruins and ancient theaters. Pamukkale, famous for its terraces of mineral-rich thermal waters, provides a unique natural wonder that lures visitors seeking relaxation and rejuvenation.

Overall, Turkey’s popular cities offer a diverse range of experiences that cater to various interests and preferences, allowing travelers to explore the country’s rich heritage, scenic beauty, and modern amenities.

Read more about backpacking in Turkey