Aegean Region of Turkey Travel Guide

best places to go in the aegean region of turkey

Home to breathtaking beaches surrounded by olive trees, a picturesque coastline, incredible landscapes, lively cities, and rich history, the Aegean Region of Turkey is full of great things to do for first-timers and those returning to explore more of the area. This region of Turkey offers a vacation with something for all kinds of tourists – beach days, adventurous souls, photographers, nature lovers, and archaeologists. The coastline of the Aegean and the land tells a story that spans over 5,000 years. Fascinating, isn’t it?

You need at least two weeks to explore the Aegean area, but if you have limited time on your hands, we’ve got you covered with our travel guide to the best places to go in the Aegean Region of Turkey, especially if you are traveling there for the first time.

Some links on this page are affiliate links—that means that at no extra cost to you, we earn a small commission if you book through these links, and that helps keep this blog running.

Best Places to Go in the Aegean Region of Turkey

The Aegean region is a huge area with many places to visit and a lot of fun things to do. Below are some of the must-see attractions in the Aegean if you are short on time and want to get the most of the region:

Ephesus Library Aegean region in Turkey

Ephesus

No trip to the Aegean region would be complete without visiting the archaeological site of Ephesus. The ancient city ruins feature the Temple of Artemis – one of the fascinating wonders of the ancient world. You can look at ruins such as the Library of Celsus, the Terraced Houses, and the Great Theatre, recalling the splendor of the Roman Empire. The site is also named UNESCO World Heritage Site. It welcomes millions of tourists every year from across the world. In the vicinity of Ephesus, about 7 kilometers from Selcuk, you’ll find the House of the Virgin Mary. You can visit both places on the same day.

Aegean region of Turkey: Village of Sirince

Selcuk & Sirince

To visit Ephesus, you have to first go to Selcuk, a small town near Izmir. Though Selcuk may not seem too exciting for many, it’s still worth a visit. In addition to Ephesus and the Ephesus Museum, you can explore the Grand Byzantine Fortress of Selcuk on Ayasoluk Hill. Make a short drive up to the hilltop village of Sirince, a home to only around 600 people known for its fruit wines. The village has a rich history like other towns of Aegean, beautiful views, delicious food, amazing hospitality, and much more. A few houses in Sirince have been opened for the public to admire the architectural history that town is famous for.

aegean region of turkey: Pammukkale

Pamukkale

Another one of the main destinations to visit in the Aegean region is Pamukkale, also known as the Cotton Castle. Pamukkale is famous for its natural pool formations. The water in the pools hold deposits of calcium that have been formed over hundreds of years on the hillside, resembling white snow or cotton. Nearby, you can witness the breathtaking landmark of the ancient city ruins of Hierapolis. There are dedicated areas that you can take your shoes off and step into the pools, you cannot swim in them.

You can swim in the thermal pools at Pamukkale, and the best way to end your day is to take a dip in Cleopatra’s pool. Swimming in the warm spa over beautiful ancient columns is said to be beneficial for your health,  and was originally used as a spa by the Romans.

Bodrum Turkey on the Aegean

Bodrum

Bodrum is undoubtedly the most vibrant of all places in Turkey for those who want sun, water, and exciting night life. The Mausoleum of Halicarnassus, also known as one of the Seven Wonders of the Ancient World, was built in what is now called the modern resort of Bodrum in the Aegean Sea, Turkey.

This holiday destination features a marina full of yachts ready to take you blue cruising on the Mediterranean sea, along with visiting the ancient ruins and viewing the white washed houses that make up this beautiful coastal town. During the summer season, tourists and celebrities come from all over the world, to soak up the Bodrum’s beauty.

Gallipolli and cannakkale turkey

Canakkale & Gallipoli

Canakkale is a city located in the Marmara Region in Turkey. It is also the gateway to the Gallipoli and its battlefields from World War I. By far, one of the most popular things to do in Canakkale is the Ruins of Troy, dating back to 2500 years ago. You can visit the Museum of Troy that can explain the ruins and their history.

Another most important site to see is the Northern Gallipoli Battlefields to remember and honor those fallen during World War I. The pine-covered hills are fitted with sobering memorials of casualties during the war that lasted for nine months.

Fethiye

Once known as Telmessos, Fethiye has become a popular holiday resort town and an entry point for the ruins of Lucian cities. Due to its ancient history, one must-do activity here is to discover the Amyntas Rock Tombs; carved high in the rocks above the town of Fethiye.

One our favorite things in this area is paragliding from Mount Babadag over the breathtaking Oludeniz Beach or exploring Butterfly Valley. You can get a paragliding tour deal from any of the shops in town. Don’t miss out on a boat tour from Fethiye; boat tours are usually in groups and can be bought in advance. Explore the Fethiye old town in your spare time, buy souvenirs from Paspatur Market, and eat delicious local food.

Where to Stay in the Aegean Region of Turkey

Alacati Turkey

Now that you know the places to visit in the Aegean region of Turkey, the next thing to do is decide on your accommodations. But which hotel should you choose? Are you looking for luxury stays or want to save money on hotels? Below are some of the luxury and budget accommodation options:

Aegean Luxury & Mid-Range Hotels

  1. Resort Pam Thermal Hotel Clinic & Spa

A beautiful thermal hotel situated on a hillside in Pamukkale is surrounded by lush green gardens and pine forests. All the rooms come with basic amenities, minibar, balcony, and bathroom with bathtub and thermal water. There is an outdoor pool that is heated in winter and thermal spring travertines with red healing water.

Price per night starts from: $113

  1. Reges, a Luxury Collection Resort & Spa, Cesme

Situated in Cesme near Boyalik Beach, this beautiful resort features a restaurant, private parking, an outdoor swimming pool, a fitness center, and other facilities. Izmir and Ephesus are an hour and 40 minutes drive from this resort.

Price per night starts from: $340

  1. Alavya

Situated at the heart of the beautiful town of Alacati, this stone-built accommodation features traditional architecture that is a delight to watch. The rooms here are elegantly decorated with wooden floors and high ceilings. Guests can also enjoy delicious food here, starting from breakfast with a choice of fresh fruits, organic eggs, freshly baked bread, yogurt, and a variety of other local ingredients.

Price per night starts from: $283

  1. Özel Havuzlu Villa

Located just 3 km away from the beautiful Calis Beach, in Fethiye, this beachfront accommodation comes with many amenities such as an outdoor pool, free parking space, shared lounge, 4 bedrooms with attached bathrooms, and equipped kitchen. The villa is perfect for those traveling with family and wants a private space all to themselves.

Price per night for the entire villa starts from: $395

  1. Le Méridien Bodrum Beach Resort

Facing the surreal view of the Aegean Sea, this resort in Bodrum features a private beach and offers many water sports facilities. The rooms are elegantly decorated with fine furnishing. Guests can enjoy a range of delicious dishes at the hotel’s restaurant. Bodrum City and Castle are around 30 km away from the resort.

Price per night starts from: $220

 

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Aegean Budget Hotels

  1. Hotel Pamukkale Melrose Viewpoint Suites  

A beautiful yet budget accommodation for your stay in Pamukkale! Rooms here are featured with a flat-screen TV, seating area, private bathroom, and a balcony. Guests can enjoy a variety of Turkish in the hotel’s restaurant. The hotel is only 700 m away from Pamukkale and around 3.5 km away from Hierapolis.

Price per night starts from: $40

  1. Hotel Hilton Garden Inn Izmir Bayrakli

Located in the commercial area of Izmir city, this hotel is ideal for those who want to explore Izmir and surrounding areas. Also, Ephesus is just an hour and 15 minutes drive away from this hotel. It provides easy access to shopping markets and restaurants. All the rooms come with amenities that you will need for an incredible stay here!

Price per night starts from: $67

  1. Gurol Apart

Beautiful accommodation at an affordable rate that you can find in Oludeniz. The apartment comes with a balcony, kitchen, mountain views, and more. The beach is just 3.5 km away from the property, and Fethiye city is 10 km away.

Price per night starts from: $28

  1. Casa Mare Bodrum

Located in Bodrum City, just 600 m away from the breathtaking Gumbet Beach, Casa Mare Bodrum offers a great stay with spacious rooms, a restaurant, free parking space, an outdoor pool, and so much more. Main points of interest nearby include Bodrum Marina Yacht Club, Bodrum Castle, and Myndus Gate.

Price per night starts from: $45

  1. Maison d’Azur Alaçatı

This small boutique hotel is located within walking distance to Alacati’s town center. The rooms are simply decorated and have air-conditioning, minibar, private bathroom, and more. Enjoy the traditional village breakfast at the hotel and wander the beautiful town of Alacati during the day.

Price per night starts from: $40

Food & Drink: Aegean Region of Turkey

The Aegean cuisine is known worldwide for its delicious and traditional Turkish dishes. Following are some of the must-try foods and drinks in this region:

Seafood

The Fresh seafood is offered in many restaurants across the Aegean region. Some of the popular dishes include; lobster, squid, stuffed mussels, kefal dolmasi, and many other varieties.

Kofte

Also known as meatballs, this is a very famous dish in Aegean Region and all across Turkey. But the best ones can be found in Izmir – Izmir koftesi. The meatball is made with tomato sauce, tomatoes, peppers, and potatoes.

Figs

The Aegean Region is best known for its flavorful figs, which have been cultivated in the Aydin province for centuries. After being harvested, figs are usually sun-dried in Aydin and preserved for the winter season. You might also find figs served with breakfast or used in various Turkish pastries in the region.

Aegean Wine in Turkey

Wine

The Aegean wine region is situated in the western part of Turkey, facing the Aegean Sea and the Greek Islands. The wineries of the Aegean region accounts for about 50% of all the wines produced in Turkey. Try it for yourself, and you’ll see why Aegean’s wine is unique from the rest. You may find it in many restaurants across the region.

Olives

The Aegean is famous for many of its locally produced dishes, including a variety of olives. You’ll be served olives almost everywhere with breakfast in Aegean.

Cokertme Kebab

You might have heard about kebabs in Turkey, but this special kind can be found in restaurants across the Aegean province. The dish consists of marinated strips of veal served with fried potatoes, yogurt, and tomato sauce. The marinate of veal is usually made with paprika, olive oil, milk, and various other spices.

You can learn more about Turkish food in our guide.

When to Go

Though the cities of Aegean are open to tourists all year round, the best time to visit Aegean Coast is in April, May, and September to October. These months offer cool and pleasant weather – not too hot, not chilly. You can enjoy all the water sports during these months and you’ll skip the high season for tourists. See our Ultimate Turkey Packing Guide for everything you need for your trip.

How to Get Around

By Plane

You can catch a quick flight from Istanbul, Cappadocia or Antalya to Izmir. Local airlines to consider are SunExpress, OnurAir, Pegasus or Anadolujet. The flights using a local Turkish carrier will be cheaper than using Turkish Airlines. From there, you can take a taxi, public transport or hire a driver to reach your desired destinations.

By Train

Get to the Aegean Region by catching an overnight train from Istanbul to Izmir. You can see train routes at our favorite resource for traveling by train here.

By Bus

The cheapest way to travel to Aegean Region from Istanbul is by bus that takes about 12 hours and costs anywhere between $30 to $60.

Aegean Region of Turkey By Car 

The most convenient way to travel the Aegean region is by renting a car or you can hire a driver to take you around. The different sites are spread out so to make the most of your time, we recommend hiring a driver or small group tour of the area. If you have more time and are up for some unplanned adventures, rent a car and hit the road!

The Aegean region is beautiful and there is so much more than you can do here, depending on the number of days you are planning for your trip. So enjoy your trip and if you have already been to the Aegean Region of Turkey, share your favorite experiences with us in the comments!

For more coast travels, you an see our Mediterranean Travel Guide for the best places to go.

Stay safe and happy exploring!

Some links on this page are affiliate links—that means that at no extra cost to you, we earn a small commission if you book through these links, and that helps keep this blog running.

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Family Travel to Turkey: Enes and Dania

Hi, we're Dania & Enes

We’re an American Turkish couple who’ve worked in the tourism industry and traveled extensively in Turkey. We understand that it can be overwhelming to plan a trip to Turkey when you don’t know where to go, where to stay and the best way to get there. We’re dedicated to helping you confidently plan a trip to Turkey and have a more authentic experience when you get there.

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