Scenic view of antique columns and the Aegean Sea coast

Things to do in  Aegean Coast

Ancient wonders along crystalline waters

The Aegean Coast of Turkey is a stunning seaside region with a rich history and culture that dates back thousands of years. Visitors can explore world-famous ancient ruins, enjoy pristine beaches, soak in Turkish hospitality, and indulge in fresh seafood cuisine, among other things to do. In addition to sunbathing and swimming, outdoor activities range from parasailing tours to archeology excursions. From the bustling city of Izmir to the tranquil seaside town of Cesme, the vibrant Turkish Riviera has something to satisfy every traveler.

Top 15 attractions in Aegean Coast

Ephesus (Efes)

Ephesus (Efes) is one of the greatest ancient sites in the Mediterranean. During its heyday in the first century BC, it was the second-largest city in the world, with only Rome commanding more power. Many reconstructed structures and ruins, including the Temple of Artemis, one of the Seven Wonders of the Ancient World, can be seen here.More

Pergamon (Pergamum)

The magnificent hilltop city of Pergamon dates back to the 5th century BC and was once a hotbed for learning, culture, and invention, flourishing until the 14th century. Remnants of the city’s most important structures remain, such as the Acropolis, the Red Basilica, aqueducts, a major medical center, audaciously steep amphitheatre and a historically important library.More

House of the Virgin Mary (Meryem Ana Evi)

St. Mary’s House in Ephesus is believed by many to be the place where the mother of Jesus, the Virgin Mary, spent her final days, and has attracted hundreds of thousands of visitors and pilgrims seeking the healing properties of the spring that runs beneath the stone home since its discovery in the 19th-century.More

Temple of Artemis (Artemision)

One of the original Seven Wonders of the Ancient World, the marble Temple of Artemis (Artemision or Artemisium at Ephesus once spanned more than 63,000 square feet (around 5,850 square meters. Today all that remains of 127 original columns plus countless frescoes and statues is a teetering pillar and some foundation fragments.More

Agora Open Air Museum (Izmir Agora)

The storied past of Izmir—once the ancient Greek city of Smyrna—takes center stage at the Agora Open Air Museum (Izmir Agora. Dating back to the fourth century BC and rebuilt by Roman emperor Marcus Aurelius in 178, the Agora is one of the best-preserved sites of its kind in Turkey (officially the Republic of Türkiye).More

Bergama Asklepion (Pergamon Asclepeion)

In Roman times, the Bergama Asklepion (Pergamon Asclepeion) was one of the world’s most important medical centers, built in honor of the Asklepios, the Greek god of healing. Situated in the ancient city of Pergamon, it dates back to the 4th century BC and is one of the most visited ruins of the Pergamon archeological site.More

Troy (Truva)

Troy is one of the world’s most famous ancient cities, renowned for being the site of the Trojan War, as described by Homer inThe Iliad. Today’s Troy—a UNESCO World Heritage-listed area of ruins and archaeological excavations—contains the remains of multiple settlements, some dating back 5,000 years.More

Izmir Clock Tower (Izmir Saat Kulesi)

Dominating Izmir’s busy Konak Square, the Izmir Clock Tower (İzmir Saat Kulesi has been a city landmark since 1901. Standing 82 feet (25 meters tall, with a fountain on each corner, its lacy tower and Arabesque arches have a distinctively Ottoman feel. The German Emperor Wilhelm II gave the 4-faced clock to the sultan as a gift.More

Adaland Aquapark

One of Kusadasi’s best water parks, Adaland Aquapark boasts slides for every age and pace, from leisurely 6-person family jaunts through to freefall and boomerang rides. A wave pool, lazy river, jacuzzi, little kids’ zone, rafting course, and lively poolside disco make it a great space to while away the day.More

Sardis (Sart)

Just east of Izmir in Turkey (officially the Republic of Türkiye), Sardis—or Sardes—was the capital of the ancient kingdom of Lydia before falling to the Persians, Greeks, Romans, and Byzantines. Its ruins span everything from a Roman gymnasium to the relics of a nearby Greek temple to the remains of the fifth church of the Bible’s Seven Churches of the Revelation.More

Ephesus Terrace Houses

A cluster of ancient 2-story homes spread across three tiers, the Ephesus Terrace Houses reveal how wealthy Romans lived during the city’s glory days. Glass floors let you admire geometric mosaics and still-colorful frescoes gleaming on the walls—it’s a small wonder some compare the site to Pompeii.More

Gallipoli Peninsula (Gelibolu Yarimadasi)

The World War I battle on the turquoise coastline of Turkey’s (officially the Republic of Türkiye) Gallipoli Peninsula (Gelibolu Yarimadasi) was symbolic for Turks, Australians, and New Zealanders, many of whom trace their national identity to its tragic outcome. Every year on Anzac Day, Australians and New Zealanders flock to the Dardanelles to pay respects to their thousands of fallen countrymen.More

Konak Square (Konak Meydani)

Studded with palm trees and presided over by the 82-foot-tall (25-meter-tall) Izmir Clock Tower, Konak Square (Konak Meydanı) is the navigational and social heart of the city. A popular meeting place, it’s home to important civic buildings and is located near Izmir’s historic ferry terminal and Kermeralti Grand Bazaar.More

Cave of the Seven Sleepers

According to a third-century story of the Cave of the Seven Sleepers, several Christian men in Ephesus (present-day Selcuk, Turkey) sought sanctuary in a nearby cave to escape persecution by the Roman Emperor Trajan Decius. They fell asleep, waking some 250 years later and discovering that Christianity had become widely accepted in Ephesus. After natural deaths, the “seven sleepers” were buried in the same cave, which quickly became a pilgrimage site.More

Basilica of St. John

In Christian tradition, St. John the Apostle came to Ephesus after St. Paul and ministered to the Ephesians. The vast Basilica of St. John, built by the sixth-century emperor Justinian, houses a fourth-century tomb that drew pilgrims from across Europe in search of miracles. It is still one of the world’s largest cathedrals today.More

Top activities in Aegean Coast

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Pamukkale Tour from Izmir

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All about Aegean Coast

When to visit

The best time to visit Turkey’s Aegean Coast is spring (March to May) or autumn (September to November). These shoulder seasons offer an ideal outdoor climate for hiking and exploring while allowing for a more relaxed and authentic experience. Summer (June to August) is the peak tourist season, with hot temperatures and large crowds. Winter (December to February) can be rainy and chilly, but it's a great time to enjoy indoor attractions and museums.

Getting around

The most convenient way to get around the Aegean Coast is by car or public transportation. Buses and shuttles are a reliable and affordable option, with regular connections between cities. Taxis and ride-sharing apps, like Bitaksi and Itaksi, are good options for short trips. Rental cars are readily available, providing greater flexibility and independence. A ferry or boat cruise is an excellent choice for those seeking a more leisurely and scenic way to explore the region.

Traveler tips

To experience the essence of the Aegean Coast, venture beyond the tourist hotspots and spend a day or two on the 50-mile (80-kilometer) Datca peninsula. Located just an hour’s drive east of Marmaris or a 1-hour ferry ride south of Bodrum, foreign tourists often overlook this laidback town and its surrounding attractions. Visitors can stroll around the charming city center, visit the ruins of the ancient Greek city of Knidos, or take a boat tour of the area’s caves.

Local Currency
Turkish Lira (TRY)
Time Zone
TRT (UTC +2)
Country Code

People Also Ask

What are the best beaches to visit on Turkey’s Aegean Coast?

The Aegean Coast offers some of the best beaches in Turkey. Bodrum's Gumusluk, Cesme's Ilica, and Ayvalik's Sarimsakli are guaranteed hits with clear waters, stunning sunsets, and serene atmospheres. The Ilica, Altinkum, and Kadinlar (Ladies) beaches are also popular destinations, each offering opportunities for relaxation and recreation.

Is Turkey’s Aegean Coast family-friendly?

Yes. Turkey's Aegean Coast is a family-friendly destination with plenty of activities for all ages. The beaches are safe and clean, with many water parks, adventure parks, and family-friendly resorts. The region is also known for its rich history, food options, and welcoming culture, making it an ideal destination for a family vacation.

What are some fun outdoor activities to do on Turkey’s Aegean Coast?

Turkey's Aegean Coast offers many fun outdoor activities for relaxation and adventure seekers alike. Travelers can take an ATV safari through the Marmaris Mountains, scuba dive in Bodrum, traverse the ramparts of Cesme Castle, and explore the ancient ruins of Ephesus. Take an organized tour or excursion to maximize the experience.

What are the top attractions on Turkey’s Aegean Coast?

Some must-see sights on Turkey’s Aegean Coast include the ancient city of Ephesus, Bodrum Castle, the ruins of Troy, sleepy Sirince Village, and the thermal baths of Cesme. Day trips from Kusadasi or Izmir to the Pamukkale travertines and Hierapolis ruins are also popular sightseeing options.

What do people eat on Turkey's Aegean Coast?

Turkey’s Aegean Coast boasts a rich culinary tradition focusing on fresh seafood, olive oil, herbs, and vegetables. Regional dishes include grilled octopus, stuffed mussels, imam bayildi (stuffed eggplant), and meze plates with dips and small dishes. Turkish desserts like baklava and Turkish delight are also common with locals.

Is it safe to travel on Turkey’s Aegean Coast?

Yes, it is safe to travel to Turkey's Aegean Coast. The region is a major tourist destination, and Turks welcome foreigners. Turkey’s Aegean Coast has a low crime rate. Tourists should always take common sense precautions, avoid political demonstrations, and follow government travel advisories.

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