From UAE to Turkey: A First-Timer’s Guide to Must-See Destinations

Turkey, a mesmerizing blend of East and West, is a top destination for travelers from all over the world. With its rich history, vibrant culture, and stunning landscapes, this country offers a plethora of experiences for visitors to enjoy. If you’re thinking about What to see on your first visit to Turkey from UAE, we’ve got you covered with a list of must-see destinations that will make your trip an unforgettable one.

1. Istanbul:

Start your journey in Istanbul, the country’s bustling metropolis that straddles Europe and Asia. Explore the iconic landmarks such as the Hagia Sophia, Blue Mosque, and Topkapi Palace. Wander through the Grand Bazaar and Spice Market to immerse yourself in the city’s vibrant atmosphere.

Don’t forget to take a cruise along the Bosphorus Strait for breathtaking views of the city skyline. Istanbul’s particular beauty stems from the Bosphorus (Bogazici), a 19-mile-long strait that runs through the city, dividing Asia and Europe, as well as the Marmara and Black Seas. The Bosphorus is one of the most beautiful natural creations on the planet.

What to see on your first visit to Turkey from UAE - Istanbul

2. Cappadocia:

Next, head to Cappadocia, a surreal region known for its unique rock formations and hot air balloon rides. Explore the ancient cave churches of the Goreme Open-Air Museum and hike through the picturesque valleys of Rose and Red. Stay in a cave hotel for a truly immersive experience in this otherworldly landscape.

You must visit cave houses, cave churches, tombs, and storage spaces all hidden in a city underground. Cappadocia is the best choice if you like to see tranquil nature and unique attractions.

Read More: Turkey travel guide for UAE residents

What to see on your first visit to Turkey from UAE - Cappadocia

3. Pamukkale:

No trip to Turkey is complete without a visit to Pamukkale, a UNESCO World Heritage Site famous for its terraces of white travertine pools. Take a dip in the thermal springs and marvel at the cascading terraces that resemble cotton candy.

These cascading white terraces are formed by the buildup of calcium carbonate deposits, creating a beautiful and otherworldly landscape. Visitors can walk along the terraces and enjoy the view of the surrounding countryside. Don’t miss the ancient city of Hierapolis, located nearby, for a glimpse into the region’s rich history.

What to see on your first visit to Turkey from UAE - Pamukkale

4. Ephesus:

Step back in time at Ephesus, one of the best-preserved ancient cities in the Mediterranean. Wander through the ancient ruins of the Library of Celsus, the Temple of Artemis, and the Grand Theatre. Discover the fascinating history of this once-thriving Roman city and imagine what life was like centuries ago.

Ephesus is both fascinating and amazing and also quite a beautiful city to visit in Turkey. If you’re transiting or staying at Izmir, then a trip to the ancient city of Ephesus is a must-do. The place is so rich in history.

Must Read: How to apply for Turkey visa from UAE?

What to see on your first visit to Turkey from UAE - Ephesus

5. Antalya:

Antalya is a resort city on the Mediterranean coast known for its stunning beaches, historic sites, and vibrant nightlife. Must visit the most popular and visually striking beach in Antalya Konyaaltı Beach. Get your hands on Turkish delight at Antalya Bazaar.

Explore the old town of Kaleici, visit the ancient ruins of Perge and Aspendos, and relax on the pristine beaches of Konyaalti and Lara. Don’t forget to indulge in delicious Turkish cuisine at the local restaurants and cafes.

What to see on your first visit to Turkey from UAE - Antalya

6. Gaziantep:

Gaziantep is famous for it pistachios. Known as the culinary capital of Turkey, Gaziantep is a food lover’s paradise. Indulge in traditional Turkish dishes like baklava and kebabs, explore the city’s impressive museums and historic sites, and shop for unique souvenirs in the bustling bazaars.

Visit the Zeugma Mosaic Museum. It’s the world’s largest mosaic museum and houses some of the best Roman mosaics of the ancient world. With its well-preserved historic sites, lively bazaars, and welcoming locals, Gaziantep offers a unique blend of old and new.

Read More: Hotels with Private Pools in Turkey to book for your Turkey visit from UAE

What to see on your first visit to Turkey from UAE - Gaziantep

7. Mardin:

Perched on a hill overlooking the Mesopotamian plains, Mardin is a picturesque city known for its stunning architecture and rich history. Mardin is full of historic landmarks, and the entire city has been designated a UNESCO World Heritage Site.

There are famous mosques, churches, and madrassas (places of study) throughout the city. Wander through the winding streets of the old town, visit ancient monasteries and churches, and enjoy breathtaking views of the surrounding countryside. It is also famous for its numerous minarets spiking out of the steep hill.

What to see on your first visit to Turkey from UAE - Mardin

8. Şanlıurfa:

Sanliurfa is an ancient Mesopotamian Silk Road city, richly textured with multicultural traditions and history. Also known as Urfa, this ancient city is steeped in history and mythology. Visit the famous Pool of Sacred Fish, explore the bustling bazaars, and savor traditional Urfa dishes like lahmacun and kebabs.

It has important religious pilgrimage sites, a vivid food culture, and a historic bazaar quarter that resounds with Kurdish, Arabic, and Turkish. Don’t miss a trip to nearby Göbekli Tepe, one of the oldest known temples in the world.

What to see on your first visit to Turkey from UAE - Şanlıurfa

9. Bodrum:

This charming coastal town on the Aegean Sea is a favorite summer destination for locals and tourists alike. Bodrum has some of the most beautiful beaches in Turkey. The most popular beach in Bodrum is the Blue Flag awarded Bitez Beach, which is perfect for swimming, sunbathing, and water sports.

Relax on white sandy beaches, explore the ancient ruins of the Mausoleum at Halicarnassus, and enjoy vibrant nightlife in the town’s bars and clubs. If you like gastronomy, wine, experiencing nice cuisines in unique restaurants, and swimming in the cool and clean sea, then you should come to Bodrum.

What to see on your first visit to Turkey from UAE - Bodrum

10. Trabzon:

Located on the Black Sea coast, Trabzon is a hidden gem waiting to be discovered. Explore the stunning Sumela Monastery nestled in the cliffs, visit the historic Hagia Sophia mosque, and sample the local cuisine, including traditional dishes like hamsi pilavı (anchovy pilaf).

Trabzon is known for its traditional handicrafts, including silver jewelry, copperware, and textiles. The city’s historic bazaar is a popular destination for visitors looking to purchase local souvenirs. You must explore the natural beauty of Trabzon, including lush forests, rugged mountains, and scenic coastline.

What to see on your first visit to Turkey from UAE - Trabzon


Turkey is a vibrant country with a rich tapestry of history, culture, and natural beauty waiting to be explored. From the bustling streets of Istanbul to the surreal landscapes of Cappadocia and Pamukkale, there’s something for every traveler to enjoy. So pack your bags, book your ticket, and get ready for an unforgettable adventure in Turkey from the UAE. Who knows, you might just fall in love with this enchanting country and want to come back for more. Contact us for travel and visa assistance to Turkey and our team will guide you further.

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