|

8 Countries Near Turkey and the reasons you must visit (2023)

Are you wondering what are the countries near Turkey? Here we will talk about them and so much more.

The Art of Living in Turkey contains affiliate links and is a member of the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program. If you make a purchase using one of these Amazon links, I may receive compensation at no extra cost to you. See my Disclaimers for more information.

The Republic of Turkey is a member of NATO, a country located at the intersection of the continents of Europe and Asia, and subdivided into 81 provinces.

There are many countries near Turkey and eight countries actually border it. This is actually one of the first things I learned.

This country is so incredibly central to this part of the world.

We’ll take a look at the 8 countries that border Turkey as well as give a bit of context for Turkey.

We’ll also cover the bodies of water that border it, the major straits, regions, and cities.

After living here for years and only having been to 5 of the 7 regions, writing this post inspires me to see even more!

Turkey is home to a diverse population with major cultural influences from both East and West.

While it is technically a Middle Eastern country, it doesn’t feel like most other Middle Eastern countries.

The capital city, Ankara, is the second largest in the country.

As a former part of the Ottoman Empire, it has a rich cultural heritage with many ancient sites, including Troy, where Greek mythology states that Helen of Troy was taken by Paris.

Its central location has allowed Turkey to serve as an important trading route between East and West for centuries.

It has also been an attractive tourist destination for its beautiful coastline along the various bodies of water.

Alongside its natural beauty are bustling cities full of energy, vibrant nightlife, and eclectic cuisine that make it a unique destination for travelers from all over the world.

6 Must-Have travel accessories for Under $25

  • Keep your luggage safe with this TSA-approved lock.
  • This international travel adapter is the best. With 1 Type C and 4 USB slots, you will be able to charge it all!
  • This is the best sleep mask ever. I use it regularly and it is the only one that stays in place!
  • A money belt is really great to have especially in crowded/touristy areas. This one has RFID blocking and a great price!
  • These luggage tags are incredibly helpful. I have also used metal ones but those bend out of shape so easily.
  • Never be surprised at the airport with luggage that’s too heavy with this portable handheld scale.

Countries Near Turkey to visit

It has eight neighboring countries, all of which have long, intertwined histories with Turkey.

Each one of these countries close to Turkey offers something unique to its relationship with Turkey. Let’s take a deeper look.

Greece

Greece is a European country in the southeast and has been an important cultural center for centuries.

It borders the west side of Turkey, across the Aegean Sea. Greece is known for its beautiful beaches, stunning architecture, and rich history.

Its diverse landscape includes mountains, valleys, forests, and islands that make it a great destination for travelers looking to explore nature and culture alike.

Greek flag atop a church overlooking the city

Bulgaria

Bulgaria lies just northeast of Turkey along the Black Sea coast.

Bulgaria is home to many ancient ruins from both the Roman and Byzantine Empires as well as stunning natural landscapes like Rila National Park with its vast meadows of wildflowers in summertime.

Bulgaria also boasts some of Eastern Europe’s best skiing destinations during winter months making it a popular tourist destination year-round.

Georgia

Georgia is situated at the crossroads between Asia Minor and Europe on the eastern shoreline of the Black Sea next door to Turkey’s eastern borderlands.

Georgia is known for its lush green hillsides dotted with vineyards producing delicious local wines.

It also has many quaint medieval towns filled with cobbled streets lined with old churches still standing since early Christian times long ago when Georgia adopted Christianity back in 337 AD.

Azerbaijan

Azerbaijan lies east of Turkey, along the west coast of the Caspian Sea (which immediately makes me think of Chronicles of Narnia).

It is known as the Land of Fire because of its numerous natural gas and oil supplies, Azerbaijan is a diverse land with dramatic mountain ranges to explore as well as ancient cities and cultural sites that tell stories about its long history.

Armenia

Armenia borders Turkey on the east side and is home to some of the oldest archaeological sites in the region.

It is well known for its stunning landscapes and churches with an amazing culture that blends ancient traditions with modern ways of life.

Armenia’s capital city, Yerevan, is a great place to explore history and architecture.

Ancient ruins in laos

Syria

Syria lies southwest of Turkey, bordering both Iraq and Jordan.

Syria is known for its rich cultural heritage with many historical sites like the famous ancient city of Palmyra, as well as beautiful landscapes including desert oases and river valleys that are perfect for exploring.

Iran

Iran to the East of Turkey runs along the coast of the Caspian Sea.

For travelers interested in experiencing a unique culture, Iran is a must-see destination.

With its rich history dating back thousands of years, it has some breathtaking sights such as the amazing ruins of Persepolis and other monuments from different dynasties scattered around the country.

Iraq

Iraq lies south of Turkey and is home to some of the oldest cities on earth such as Ur, Babylon, and Nineveh.

From archaeological sites to stunning natural landscapes, Iraq offers a unique experience for travelers looking to explore its fascinating culture and history.

Bodies of Water that Border Turkey

Turkey is located in the northeastern part of the Mediterranean, surrounded by three major bodies of water – the Aegean Sea, the Mediterranean Sea, and the Black Sea.

Each body of water provides unique opportunities for exploration and discovery as each has its own unique features that make it special.

Calm waters in a small city north of Izmir

The Aegean Sea

It is a beautiful body of water located off the coast of Turkey. It is bordered by Greece to the east and the island of Crete to the south.

With crystal clear waters and stunning views, it makes for an ideal location for swimming and beach activities like relaxing on deck chairs while admiring stunning views of its coastline.

In addition to its beauty, it is home to some of the most famous ancient cities in Turkey like Izmir, Antalya, Konya, Adana, and Bursa. It’s also a great spot for sailing and fishing trips as there are plenty of fish species to be found here.

The Mediterranean Sea

This body of water is located south of Turkey and borders Greece, Cyprus, Israel, and Lebanon.

It is known for its idyllic climate, stunning views of the shoreline full of white sand beaches, calm waters, and picturesque islands, making it an ideal spot for sailing or fishing trips.

This body of water is also a great destination for sailing, as it offers breathtaking views of famed coastal cities such as Izmir, Antalya, and Konya.

It is also home to some of the most beautiful islands in the world such as Rhodes, Kos, and Santorini making it an ideal destination for those looking to explore its beauty.

The Black Sea

It is located on the Northern coast of Turkey. It is bordered by Bulgaria, Romania, Ukraine and Azerbaijan.

This body of water is known for its picturesque shorelines and rich culture.

It’s a great spot for explorers wanting to learn more about the area’s history as well as admire the stunning views of the coastlines.

It is also home to many species of fish making it a great destination for anglers looking to catch some big catches.

Black sea at sunset from a balcony where we stayed

Two Turkish Straits

Turkey is home to the Bosporus and the Dardanelles, both of which are narrow waterways connecting the Black Sea with the Mediterranean.

These have played a key role in Turkish history, from being part of the Silk Road trade routes to serving as strategic military points during World War I and II.

Their unique geography and cultural significance, also make for an amazing sightseeing experience for any traveler visiting Turkey.

Bosporous Strait

The Bosphorus separates Europe from Asia and has been a significant maritime route since ancient times.

Istanbul is partly in Europe and partly in Asia, making it the only major metropolitan city in the world that is considered a part of two different continents.

It’s also an incredibly important waterway that has been used for trade and travel since ancient times.

It separates the Black Sea from the Mediterranean and is considered to be one of the oldest in the world.

It has experienced numerous battles and wars over its long history, most notably during World War I and II.

Nowadays, it is an incredibly important part of Turkish life and serves as a connection between Europe and Asia.

Ferry ride with seagulls flying all around

Dardanelles Strait

The Dardanelles is a historically significant waterway located in northwest Anatolia, Turkey.

It connects the Sea of Marmara to the Aegean Sea and is one of the most important strategic points in the region.

It has been used by various empires throughout history, including the Ottoman and Roman Empires.

It runs approximately 40 miles (64km) in length and lies between two peninsulas – Gallipoli on the northern side and Gelibolu on the southern side.

Its width varies from 1.2 miles (2 km) at its narrowest point to 4 miles (6 km) at its widest point.

It has several islands located within it, including Imbros and Tenedos which are now both part of Turkey’s European province, Edirne.

The Dardanelles has played a key role in Turkish history for centuries, making it an interesting place to visit for any traveler interested in exploring the past.

During World War I, it was a strategically important battleground between Allied forces and Ottoman troops in 1915-1916.

In addition, it was an important trading route during the Byzantine Empire and beyond, connecting cities along its lengths such as Constantinople (former capital of the Ottoman Empire), Adalia (now Antalya), Samsun, and Çanakkale (Gelibolu).

Today, it serves as both a commercial trading route as well as a popular destination for tourists looking to explore this fascinating region’s amazing culture and history.

7 Regions of Turkey

Turkey is a country of immense diversity.

Spanning two continents, Europe and Asia, it has seven distinct regions that offer travelers the opportunity to explore its unique culture, history, and landscapes.

From the Marmara region in the northwest to Eastern Anatolia in the east, each area offers something different for visitors looking for an unforgettable experience.

Marmara Region

This region is located in northwestern Turkey and contains the biggest city in Turkey.

It is home to a myriad of cultural attractions, from world-class museums and monuments to bustling bazaars and vibrant nightlife scenes.

Marmara also has some stunning beaches along its Aegean coast for visitors looking for a more relaxing experience.

Black Sea Region

Located on the northern side of Turkey, this region is renowned for its beautiful countryside, lush forests, and unique wildlife.

The cities in this area are great destinations for travelers interested in culture as they offer plenty of fascinating historical sites such as monasteries, churches, and castles.

When I took a week-long road trip to this region I truly fell in love with it.

It is definitely like being in a different country in many ways if you compare it with the western parts of Turkey.

Read more about the Black Sea Region here.

Giant SAMSUN sign with me posed next to it.

Aegean Region

This part of Turkey is located on the western coast and is known for its stunning coastline dotted with picturesque beaches and villages.

It’s a great spot for sailing or kayaking trips, hiking in ancient ruins, and exploring hidden coves.

I also really love this region. I have probably visited this region more than any other. It is home to Fethiye and some of the most beautiful beaches.

If you’re looking for a relaxing beach vacation, this is definitely an amazing region to visit!

Mediterranean Region

Located on the southern side of Turkey, this region is home to some of the country’s most beautiful islands such as Rhodes and Kastellorizo.

The cities in this area are bursting with culture, offering visitors an opportunity to explore traditional markets, colorful street art, and delicious local cuisine.

Now that ferries are open again post-pandemic, you can easily hop over to a few of the Greek islands from this region.

The water of the Mediterranean is some of my favorite in all the world!

Central Anatolia Region

Home to many important cultural attractions like the Ancient City of Hattusa and Cappadocia’s fairy chimneys.

This region also offers travelers plenty of amazing opportunities to explore outdoor activities such as trekking or exploring ancient ruins which are a door to the country’s past.

It is one of the most vibrant and beautiful regions in Turkey, with a rich cultural heritage and stunning natural beauty.

Southeast Anatolia Region

This part of Turkey is known for its stunning nature and amazing wildlife, most notably its beautiful national parks like Mount Nemrut and Lake Bafa Nature Park.

It’s also a great spot for those interested in outdoor activities like kayaking, hiking, or even hot-air ballooning.

Eastern Anatolia Region

Located in eastern Turkey, this region offers travelers breathtaking landscapes with towering mountains, serene valleys, and crystal-clear lakes.

The cities in this area also provide an excellent cultural experience as it contains some of the oldest archaeological sites in the world.

From historical cities to breathtaking nature spots, Turkey has something special around every corner.

So, why not explore the seven regions of Türkiye and discover something new today?

a map of the Regions in Turkey

Major Cities of Turkey

Turkey, or Türkiye according to the recent name change, is an incredibly diverse country that spans two continents, Europe and Asia.

One of the most popular ways to experience Turkey is through its major cities.

From Istanbul in the Marmara region to Kayseri in Eastern Anatolia, these cities offer visitors a variety of experiences from bustling bazaars and vibrant nightlife scenes to stunning beaches along the Aegean coast.

Let’s take a closer look at some of Turkey’s major cities.

Istanbul

Located in the Marmara region of northwestern Turkey, it is the country’s largest city and a major cultural hub.

It’s home to world-class museums, monuments, bazaars, and many UNESCO World Heritage Sites as well as stunning views of the Bosphorus.

If you’re planning to visit, make sure you check out a private Bosphorus cruise!

It is the only major metropolitan city to span two continents and has an incredibly rich history that spans centuries.

Izmir

This port city located on the Aegean Sea is known for its beautiful beaches and lively nightlife scene.

It also has plenty of historical attractions such as ancient churches and castles.

It was also called Smyrna in ancient times. It was one of the 7 churches of Revelation if you’re into that type of thing.

It was originally founded by the Greeks before being taken over by the Romans and then rebuilt by Alexander the Great only to become a part of the Ottoman Empire in the 15th century.

Antalya

Situated on Turkey’s Mediterranean coast, Antalya is one of the most popular holiday destinations in this part of the country, boasting stunning beaches along its crystal-clear waters.

It also offers visitors excellent shopping opportunities as well as a vibrant nightlife.

Antalya is an incredible city to visit, especially in the winter, in my humble opinion.

If you’re into hot, humid weather then you will also enjoy it in the summer. For me, that’s a hard pass. I need it just a little cooler.

The rough waters of the mediterranean sea off the coast of Turkey with the softest sand beaches

Konya

This city in the Central region is home to some of Turkey’s most important historical landmarks, such as the Mevlana Museum, which houses relics from the legendary Sufi saint Rumi.

Konya is also known as one of the most conservative cities in all of Turkey. If you visit make sure that you read more on how you should dress when you go.

Also, don’t miss a whirling dervishes show as this is where it all started!

Adana

Located in southeastern Turkey, Adana is the fifth-largest city in the country and a great place to sample local cuisine.

One of my favorite kebabs was birthed here: the Adana kebab. I bet you were expecting a more exciting name…but no.

This kebab is spicier than other ones and is a lump of ground meat placed around a flat skewer. It is absolutely delicious and you should definitely try it.

It also offers a variety of outdoor activities like hiking and rafting.

Bursa

Bursa is located on the south side of the Marmara Region.

It’s famous for its natural beauty and hot springs, Bursa is situated on the foothills of Mount Uludag and offers visitors plenty of skiing opportunities during winter months.

There are also stunning views of Lake Uluabat and opportunities to be outside and enjoy the beautiful scenery.

Bursa is also known for its mosques and historical sites from the early Ottoman Empire.

During the time of the lucrative Silk Road, Bursa was known for being the largest center of silk trade in both the Byzantine and Ottoman empires.

Hot air balloons floating over love valley in Cappadocia

Kayserİ

Kayseri is one of the major cities in the Cappadocia region, which is known for its fairy chimneys and hot air balloon rides.

This city in eastern Turkey is well known for its exquisite architectural landmarks, such as the Great Mosque of Kayseri and the Citadel.

It also offers a variety of outdoor activities like biking and fishing.

If you go, don’t neglect Nevşehir which is just a short drive away and home to most of the hot air balloon rides.

From bustling metropolises to tranquil towns, each of Turkey’s major cities offers something unique that will make your trip unforgettable. With so much to explore, it’s easy to see why this country has become one of the most popular destinations in Europe! So what are you waiting for? Pack your bags and start planning your next adventure in Turkey today!

So you’re ready for a visit?

Flights

Flying to Turkey is a great way to explore the country and its many cultural attractions. With two major airports, IST and Sabiha Gökçen International Airport (SAW), travelers have plenty of options for getting there.

With WayAway, the online travel booking platform, you can easily find flights at affordable prices as well as book activities, hotels, and cars through their Plus program – all while earning cashback rewards. You can read the full WayAway Flights Review here.

IST is the new airport that was completed during the pandemic. It is massive and has some modern amenities, such as water filling stations and HavaIST transportation services. Despite its size, however, it isn’t near anything so you will need to take a bus or taxi in order to get to your hotel. Fortunately, there are several options available for getting around IST quickly and efficiently.

HavaIST is a great and inexpensive option for getting from the airport to your destination. You can check out the prices and details on their website before you arrive. Additionally, if you want to take a taxi there is a queue outside that you can get in. The line usually moves pretty quickly so it won’t be long before you are on your way.

If you take a taxi, make sure you turn on the meter. The one caveat is that if you’re going to the Asian side then you will also have to pay toll fees.

Even if you’re on the European side, you will likely have to pay some toll fees because of the highways but obviously, it would be less.

Sabiha Gökçen International Airport (SAW) is the other major airport. It’s around 40 kilometers from the city center but it does have an efficient metro and bus system to get into the city.

The havabus is also available for the SAW airport and is the most economical option for getting to SAW from the European side. If you’re close to the M4 pink metro line, that is the easiest, cheapest, and quickest option.

Those traveling from Europe will likely have to make a stop at IST first, as that’s where all international flights land. However, if you are flying domestically after you get here, then it will be much easier to fly out of SAW than IST.

Here are a few more tips to make your international trip easier.

Cruise/Ferry

Traveling to the Greek islands or Turkey can be a great way to explore and experience different cultures. But rather than flying, taking a cruise or ferry is an equally enjoyable alternative that provides travelers with stunning views of the Mediterranean Sea as they journey across it.

There are many ferry companies that offer regular crossings between Greece and Turkey. Ferry Hopper is a great online booking platform to compare prices and schedules for all the different routes.

Ferries can have cabins available, restaurants, bars, and shops on board so you will be able to enjoy the journey even more with all of these amenities. Some ferries also come equipped with a pool or spa treatments if you’re looking for something extra luxurious. Of course, you won’t find that one-hour hop to a nearby island but perhaps if you’re going farther.

Whichever way you decide to travel to Istanbul – via air or sea – make sure to do your research beforehand and take advantage of any discounts that may be offered. Bon voyage!

Drive

While you can drive, I don’t typically recommend doing so. Driving across international borders can be a hassle, and is not typically worth the headache. This is especially true if you are crossing from an EU country into a non-EU country, as there are often additional paperwork requirements. Furthermore, depending on the type of car you own, there may be additional complications involving licensing or registration.

The bottom line: when deciding whether or not to drive, consider the distance you need to travel and the potential hassles of crossing international borders.

I think flying in is the best option for Turkey for sure. That being said, if you’re set on renting a car, see what kind of rates you can get below.

Make sure that when you book the car you talk to them about crossing a border if it is necessary.


Turkey is a country of incredible diversity, stunning landscapes, and the Turkish language.

Each city in Turkey offers something unique for visitors looking to explore its culture, history, and natural beauty.

Whether you’re interested in exploring ancient ruins or enjoying outdoor activities like kayaking or skiing, Turkey has it all!

So when you go to Turkey enjoy all it has to offer.

There’s no better time than now to discover what this amazing country has to offer!

Turkey vacation basics

When I plan a trip these are the websites I use. Hope they help you plan your next adventure as well!

FLIGHTS: I am a huge fan of Skyscanner and WayAway.

VISAS: You can use the free e-visa portal here but for a few extra dollars you can use iVisa and someone else will handle any issues that may come up.

E-SIM: When I traveled to SE Asia I discovered e-sims and I’m never going back. Airalo has been easy and cheap!

TRAVEL INSURANCE: I use TravelInsurance.com for my trips abroad.

CAR RENTAL: I have loved working with Discover Cars when I rent cars in country.

AIRPORT TRANSFERS: I have used these transfers many times and they are always great. If you’d like more options, I also recommend GetTransfers.com as they allow you to compare companies.

ACCOMMODATION: Find the best Turkey hotel deals on Booking.com.

CITY TOURS & DAY TRIPS: You can browse GetYourGuide’s website to find just the tour you’re looking for!

Similar Posts