Santa might live at the North Pole, but he was born in Turkey. To be more precise, he was born in the small ancient town of Patara. And that explains just about everything. First of all, and the most obvious one – the beard. Also, if you search for ‘red sultan costume’ you’ll see where he gets his style from. Furthermore, if you look at the minarets on mosques it makes it clear why he’s got a thing for chimneys. In addition, Turkey is known for its exquisite cuisine so that explains the belly. And where could Santa possibly get all the presents for all the children around the world if not in a bazaar?
Unfortunately, Patara archaeological site is not included on our list. However, if you’re interested in visiting it, you will want to know that Kas (you will see it below on the list) is only a short drive away.
Now that we’ve got all that sorted out, let’s explore other small towns in Turkey! Who knows, it might even give you an idea of what to ask Santa this Christmas.
If you want to explore Turkish culture and its traditional architecture, Safranbolu is the place. Namely, Safranbolu is a stunning traditional Turkish town with rich history and culture, and one of the top 20 best-protected cities in the world. What’s more, in 1994 it became a part of the UNESCO sites in Turkey due to its numerous historic buildings. In fact, the Old Town encompasses more than 1000 historical artefacts. Moreover, these include tombs, baths, mosques, historical fountains as well as hundreds of houses and mansions. In addition, the majority of its old civilian architecture is very well-preserved and resembles an open-air museum. Get ready for some serious sightseeing!
Alacati is a picturesque seaside town located on the west coast of Turkey, near Izmir. So picturesque, that it will make your friends jealous if you show them your vacation photos. This hidden gem of the Aegean Coast, once a Greek town, is teeming with historical sites and interesting stories. Furthermore, one of its main attractions are its houses with windows and doors painted in vivid colours that additionally enliven Alacati’s cobblestone streets. What’s more, the streets are swarming with unique boutiques and cute restaurants and cafes. In addition, you can enjoy a wonderful collection of street art while wandering around the old town. It’s like the entire town is staged for making the most beautiful photos.
Goynuk is a small Turkish town located in the Black Sea region. It is the perfect choice for everyone trying to avoid big crowds as it is still mainly undiscovered by tourists. Thus, if you are looking for a vacation to calm your mind and awaken your senses, this is the place for you! Namely, the town is a member of the Cittaslow organisation whose main goal is to increase the quality of life by decreasing the town’s overall pace. Sounds perfect. However, Goynuk is also brimming with historical sites that include numerous Ottoman-era houses as well as an abundance of mosques, tombs, fountains, and Turkish baths. Nonetheless, as a proper “slow city” it highlights nature, organic foods and tranquillity in daily life.
Gumusluk is a beautiful town located on the coast of southwestern Turkey. This small piece of heaven on earth makes a great getaway and creates even better memories. Moreover, the town’s beachfront offers spectacular views, refreshing drinks and delicious food. However, if you truly want to experience Gumusluk, you have to experience its nightlife. Although small, this exciting town is famous for its nightlife. Namely, there are various bars and clubs along the seafront and some of them even host concerts. And nothing sounds better than some live music as you sip on your drink and enjoy the seafront views. In addition, from June to September the town hosts Gumusluk International Jazz Festival which includes performances from important artists from around the world.
Kalekoy, also known as Simena, is a small fishing town as well as an ancient town with a rich history dating back to the 4th century BC. Furthermore, Kalekoy means “Castle Village”. Any guesses? Bingo! It has a castle. And woah, what a castle it is. Arriving by boat, you can see it rises high above the town and stands proudly. Namely, it is a Byzantine castle built to fight the pirates in the Middle Ages. How cool is that? In addition, besides the fact that the castle itself is a spectacular site to visit, it also includes a theatre and offers absolutely breathtaking views of the coast. Furthermore, if you’re not arriving by boat, the only other option is to arrive by foot. It might sound exhausting but, when you think about it, this is a car-free town and that’s pretty impressive.
What do carrots, excellent natural mineral water and silverwork have in common? They are all that make Beypazari famous. Also, it makes it easy to decide on what to eat, drink and buy once there. Furthermore, the town has a 200-year-old bazaar that is definitely worth a visit, especially if you want to take some authentic local products home with you. What’s more, Beypazari’s cobblestone streets are full of old traditional houses that are nowadays mostly turned into restaurants, shops and hotels. In addition, every June the town hosts a Traditional Historical Houses, Handicrafts, Carrot and stew Festival.
Kas is a popular but still unspoilt tourist destination on the Turquoise Coast of southwestern Turkey. Its stunning beaches and lively streets are the main reasons why many have fallen in love with it. Moreover, the charming narrow streets in the historic city centre are teeming with jasmine flowers whose beautiful scent is spread over the numerous cute cafes and bars. When it comes to activities, there is a wide range of things to do. From trekking and mountain biking to kayaking and paragliding, you sure won’t be bored. However, the most popular activity is diving because Kas has an untouched ecosystem which means it is very likely you’ll be swimming with turtles and fish.
Uzungol is THE place for all view chasers. Namely, this unique town is situated on a lake between the mountains. Furthermore, during different seasons, its picturesque landscapes show how diverse their beauty is. In summer and spring, you can enjoy spectacular views of blooming nature and its vivid colours. However, if you’re more into cool temperatures, during autumn fog makes Uzungol look like it is situated on clouds, and during winter the snow cover makes it look like a fairy-tale. In addition, Uzungol has the best view chasing equipment. That is to say, besides paragliding and the Uzungol Observation Deck, you can try the Uzungol swing that provides awesome views, amazing photos and so much fun.
Sirince was once called Cirkince, meaning “ugly” or “foully”. But not to be worried, it is not ugly. In fact, it is very charming. However, the locals called it ugly so they would keep the foreigners away. It did not work out. Actually, not only did their plan not work, but people started calling the town “cute” and “pretty”, or, in other words – Sirince. However, despite foreigners knowing of this delightful town, it is still pretty laid-back and unspoilt. Moreover, the locals are keeping the tradition alive so visiting the bazaar is a definite ‘must’. What’s more, all food is organic, locally grown and, most importantly, yummy. In addition, Sirince is famous for its production of fruity wines. You can try wines made from raspberries, melons, apples, peaches, and the list goes on and on.
Amasya is a fascinating town with a rich history that goes back around 8,000 years. Namely, in the past, it was inhabited by Hittites, Phrygians, Cimmerians, Lydians, Greeks, Persians, and Armenians. And all of them left some traces. However, the mountain Harsena that rises above the city contains some of the most spectacular attractions. There you can visit the famous Harsena Castle which includes three main sections: Upper Castle (Acropolis), Girls Palace (Necropolis) and Lower Castle (Inner City). In addition, the views from the southern bank of the river Yesilirmak will get that much more amazing if you look up at the mountain and see the Tombs of Pontic Kings chiselled deep into the rock.