Ankara, Turkey’s capital and second-largest city which is home to a host of ancient civilizations is an attraction in itself. But sadly the city that’s packed with history and culture is often overlooked. How can this place be skipped when two of Turkey’s most important tourist attractions are here? From stunning landscapes to Ottoman castles, from wonderful architectural design to jaw-dropping experience, Ankara has everything to tick off as a top tourist destination. Here’s a list of some of the prominent attractions which will prove that Ankara is definitely worth a visit.

Top Places To Visit In Ankara For A Wholesome Experience

With so many places to see in Ankara, it might get a little overwhelming to pick the best. So here we are to help you choose the best that Ankara tourism has to offer. Here’s our pick of the top Ankara attractions that you just cannot miss. 

Ankara Castle

visit to the castle is one of the best things to do in ankara
A 7th-century castle built on top of a hilltop.

Ankara Castle is one of the oldest sights and the most prominent landmark in the capital city of Turkey. No one knows exactly when the castle was built, but it’s believed that the castle was constructed somewhere after the 7th century. The castle is strategically located on a hilltop, both for defense and settlement purposes. The outer surrounding walls are almost three stories high and the inner section of the castle has two historic mosques (Alaaddin Mosque and Ramazan Semseddin Mosque), a white castle, and a museum. The epic views of the capital city from above make the visit to Ankara Castle completely worthwhile. 

Anitkabir Mausoleum

beautiful Anitkabir Mausoleum in Turkey
Anıtkabir (literally, “memorial tomb”) is the mausoleum of Mustafa Kemal Atatürk, the leader of the Turkish War of Independence and the founder and first president of the Republic of Turkey. It is located in Ankara.

This is where Mustafa Kemal Ataturk, the leader of the Turkish War of Independence who led the people to fight for their liberation was buried. Millions of people from all over Turkey come to pay their respect to the great Turkish leader every year. The lavish architecture and grand feat of design stand proudly against a backdrop of clear blue sky. It is Turkey’s most important modern pilgrimage site and has even been featured on several Turkish banknotes. Apart from the tomb it also contains exhibits of the War of Independence and displays focused on Atatürk’s life. Anitkabir is one of the most significant architectural examples that Turkey has ever seen. 

Anatolian Civilizations Museum

thousands of interesting Anatolian archaeology in Anatolian Civilizations Museum
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Anatolian Civilizations Museum is one of Ankara’s most prominent tourist spots. The Museum is home to thousands of interesting Anatolian archaeology items including the Palaeolithic, Neolithic, Bronze, Seljuq, Byzantine, and Ottoman eras. The beautifully arranged exhibits from the Paleolithic era to the present day take one through every aspect of Turkey and Ankara’s human history. Remains of Anatolian civilizations like earthenware receptacles, stamps and artifacts from all eras can be seen in the museum. In 1997 the Museum was also bestowed with the title of ‘Museum of the Year’ in Switzerland. This museum alone is reason enough to add Ankara to your itinerary.

Genclik Park

best places to visit in ankara
The spectacular Genclik Park in Turkey

Located in the Ulus district of Ankara is the spectacular Genclik Park, another iconic tourist attraction. The vast 69 acres are home to an amusement park, a swimming pool, walking paths, a Ferris wheel, two small trains, and a unique open-air theater. Once the sun is down the entire park gets lit with colorful lights, so an entire day and night of fun can be experienced at Gençlik Park! Not just the tourists but also the permanent residents prefer spending time in Gençlik Park as it is a great place to take a breather from the capital’s hustle. Apart from the many restaurants, shops, and entertainment venues within the park, Gençlik Park also puts on many festivals and events throughout the year. Hence check for festive dates before booking your tickets. 

Kizilay Square

beautifully lit Kizilay square in the night
Ankara/Turkey-February 16 2019: Kizilay Square and skyscraper in the night, Ankara capital of Turkey, long exposure

Kizilay, a neighboring town of Ankara is the main center of the town as this place is always bustling with activities. This is the favorite place for the city’s youth and party lovers as it is the epicenter of the different social hubs. If you are looking to experience the amazing nightlife, then this is the place to be as Kizilay Square is the hub for meet-ups and hangouts. The best part about this square is that it is easily accessible by bus as well as the metro. So the connectivity to other important tourist areas of the city like Guven Park, Ataturk Boulevard, and Selanik Street is great from here.

Atakule Tower

best ankara sightseeing place
Image Source: istock

Atakule is derived from two independent words, ‘Ata’ which means ancestor, and ‘Kule’ which means tower. The 125-meter-high tower from where you can enjoy a spectacular view of Ankara is another top destination you should visit while here. Built-in 1989 by the country’s first president Ataturk, this tower is Ankara’s oldest and Turkey’s second-oldest shopping mall. The highlight of this modern shopping and entertainment complex is its open terrace with an observation deck and a 360-degree revolving restaurant. If the weather is in your favor you can also see the snow-capped mountains of the nearby Anatolia region. The spellbinding panoramic view of the city from above is totally worth the visit. 

Eymir Lake

what to do in ankara
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Just 17 kilometers from the Ankara city center brings you to this beautiful lake that is sheltered inside a natural park. Its calm natural environment makes it a paradise for nature lovers. From cycling to jogging, walking to having a picnic, bird watching to fishing, all these exciting activities make this place the most popular spot for a nature break. The many restaurants and cafés along the lake provide great space to enjoy some lazy breakfast feasts. Some even set up tables near the lake and bonfires during the winter for a great lakeside dining experience. Eymir Lake is so beautiful that not just tourists but even locals love to come here for a walk week after week. 

Aqua Vega Aquarium

View the under water world from Aqua Vega Aquarium
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Visiting the Aqua Vega Aquarium with your family and friends is one of the best indoor activities that you can do in Ankara. If you are interested in the aquatic world and want to know more about them, this is the place to be. Located on the 2nd floor of Nata Vega Outlet (one of the largest malls in Turkey) the aquarium is home to over 12,000 sea creatures. The thematic salt and freshwater tanks with underwater tunnels have different species of fish and sharks. The entire place is well organized and professionally run, making the experience very wholesome. 

Kocatepe Mosque

best architectural designs inside Kocatepe Mosque
Inside view of domes of Kocatepe mosque in Ankara – Turkey.

Standing 288 feet tall, the Kocatepe Mosque (the largest mosque in Ankara) is visible from most parts of the city on a clear day. The mosque is so huge that it can accommodate around 24,000 worshipers at one time. It is stunning Islamic art and intricate carvings are what enchant the visitors. With lavish decor, stunning marble interiors, gold plates, tinted windows, stylish steps, decorative tiles, and large crystal chandeliers is what makes the interior of the mosque looks strikingly rich. The mosque’s four minarets, a large central dome, and the mosque’s terrace from where you can enjoy panoramic views of the city are the highlights of this place. The well-illuminated Kocatepe Mosque at night is a treat for the eyes.

Old Quarter

must see in ankara is the market place
Evil eye beads closeup. Nazar beads. Turkish superstition and tourist souvenir, Grand Bazaar, Istanbul, Turkey. Image Source: istock

End your tour with a visit to the Old Quarter which is a great shopping destination. The place is filled with charming alleyways, bustling shops, and old-fashioned markets which is nothing short of paradise for shopaholics. Is a great place to find unique items, enchanting décor, utility products, and souvenirs to take back home. This is where you can purchase things at a reasonable price if you have great bargaining skills. Apart from being a great shopping point, the Old Quarter is also known for its glorious and rich history. Just a walk in the quarter will introduce you to the different historical structures which have a blend of the old and the new. The Old Quarter is where one can experience real pictures of Ankara in Turkey.

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Packed with endless experiences and historical sites, Ankara is a destination that can change an ordinary experience into an extraordinary holiday. So, don’t wait any longer, visit this historic city on your next vacation and tell us which among the above list of top attractions is your favorite.

FAQs On Ankara City

Why is Ankara worth visiting?

Sitting in Turkey’s central Anatolia region, the cosmopolitan city is home to an impressive selection of attractions and experiences that is absolutely worth a visit from anywhere in the world. To top it all, the very reason that it is one of Europe’s less-explored tourist destinations makes it a top pick from your Turkey itinerary. 

Is Ankara good for tourists in winter?

Winters in Ankara can get cold, snowy, and cloudy, so it’s very important to pack right. With January being the coldest month, the temperature can go down to -5°C (23°F). The Institut Français de Turquie’s Christmas Market is a must-visit if you are planning a trip during this time. Other attractions during the Christmas time are the many book fairs, delicious food, and mulled wine. On the whole, winter is a good time to visit.

What are Turkey’s 3 important cities?

Istanbul which is the king of them all, Antalya which is the second most visited tourist destination, and Ankara which is the capital city are Turkey’s three most important cities.

Is Ankara cheap or expensive?

How do you travel, where do you stay, where do you eat, and how many days? The cost of a trip depends on all these factors. However, a trip to Ankara can be cheaper than any other nearby European destinations if you travel on a budget. 


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