15 Things to Do in Ankara

As the capital city of Turkey, Ankara offers a rich blend of history, culture, and modern attractions. Discover the top 15 things to do when you visit this vibrant city.

1) Visit Anitkabir

Anitkabir is the mausoleum of Mustafa Kemal Ataturk, the founder of modern Turkey. This monumental site is not only a significant symbol of Turkish history but also a marvel of architecture. Admire the grandeur of the monument, explore the museum on-site, and witness the changing of the guards.

2) Explore the Museum of Anatolian Civilizations

Get a comprehensive overview of Turkey’s ancient history at the Museum of Anatolian Civilizations. From Paleolithic era artifacts to exhibits from the Ottoman period, this museum offers a fascinating glimpse into the region’s past. Its collection is rich and diverse, making it a must-visit for history buffs.

3) Visit Ankara Castle

Situated in the Citadel neighborhood, Ankara Castle is a hilltop fortress that dominates the city’s skyline. Walk along the ancient walls, admire the structure’s resilience against time, and enjoy panoramic views of Ankara.

4) Shop in the Old Quarter

The Old Quarter is a haven for shoppers and those interested in local culture. Wander through the bustling markets, haggle over traditional crafts, textiles, and antiques, and soak in the lively atmosphere.

5) Visit the Haci Bayram Mosque

Step into the serene world of Haci Bayram Mosque, an Ottoman-era mosque located in the city center. Its traditional architecture and tranquil courtyard make it a peaceful retreat amidst the city’s hustle and bustle.

6) Explore the Roman Baths

Take a journey back in time with a visit to Ankara’s Roman Baths. Dating back to the 3rd century AD, these well-preserved ruins offer insight into the leisurely activities of the ancient Romans.

7) Soak in the views from Atakule Observation Tower

Offering stunning panoramic views of the city, the 125-meter-high Atakule Observation Tower is a must-visit. The tower also features a revolving restaurant at the top, perfect for a meal with a view.

8) Spend a day at Genclik Park

Genclik Park is a green oasis in the heart of Ankara. This large park features a lake, amusement park rides, and plenty of cafes for a leisurely day out.

9) Take a free walking tour of the city

Get to know Ankara intimately with a free walking tour of the city. Explore Ankara’s landmarks, learn about its history and culture, and uncover hidden gems with an experienced guide.

10) Visit the State Museum of Paintings and Sculpture

Art enthusiasts should not miss the State Museum of Paintings and Sculpture. Showcasing Turkish art from the late 19th century to the present day, it offers a unique perspective on Turkey’s artistic evolution.

11) Catch a performance at the Ankara State Opera House

Indulge in a night of culture at the Ankara State Opera House. With a calendar filled with opera, ballet, and other performances, it’s an excellent opportunity to appreciate Turkey’s performing arts scene.

12) Visit the Temple of Augustus and Rome

Witness the grandeur of Roman architecture at the Temple of Augustus and Rome. This 1st century AD temple features a unique inscription known as the “Monumentum Ancyranum,” detailing the achievements of Emperor Augustus.

13) Explore the Anadolu Medeniyetleri Muzesi

Discover more of Turkey’s past at the Anadolu Medeniyetleri Muzesi. Like the Museum of Anatolian Civilizations, this museum showcases the history of the Anatolian region, offering a comprehensive understanding of Turkey’s ancient civilizations.

14) Visit the Kocatepe Mosque

Experience the grandeur of the Kocatepe Mosque, one of the largest mosques in Turkey. Its awe-inspiring architecture and calming atmosphere make it a memorable place to visit.

15) Enjoy Eymir Lake

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Just outside the city, Eymir Lake offers a tranquil getaway from the city’s pace. Whether you opt for a boat ride, bird watching, or simply a leisurely walk around the lake, it’s an ideal spot for nature lovers.

With a balance of historical sites, museums, parks, and outdoor activities, Ankara offers a rewarding experience for all visitors. Its central location also makes it a convenient base for exploring other parts of Turkey.

Frequently Asked Questions

Is Ankara worth visiting?

Absolutely! Ankara, as Turkey’s capital, is rich with history, culture, and vibrant city life. It has a diverse offering of attractions, from ancient Roman ruins and imposing mosques to modern shopping districts and beautiful parks. For those interested in Turkish history and culture, it’s a city that shouldn’t be missed.

What’s Ankara famous for?

Ankara is famous for several things, most notably being the political center of Turkey. It is also well-known for Anitkabir, the impressive mausoleum of Mustafa Kemal Ataturk, the founder of modern Turkey. Additionally, Ankara’s Museum of Anatolian Civilizations, which houses an extensive collection of artifacts from Turkey’s ancient civilizations, is one of the country’s most esteemed museums. Furthermore, the city is famous for its traditional crafts and vibrant markets.

Is 1 day enough for Ankara?

While you can get a glimpse of Ankara’s highlights in a day, to thoroughly explore the city and soak up its atmosphere, more than one day is recommended. If your time is limited, prioritize visiting key attractions like Anitkabir, the Museum of Anatolian Civilizations, and the Ankara Castle. However, for a more leisurely exploration of the city’s museums, historic neighborhoods, and vibrant markets, consider a stay of 2-3 days or more.

Is Ankara cheap or expensive?

The cost of visiting Ankara can vary greatly depending on your travel style. Compared to many Western countries, it’s considered relatively affordable. Street food, public transportation, and entrance fees to museums and historical sites are generally inexpensive. However, upscale dining, shopping, and accommodation can add to your budget. As always, planning ahead and setting a daily budget can help manage costs.