Ankara travel guide

Ankara Tourism | Ankara Guide

You're Going to Love Ankara

Turkey's capital is youthful, innovative, and exciting, with the galleries and museums befitting a great world city, plenty of superb Turkish restaurants, and a cultural calendar that constantly turns up new festivals and exhibitions.

Top 5 Reasons to Visit Ankara

1. A Collection of Fantastic Museums

The star of the show in Ankara is undoubtedly the Museum of Anatolian Civilizations, but Vakıf Eserleri Müzesi also houses a stunning carpet collection and isn't to be missed.

2. A Dynamic Gourmet Restaurant Scene

Dining out is always a pleasure in Ankara. Bolder diners shouldn't miss a kocorec (offal) kebab, while everyone can enjoy gourmet joints like Trilye.

3. The Mausoleum of Ataturk

If Washington has the Lincoln Memorial, Ankara has the Ataturk Mausoleum. This stunning classical structure is a fitting memorial to the father of the Turkish nation.

4. The Nightlife and Shopping in Kizilay

Ankara's trendiest area, Kizilay is one of Turkey's most vibrant shopping areas, and it's the place to be if you want to sample the city's lively nightlife.

5. The Stunning Citadel

Ankara is dominated by the citadel which, aside from being a fascinating historic fortress, also offers extraordinary views (and photo opportunities).

What to do in Ankara

1. Anitkabir: A Grand Memorial Tomb

The Anıtkabir is a monument worth standing before. It is a mausoleum that was designed to honor the burial of Mustafa Kemal Atatürk, the first president of the Republic of Turkey who also led the country's fight for independence, and also serves as his tomb. Made of a mix of concrete, travertine, and marble, the sombre and symmetrical mausoleum features beautiful arcades that surround the ceremonial courtyard. The steps leading to the front are flanked by walls carved with beautiful stonework that are almost Egyptian in style. The vast courtyard facing the front is comprised of gorgeous mosaic tiling. Visit all four of Anıtkabir's main parts to get a sense of its sheer scale: the Road of Lions, the Ceremonial Plaza, the Hall of Honor, and the Peace Park.

2. Kizilay Square: A Square to Remember

The Kızılay Meydanı is also known as the Kızılay Square. Today, it features the meeting point of two major boulevards running from south to north and east to west. The Emek Business Centre lies to its southeast and the beautiful Güven Park is at the southwest corner. It is also home to the Kızılay AVM shopping mall, which lies to its northwest. In May 1960, the Square played venue to a failed coup but today it's a bustling commercial and business center, as well as being a major transportation hub.

3. Ankara Kalesi: A Taste of Old Ankara

The history of Ankara castle goes back several hundred years to Roman, Byzantine, and Seljuk empires. Overlooking the red-tiled roofs of Old Ankara, the Ankara Castle stands tall, with the red Turkish flag flying proud on its peak. Visitors and locals who make the climb to the top are here for more than just a stunning view of an ancient city steeped in significant global history. They're also here to wind around the periphery of the city, which is fortified with 20 towers and move through the beautiful stone-encased alleyways.

4. Kocatepe Camii: The Art of Worship

Somewhere between 1967 and 1987, the conception and subsequent construction of the Kocatepe Mosque began and ended. Its result? An incredible, innovative, and truly modern re-imagining of an Islamic beacon: the mosque. Rivaling any cathedral, the sheer size of the Kocatepe Mosque or the prominence of its sleek and thin minarets is not its only call to excellence. The interiors are flush with high, domed ceilings, intricate and hand-crafted mosaic tilework, and gorgeous chandeliers.

5. Atakule: Spotted in Ankara

The city is not at a loss for monuments and historic sites that either provides visitors with panoramic views of the city or that are large enough that they themselves can be viewed from a far distance on a clear day. The 410-foot-high communications and observation tower Atakule is one of those view-worthy masterpieces. The tower's upper-most section has a revolving restaurant, Sevilla, and an open terrace where the ancient breezes of the East and West meet, while the bottom section features a vast indoor shopping mall.

AnitkabirAnitkabir
Kizilay SquareKizilay Square
Ankara KalesiAnkara Kalesi
Kocatepe CamiiKocatepe Camii

1. Anitkabir: A Grand Memorial Tomb

The Anıtkabir is a monument worth standing before. It is a mausoleum that was designed to honor the burial of Mustafa Kemal Atatürk, the first president of the Republic of Turkey who also led the country's fight for independence, and also serves as his tomb. Made of a mix of concrete, travertine, and marble, the sombre and symmetrical mausoleum features beautiful arcades that surround the ceremonial courtyard. The steps leading to the front are flanked by walls carved with beautiful stonework that are almost Egyptian in style. The vast courtyard facing the front is comprised of gorgeous mosaic tiling. Visit all four of Anıtkabir's main parts to get a sense of its sheer scale: the Road of Lions, the Ceremonial Plaza, the Hall of Honor, and the Peace Park.

2. Kizilay Square: A Square to Remember

The Kızılay Meydanı is also known as the Kızılay Square. Today, it features the meeting point of two major boulevards running from south to north and east to west. The Emek Business Centre lies to its southeast and the beautiful Güven Park is at the southwest corner. It is also home to the Kızılay AVM shopping mall, which lies to its northwest. In May 1960, the Square played venue to a failed coup but today it's a bustling commercial and business center, as well as being a major transportation hub.

3. Ankara Kalesi: A Taste of Old Ankara

The history of Ankara castle goes back several hundred years to Roman, Byzantine, and Seljuk empires. Overlooking the red-tiled roofs of Old Ankara, the Ankara Castle stands tall, with the red Turkish flag flying proud on its peak. Visitors and locals who make the climb to the top are here for more than just a stunning view of an ancient city steeped in significant global history. They're also here to wind around the periphery of the city, which is fortified with 20 towers and move through the beautiful stone-encased alleyways.

4. Kocatepe Camii: The Art of Worship

Somewhere between 1967 and 1987, the conception and subsequent construction of the Kocatepe Mosque began and ended. Its result? An incredible, innovative, and truly modern re-imagining of an Islamic beacon: the mosque. Rivaling any cathedral, the sheer size of the Kocatepe Mosque or the prominence of its sleek and thin minarets is not its only call to excellence. The interiors are flush with high, domed ceilings, intricate and hand-crafted mosaic tilework, and gorgeous chandeliers.

5. Atakule: Spotted in Ankara

The city is not at a loss for monuments and historic sites that either provides visitors with panoramic views of the city or that are large enough that they themselves can be viewed from a far distance on a clear day. The 410-foot-high communications and observation tower Atakule is one of those view-worthy masterpieces. The tower's upper-most section has a revolving restaurant, Sevilla, and an open terrace where the ancient breezes of the East and West meet, while the bottom section features a vast indoor shopping mall.

AnitkabirAnitkabir
Kizilay SquareKizilay Square
Ankara KalesiAnkara Kalesi
Kocatepe CamiiKocatepe Camii

Top activities & attractions in Ankara

Where to Eat in Ankara

Street food is everywhere in Ankara - with kebabs at the fore. But if you want a high-class sit down meal, try Trilye (which focuses on seafood) or Boyacizade Konağı, which is housed in an elegant Ottoman mansion. Meals will cost around ₺15-20 per head.

When to visit Ankara

Ankara in January
Estimated hotel price
$8
1 night at 3-star hotel
Ankara in January
Estimated hotel price
$8
1 night at 3-star hotel

Spring is a superb time to travel to Ankara. Not only is the weather warm (but not stifling), it's also festival season, with dance and classical music every day during the International Ankara Music Festival.

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Temperatures
Temperatures
Average
Fahrenheit (°F)
Data provided by weatherbase

How to Get to Ankara

Plane

Ankara Esenboğa Airport (ESB) is around 20 miles north of the center of town. From there, take the 442 Bus (₺8). Taxis will cost about ₺60.

Train

High-speed trains from Istanbul run into Ankara's station, which is just outside the center of town. However, the subway runs from nearby Ulus, so getting to hotels isn't hard.

Car

From Istanbul, take the E80, then the E89, while the E90 runs from Bursa and the E96 from Izmir.

Bus

Buses to Ankara are cheap and reliable, and terminate at the ASTI bus station, right next to Emek subway station.

Airports near Ankara

Airlines serving Ankara

Lufthansa
Good (1,810 reviews)
Turkish Airlines
Good (1,185 reviews)
Qatar Airways
Good (1,034 reviews)
Emirates
Excellent (766 reviews)
TAP AIR PORTUGAL
Good (454 reviews)
Singapore Airlines
Excellent (226 reviews)
Scandinavian Airlines
Good (397 reviews)
LOT
Good (296 reviews)
ITA Airways
Good (75 reviews)
Malaysia Airlines
Good (38 reviews)
Pegasus Airlines
Good (197 reviews)
Cathay Pacific
Excellent (35 reviews)
Oman Air
Excellent (4 reviews)
Asiana Airlines
Excellent (70 reviews)
SriLankan Airlines
Good (11 reviews)
Royal Air Maroc
Good (113 reviews)
Air Serbia
Good (32 reviews)
flydubai
Good (38 reviews)
TAROM
Good (21 reviews)
Air New Zealand
Excellent (42 reviews)
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Where to stay in Ankara

Ulus - the city's commercial center, Ulus is north of the Old Town and is very handy for ascending to the citadel.

Popular Neighborhoods in Ankara

Kizilay - Ankara's hip, upscale neighborhood, Kizilay is packed with boutiques, bars, restaurants, and achingly fashionable young Turks.

Çankaya - the political hub of Turkey, Çankaya is home to the major museums and galleries in Ankara.

Most popular hotel in Ankara by neighborhood

Where to stay in popular areas of Ankara

Most booked hotels in Ankara

Deeps Hostel
Good (7.9, 393 reviews)
$9+
Hotel Ickale
Good (7.8, 1239 reviews)
$38+
ibis Ankara Airport
Good (7.8, 562 reviews)
$43+
Peracity Hotel
Good (7.7, 58 reviews)
$13+
Gurkent Hotel
Good (7.4, 186 reviews)
$27+
Ulasan Hotel
Good (7.4, 19 reviews)
$29+
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How to Get Around Ankara

Public Transportation

To ride both buses and subway services, you'll need to purchase magnetic cards (Ankarakart). The cheapest costs ₺3.50, while 20 journeys costs ₺35.

Taxi

Standard taxis will charge a basic fee of ₺2.20, followed by about ₺3 per mile.

Car

Cars can be rented from companies like Budget, Hertz, or Enterprise, and will cost around ₺20-25 per day.

Car rental agencies in Ankara

Avis

Avis

Budget

Budget
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The Cost of Living in Ankara

Shopping Streets

Kizilay is the area to visit if you are after boutique jewelry or clothing, but bazaars like Çıkrıkçılar Yokuşu are a better place to find bargain textiles, pottery, or carpets.

Groceries and Other

MM Migros is the dominant supermarket in Ankara, and it's fairly cheap. For example, expect to pay around ₺10 for a gallon of milk.

Cheap meal
$4.31
A pair of jeans
$41.09
Single public transport ticket
$0.72
Cappuccino
$1.96