Ankara is the capital of Turkey and the country’s second largest city. Set on a steep incline high above the banks of the Enguri Su this ancient metropolis has all the attractions of a modern city with numerous reminders of its ancient past from ancient Roman fortifications to Ottoman architecture. Hang out and enjoy a day in Ankara by following our itinerary that takes in some of the best places.
Start your day in Ankara
Make sure you take bottled water with you (it’s not advisable to drink tap water), charge up your camera or pack extra batteries, and take extra layers for cold weather or sunscreen for the summer. Temperatures can be extreme in Ankara, so don’t underestimate the weather or you’ll be heading back to the hotel before long. Women should throw a light scarf into their day bag if a visit to a mosque or holy place is on your agenda – remember to respect the culture of the country you are in.
Although Gençlik Park is just opposite the Radisson Blu Hotel, Ankara, we’ll visit that last of all in our schedule – you’ll see why later. The first thing we think you should do is get some history under your belt with a visit to the nearby tomb or mausoleum of the founder of the Republic of Turkey, Kemal Ataturk. As well as the tomb, there is a museum that charts Turkey’s history and Ataturk’s contribution to making Turkey what it is today. The landscaping around Ataturk’s tomb and museum is beautiful, with lush gardens to wander in and a nice coffee shop for mid-morning refreshments.
Don’t miss: The Road of Lions, a long pedestrian walkway flanked on either side by carved lions, leading to the Ceremonial Plaza.
Citadel of Ankhara
The Ankara Citadel (Ankara Kelesi) is rumoured to have been built by King Midas (he of the golden touch). Whatever the truth of its foundations, the citadel has been a safe haven and refuge for many people over the centuries and has been built and re-built many times over. Today this large fortification is a big draw for tourists looking to get a glimpse of one of the oldest residential areas of Ankara. Explore the wood and mud-brick restaurants and gift shops and bag yourself some traditional Turkish handicrafts and a tasty lunch.
Turkish Baths – Sengul Hamam
After a busy morning sightseeing, there’s only one thing to do – relax in a local Turkish Bathhouse. Since you are in the Citadel head to Sengul Hamam. This authentic bathhouse is over 600 years old but has been recently renovated. Remember to top up your bottled water before you head into the steamy mists and buy your own loofah at the door (using the public loofah doesn’t appeal to everyone). Try the coffee massage (kahva massaj) and emerge clean, refreshed and re-energised for the next activity of the day.
Head back towards Gençlik Park and get ready for some fun at the Luna Park amusements. Once you tire of the rollercoasters there’s plenty to see and do in the park. There are two miniature trains, which are great for families to tour the park, plenty of grass for an evening picnic and even an open-air theatre. But the big attraction and the reason we recommend you visit this park at the end of your day is the evening light and water show that takes place in the main pond. This dancing water show with lasers and video effects is the perfect end to your day in Ankara.
What’s your favourite amusement park ride?