One Day in Ankara Itinerary – What to do in Ankara, Turkey

Ankara, the vibrant capital city of Turkey, beckons with a rich blend of history, culture, and modernity. Situated in the heart of the country, Ankara stands as a testament to the nation’s past and its aspirations for the future. This bustling metropolis boasts an impressive array of landmarks, including the iconic Anıtkabir mausoleum honoring the founder of modern Turkey, Mustafa Kemal Atatürk. Explore the winding streets of the old town, where Ottoman-era architecture coexists harmoniously with modern structures, and indulge in the city’s diverse culinary scene. With its intriguing museums, vibrant arts scene, and warm hospitality, Ankara invites visitors to uncover the layers of its captivating heritage and experience the dynamic energy that permeates every corner of this fascinating city!

One day in Ankara Itinerary

What’s the Best Time to Visit Ankara?

The best time to visit Ankara, Turkey, is during the spring (April to June) and fall (September to November) seasons when the weather is mild and pleasant. Spring brings blooming flowers, while autumn offers enchanting foliage. Summers can be hot, but if you enjoy outdoor festivals, it can still be a good time to visit. Winters are cold with snow, making it ideal for winter sports. Ultimately, the best time to visit Ankara depends on your preferences and the activities you wish to engage in, as the city offers a captivating experience year-round.

Ankara in winter
Ankara in winter, Author: Jorge Franganillo, Source: Flickr

A Few Facts About Ankara

  • Ankara has a unique architectural feature called the “Hittite Sun Disk,” which can be seen on various buildings and public spaces throughout the city. This design element draws inspiration from the ancient Hittite civilization that once thrived in the region.
  • Ankara is known for its traditional handicrafts, including the art of copper craftsmanship. Skilled artisans create intricate designs and decorations on copper objects, such as trays, bowls, and coffee sets, showcasing the city’s rich cultural heritage.
  • Ankara is famous for its Angora cats, a long-haired breed known for its silky fur. These beautiful felines have been bred in the region for centuries and are cherished as a local treasure.
  • The city’s local cuisine features a unique dessert called “salep dondurma.” It is a stretchy and chewy ice cream made from salep, a powder derived from wild orchid tubers. This traditional treat offers a delightful and distinctive taste that is worth trying during your visit to Ankara.
Ankara Cityscape
Ankara Cityscape

One Day in Ankara Itinerary

Welcome to Turkey’s capital! There is a lot to explore here, and the city will teach you so much about the country’s culture and history. But to make the most of your one day in Ankara, you will need to plan ahead – the place is simply too big to cover it otherwise. Follow this itinerary and find the best sights!

Start Your Day With a Visit to Anıtkabir

Check in to your hotel and head to the monumental mausoleum, Anıtkabir that stands as a powerful tribute to Mustafa Kemal Atatürk – the revered founder of modern Turkey. As you approach this awe-inspiring structure, you’ll be struck by its imposing architecture and the grandeur it exudes. The serene surroundings, meticulously maintained gardens, and the overall sense of reverence create an atmosphere that pays homage to Atatürk’s immense contributions to the nation.

Anıtkabir, Ankara 2
Anıtkabir, Author: halbag, Source: Flickr

Exploring Anıtkabir sets the tone for your exploration of Ankara, allowing you to reflect on Turkey’s remarkable journey under Atatürk’s visionary leadership. Head to The nearby Museum of Anatolian CivilizationsConsidered one of the finest museums in Turkey, it offers an extraordinary collection that spans thousands of years of history. The museum’s exhibits are thoughtfully curated, offering a captivating journey through Turkey’s ancient past and providing valuable insights into its historical significance!

Anıtkabir detail, Ankara
Anıtkabir detail, Author: Adam Jones, Source: Flickr

Make Your Way to Haci Bayram Mosque

This historic Ottoman mosque captivates with its architectural beauty, adorned with elegant domes, intricate calligraphy, and graceful minarets. Step inside to experience its serene atmosphere and admire the exquisite tile work and ornate details. Explore the neighboring Haci Bayram Veli Complex, home to the tomb of a revered Sufi saint.

Haci Bayram Mosque
Haci Bayram Mosque, Author: Jorge Franganillo, Source: Flickr

Take time to reflect and pay respects before immersing yourself in the surrounding Ulus neighborhood, where traditional Ottoman houses, charming cafés, and local shops await. A visit to Haci Bayram Mosque offers a chance to connect with Ankara’s religious and cultural heritage, allowing you to appreciate its spiritual significance and architectural splendor! Make sure to check out the Roman Temple of Augustus nearby –  an intriguing contrast to the mosque.

Ulus, Ankara
Ulus, Author: Ankara’dan, Source: Flickr

Visit Ankara Castle

Ankara Castle stands as a testament to the city’s rich history and offers a captivating glimpse into its storied past. This iconic fortress, with its well-preserved walls, towers, and bastions, invites you to embark on a journey through time. Ascend the castle’s ancient pathways and immerse yourself in the tales of empires that once graced its grounds, from the Romans to the Byzantines, Seljuks, and Ottomans.

Ankara Castle
Ankara Castle, Author: osman sözer, Source: Flickr

As you explore, be sure to climb the Clock Tower for awe-inspiring panoramic views that stretch across the modern cityscape. Inside the castle, make sure to visit the Ethnography Museum, showcasing a fascinating collection of artifacts that reveal the customs and traditions of the region’s diverse cultures. Ankara Castle is more than just a historic landmark; it is a living testament to the city’s enduring heritage and provides a sense of connection to the stories that have shaped Ankara throughout the centuries!

Stroll Through Hamamönü

As you wander through its narrow streets, you’ll be captivated by the well-preserved Ottoman-era houses, each exuding its own distinctive character. Admire the architectural details, from intricately carved wooden facades to beautiful bay windows adorned with delicate lace curtains. Hamamönü is not only a visual delight but also a hub of artistic expression.

Hamamönü, Ankara
Hamamönü, Author: Omer Unlu, Source: Flickr

Explore the art galleries scattered throughout the neighborhood, showcasing the works of local artists. Step into these creative spaces and immerse yourself in the vibrant world of contemporary and traditional art, where paintings, sculptures, and other artistic forms come to life.

After working up an appetite, indulge in a delightful lunch at one of the charming restaurants or cozy cafés nestled within Hamamönü. Try traditional Turkish dishes, such as savory kebabs, flavorful mezes (appetizers), or aromatic pide (Turkish pizza).

Shop at Kızılay Or Tunalı Hilmi Avenue

Indulge in a memorable shopping experience at Kızılay and Tunalı Hilmi Avenue, two vibrant shopping destinations in Ankara. Kızılay, located in the city center, and known as the heart of Ankara’s commercial district. Here, you’ll find a plethora of shops, boutiques, department stores, and shopping centers offering a wide range of products, from fashion and accessories to electronics and household goods.

Immerse yourself in the lively atmosphere as you browse through the latest fashion trends, hunt for unique souvenirs, or simply enjoy a leisurely stroll. Just a short distance away, Tunalı Hilmi Avenue awaits with its chic boutiques, trendy cafes, and stylish restaurants.

Kızılay, Ankara
Kızılay, Author: Jorge Franganillo, Source: Flickr

This vibrant avenue is a haven for fashion enthusiasts and food lovers. You can find local and international brands here, savor delectable cuisine, and embrace the city’s modern lifestyle. Whether you’re in search of fashionable clothing, one-of-a-kind gifts, or a culinary adventure, Kızılay and Tunalı Hilmi Avenue offer a delightful shopping experience in the heart of Ankara.

Kızılay, Ankara
Kızılay, Author: Jorge Franganillo, Source: Flickr

Admire the Kocatepe Mosque

As you approach the mosque, its imposing size and striking architecture will undoubtedly capture your attention. The grandeur of its exterior, with intricate details and towering minarets, evokes a sense of awe and reverence. Step inside the mosque and enter a world of tranquility.

Kocatepe Mosque, Ankara 4
Kocatepe Mosque, Author: brewbooks, Source: Flickr

The spacious prayer hall is adorned with elegant chandeliers that cast a gentle glow. This creates a serene atmosphere that invites contemplation and reflection. The beautifully crafted calligraphy and decorative elements on the walls add to the mosque’s visual splendor.

Take a moment to appreciate the meticulous craftsmanship that went into the construction of the Kocatepe Mosque. The careful attention to detail and the harmonious blend of traditional Ottoman design with contemporary influences make it a sight to behold.

Kocatepe Mosque, Ankara
Kocatepe Mosque, Author: Maarten, Source: Flickr

Spend The Evening in Kuğulu Park

A serene green oasis that offers a picturesque escape from the city’s hustle and bustle! Take a stroll around the park’s peaceful lake and find a spot to relax and unwind amidst the lush surroundings. Indulge in the park’s charming cafés or food stalls, savoring Turkish tea or local street food. As the sun sets, the park takes on a magical ambiance, with illuminated paths and enchanting views.

Whether you seek tranquility, leisure activities, or cultural events, Kuğulu Park provides the perfect setting for a memorable evening in Ankara. Enjoy a meal at one of Ankara’s many excellent restaurants, such as Kapi Ankara and if you feel like venturing out just a bit out of the park try Zoie Brasserie & Lounge!

Kuğulu Park, Ankara
Kuğulu Park, Author: Jorge Franganillo, Source: Flickr

End the Night in Ankara’s Many Bars

Ankara offers a vibrant nightlife scene with a range of bars to suit different tastes. Don’t miss out on the evening and visit Parus, located on Şili Square. Here you can enjoy an eclectic atmosphere and indulge in their famous cocktail called Stay Sober, known to be a favorite among locals and visitors alike. If you’re in the mood for a lively pub experience, make your way to Irish Pub in Çankaya, Bahçeli, where you can savor a pint of beer and join in the energetic atmosphere.

Ankara at night
Ankara at night, Author: Jorge Franganillo, Source: Flickr

Another popular option is Minister Pub, situated on Tunalı Caddesi. It is known for its welcoming ambiance and a variety of beverages to suit different preferences. Whether you prefer a sophisticated cocktail, a cozy garden setting, or a bustling pub atmosphere, Ankara’s nightlife has something to offer for everyone!

Bülten Sokak
Bülten Sokak, Author: Jorge Franganillo, Source: Flickr

Where to Stay in Ankara, Turkey

Lugal, A Luxury Collection Hotel

Lugal, A Luxury Collection Hotel

Noktali Sokak No. 1 Kavaklidere, 06680 Ankara

Situated in the heart of the city, Lugal, a Luxury Collection Hotel, Ankara, presents an opulent and unforgettable experience for both business and leisure travelers. With 90 lavishly designed rooms and suites, the hotel offers a sight to behold. Indulge in the exquisite fine dining restaurant, Aruni Restaurant & Bar, where traditional Turkish flavors are elevated with contemporary techniques. The hotel also provides luxurious butler services available 24/7 to cater to guests’ every need. With state-of-the-art amenities including a fitness center, indoor swimming pool, and spa offering rejuvenating treatments, Lugal Ankara ensures a luxurious stay. Each meticulously designed room and suite, furnished with premium amenities, guarantees ultimate comfort. As the first “Luxury Collection Hotel” brand in Turkey, Lugal Ankara leaves a lasting impression, offering a sophisticated haven for those seeking the finer things in life.


The Wings Hotels Neva Palas

The Wings Hotels Neva Palas

Esat Cad. No:32 Kucukesat, 06660 Ankara

Located in the city center on Küçükesat Avenue, The Wings Hotels Neva Palas offers a convenient and comfortable stay in Ankara. Within walking distance to Kizilay, Tunali Hilmi Avenue, and shopping districts, the hotel’s prime location is complemented by panoramic city views from its restaurant. The well-appointed rooms feature amenities such as flat-screen TVs, air conditioning, and minibars. Guests can enjoy a delicious buffet breakfast and sample local cuisine at the restaurant, which holds a certificate from Chaine des Rotisseurs. With complimentary Wi-Fi and free private parking, the hotel provides a hassle-free experience. The Wings Hotels Neva Palas also offers a pick-up service from Ankara Esenboğa Airport!


Mimi Hotel Ankara

Mimi Hotel Ankara

Kazim Ozalp Mah. Kuleli Sok. No: 51 Cankaya, 06540 Ankara

Mimi Hotel Ankara provides a rejuvenating experience with its spa center, featuring a Turkish bath, sauna, and hot tub. The hotel boasts modern rooms equipped with air conditioning and complimentary Wi-Fi. Guests can take advantage of the convenience of free private parking on site. Each room is well-appointed with amenities including a satellite TV, safe box, and minibar. The marble bathrooms offer a shower, toilet, hairdryer, and complimentary toiletries. Start the day with a choice of a breakfast plate or an open buffet breakfast, and savor selected dishes from Ottoman, Turkish, and international cuisine at the à la carte restaurant for lunch and dinner. Conveniently located, Mimi Hotel Ankara is just a 5-minute drive from Tunalı Hilmi Avenue and a 10-minute drive from the vibrant Kizilay district.


Day Trips From Ankara


In Cappadocia, you’ll find yourself surrounded by nature. So, if you like hiking and walking, you should fully embrace the stunning landscapes. Of course, you can enjoy a hot air balloon ride to witness the breathtaking views. Beyond the natural beauty, however, Cappadocia also offers a wealth of historical and cultural landmarks. Exploring the intriguing underground cities once inhabited by early Christians is a fascinating journey into the past. Additionally, a visit to the Goreme Open Air Museum allows you to admire the intricately decorated cave churches with vibrant frescoes. For a taste of local culture, attending a Cultural Night event can be an entertaining experience. Do be aware, however, that these events can be quite tourist-oriented. Organized day tours are a popular choice to make the most of your time in Cappadocia and to discover even more of what this captivating region has to offer.



Safranbolu is renowned for its well-preserved Ottoman houses. Located in Çarşı and the Bağlar neighborhood, they are the reason why this is a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Don’t miss the opportunity to visit Mencilis (Bulak) Cave, located just 3 km from the city center, known as the 4th largest cave in Turkey. When wandering through the town, make sure to explore Cinci Hanı, a grand hotel situated in the heart of the old town. To get a glimpse inside the historical houses, visit one of the historic homes open to the public. Kaymakamlar Müze Evi, located above Bastoncu Pansiyon, and a visit to Hıdırlık Tepesi for its stunning views are highly recommended. Safranbolu offers a mix of cultural, historical, and natural attractions for a fulfilling experience.



A short speed-train ride away lies a city rich in history, culture, and spirituality. As the birthplace of the mystical poet and philosopher Rumi, Konya holds significant religious importance as a center of Sufism and Whirling Dervishes. The city’s iconic landmark is the Mevlana Museum, a mausoleum and spiritual center dedicated to Rumi. Visitors can explore the museum and witness mesmerizing Sufi rituals and performances. Konya also boasts architectural marvels such as the Selimiye Mosque and the Alaaddin Hill, offering panoramic views of the city. The city’s bustling bazaars and markets invite you to experience its vibrant atmosphere and taste traditional Turkish cuisine. Konya’s annual Mevlana Festival attracts travelers from around the world, celebrating the life and teachings of Rumi through music, dance, and poetry!


Extra Tips for Visiting Ankara, Turkey

  • If you have time, catch a performance at the Ankara State Opera and Ballet or one of the city’s theaters for a dose of cultural entertainment.
  • Depending on the day of the week and your interests, you may also consider visiting other attractions such as the Atatürk Forest Farm and Zoo, the Museum of Contemporary Art
  • For a glimpse into Turkey’s darker history visit the Ulucanlar Prison Museum
  • Experience the Culinary Delights: Ankara is known for its diverse culinary scene. Sample traditional Turkish dishes like kebabs, gözleme (stuffed flatbread), and baklava at local eateries and restaurants. Don’t forget to try Ankara’s regional specialty, döner kebab, which is a must-try street food.
Turkish baklava, Ankara
Turkish baklava, Author: Jorge Franganillo, Source: Flickr
  • Embrace Haggle Culture at Bazaars and Markets: When visiting bazaars and markets in Turkey, such as the Grand Bazaar in Istanbul, bargaining is a common practice. Don’t be afraid to negotiate the price and haggle with the sellers. However, maintain a friendly and respectful attitude throughout the process.
  • Respect Local Customs and Traditions: Turkey is a country with rich cultural heritage and traditions. Show respect to the local customs by dressing modestly, especially when visiting religious sites, and being mindful of your behavior in public spaces. Remember to remove your shoes before entering mosques and follow any guidelines or instructions given by locals or authorities.
Ankara bazaars
Ankara bazaars, Author: Jorge Franganillo, Source: Flickr

Make sure you have everything you need

What to pack for your next trip?

Make your next trip as simple and as enjoyable as possible by packing smart. It’s amazing how much stress top travel items can save you, so choose carefully.
Things like lightweight travel backpacks, for example, are ideal for short trips and allow you to move around with ease, and a passport holder will make sure you keep your documents safe at all times.
Check our travel checklist guide for 2021 to make sure you haven’t missed anything, and travel to your next destination in style and with maximum comfort.

Romi R
Romi R.
Content Writer at Romi Writer | Website

Romi is a llama coach from Split, Croatia. This sounds made up but it’s true. ​She lived in Toronto, Canada for about ten years, give or take, but she wasn’t working with llamas. She was working in PR, restaurants, daycares, one yoga clothing store. She doesn't know how she got that job as she has never done yoga at that point. She taught English in Colombia and Vietnam. Traveled the world for two years. Then she got into writing. Actually, she was always writing, but then someone paid her to write. Then more people paid because they saw she was making them money. Then it became a thing she does for a living. And here we are now. Specializing in travel, real estate, and digital nomad guides, familiar with SEO, and always ready to learn something new so she can branch out and take over the world.

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