Cittaslow Türkiye: Discover the Charming Tranquility of Slow Cities in Turkey

Last Updated on June 26, 2023 by Goya

From Ahlat to Yalvaç, explore 22 slow cities in Turkey to experience CittaSlow Türkiye tranquillity!

Feature Image for Discover the Charming Tranquility of Slow Cities in Turkey: Cittaslow Türkiye

What are Slow Cities?

Cittaslow, which means “slow city” in Italian, is a global movement that began in 1999 in Italy. Its objective is to promote a more sustainable way of life in urban areas by encouraging community engagement, a slower pace of life, and environmental sustainability. The movement has since spread to countries around the world, including Turkey (Cittaslow Turkey/Cittaslow Türkiye).

The Cittaslow organization believes that slowing down and promoting a higher quality of life can positively impact the environment and the economy, while at the same time inspiring community pride and preserving local traditions.

To become a Cittaslow city, a town or city must meet strict criteria that prioritize the quality of life and community spirit over excessive commercialization and consumption. Some examples of requirements include pedestrianizing city centres, prioritizing local products and commerce, and promoting cultural events and traditions. In essence, Cittaslow cities aim to be “good places to live” rather than just “nice places to visit.”

Since its inception, the Slow City movement has spread globally, with over 230 Cittaslow cities in over 30 countries including Turkey, France, and Japan. Each city is unique, but they all share a common goal: promoting the well-being of residents and ensuring a sustainable future.

For those who live in a Cittaslow city or who are simply passing through, there are plenty of ways to embrace the slow lifestyle. Take a stroll and appreciate the local architecture, visit nearby farms and markets to savour local cuisine, participate in community events and traditions, or simply enjoy the sights and sounds of nature.

All in all, Slow Cities represent an inspiring alternative to the fast-paced modern world of consumption and growth. They point to a brighter and slower future where people and communities are valued over profit, and a healthy and sustainable way of life is not just an ideal but a reality.

Traditional views from Artvin - Home to one of the slow cities in Turkey
By Emine Dermenci on Unsplash

Cittaslow Türkiye: Slow Cities in Turkey [2023]

There are currently 22 Cittaslow-certified slow cities in Turkey, each with its unique charm and character. These cities can be found all over the country, from the beautiful coastal towns to the historic villages in the countryside. Each city has embraced the Cittaslow philosophy and has implemented policies and practices that align with the initiative’s values.

#1: Ahlat, Bitlis

Location: Eastern Anatolia

Things to Do/See in Ahlat, Bitlis

  • Watch the sunset over Lake Van from Ahlat Castle
  • Admire the Seljuk Cemetery, the largest Turkish-Islamic cemetery in the world that is home to more than 8,000 monumental stones made of volcanic red stone from the area.
  • Visit nearby attractions such as Mount Nemrut.

#2: Akyaka, Muğla

Location: Along the beautiful coastline of the Aegean Sea

Things to Do/See in Akyaka, Muğla

  • Explore ancient ruins such as the Akyaka Castle.
  • Stroll along the beach at Gökova Bay (Gökova Körfezi)
  • Enjoy a delicious seafood dinner at one of the waterfront restaurants.
  • Marvel at the crystal clear waters of the Azmak River.
  • Visit nearby Bodrum, full of little gems such as Gümüşlük.
View of Akyaka, Muğla - One of the slow cities in Turkey
By Mehmet Talha Onuk on Unsplash

#3: Arapgir, Malatya

Location: Central Anatolia

Things to Do/See in Arapgir, Malatya

  • Visit 800 year old Büyük Ocak Cemevi (Alevi Cultural Centre).
  • Dip your toes in Kozluk Stream (Kozluk Çayı).

#4: Eğirdir, Isparta

Location: Southwestern Anatolia, north of the Mediterranean Sea

Things to Do/See in Eğirdir, Isparta

  • Visit Eğirdir Castle (Eğirdir Kalesi).
  • Enjoy the views from Akpınar Seyir Terası.
  • Visit Lake Kovada National Park (Kovada Milli Parkı).
  • Relax by the waterfront at one of the seaside cafés.
  • Visit nearby attractions such as Beyşehir Lake or Hierapolis-Pamukkale.

#5: Finike, Antalya

Location: Along the beautiful coastline of the Mediterranean Sea

Things to Do/See in Finike, Antalya

  • Relax on one of the many pristine beaches lining the coastline.
  • Explore ancient ruins such as Olympos and Phaselis.
  • Take a boat tour around the nearby Kaş or the island of Kekova.
  • Try the delicious Finike oranges (Finike portakalı).
Oranges in Finike, Antalya - One of the slow cities in Turkey
By Igor Sporynin on Unsplash

#6: Foça, İzmir

Location: On the Aegean coast

Things to Do/See in Foça, İzmir

  • Spend a day at one of the area’s many secluded beaches.
  • Explore ancient ruins and highlights, such as Foça Castle, also known as Beşkapılar Castle (Beşkapılar Kalesi), the Temple of Athena, and Kybele Open Air Temple.
  • Take a boat tour around Foça’s picturesque surroundings, including marvels like Siren Rocks.
  • Sample fresh seafood at one of the local restaurants.
  • Visit nearby attractions like Pergamon Acropolis or Aphrodisias Archaeological Site.
Beautiful rock formations in Foça, İzmir - One of the slow cities in Turkey
By Doğukan Benli on Unsplash

#7: Gerze, Sinop

Location: On the Black Sea coast

Things to Do/See in Gerze, Sinop

  • Take a walk along Gerze’s waterfront promenade.
  • Go hiking near Saklıköy Cascaded Waterfalls (Sorkun Waterfalls).
  • Cycle to Hamsilos Nature Park and enjoy the views of Hamsilos Bay.
  • Take a day trip to Sinop’s nearby attractions, İnalti Cave (İnaltı Mağarası) and İnceburun. The latter is the northernmost point of Turkey and home to İnceburun Lighthouse (İnceburun Deniz Feneri).

#8: Gökçeada, Çanakkale

Location: Off the coast of Çanakkale in the Aegean Sea

Things to Do/See in Gökçeada, Çanakkale

  • Discover the historical Greek villages of Bademli, Tepeköy, Dereköy, and Zeytinliköy, each offering stunning views of the island and ancient churches that serve as a testament to the island’s rich past.
  • Take advantage of being in one of the premier destinations in Turkey for windsurfing and kitesurfing.
  • Take a day trip to nearby attractions like the ancient cities of Troy and Assos.
  • Explore the nearby olive tree routes of Turkey.
Olives at Gökçeada, Çanakkale - One of the slow cities in Turkey

#9: Göynük, Bolu

Location: Northwest of Turkey

Things to Do/See in Göynük, Bolu

  • Step back in time and discover the unique beauty of Traditional Göynük Houses.
  • Take in the views of the iconic Victory Tower (Zafer Kulesi).
  • Take a day trip to Lake Abant Nature Park (Abant Gölü Tabiat Parkı) to walk, hike or cycle around.

#10: Güdül, Ankara

Location: Central Anatolia

Things to Do/See in Güdül, Ankara

  • Step back in time and discover the unique beauty of Traditional Güdül Houses.
  • Escape the hustle and bustle of the capital in the Sorgun Pond Nature Park (Sorgun Göleti Tabiat Parkı).
  • Marvel at historical İnönü Caves carved into the rocks along the Kirmir River.

#11: Halfeti, Şanlıurfa

Location: Southeastern Anatolia

Things to Do/See in Halfeti, Şanlıurfa

  • Take a boat tour on the Euphrates River (Fırat Nehri).
  • Marvel at the stunning beauty of the ancient sunken city, with highlights such as Halfeti Ulu Mosque (Ulu Cami).
  • Check out the local black roses.
  • Take a day trip to nearby attractions like Harran, Göbeklitepe, or Balıklı Lake (Balıklıgöl).
Halfeti, Şanlıurfa - One of the slow cities in Turkey
By Enes Aktas on Unsplash

#12: İznik, Bursa

Location: Marmara Region

Things to Do/See in İznik, Bursa

  • Go boating or canoeing around Lake İznik (İznik Gölü).
  • Visit the Green Mosque (Yeşil Camii), one of the most important landmarks in Bursa, known for its stunning tilework and intricate decoration.
  • Explore ancient ruins such as İznik Castle (İznik Kalesi).
  • Take a stroll through the Lefke Gate (Lefke Kapı) and İstanbul Gate (İstanbul Kapı) and admire the intricate details of their architecture.
  • Go shopping for beautiful Iznik tiles and ceramics.
  • Take a day trip to nearby attractions like Uludağ National Park.

#13: Kemaliye, Erzincan

Location: Eastern Anatolia

Things to Do/See in Kemaliye, Erzincan

  • Visit the Dark Canyon (Karanlık Kanyon) to enjoy climbing, hiking, rafting, canyoning, and base or wingsuit jumping.
  • Try lök, a local dessert made with dried mulberries and walnut, in Lökhane.
  • Check out the beautiful Kemaliye houses.
  • Enjoy the 360 view from Şahin Tepesi.
  • Visit the humble Prof. Dr. Ali Demirsoy Natural History Museum (Prof. Dr. Ali Demirsoy Doğa Tarihi Müzesi).

#14: Köyceğiz, Muğla

Location: Aegean Region

Things to Do/See in Köyceğiz, Muğla

  • Take a boat tour of the stunning and peaceful Köyceğiz Lake (Köyceğiz Gölü) surrounded by mountains and scenic views. Enjoy the delightful scent of orange blossoms and sweetgum trees and breathtaking views of Sandras Mountain (Sandras Dağı).
  • Visit the ancient city of Kaunos in nearby Dalyan, where you can see the ruins of the city, including a theatre, agora, and baths.
  • See the ancient Lycian Tombs carved into the cliffs overlooking Dalyan.
  • Go to Sultaniye Thermal Springs, with warm water that is rich in minerals and said to have healing properties.
  • Take a day trip to nearby attractions like Gökova Bay (Gökova Körfezi), Iztuzu Beach (İztuzu Plajı) — a protected nesting site for loggerhead sea turtles, or Fethiye.
Köyceğiz, Muğla - One of the slow cities in Turkey
By Burcu on Unsplash

#15: Mudurnu, Bolu

Location: Black Sea Region

Things to Do/See in Mudurnu, Bolu

  • Explore Mudurnu Old Town, filled with beautiful Ottoman-style houses, historical mansions, narrow streets, and old bazaars.
  • Climb to the top of the Mudurnu Clock Tower for views of the surrounding area.
  • Take a day trip to nearby attractions like Lake Abant Nature Park (Abant Gölü Tabiat Parkı) or Gölcük Nature Park (Gölcük Milli Parkı).
Mudurnu, Bolu - One of the slow cities in Turkey
By Emir Kandil on Unsplash

#16: Perşembe, Ordu

Location: Black Sea Region

Things to Do/See in Perşembe, Ordu

  • Head over to Perşembe Plateau (Perşembe Yaylası) to enjoy picnics, paragliding or traditional festivals held over summer.
  • Enjoy the beautiful scenery of Hoynat Island and Bird Sanctuary.
  • Visit Cape Jason (Yason Burnu), a picturesque spot straight out of the Argonauts myth, complete with a church and a lighthouse.
  • Take a day trip to nearby attractions like Ohtamış Waterfall (Ohtamış Şelalesi).

#17: Seferihisar, İzmir

Location: Aegean Region

Things to Do/See in Seferihisar, İzmir

  • Enjoy the calm in this first town in Türkiye to join the Cittaslow movement.
  • Visit Sığacık Castle. Walk along the castle walls and enjoy breathtaking views of the sea, and don’t miss out on the chance to explore and purchase homemade, fresh, and natural products at the market inside the castle every Sunday!
  • Walk through the ruins of the Teos Ancient City.
  • Relax on Akkum Beach, offering crystal-clear waters and soft sand, perfect for swimming, sunbathing, and relaxing.
  • Attend the Tangerine Festival in Seferihisar this November and indulge in mouthwatering delicacies made in the tangerine capital of Türkiye! While you’re there, don’t forget to explore Seferihisar’s renowned winegrowing heritage too.
  • Take a day trip to nearby attractions like Çeşme, Foça, or Şirince.
Seferihisar, İzmir - One of the slow cities in Turkey
By Efe Yağız Soysal on Unsplash

#18: Şavşat, Artvin

Location: Black Sea Region

Things to Do/See in Şavşat, Artvin

  • Discover the natural beauty of Şavşat by taking a trekking or hiking tour in the lush green forests and hills surrounding the town.
  • Visit Tibeti Church (Tibeti Kilisesi).
  • Take a day trip to Artvin city centre, and visit the Artvin Culture House, or head to Atabarı Ski Centre (Atabarı Kayak Merkezi).
Savsat, Artvin - One of the slow cities in Turkey
By Discover Savsat on Unsplash

#19: Uzundere, Erzurum

Location: Eastern Anatolia Region

Things to Do/See in Uzundere, Erzurum

  • Visit Tortum Waterfall (Tortum Şelalesi), the tallest waterfall in Turkey.
  • Visit the magnificent Oshki Monastery (Oşkvank Manastırı), built by the Georgians in the 10th century and dedicated to St. John the Baptist.

#20: Vize, Kırklareli

Location: Thrace Region

Things to Do/See in Vize, Kırklareli

  • Visit Gazi Süleyman Paşa Mosque (Gazi Süleyman Paşa Cami), also known as Little Hagia Sophia Church.
  • Explore ancient ruins such as Vize Castle and the Monastery of St. Nicholas (Aya Nikola Manastırı), one of the best examples of the rock monasteries belonging to the 6th-century Justinian period.
  • Try Kırklareli meatballs, or Kırklareli köftesi.
  • Take a day trip to nearby Kıyıköy or İğneada National Park (İğneada Longoz Ormanları Milli Parkı).
Sunflowers on the way to Vize, Kırklareli - One of the slow cities in Turkey

#21: Yalvaç, Isparta

Location: Mediterranean Region

Things to Do/See in Yalvaç, Isparta

  • Visit the ancient city of Antioch of Pisidia (Pisidia Antiocheia Antik Kenti).
  • Marvel at the rock tombs of Isparta located near Lake Hoyran (Hoyran Gölü).
  • Take advantage of a trip to Isparta, the “rose garden of Turkey”, by picking up some unique rose-related souvenirs (rose oil, rose water, rose soap, rose petal jam and even Turkish delight flavoured with rose petals) that would make for perfect gifts to bring back home.
  • Follow in the footsteps of St. Paul on a historic journey (“The Saint Paul Trail”) that takes you through some of the most beautiful and significant sites of Christian history and culminates in Yalvaç.
  • Take a day trip to nearby attractions like Mount Davraz, Dedegöl Mountain and Barla Mountain for a hike, or to hit the slopes at Davraz Ski Resort (Davraz Kayak Merkezi).

#22: Yenipazar, Aydın

Location: Aegean Region

Things to Do/See in Yenipazar, Aydın

  • Experience the unique and almost-forgotten Yörük culture, a vital part of Turkish heritage. Traditionally nomadic shepherds, the Yörüks once roamed Anatolia and Rumelia, but their lifestyle is slowly disappearing as many have settled in cities. However, the Yörüks of Yenipazar, located in the southwestern province of Aydın, continue to preserve their culture and way of life.
  • Immerse yourself in the history of Turkish Independence and honour a national hero by visiting Yörük Ali Efe House. Head over to Yenipazar today to explore his personal items and learn more about the freeing of Western cities during the war.
  • Visit the ruins of the ancient city of Orthosia just outside the town. 

Slow City No More: Taraklı, Sakarya

This quiet town in the northwest of Turkey may have lost its slow city status as of May 2022, rest assured that it is mainly due to a clerical error and not any major changes to the city itself. Visitors to Taraklı, Sakarya can still enjoy the city’s cobblestoned streets and Ottoman-era architecture and check out its local bazaar for souvenirs.

Recap: Slow Cities in Turkey

  • #1: Ahlat, Bitlis
  • #2: Akyaka, Muğla
  • #3: Arapgir, Malatya
  • #4: Eğirdir, Isparta
  • #5: Finike, Antalya
  • #6: Foça, İzmir
  • #7: Gerze, Sinop
  • #8: Gökçeada, Çanakkale
  • #9: Göynük, Bolu
  • #10: Güdül, Ankara
  • #11: Halfeti, Şanlıurfa
  • #12: İznik, Bursa
  • #13: Kemaliye, Erzincan
  • #14: Köyceğiz, Muğla
  • #15: Mudurnu, Bolu
  • #16: Perşembe, Ordu
  • #17: Seferihisar, İzmir
  • #18: Şavşat, Artvin
  • #19: Uzundere, Erzurum
  • #20: Vize, Kırklareli
  • #21: Yalvaç, Isparta
  • #22: Yenipazar, Aydın

Cittaslow Türkiye, or slow cities in Turkey, offer a unique and unforgettable experience for travellers looking to escape the hustle and bustle of city life. From Uzundere’s secluded beaches to Yenipazar’s bustling bazaars, these peaceful towns provide visitors with an opportunity to explore the stunning natural beauty, traditional Turkish cuisine, and rich cultural heritage. Whether you’re looking for relaxation or adventure, slow cities in Turkey have something for everyone.

So come explore the fascinating small towns of this beautiful country – you won’t be disappointed!


Pinterest Pin that says "Cittaslow Türkiye: Slow Cities in Turkey"
Pinterest Pin that says "Explore the Slow Cities of Turkey: Cittaslow Türkiye"

Hi there!

Welcome to my little corner for all things London, travel, food and wine! Why not join me on Instagram where you can follow my travel- and food-capades in real-time? Or leave a comment/send a message? I would love to hear from you! Lots of love, GG

Let's be travel friends!

Goya in Spanish Steps

Leave a Comment


  1. No words for this post! I so love the photos.

    Posted 6.3.23 Reply