Stretching along the Black Sea coast, Samsun is one of Turkey's busiest port cities, home to seafaring charm, a lively marina and sumptuous seafood restaurants. History buffs can explore ancient ruins and some of the best museums on Turkey's Black Sea coast.
Things to do in Samsun
You'll find most of the action clustered around Cumhuriyet Meydani, the city's main square. In the centre is a larger-than-life statue of Ataturk riding a war horse. Nearby is the beautiful Gogceli Mosque, which dates back to the 1200s and is one of Turkey's only wooden mosques.
Samsun's waterfront district is anchored by a lively marina dotted with boats, including a replica of SS Bandirma, the ferry that whisked Ataturk from Istanbul to Samsun. The marina is also lined with open-air seafood restaurants. Pamuk Kardesler Balik Restaurant is a top pick, serving local specialties like barbecued anchovy and red mullet.
Samsun's Archaeology & Ethnography Museum offers a glimpse of the city's Roman roots. The highlight is an enormous Romano-Byzantine mosaic depicting scenes from the Trojan War. It's also filled with gleaming gold jewellery, Bronze Age weapons, Ottoman carvings and Hellenistic sarcophagus.
The Amisos Antik Kenti archaeological site offers a fascinating window into Turkey's ancient past. The 3rd-century ruins are perched on the top of Amisos Hill. A signposted boardwalk winds through the site and will take you past rock tombs and ruins. Access is via the 320-metre-long Samsun Amisos Hill Cable Car.
Getting around Samsun
Downtown Samsun is easy to get around on foot. The city is well serviced by a network of trams that run throughout the city centre. You can also use taxis and local minibuses, also known as “dolmuses”. Flights arrive at Samsun-Carsamba Airport, around 20 kilometres from the city centre.