Hilvan Travel Guide

A comprehensive travel guide to Hilvan, Turkey, including places to visit, food and drink scene, where to stay, and more.

Introduction to Hilvan

Hilvan is a beautiful town in southeastern Turkey, located in the Şanlıurfa Province. The town is situated on the banks of the Euphrates River and surrounded by stunning natural beauty, including the remains of the ancient city of Zeugma. Hilvan is a popular tourist destination, known for its rich culture, delicious cuisine, and breathtaking landscapes.

List of Places to Visit in Hilvan

If you’re planning a trip to Hilvan, you won’t want to miss these must-see attractions:

Culturally Important Attractions: Museums and Historical Places

  • Zeugma Mosaic Museum: This museum displays beautiful mosaics dating to the 2nd century AD.
  • Belkis / Zeugma Ancient City: This ancient city was destroyed and ravaged by war, but you can see the beautiful remains of it and the artifacts that were recovered.
  • Göbeklitepe: İs situated in Şanlıurfa in the Southeast Anatolia Region of Turkey, and recognized as one of the earliest temples in the world. This temple is believed to be over 11,000 years old, and is a UNESCO World Heritage Site.

Natural Attractions of Hilvan: Outdoor Adventures and Scenic Views

  • Euphrates River: Take a boat trip down the Euphrates and enjoy the beautiful views of the surrounding area. You might even be able to spot some wildlife, such as birds or fish.
  • Karacadağ: This mountain is a hiker’s paradise, with beautiful trails that lead to stunning views of the surrounding area.
  • Harran: is famous for its unique cone-shaped houses built from mud and is a popular destination for photography.

Hiking/Biking Routes of Hilvan

  • Karacadağ Nature Reserve: Hike or bike along the scenic trails of the Karacadağ mountains, which offer stunning views of the surrounding countryside.
  • Harran: Rent a bike and explore the cozy and winding streets of Harran.

Best Things to Do in Hilvan: Activities and Tours

  • Take a tour of Göbeklitepe: one of the most important spiritual centers in the world.
  • Visit the Belkis / Zeugma Ancient City and Museum to learn more about the rich history of the area.
  • Take a boat tour down the Euphrates River to see the beautiful scenery and wildlife of the area.

Week-Long Itinerary for Hilvan

Day Activity
Day 1 Tour of Göbeklitepe
Day 2 Explore the Belkis / Zeugma Ancient City and Museum
Day 3 Hike or bike in Karacadağ Nature Reserve
Day 4 Take a boat tour along the Euphrates River
Day 5 Visit the Harran city
Day 6 Relax on the riverside
Day 7 Souvenir shopping in the bazaars

Food and Drink Scene of Hilvan

Must-Try Dishes

  • Keme Soğanı Kömbesi: Hilvan is known for this keme onion pastry, which is stuffed with ground meat and spices.
  • Alinazik: A delicious eggplant dish, Alinazik is made with yogurt, garlic, and lamb, and is often served with rice.

Local Beverages

  • Ayran: A refreshing yogurt-based drink that is perfect for hot weather.
  • Şalgam Suyu: A spicy fermented juice made from turnips, Şalgam Suyu is a favorite local beverage.

Where to Stay in Hilvan: Hotels, Hostels, and Guesthouses

There are several great options for accommodation in Hilvan, including:

  • Zeugma Hotel: This hotel offers comfortable rooms with all modern facilities, an outdoor pool and easy access to main attractions.
  • Komer Hotel: A boutique hotel that offers comfortable rooms with views of the Euphrates and an on-site restaurant serving traditional Turkish cuisine.

What to Buy in Hilvan: Souvenirs and Local Products to Bring Home

  • Handmade pottery: Hilvan is famous for its beautiful handmade pottery, which makes for a unique and special souvenir.
  • Rugs and Kilims: Locally made rugs and kilims are a great way to bring a piece of Hilvan back home with you.

Local Culture and Customs of Hilvan

Hilvan is home to a rich culture and history, which can be seen in everything from the local cuisine to the traditional handicrafts. The people of Hilvan are warm and welcoming, and visitors are often treated like family.

Best Time to Visit Hilvan

The best time to visit Hilvan is during the spring and autumn months, when the weather is mild and comfortable. Summer months can be hot, but if you’re looking for a warmer and sunnier experience it might be the perfect time to go.

Do’s and Don’ts of Hilvan


  • Try the local cuisine, which is delicious and unique to the area.
  • Visit the museums and historical sites to learn more about the rich history of the area.
  • Be respectful of the local customs and traditions.


  • Ignore the traditional dress and customs, always put respect first.
  • Leave your camera: Image lovers will want to snap photos of the stunning views and attractions in Hilvan.

Safety and Health

Safety in Hilvan

Hilvan is a safe place to visit, with a low crime rate and friendly people. As with any tourist destination always take care of your belongings and don’t risk being out later than necessary.

Health in Hilvan

You should take the usual precautions when travelling to Hilvan, including drinking bottled water, and bringing a basic first aid kit with you just in case.

Getting to Hilvan: Transportation Options and Logistics

Airports Near Hilvan

The nearest airport to Hilvan is the Sanliurfa GAP Airport, which is located about an hour away from the town. There are regular flights to Istanbul from Sanliurfa, while some airlines fly directly to Europe.

Bus Stations Near Hilvan

The Şanlıurfa Bus Terminal is the closest bus station to Hilvan. You can reach Hilvan by bus from the major cities in Turkey, like Istanbul, Ankara, and Izmir.

Other Options

Private transfers from airports or other cities can be arranged online or with travel agents in Turkey.

How to Get Around in Hilvan

Hilvan is a small town, and the best way to get around is on foot or by bike or even a scooter which can be rented from the town’s central office.

Where to Go Next from Hilvan: Nearby Destinations and Excursions

  • Şanlıurfa: Explore the bustling markets and learn about local history in this nearby city.
  • Harran: Known for its unique cone-shaped houses and ancient ruins, Harran is a fascinating destination.


Hilvan is a beautiful and welcoming destination that offers something for everyone, from history and culture to outdoor adventures and delicious cuisine. With this comprehensive travel guide, you’re sure to have a wonderful and memorable trip to Hilvan.