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13 Irresistible Food Museums in Turkey

As a Turkish local, I believe one of the most powerful aspects of Turkish culture is its food tradition. 36 cities in the world are selected as UNESCO’s City of Gastronomy. It is no wonder 3 of these cities are Turkish cities. 

Our country, Turkey, is a melting pot of many cultures. This cultural and historical diversity is also reflected in its food traditions. In fact, Turkish food culture is a fusion of Mediterranean, Middle Asian, Balkan, Middle East, and African cuisines.

Gastronomy tourism is also one of the emerging travel trends in Turkey. If you want to learn how some traditional food is made (besides tasting it, which is always a deliciously right thing to do), I encourage you to visit these food museums.

These museums can bring you closer to Turkish culture in a fun and educational way. In this list, there is no ranking between these museums. All of them provide unique experiences.

The food museum that you should not miss is Pelit Chocolate Museum in Istanbul.

Also, Kostem Oil in Izmir and Degirmen in Kusadasi are definitely excellent places for family activity. These are not only olive oil museums but there are also many activities for kids in these museums.

If you want to Turkish cuisine and regional differences, click here to check my Turkish Food Cuisine guide.

Pelit Chocolate Museum, Istanbul

 1) Pelit Chocolate Museum, Istanbul

The museum has five halls where all artifacts are made of chocolate, which blows the minds of chocolate lovers visiting the museum.

There are many chocolate replicas of historical events and places. Noah’s Ark, paintings telling the history of chocolate, Maiden’s Tower, Galata Tower, Osman Hamdi Bey’s famous Tortoise Trainer painting are just a few of the chocolate art on display.

The museum also has a gift shop. Don’t be surprised if you suddenly find yourself in front of the chocolate aisle after visiting the museum.

Visiting Hours: Everday between 10:00 and 17:00.

Contact: Phone:+90 212 411 13 00 Museum Website

Address: Koza Mahallesi, 1678. Sokak, No: 19, Esenyurt, Istanbul (Sanayi Mahallesi, Evren Sanayi Sitesi, Behind Akbatı Shopping Mall) Google Map Location Link.

2) Kostem Olive Oil Museum, Izmir

The Museum claims to be the biggest olive oil museum in the world. The museum is huge and covers an area of 20.000 m2 (215.000 ft²).

The garden of the museum exhibits different kinds of olive trees to demonstrate the diversity of olive trees. There is also an area specially designed for children. In this area, children can learn the basics of agriculture.

Kostem Olive Oil Museum is designed to provide many activities for kids.

The Museum also functions as a modern olive oil factory, so you can see the real process of modern olive oil extraction. Besides having exhibits on olive oil and its history, the museum organizes woodwork and ceramic workshops.

In the museum complex, there is a restaurant that cooks locally grown products and a boutique hotel. It is a good place for a family day activity or overnight stay.

Visiting Hours: Monday the museum is closed. The Museum is open Tuesday – Friday between 10:00-17:00 and weekends between 10:00-18:00.

Contact: Phone:+90 212 411 13 00 Museum Website

Address: Uzunkuyu Village, Urla Google Map Location Link.

3) Oleatrium Olive and Olive History Museum, Aydın

Degirmen is a fantastic place. The museum is part of a big complex. There is a la carte restaurant, a lakeside breakfast place, another traditional cuisine restaurant, a grocery store, and a horse riding park. The complex as a whole is called Degirmen (“Windmill”).

Suggested Reading: Check out my Kusadasi Guide if you are near the Oleatrium Olive and Olive History Museum to learn more about the area.

Degirmen is 15 minutes driving distance to Kusadasi city center.

The complex is huge and very family-friendly. I have been there at least once a year with my family because it is literally 5 minutes driving distance from our summer house.

The museum also has extensive outdoor areas. Image courtesy of Oleatrium Olive and Olive History Museum

The museum part covers an area of 3000 m2 (32300 ft²). It has 11 exhibition halls. The exhibitions start from the ancient era to modern olive oil technologies.

In the complex, there are many activities for kids and adults like horseback riding. You can interact with freely roaming animals and eat locally grown fresh vegetables dishes. Their meat dishes are also excellent.

Ponies are wandering freely in Degirmen.

Visiting Hours: Everyday between 09:30 and 17:00.

Contact: Phone:+90 256 681 21 48 Museum Website

Address: Davutlar, Caferli Mahallesi, Ataturk Cd. No:128 Kusadası Google Map Location Link.

“There is two liquid required for humans. Olive oil for the outside and wine for the inside.” Roman naturalist Pliny the Elder (AD 23- 79) Image courtesy of Oleatrium Olive and Olive History Museum

4) Kutman Wine Museum, Tekirdag

The museum relies on the century-old family tradition of the Kutman family and their wine production business. In the museum, you can see the first instruments the Kutman family used in winemaking, the accounting, the land registry, and population records from the 1911 Ottoman period.

Kutman Wine Museum
Photo courtesy of Kutman Wines

There are art and photo galleries in the museum and many artifacts that Adnan Kutman collected all around the world. Do not forget to enjoy the atmosphere with a glass of delicious wine at the end of your trip.

Visiting Hours: It is open to visitors between 10:00 and 13:00, 14:00, and 20:00 every day of the week except Thursday.

Contact: Phone: +90 282 528 85 85 Museum Website

Address: Mürefte Mahallesi, Yalı Caddesi, No: 67, Tekirdag Google Map Location Link.

Gaziantep is of UNESCO’s city of Gastronomy.
Photo courtesy of UNESCO

5) Emine Gogus Culinary Museum, Gaziantep

Gaziantep is a metropolitan city that has always been an important trading hub since ancient times. The city is also famous for its rich culinary culture. Even Turkish locals take their weekend breaks flying to Gaziantep to enjoy the food of Gaziantep.

In my early professional law as a lawyer, I used to work in a big law firm in Istanbul. Whenever there was a legal hearing or something in Gaziantep, there were strong discussions about who would go to Gaziantep. We used to draw a lottery to determine the lucky one. Gaziantep food is that good. 

Emine Gogus Culinary Museum is established to promote the traditional cuisine culture of Gaziantep. You can witness the ancient culinary tradition of Gaziantep, unique food-making tools and techniques. The museum also has a gift shop where you can buy unique spices and copper kitchen tools.

Gaziantep is one of UNESCO’s City of Gastronomy but better. It is one of the best places to eat in this world.

Visiting Hours: The museum is open to the public 7 days a week. The working hours are between 08.30-17.30.

Address: Karagoz Mh., 27240 Sahinbey/Gaziantep. Google Map Location Link.

Contact: Phone: +90 342 232 66 16 Museum Website

Entrance of the Erzurum Museum
photo courtesy of Historic Erzurum Houses

6) Historic Erzurum Houses, Erzurum

Eleven of the traditional Erzurum houses now function as a restaurant and a museum. In this museum, you will experience the atmosphere of 1850s Turkish life.

You can witness the Turkish history and culture at the same time while you try local dishes in this museum.There are herbs and vegetables unique to this region, you should definitely try them. 

My personal favorite is Çağ Kebabı. It is very similar to Doner, Gyro, or Shawarma, but the cooking technique is very different. It is not horizontally cooked like doner, and it is vertically cooked. You can think this is a small difference, but the taste difference is certainly huge.

I have been to Erzurum several times, and I always returned home feeling sorry for eating too much. Some nights, you also enjoy locals playing unique Turkish music.

Visiting Hours: It is open every day of the week between 08.30-23.30.

Address: İbrahim Paşa Mh., Yüzbaşı Reşit Bey Sokak, 25200 Yakutiye/Erzurum GoogleMap Location Link.

Phone: +90 442 213 83 72 Museum Website

7) Medicinal and Aromatic Plants Museum, Hatay

Hatay is another city selected as UNESCO’s City of Gastronomy.  This is the only museum in Turkey dedicated to Turkey’s local aromatic and medicinal plants. 

There are many food festivals in this city reflecting Hatay’s unique cuisine. Some of the recurring food festivals in Hatay and their approximate dates are below.

  • Hatay Kunafah Festival (July 21-23)
  • Payas Caravansary Festival (September 1)
  • İskenderun Fried Fish Sandwich Festival (March 28)
  • International Erzin Citrus Festival (November)
  • Erzin Olive and Olive Oil Festival (October 15-16)
  • Hatay Daphne Festival (October 14-16)
  • International İskenderun Tourism and Culture Festival (July 1-5)
  • International Arsuz Culture and Arts Festival (August 9-16)
  • International Samandağ Silk Festival
  • Kırıkhan Spring Festival (May 9)
  • Samandag July Festival (July 11-14)
  • Akcalı Egg Festival (March 30)
  • Regional Products Fair (April 18-23)
  • Kırıkhan Liver Festival (May 14)
Hatay Kunafah Festival – Every year chefs of Hatay prepare a gigantic Kunafah. Last years’ Kunafah was 75 meters ( 246 feet). Photo courtesy of Hatay Municipality.

Medicinal and Aromatic Plants Museum is a 2 story building that is also an outstanding example of 19th-century Turkish architecture. Samples of over 280 plant species are present in the Museum. The museum staff is tentative, and you can taste some of the local herbs in the Museum.

Here, you can buy unique local herbs which you cannot buy elsewhere. There are many plants indigenous to Hatay with healing properties. You can buy them as gifts for your loved ones or use them personally.

Visiting Hours: It is open every day of the week between 08.30-19:00.

Address: Şehitler, Ayyıldız Sk. No:8, 31060 Antakya/Hatay Google Map Location Link.

Phone: +90 506 529 0975 Museum Website

Demonstration of traditional Afyon kitchen and Afyon cuisine.
Photo courtesy of Afyon House of Culture and Arts.

8) House of Culture and Arts, Afyon

Afyon is the third and latest city added to UNESCO’s City of Gastronomy list. Afyon cuisine is a perfect mixture of Mediterranean dishes and nomadic Middle Asian meat recipes.

Afyon House of culture and arts is not a museum solely dedicated to Turkish gastronomy and culinary arts. Here, you can also witness exhibits of Turkish traditional wedding ceremonies and other aspects of Turkish culture.

If you are a fan of unique food like me, you should not leave Afyon without trying Turkish Delight with milk cream. This food is absolutely crazy.

Visiting Hours: It is open every day of the week between 10:00-17:30. It is closed on Wednesdays.

Address: Akmescit, Afyonkarahisar Belediyesi Kültür ve Sanat Evi, Belediye Çarşısı Sokak No:3 Google Map Location Link.

Phone: +90 272 2144255 Museum Website

Traditional cooking preparations.
Photo courtesy of Hacıbanlar Museum

9) Hacıbanlar Culinary Museum, Sanlıurfa

Urfa is one of the best places to eat kebabs in Turkey. This city’s kebab unique kebab recipe is so famous that you can find Urfa-style kebab on every kebab-selling restaurant in Turkey.

The museum is a historic Urfa house. You can witness many aspects of Turkish food and culinary culture in this museum. The museum also organizes cooking classes.

Visiting Hours: It is open every day of the week between 09:00-17:00. It is closed on Mondays.

Address: Camikebir, 1349. Sk. No:3, 63210 Merkez Google Map Location Link.

Phone: 0531 592 23 43 Museum Website

10) Zavot Cheese Museum, Kars

This is a very small museum. Its uniqueness leads me to include this museum on my list. The museum is built upon renovated ruins of a 100 years old cheese factory. The museum has two rooms, one room for old cheese-making tools and the second is for informational boards.

As a local living on the other side of the country, I have been lucky enough to visit Kars several times. Kars is famous for its cheeses. I have never been disappointed with the fantastic cheese I bought here. Yet, I was not too fond of the food served in restaurants in Kars. Maybe it was just me.

Address: Boğatepe Village Kars Google Map Location Link.

Phone: 0531 592 23 43 Museum Website

You can witness the evolution of olive tools in the Historical Olive Oil Tools Museum.
Photo courtesy of Historical Olive Oil Tools Museum.

11) Historical Olive Oil Tools Museum, Balikesir

The museum is established by the Ertur family. The museum is all about olive oil extraction techniques and historical tools. The exhibitions begin from ancient Roman times and end in the Steam age. All the tools and historical artifacts are collected from the Aegean region. 

Address: Zeytinli, 10305 Edremit/Balıkesir Google Map Location Link.

Phone: +90 266 392 13 46 Museum Website

12) Adatepe Olive Oil Museum, Canakkale

This is the oldest olive oil museum and designed to be more than a museum. The museum is also designed as a place where you can spend a relaxing time with your family.

In the museum part, ancient olive oil extraction techniques, tools, and cultural items are exhibited. 

In its cafe, you enjoy various herbal teas, fresh orange juice, various coffees, and cold drinks. There are also snacks like freshly baked thick, crispy village bread dipped into equally fresh ‘extra virgin olive oil’. The cafe also offers local dishes cooked with local olive oil.

Visitors can also experience pure olive oil soap making. Museum shops offer many hand-made items, ceramic bottles of olive oil, olive oil soaps.

Visiting Hours: Everday between 09:00 and 17:30.

Contact: Phone:+90 286 752 1303 Museum Website

Address: Sahil, Adatepe Zeytinyağı Müzesi, 17980 Küçükkuyu/Ayvacık Google Map Location Link.

13)Dulkadiroglu Culinary Museum, Kahramanmaras

According to Dulkadiroglu Municipality, this museum also offers free local food. Yet, there is not much information about this museum if you are around, and why not take a look and comment down below.

Dulkadiroglu Culinary Museum

Visiting Hours: Everday between 09:00 and 17:30.

Contact: Phone:+90 344 212 4600

Address: Kurtuluş, 46100 Dulkadiroğlu/Kahramanmaraş Google Map Location Link.