Turkey! A name that makes you want to pack your bags and go! The land of Ottoman history, sparkling Mediterranean beaches, vibrant neighborhoods, baklavas, and delicious cafes… If I continue, I can talk about the allure of traveling to Turkey until morning, but hearing is not like seeing, is it?
That’s why we didn’t settle for a simple description and rolled up our sleeves to prepare a comprehensive and detailed guide to traveling to Turkey for you. Whether you’re planning your first trip to Turkey or seeking a different and dream-like experience in a return visit, this article is for you! We aim to turn your trip to Turkey into the sweetest experience of your life, so stay with us.
Table of Contents
Brief and useful information about Turkey
Turkey is known for its strategic location as it is situated in Southeastern Europe and Northwestern Asia, serving as a bridge between two continents. Due to its unique location, it shares borders with two European countries and six Asian countries. It is surrounded by the Black Sea, the Mediterranean Sea, the Aegean Sea, and the Sea of Marmara from the north, south, and west respectively.
Turkey is one of the most tourist-friendly countries globally (to get a better sense, let’s say that this country attracted only forty-two million foreign tourists in 2014). The reasons for this popularity include numerous tourist cities, luxury hotels and restaurants, rich culture and history, and abundant natural landscapes and recreational beaches.
3-Language, Religion, Currency
A significant percentage of the population in this country speaks Turkish, specifically Istanbul Turkish. The official religion of the country is Islam. The official currency is the Turkish Lira, and for information on its latest exchange rate, you can simply search on Google.
As we mentioned, Turkey is surrounded by the sea from multiple directions, so you can expect a generally humid climate in most cities. However, the weather in this country is a combination of Mediterranean, subtropical, and oceanic climates. Further, in the section on the best time to visit Turkey, you will become familiar with the weather in different seasons in more detail.
Planning your travel to Turkey
Now that we have reviewed the basic information, let’s move on to planning your trip. Should you go on a tour or arrange your own tickets? Is it better to travel by air or by land? How can you reduce the costs of your trip to Turkey? Should you bring Turkish Lira or dollars with you? Which cities should you visit? We will provide answers to all of these questions.
The first step to crossing the borders of a country is having a passport. A passport is essentially an identification document issued by your country, serving as proof of your identity in the destination country. Obtaining one is not a difficult or strange task.
2-Visa for Turkey
The visa situation in Turkey is the opposite! This document is issued by the authorized representatives of the destination country, and based on it, the entry request of foreign nationals to the destination country is approved. However, the interesting part here is that you do not need a visa to travel to Turkey! Some neighboring countries or countries with close political and trade relations sign visa exemption agreements.
3-Which type of transportation is better for traveling to Turkey?
Most travelers prefer to arrive in Turkey hassle-free by taking a direct flight. But there are alternative options available! If you enjoy road trips or are open to new experiences, you can choose land or rail transportation for your journey to Turkey.
4-Hotel Reservation in Turkey
Touristic cities in Turkey, such as Istanbul, Antalya, Ankara, and others, have a variety of hotels. To choose the best hotel, first determine your goal. The reality is that popular cities like Istanbul also have a lot of traffic.
So, to avoid spending half of your time in traffic and emptying your pocket with taxi fares, it’s better to choose a location that is close to your priorities. For example, if your intention is to enjoy beach activities, reserve a hotel close to the beach. Or if you plan to go shopping, look for hotels in city centers.
Guide to travel to Turkey in the Best Season
Most of us focus on expenses and reservations when it comes to travel, oblivious to the fact that traveling at the wrong time can waste all those costs! To create a good memory, you need to discover the right season for yourself. Our tolerance and interests differ from one another.
One person may love autumn while another may dislike rainy weather! For this reason, we will explain traveling to Turkey in each of the 4 seasons so that you can choose the best time based on your understanding of your own preferences.
It’s rare to find someone who doesn’t love the beautiful spring season. Spring is a golden season for traveling to Turkey. The gentle sunshine, fresh air, and the aroma of flowers create a paradise for you to have a memorable trip.
If you don’t mind the heat and the crowds, summer can be a great time to travel to Turkey. It’s the peak season for water activities and enjoying swimming and the beach. Isn’t that a great combination?! Additionally, if you’re into shopping and exploring markets, you can enjoy the summer sales from late May to early July.
After spring, the most beautiful season in Turkey is autumn. The crowds and tourist volume decrease, the city takes on an autumnal charm, and everything becomes romantic and peaceful! Hotel and ticket prices also become somewhat lower in autumn. We recommend planning your trip in this season, at the latest until early November. After that, the weather becomes considerably colder, the days become shorter, and exploring the city becomes more challenging.
Traveling to Turkey in winter is not an easy task, but it has its own advantages. Due to heavy snowfall and extreme cold, the volume of travelers decreases. As a result, you can find your desired tour and hotel at a lower price compared to other seasons. On the other hand, the presence of Christmas in early winter gives the city a dreamy atmosphere, and Christmas sales provide a great opportunity for discounted shopping.
Reduce Your Travel Expenses to Turkey with These 8 Tips
Travel is one of life’s most beautiful pleasures that profoundly affects our mood. However, due to the relatively high costs involved, many of us may find it challenging to explore many cities up close. But don’t despair! With simple methods that we explain below, you can have an affordable trip to Turkey and significantly reduce expenses.
1-How much money should we bring for a travel to Turkey?
First, let’s consider which currency is more cost-effective for us, the Lira or the Dollar? This perennial question among travelers to foreign countries often sparks differing opinions! We recommend carrying dollars, or a combination of dollars and Lira.
The reason being that the dollar tends to be relatively stable and provides better value for currency conversion. On the other hand, the Lira is a currency that is useful primarily during travel in Turkey. You can convert dollars to Lira as needed in Turkey and keep the remainder for future trips if any are left.
Please note that you can easily convert your currency at exchange offices. It is worth mentioning that Turks refer to these exchange offices as “Döviz“. You can even find signs with this name at the airport. Another option for currency conversion is banks. Turkish banks are open every day except Saturdays and Sundays, from 8 am to 12 pm and from 1 pm to 5 pm. However, it is important to know that banks charge a commission for currency exchange.
2-Buying Tickets or Tours at the Right Time
Another factor that has a noticeable impact on cost reduction is choosing a less busy time. If you have no time constraints and are not averse to cooler weather, it’s better to plan your trip to Turkey between December and February. During this season, due to weather conditions, the volume of travel decreases. As a result, you can purchase your tour or tickets at a lower cost.
3-Budget Hotels in Turkey
In summary, traveling to Turkey with a tour package offers you a lower rate. However, if you plan to book tickets and hotels separately to reduce costs, consider staying in 3-star hotels or lower. The standards in Turkish hotels may differ from ours, and one should not expect a luxurious room in a 3-star hotel in Turkey. Nevertheless, if you are not too particular, these hotels or even hostel reservations can serve your overnight rest.
4-The Role of Transportation in Travel Costs to Turkey
For getting around in Turkey, you can utilize various urban transportation method.
Taxi fares in major Turkish cities can be high. If you’re looking for a budget-friendly travel option, it’s better to set a limit on taxi expenses. A more economical alternative to taxis are yellow vans known as Dolmuş.
Depending on the city of your stay in Turkey, you can easily use the metro. For example, in the city of Istanbul, there are six metro lines, each covering multiple stations and a significant part of the city.
The exciting experience of traveling by ferry is not available everywhere. Therefore, we recommend using a ferry if your destination allows it. From the Kabataş Pier in the European section to the Kadıköy, Bostancı, Maltepe, and Kartal piers, ferries transport passengers to the dreamy island of Büyükada.
In Turkish cities, just like everywhere else in the world, there are local buses that you can easily use for city trave.
The most popular means of transportation for tourists is the tram. This charming vehicle moves relatively slowly through the city streets, providing you with the opportunity to not only reach your destination but also enjoy the views and the street life.
Key to Affordable Transportation in Istanbul
To conclude transportation, if your destination is the city of Istanbul, as soon as you arrive, get an Istanbul Card. With this card and its balance, you can easily use various urban services, including buses, metro, tram, ferry, cable car, and other diverse city services.
5-Purchasing a SIM Card in Turkey
Turkey has various mobile operators, with the most well-known being Turkcell, Vodafone, and Türk Telekom. You can even buy one of these SIM cards right at the airport by providing your passport and filling out a form.
6-Cost of Food in Turkey
The culinary taste of Turkish neighbors is somewhat similar to our own, and you will certainly become enamored with the flavors of this country.
Touristic cities in Turkey have plenty of luxurious restaurants. To control your travel expenses in Turkey, it’s better not to exclusively seek out such restaurants, and you can enjoy your meals at stalls or chain restaurants. We recommend considering food choices before getting hungry to make a more informed and cost-effective decision.
7-The cost of entrances and tourist places
It’s advisable to plan your daily recreational activities and tours in advance. By doing so, you not only know your daily itinerary but can also check the costs of the tourist attractions in Turkey beforehand. This way, if the entrance fees are too high, you won’t waste time going there.
However, we remind you that having a good time in Turkey is not necessarily related to heavy expenses. You can enjoy the best moments strolling through neighborhoods, walking among colorful shops, or even sipping tea and eating baklava by the pier.
In addition to the beaches, islands, neighborhoods, and other natural attractions, the following attractions in Turkey are also free: Sultan Ahmed Mosque in Istanbul, Suleymaniye Mosque in Istanbul, Zeyrek Mosque, Ortakoy Mosque, St. Anthony of Padua Church (Istiklal), Virgin Mary Church (Ortakoy), Orthodox Church (Balat), Painting and Sculpture Museum, Şerefiye Cistern, Yildiz Park, Emirgan Park, Gulhane Park, Camlica Hill, Yoros Castle, Kapali Carsi and Misir Carsisi (Grand Bazaar), Bosphorus Bridge, and many more.
8-Buying clothes and souvenirs in Turkiye
If you have a limited budget, we recommend prioritizing visits to tourist areas and avoiding shopping centers to minimize the temptation of additional expenses! Alternatively, you can opt for local and traditional markets, as well as outlets, instead of luxury shopping centers.
Buying souvenirs during a tourist trip is not a necessity, and you can allocate your time and budget to visit more attractions. However, if you’re interested, it’s good to know that Turkish souvenirs may include various items such as traditional Turkish clothing, ceramic dishes, copperware, evil eye talismans, handwoven textiles, Turkish coffee, baklava, Turkish delight, spices, and more.
The most beautiful cities in Turkiye + characteristics of each
We have reached the exciting part of the article! Maybe many of us automatically choose Istanbul when we plan to travel to Turkey! There is nothing to say about the beauty of Istanbul, but other cities in Turkey are really worth visiting. Especially if it is your second trip and you want a new experience. Anyway, get ready as we want to take a brief look at the top 8 tourist cities in Turkey.
1-Istanbul:A city for every taste
Falling in love with Istanbul is easier than you think! It doesn’t matter what your expectations are for a trip, Istanbul has something to offer for everyone. If you are a history enthusiast and enjoy exploring ancient sites, the Hagia Sophia, the Blue Mosque, and fascinating museums will leave you amazed.
If you love city exploration and wandering around, Taksim Square and Istiklal Street, colorful neighborhoods, and cozy cafes await you. For shopping enthusiasts, the historic Grand Bazaar and luxury shopping centers are there to be discovered. No matter what your preferences are, Istanbul is a city that caters to all tastes and offers a wide range of experiences and attractions.
2-Antalya: Glittering Beaches and Crystal Clear Waters
Antalya! The main reason for the popularity of this city is its magnificent beaches. Various beaches like Lara, Konyaalti, Patara, Kemer, and Belek have created a beautiful city that is the perfect choice for relaxation and leisure during holidays. The beauty of Antalya lies not only in its natural beaches but also in the fact that it offers more than just coastal attractions.
In this city, you can find all kinds of luxury hotels, different restaurants, water activities, diving services, jet skiing, and countless other amenities to ensure that tourists have the most exhilarating travel experience and create unforgettable memories.
Antalya is a destination where you can enjoy the stunning coastline, indulge in a wide range of activities, and be surrounded by a vibrant atmosphere that caters to all types of travelers.
3-Marmaris: A Mountainous Haven
You may have heard less about Marmaris compared to Istanbul and Antalya, but I believe it’s a conspiracy by Marmaris tourists to keep this enchanting region from becoming unnecessarily crowded and preserving it for themselves!
This extraordinary coastal town is located in the southwest of Turkey, adjacent to the Mediterranean Sea. Marmaris stands out for its unique natural beauty, nestled in the mountains alongside the sea. Its pleasant climate, beautiful beaches with turquoise waters, a history dating back to 6th century BC, the presence of ancient civilization artifacts, comfortable amenities in the form of various hotels and restaurants, diving services, water activities, and numerous other features make Marmaris a truly remarkable destination.
Marmaris offers a serene and picturesque setting with a harmonious blend of mountains and sea, providing tourists with a peaceful retreat surrounded by stunning nature and a wealth of cultural and recreational experiences.
4-Cappadocia: Fulfilling the Hot Air Balloon Dream
Imagine stepping into a memorable animation. The colorful hot air balloons that we have seen in cartoons all these years are now right in front of our eyes, and we can even ride in one of them! Yes, I’m talking about Cappadocia, the city of balloons. This rock city is located in the central part of Turkey. It is a tourist city with hills and rock houses. If you also have a dream of hot air ballooning, treat the child within you and fulfill the most special experience of your life.
In addition to hot air ballooning, Cappadocia offers comfortable amenities and various hotels, historical attractions and castles, the Love and Rose Valleys, and an intriguing underground city.
Cappadocia is a destination that will captivate you with its surreal landscapes and give you the opportunity to soar above the unique rock formations in a hot air balloon. The combination of natural beauty, historical sites, and the exhilarating experience of hot air ballooning make Cappadocia a truly extraordinary place to visit.
5-Bodrum:The White and Blue Paradise
Those images we see of pink blossom trees and white walls with cobblestone streets are related to the city of Bodrum. This city is located in the southern coastal areas of Turkey. Its beautiful landscapes, coastal villages, and local markets are among its attractions that have attracted many tourists in recent years, including Hollywood celebrities.
The ambiance of this city is so dreamy that its images are featured on many postcards of Turkey. If you visit this beautiful city, don’t forget to visit the St. Peter’s Castle and its surrounding alleys, the Bodrum Village of Bitez, go on a Bodrum boat tour, enjoy a traditional countryside breakfast, and take a stroll in the village of Gumusluk.
Bodrum offers a unique combination of natural beauty, historical sites, and a laid-back coastal lifestyle. The stunning white and blue scenery, along with the rich cultural heritage, make Bodrum a truly enchanting destination to explor.
6-Ankara:Modernity Amidst History
Without a doubt, visiting the capital city of Turkey, Ankara, is a delightful experience. Although most travelers come to Ankara for business, trade, or educational purposes, this historic city has attractive tourist attractions such as the magnificent Kocatepe Mosque, the Ataturk Mausoleum, the Temple of Augustus, the Roman Theater, various museums, galleries, and shopping centers.
In addition to all of these, Ankara hosts interesting festivals throughout the year, including the Ankara Film Festival (April 20th-30th), Ankara Music Festival in mid-April, Buyuk Ankara Festival in August, and more.
Ankara offers a blend of modernity and history, with its unique architectural landmarks and cultural events. Whether you’re interested in exploring ancient ruins, experiencing vibrant festivals, or immersing yourself in contemporary art and music, Ankara has something to offer for every visitor.
7-Konya: The Serene City of Rumi
The name of this city has always been intertwined with the great poet, Rumi. For lovers of poetry and literature, visiting this city and experiencing its ambiance up close can be like a meditation. In Konya, apart from the mausoleum of Rumi and Shams Tabrizi, you can also visit the museum that houses artifacts from Rumi’s time.
If you plan to visit Konya, the golden day for this trip is December 17th. On this day, which marks the anniversary of Rumi, a splendid Whirling Dervishes ceremony is held in a magnificent hall.
Konya offers a unique spiritual experience, with its deep-rooted connection to the works and teachings of Rumi. Exploring the city and immersing oneself in its serene atmosphere can be a truly enriching experience for those seeking inspiration and tranquility.
8-Kusadasi:the island of migratory birds
If your heart desires an idyllic and secluded island for a vacation, look no further than Bozcaada! You might find it interesting to know that “Bozcaada” translates to “Island of Birds” in Turkish, and this region is famous for being a haven for migratory birds. This serene and beautiful island offers various attractions such as sparkling beaches, exceptional hotels, historical sites, seaside restaurants, diving alongside colorful corals and fish, markets, and shopping centers.
Bozcaada is a perfect destination for those seeking tranquility, natural beauty, and a chance to observe fascinating bird species. Whether you’re looking to relax on pristine beaches, explore historical landmarks, indulge in delicious seafood cuisine, or simply enjoy the mesmerizing colors of the bird sanctuary, Bozcaada has something to offer for every traveler.
Culture and Behavior of the Turkish People
Turkish people are known for their hospitality and they leave no stone unturned when it comes to respecting and accommodating their guests. They have a tradition of etiquette and respect, and showing deference to elders is an important aspect of family values.
Social interaction among the people in Turkey is highly valued, and they are genuinely warm-hearted. While every city and country has its share of good and bad individuals, when it comes to traveling to Turkey, there is no need to worry about behavior and communication with the locals.
At the end, we recommend learning a few useful Turkish phrases to enhance your communication with the lovely people of this country.
Travel Essentials for Turkey
For your peace of mind and to ensure a comfortable journey, it is good to be aware of the following:
Emergency numbers in Turkey are 155 for the police, 112 for emergencies, and 110 for fire services. Additionally, the number 11882 is the helpline for Persian-speaking individuals in Turkey.
157 is the support hotline of the Directorate General of Migration Management and Foreigners if you find yourself in any potential danger, as they are available 24/7 to assist you.
While Turkey has a reasonable level of security, it is best to avoid drawing unnecessary attention to yourself by carrying a large backpack or wearing a camera around your neck, etc. Take care of your belongings.
Try to always carry some cash with you (especially in smaller cities where credit cards may not be widely accepted).
It’s a good idea to have insect repellent with you, especially during hot seasons and in humid areas.
For getting a taxi, you can use applications like Uber– iTaksi and BiTaksi.
The End of This Journal…
Oh, how I wish I could tell you about the colorful streets of the neighborhoods. About the details of the shops and the taste of the fish sandwich. About the flavorful kebabs and rate the taste of the dishes together! But the truth is, all the beauty and corners of a country cannot be captured in a single article. This relatively long piece served as a guide and a starting point for creating sweet travel experiences in Turkey. Now, we entrust you with the continuation of this journey.
Have a wonderful time, fill the void we leave behind, and please do share your travel experiences with us.If you want to read more articles related to traveling to other countries, we recommend that you refer to the Travel category.