Turkey Travel Guide

Continent: Europe and Asia
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Turkey Travel Essentials

Ideal Duration: 7-10 days for exploring Istanbul, Cappadocia, and the Mediterranean coast; 2 weeks for a broader exploration including Ephesus and Pamukkale

Currency: New Turkish Lira (YTL)

Best Time: April to May, September to November (Spring and Autumn) Read More

Visa Policy for Indians:
E-visa available

Visa Policy for Other Nationals:
E-visa or Visa on Arrival for many countries

Getting In Turkey:
Istanbul Airport (IST), Sabiha Gökçen International Airport (SAW) in Istanbul, Antalya Airport (AYT) in Antalya Read More

Getting Around Turkey:
Buses, trams, Istanbul Metro, domestic flights Read More

"Blend of East and West"

Turkey Tourism

Nestled at the crossroads of Europe and Asia, Turkey stands as a mesmerizing fusion of history, culture, and stunning landscapes. Istanbul, straddling two continents, is the vibrant heart of this country, boasting architectural wonders like the Hagia Sophia and the iconic Blue Mosque. Beyond its bustling cities, Turkey's ancient ruins, from Ephesus to the surreal landscapes of Cappadocia with its whimsical rock formations, paint a canvas of diverse experiences.

Turkey's natural landscapes are diverse and breathtaking. From the turquoise waters and stunning beaches along the Mediterranean and Aegean coasts to the rugged beauty of the Taurus Mountains and the unique geological formations of Pamukkale's travertine terraces, the country offers a varied and picturesque environment. It also offers an array of outdoor adventures, from hot air balloon rides over Cappadocia to hiking along the Lycian Way or indulging in water sports along the coast. The country's diverse landscapes cater to thrill-seekers and nature lovers alike.

Turkey's cultural mosaic is evident in its diverse traditions, cuisine, and arts. Turkish cuisine, renowned for kebabs, baklava, and Turkish delight, invites indulgence in a culinary adventure. The vibrant bazaars and markets, such as the Grand Bazaar in Istanbul, immerse visitors in a colorful tapestry of sights, sounds, and flavors. The Turkish people are known for their hospitality and warmth, making visitors feel welcome and at home. Turkey, with its blend of history, culture, natural beauty, and warm hospitality, promises an enriching and unforgettable experience for any traveler seeking a journey filled with discovery and wonder.

Must Know Before You Travel to Turkey

  • Museum Pass Turkey: Gives you entry to more than 300 museums and archaeological sites across Turkey. It is valid for 15 days from your first visit and costs EUR 165. 
  • Banned Websites: Book your hotel in advance as booking.com doesn't allow you to book hotels in Turkey if you are already in Turkey. Wikipedia and PayPal don't work either.
  • Book flights in advance: There aren't many trains that ply through Turkey and most inter-city travel will need flights. Booking flight tickets in advance is pretty cheap.
  • Train Pass: If planning to travel on multiple train routes in Turkey, getting Eurail Pass or Interrail Pass is recommended. It is valid on all trains in Turkey.
  • Opening Days: Most mosques in Turkey are closed on Friday or have very restricted hours. Hagia Sophia is closed on Monday. Some shops remain closed during Friday prayer times.
  • Currency: Many hotels, shops, restaurants, etc., accept Euros, but they might not be accepted everywhere. You can also carry Turkish Liras.
  • Taxi Scams: To avoid taxi scams, book an Uber or Bitaksi.
  • English is not widely spoken in Turkey, especially in smaller areas. Download Google Translate.
  • It is illegal to buy or export Turkish antiquities like carpets, coins, icons, colored tiles and ceramics, paintings, statues and sculptures, metal objects, etc., which are more than 1 or 2 centuries old.
  • VAT Refund for Tourists: Turkey has a VAT refund scheme on luxury goods for tourists. Purchase goods from stores with a "VAT REFUND FOR TOURISTS" sign and present the goods with original tax invoices at the customs counter at the airport while departing.

Best time to visit Turkey

The best time to visit Turkey is during the shoulder season from April - May (spring) and September - October (autumn). This period offers mild temperatures and blooming landscapes, making it an excellent time to visit most parts of Turkey. Spring is ideal for exploring Istanbul, Capp... (Read More)

Top places to visit in Turkey by month

Holidify's opinion on Travel to Turkey

What's Great about Travelling to Turkey?

Historic sites and buildings. Rich culture. Archaeological findings. Beautiful mosaic work. Exotic belly dance. Turkish coffee and tea.

What's Not So Great about Travelling to Turkey?

Political unrest. Littering on the roads. Smoking culture. Electricity and water problem.

Who should Travel to Turkey?

Culture and heritage buffs. People who admire great architecture. Coffee and tea lovers. Those who love natural beauty. Shopaholics.

Read More on Turkey Travel

Exchanging Money in Turkey

When exchanging money in Turkey, there are several options available to ensure you get a favorable rate and convenient service:
  • Currency Exchange Offices: These are widely available in tourist areas, airports, hotels, and major cities. Look for reputable offices or banks to exchange your currency. Rates might vary between providers, so it's good to compare before making the exchange.
  • Banks: Banks in Turkey typically offer competitive rates for currency exchange. While their operating hours might be more limited compared to exchange offices, they often provide a reliable and secure option for exchanging money.
  • ATMs: Using ATMs is a convenient way to withdraw local currency (Turkish Lira - TRY) using your debit or credit card. Most ATMs accept major international cards, but check with your bank beforehand regarding any fees or foreign transaction charges.
  • Hotels and Shops: While some hotels and larger stores might offer currency exchange services, the rates may not be as favorable as those at banks or dedicated exchange offices.
When exchanging money, avoiding unlicensed exchange offices or street vendors is advisable, as they might offer less favorable rates or engage in fraudulent practices. Additionally, keeping some cash on hand is a good idea, especially in smaller towns or rural areas where card payments might be less common.

Nightlife in Turkey

Turkey offers a vibrant and diverse nightlife scene across its cities, each with its own unique atmosphere and entertainment options.
  • Istanbul: As Turkey's largest city, Istanbul boasts a dynamic nightlife. From trendy rooftop bars overlooking the Bosphorus to lively clubs in districts like Beyoglu and Kadikoy, there's something for everyone. Istiklal Avenue and Taksim Square are bustling with bars, live music venues, and nightclubs offering a mix of local and international music.
  • Bodrum: Known for its lively beach clubs and seaside parties, Bodrum is a hotspot for nightlife enthusiasts. Beachfront venues like Halikarnas, Catamaran Club, and Club Posh host electrifying parties and live performances, especially during the summer months.
  • Antalya: Along the Mediterranean coast, Antalya offers a vibrant nightlife scene. The Old Town (Kaleici) is packed with bars, pubs, and restaurants offering live music and a relaxed ambiance. Lara and Konyaalti Beach areas also feature beach clubs and lounges.
  • Izmir: With its youthful vibe, Izmir's Alsancak district is home to numerous bars, cafes, and nightclubs. Kordon, the seaside promenade, comes alive after dark with locals and visitors enjoying the views and socializing at various venues.
  • Ankara: Turkey's capital city has a diverse nightlife with a mix of traditional Turkish taverns (meyhane), live music venues, and modern clubs. Kavaklidere and Tunali Hilmi Avenue are popular spots for dining, drinks, and entertainment.
  • Cappadocia: While known for its stunning landscapes, Cappadocia also offers unique experiences like cave bars and night-time hot air balloon rides. Göreme and Urgup have charming cafes and wine bars perfect for a relaxed evening.

Shopping in Turkey

Shopping in Turkey is a fun experience especially, in its vibrant and bustling bazaars. There are many souvenir shops with all sorts of items; however, the most popular gifts to buy include jewellery, leather apparel, locally made handicrafts, nargiles (water pipes) and musical instruments and carved meerschaum. Other significant products to look out for are the famous Turkish carpets, brass and copperware textiles, embroideries, copper work, ceramics, onyx, mother-of-pearl, inlaid woodwork, rugs and kilims.

Istanbul is a major hub of shopping being packed with plenty of boutiques and big label brands. In resort towns including Marmaris, Kusadasi and Bodrum, one will find souvenirs and handicrafts of low quality and copies of branded products. Be ready for some haggling.

History of Turkey

History of Turkey goes back to more than 5000 years. During around 2200 BC, the Hittite kingdom ruled the Asia Minor along with the ancient Troy and the Greek city-state that grew along the coasts during the first millennium BC. The power changed hands with Alexander the Great and then by Rome following his death in 2 BC. Emperor Constantine I in 330 AD shifted Roman capital to Byzantium, located significantly on the Bosphorus while renaming it as Constantinople imposing Christianity on the subjects. The Seljuk Turks took Anatolia (eastern Turkey) during the time followed by the Ottoman Turks. During World War 1 and after the defeat in Balkan Wars of 1912-13, Ottoman Empire collapsed leading to exchange of population between Greece and Turkey. The country remained neutral during World War 2. Only 77 years old, Turkey has come close to war over Cyprus with Greece in 1974, which is the biggest obstacle for the country to join EU.

Food of Turkey

Turkish food is along quite similar lines with Greek food but more refined. Meat forms the staple component of the Turkish diet with lamb being the dominating feature and dishes spiced fragrantly, although not as much as Indian cuisine. The vegetarian section of the cuisine offers meze- a variety of sauces, vegetables and dips, which is often served as a main meal. Another vegetarian dish in Turkey is Dolma (stuffed vegetables). Kofte, shish, Pide, Lokum and Dolma are some of the favourites of the locals. Alcohol is widely enjoyed in the country but is not served in some of the local restaurants. Raki, Ayran, Turkish tea and coffee, Turkish beer, Red and white wine are some of the major beverages in the country to enjoy.

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FAQs on Turkey

How to reach Turkey from India?

By road, it takes straight three of continuous driving to reach Turkey from UK, travelling via Germany, Austria, down through Croatia and Serbia and finally crossing over the Greek or Bulgarian border.

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