Turkey Travel Guide

Turkey can feel like a heady and exotic country, full of hidden dangers and a confusing culture. In reality, Turkey is an overwhelmingly generous and friendly country which embraces travelers who are looking to enjoy and celebrate everything this beautiful and diverse country has to offer.   

Find out everything you need to know before you visit Turkey, including trip highlights, travel tips, and road trip guides, with our Turkey travel guide.

Intro to Turkey

Turkey has a multi-cultural influence from Persia and Europe alongside it’s own Ottoman, Turkic and Kurdish culture, and more than its fair share of epic history and world famous ruins and monuments.

With diverse landscapes which encompass gorgeous coastlines, dramatic mountains and vast sweeping steppe, every corner of this huge country offers something different and exciting. Whether you’re looking for outdoor adventures or cultural enrichment, Turkey has something or you.

Temper your expectations and don’t go to Turkey looking for the same standards of civic safety and cleanliness, food hygiene or road maintenance for example, as you would back home. What you’ll find instead is one of the most welcoming and friendly countries on earth.

Guide to Turkey

Best Time to Visit Turkey

You can visit Turkey any time of the year as there are seven distinct geographic weather and climatic regions, meaning you can always find the right weather for your Turkish trip.

For winter sun head for the Mediterranean coast and Antalya, which is warmer and drier than the overcast Aegean coast. Temperatures can get to around 20 degrees celcius 20° celsius (68° fahrenheit) between November and March, warm enough for the beach, but it will be cold at night. Much of the rest of Turkey will be properly cold and wet, and lots of places seeing snow.

In summer, parts of Turkey regularly push past 40° celsius (104° fahrenheit), with little change between day and night temperatures. If you love the heat and want to travel during July and August, head for the mountains for a bit of respite, ramp up the aircon and remember the suncream!

The absolute best times to travel to Turkey are spring and autumn. These shoulder months of late March and April and late September through October offer less extremes of weather, fewer visitors and quieter roads and attractions.

Turkey Travel Tips

  • Turkish is the mother tongue of 90 percent of the population of the country. Some 70 other languages and dialects are also spoken, including various dialects of Caucasian and Kurdish as well as Arabic, Greek, Ladino and Armenian.
  • GMT+03:00
  • To enter Turkey, your passport should be valid for at least 150 days from the date you arrive and there should be a full blank page for the entry and exit stamps. You may also need a visa to visit Turkey.
  • Turkey has both public and private healthcare facilities, with private clinics mainly concentrated in Casablanca, Marrakech and Rabat. Pharmacies are widely available, even in rural areas. Ensure that you have accessible funds to cover upfront fees and adequate travel health insurance.
  • The currency in Turkey is the Turkish lira TRY and kuruş. 
  • ATM’s which accept foreign cards are widely available in all cities and towns, and you’ll often see whole rows of stand alone dispensers. Use Halkbank ATM’s to avoid a fee.
  • Credit cards are widely accepted, with Visa and Mastercard being the most common.
  • Plugs in Turkey are type C and F. The standard voltage is 230 V, and the standard frequency is 50Hz. We recommend using a universal adapter with surge protection like this one.
  • Most hotels and guesthouses provide free wifi. All of Turkeys’s cities and towns have excellent 4g coverage. Get info on the best SIM cards for Turkey here.
  • Tipping (baksheesh) isn’t mandatory in Turkey, but rounding up the bill and leaving a tip where you’ve had good service is standard practice.
  • Turkey is, for the most part, a safe country to visit. Its crime rates are relatively low, but it is advised to remain vigilant at all times and keep your valuables in a safe place. It is a friendly and mostly Muslim country, so it is expected of tourists to be respectful of Islamic culture and customs. In an emergency, the number for fire is 110 and ambulance is 112, and for police it’s 155.

Turkey Packing Tips

  • How you should dress in Turkey very much depends on where you are. In the beach resorts of the Aegean and Mediterranean, anything goes. Elsewhere, women should avoid displaying too much cleavage and leg.
  • Take long pants or a long dress and headscarf to visit mosques and more conservative cities.
  • Pack layers for shoulder season trips and loose cotton or linen for spring and summer.
  • Sun protection, sunglasses and a cap or hat are a must at all times.
  • Winter visitors should bring a waterproof or showerproof jacket and a few warm layers for colder days, especially if visiting mountainous or desert areas.
  • If you’re visiting Turkey’s historic towns and cities, make sure to pack trainers or comfy walking shoes – the souks can be large and take a lot of walking.
  • Technical gear that washes easily and dries quickly is a great option if you’re road tripping or moving about a lot.
  • Don’t forget an easy to manage day bag, such as a ruck sack or day sack.

Turkey Highlights

Things to Know About Turkey

  • Turkey is a secular country with 99% of the population identifying as Muslim. It is unlikely that this will affect you much as a traveler. You may be awoken by the call to prayer from the local mosque but we find it quite a soothing sound. Take ear plugs like these if you think this might bother you.  
  • Public displays of affection will cause raised eyebrows, especially in lesser travelled places in Turkey. In the Turkish society, affection between men and women is only displayed in private.
  • There is no law against homosexuality, but prejudice does still exisit and occasional violence towards gay people has been know.
  • Alcohol is served in licensed hotels, bars and in tourist areas like the coast, big cities and Cappadocia. In rural areas, many family run bars and restaurants will not serve alcohol – there is no law against it, but devout Muslims prefer not to serve it.
  • The lese-majesty laws against insulting or defaming Ataturk, the Turkish Republic, the Turkish flag, the Turkish government and thr Turkish people are taken very seriously. Making derogatory remarks can get you thrown into jail!
  • Carry toilet paper at all times. In rural areas, squat toilets, complete with water tap and jug for flushing, may be all that’s available.
  • Just like any popular tourist country, Turkey has its fair share of scams going on. Popular scams include dodgy antiquities sellers at ancient sites – don’t buy anything from them as taking Turkish antiquities out of the country is highly illegal. It’s likely the scammers will be in cahoots with the police in any case! In istanbul, don’t pick up the dropped brush of a shoe cleaner or you’ll be given a ‘free’ clean at a ridiculously expensive price.
  • Solo tourists should not accept drinks or offers to go to bars, especially in Istanbul. Sky high bills which see you being escorted to the nearst ATM, and drink spiking are common in these circumstances.
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Turkey Travel Resources

Getting There

Fly into one of 33 international airports in Turkey.

Driving

Drive from Europe or hire a car in the country.

Need a Visa?

Many countries need a visa to visit Turkey.

Travel Insurance

Cover medical expenses, delays and lost luggage.

Hotels & Places to Stay

Hotels, guesthouses, AirBnBs, hostels and homestays.

Tours & Activities

Find city guides, ancient sites tours, quad biking, sailing and extreme sports.

Turkey Road Trip

Turkey Posts

Turkey Motorhome Resources

Essential Travel Products for Your Turkey Trip

iBlock Universal Adaptor

Lonely Planet Turkey Guide

Roxy Easy Fit Linen Pants

Foldable UPF50 Straw Hat

Ultra Lightweight Backpack

Cotton headscarf 17+ colours

Gonex Wheeled Duffel Bag

GolocalMe G4 WiFi Hotspot

Essential Oils Hand Sanitiser

Collapsible Water Bottle

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