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Turkey is the perfect post Brexit motorhome escape if you need to spend three months out of the Schengen area. This diverse and seemingly endless country will reward you with breathtaking landscapes, huge skies and mystical cities.
Planning a motorhome tour of Turkey can feel daunting. A new continent with customs so different from our own can be challenging to negotiate. We’ll take you through all the stages of planning your trip, from kitting out your van, understanding legalities and getting there, to how to camp and budget for your trip.
We travelled to Turkey in our overland truck, but we didn’t travel anywhere or do anything that you wouldn’t be able to do
in a motorhome or camper van.
This is an excerpt from an ebook. To access and download the entire 30+ pages of detailed and up to date information about visiting Turkey in a motorhome, you will need to purchase the ebook by clicking the link at the end of the excerpt.
Things to Know About Turkey
Turkey has cultural inuences from Europe, Caucasia and the Middle East alongside its own Ottomoan and Kurdish culture.
Turkey is a officially a secular country with no official religion since Attaturk’s constitutional amendment in 1928.
Alongside the long-held desire to join the European Union, this makes for a fascinating and diverse country, where you’ll meet some of the friendliest and most welcoming people on earth.
Turkey now prefers to be called Turkiye, its Turkish name.
99% of the Turkish population is Muslim. There are conservative areas in the south east and south central region of Turkey, but many citizens are moderate Muslims, and in the cities and tourist areas, alcohol is served and the dress is very relaxed.
Things we may perceive to be limitations which derive from the Islamic religion are based purely on personal choice and family culture, and are not imposed by law in Turkey.
Turkey’s economy has bucked the trend and grown in the early 2020’s, although ination is high. There is huge government investment in the infrastructure, particularly the road networks, which in the main, are excellent.
Rurally, you will see poverty, with the average salary around £400 a month. Prices are a lot less than in the UK, espcecially
in off the beaten path areas. Expect to pay close to European prices on the coasts and in the cities.
There are no dress laws in Turkey but you should be mindful of where you are and the context in which your dress should be considered. In conservative and rural areas many women wear the hijab (headscarf) and cover their arms and legs.
Visitors to mosques should be dressed modestly, and females should bring a scarf to cover their heads.
You can tour 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 holiday.
For winter sun head for the Mediterranean coast, which is warmer and drier than the overcast Aegean coast. Temperatures can get to around 20 degrees celcius between November and March, warm enough for the beach, but it will be cold at night. Much of the rest or Turkey will be properly cold and wet, and lots of places see snow.
In summer, parts of Turkey regularly push past 40 degrees celcius, with little change between day and night temperatures.
If you love the heat and travel during this time, head for the mountains, use campsites for shade and run a fan or air con if you have it – although most sites don’t offer more than 6amps, which may not be enough.
In rural Turkey and non-tourist cities, few people speak English. A translate app works well here although some people are
reluctant to speak into them!
A few words of Arabic go a long way, we use these daily and always get a smile;
- evet = yes
- hayir = no
- lutfen = please
- tesekkurler = thank you
- merhaba = hello
- Gule gule = goodbye
Sadly, Turkey is beleaguered by a huge rubbish issue, and a culture that does not seem to promote or support people disposing of their waste correctly.
Wherever you go you will encounter rubbish, and often the sheer volume makes it impossible to help and do a litter pick. You just have to learn to see past it.
There are millions of street dogs in Turkey, abandonded and sometimes left to breed, if the municpality doesn’t have a programme in place.
In towns and cities, the dogs are usually cared for collectively and are often overfed, with street-side kennels provided for them to sleep in. In rural areas, this is not the case and we’ve seen hundreds of injured and skinny dogs begging for scraps.
n the main, these dogs are friendly but often very dirty, so we avoid petting them. If you do feed a street dog from your van, they will probably hang around and start barking in the night to ‘protect’ you – it’s a sort of double edged sword!
Be aware that rabies is still a problem in Turkey.
Is this your first time visiting Turkey? Get all the information you need in our Turkey Travel Guide, including what to pack, the best time of year to go, getting there and practical tips to help you have the best trip!
Is it Safe to Road Trip in Turkey?
Local Laws & Customs
Yes, absolutely – we think it’s one of the safest countries we’ve ever visited. There are a number of local laws and customs that you should be aware of;
- It is illegal not to carry some form of photographic ID in Turkey. You should carry your passport with you at all times. In busy areas the Turkish authorities may stop members of the public to conduct ID checks.
- Do not take photographs near military or official installations. Ask for permission before photographing people.
- Drinking and buying alcohol is legal in Turkey, although many Muslim run shops and restaurants do not sell and serve alcohol. You’re more likely to be able to buy alcohol around tourist areas and the coast.
- Homosexuality is legal in Turkey. However, many parts of Turkey are socially conservative and public displays of affection may lead to unwelcome attention.
- It is an offence to insult the Turkish nation or the national flag, or to deface or tear up currency. If you’re convicted of any of these offences you could face a prison sentence of between six months and three years.
- Controls carried out by the Turkish authorities, including those that take place at airports, may include the examination of electronic devices.
Check the Foreign Office website for more information and up to date guidance.
Sadly, many insurers have now stopped providing a green card for Turkey and those that do, will charge highly for it, and only offer third party.
You are required by Turkish law to have, at a minimum, third party insurance, called zorunlu trafik sigortasi.
Our latest research shows that fully comprenehsive insurance is not available for UK registered motorhomes. You may be able to purchase third party cover from a specialist UK underwriter – the costs we have seen are coming in around £500 for 30 days.
Your final option is to purchase third party insurance at the border in Turkey. It’s a very simple process; you arrive and let the customs officials know you need to buy insurance, and they will direct you to the Government approved insurance bureau.
You will be required to provide your passport, driving licence and V5 and your insurance certificate will be drawn up. Expect to pay around £100 for 90 days cover for a motorhome, and £15 for 90 days for a scooter. You can pay by cash in Turkish lira or card.
This cover only insures the car when it is being driven by the owner, as displayed on the V5. Ask the broker to add additional drivers if required.
The certificate is in Turkish, but you will find a number to call should you wish to extend your cover or require assistance.
None of the major UK breakdown insurance companies include the Asian side of Turkey in their European cover. Once you cross the Bosphoros, you’re on your own.
But, if you do breakdown, then Turkey is the place to do it! Resourceful, helpful and knowledgeable, the highly skilled mechanics of Turkey have a fix for everything and don’t require you to make an appointment and return in 6 weeks!
If your van is driveable, make for the nearest sanaye sitesi, or industry site. All towns and cities have these areas, full of workshops, tyre places and motor factors. Google workshop or tyre shop and you’ll see a cluster together – that’s where you’re heading.
If you need to be recovered, locals will be able to help with phone calls. We’ve needed several repairs in Turkey and work that we would have paid hundreds for in the UK has costs 10% of what we would have typically paid.