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Turkey Expert Travel Advice (Part 1 and 2)

edited October 31 in Travel Articles
Tips for Travelling in Turkey by @Alethia

Turkey is a country with amazing, diverse landscapes, people, cuisine, history, art, and culture. There are boundless journeys to take and many adventure opportunities.
Here are 10 tips for travelling around Turkey.

Istanbul-Galata Bridge
image source: Joseph Kranak (Flickr)

1. You Need a Visa
Turkish customs require nationals from many countries to obtain visas to enter Turkey. Visit https://www.evisa.gov.tr/en/ to apply for your visa. It’s very quick and easy. Make a copy of your passport and keep it safe, in case you lose your passport.

2. A Little Effort Goes a Long Way
Turkish people are very friendly and it would be a rewarding experience to know more of their culture so learn a little Turkish before you go, you will pick up more along the way.
Bear in mind that many areas of Turkey are incredibly conservative. Most of the resort towns adjust this attitude to cater for foreign tourists, but if you’re venturing off-track on an excursion to Ephesus or one of the smaller villages, remember that respect and politeness are key.

3. Carry Cash in Different Currencies and Cards
The easiest currencies to convert into Turkish Lira are US dollars, Pound Sterling and Euros - change offices offer the best rates. There are also ATM machines throughout Turkey, but don't rely solely on your ATM card as your main source of cash in the event that you cannot find a machine that will accept your card.

Always have a mixture of cash (in small denominations), an ATM card, and major credit cards. Traveller’s checks are not advisable and inconvenient as most stores won't accept them and banks and post offices with very long wait times are the only places to cash them.

Never carry all of your cash in your wallet/purse. Instead, break it up and hide various amounts of it in different spots to reduce the impact of theft. For example, you might keep some money in your wallet, and hide the remaining funds in a shoe or sock inside your suitcase/bag. Make copies of the front and back of your credit and debit cards before leaving home, or write down your account and customer service numbers. Keep this information in a safe location separate from your credit cards.

4. Pack clothes like you’d pack for Western Europe.
Turkey is a secular and liberal Muslim country, which means that while you still see women wearing turbans and fully covered, you also see most Turkish women smartly dressed in western-style clothing. At this junction where the east meets the west, Turkey gives you the freedom to dress as you please. Travel light if you intend to imageimagemove around a lot, and pick a backpack over a suitcase. Turkey can be very hot in summer and extremely cold in winter.

5. Revel in Turkish food.
Traditional Turkish food is one of the richest and most varied cuisines in the world, Turkey is a large country and every region has its own specialities. You can eat very cheaply in Turkey but you can also find some of the world’s finest restaurants in Istanbul.

There is food for everyone, meat eaters to vegans, you will find fabulous fresh food.
Mezes, kebabs, pide, lahmucan, sarma, borek, delicious soups known as corba,
salads , fresh vegetables and beans are just a few of the foods you will encounter.
Turkey, is one of the seven countries in the world which produces enough food to feed their own country and then some.

As well as Turkish coffee, tea (cay) you can find cherry juice (visne) and scented sherbet. The sherbet is so delicious that Lord Byron, on an a visit to Turkey in 1813, once remarked, “Give me a sun, I care not how hot, and sherbet, I care not how cool, and my Heaven is as easily made as your Persian's.”

Turkey also makes some marvelous wines and lovers of malted alcohol are sure to enjoy the famous Efes beer. Cheers!

Part 2 of this travel advice will be posted tomorrow, in the meantime, take a look at the Word Travels guide to Turkey.
Check out our full, up to date travel guides on the Word Travels website.

Comments

  • edited October 31
    Tips for Travelling in Turkey Part 2 by @Alethia
    Sheikh Zayed Grand Mosque: Colonade and Reflecting Pool
    image source: Andrew Moore (Flickr)

    6. Istanbul.
    Istanbul is one of the world’s greatest cities, but unlike any other city Istanbul straddles Europe and Asia across the Bosphorus Strait.

    Istanbul has become a year-round destination. Visit in late spring or early autumn to enjoy warm, sunny days providing the ideal weather to explore this incredible city on foot. Midsummer is sultry, but this is a great time to enjoy an outdoor meal at a Bosphorus-front fish restaurant, or Turkish coffee at a pavement café. From mid-December through mid-March, cold winds blow in from the Black Sea; fog and even snow sometimes blanket the city. To compensate, there are plenty of sunny spells, far fewer visitors and lower prices.

    World class hotels sit beside, family run hotels, Turkish B & B’s known as pansyions or backpacker hostels.

    Fortunately, most must-see historic sights stud the historic Sultanahmet district. Here the ornate pavilions of the Topkapı Palace sprawl behind the monumental Church of the Holy Wisdom (Hagia Sophia or Aya Sofya). Opposite rise the domes and minarets of the equally splendid Blue Mosque. The superb Süleymaniye Mosque Complex occupies a hill-top above the 4,000 plus shops of the medieval Grand Bazaar. Across the Golden Horn the conical cap of the Galata Tower marks the pulsating entertainment quarters of Karaköy, Galata and Beyoğlu; nearby the Bosphorus waterfront is home to the hip gallery that is modern Istanbul. Cheap ferry rides take visitors across to the Asian suburbs, north to the mouth of the Black Sea, the Princes Islands or up the Golden Horn to the city’s ancient land walls.

    7. See Turkey beyond Istanbul
    The Aegean coast of Turkey stretches from the North near Istanbul, down the coastline to the boundaries of Marmaris. From the battle ground of Gallipoli, the city of Troy, Ephesus, Pamukkale, to the tourist resorts of Bodrum, Altinkum, and Kusadasi there is so much to explore.

    Antalya and Turkey's Mediterranean shore, often called the Turquoise Coast, is 994 miles (1600 km) long, scattered with fine-sand beaches and sprinkled abundantly with classical cities turned to picturesque ruins.

    Cappadocia is Turkey's most visually striking region, especially the "moonscape" area around the towns of Ürgüp, Göreme, Uçhisar, Avanos and Mustafapaşa (Sinasos), where erosion has formed caves, clefts, pinnacles, "fairy chimneys" and sensuous folds in the soft, volcanic rock.

    The vast plateau of Central Anatolia (Asia Minor), broken by mountains ranges, is the heartland of modern Turkey. Here you will find Ankara, Turkey’s capital, a big, busy industrial city. Discover the grand Mausoleum of Kemal Atatürk, the father of modern Turkey, whirling dervishes, and the religious city of Konya. Also worth seeing: Trabzon and the Black sea, alpine forests, tea plantations, hazelnuts, and the world's oldest cherry orchards.
    Eastern Turkey is less developed than West, and you may still see farmers in small villages winnow grain in the wind, the old-fashioned way. There you will find Lake Van, Mount Ararat and Mount Nimrod (an artificial mountain top framed by two great temples and littered with colossal statues of gods).

    South eastern Turkey is hot and flat. Göbekli Tepe is the oldest religious site known to man: an 11,000-year-old temple complex, which was discovered near Şanlıurfa. Lastly, drink in the view of Harran, an astounding warren of beehive-like mud houses which rise from the Syrian plain. Harran looks like it has been there forever—and it has.

    8. Use public transport across Turkey.
    All major cities & towns in Turkey are well connected by private buses. Ulusoy and Safran bus companies are very good, and are equipped with free Wifi, stop often for rest room breaks, and serve beverages and snacks on longer journeys. It is, however, difficult to book these buses online without a knowledge of Turkish. The most feasible option is to show up at the bus terminal and purchase tickets there.

    For local travel use the cheap and cheerful dolmus (mini bus), which stops at every small town on the way, dropping people off.

    9. Safety
    Generally, crime levels are low, but street robbery and pick-pocketing are common in the major tourist areas of Istanbul. If you are going to drink, know your limit. Buy your own drinks and keep sight of them at all times so they are not spiked. Be wary of strangers approaching you offering food and drink (which may be drugged), to help change money, or to take you to a restaurant or nightclub. Never get in a car with stranger.
    Women on their own should be on their guard. Turkey is a male dominated country so just be careful and be aware of how your friendly manner may come across. Be wary of any tour guide who wants to give you a private tour and take you to “watch the sunset” with just him for company.
    Turkey has changed since the 2016 coup. Police and army personnel are highly visible. Most terrorist attacks have taken place in the south and east of the country and in Ankara and Istanbul. Attacks are most likely to target the Turkish state, civilians and demonstrations. However, the vast majority of the country remains safe, including the popular coastal resorts where the majority of tourists go on holiday.

    10.Insurance
    If your flights are cancelled through no fault of your own, if you lose your bags, if you injure yourself and need hospital treatment – all of these scenarios, and more, can be protected with a simple, inexpensive travel insurance policy.
    If you’re planning on signing up for an extreme sport or two while you’re away, make sure your travel insurance covers it. Paragliding in Olu Deniz or white-water rafting on the Dalaman River are sensational experiences, but to do so without the proper insurance is asking for trouble

    There are no compulsory vaccinations that you need to have before you travel to Turkey. Follow this simple travel advice for a stress free and safe holiday that’s a true Turkish delight.
    Check out our full, up to date travel guides on the Word Travels website.
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