Important facts and information to know when visiting Turkey
Turkey is one of the most unique countries and often challenged as being Middle Eastern given it straddles both the European and Asian continents. It is a true fusion of east meets west and home to many fascinating cultural, religious and natural landmarks. (We’re very happy to claim it as part of the Middle East!)
Visiting Turkey Important Facts
|Official Name||Türkiye Cumhuriyeti (Republic of Turkey)
|Currency||Turkish Lira (TRY) 1 TRY=0.247USD
|Language||Turkish (minority languages include Kumanji, Arabic, Pomak, Zazaki)
|Religion||Sunni Islam majority
|Important Dates||National Soverignty & Childrens Day April 23, Victory Day Aug 30 & Islamic Holidays
|Climate||Mediterranean through to temperate
|Electrics||220V Type F (European) sockets
|Visas||E-visa in advance or kiosk at airport
|Safety||Hightened risk of Terrorism and certain no-go zones (see below)
Turkey safety information
Due to the ongoing conflict in neighbouring Syria, most international Governments have travel advisories for the following regions of Turkey;
- all travel to within 10 km of the border with Syria and to the city of Diyarbakir
- the remaining areas of Sirnak, Mardin, Sanliurfa, Gaziantep, Kilis and Hatay provinces
- the provinces of Diyarbakir, Tunceli and Hakkari
In regards to the remainder of the country, it is recommended that you remain vigilant as terrorist attacks have occurred in crowded places in the last 2 years. Avoid demonstrations and crowds and keep aware of alerts from the Government and international advisories, including The US State Department, UK Foreign Office and Australian Smart Traveller. (Please check for your own Foreign Office exact warnings in place)..
Turkey visa information
- eVisa should be applied for 72 hours in advance but there are also kiosks at the airport
- Fees applying in advance are cheaper than at the airport – current rates can be found here
Points for family visitors to be aware of in Turkey
- Ladies are not required to have their heads covered but should dress conservatively with knees and shoulders covered.
- Whilst many hotels and more modern establishments might have western style sitting toilets, don’t be surprised to find squat toilets as your only option!
General travel tips for visiting Turkey
- Turkish is the primary language, but also in certain areas, they will speak Kurmanji, Arabic and Zazaki. Many Turkish people, especially those that work in tourism may also be fluent in many languages like English, French and Spanish but it wouldn’t hurt to brush up on some Turkish phrases before heading beyond the big cities.
- Don’t rely just on withdrawing cash from an ATM. Many travellers have reported issues with cards not being accepted in the machines, always have some USD or EUR as a backup.
- If you are planning on visiting many of the famous sites in Istanbul then a Turkey Museum card may be a good investment
- Carefully check which airport you will be landing in. Turkish Airlines have moved their hub to Arnavutkoy (previously it was Attaturk), but flights also land on the Asian side at Istanbul Sabiha Gokcen – these airports are all a long distance apart if you get it wrong!
See our regional guide to culture and religion for more
When is it best to visit Turkey
Turkey has quite a varied climate with mild to hot summers and cold winters, including snow in many parts. Due to the size of the country – the weather varies hugely! Do pay attention to this when planning your travels.
For visiting Istanbul, April to May and from September to mid-November are ideal as temperatures are pleasant and the skies should be clear. Do be aware though that being located next to the sea, Istanbul can get quite chilly and windy year-round but especially in winter.
The Aegean and Mediterranean coasts enjoy a typical Mediterranean climate, making them ideal resort-style destinations year-round – albeit the ocean water is likely too cold for swimming in winter.
Flying to Turkey?
Turkish Airlines serves more destinations than any other airline in the world. Given its central position in the world it can offer over 300 destinations, so accessing Turkey for mot should not be an issue! You can find out available routes and airports here
Most popular attractions in Turkey
Most visitors are introduced through the sprawling capital of Istanbul but there are many fascinating regions to visit on both the European and Asian sides of Turkey.
- Cappadocia – and the Göreme National park, the surreal rock valley and underground city
- Ephesus Artemis Temple – also known as Artemissio, one of the seven wonders of the world and UNESCO World Heritage site and one of the most complete standing Roman cities in the Meditteranean
- The Turkish Riviera – the beautiful southern coastline encompassing the provinces of Antalya, Muğla and the southern Aegean of Izmir.
- Aya Sophia – one of the most beautiful buildings in the world the Hagia Sophia Museum in Istanbul
- Blue Mosque – arguably one of the most beautiful in the world in Istanbul
- Topkapi Palace – take a journey to the era of the Ottoman Empire and the opulent world of the sultans
- Pamukkale – one of the country’s most fascinating natural features in the Aegan region, the white terraces that cascade through the mountains.
Turkey with Kids – Our Travel Stories
Istanbul with Kids – favourite kid’s activities and best places to stay
Visiting Pamukkale – tips for exploring the limestone terraces
Contribute to this section
Have you been to Turkey with or without kids? We are looking for more contributors to this category, can you help? Pop over and see our contributors page and find out how you can get involved in building our resource library for fellow visitors to Turkey
Further reading and resources on Turkey
Blogs & social
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The Republic of Turkey Ministry of Culture and Tourism – they redirect you to their current tourism website which is www.hometurkey.com
Also government-affiliated seems to be www.goturkeytourism – both are packed with useful visitor information guides though, all in English.
Recommended Tours and Drivers
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Movies and literature
More to come!
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NB please check facts with the appropriate authorities before travelling. Information correct to best of our knowledge as of May 2019. This page contains affiliate links