Turkey is a large, populous country with a huge variety of climates, destinations, and activities for travelers. It is home to some of the world’s most important historical sites, including 19 UNESCO World Heritage Sites, and has both mountains and beaches for sunbathers and skiers alike. It is also home to several major cities with the city of Istanbul famously bridging the European and Asian continents. Traveling to Turkey is possible all year round, but the ideal destinations will change from season to season, and by region. Below you’ll find our top tips for making the most of your trip to Turkey.
The best time of year to travel to Turkey will largely depend on what you are hoping to do during your trip. Winter is a fantastic time to enjoy snow sports in the mountains of Cappadocia and near Istanbul, while Summer is the best for Turkey’s beaches and coastal destinations. Spring and Autumn are when urban centers like Istanbul and Ankara shine. When the weather is nice, you can walk for miles around Istanbul enjoying the local cuisine, incredible historical sites, plenty of shopping, and tons of cultural events. Once you determine your dream vacation in Turkey, you can choose the right season in which to plan your trip.
Where you travel in Turkey will depend on your visit’s purpose and your personal interests. Some of the best places to visit in Turkey are the incredible and diverse cities spread throughout the country. Fethiye is a beautiful resort destination with clear blue waters for boating and swimming, while Istanbul is full of amazing architecture, cultural events, and historical buildings. You can visit Izmir, a more relaxed destination for travelers who want to kick back by the coast. Ankara, the capital of Turkey, is another great place to visit and experience the rich educational institutions in Turkey. It’s a hub for universities and political history. There are also cities geared towards the outdoorsy crowd, like Göreme in Cappadocia, a metropolis carved from volcanic rock, and the stopping point to visit Göreme National Park, a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Antalya is a popular place to visit for its stunning landscapes, as is Bursa, the first capital of the Ottoman Empire and a must-see place for history buffs.
Turkey is generally considered a safe destination and attracts millions of tourists every year.
It is a welcoming country for travelers of all backgrounds and cultures. When traveling in Turkey, you will meet residents and tourists from around the world, especially in Istanbul and other large cities where you can witness the meaning of diversity. Walking through the busy streets, you will hear dozens of languages, see many international restaurants, and observe a kaleidoscope of different faces.
Our best Turkey travel advice is to learn about the local culture and be respectful of regional customs. Even though Turkey attracts travelers from around the world, it is also home to its own rich and meaningful traditions that are fascinating to learn about. Each region has its customs that travelers can experience while visiting. This applies especially to local cuisine, so be sure to research some traditional Turkish dishes and restaurants. Turkish cuisine changes from region to region, so be sure to check out what’s recommended in your area.
While in Turkey is advised to dress somewhat modestly. For women, be sure to take a scarf if visiting any historical mosques or religious sites. In urban centers, people are very stylish and love to shop, so don’t be afraid to express yourself, just do so mindfully.
When it comes to language, it’s important to note that other languages besides Turkish are not widely spoken by the locals so learning a bit of Turkish will take you a long way. We also recommend having your Google Translate app handy for quick and easy communication. Other languages like Arabic are common as there are many foreigners from the Middle East in Turkey. You will find more languages spoken in more tourist places as Turkey is well organized in these areas to handle the millions of tourists that visit each year.
The currency in Turkey is the Turkish Lira (TL). The rate of the TL is subject to change against your local currency, so be sure to check the rates before you travel and when you arrive. It’s advised to avoid exchanging money at the airport and go to one of the many authorized exchange offices around the country. They are trusted establishments and offer the best rates. When traveling in Turkey, travel insurance is advised to ensure you are covered in any medical or travel emergencies. Travel insurance may be mandatory for certain types of visas, including the sticker visa.
Before planning any trip it’s advised to do plenty of research in advance. When traveling to Turkey it’s a good idea to read about the visa process, see what famous sites you might want to visit, what activities you are interested in, and see what cities are in Turkey that suit your needs. With so much to see and experience in Turkey, you are guaranteed a wonderful trip full of opportunities to make lifelong memories!
Turkey offers a diverse range of shopping experiences as well, especially in larger cities like Istanbul and Ankara. Typically, most larger brands and shopping malls offer sales during the winter and summer months. The best times for shopping are from mid-December or January until February, as well as June, July, and August. These are subject to vary by city and store, so it’s best to check for the sales in advance of your travels.
Finding accommodation in Turkey can be done through a variety of channels. Travelers with all budgets can find short and long-term stays throughout the country. In larger cities, there are plenty of booking websites that host a range of hotels, hostels, and other forms of accommodations. In Istanbul or other large cities, booking an apartment with a kitchen is a great way to save money. Coastal destinations in Turkey are popular for their resorts, and the more mountainous areas have camping and rural stays for those looking to enjoy the beautiful natural spaces Turkey has to offer.
Getting around Turkey varies from place to place, but in general, the country has reliable and punctual public transportation. There are also many taxis and shared taxis available in the cities. Uber is a good alternative to hailing a taxi from the street but may not be accessible in all locations. Domestic flights between major cities in Turkey are a great way to see multiple destinations in a short amount of time. In just a few hours, you can go from a busy urban center to the beach or mountains.
Many nationalities can go to Turkey by applying for an obtaining a Turkey e-Visa online. The application takes a few minutes and visas are typically granted within 48 hours. Applicants are only required to present a valid travel document, an email address, and a working debit or credit card to pay the e-Visa fees. For more information about obtaining an e-Visa to Turkey visit turkeyvisas.com.