How is COVID-19 situation in Turkey, can I travel there?
Well, the answer is the same as all over the world; it's not the time, yet. For sure, Turkey
is one of the most successful countries in the fight against the virus; the numbers were always low and health system
did a great job. First Covid-19 case in Turkey was seen on 11th of March 2020. All border gates are closed to incoming visitors and all flights have been suspended since last week of March. Any person coming in from abroad have to spend 14 days of quarantine under the surveillance of Ministry of Health. There are partial lockdowns and many facilities such as hotels
, restaurants, museums etc. are closed and will remain closed until June.
In general, is it safe to travel to Turkey for foreigners?
Yes. Most of Turkey
, even big cities such as Istanbul
, when you compare with other big metropolitan cities around the World they're mostly safe. The crime rate is very low compared to large European and US cities. Of course, precautions should be taken to avoid risks of street robbery and pick-pocketing as you would do in any part of the world. Be vigilant in general, just in case. Due to tensions across the Middle East nowadays, Foreign Offices will advise you not to travel to locations near the country's border with Syria and Iraq, tourists should avoid those areas for now. Terror-wise, since 2016 the country has been quiet and safe, with no major terror attacks and no coups
Is Turkey safe for solo female travelers?
Fear not! Turkey
is generally safe for solo female travelers as Turkish people are friendly and helpful. Of course, you should follow the usual safety precautions as a woman
, especially at night or in deserted locations. The most important thing is common sense. Prepare yourself before leaving home and do some research.
How is traveling in Turkey with small children?
Turkish people are as welcoming as ever and they especially love small children, they make a great fuss of kids. Turks
are very "family orientated" people, locals are almost always eager to help you, and Turkish hospitality is world-famous. Anywhere you go you'll see families dining together, often multi generation from babies and siblings, parents to grandparents etc. This means you and your small children will always be welcomed at any place.
Can I bring my pet?
Of course, you can travel to Turkey
with your domestic dog
, maximum 2 pets per person (owner). You'll need some documents to do this, but first your pet must be microchipped as per EU standards and vaccinated against rabies, along with other diseases, before traveling. You have to get an official Veterinary Certificate or Pet Passport from an accredited vet in your country. Once you're in Turkey with your pet, in case of emergencies there are many vets all around the country in every city. You can get on a plane with your pet, considering that you informed the airline
for your pet when you book your flight ticket. Not all public transportation accepts pets on-board, and you should carry your pet in a cage. Also, it's not always possible to enter restaurants
or markets with your pet. Not all hotels
accept pets in Turkey, so you should have this checked when booking your hotel.
Do I need a passport or entry visa for Turkey?
Most of the foreign visitors need a valid passport
to enter Turkey. Meanwhile many of the European countries' citizens are allowed to enter Turkey
with their national ID's too, also they don't need a visa
to enter: Germany, Belgium, France, Georgia, Netherlands, Spain, Switzerland, Italy, Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus, Liechtenstein, Luxemburg, Malta, Portugal, Ukraine, Greece. Regarding entry visa for other nationals, it's advised to check the Ministry of Foreign Affairs or the official E-visa website for those who can apply online or for others who have to go to the Turkish Embassy
in their country before they travel to Turkey.
What should I read before coming to Turkey?
First of all you can start reading my website: AllAboutTurkey.com
, it has over 1.000 pages to discover. There are several good guide books about Turkey
, such as Lonely Planet and Fodor's. You can find printed versions of these books at big bookstores or order it online. Alternatively, there are many travel websites and online forums that you can check, such as Trip Advisor
. Read some information about Turkey, learn few basic Turkish
words, try to familiarize with the traditions and religion, and then you'll be fine when you come to Turkey.
How is the weather in Turkey? What to pack?
You can notice different climates
around Turkey, which depends on the season and it differs if you're going to the coast or inland. Generally speaking, there is a continental climate system in the interior, meaning cold winters and dry summers. Meanwhile along the southern shores it's mild and rainy in the winters and warm and humid summers. Therefore, you should pack accordingly, depending on the season and destinations you'll be visiting during your travel, as well as the length of your trip. In any case, try to pack light so you can move comfortably and will have space in your luggage to buy handicrafts
or souvenirs from Turkey.
How can I come to Turkey?
There are many ways to reach Turkey
, but the easiest and fastest is by an international flight. Turkey is connected to all around the world with Turkish Airlines
, as well as other international airlines. You can also use ferries from Greek islands to come to Turkey, or train from Bulgaria. Another option is to come with your own car, motorbike, or motorhome. Check for document requirements before you leave home.
Is travel or medical insurance necessary?
No. It's not requested to enter Turkey
but Travel Protection plans and/or Medical Insurances are recommended for most travelers to help protect you
and your trip investment. These usually include benefits such as Trip Cancellation, Trip Interruption, Emergency Medical and Emergency Evacuation/Repatriation, Baggage Delay and more, just in case. But at the end it's up to you, of course...
I'm gay/lesbian, is this a problem there?
Although homosexuality is legal in Turkey
, you should keep in mind that many parts of Turkey are socially conservative and public displays of affection may lead to unwelcome attention. On the other hand, there are several gay clubs and bars, saunas, and gay friendly hotels. You can follow activities in LGBT venues on various websites.
Can I buy dope in Turkey?
do such things, never! In Turkey
it's a serious crime to possess any illicit controlled substances like marijuana, cocaine, heroin, morphine or synthetic drugs. You may face prison sentences of 1-2 years for buying, receiving, cultivating or possessing drugs even for personal use. Import or export of drugs are punishable by a prison sentence of not less than 10 years, and sale or supply by a sentence of 5-15 years, and these sentences can be increased by 50% by the court.
What are the electric plugs look like? Do I need a converter?
the standard voltage is 220 V and the frequency is 50 Hz. If you're coming from the UK, Europe, Australia and most of Asia and Africa, you can use your 220-240 V electric appliances. If you're coming from the US, Canada and most South American countries where the voltage is between 100-127 V, you need a voltage converter in Turkey.
On the other hand, power plugs and sockets in Turkey are of "Type F", also known as "Schuko", which can also work with "Plug C" and "Plug E". These plug and socket types are used in Europe, Russia and some countries of Africa. If you're coming from the UK, US and Americas, some parts of Africa, Far East and Australia, you should obtain a power plug adapter too.
What language is spoken in Turkey? What about English?
In Turkey we speak Turkish
. In major cities, in tourist resorts and towns, at shopping malls, and of course at the hotels, museums and tourist sites people can also speak English. At the end you're not going to make a philosophical conversation, so you can make your way even with some basic conversation. I also suggest to learn a few basic phrases in the local language or download Google Translate. Even a couple of words or a pleasant greeting in Turkish can help you communicate with a local who doesn't speak your language at all.
Which currency is used in Turkey? What about US dollars or Euros?
The official currency in Turkey is Turkish Lira
, abbreviated as TL or TRL or TRY. The conversion rate against foreign currencies depend on international currency fluctuations and global economics
. Foreign currency might be accepted at the hotels
or tourist shops or some touristic restaurants
, but for the rest you'll definitely need Turkish Lira. If you bring with you US dollars, Euros or British pounds you can convert into TL at any Exchange office, banks, and major hotels. You can get best conversion rates at the exchange offices in the city center. Please keep in mind that if you carry more than 10 thousand cash US dollars or its equivalent, you should declare it at the Customs on your arrival in Turkey
. By the way, you can also use your credit card at many restaurants, shops, hotels, museums and venues.
What do you suggest for domestic travel in Turkey; Bus or Train or Flights?
Moving within Turkey
is extremely easy, especially with busses and domestic flights.
There are so many intercity bus companies that run regularly all around the year and to almost everywhere, even to small cities and towns. You can take a bus from "Otogar" (intercity bus station) that you'll find in every city/town. Some of the bus companies have websites for online ticket purchase, but for many of them you have to buy the ticket on site at Otogar or from their office in the city center.
There are many airlines, including low-costs, that have regular domestic flights for many cities in Turkey. All of them sell tickets online, or you can buy from a travel agent in the city center.
Railroad network in Turkey is limited though; besides modern and fast trains between major cities, there are regular trains in the eastern provinces. Train journey can be fun, especially long ones like the one from Ankara to Kars, to be experienced best during winter period. You can buy train tickets online from Turkish Railways (TCDD) website.
If I rent a car, is it safe and easy to drive in Turkey?
Yes. You can easily rent a car in Turkey
, there are many local and international car rental companies in every major city or tourist resorts. You'll need your driver license, supposing that it's valid internationally, and your credit card. I definitely recommend to buy full insurance, since this will be your first time to drive in a different country, this will give you the peace of mind.
Driving in Turkey is sometimes "challenging", but it's not bad and is safe. The road network is very well, usually with double roads or highways. In order to use highways or suspension bridges you'll need an electronic system called "EGS" or "OGS", make sure that your rental company includes one of these systems to your car if you're planning to use these toll-roads. There are so many gas stations everywhere, no worries for empty tank. There are many tire repair shops along the way, especially on busy roads at gas stations. There are many restaurants along the way, you'll never starve while driving in Turkey. By the way, I don't suggest to drive in the big cities as sometimes traffic can be hectic; just drive between cities or in the countryside. Here are some driving tips:
- Get a good map, or use your mobile phone with Google Maps.
- Get used to road signs, they're mostly in Turkish but it's always Latin letters hence easy to read.
- There are so many electronic speed-traps, do not speed.
- Respect traffic rules and signs, even sometimes others don't.
- It's against the Law to drink alcohol and drive.
- It's required by the Law that all passengers fasten seatbelts at all times.
- In case of an accident file the report and call your rental car company, but if there are injuries then call the ambulance and police from toll-free number 112.
Is it safe to hitchhike in Turkey?
is an extremely hitchhiking-friendly country. Whether you're hitchhiking in the city or on the main road between the cities, for sure someone will stop to give you a ride. It's absolutely not mandatory, but it's always a good practice and etiquettes to ask the driver if you can compensate him/her with some money
, or fill the gas, or offer a tea
or meal along the way. Most probably he/she will say "No". When hitchhiking, it helps you to learn at least a few words of basic Turkish
so you can somewhat interact with the driver, and with gestures. And don't forget to use always your common sense.
Do you suggest to join a group tour or arrange a private tour?
There are pros and cons for a group tour or a private tour
. Group tours have guaranteed departure dates, usually include all expenses, are reasonably priced; but they might be crowded and you have to follow the same itinerary with others, there is no flexibility at all. Private tours are fully flexible, can be customized depending on your area of interests, can be arranged on the dates you wish; but they're a little pricier than group tours and you have to arrange some travel items on your own. At the end, the selection between Group tour or Private tour depends on visitors' travel habits and on their budget.
Are there licensed tour guides in my language?
Yes. There are over 10 thousand licensed tour guides
in Turkey in every language you can imagine. Of course, some languages are considered as "rare" hence it might be difficult to find an available tour guide in that language in a specific period of time. But generally speaking, it's possible to find one in your own language. For example, I do guide in English and Italian languages. I also cooperate with colleagues of other languages so I may arrange your private tour in your language too.
Can I photograph or film people during my visit?
Yes. It's always polite to ask for permission before photographing or filming someone that you don't know. It would be appropriate if you approach the person and gain their permission to take the photo; this way you won't have any problems.
Are there any good sights to visit in Turkey?
Yes, of course. There are thousands of historic and cultural sights in Turkey
that can satisfy any kind of traveler; Archaeological sites, world heritage
sights, cultural sites and tourist attractions are the most popular ones to visit in Turkey.
Are there nice beaches or seaside to have a relaxed holiday?
Yes. The Turkish Riviera, in the west of the country, is a stretch of coastline boasting some of the finest beaches in Europe and is the most commonly visited region of Turkey
by tourists. There are many seaside locations with pristine beaches and all kinds of accommodation facilities along the Aegean
. There are hundreds of beaches awarded with the "Blue Flag", an international environmental award given to safe, clean beaches from all around the world.
I'm a vegetarian, is this a problem in Turkey food-wise?
No. Turkish cuisine
is one of the best in the world with hundreds of varieties of dishes. Even though most of the dishes are based on meat and kebabs
, it's also a vegetarian heaven. Since agriculture
takes major part of the local economy
in the countryside, veggies are abundant all around especially in the Aegean
region and Mediterranean
with many meze
dishes. In the big cities you can find several vegetarian-only restaurants
, but even in a meat or mixed restaurant there are usually few veggie friendly options. There are few strictly-vegan restaurants, too.
What is the religion in Turkey? Does it pose any risk to me because of my faith?
The prevalent religion in Turkey is Islam
; approximately 98% of the population in Turkey is considered Muslim
. But Turkey is a secular
state and the freedom of faith is guaranteed by the Constitution
. Besides many mosques
, there are also Christian churches or Jewish synagogues, especially in big cities. Every citizen, and visitors too, are free to practice their religion and follow their religious faith. As long as you respect common rules and general public sense, you won't have any problems at all regardless of you're a Christian
, a Jew
, a Hindu, or even non-believer.
If I'm in trouble in Turkey, who should I call?
For relatively small problems you can contact the police, such as car accidents (but no injuries nor death
), small crimes such as pickpocketing, over-pricing of service, lost passport etc. and file a report. In case of a big trouble, such as with the Law or with law enforcements, it's advised to contact your Embassy
and maybe consult a lawyer. For medical emergencies, injuries or ambulance, you can call 112. For police, call 155.
What are DONT's for a foreign visitor?
- Do not use or buy or attempt to buy/sell drugs in Turkey, it's a very serious crime which could put you in jail for a long time, even for small amounts.
- Tourists may face arrest if they insult the Turkish nation or military, or deface the national flag.
- Avoid criticism to the Government or heads of state, especially in public.
- Do not insult people's religious beliefs; Islam.
- Do not buy or sell antiquities, it's against the Law.
- Avoid political demonstrations and protests, or large gatherings.
- It's also advised to stay away from the borders of Syria and Iraq.