Turkey Travel Guide

Continent: Europe and Asia
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Turkey Travel Essentials

Ideal Duration: 7 - 10 days

Currency: New Turkish Lira (YTL)

Best Time: April - June (Spring) and October - November (Autumn) Read More

Budget: Moderate

"A Land of Culture with Modern Twist"

Turkey Tourism

Settled on the border of Asia and Europe, Turkey is an archive of Islamic Middle East impact and the influence of Christian European West. Turkey at present represents a modern and westernised culture that exists along with its more exotic and esoteric side hidden from outside world. Explore the dual sides of the country with the natural panoramic landscape, historic places, fertile valleys, huge mountain ranges, rugged coastline and quaint villages. The capital city of Istanbul is the heartbeat of the country buzzing with cafes, bustling bazaars, aroma of spices, enchanting belly dancers, nightclubs and hammams.

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Best time to visit Turkey

The best time to visit Turkey is April, May and September, October which as the temperature is warm and conducive to explore the ancient sites. However, Turkey is considered a year-round destina (Read More)tion and the best time to visit depends on the places you wish to visit and the activities you want to indulge in. April and May (spring season) is the best time for outdoor activities like trekking and cycling or exploring the archaeological sites. June through September are typically hot and dry with temperatures being particularly high making it great for island hoppers and beach lovers. 

From late October,
the weather starts to cool off a bit. From November to March, the weather starts to get cold predominantly in interior areas of Cappadocia where the temperature drops to below 0°C. Winters can, however, be the best time to traverse the sites as they are less busy at this time of the year. 

The Aegean and Mediterranean coasts of Turkey have a Mediterranean climate with mild winters and hot summers.

Holidify's opinion on Travel to Turkey

What's Great?

Historic sites and buildings. Rich culture. Archaeological findings. Beautiful mosaic work. Exotic belly dance. Turkish coffee and tea.

What's Not So Great?

Political unrest. Littering on the roads. Smoking culture. Electricity and water problem.

For Whom?

Culture and heritage buffs. People who admire great architecture. Coffee and tea lovers. Those who love natural beauty. Shopaholics.

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Exchanging Money in Turkey

The exchange offices or dviz brosu exchange the currencies usually without any commission fee but banks do charge commission. Travellers cheque can only be exchanged at banks with a passport. To avoid the extra exchange charges, it is recommended to carry the cheques in Euros, US dollars or pound Sterling. ATMs are easily accessible in most urban areas.

Nightlife in Turkey

Nightlife in Turkey is one of the most exciting and thrilling one in entire Europe considering that half of the population is under 30. The country offers from most sophisticated and trendy places to brash depending on the area of your visit. The variety of bars, taverns, and clubs makes the time more interesting for the night birds. If you are in one of the big cities such as Antalya, Izmir, Istanbul and Ankara, the young generation there has developed a taste for chic jazz bars, and enormous glinting dance clubs in the line with European cities venues. In Istanbul, many such bars are lined along the banks of the Bosphorus where one can also cherish the beautiful sunset before heading for the stylish Beyoglu. Belly dancing is a Turkish tradition, which is a must if you are visiting the country. However, it is mostly restricted to larger hotels or in venues that are purpose-built for tourist nightlife tours.

Shopping in Turkey

Shopping in Turkey is a fun experience especially, in its vibrant and bustling bazaars. There are many souvenir shops with all sorts of items; however, the most popular gifts to buy include jewellery, leather apparel, locally made handicrafts, nargiles (water pipes) and musical instruments and carved meerschaum. Other significant products to look out for are the famous Turkish carpets, brass and copperware textiles, embroideries, copper work, ceramics, onyx, mother-of-pearl, inlaid woodwork, rugs and kilims. Istanbul is a major hub of shopping being packed with plenty of boutiques and big label brands. In resort towns including Marmaris, Kusadasi and Bodrum, one will find souvenirs and handicrafts of low quality and copies of branded products. Be ready for some haggling, although it is not as essential as in past, butÊtryingÊonce is no harm.

Festivals of Turkey

Festivals in Turkey are about celebrating their religion and beliefs with their holy month of Ramadan (Ramazan). Muslims here follow the lunar calendar, according to which they celebrate three-dayÊSeker Bayram (EidÊul-Fitr) and the four days Kurbani Bayrami (Eid ul-Adha). During this festival, the Muslim family sacrifices a ram to celebrate Abrahams near- sacrifice of Isaac. Make note that during this time everything is closed including transport and banks. Plan your trip accordingly as hotels and resorts also tend to be terribly crowded.

History of Turkey

History of Turkey goes back to more than 5000 years. During around 2200 BC, the Hittite kingdom ruled the Asia Minor along with the ancient Troy and the Greek city-state that grew along the coasts during the first millennium BC. The power changed hands with Alexander the Great and then by Rome following his death in 2 BC. Emperor Constantine I in 330 AD shifted Roman capital to Byzantium, located significantly on the Bosphorus while renaming it as Constantinople imposing Christianity on the subjects. The Seljuk Turks took Anatolia (eastern Turkey) during the time followed by the Ottoman Turks. During World War 1 and after the defeat in Balkan Wars of 1912-13, Ottoman Empire collapsed leading to exchange of population between Greece and Turkey. The country remained neutral during World War 2. Only 77 years old, Turkey has come close to war over Cyprus with Greece in 1974, which is the biggest obstacle for the country to join EU.

Hygiene in Turkey

Healthcare system in Turkey has witnessed a great deal of improvisation over the past decade. Medical facilities, mostly private, in major cities such as Istanbul are quite good and match their western counterpart in standards. Avoid tap water and from water tanks, as it is usually chlorinated. Prefer bottled water, which is easily available almost everywhere except in remote areas. While consuming street food, standards may vary so use your common sense. It is recommended to get vaccinations against tuberculosis and hepatitis B. Make sure to carry mosquito repellent. Sometimes rabies vaccination is also advised while visiting the rural areas.

Customs of Turkey

Hand shaking is accepted as the normal way of greeting the strangers. Kissing on the cheeks is reserved for friends and family only. Smoking is a casual thing in the country but strictly prohibited inside cinemas, theatres, buses and coaches. Remove shoes before entering mosque and women are advised to cover their head and to wear long-sleeved tops. For men and women both, it mandatory to cover their legs from knee above. Leaving a tip of 10 to 15% is customary even though a service charge is included in hotel and restaurant bills. As mall tip is given out to barbers, hairdressers and Turkish Bath attendants in big establishments. Rounding up the fare after using a taxi is a common practice.

Tips for visiting Turkey

Carry appropriate clothing according to the weather conditions. Carry proper woollen clothes for winters and light cotton clothes for summer season. For women, it is essential to cover their shoulders and not wear too short clothes. Always carry a scarf or shawl. Make sure to remove shoes before entering the mosque at someone's home. One can dress casually while in major cities and tourist areas but in smaller cities, it is important to understand the culture and dress accordingly. Carry the first aid kit, prescribed medicines, sunglasses, sunscreen lotion while travelling to the country. Be careful of petty thefts and pick pocketing in crowded areas. Also, beware of frauds in crowded areas that are just ways to hoard money by gaining sympathy.

Food of Turkey

Turkish food is along quite similar lines with Greek food but more refined. Meat forms the staple component of the Turkish diet with lamb being the dominating feature and dishes spiced fragrantly, although not as much as Indian cuisine. The vegetarian section of the cuisine offers meze- a variety of sauces, vegetables and dips, which is often served as a main meal. Another vegetarian dish in Turkey is Dolma (stuffed vegetables). Kofte, shish, Pide, Lokum and Dolma are some of the favourites of the locals. Alcohol is widely enjoyed in the country but is not served in some of the local restaurants. Raki, Ayran, Turkish tea and coffee, Turkish beer, Red and white wine are some of the major beverages in the country to enjoy.

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FAQs on Turkey

How to reach Turkey from India?

By road, it takes straight three of continuous driving to reach Turkey from UK, travelling via Germany, Austria, down through Croatia and Serbia and finally crossing over the Greek or Bulgarian border.


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