Turkey Travel Tips
- Top Ten Destinations İn Turkey
Most likely your arrival destination in Turkey. It is population more than 15 millions today. Istanbul was a capital of Byzantine and Ottoman Empires and still a cultural capital of modern Turkey. Magnificent architectural buildings such as St. Sophia, Blue Mosque and Ottoman Sultan’s palaces are in this Metropolis. Istanbul is the only metropolis in the world resides in two continents. You can take a cruise and admire this wonderful city from Bosphorus Straits. Grand Bazaar and Spice Bazaar are also worth to mention.
Cappadocia is getting more and more popular destination in Turkey. Tourists can reach there by bus or by plane with 1 Hour 30 minutes long flight. Moon like terrains, Dwellings from first Christians and amazing hot air balloon tours are must see in Turkey.
You can also stay in a cave hotel in Turkish land of beautiful horses (Cappadocia).
Ephesus locates most western part of Turkey in the town of Selcuk. Resort town of Kusadasi is just 20 minutes away. From Istanbul you can fly the city of Izmir in an hour and after 45 minutes drive you will be reached Ancient City of Ephesus. The Unesco site has a lot to offer. 25000 capacity Antic Theatre still home of important events. Celsus library was the 3rd largest library of ancient times and still stands in the city of Ephesus.
Ephesus is also very important for Christians. Virgin Mary’s House isjust 10 minutes away from Ephesus today it is still active as a church. St. John Basilica can be visited as well at Ephesus.
Pamukkale means ‘Cotton Castle’. It is a natural site and in the list of Unesco World Heritage. Tourists can visit this site with 1 hour flight from Istanbul by plane daily. Travertines terraces are colored white by Meander River’s carbonate mineral. Anciant City of Hierapolis was the largest Necropolis of the ancient times because rich hot springs in the area. Aphrodisias can also seen if you visit from Kusadasi.
5- Anzac Gallipoli Battlefields & Ancient City of Troy
Gallipoli war was an epic war for Turks, Australians and New Zealanders. Today battlefields can be visited from Istanbul by daily tours and every year there is a remembrance day for this war. Ancient city of Troy is famous for its beautiful Helen and Trojan Horse. Ruins can be visited daily from Istanbul by tours.
Turkish Riviera. The resort town located southern west part of Turkey and can be reached from Istanbul by 1 hour 10 minutes flight. Night life is very lively in Bodrum a lot of Hollywood stars visit this small town. There are daily ferries depart Rhodes and Kios from Bodrum in summer season.
7 – Antalya
Locates in Southern Turkey and known as sun city. Even winter sun can warm your bones. Long beaches, natural and historical sights surround this city. Can be reached from Istanbul by plane with 1 hour 15 minutes flights.
8 – Black Sea Region
Semi Tropical forested landscape and always cool and mild weather. Black Sea region is the lungs of Turkey. Beautiful Sumela Monastery and picturesque plateaus covers this region.
9 – Izmir
Izmir (Symirna) is the 3rd largest city in Turkey. The city has lively with bustling streets and Kordon Boyu. It has also one of the important cruise port for Turkey. You can take your time at one of the oldest bazaar in Turkey Kemeralti. Izmir is also rich with its surroundings. Pergamon is 1 hour 30 minutes away. Ephesus is only 45 minutes. Izmir is also a hub for 7 Churches of Revelation. The city has also a lot of history in it. Agora is worth to visit as well. There are still a Jewish community lives in Izmir. Cesme has begun very famous and already took down Bodrum from its first place. Cesme is 45 minutes away from Izmir Airport. It is also good for flying to Athens from Izmir if you combine your vacation.
10 – Bursa
Ottoman Empires capital before Istanbul. The city has a lot of hidden architectural gems. Its bazaar was one of the most important stop for Silk Way. Bursa is also famous with its silk manufacturing. Uludag is Turkey’s Aspen for skiing. You can find all kinds of resort over the mountain. Green texture will amaze you too.
- Must See Attractions İn Istanbul
1 – Hagia Sophia
Hagia Sophia – Ayasofya in Turkish is an architectural beauty lies in Old Town Istanbul. It is an important figure for Byzantine and for Ottoman Empires. First it was a church, later a mosque by Ottomans but today is a museum at Modern Turkey.
2 – Topkapi Palace
Constructed by Sultan Mehmet The Conqueror and the palace was the home of Sultans for centuries. Today serves as a museum in modern Turkey so yuou can take a close look at Ottomans Sultans life. Harem section is also worth the visit.
3 - Blue Mosque
The Blue Mosque (Sultanahmet Camii in Turkish) is an historical and one of the most important mosque in Istanbul. It is called Blue Mosque because of blue tiles surrounding the walls of interior of this monuement. It is still used as a mosque and a popular tourist attraction in Istanbul.
4 – Grand Bazaar
Once it was a small warehouse than expanded by Sultan Mehmet The Conqueror as covered bazaar. It is one the oldest covered bazaar in the world. Chaotic, crowded yet with labyrinthine streets it is ready to be explored. Barganing is a must and you will get endless offers for tea from vendors.
5 – Spice Bazaar (Egyptian Bazaar)
Bustling streets and uncountable numbers of smells; There you are in the Spice Bazaar. It was the Silk Ways last stop and today still important spot for locals and tourists. Dried fruits, cheese varieties, spices all from Anatolia may seem different to tourist eyes but you will be tasting these goodies along the way with vendors jokes at the end.
6 – Bosphorus Straits
20 miles from south to north is a natural connection point for Marmara Sea and Black Sea. As well as its important for trading its beauty amaze us. Just hop on one of the local ferry and observe Istanbul beauty from between two continents.
7 – Taksim Square – Istiklal Street
It is considered the heart of New City part of Istanbul. It isan important square for locals since rally’s and celebrations all take place at this square. Crowded but just sit on a bank and watch people you will love it there. Then walk to Istiklal street there you will find packed coffee shops and chic stores and at the end find the historical tunnel which is one of the oldest railway system in the world. The place never sleeps. For light walk or for a night life Istiklal Street and surroundings are the place.
8 – Camlica Hill
It is located Asian part of the city and one of the highest point of Istanbul. Calm and peaceful and while you are sipping your Turkish coffee enjoy the most amazing Istanbul view.
9 – Beylerbeyi Palace
It was the summer residence of Ottoman Sultans and resides in Asian part of Istanbul. This is symmetrical planned palace and it was way ahead of its time by design.
10 – Dolmabahce Palace
It is built 19th century and it was last Ottoman Sultans palace. After modern Turkey takes place Ataturk open this palace for congress and conferences. He kept only a small room
- Top Ten Alternative Tours İn Turkey
1 – Cappadocia Hot Air Balloon Tour
Cappadocia from the ground is one of a kind but seeing from 3000 feet offers amazing views. Seeing colored valleys, caves and handsome Mountain Erciyes from hot air balloons is nothing short of spectacular. This will be your not only highlight of your trip but your life.
2 – Rafting in Dalaman River
Looking adventure and adrenaline in a day. Dalaman offers 3+ grade rapids with magnificent scenery. Suv Safari up the mountain and hiking to the river. Dalaman offers all in one day.
3 – Scuba Diving to WW1 Wrecks in Canakkale
There are over 200 shipwrecks in and around the Gallipoli peninsula except gallions. You can scuba dive these wrecks in a day at Canakkale. Once death spreading war machines now home of schools fishes. Dive depths range from 7m to 30m offers diving every category of divers.
4 – Skydiving on Ephesus
Think yourself jumping from a plane and your speed is 120 mph. Plus on theese you are flying over on a world heritage UNESCO site. Thanks to tandep jump it is possible for everyone.
Exhilarating free-fall to peaceful parachute ride makes your day unforgettable one.
5 – Food Walk in Istanbul
Turkey is junction of cultures and of course Turkish cuisine is under the influence of several cultures coming in from every direction. This results delicious culinary mix in Istanbul. From chic restaurants to street wendors Istanbul is the right spot for seasoned foodies. Think of Istanbul as a stew and blend in it.
6 – Zip-Lining on Meadow Ayder (Black Sea)
Ayder is a marvel of Turkey with its green pasture but also offers fun zip-lining activity. Rize province, Fırtına River home of zip lining and rafting during summer season and offers gorgeus views for visitors.
7 – Trekking & Cycling the Lycian Way
The Lycian is over 500 Km trail from Fethiye to Antalya. The trail is mainly Roman roads that requires well equipped trekking.The road lies between mountains and you will see lots of steep hills . The best seasons are spring and autumn summer will be too hot for walking. Along the way you wil be able to find guest houeses, villages for accommodation but you will also see wild camping along the way.
8 – Paragliding at Fethiye
“One Of The 10 Things That You Should Do Before You Die” says Forbes magazine. Over the spectacular Blue Lagoon(Oludeniz) fly like a bird on this epic tandem paragliding. Feel the warm breezes and enjoy the aerial view then touch down to Oludeniz beach. Tandem flights with well experienced pilots requires no experience.
9 – Skiing in Uludag
Uludag is Just a ferry away from Istanbul. A weekend gataway for the locals offers you well organised touristic area. If you are tired of skiing Alps then you should give a shot to Uludag.
10 – Canyoning At Hells Canyon in Dalaman
Looking for and adventurous day then consider taking Hells Canyon. Abseiling, swimming through crystal clear pools of freezing water and scrambling over rocks. The canyon goes as deep as 1000 feet and goes 10 feet wide at some points. A must for everyone adrenaline seekers.
- Some Tips For Your Turkey Trip
WHAT TO WEAR
Turkey gets very hot in the summer.
Bring sun screen, sun glasses, swim suits and a hat, as you will need them whole your trip. As well as those, you may want to bring light long sleeve shirts for evening walks. The breeze from the Bosporus may make you feel chill out.
Of course, comfortable hiking shoes are important during Ephesus Tour.
As it will be quiet hot, the linen or cotton pens, shorts will not sweat you much.
DRESS REQUIREMENTS FOR THE RELIGIOUS PLACES OF WORSHIP
During tours Cappadocia, Ephesus and Istanbul, there are important religious sites that require a dress code, though the 'rules' are not strong.
Men or women can wear shorts; even the women can wear them if the shorts are covering the knees. The rules are not so strict for foreigner travelers, but of course the locals will appreciate any attempt of showing respect to the religious places.
Visiting a mosque or a church is a profound experience and one that will leave you feeling calm and serene. Be careful to follow the rules such as not make pictures to the people praying and dress appropriately as to not disrespect the worshipers – you are now in a muslim country. Recommended to have in your bag head coverings and wear knee-level clothes.
- Blue Mosque visit (Istanbul) requires barefoot walking. Enter the prayer section inside a mosque barefoot. Leave your shoes at the shoe storage area near the entrance, or carry them in a bag. Step inside with your right foot first. Speak softly once inside.
- At the House of Virgin Mary again the head and shoulders should be covered. At the entrance there are scarves to 'barrow' for the visit. Again, being a religious place with priest and monks, clothes that will cover the knees will be appreciated.
Throughout the tour shorts & tang tops are O.K.
MONETARY SYSTEM / Money, ATMs and Credit Cards
Buy your Turkish Lira at the Istanbul airport from an ATM using a debit card, and buy enough for last you at your first days in Istanbul.
You can legally use your foreign currencies (mostly USD; EURO or GBP) in most places. You may have difficulty with other currencies.
It is recommended to have some Turkish Lira for small payments, or if you want to pay in foreign currency in such places you need to have small bills and/or coins. By giving large bills for a small payment you may risk upset the seller and also experience difficulties with currency rates for change.
Turkey has many Banks, and bank branches can be found almost everywhere. The big retail banks all have sophisticated ATMs, most of which give cash advances against foreign credit cards.
ATMs are available. US$ currency can be used throughout the country. If you need to change US$ to Turkish Lira, you can do it at the airport very easily. The rates almost all the same. Personal Checks are honored if you should do a big purchase and are treated like cash.
Personel Checks, If you want to make a purchase over $100 you can pay with your traveler's checks. But cashing traveler's checks in a bank is expensive and not always easy. Do not rely on traveler's checks for cash.
Credit Cards are extensively used in Turkey. Yes you can use your credit card in many places in Turkey but please remind your bank or credit card organization that you are going to be in Turkey for a while. Because for some reason the banks or credit card companies block the card when they see purchase is made in Turkey. For your safety, do not send your card away with a waiter for example. It is better to go to the cashier with the card or just tell them to bring the POS machine to you.
Exchange offices offer fast service in and outside normal banking hours and at better rates than banks. They have their buying and selling rates announced on the wall and do not charge any commission and only change foreign cash currency. Passports are not required. In case you have any extra Turkish currency left with you, before your departure from Turkey, you can always change this into whichever currency you like at change offices available near ports or at the airports.
The unit of currency in Turkey is the Turkish Lira (TL). One Turkish Lira is devided into 100 Kurus. Types of available coins are: 1, 5, 10, 25, 50 kurus and 1 lira. Bills or banknote types are 5, 10, 20, 50, 100 and 200 liras.
WHAT HAPPENS IF YOU LOOSE YOUR PASSPORT?
Please take a photocopy of your passport with you and keep it is a different place than where you keep your passport. Having a record of passport makes it easier to get new passport. If you loose your passport we will be helping you to contact with your embassy.
(This does not happen often but it is nice to be prepared)
MEALS / DRINKS
Turkish food has enough variety to meet every one's need. Vegetarian menus are available in most places. Food is always plentiful and delicious, you won't go home hungry or lighter. Some favorites included baklava, "meatballs" [Adana kebab], dolma, Doner kebab, and salads, mezes…
If special diet food is required you need to warn the waitress to make them aware what do they offer you.
Liquor [wine, beer, spirits] are 2-3 times as expensive as in the U.S.; if you enjoy a cocktail before dinner, consider buying a bottle from duty free before you board your international flight.
Try to buy your bottled water at a grocery/market near your hotel: about $.25 for a 1.5 liter bottle. And drink during the tour days as you will sweat lots.
Avoid your hotels' mini bars. It can cost you more than regular price list of a restaurant.
If you are in Istanbul on a Sunday night and you've never seen a dervish performance, attend the Galata whirling dervish performance: it's a 5-minute walk from the Galata Tower and the real thing -not a floor show put on for tourists, although probably everyone in the audience may one.
PLUG TYPE FOR ANY ELECTRONIC GADGETS
All you need is a single 2-round-prong European-style plug adapter; all hotels use this type. So you need to purchase a converter in advance from the USA or at the airport. Usually, it is a bit expensive at the airports.
Tipping is not included in our service fees. It is never mandatory although it is always appreciated and depend always on the satisfaction of service(s).
LOCATING YOUR TOUR GUIDE
Your tour guide will always be waiting for you at the confirmed sight with a name sign.
In HOTEL our representative, driver and/or guide waits for you at the hotel's reception and/or lobby. Please aware the hotel concierge which can identify us.
The order in which visits are mentioned might be changed and/or adjusted according to circumstances. We also purchase almost all the entrance tickets in advance to avoid waiting in lines to enter the sites.
ENTRANCE FEE to the HISTORICAL SITES
The entrance fees to the historical sites ARE included in our tour fees. Same as for the parking.
HOW SAFE IT IS TO TRAVEL IN TURKEY?
It is as safe as any other European country even though Eastern Turkey has suffered from terrorism until the year 2000 due to the P.K.K terror organization claiming a separate Kurdish state. The western part of Turkey has always been quite safe in every aspect. Pick pocketing case is as common in big cities such as Istanbul, Izmir as in Rome or London. Mugging is not very common but it is also a case in the back streets of Istanbul. (Avoid accepting drink or food offers from strangers or any invitation to the bars or entertainment places). Locals are very friendly, shop-keepers often approach to the tourists walking past their shops, they sometimes get very persisting and groovy even though they don't mean any harm, it may get really annoying.
Please note that visas are the responsibility of the individual traveler.
Non-U.S citizens must apply for tourist or business visas before traveling to Turkey. Applicants should contact the relevant Turkish Consulate in person, by mail or by a courier service. Citizens of most countries can obtain a visa at the border or applicants outside the United States should contact the nearest Turkish Embassy or Consulate to learn their visa requirements and procedures. Turkish missions abroad are listed at http://www.mfa.gov.tr/default.en.mfa
To apply the visa online, please follow the link https://www.evisa.gov.tr/en/
Remark: Information provided above is believed to be reliable now. However, we cannot guarantee that information will be accurate, complete and current at all times. Therefore please check the links that I have provided above before you take action for the Visa.
SHOPPING IN TURKEY
The wonderful architecture and sights and smells of the East make shopping in Turkey a great day out. It is quite impossible to think of your visit in Turkey without the thrill of shopping. Shopping in Turkey is irresistible for the wide range of unique and beautiful items. Once you see the variety of national products with Turkish style, you will want to take some home to share with your family and friends. Such as: Turkish or Oriental carpets; leather goods; an exquisite piece of gold and/or silver jewelry; traditional hand painted ceramics and porcelain; attractive hand beaten Cooper goods; pottery; handmade crafts; meerschaum pipe; a luxurious pashmina shawl, wrap or scarf; textile; Lokum=Turkish delight; baklava; Turkish coffee; Turkish tea; spices; olive oil.
Traditionally in Turkey, it is believed that a simple blue eye glass can ward off evil and bring luck and success. You can see blue eyes hanging in homes and shops or incorporated into buildings and jewelry. Blue eyes come in all shapes and sizes and make an authentic and inexpensive souvenir of Turkey.
Please contact us for any other questions you may have regarding Turkey.
- Things To Know About Turkish People
Turkish Man has Mustaches
When you think about Turkish stereotype the mustache is always there. You will still see members of the older generation sporting a mustache while young Turks are more likely to be clean-shaven. Also beard is new thing with young people in recent years.
All Turkish Woman use Scarf / Burka
Not really. Women in Turkey use scarf because it is their choice. Once you hit Istanbul bustling streets you will see women with scarf and without scarf. Turkey is teeming point for cultures and you will actually see all kinds of people.
No Camels in Turkey
Turkey does not have any desert therefore it does not have native camels. You will see camels outside of your 5* hotel strategically lined up for you to ride on for a fee.
The Language: Turkish
Turkey’s official language is Turkish. There are minorities that speaks other languages such as Kurdish, Zaza. Turkish language is not related to Arabic. Finnish and Turkish are closer languages then Turkish and Arabic.
Mangal is the way it is
Barbeque (Mangal) is a big thing for Turks. It can be prepared for any meal on any day. If you invited on a Mangal party you are expected to eat a lot. Saying no may hurt the feelings of Mangal Bası (The Cook). Picnic is also a big thing for Turks so they invade Green areas with their portable mangals.
Turkish people are hospitable
If you talk to a Turkish person more than half an hour then you may get invited to his/her house. Don’t get scared! This is normal. Turks are incredibly friendly and hospitable and you will be the VIP when enter the home. If you accept the invitation it will be an honor to house holder. You will be offered Black Tea or Turkish coffee in a customary way. You will be offered a lot of food. If you don’t accept eating it may hurt the feelings of house owner. Saying no may not work so Turkish people will offer beverages and food over and over even if you don’t have any appetite.
Turks can get personal
Turks may and will ask personal questions like: How old are you?....... Is your spouse Turkish?..... Where are you from?...... What is your job?..... Do you have children?.... These are typical warming friendship questions from a Turk and they may ask these just after having to know your name. You are from a different culture and these detailed questions may bother you a little bit where you come from but these questions are pretty normal.
Turks and Kids
Turks love kids and they will want to hug your kid. Somebody from different culture like yourself may think this is harassing kids but it is pretty normal for a typical Turk.
Sultans No More
Sultans were in power at Ottoman times and after independence war secular Republic of Turkey established at 1923. Ataturk was the one who made this happen and every corner in Turkey you will see his statues around. There is a great respect for him and some people may get offended if you criticize him.
You will see a lot of stray cats and dogs in the urban areas in Turkey. They are friends to locals will be taken care of anonymously by locals. Don’t get scared they are harmless and by municipality they are being checked regularly.