TURKEY TRAVEL TIPS: How to plan a trip to Turkey
More articles at the bottom of the page: HIKING THE LYCIAN WAY: A Practical Guide to Turkey’s Best Long Distance Walk |
Turkey is a beautiful and very popular destination that offers a huge seaside, history, outstanding cuisine, and much more. These Turkey travel tips will help you plan a perfect trip to Turkey: find out the best time to visit Turkey, what to eat, and the best things to do in Turkey.
Why visit Turkey
Located between Europe and Asia, Turkey is a country with a plethora of enriching activities and unique sights. It combines small idyllic villages with vibrant cities, historical monuments, and a gorgeous coastline. Of course, this means it attracts countless visitors every year.
Travelers flock to enjoy the colorful native dishes, including mezze platters with fresh, local seasonal products. So, in between outdoor adventures and museum hopping, you’re bound to find a tasty treat to keep energy levels up. Keep reading these Turkey travel tips to organize an incredible holiday!
Essential Turkey travel tips
LANGUAGE: Turkey’s official language is Turkish. Often, people also speak Kurmanji, Arabic, and Zazaki.
MONEY/ATM: the Turkish Lira is the official currency. ATMs are widely available.
ELECTRONIC APPLIANCES: the socket type in Turkey is type F, with a standard frequency of 50Hz and voltage of 220V.
VISA: a tourist visa is required to enter Turkey (Official website and online application)
Best time to visit Turkey
Turkey has something to offer all year round. June to September gets very hot – up to 35 degrees, therefore perfect to relax on the beach and enjoy a cold drink by the pool.
From September to October the weather cools down but the days are still long and sunny, this allows you to visit historical sites more comfortably.
November to March is considered low season, nevertheless, this is perfect if you are looking to explore Turkey on a budget.
Finally, Spring is particularly beautiful with warm temperatures. Therefore, the best time to visit Turkey is from April to June. Skies will be blue and crowds will be manageable, with even an extra perk of having the chance of a discounted airfare and accommodation.
How much is a trip to Turkey?
Turkey is a country where you can get a lot for your money. Some cities, such as Istanbul, are slightly more expensive, but, with some good research and the help of these Turkey travel tips, you will be able to find the best deals and organize a great adventure.
These costs are rough and can change.
You can find a room in a mid-range hotel for as little as $30 a night, youth hostels and campsites can be even cheaper.
Of course, luxury and high-end hotels are widely available, starting from $80 to over $150 a night.
Street food is your best option if traveling on a budget. It’s widely available, delicious, and only a few $. Make sure you drink bottled water (20-50p) and avoid tap water.
A local meal in a mid-range restaurant can vary from $15 to 25$. High-end restaurants are available, starting from $45 for a meal with a drink.
There are plenty of cheap and free activities in Turkey. Food tours start at $40 (Double-check before you set off – these prices are rough and some tours require pre-booking).
Finally, one of the most popular activities is the hot air balloon ride in Capadoccia. This is one of the most expensive day trips, starting at $80, but you won’t be disappointed.
What to eat in Turkey
Turkey has a huge variety of traditional sweet and savory dishes. Here’s a list of some amazing local foods you have to try! No “essential Turkey travel tips list” would be complete without them.
Traditional Turkish Delights are colorful and delicious, with either walnuts, pistachios, hazelnuts or chopped dates, etc. These come in a range of colors and flavors, such as lemon, rosewater, mastic, and orange. They are delicately finished off with a dusting of icing sugar.
This well-known dessert takes a high level of craftsmanship. Phyllo dough is rolled and a choice of nuts are layered on top (walnuts, pistachios, or hazelnuts). These layers are repeated, dressed in butter, and baked in syrup. The result is a rich, sweet syrupy treat. They’re amazing with ice cream!
Turkish ice cream:
Traditional Turkish ice cream has a texture, unlike any other ice cream you’ve ever tried. There’s a special ingredient that gives it a chewy, stretchy consistency: Powdered orchid bulb flour! It’s hard to miss a Turkish ice cream stall; vendors enjoy putting on a show!
This is a cheesy dessert originating from southeast Turkey. It’s a deep-fried crispy cheese, filled with pistachio and covered in syrup. It’s baked and then served immediately – to be eaten hot and only hot. Kunefe keeps locals and tourists coming back for more.
Despite how complicated this dish is, Turkish people can whip these dumplings up really quickly. The balls are stuffed with lamb or beef, boiled, and served covered in yogurt and spice-rich sauce. They’re an all-time favourite dish, found in supermarkets, restaurants, and everyone’s mother’s kitchen.
A meze platter is the best way to discover Turkey’s cuisine. These are typically salads, spreads, dips, fried seafood, cheeses, beans, and mussels served with bread. Meze is usually served at the beginning of a meal, you’ll find it everywhere, with a combination of hot and cold dishes to choose from.
Best things to see and do in Turkey
This country has a wide variety of sights and activities, therefore these are just some of the best things to do in Turkey.
The country’s capital is home to 14 million people and welcomes thousands of visitors each year. People are attracted to the dynamic atmosphere and interesting history combined with a modern city. You can spend days walking along century-old buildings – such as mosques and synagogues – and modern skyscrapers. Prepare to be amazed at the mixture of Byzantine ruins, beautiful bathhouses, hammams, bazaars, and more. Its inhabitants are very welcoming. Istanbul offers a great city pass including some of the best and most popular attractions.
Pamukkale thermal pools
These pools are a stunning sight and the result of a unique phenomenon. They’re an impressive stretch of snow-white limestone and mineral-rich waters dripping down a mountainside. Located in Denizli, ‘Pamukkale’ directly translates to ‘cotton castle’ in Turkish – and seeing these glistening rocks, you can understand why. The water has therapeutic qualities, is known to heal skin and eye diseases. Unfortunately, due to UNESCO World Heritage Site protection, you can’t swim here anymore. Although, after snapping some pics, you can take a dip in the nearby modern swimming pool, away from the cliffs.
This is an ancient district, located in east-central Anatolia. It sits just north of the Taurus mountains amongst the volcanic rocks. The buildings and hills have a unique honeycomb-like appearance. These are the remnants of ancient volcanic eruptions. Inhabitants utilize this natural soft stone treasure to create shelter, carving churches, stables, storehouses, and museums. The town of Göreme is a perfect base to explore the region.
Located somewhere deep in the heart of Anatolia is Mount Nemrut, one of the highest peaks in the Taurus Mountains. It contains King Antiochus I of Commagene’s tomb, who commissioned it himself. Across this mountain are gigantic statues of gods, with their names in both Greek and Persian.
Travelers who can navigate their way to this tricky destination are amazed by the details in the sculptures, and the beautiful landscape offering colorful sunrises and sunsets.
Antalya resort city
Antalya is one of Turkey’s most popular holiday locations. It’s a resort city, with luxurious hotels along beaches, and a yacht-filled harbor.
It’s known as the “Turquoise Coast” due to its glistening blue waters. Its summers are hot and winters are mild, which makes it an all-year-round hot spot.
Kaleiçi, a preserved old-city district, sits at its core and offers clifftop views of mountain silhouettes. Antalya is also a great starting, or ending point, to hiking the famous Lycian Way, Turkey’s best long-distance walk!
The original ancient charm of Bodrum Town remains untouched, despite the millions of tourists who arrive each year. They come to experience the trendy restaurants, clubs, boutiques, and of course the stunning beaches. Though it’s unlike any other seaside resort – even in the bustling summer months, you can still find serenely peaceful corners in the town. The historical aspects can keep you here for days, wandering bemused around the Bodrum Castle and the underwater archaeological museum.
Blue Lagoon, Oludeniz
This is a world-known hot spot for its aquamarine waters. Extremely snap-friendly, you’ll want to capture this scene to keep forever.
The mixture of blue and green shades beside the soft white sands earned its fame. It’s perfectly peaceful as no boats are allowed, but you can hire a canoe or a paddleboat to explore the shores.
Secret Seaside: Patara
Patara is Turkey’s longest beach (and one of the many beautiful things you’ll see hiking the Lycian Way), it stretches for 11 miles!
About a mile inland is a small village called Gelemi, nestled in a shallow valley. It didn’t exist until the fifties, so there are only a couple of restaurants with delicious locally produced food, bars, and shops. Everything is independent and family-run.
Beneath the village of Faralya is the legendary Butterfly Valley, home to around 100 species of butterflies. In 1987 the Turkish government named it a preservation area to protect the local flora and fauna.
This is a well-known spot and one of the most picturesque and beautiful places in Turkey. At the end of the valley is a breathtaking waterfall, complete with a stream leading to the Mediterranean.
The valley can be reached safely with a shuttle boat. Be careful if you decide to walk from Faralya village to the valley, as it’s known to be dangerous – some fatalities have occurred, so you’ll see several warning signs discouraging you to hike down.
If you’d love to see some of Turkey’s highlights, use these essential Turkey travel tips to plan your perfect getaway. If you found this guide helpful please let me know in the comments below.