Essential Tips and Must-Knows for Your Upcoming Trip to Turkey

Turkey is a captivating destination that continues to attract travelers from around the world. With its rich history, modern metropolis like Istanbul, and stunning coastal resorts, there's something for every type of traveler. 

Essential tips and must knows

Plus, the favorable exchange rate of the Turkish Lira makes it an attractive choice for budget-conscious adventurers. Whether you're planning a short weekend getaway or an extended trip, here are 35 tips and things to know before visiting Turkey.

Overview of Turkey

Turkey's Unique Attractions:

  • Diverse Landscapes: Turkey boasts a diverse geography, from vibrant coastal resorts to majestic mountains, making it perfect for all types of travelers.
  • Historic Istanbul: Istanbul, a city that straddles two continents, offers a wealth of history and culture. Plan to spend ample time exploring its many treasures.
  • Cultural Fusion: Turkey combines secular and progressive elements with regions that value more conservative traditions, offering a unique blend of customs and practices.
  • Turkish Cuisine: Don't miss the chance to savor authentic Turkish dishes, such as lahmacun, pide, kebabs, menemen, and the renowned Turkish breakfast. Pair your meals with traditional Turkish tea and coffee.
  • Learn Basic Turkish: While English is commonly spoken in major cities, learning a few Turkish phrases can enhance your experience and endear you to locals.
  • Haggling in Markets: Practice your haggling skills at bustling markets like the Grand Bazaar, but avoid bargaining in stores, where it may not be appreciated.

Before Your Trip

Planning Your Itinerary:

  • Explore Beyond Tourist Resorts: Venture beyond crowded tourist resorts like Antalya or Bodrum to experience the real Turkey and connect with local traditions. Visit nearby towns accessible by bus for an authentic cultural immersion.
  • Allocate Ample Time for Istanbul: Istanbul is enormous and teeming with history. Plan your visit to this iconic city carefully, as there is much to see and explore.
  • Learn About Turkey's History: Familiarize yourself with Turkey's complex history, including the legacy of Mustafa Kemal Atatürk, the founder of the modern Turkish Republic.

1. Explore Beyond the Tourist Resorts

While Turkey's south coast boasts stunning tourist resorts like Antalya, Marmaris, Kusadasi, and Bodrum, don't limit yourself to these popular destinations. 

To truly experience the country's traditions and culture, venture off the beaten path and explore local towns that are easily accessible by bus. This way, you'll gain a deeper understanding of Turkish customs and likely make new friends along the way.

2. Immerse Yourself in Istanbul's History

Istanbul is a city like no other, straddling the continents of Europe and Asia. To make the most of your visit, plan ahead and allocate sufficient time to explore this vast city. While navigating Istanbul's traffic can be challenging, the historical treasures dating back to the 1400s are worth every effort. Don't miss iconic landmarks like the Hagia Sophia and the Blue Mosque.

3. Understand Turkey's History, Politics, and Religion

Turkey is a country that blends secular and progressive movements with regions that adhere to more conservative practices. To gain insight into Turkey's complex history, start by learning about Mustafa Kemal Atatürk, the founder of the modern Turkish Republic. Delve deeper into the country's past and present by reading books like "A Turkish Awakening" by Alev Scott or "Birds Without Wings" by Louis de Bernieres.

4. Savor the Local Cuisine

Turkish cuisine is a treat for the senses, and you should definitely indulge in local dishes. While Western fast food chains are readily available in major cities, the real culinary adventure lies in trying traditional Turkish fare. 

Sample dishes like lahmacun (herby lamb flatbread), pide (flatbread with various toppings), doner kebab, Adana kebab, and the legendary Turkish breakfast known as kahvalti. Don't forget to enjoy a glass of cay (tea) with every meal and experience the unique flavor of Turkish coffee.

5. Learn Basic Turkish Phrases

While many young people in Turkey speak English, learning a few basic Turkish phrases can go a long way in enhancing your travel experience and connecting with locals. Here are some essential phrases to get you started:

  • Hello – Merhaba
  • Goodbye – Güle güle
  • Please – Lütfen
  • Thanks – Teşekkürler
  • Good night – İyi geceler
  • Good morning – Günaydın
  • Good evening – İyi akşamlar
  • How are you? – Nasılsın?

6. Master the Art of Haggling

Visiting the vibrant Grand Bazaar or local markets is a must-do in Turkey. To purchase goods, you'll need to learn the art of haggling. Politely ask for the price and then suggest the amount you're willing to pay, aiming for a compromise between the two figures. Keep in mind that haggling is appropriate in markets but not in stores, where fixed prices are the norm.

Turkey offers a multitude of experiences, from the pristine beaches of the south coast to the historic wonders of Istanbul and the cultural richness found in every corner. By following these tips, you'll ensure a memorable and fulfilling trip to this enchanting country.

7. Make Room for Souvenirs

When you're exploring Turkey and encountering its rich culture and artistry, be sure to leave space in your luggage for souvenirs. The country is home to numerous talented artisans, and you won't want to miss the opportunity to bring back some of their exquisite work as cherished mementos.

8. Grasp the Immensity of Turkey

Turkey is a vast country, covering 783,562 square kilometers. Traveling from one end to the other can be a time-consuming endeavor. For instance, a bus journey from Marmaris on the south coast to Diyarbakir in the southeast will take approximately 24 hours. It's essential to plan your itinerary carefully, considering the various transportation options available, including long-distance buses and regional flights.

9. Understand Turkish Visa Regulations

Understanding Turkish visa rules is crucial, depending on your country of origin. Most travelers can obtain an online tourist visa, which allows for a stay of up to 90 days within a 180-day period. Introduced in 2013, the Turkey eVisa is a popular choice for tourists. However, it is only available to citizens of eligible countries.

For those wishing to stay longer than 90 days, obtaining a residency permit is necessary. This permit should be applied for online before your tourist visa expires and typically requires proof of financial means, appropriate travel insurance, and details about your place of residence.

Overstaying a tourist visa can result in fines and potential bans, so it's crucial to adhere to the visa regulations and check your eligibility before your trip.

10. Plan for Reliable WiFi Access

WiFi availability in Turkey can be inconsistent, and access often requires a passcode. To ensure reliable internet access, consider getting an international phone plan or a Turkish SIM card. Some newer phones support eSIM cards, while others require physical SIM cards. Make these arrangements in advance to avoid connectivity issues during your trip.

11. Be Aware of Blocked Websites

Certain websites, including PayPal, Wikipedia, and, are inaccessible within Turkey. To avoid inconveniences, make necessary bookings and arrangements for these services before entering the country. Alternatively, consider using a virtual private network (VPN) if you prefer making last-minute plans while traveling.

12. Bring a Travel Adapter

Turkey uses the European F-type socket, with a standard voltage of 220 V. To ensure your devices can be charged, bring a suitable travel adapter with you. While adapters can be found in Turkey, it's advisable to purchase one before your trip to avoid any inconvenience.

13. Dress Modestly to Respect Local Customs

While many parts of Turkey are modern and Westernized, it's important to dress modestly, especially in conservative areas away from tourist resorts. Despite its relatively relaxed atmosphere, Turkey is still a predominantly Muslim country. 

Dressing conservatively not only shows respect for local customs but also helps you avoid unwanted attention. While beach resorts allow more relaxed clothing, it's wise to be mindful of local dress codes when exploring other regions of the country.

14. Opt for Public Transport, Especially in Istanbul

Utilizing public transportation, particularly in Istanbul, is a cost-effective and authentic way to explore Turkey. Buses are not only reliable but also budget-friendly, making them an excellent choice for getting around most cities and towns. 

In Istanbul, a must-have is the Istanbul Card, a prepaid card that can be used for various forms of public transport. By choosing public transportation, you not only save money but also gain a more genuine local experience. Navigating the bustling streets of Istanbul with a rental car is generally not recommended.

15. Recognize the Distinction Between Holiday Resorts and 'Real' Turkey

While Turkish holiday resorts offer a taste of local culture through Turkish nights, restaurants, and shops, they do not fully represent the authentic Turkish way of life. 

These resorts are heavily Westernized and cater to tourists, offering a different experience from the traditional Turkish lifestyle found in the heart of the country or in nearby villages. To truly immerse yourself in the culture, consider venturing beyond the tourist hubs.

16. Experience a Turkish Breakfast

Don't miss the opportunity to indulge in a traditional Turkish breakfast, known as "kahvalti." This hearty and diverse morning meal is a quintessential part of Turkish cuisine. A typical Turkish breakfast features an array of small plates with various dishes, offering a delightful start to your day. You can even enjoy it in the afternoon if you prefer a later breakfast.

17. Choose Local Vendors for Excursions

While staying at a hotel or traveling with a holiday company, you may be offered various excursions to nearby attractions. To save money and support the local economy, consider booking these excursions through local vendors rather than hotel representatives. Often, you'll find the same tours at lower prices, allowing you to have the same experiences for less.

18. Research ATMs and Bank Card Fees

Different banks may charge varying fees for ATM withdrawals and currency exchange rates based on your card and its country of origin. It's advisable to research these fees before your trip. Some banks impose high fees, while others may offer more favorable rates. Additionally, many businesses in cities and tourist resorts accept credit and debit cards, reducing the need for frequent ATM withdrawals.

19. Explore Multiple Places

To gain a well-rounded perspective of Turkey, consider visiting more than one location. Turkey is easily accessible, and using public transport, especially long-distance coach services like Pamukkale or Kamil Koc, allows you to explore various regions comfortably and affordably. Visiting different areas enables you to experience diverse landscapes and authentic local cultures, moving beyond the confines of tourist resorts.

Brands We Recommend

  • Cheap Car Rental: For affordable car rental options, you can get rental car quotes here.
  • Best Local Tours: Discover top tours and experiences in Turkey here.
  • Find Accommodation Deals: Search for affordable hotel deals here to secure your stay.
  • Get Connected: Stay connected with WiFi without excessive fees. Use code NOV10 for a 15% discount.
  • Airport and City Transfers: Get quotes for airport and city transfers here for convenient transportation.
  • Currency Exchange: Save on money exchange and credit card fees by finding the best rates here.

Visiting Turkey Don'ts

When visiting Turkey, there are certain cultural nuances and precautions to be aware of to ensure a respectful and enjoyable experience. Here are some essential "don'ts" to keep in mind:

20. Don't Forget to Remove Your Shoes

If you're invited to someone's home in Turkey, it's customary to remove your shoes at the doorstep. This act shows respect and also aligns with the belief that shoes carry dirt and bacteria from outside. By leaving your shoes at the door, you avoid bringing potential contaminants into the home.

21. Don't Misinterpret Gestures

In Turkey, a peculiar gesture involves making a tutting noise and nodding upwards, which signifies "no." This is not a sign of rudeness; rather, it's a polite way of declining or indicating that you do not want something.

22. Don't Be Influenced by Media Stereotypes

Despite occasional media reports, Turkey is generally a safe destination for travelers. While isolated incidents have occurred, they are infrequent and should not deter you from exploring this diverse country. As with any destination, exercise common sense, research potential scams, and familiarize yourself with local customs to ensure a safe and enjoyable trip.

23. Don't Decline the Double Cheek "Kiss"

When meeting someone for the second time, don't be surprised if they greet you with a semi-hug and a "kiss" on each cheek. While it's more of an air kiss or cheek-to-cheek touch, this gesture signifies familiarity and friendship. Embrace it as a warm welcome.

24. Don't Refuse Food or Tea

If you're visiting someone's home in Turkey, it's considered impolite to decline food or tea that is offered to you. Even if you're not hungry, it's customary to accept some of what is offered, as Turkish hospitality is highly valued. Politely expressing that you're not hungry when asked is acceptable, but if food is presented without inquiry, it's best to partake.

25. Don't Forget to Pack for Varied Weather

Turkey's diverse geography results in varying climates, from arid deserts to snowy regions and scorching summer weather. Research the weather conditions in the specific locations you plan to visit to ensure you're prepared for temperature fluctuations, especially during the winter months.

26. Don't Overlook Mosque Etiquette

While exploring mosques, particularly in Istanbul, be mindful of mosque etiquette. Mosques often close during prayer times, especially on Fridays, so plan your visit accordingly. When entering a mosque, women should cover their heads and ensure their elbows and legs are covered. 

Men should wear long pants and cover their shoulders. All visitors should remove their shoes at the entrance. Avoid taking photos during prayer and respect the sacred atmosphere. Consider making a small donation to support the maintenance of these historic places.

27. Don't Expect Punctuality

In Turkey, it's common for schedules to run on what is colloquially known as "Turkey Time." This means that if someone says they'll arrive in an hour, it often means closer to an hour and a half. While this may initially be frustrating, embrace the relaxed pace as part of the local charm.

28. Don't Fall for Drinks Scams

While uncommon, some tourist resorts may serve local drinks instead of international imports, which may vary in quality or authenticity. Stick to bottled or draft beer if you're uncertain, and always keep an eye on your drink to prevent any unwanted situations. If you prefer spirits, inquire about the brand and ask to see the bottle to ensure authenticity.

29. Don't Be Overcharged by Taxi Drivers

Like in many tourist destinations worldwide, some taxi drivers in Turkey may take longer routes to increase fares. To avoid this, find out the approximate cost of your journey from a local or hotel staff member beforehand. 

When entering the taxi, negotiate the price with the driver or inform them that you are aware of the expected fare. Most drivers will use the meter and take the direct route if they know you are informed about the fare.

Important Turkish Taxi Words

  • Straight - Düz (pronounced "douz")
  • Here - Burası (pronounced "burasou")
  • Right - Sağ (pronounced "saou")
  • Left - Sol (pronounced "soh")
  • OK - Tamam (pronounced "tamam")
  • Good - İyi (pronounced "eiye")

30. Consider Quality Over Price in Istanbul Hotels

While budget-conscious travelers may be tempted to choose the most affordable hotel option in Istanbul, it's essential to strike a balance between budget and quality. 

The cheapest hotels often tend to be located far from popular tourist attractions, and their overall quality may not meet your expectations. Reading reviews and being willing to spend slightly more, perhaps around 100 lira per night, can lead to a safer and more comfortable stay without breaking the bank.

31. Be Cautious with Tabs in Hotels

When staying in a resort or hotel, you may be offered the option to open a tab, allowing you to accumulate expenses to be paid upon checkout. However, it's advisable not to use this option. 

While most establishments are honest, some may add extra charges to your bill, including drinks you did not consume. Paying your bill at the end of each night and carefully reviewing it before payment can help avoid any discrepancies.

32. Exercise Caution When Disclosing You're a First-Time Visitor

The decision to disclose that it's your first time in Turkey depends on your location and circumstances. If you are a solo female traveler in a Turkish tourist resort, mentioning that you are new to the country may attract attention, not all of which may be welcome. 

While such situations are not common, it's essential to be cautious. In some cases, telling people that you have been to Turkey before may lead them to assume that you are familiar with the area and less vulnerable.

33. Avoid Exchanging Currency Beforehand

Resist the temptation to exchange your money into Turkish lira before arriving in Turkey. Instead, opt to exchange cash upon your arrival. 

You'll typically receive a better exchange rate by changing money in Turkey, which means you'll get more value for your currency. Avoid underestimating the size of Istanbul and its challenging traffic conditions when planning your travel time.

34. Prepare for Inaccurate Weather Temperature Predictions

When visiting a holiday resort on the south coast of Turkey during the summer, keep in mind that the weather temperature predictions may not be entirely accurate. During peak summer months, the southern region experiences scorching heat that can be significantly higher than the forecasted temperature. 

Prepare for temperatures that are at least 5 degrees Celsius higher than what you see in the weather forecasts. Air conditioning is a must to combat the oppressive heat.

35. Avoid Drinking Tap Water

It's advisable not to drink tap water in Turkey. While some areas may have water that is safe for consumption, it's generally safer to opt for bottled water to prevent any potential health issues. Stick to bottled water for drinking and brushing your teeth during your stay.

In conclusion, Turkey is a diverse and captivating country with a rich history, stunning landscapes, and warm hospitality. Whether you're planning your first visit or returning for another adventure, it's essential to be aware of these tips and recommendations to make the most of your experience:


  • Explore beyond tourist resorts to discover authentic Turkish traditions.
  • Dedicate ample time to explore Istanbul's historic treasures.
  • Familiarize yourself with Turkey's history, politics, and religion.
  • Savor the local cuisine, from lahmacun to Turkish breakfast.
  • Learn some basic Turkish phrases to facilitate communication.
  • Hone your haggling skills when shopping in markets.
  • Leave room in your luggage for Turkish souvenirs.
  • Understand Turkey's vast size and diverse regions.
  • Familiarize yourself with Turkish visa rules before your trip.
  • Plan for reliable access to Wi-Fi or consider getting a Turkish SIM card.
  • Be aware of banned websites and consider using a VPN.
  • Bring a travel adapter for European-style outlets.
  • Dress modestly, especially outside tourist resorts.
  • Use public transport, particularly in Istanbul.
  • Recognize that holiday resorts may not represent the authentic Turkish way of life.
  • Enjoy a traditional Turkish breakfast.
  • Book excursions with local vendors to support the local economy.
  • Research ATM fees and exchange rates for your bank card.
  • Explore multiple places in Turkey to experience its diversity.
  • Use reputable brands for car rentals, local tours, accommodations, and currency exchange.


  • Don't underestimate the size of Istanbul and its traffic.
  • Don't expect weather temperature predictions to be entirely accurate.
  • Don't drink tap water; opt for bottled water.
  • Don't choose the cheapest hotel option in Istanbul; prioritize quality.
  • Avoid using tabs for expenses in hotels.
  • Exercise caution when disclosing it's your first time in Turkey, depending on your circumstances.
  • Avoid exchanging currency before arriving in Turkey.

By following these do's and don'ts, you'll be better prepared for an enjoyable and memorable visit to Turkey, allowing you to immerse yourself in its culture, history, and natural beauty while ensuring a safe and hassle-free journey.


Apply for Turkey visa:

  • Online Application: Fill out the visa application with your passport details.

  • Payment: Use a credit card to make an online payment.

  • Email Confirmation: After payment confirmation, your visa will be emailed to you.

Get Visa to Turkey

Recent News

Show More

Other Info

Show More
Apply for Turkey eVisa