A Practical and Informative Guide for Turkey Travel

Navigate Turkey with ease using this practical guide, offering essential information and insights for a well-informed and enjoyable journey through the country's diverse landscapes and rich cultural offerings.

A Practical and Informative Guide for Turkey Travel

Turkey Travel: Visas and Arrival Procedures

Travellers to Turkey can obtain tourist e-visas, either on arrival or by applying in advance, depending on their citizenship. Some countries enjoy visa-free entry. It is advisable to apply directly through the official Electronic Visa Application System to avoid hefty service fees charged by some third-party websites.

Turkey boasts a well-connected network of international airports. Istanbul, home to the world's largest airport, New Istanbul Airport (IST), and Sabiha Gökçen (SAW), both play pivotal roles. 

Transportation Options in Turkey

Turkey offers convenient transportation with well-maintained roads, extensive air connectivity, and diverse public transport options. Navigating city centres, especially Istanbul, is best done on foot and using public transport due to traffic challenges.

  • Airport Shuttle and Istanbulkart

Opting for a Havatas shuttle from Istanbul airport, coupled with the use of an Istanbulkart for fare payments on buses, ferries, and the metro, proved hassle-free and efficient for city exploration.

  • City Public Transport

Public transport within cities, including buses, ferries, and the metro, provides a reliable means of travel. Cab services are also readily available for local commuting.

  • Intercity Travel Options

Internal flights are a popular choice for intercity travel, offering budget-friendly options and increased connectivity, particularly during peak seasons. Turkey's extensive flight network facilitates quick and efficient travel.

  • Road Travel Experience

For a scenic and flexible exploration, self-driving with Circular Car Hire provided freedom during a two-day Cappadocia exploration and an eight-day road trip along the Turquoise Coast. This highlighted the convenience and flexibility of road travel in Turkey.

Language Insights in Turkey

Turkey and Cyprus is Turkey's official language , with the historic Ottoman Turkish alphabet replaced by the Latin alphabet in 1928 under Atatürk's script reform.

  • English Proficiency

While not universal, English is widely understood in Turkey, easing communication challenges, especially in tourist-centric areas.

  • Multilingual Environment

Turkish hotels often employ staff from neighbouring countries, fostering a diverse and multilingual environment, enhancing the overall travel experience.

  • Linguistic Similarities with Indian Languages

Fascinating parallels exist between Turkish and Indian languages, such as Hindi and Gujarati, influenced by Persian and Arabic, leading to shared linguistic connections.

  • Examples of Resemblances

Examples include Turkish "Dunan" for "smoke," akin to Hindi "Dhuan," and everyday terms like "Hava" for air, mirroring counterparts in Hindi and Gujarati. The word "çay" in Turkish, pronounced like "chai" in Hindi, adds an intriguing layer to the journey.

Exploring Turkish Cuisine

Embark on a delectable adventure through the diverse and rich flavours of Turkish cuisine, blending influences from the Mediterranean, Middle East, and Central Asia. Explore the unique dishes, delightful street food, and the cultural significance of Turkish gastronomy.

Exploring Turkish Cuisine

  • Fresh Juices: Indulged in refreshing orange (portakal) and pomegranate (nar) juices at roadside stalls for as little amount per glass.
  • Turkish Breakfasts: Elaborate breakfast spreads featuring salads, cheeses, homemade jams, honey, eggs, nuts, meats, and beverages are a staple. Most hotels offer this lavish spread, but you can easily find Turkish breakfast plates at restaurants and cafes throughout the day.
  • Çay: Turkish tea, served black without milk, delighted us with its rich flavour. We even brought back the traditional glasses used for serving.
  • Kahvesi: Turkish coffee, brewed with finely ground beans left in a water and sugar mixture, offers a unique taste worth trying, even if it's not a personal favourite.
  • Baklava: A must-try sweet pastry with numerous variations, stuffed with different dried nuts and soaked in honey or syrup. The Pistachio Baklava at Mado stood out among the options.
  • Simit: Resembling bagels, these are popular afternoon snacks, available in bakeries and from street vendors.
  • Gozleme: A beloved traditional flatbread filled with meat or veggies. Our best Gozleme experience was at the Kaş Friday farmer’s market.
  • Menemen: Considered the ultimate comfort food, Menemen is a scrambled egg curry with tomatoes, green bell peppers, and spices, typically enjoyed with bread.
  • Manti: Small meat-stuffed dumplings served on a bed of yoghurt sauce with a drizzle of red pepper-infused oil.
  • Dolmas: Stuffed grape leaves, often filled with rice and served cold, offering a unique and strong flavour.
  • Doner Kebabs: Seasoned meat slow-cooked on a vertical rotisserie, sliced or shaved and rolled into flatbread, seasoned with spices and vegetable pickles.
  • Pide: Dubbed the Turkish equivalent of pizza, our incredible experience at Müdavim Pide Salonu Alaçatı made it a favourite.
  • Testi Kebap: Reminiscent of traditional dishes, Testi Kebap is a delicately flavoured meat curry slow-cooked in a sealed earthen pot, adding a unique touch to our culinary exploration.

Valuable Tips for Your Trip to Turkey

Embarking on a journey to Turkey revealed some important considerations that could enhance your travel experience. Take note of these insights for a smoother and more enjoyable adventure:

  • Topography Matters: Turkey's predominantly mountainous terrain can present challenges, especially for those with mobility issues. Consider the landscape when planning your itinerary and opt for conducted tours with arranged transport if walking on hilly terrain is a concern.
  • Strategic Shopping in Istanbul: Save Istanbul for the end of your trip to make the most of your international baggage allowance. Istanbul's markets and bazaars offer tempting delights, and delaying your visit allows you to shop without the burden of lugging purchases throughout your journey.
  • Currency Exchange Wisdom: Avoid exchanging currency at the airport, as it often provides unfavourable rates. Instead, use an international credit card for services like Havabus into the city. While Euros, U.S. Dollars, and British Pounds are generally accepted, using Turkish Lira provides better deals. Exchange foreign currency in the town or city you're visiting for optimal rates.
  • Turkey Museum Pass: If you plan to explore major archaeological sites, ruins, and museums, invest in the Turkey Museum Pass. It offers 15 days of access to over 300 museums operated by the Ministry of Culture and Tourism. Region or city-specific passes are also available.
  • Pack Light, Shop in Turkey: Considering reasonable prices and the availability of international brands, pack light and shop for necessities in Turkey. Large towns and cities offer a variety of products, allowing you to save on luggage space and enjoy the convenience of shopping locally.
  • Confirmation of Hotel Reservations: To avoid surprises upon arrival, confirm hotel reservations a day in advance. This proactive approach helps ensure that the booked room type is available and prevents any inconvenience caused by overbooking or unforeseen changes.

Choosing the Best Time to Visit Turkey

Consider the best time for a Turkey visit, as the peak tourist season in July and August brings scorching temperatures. Optimal periods include late September to early October for mild weather, with warm seas, ideal for coastal exploration.




Best For



Optimal Weather Period

Late September - October

Coastal Exploration & Mild Temperatures

Warm seas, pleasant temperatures, fewer crowds

Possible occasional rain showers

Favourable Sightseeing Months

April - Mid-June

Comfortable Exploration & Sightseeing

No intense summer heat, good weather for outdoor activities

Some areas still experiencing cooler temperatures

Extended Travel Season

March - November

Budget Travel & Off-Season Experience

Lower prices, unique local atmosphere, potential for snow in Cappadocia

Some tourist attractions closed, variable weather, colder conditions in certain areas

Peak Season (Avoid)

July & August

Sunbathing & Relaxing by the Sea

Hottest weather, highest prices, large crowds

Not ideal for sightseeing or extensive outdoor activities

Planning Your Budget for Turkey

Turkey caters to diverse budgets, offering experiences for both budget-conscious and luxury travellers. The country's flexibility allows for a range of adventures, from economical hitch-hiking journeys to indulgent getaways.

  • Airfare Considerations

Airfare, a significant expense, varies based on departure location. Turkey's extensive connectivity facilitates finding affordable deals, especially during slightly off-peak seasons, contributing to budget optimization.

  • Accommodation Choices

Accommodation selection significantly shapes the budget. Opting for mid-range hotels or vacation rentals in major cities like Istanbul, Izmir, Ephesus, and Cappadocia strikes a balance between comfort and cost, considering limited time spent at the lodging.

  • Average Daily Budget

For the average traveller, a daily budget proves more than sufficient. This allocation covers accommodation, internal transportation, meals, drinks, and entry fees, ensuring a well-rounded and enjoyable experience without exceeding budget constraints.

Suggested Itineraries for Your Turkey Exploration

Whether you have a few days or a couple of weeks, Turkey offers diverse and captivating destinations. Here are some suggested itineraries based on our research and firsthand experiences:

Suggested Itineraries for Your Turkey Exploration


Itinerary Details



1-3 Days

Istanbul Immersion

Hagia Sophia, Blue Mosque, Topkapi Palace, Grand Bazaar, Spice Bazaar, Bosphorus cruise

Ideal for short trips focused on Istanbul's rich history and vibrant culture. Day trips to nearby destinations like Bursa or Gallipoli can be added for adventurous travellers.

3-5 Days

Istanbul and Beyond

Istanbul highlights (3 days) + Cappadocia (2 days) OR Ephesus and surrounds (2 days)

Combine Istanbul's cultural immersion with either the mesmerising landscapes of Cappadocia or the ancient ruins of Ephesus and nearby towns.

5-7 Days

Istanbul, Cappadocia, and Ephesus

Istanbul highlights (3 days) + Cappadocia (2 days) + Ephesus (1 day) + Selcuk/Izmir/Alaçatı (Optional)

Experience Istanbul's history, Cappadocia's surreal landscapes, and Ephesus' ancient marvels. Add another day to explore nearby towns like Selcuk, Izmir, or Alaçatı.

7-9 Days

Istanbul, Cappadocia, Ephesus, and Southern Coast

Istanbul highlights (3 days) + Cappadocia (2 days) + Ephesus (1 day) + Pamukkale (1 day) + Southern Coast (2 days)

Indulge in Turkey's cultural and natural richness. Explore Istanbul's history, Cappadocia's landscapes, Ephesus' ruins, Pamukkale's travertines, and choose your favourite scenic Southern Coast destination like Kaş, Antalya, Bodrum, etc.

9-15 Days

Comprehensive Turkish Experience

Istanbul highlights (3 days) + Cappadocia (2 days) + Ephesus (1 day) + Pamukkale (1 day) + Kaş (3 days) + Dalyan (2 days) + Alaçatı (2 days)

Immerse yourself in all aspects of Turkey. Experience bustling Istanbul, Cappadocia's wonders, Ephesus' history, Pamukkale's unique formations, Kaş' charming atmosphere, Dalyan's nature, and Alaçatı's vibrant town.

Memorable Highlights from a Turkish Journey

Explore the captivating highlights of our Turkish adventure, from the scenic Bosphorus cruise in Istanbul to the enchanting wonders of Cappadocia and the charming coastal town of Kaş. These memorable experiences showcase the diverse beauty, rich history, and delightful surprises that Turkey has to offer.

  • Bosphorus Cruise in Istanbul

The Bosphorus cruise, especially the daytime voyage from Eminonu Pier, is a highlight, providing scenic wonders along the river. The 2:30 pm departure allowed for a captivating experience.

  • Charming Karaköy in Istanbul

Karaköy, with its bohemian ambiance, friendly felines, and charming cafes, is a favourite area in Istanbul. Shops near Galata Tower offered quality and reasonable prices.

  • Göreme, Cappadocia Wonders

In Göreme, Cappadocia, the Zelve and Göreme open-air museums are fascinated with natural rock formations, churches, and frescos. The Derinkuyu underground city exceeded expectations, proving both fascinating and comfortable.

  • Scenic Drive to Pamukkale

The drive from Izmir to Pamukkale through cotton fields, pomegranate orchards, and vineyards is a picturesque journey, offering a highly recommended scenic route.

  • Hierapolis Ancient Theatre

The ancient theatre of Hierapolis leaves a lasting impression, ranking as a personal favourite among all the open-air theatres encountered during the journey.

  • Charming Kaş and Memorable Boat Day

Kaş, a charming town with rental properties boasting fantastic views, provides a memorable boat day with clear blue waters for swimming. Best dining experiences were in Kaş, with tucked-away restaurants serving exceptional food.

  • Tranquil Dalyan Escape

Dalyan offered a quiet escape with a refreshing change to flat landscapes after the mountainous terrain across the country.

  • Alaçatı's Pastel-Colored Charm

Alaçatı lives up to expectations with pastel-coloured stone homes featuring covered wooden balconies, adding pops of colour to the journey.

  • Turkey's Abundant Beauty

Turkey, with its abundant natural beauty, rich history, delicious cuisine, and warm people, leaves an indelible mark. Highly recommended for a well-rounded and enriching travel experience.


Do I need a visa to visit Turkey?

Yes, most travellers need a visa to enter Turkey. You can apply for an e-visa online, and the process is usually straightforward. Some nationalities are eligible for visa-free entry or visas on arrival, so it's essential to check the specific requirements based on your citizenship.

What's the best time to visit Turkey?

The best time to visit Turkey depends on your preferences. Summer (June to August) is popular for coastal destinations, but it can be hot. Mid-September to mid-October offers pleasant weather and is ideal for coastal and cultural exploration. April to mid-June is excellent for sightseeing, and off-peak times may offer fewer crowds and discounted prices.

How do I get around in Turkey?

Turkey has a well-connected transportation system. In cities, public transport like buses, trams, and metros are common. Domestic flights are convenient for longer distances. Renting a car is an option for more flexibility, especially in regions like Cappadocia. Taxis and rideshare services are available in urban areas.

What's the currency in Turkey, and can I use other currencies?

The official currency is the Turkish Lira (TRY). While Euros, U.S. Dollars, and British Pounds are generally accepted in tourist areas, using Lira is advisable for better exchange rates. Currency exchange can be done at banks, exchange offices, or ATMs.

Is it safe to drink tap water in Turkey?

While tap water is treated and generally safe in major cities, it's recommended to drink bottled or filtered water, especially in more rural areas. Be cautious with ice and ensure that water used for brushing teeth is safe.

What should I pack for a trip to Turkey?

Pack comfortable clothing, especially if you plan to explore historical sites. Sunscreen, a hat, and comfortable shoes are essential. Modest clothing is advisable for visits to religious sites. Power adapters, a travel guidebook, and a universal travel plug can also be handy.


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.

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