Turkey facts and travel tips

The heart of four different world empires has the perfect opportunity to rest and relax like nowhere else in the world. Even if you forget the fact that this nation exists on two continents, you’ve got plenty of sand, sunshine, and gentle breezes that can help you find a perfect getaway.

What makes Turkey special is the fact that its culture can be the key to unlocking an affordable holiday. Negotiations happen at every turn, so practice your skills before your visit and you could save 10-20% over what others are paying for the exact same thing. You can choose to stay in a major hotel chain if you wish, grab a local flight for a surprisingly affordable price to explore more on day trips, and find gourmet hidden gems that won’t break your budget.

For those who love history, Turkey is the perfect location. Numerous religious sites that date back to the Roman Empire can be visited. Ancient ruins with spectacular views are waiting to be discovered. A hidden beach with a stretch of white sand stands empty of footprints, waiting for your own. Whether you want something metropolitan and modern or rustic and rugged, this country has exactly what you’re looking for as a holiday destination.

If you’re ready to explore Turkey, then here are some of the highlights that can be found in and around each city. Start your plans today and you may just find that this nation will have a very special place in your heart once you take the opportunity to explore it.

Good to know about Turkey

Opening hours in Turkey

During the summer season, and especially in the resort areas, supermarkets, minimarkets and many shops are open daily, often till early evening.
As a general guideline opening days and times are as follows:

Banks: 09.00 – 12.00 and 13.30 – 17.00 Monday to Friday.

Post Offices: (identified by yellow PTT signs) 08.00 – 20.00 Monday to Saturday, and 09.00 – 19.00 on Sundays.

Museums – 09.00 – 17.00 Tuesday to Sunday.

Chemists (eczane) – 09.00-19.00 Monday to Saturday. A duty chemist is appointed on a rota basis to remain open for 24 hours, details of which are posted in any chemist’s front window.

Shops: in the resorts, and particularly during the summer months, bazaars and many tourist shops open daily from around 09.00 till late in the evening, often till 22.00. More regular type shops may close earlier in the evening, and on Sundays.

Supermarkets: Most supermarkets are open daily, and the larger ones are often open till 22.00 during the summer, a few open 24 hours.

When is the best time to visit Turkey

The main season for visitors to Turkey’s western Aegean and Mediterranean coastal resorts is between May to October, when the weather is settled and the days are long and sunny.
Temperatures range from the mid 20°Cs early and late season, to the mid 30°Cs during the peak season of July and August which is also the most popular time to visit when all the activities are in full swing. The sea temperatures are warm and ideal for swimming throughout the summer, and it is not unusual to be able to swim in the sea even in November.

In the coastal resorts we have a selection of properties suitable for occupation in late autumn, winter and early spring where you can discover the changing seasons. Please contact us for further information. There may be an additional charge for heating. The Turkish resorts do quieten down in winter and many facilities available during the summer months may not be available during winter.

Vaccinations for Turkey

No vaccination certificates are compulsory for entry to Turkey. You should always check with your doctor, in good time prior to departure, if there are any inoculations the Department of Health consider necessary or advisable for any specific areas.

Currency in Turkey

New Turkish Lira (YTL) is the official currency in Turkey. “Y” stands for “Yeni” (“New”) in Turkish as the new notes and coins replaced the old currency which was withdrawn from circulation in January 2006. It can be purchased from your bank in advance, in which case we would advise you to order at least two weeks before your departure date. Alternatively you can change money, or travellers cheques once you have arrived in Turkey. It’s easy to change up all major currencies in exchange offices, post offices and hotels. Exchange offices are also located in the arrivals halls at most Turkish aiports.

Local transport in Turkey

Hiring a car is one of the best ways to get out and about, giving you the freedom to explore at your leisure.

Local transport within the towns and resorts consists of dolmus or minibuses (taxis) that run from one point to another and you can hop on and off anywhere along the route and pay according to the distance travelled.

Public Holidays in Turkey

Government offices and banks will be closed on public holidays, but life in the resort areas continues much as usual. Money exchange bureaux and most shops and restaurants open as normal.

Did you know?

Turkey is home to two of the Seven Wonders of the World, the temple of Artemis at Ephesus, and the Mausoleum at Halicarnassus (present day Bodrum)

St Nicholas, popularly known as Santa Claus, was born and lived in Turkey

Noah’s Ark is said to have landed at Mount Ararat in Eastern Turkey

Turkey provides 70% of the world’s hazelnuts

Gave the English language many words including chock-a block, turquoise, yoghurt, kismet, kilim and parchment

Turkey first introduced tulips to Holland and today still supplies tulips worldwide. The tulip is also Turkey’s national flower

Turkey was the first ever land to mind and use coins 2700 years ago by the Lydians

Turkey has the world’s first female Supreme Court Judge, and gave the women the right to vote in 1934

A brief history of Turkey

Historically known as Asia Minor or Anatolia, this vast region reflects a remarkable and fascinating history with settled habitation dating back to the eighth millennium BC. Anatolia has seen virtually every major western civilisation come and go including the Assyrians, Hittities, Phrygians, Urartian, Greeks and Romans. Treasured artefacts, including what is believed to be the first landscape picture ever painted were left behind and are displayed at Ankara’s Museum of Anatolian Civilisations. Many of the museums’ artefacts are the only clues we have to the earliest civilisations.

Some of the finest sites emerged from the Hellenistic period such as the remains of ancient Troy and the ruined settlements of Lycia. The most impressive of them all is ancient Ephesus. It is believed that the Virgin Mary spent her last days in a small house on the edge of Ephesus whilst St John the Evangelist came to look after her. Now a place of Pilgrimage for Roman Catholics, the house has received the official sanction of the Vatican.

In 560 BC the King of Persia, Cyrus, conquered everybody and everything and soon subjected the Aegean cities to his rule. However, 200 years later they were defeated by Alexander the Great. He led the Macedonians eastward across Anatolia as far as India in pursuit of gaining the domination of Asia. Sure enough, he rapidly conquered the entire Middle East, from Greece to India.

Following its conquest by Rome in the 2nd century BC, Asia Minor enjoyed centuries of peace. During the Middle Ages as part of the Byzantine Empire it became a centre of Christianity.

The Great Seljuk Empire, based in Persia, was the first real Turkish state in Anatolia. This empire had a distinctive culture with beautiful architecture and design. The Seljuks Empire quickly declined with Anatolia fragmented into a number of small emirates. The Turks gradually moved in on these states one by one which eventually grew to be the largest empire in recent history, the Ottoman Empire. The Ottomans ruled for more than six centuries until 1922. The following year, Asia Minor became the larger part of the Turkish Republic led by Ataturk.

Mustafa Kemal Ataturk was the main drive behind the development of modern Turkey. The former army officer became Turkey’s first President and steered the country from the wreckage of the Ottoman Empire. Ataturk introduced dramatic reforms that touched upon every aspect of Turkish life. There were many significant changes including replacing the Arabic script with Latin characters. Primary education was made compulsory and religious law was abolished. Women were granted equal rights in matters of custody and inheritance and by 1934 women’s rights had extended to Universal Suffrage.

Ataturk was and still is a national hero- a massive presence in the long history of Turkey. In every town and village you will find reminders of the leader everywhere you turn. As time goes by Ataturk becomes even more of a hero as the country’s people recognize his extraordinary influence in making Turkey what it is today.

Best of Turkey

Turkey is a bridge of cultures and has served as the foundations of empires for over 2,000 years. Istanbul, once Constantinople and Byzantium, is the only city in the world to serve as the capital for 4 major empires and is the only city that is in both Asia and Europe.

That creates numerous opportunities to go exploring with the best of what Turkey offers.

#1. Butterfly Valley

You will find the beaches in Oludeniz are just as beautiful as any of the resort beaches found throughout the country. What you won’t find is the same competition for a little space on that beach. Come here, find a hammock to stretch out in, then sip on your favorite drink in the warm sunshine. The waters are beautiful and support your favorite marine sports as well.

#2. Patara

You’ll find more visitors with a trip to Patara when you are exploring Turkey. You’ll also find more space. This beach is the longest in the country. If you time your visit right, you can sit on one of the beach dunes and witness a simultaneous sunset and moonrise, which is a spectacular sky show you won’t find anywhere else in the world.

#3. Hagia Sophia

If Istanbul is on your itinerary, then make sure to visit this iconic site. The church was built by Justinian in the 6th century. It would eventually be converted into a mosque. Today, it serves as one of the best museums in the world. You’ll find beautiful mosaics within the interior, stunning marble floors, and a journey through the history of this country that is second-to-none.

#4. Mount Nemrut

Sometimes referred to as the Eighth Wonder of the World, this historic site is situated along the ancient Arsameia Road. You’ll find various large statutes at this site, including two eagles, two lions, and representations of various Persian and Greek gods. You’ll need to climbe to the summit, at 2,134m, to enjoy this 1st century BC site.

#5. Ephesus

Once an active center for trade in the ancient world, the ruins of Ephesus are located on the Ionian coast just outside the city of Selcuk. The Temple of Artemis was found here, and you can still visit the stunning Library of Celsus. You can view many of the artifacts recovered from this city at the local museums. Don’t forget to see the views from the Great Theater, an amphitheater which could seat 25,000 people.

#6. The Grand Bazaar

Every city in Turkey offers a bazaar worth visiting during your stay here. The Grand Bazaar, however, is an experience that you’ll never forget. Everything you could ever need or want is found at this market. From rugs to tea to jewelry, your job is simple: to haggle for the best price possible.

The best of Turkey offers plenty of outdoor adventures. There are numerous landmarks to see, beaches to explore, and natural wonders to experience. If the East and the West can come together here, then you can discover something beautiful about yourself here as well.

National Holidays

When are national holidays and no work days ?

See the list with the national holidays in the country.

DateEnglish
January 1New Year's Day
April 23National Sovereignty and Children's Day
May 1Labour Day
May 19Commemoration of Atatürk
July 15Democracy and National Unity Day
August 30Victory Day
October 29Republic Day
VariableRamadan Feast
VariableSacrifice Feast

Biggest cities

See the list of the biggest and most important cities in the country, and the size of the cities by population.

Important: the informations are from various external sources. If you are using the informations professional please seek official confirmation whether the figures are actual or not.

RankNamePop.Region
1Istanbul1.3820.334Istanbul
2Ankara4.474.305Ankara
3İzmir2.828.927İzmir
4Bursa1.769.752Bursa
5Adana1.645.965Adana
6Gaziantep1.465.019Gaziantep
7Konya1.138.609Konya
8Antalya1.027.551Antalya
9Diyarbakır906.013Diyarbakır
10Mersin898.813Mersin
11Kayseri880.255Kayseri
12Eskişehir670.544Eskişehir
13Gebze582.352Kocaeli
14Şanlıurfa551.511Şanlıurfa
15Denizli540.000Denizli
16Samsun523.192Samsun
17Kahramanmaraş458.628Kahramanmaraş
18Adapazarı449.290Sakarya
19Malatya425.000Malatya
20Erzurum381.104Erzurum

Covid-19 / Coronavirus statistics

Travel restrictions / Travel advice

Any country may restrict travel without notice. For actual updates on travel restrictions see official website at gov.uk

Foreign travel advice

See actual travel advice on official website at gov.uk

Medical travel advice

Official and updated medical travel advice during the COVID-19 / Coronavirus outbreak, see WHO official website

Medical recommendations

The actual medical recommendations during the COVID-19 / Coronavirus outbreak can be found at WHO official website

Local Covid-19 information

Below you can see the actual Covid-19 situation with statistics.

For actual updates about local restrictions see government website from the link below.

Turkey
16,873,793
Total confirmed cases
Updated on October 5, 2022 3:52 pm
Turkey
16,769,595
Total recovered
Updated on October 5, 2022 3:52 pm
Turkey
3,059
Total active cases
Updated on October 5, 2022 3:52 pm
Turkey
101,139
Total deaths
Updated on October 5, 2022 3:52 pm

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