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Hot air balloons in Cappadocia, Turkey

Turkey Travel Guide

Turkey is a captivating blend of East and West. Step into the vibrant streets of Istanbul and be mesmerized by its rich history and architectural wonders like the Hagia Sophia and Blue Mosque. Explore the ancient ruins of Ephesus and walk in the footsteps of civilizations past. Indulge in the vibrant flavours of Turkish cuisine, from mouthwatering kebabs to delectable baklava. Immerse yourself in the unique charm of Cappadocia, where surreal landscapes and hot air balloon rides create a truly magical atmosphere.

Travelling through Turkey is like stepping into a living museum where ancient civilizations meet modern marvels. Discover the fairy-tale-like landscapes of Pamukkale, with its terraced thermal pools, and witness the surreal underground cities of Cappadocia. Explore the historical wonders of Troy and Pergamon, and relax on the stunning beaches of Antalya. Sample traditional Turkish tea and delight in the bustling bazaars filled with colourful spices, textiles, and handicrafts. The warmth and hospitality of the Turkish people will make you feel right at home as you uncover the treasures of this enchanting country.

Key Facts

Time Zone

GMT+2

Money

Turkish Lira (TRY)

Dialing Code

+90

  • The prices: Turkey is one of the most budget-friendly within a short flight of the UK, with great value accommodation, food and travel. 
  • The people: The friendliness of Turkish people is quite overwhelming, and you’ll find yourself making friends and receiving invitations on an almost daily basis!
  • The bazaars: Turkish bazaars are an Aladdin’s cave of delights, with ceramics, handicrafts, soaps, carpets and sweets for sale at ever-negotiable prices. If you’re not buying, just go for the atmosphere – there’s nothing like it. 
  • The food: Turkish food is a delight for vegetarians and carnivores alike and very affordable if you eat where the locals do. A fusion of Asian, Middle Eastern, Balkan and European flavours, there’s something for every taste. 
  • The antiquities: Turkey’s biggest trump card is probably its historical sites. From the ancient city of Ephesus to the mythical city of Troy and the Byzantine dome of Hagia Sophia, anybody with an interest in history or mythology will be spoilt for choice here.
  • The scenery: From the golden beaches of the Med to lunar landscapes, snow-capped mountains, rugged gorges and never-ending olive groves, Turkey’s panoramas pack a real punch.

While Istanbul is Turkey’s best-known city and was its capital during the Ottoman Empire, the current day capital is Ankara. Ankara may not have the show-stopping palaces and minarets of the former Constantinople, but its vibrant street life, lip-smacking eateries, colourful antique shops, banging nightlife and creative locals, make for a fascinating destination.

  • Hagia Sophia – One of the most beautiful buildings in the world, Hagia Sophia is Byzantine glory at its best. Bordered by delicate minarets, it’s probably the most iconic monument in Istanbul’s famous skyline. 
  • Ferry on the Bosphorus – One of the best ways to see Istanbul. Take the city in from the upper desk with a glass of tea in hand. 
  • The Grand Bazaar – One of the largest and oldest covered markets in the world, the Grand Bazaar is shopping on another scale. With 4,000 shops selling everything from jewellery and antiques to carpets, spices, tea, shisha and soap, there’s nowhere like it for souvenir shopping. It’s not a place to rush the shopping experience, however. Stop to chat, haggle and take tea with the stall-holders – it’s what makes the experience so different. 
  • Ephesus – One of the most well-preserved Roman cities in the region, the mighty ruins of Ephesus are not to be missed. Walk in the footsteps of the Romans and imagine what daily life would have been like. Don’t miss the magnificent two-story library. 
  • Cappadocia – The lunar landscapes and honeycomb hills of Cappadocia have to be seen to be believed. With rock-cut churches and subterranean cave dwellings to explore, it warrants several days of exploration.  The area is heaven for hikers, but perhaps the most memorable way to experience it is by hot air balloon. 
  • Pamukkale – One of Turkey’s most striking natural wonders, the travertine terraces of Pamukkale are a vision in white and turquoise. Combine your visit to the limestone terraces with a stop at the ancient city of Hierapolis, where you can bathe in ancient geothermal pools.
  • Troy – It may not have the epic good looks of Ephesus, but the remains of Troy have a mythical potency that can be felt in the atmosphere. Don’t miss the reconstruction of a wooden Trojan horse. 
  • Antalya – A postcard-pretty Mediterranean port, Antalya has beautiful beaches and a picturesque old town. There are few places as lovely for catching the sunset with a cold drink.

Foodies will be in heaven in Turkey, with a diverse cuisine influenced by Mediterranean, Middle Eastern and Asian traditions. The Turks are as strong on meat dishes (kebabs, meatballs) as vegetarian foods (stuffed vegetables, mezze) and they’re no slouch when it comes to sugary things either (baklava, Turkish delight), so make sure you pack your eating trousers!

The coastal areas of Turkey which border the Aegean and Mediterranean Seas have a Mediterranean climate with hot, dry summers and mild to cool winters. In the Black Sea coastal regions, summers are warm and wet and winters are cool to cold. Some of the inland regions, especially those at elevation, can be cooler, even seeing snowfall in the winter. Although it’s typically seen as a summer destination, it’s always a good time of year to visit Turkey.  

Visa

Visas may be required in order to enter or transit through certain countries depending on your passport nationality, your reason for travel and how long you intend to stay.

Visa, passport and entry rules are subject to change and you should check the most up-to-date information from the relevant embassy or visa specialist.

To make things easier we have teamed up with The Travel Visa Company who are one of the UK’s leading travel visa specialists. You can use their website, alongside embassy websites,  to find out the specific entry requirements for the countries you intend to travel to.

For a fee, their dedicated team of experts can also apply for visas on your behalf, taking away the hassle and streamlining the process for you if you wish. For more details on the services they provide please click here – The Travel Visa Company

Passport

Passports must be kept in good condition. Travellers with damaged passports may be refused entry at immigration. It is the responsibility of the traveller to ensure that all travel documents are in good condition before they travel. Most countries will also require at least 6 months of validity on your passport from the time you finish your trip.

Further Entry Requirements

Some countries will require proof of certain vaccines, such as yellow fever or covid, in order to gain entry. Please check with the relevant embassy or a visa specialist before travelling.

Turkey’s national language is Turkish and is spoken by 90% of the population. There are also minority languages such as Kurmanji, Arabic and Zazaki. Many Turkish people speak very good English as well.

Turkey operates on 220 volts, 50 Hz with round prong, European-style plugs. You’ll need to take a travel adaptor to be able to use your devices during your stay. 

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