Everything you need to know about Turkey before you travel

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June 13th 2019
Published: June 13th 2019
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Turkey has been a popular holiday destination for both couples and families for many years. Due to its incredible culture, traditional Turkish cuisine, friendly resorts and diverse beaches, it looks like this isn’t set to change any time soon.

Along with its beautiful landscapes, Turkey also seeps in ancient history, making it a truly unique place to explore – it's worth getting to grips with the various Turkish holiday resorts and regions.

There are so many contemporary and ancient resorts and cities in Turkey, from the delights of Marmaris and Antalya to the bustling cities of Istanbul and Cappadocia. But before you jet off to explore, here are several factors worth understanding before you travel to Turkey.

1. You will need a visa

British nationals need a Turkish visa before entering the country, which is very easy to obtain. However, there is an exception: if you are a cruise-ship passenger with a British passport, you won’t need one. Those who arrive at sea ports can enter the country without one if the visit doesn’t exceed 72 hours.

Turkish visit visas are valid for multiple stays up to a maximum of 90 days across a 180-day period. The best way to prepare for getting your visa is to get an e-Visa online through the official Republic of Turkey website. E-visas cost $20 and you can pay by credit or debit card.

Remember to apply at least 48 hours before entering Turkey.

2. They have their own currency

The local currency is Turkish Lira, which you may see abbreviated to TL. To benefit from the most competitive rates, order your money online from travel agents or supermarkets that usually offer the best rates. If you wait until you get to your hotel, you're likely to get much less for your sterling.

As a backup, you will be able to use your regular bank card in Turkey, but more so in popular tourist destinations. You won’t have problems using your credit or debit card in bars, restaurants, shops and hotels, but many of these charge a fee to do so.

3. A market culture for shopping

Turkey is known for its market culture, offering low-price clothing, accessories and electronic goods, cheaper than many big cities in Europe – great for bargain hunters!

Istanbul is also home to some of the best street markets, including the Grand Bazaar and Spice Bazaar. Although the market culture in Turkey is great fun and can get you some brilliant bargains, bear in mind that the famous bazaars get extremely busy in high season.

The markets are all run by locals, and it’s worth remember that most items don’t really start off with an ‘official’ price. You're expected to barter, so if you’re naturally quite good at negotiation, they'll be right up your street. You could haggle your way down to half price!

4. Turkish food scene

Turkish cuisine is heavily influenced by a fusion of European styles of cooking. Herbs and spices are used throughout, but mainly aromatic varieties like mint, cinnamon and cumin, so if you don't like everything laced with chilli, don't worry.

During your trip to Turkey, there are several classic dishes you can expect to find. These include menemen, a traditional breakfast and one-pot dish made with eggs, peppers and tomatoes. Then there is the famous kofte – meatballs made of ground beef or lamb and served in a variety of ways.

You’ll also find many Turkish kebabs – not many meat-eaters can resist spicy grilled meat packed into a toasted pitta.

Turkish people are also huge fans of yoghurt. They use it as a base for soups and salads, like the refreshing tzatziki. They also tend to put yoghurt on top of chargrilled meats, as well as eating it plain as a snack.

For those with a sweet tooth, baklava is delicious! It’s a sweet stack of fine filo pastry, draped in creamy honey and covered in pistachio nuts.

5. Things to do

Turkey is a truly diverse country, making it great for couples, families, solo travellers and groups alike. It’s a great destination for those who love the beaches and the sea, too, with its beautiful Turquoise Coast in the south-west of the country.

If you’re interested in stunning scenery, head to the towns of Ölüdeniz and Kaş. Here you’ll experience the most breathtaking views of the blue water, and it’s a brilliant place to try the fresh seafood. If it’s more pretty landscapes that excite you, look at visiting Göreme and the rose valley of Cappadocia.

If it’s history and ancient ruins you're keen to explore, the old towns of Ephesus or Antalya will be up your street.

Turkey never disappoints. The food is delicious, the people are warm and friendly, and the scenery is spectacular. Just remember to get your bartering head on, and take a large suitcase with you to fit all your bargains!


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