Everything You Need to Know When Planning a Trip to Turkey
Turkey is located in the southeast of Europe and the West of Asia, straddling both continents in its culture and its landscapes. The country has long been a very popular tourist destination due to its vibrant cities, luxurious resorts and absorbing culture. The country itself is one of the most visited in Europe, drawing over 45 million tourists in 2019. No doubt it will be just as visited again post-pandemic with travelers from from Britian to United States Visa filling out their paperwork to visit in 2022, or even by the end of 2021.
If you’re planning your next holiday and have chosen Turkey as your destination of choice, what should you know about the country to prepare for your trip? From local customs and tourist attractions to the ins and outs of the Turkey Visa process, this blog shares top tips for planning y our trip and how to enjoy this unique country as thoroughly as possible.
Sharing borders with Greece and Bulgaria and located on the Mediterranean Sea, Turkey is an easy-to-reach tourist destination. With main cities including Istanbul and Ankara, there are plenty of interesting spots across the 783 thousand square kilometers you can visit. The language spoken in Turkey is Turkish, which has almost 90 million speakers worldwide, including in areas of Syria, Iraq, Cyprus, and Macedonia. Simply put, it’s easy to see how Turkey has amassed so much cultural influence worldwide, especially when you take into account its imperial history and the swathes of land that the Ottoman Empire controlled between the 14th and early 20th centuries.
Turkish Cities to Explore
Whilst there are many amazing tourist attractions in towns and cities across Turkey, the main cities that tourists frequent are Ankara and Istanbul. Ankara is the capital of Turkey and can be found in the centre of the Anatolia region. Ankara is famous for its ancient Roman ruins and archeological sites, as well as some of the most stunning mosques in the world.
Istanbul is another tourist hub city and the largest urban centre in the country. Istanbul is home to over 15 million residents and straddles the border between Turkey and Asia on the Bosporus strait. As an incredibly historic city, Istanbul dates back to the mid 7th century when it was founded as Byzantine and has a lot of classic architecture and ruins for visitors to explore, not only of the Byzantine era but of Roman, Christian, Jewish and Muslim monuments as well. Make sure not to miss the vibrant bazaars for souvenirs!
Turkey is not only famed for its beautiful cities but its rural landscapes as well. The diverse nature of Turkey incorporates beautiful rock formations, white-sanded beaches, deep blue lagoons and rugged mountain ranges. Be sure not to miss the Goreme chimney rock formations of Cappadocia, and the vibrant rose valleys in this area too.
Please remember that Turkey is a Muslim country, and therefore women are expected to cover up more than men. Female travellers in Turkey should make sure to cover their shoulders and knees, and if you want to visit a mosque, make sure to wear a headscarf.
Shopping in Turkey
Bartering might be frowned upon in some countries, but in Turkey, it’s a common practice in the many beautiful markets of the country. Make sure to let the shopkeeper quote the first price and make sure to hide any enthusiasm for an item you want. A poker face is very important to bartering, and will help you to deter shopkeepers from inflating prices, a standard occurrence for tourists who they may think they can take for a ride!
Bartering might not come naturally to many, but it can be very fun and is expected of shoppers in the market districts of Turkish cities.
Dining In Turkey
Turkey is home to some incredibly tasty cuisines, but make sure that you follow a few customs if you are eating with Turkish friends or family. For starters, eating communally is common practice, as is reciting the name of God or prayer before the meal. Make sure to eat with the right hand and always wash your hands before you sit down to eat. Most meat in Turkey will be Halal, which means that the blood has been drained from the carcass before carving.
If buying food from a street vendor, make sure that you only do so from busy vendors or those frequented by locals. This is a neat trick to ascertain the hygienic from the unhygienic vendors. Turkish food is sumptuous and famous worldwide, but eating out of date, contaminated or improperly prepared meats and vegetables could lead to food poisoning.
Understanding Turkish Visa Regulations
Whilst many Latin American, Eastern European and African countries need not apply for a visa, western countries may have to have a visa before you visit. Tourist visas are easy to obtain, especially through Fast Track Visa, so make sure to check if you’ll require one before heading off on your trip.