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Turkey

Welcome to Turkey Travel Guide

Turkey offers a multitude of spectacular attractions, natural landscapes, diverse cultures, along with fantastic food. Turkey is overflowing with historic sites and archeological wonders. Turkey is one of my favorite places globally, from the postcard-perfect beaches and breathtaking mountain ranges to its charming cobblestone streets.

Turkey is one of those countries; it is so beautiful it is difficult to believe it is real. Some believe Turkey is still a dangerous country to travel to, but we have found Turks to be the friendliest and most respectful people.

Turkey’s astounding natural wonders connect Asia and Europe continents. Turkey is located on the Anatolian peninsula in Western Asia and the Balkan peninsula in Europe. Within the 81 provinces, you find many breathtaking sites and activities to experience. I am sure it will surprise you.

After visiting Turkey on three different trips, I decided to move to Antalya and become an expat. I have loved my experience, met many beautiful people, and have enjoyed traveling around the country.

Things to See and Do in Turkey

Blue Mosque in Istanbul
Visit Kaputac Beach
Snow Ski in Isparta
Hot-Air Balloon Ride in Cappadocia
Ancient Ruins of Ephesus
Cotton Castle of Pamukkale
Paraglide in Fethiye
Shop the Grand Bazaar
Visit Topkapi Palace

TYPICAL COSTS WHEN TRAVELING IN TURKEY

Accommodation – Hostels and Pensiones are trendy in Turkey.  Hostels are about $5-$10 per night, which are dorm-like rooms with a shared bathroom and free WiFi. If you request a private room, expect to pay $15+ a night. Budget hotels with limited amenities can start around $20 – $50 per night. Airbnb is also available, typically like small apartments ranging between $25-$90 per night. You will find several great small boutique hotels that provide breakfast and free WiFi, along with excellent concierge services to help you make the best of your vacation.

(To locate the boutique hotel, search on www.Hotels.com.)

Food – Meals are unbelievably cheap, ranging between $3-$8 for local food. You will find street food around $1-$3. For a nice sit-down restaurant, you can expect to pay $6-$10 per person. You can shop at a neighborhood grocery store or market for snacks, drinks, or lunch food items and pay about $1 each.

 

(Use www.TripAdvisor.com when trying to locate a restaurant within your budget range)

Transportation – Turkey has an excellent transportation system. Most Turks use the public transportation system to move about the city. If you are short on time and want to visit cities throughout Turkey, air travel is inexpensive, ranging from around $40 per person. Traveling by bus from city to city is another option. On shorter road trips to towns around a major city, Dolmus (minibusses) offer a direct route with no stops in between. Depending on your location, you will need to check the bus service. For a 400-mile trip, the cost is about $15 per person. City buses are available to get you around to visit sites costing $1 for a round-trip ride, but you will need to obtain a local transportation card and use it as a debit card. Train travel (Metro trains) is an easy way to move about the city with fewer stops than riding the bus. Transportation cards allow you to ride buses or trains—high-speed trains in a few city locations. Renting a car is another option, but Turkey has some challenging drivers to deal with, so I recommend taking public transportation. If you plan to drive from city to city, be prepared to stop at random checkpoints. Tourist cities have yellow taxis and, by law, have digital-display meters. Fares are reasonable. Each town sets its rates, which include the minimum charge and unit charge for the distance covered. You will find taxi buttons posted on poles outside of restaurants, malls, or tourist attractions to call for a taxi when you need service throughout the city.

Suggested daily budget – Average daily budget should be approximately $20 per person, including hotel, transportation, meals, and sightseeing. A two-week vacation for two people costs roughly $700, staying at mid-range hotels.

Money Saving Tips

1
Budget airlines to use within Turkey is Onur Air and Pegasus Airlines.
2
Get a local transportation card which you add money as needed. You can not pay cash when boarding public transportation.
3
Many free events are available. Check the local calendar.
4
Don't exchange money at the airport. You will get a better rate of exchange once you are in the city. Exchange offices are in many neighborhoods.
4
Don't exchange money at the airport. You will get a better rate of exchange once you are in the city. Exchange offices are in many neighborhoods.
5
Go to a phone store and purchase a local SIM card for about $20. This will save you on phone bill but give you access to the internet.
6
Hostels are very cheap and offer unique locations to stay in a major city. I recommend checking Airbnb before booking a hostel as you may find something in your budget that provides more suitable accommodations for an extended stay.
7
Download the BiTaksi app, which is a popular taxi app and used like the Uber app. If you are a female traveling alone, it is a great way to feel safer as the app shares the driver's name, license plate, and review by other riders.
8
BlaBlaCar is prevalent in major cities in Turkey as it is a rideshare app.
9
Alcohol is expensive in Turkey.
10
Join a free walking tour in Turkey. Check with the front hotel desk about where to join a free walking tour. GetYourGuide offers over 800+ guided tours in Turkey and is inexpensive.
11
Great souvenirs (Turkish tea, coffee, lokum, candies, candles) can be purchased at local grocery stores (Migros and Carrefour) and are a fraction of the price you see on the streets.
12
Don't be shy and bargain with salespeople, especially at the Grand Bazaar! A reasonable rate of offering is 30% less than the price marked on the item. If possible, try to purchase all things in one shop to ask for a more significant discount.

What can I expect from Turkey?

Emperors, poets, traders, warriors, and explorers have found themselves drawn to Turkey’s beautiful lands throughout history. Ranked among the top travel destinations in the world, Turkey’s colorful city Istanbul, chic beach towns along the Mediterranean coasts, world-class historical sites and ruins, and the unique landscape like Cappadocia bring travelers from all around the world.

With delicious cuisine, grand bazaars to shop, self-indulging hammam spas, it is clear that Turkey offers something for everyone.

  • Weather: Spring or fall months are the best time to travel to Turkey. High season is the summer months so expect to see beaches lined with beach chairs for miles. In the fall months, you may have a few rainy days but fantastic walking weather to visit many of the historical ruins, which are all outdoors. Winter in Istanbul can be frigid and wet.
  • Language: The official language is Turkish.  Within most tourist cities, you will find people that speak English.
  • Currency: The official currency is the Turkish Lira (TL), and the current exchange rate is $1 = 7.5 TL. Major credit cards are accepted and will expect you to enter a password to complete the transaction. ATMs are widespread in Turkey.
  • Plugs: The plugs are type is F, the standard voltage of 220 V, and the frequency is 50Hz. I suggest bringing a universal adapter.
  • Safety: Due to bordering Syria, Turkey has a travel warning. It is suggested not to travel along the Turkey-Syria border due to terrorist attacks. Tourist destinations such as Istanbul, Antalya, and Cappadocia are relatively safe, exercising cautionary measures.

Is a Trip to Pamukkale Worth It?

Pamukkale, also known as the “Cotton Castle,” is a place made up of natural hot springs that have brought travelers as far back as 400,0000 years ago, seeking the healing powers it provides to combat certain illnesses. Today, it is one of Turkey’s top attractions. I share tips about visiting Pamukkale and if it is worth the stop while in Turkey.

Nostalgic Neighborhood Kuzguncuk

Kuzguncuk is a neighborhood outside of the city center of Istanbul. It is a neighborhood made of Jews, Greeks, Armenians, and Turks. The city is full of galleries, art studios, bakeries, boutiques, and everything in between.

Lockdown Activities

Turkey is under lockdown again! Although this is not new to me, I decided to create a list of activities that you can do while staying home.

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