• Travel Guide

    Travel Guide | Turkey

    Turkey is a nation straddling eastern Europe and western Asia with cultural connections to ancient Greek, Persian, Roman, Byzantine and Ottoman empires. Cosmopolitan Istanbul, on the Bosphorus Strait.

    It is home to the iconic Hagia Sophia, with its soaring dome and Christian mosaics, the massive 17th-century Blue Mosque and the circa-1460 Topkapı Palace, former home of sultans. Ankara is Turkey’s modern capital.

    There is a little confusion as to whether Turkey is classed as Europe or the Middle East and it is technically both. One half of Turkey is Europe and the other half is in the Middle East/Asia. I visited Istanbul quite a few years ago and I’d love to go back.

    Basic Info & Culture

    CURRENCY

    In Turkey, the main currency is Turkish Lira. I took quite a bit of Lira with me when I visited quite a few years ago. I usually use my Monzo card when purchasing things when I travel. Monzo is an app based bank account and contactless card (there are lots of similar ones to choose from though). It also alerts you once you’ve used the card and gives you the current exchange rate on purchases too.

    Cash is widely used, whilst cards may be accepted in hotels and restaurants so make sure you have enough cash on you. Especially for shopping in the bazaars.

    Top Tip:
    Download the app “Currency Plus” to get currency conversions on the go. It updates daily and when connected to WiFi or Network to give you the latest conversion and you can have multiple currencies shown in one go.

    Download here: Apple App Store // Google Play Store

    LANGUAGE

    In Turkey, they speak English and obviously Turkish and quite a few other Arabic dialects. If you know a little German, it really does go a long way. Even knowing Hello, Thank you and Please – it really does help. Below are some phrases to help you get by and to remember and how to pronounce them.

    • Hello –  Merhaba! – MARE-HA-BA 
    • Goodbye – Hoşçakal! (said by person leaving) – HOSH-CHA-KAL
    • Goodbye – Güle güle! (said by person staying) – GUU-LEH GUU-LEH
    • Good Evening – İyi akşamlar! – EE AK-SHAM-LAR
    • Thank you – Teşekkür ederi – TE-SH-QU-ERR ED-ERR-IM
    • Please – Lütfen – LUT-FEN
    • Yes – Evet – EV-ET
    • No – Hayır – HI-EAR
    RELIGION

    Religion is quite a big thing in Turkey especially as a large part of the country is Muslim. Islam is the largest religion in Turkey according to the state, with 98% of the population being Muslim. The very small minority of the religions in Turkey are Christianity, Judaism and other religions.

    TIMEZONE

    Turkey is in the time zone Greenwich Mean Time (GMT+3:00) and Greenwich Mean Time (GMT+2:00).

    CUISINE

    The food is a huge part of Turkey that I loved, especially the tagines and couscous dishes. There are lots of other cuisines around Turkey for you to try and enjoy, so whichever one you fancy there will be something for you.

    Budget Tips

    Suggested Daily Budget – 24-28 EUR / 21-25 GBP (Note: This is a suggested budget assuming you’re staying in a hostel, eating out a little, cooking most of your meals, and using local transportation. Using the budget tips below, you can always lower this number. However, if you stay in fancier accommodation or eat out more often, expect this to be higher!)

    01. When using public transport, buy an Istanbul Card – I have heard great things about the Istanbul Card and for using it on public transport. These are available from many kiosks around the city, which you can top up and use on public transport to save you some money as it gives you double what you pay for.

    02. Bargain lots in the bazaars and souks – We visited one of the main bazaars in Istanbul to do some shopping and you really have to bargain with them to get a good deal. Both my Dad and I bought fake Converse shoes which were amazing and we really bargained to get a good price.

    03. Eat at cheap but good restaurants – there are quite a few restaurants around that will serve really good food but at super cheap prices. If you are looking to save money, these are the ones to go for. They usually have a cafeteria style layout to them. I definitely recommend eating tagines and kebabs to try the yummy cuisine!

    04. Stay in hostels if you don’t mind that – If you don’t mind staying in a hostel, they are the best ways to save money on accommodation. Most of them in Turkey are really nice, or if you are very lucky you can find a really good deal on a nice hotel.


    Travel Tips

    VISAS

    You do not need a visa to visit Turkey.

    INJECTIONS

    You do not need any injections to visit Turkey.

    CAPITAL/CITY

    The capital city of Turkey is Istanbul, which is on the Middle Eastern side of the river. Turkey has quite a lot of cities which include Istanbul, Antalya, Izmir, Ankara and many more. Turkey has recently opened a suspension bridge in 2016.

    This creates a new link across the Bosphorus Strait, which divides Asia and Europe. The Galata Bridge in Istanbul is the most famous bridge, that is surrounded by fish sandwich restaurants and is known for the fisherman who work along the bridge.

    ACCOMMODATION

    We stayed in a lovely hotel in Istanbul that wasn’t far from the Blue Mosque which is gorgeous and you can hear the morning and nightly prayers. There are so many hotels to book in Turkey. These can vary from major hotel chains, AirBnB’s, homestays or hostels. Make sure you check out AirBnB and also TripAdvisor for booking your hotel or hostel.

    ACCOMMODATION I’VE STAYED IN:

    turkey

    EXPLORE TURKEY
    Istanbul

    DRIVING

    We didn’t drive whilst in Istanbul as everything was within walking distance but I know you can hire cars in other locations across Turkey.

    FLIGHTS

    You can flight to Turkey from all of the major airports or via stopping over in another country. Be sure to search Skyscanner to find your best time to fly to Turkey. You can either search Skyscanner using the link above or by using my widget in the sidebar.

    Istanbul is served by two airports: Istanbul Atatürk Airport in the European side and Sabiha Gökçen Airport in the Asian-Anatolian side. More flights fly in and out of Ataturk, as it is considered the city’s main gateway. It’s also much closer to the city center than Sabiha Gökçen.

    PUBLIC TRANSPORT

    We didn’t need to use any public transport in Istanbul as everything was in walking distance. On the European side of Turkey, you may need to hire a car or use any public transport available.


    WHAT TO WEAR

    WHAT TO WEAR

    Turkey is a Muslim country so when visiting sites of worship or mosques you will need to wear appropriate clothing that doesn’t break any rules. Other than that you can wear whatever clothes you want depending on the weather. Turkey has it’s hot and cold seasons that run parallel to most of Europe.

    WEATHER

    The weather in Turkey runs more or less parallel to most of Europe so depending on what month you visit will depend on the weather. During their summer months the weather can be amazing, and during the winter months the weather can be quite cold and sometimes wet.

    TURKEY WEATHER


    ACTIVITIES & THINGS TO SEE

    THINGS TO SEE & DO

    There is so much to see and do, depending on where you are staying. There are so many gorgeous mosques and places of worship that are well worth a visit.

    HIGHLIGHTS OF TURKEY:
    • – Hagia Sophia Museum
    • – Blue Mosque or Sultan Ahmed Mosque
    • – The Galata Bridge
    • – Basilica Cistern
    • – Grand Bazaar
    • – Maiden’s Tower
    • – Vildiz Palace

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    Travel Guide | Turkey