Turkey Travel Guide
- Everything you need to know for your trip to Turkey-
Turkey, officially the Republic of Turkey, is a stunning country situated between Asia and Europe! A rich history, beautiful nature, and mouth-watering cuisine have made the country one of the world’s most-visited tourist destinations in the world.
Turkey is a small world with various climate regions, breathtaking landscapes, chic coasts, and fantastic historical sites. The diversity of climate, culture, and attractions in this country cannot be beaten by anywhere else in the world.
Why Visiting Turkey?
Turkey is one of the most visited travel destinations globally. Fantastic beaches, historical sites, mouth-watering food, etc., are some of the main reasons for any visitor’s trip to Turkey.
Let’s begin with coastlines. Bodrum, Antalya, Izmir, and Fethiye have some of the best beaches you can find in the world, offering excellent water sports and beach parties. Taking a blue cruise helps you to boost your experience in Turkey.
Turkish cuisine is among the top 5 cuisines you ever find in the world. Each region of Turkey has its style of cooking, and all of them are mouth-watering. Like other Asian countries, spices play an essential role in cooking foods in Turkey. Besides the food, you should never miss Turkish tea and coffee.
The archeological and historical sites in Turkey are not something you want to miss. Turkey’s rich history has left fascinating sites for the future, such as Hagia Sophia Mosque, Ephesus, Topkapı Palace, Troy, Blue Mosque, etc.
Turkish people can be classified as another reason for visiting Turkey. They are warm and friendly in a way that you will fall in love with them. They are also very helpful, and you can get help from them if you ever got into trouble.
Turkey Top Destinations
Click on each Turkey’s destination to read the full travel guide of the city.
Best Time to Visit Turkey
There are seven Geographical Regions in Turkey, including the Aegean, Marmara, Black Sea, Central Anatolia, Eastern Anatolia, Mediterranean, and Southeastern Anatolia.
Temperature: -16C/3F – 40C/104F
The weather in summer is humid and hot in the crowded cities. In winter, you can expect frost and snow from December to March. In spring and autumn, you can expect mild weather but it can change quickly.
Temperature: -8C/18F to 43C/109F
The weather in the Aegean is usually mild. Summers are hot, but it can rarely exceed 40C. The autumn and spring in Aegean are sunny with beautiful blue skies. Winter in this region is mild with some rainy days.
Temperature: 15°C – 28°C
You can enjoy a pure Mediterranean climate in this region. The summer in this region is hot, and winters are warm and humid. Interestingly, summer in this area lasts for nine months! The humidity in the Mediterranean region is about 85%
Temperature: -25C/-13F to 40C/104F
Central Anatolia offers a semi-arid continental climate with hot and dry summers as well as cold and snowy winter. The precipitation during the year is low in Central Anatolia.
Black Sea Coast
Temperature: -8C/18F to 40C/104F
The weather in the Black Sea Coast is usually cloudy, with an average humidity of 72%. The summers are warm and humid with the cool and damp winter. Over 2,500 millimeters of rain are anticipated annually.
Temperature: -43C/-45F – 38C/100F
Eastern Anatolia has a harsh continental climate with long winters and short summers. The weather in the winter is freezing and snowy, and in summer, you can expect cool and pleasant.
ُSouth - Eastern Anatolia
Temperature: 46C/115F – in -12C/10F
Southeastern Anatolia has a semi-arid continental climate. The weather in summers is hot and dry. Besides, the weather in winter is cold and snowy.
Best Turkey Tours
Things to Do in Turkey
Being at the border between Asia and Europe, Turkey is a perfect place to see both continents’ beauty. It has friendly people, beautiful architecture, and vibrant history. The activities and things to do in Turkey never end, but you can have a list of top places to go and unique things to do. A trip to Turkey will be a memorable experience for everyone, so if you have anything to add or make your recommendations, share your traveling experience with the rest of us in the comments.
Marvel at the Topkapi Palace
It may be challenging to select a starting point for what kind of things you can do in Turkey, but perhaps it is best to begin in the country’s heart. Topkapi Palace in Istanbul used to be the seat of power for the Ottomans, listed as a UNESCO World Heritage Site. This Palace is filled with artifacts of the glorious empire, such as the decorations and the building’s furniture, which are hundreds of years old. There are also clothes and suits of armor worn by the royal family and Sultans that resided in the Topkapi Palace. This building’s interior and exterior are preserved with pride as it is one of the country’s most essential elements.
If you have never visited this Palace, make sure to spend several hours seeing everything, including the enchanting gardens and pavilions in this massive complex.
|Address||Cankurtaran, 34122 Fatih/Istanbul, Turkey|
|Opening Hours||09:00 a.m. – 06:00 p.m.|
- Topkapi Palace is open every day except for Tuesdays.
Witness the Beauty of Hagia Sophia
Known as one of the most beautiful buildings globally, Hagia Sophia or Ayasofya is a building that dates back to 532 AD. This old place was originally a place of worship for Emperor Justinian. The Palace transformed so much during the ages until it was declared as a museum. This magnificent building is also listed as a UNESCO World Heritage Site with several highlights such as The Deesis mosaic, drawings by the Fossati brothers, and many other things.
|Address||Sultan Ahmet, Ayasofya Meydanı, 34122 Fatih/İstanbul, Turkey|
|Entrance Fee||100 TL|
|Opening Hours||09:00 – 17:00|
Hagia Sophia is open every day, but the visiting hours will be shorter during winter.
See More of the Past at the Ruins of Ephesus
Speaking about ancient places, visiting the Ruins of Ephesus is among the top thing you can do in Turkey. These ruins remain a Greek city belonging to the 10th century BC with Greek and Roman architectural elements. While there, be sure to check out the famous Temple of Artemis. Of course, there is much more to see in this UNESCO World Heritage Site, which is the addition of later rulers of this land. It is a place to learn about the history and a beautiful location that you do not want to miss in Turkey.
|Ruins of Ephesus|
|Entrance Fee||100 TL|
|Opening Hours||08:00 – 17:30|
|Address||Atatürk, Park ici Yolu No:12, 35920 Selcuk/Izmir, Turkey|
- Visiting hours may change from time to time.
- Other sections of this site have their own entrance fees, but the Temple of Artemis is free for all visitors.
Pack Your Camera for a Trip to Cappadocia
The entire area of Gerome National Park is a must-see in Turkey, but if you are short on time, make sure to visit Cappadocia at least. One of the top things to do in Turkey is to enjoy Cappadocia’s magnificent scenery and even ride on hot air balloons. It is among the country’s most beautiful natural elements and is listed as a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Suitable for all ages and groups, but a favorite for couples and lovers!
Opening Hours: 08:00 – 19:00
- The Opening hours of Cappadocia are usually shorter during spring and summer.
Relax at the Hot Springs of Pamukkale
Mesmerizing beauty never ends in Turkey, making it challenging to pick one place from among these places. The Pamukkale, which translates to “cotton castle,” has a series of terrace thermal-pools with mineral waters that also have healing capabilities that make it stand out. As soon as you are done admiring the scenery, you can head out to the top and visit the remains of an ancient spa called Roman Hierapolis. You can see this place and enjoy the pools at any time of the day, but you might want to go there during sunset if you are more about the beautiful scenery.
|Hot Springs of Pamukkale|
|Opening Hours||All-day long|
|Address||Kale, 20190 Pamukkale/Denizli Merkez/Denizli, Turkey|
- While the pools are always open for a visit, the Museum on top is only accessible from 09:00 a.m. – 12:30 a.m. and 01:30 p.m. – 07:00 p.m.
Cruise on the Mediterranean
The Mediterranean coasts are like paradise, and getting a cruise on the Mediterranean is one of the best things to do in Turkey. You will not regret a ride on the turquoise blue waters as you pass some charming towns and villages along the coasts and the Mediterranean’s white beaches. Take your pick from the boats and yachts that take travelers to have some of their best experiences in Turkey!
- You can book cruises online, but to make the best of it, be sure to check the forecast for your favorite weather.
Explore the Grand Bazaar
If you love history and culture, you have to walk around in the Grand Bazaar of Istanbul. This large and crowded section of the city has been active and growing ever since the 15th century. It is filled with all kinds of goods and travelers looking for the exotic nature and products of this Grand Bazaar. One of the top things to do in Turkey is walking around this place and visit the numerous shops of the Bazaar. On tour or your own, strolling around here is always a good idea.
Opening Hours: 09:00 a.m. – 07:00 p.m.
-The Grand Bazaar of Istanbul is closed on Sundays.
Admire the Ankara Castle
All around Turkey, you can visit places that are each like a page from history. Among the top things to do in Turkey is going to Ankara Castle, which dates to the 7th century AD, and was part of Romans, Byzantines, Seljuq Turks, Crusaders, and the Ottomans. The grounds of this Castle are extensive, with houses and a mosque inside the fortifications. Their architecture is unique, and the surrounding areas are also considered a paradise. It is not precisely clear who built the Castle, but as you walk around, you see elements of all the eras the Ankara Castle was used.
|Opening Hours||10:00 – 19:30|
|Address||Kale, 06240 Altındag/Ankara, Turkey|
- The Opening Hours may change in different seasons.
Walk in the Underwater Aqua Vega Aquarium
The Aqua Vega Aquarium of Ankara, one of the world’s largest underwater worlds, is not something you want to miss in Turkey. This visit is a highlight in Turkey because it fits all ages and groups as you walk and see Turkey’s exotic marine life. This underwater world takes several hours to visit because of the several sections it includes. It is teaming with all sorts of aquatic creatures, mostly rare or specific to these waters alone.
|Aqua Vega Aquarium|
|Opening Hours||10:00 – 19:30 20:00|
|Address||Akşemsettin, Doğukent Bulvarı Nata Vega Outlet, 06480 Mamak/Ankara, Turkey|
- Children under age two can be brought inside without an entrance fee.
Visit the Dolmabahce Palace
Dolmabahce Palace is like an upgraded version of the official buildings of the Ottomans. It is at the heart of Istanbul, which comprises 46 halls and 285 rooms. The decorations inside the building are also a sight to be seen. Among the top items inside Dolmabahce Palace, a Bohemian crystal chandelier, a notable gift from Queen Victoria, is considerable. There is, of course, no end to the luxurious items and furniture inside the Palace as you walk in its halls and rooms.
|Opening Hours||9:00 – 16:00|
|Entrance Fee||90 TL|
|Address||Visnezade, Dolmabahce Cd., 34357 Besiktas/Istanbul, Turkey|
- Dolmabahce Palace is closed on Mondays.
- This fee is only for the main sections of the Palace. You will need to pay an additional 60 TLs to visit other areas like the Harem section.
Travel to the Pre-Pottery Neolithic period in the Gobekli Tepe
Gobekli Tepe is an iconic archaeological site of Turkey known as one of its most popular attractions. The name translates to “Potbelly Hill.” This hill used to be people’s living quarters in the Pre-Pottery Neolithic period. There are many things about this hill that are still unknown, but the very nature of this place that shows the people’s social life brings a lot of adventures to this part of Turkey.
|Opening Hours||10:00 – 18:00|
|Entrance Fee||45 TL|
|Address||Orencik, 63290 Haliliye/Sanlıurfa, Turkey|
- Since it gets freezing in winter, the site will be open for a shorter time, which is not fixed.
See the Collections of Erimtan Museum
The Erimtan Museum, which was established in 2009, is a recent, yet popular attraction of Ankara. Yuksel Erimtan, a civil engineer, found himself with an extensive collection of artifacts and pieces of art growing in numbers. He decided to put his readers on display in this Museum, which was initially filled with jewelry. The items are diverse, yet all eye-catching that gained popularity and fame in a short time. It is always a good idea to visit this building while touring Turkey.
|Opening Hours||10:00 – 17:00|
|Entrance Fee||25 TL|
|Address||Kale, Gozcu Sk. No:10, 06240 Altindag/Ankara, Turkey|
- Erimtan Museum is closed on Mondays.
Do not Miss the Hippodrome of Constantinople
Belonging to the Byzantine Empire era, Constantinople’s Hippodrome was a 2000-years-old social center. It was also a place for sporting events of the Byzantines. The structure has been preserved, but the area’s name has been changed to Sultan Ahmet Square. Other things you can find in this square are the Obelisk of Thutmose III and the Serpent Column.
Address: Binbirdirek, Sultan Ahmet Parki No:2, 34122 Fatih/Istanbul, Turkey
Find Peace and Tranquility in the Blue Mosque
This magnificent place of worship was constructed by Sultan Ahmet I’s order in 1616 with several minarets and domes. In terms of its beauty, it can be considered a rival to the Hagia Sophia, which is very close by. The two of these fantastic buildings sit on opposite sides of the same square in Istanbul. You should not miss this visit because of the mosque’s tremendous tiles and the beautiful gardens filled with flowers. As you walk around and admire the six minarets, five primary domes, and another smaller and secondary eight domes, you will feel the peace and spiritual sense of this place of worship.
|Opening Hours||9:00 – 19:00|
|Address||Sultan Ahmet, Atmeydani Cd. No:7, 34122 Fatih/Istanbul, Turkey|
Hiking in Pigeon Valley
There are many hiking spots in Turkey, but Pigeon Valley is among the best as it is suitable for most people and has breathtaking scenery. It is also a valuable piece of Turkey’s history. While hiking in Pigeon Valley is a top thing to do in Turkey, it is also a learning experience. The Pigeons were used to send messages in the older times of this country. The local farmers also used bird towers to gather their dropping to use them as fertilizers, which are very rich for the land. In any case, this is a lovely trail for hiking and taking beautiful pictures.
Address: Near the Cappadocia and between the Göreme and Uçhisar
Local Transportation in Turkey
Taxis in Turkey are plentiful and the payment is set by the meters used in the car. Using a meter is mandatory in Turkey; therefore, don’t take taxis without this system.
Dolmus is the minibus in Turkey’s cities. This service is an excellent alternative o the buses. Dolmus is more expensive than the bus; however, you will enjoy it!
Metro in turkey plays an essential role in urban transportation in major cities like Istanbul. You should buy a smart ticket for the underground metro.
In many cities, especially Istanbul, one of the best ways of getting around is taking the tram running from the international airport to the city’s central parts.
Taking the bus is the cheapest way of getting around in the cities of Turkey. This service is usually convenient, and you need to use the smart ticket to take it.
Intercity Transportation in Turkey
Air traveling in turkey is the best and the fastest way of getting around the country. The prices are reasonable, and the services are excellent. Turkish Airline is the best airline in the country, offering services for domestic and international travel.
The Railway system in Turkey is growing more and more. There are many high-speed train railways helping you to reach the destination conveniently at a reasonable price.
Buses in Turkey are usually luxurious and easy to take. Most Turks also use this method for getting around the country. Most fares are between TL89 to TL250 for one way traveling.
Ferries play a crucial role in intercity transportation in Turkey as the country is surrounded by seas. The ferry is usually a luxurious and convenient way of traveling inside the country
Flight Deals to Turkey
Turkey Travel Costs
|Costs||TL120 to TL180|
|Accommodation||Hostels and Pensions (Breakfast Included)|
|Eating||One street food and one budget restaurant meal|
|Transportation||Buses & Trains|
|Cost||TL180 to TL250|
|Accommodation||one- and two-star hotels (private baths and breakfast included)|
|Transportation||Bus and train|
|Costs||TL250 to TL350|
|Eating||dining in restaurants all the time|
|Transportation||buses, trains, and low-fare airline flights|
|TL350 to TL500||Four-star hotels|
|Eating||Fairly good restaurants|
|Transportation||Air travel, the best trains, some car rental.|
|Costs||TL500 to TL1000|
|Eating||quite good restaurants|
|Transportation||the plane, rental car, occasional hot-air balloon flight, private yacht cruise.|
Best Hotels in Turkey
Find the best hotels in Turkey using our best price search engine, or go with one of our All-inclusive tours with 4 Star hotels included. You can book our guaranteed hotels for your extra accommodation; before or after your tour days.
Turkey Travel Tips
Drinking tap water in turkey is usually considered safe; however, as a precaution, it’s better to drink bottled water.
Tipping in Turkey is usual and expected. In the restaurants, 10-15% tipping is expected and acceptable. In other situations like taxis, tipping is appreciated but not obligatory.
Turkish is the turkey’s official language; however, some regions speak Kurmanji, Arabic, and Zazaki. Nevertheless, in many places, you can find people who speak English and French fluently, but it should be mentioned that English is not widely spoken in Turkey.
Euro and Dollar are easy to exchange in Turkey. Also, there are many ATMs in Turkey’s major cities, but there are some areas that you cannot find any ATMs. It’s recommended to have a mixture of cash, ATM, and credit card.
The way you dress should depend on the area you are going to visit in Turkey. There are some cities in which people get dressed, like LA! However, there some other towns that have traditional and customs, so you should be more conservative.
Most public toilets in Turkey are western toilets; however, you may face some squats as well. Therefore, be prepared for that. The first time you use these toilets may be challenging, but you will get used to it soon! Make sure to remove any objects like cellphone, wallet, etc. from your pocket because it’s likely to lose them!
Most Wi-Fi spots in Turkey require a Turkish or European number for getting the passcode. Getting a Turkish SIM card can be a good idea for you. In this case, to get a passcode online. In hotels, restaurants, etc., you may find many disconnections in Wi-Fi internet.
Some websites in Turkey like Wikipedia, PayPal, Booking.com, etc. are banned in turkey. If you need these sites during your visit, make sure to have a VPN application on your cellphone or laptop.
Adaptors in Turkey are F type, an essential European outlet with 220 V of the standard voltage.
|On-obligation Pharmacy||0800 300 001|
|Crisis Dentistry Service||0848 261|
|Harming Emergency Phone Number||145|
|Guiding for grown-ups||14|
|Guiding for kids and youngsters||147|
|Parent Emergency Helpline||0848 35 45 55|
|Aggressive behavior at home (Women)||062 823 86 00|
Currency & Money Tips
The Turkish currency is Lira, recognized by the symbol ₺, and the abbreviation TL or TRY. The banknotes of the lira are 200, 100, 50, 20, 10, and 5. Each banknote has its color, but 5 and 50 are very similar. Coins, known as kurus, are in 5, 10, 24, and 50 denominations.
Where to exchange money?
Like anywhere else, you can exchange your money in the airports. Besides, you can exchange in currency exchange shops and some jewelry shops. In banks and currency exchange shops, you need to identify documents like your passport; however, they offer better rates.
Using Euros, Dollars, or British Pounds
Most tourist sites, restaurants, and travel agents accept most currencies; however, it’s better not to rely on your own money as there are many places, which don’t accept your money.
ATMs in turkey are the safest way to withdraw Euros, USD, Turkish Lira, and British pounds. Before the trip, you should inform your bank not to block your account because of suspicious activities.
The important point is that you should never ask anyone’s help in areas with a high crime rate. Also, it would be best if you did not let anyone see your keypad. Besides, make sure that your keypad is not removable.
Using travelers cheques is not recommended in Turkey as it’s old-fashioned and most places don’t accept it.
Taking Cash Out of Turkey
The limit for taking cash out of turkey is 5,000 $
Food & Drink (Turkish Food)
Sitting at the crossroads between two continents, you can try the bests of both worlds in Turkey. Ancient and traditional dishes of this country and dishes from other parts of Asia and Europe make the country a top choice for a food tour. Be careful! It is impossible to visit this country while on a diet! You might dodge their local and main dishes and cuisine, but there is no way to turn a blind eye to the delicious street foods and pretend you cannot smell them as you walk. There are certainly more than 20 mouth-watering things you can eat in Turkey, but the items on this must be tried at least once.
Famous Turkish Dishes
Kofte is a trendy food in all of Asia, especially in the middle east. It is minced meat (usually beef) mixed with a wide variety of herbs and vegetables. The choice of what is put inside these delicious meatballs is optional and even regional. But everyone in Asia and the middle east can agree that the Turks make the best Kofte. The Turks of Turkey have several types of Kofte, which are all worth the try. If you are on a food tour, you must try it; if you are traveling in any other manner, your trip is not complete unless you have had this food!
Like Kofte, Dolma is another popular food among the people of the middle east. A Dolma is a mix of rice with other ingredients wrapped in leaves, bell peppers, or other things. As for Midye Dolma, it is mussels that are filled with rice, herbs, and some other optional ingredients. Midye Dolma is one of those things you have to try in the streets of Turkey as you travel. The spritz of lemon juice added to the mix and the different versions made by chefs is essential in Turkey’s trip.
A very simple dish that can be prepared very quickly is the Turkish Menemen. The main ingredients are eggs, tomatoes, herbs, and pepper. It is an omelet that can be a perfect breakfast. Menemen is trendy among the locals, but you may not find it in all the restaurants around the city. If your hotel or a local traditional restaurant serves them, you must give them a try.
If you are a vegetarian, you will love a dish of Imam Bayildi that is an eggplant filled with onion, garlic, and tomato simmered in olive oil. Even if you are not a veneration, you will still enjoy this dish as a snack in the streets or as a restaurant meal.
While traveling to the east (and not just Turkey), you should try the Kebab as you travel. But, while in Turkey, you must try the different Kebab types they make, including the famous Iskender Kebab. This doner is sliced pieces of lamb meat first cooked in a tomato sauce served with rice, Pide, and yogurt. This kind of Kebab is a traditional Ottoman dish that is still eaten because of just how tasty it is.
Manti, also known as Turkish Ravioli, is handmade dumplings filled with beef or lamb. This food is a dish that comes from the western side of the country, and it is something that you should eat while in Turkey. After you have tried the taste, you can use some famous Turkish spices, yogurt, butter, or all three to make it better.
SNACKS / PASTRIES
Meze does not have a recipe that is served the same way in all places! In some areas, it is served as an appetizer or something to have with some alcoholic beverages. It is mostly a bit of all the local and regional small snacks. In some places, you choose which type of Meze you want; in other places, you might see a large plate with different kinds of Meze that you can choose. In any of these cases, you have to try them whenever you are looking for a local appetizer or something to eat while drinking.
While walking in the cities and towns or shopping or exploring, you can almost find a delicious snack anywhere in Turkey called Simit. It is a round-shaped bread covered with sesame seeds. It is simple, yet it can keep you on your feet and tastes terrific. Some people even see it as a suitable breakfast that can be found as they head out to work, or in this case, touring the city.
Many travelers know Pide as the Turkish Pizza, but it is mainly the name of the bread. Topping or the contents of this bread can be altered. However, the bread is always shaped like a boat that can be filled. Pide filled with beef and vegetables can be served with other dishes and even as Meze. This food can be found in restaurants or stalls around the streets. Pide is a must-try Turkish food, either as a snack, as Meze, or a meal of the day.
Just like Pide, Lahmacun is mostly regarded as a snack that looks like a Turkish version of Pizza. It is a particular type of bread with minced lamb or beef on top as the main ingredients. To make it taste even better, you can have it with local vegetables and a few drops of lemon. To eat this food in Turkey, you can fold it or roll it to make it easier to eat.
One fantastic snack to eat in Turkey is a family of pastries that are generally known as Borek. The Borek is filled with meat, spice, and sometimes vegetables, usually served in several layers of wrappings. Like Lahmacun or Pide, it is compared with Italian and European snacks and foods, but it is an original Ottoman cuisine. Our recommendation is to try it wherever you see it, as it is a very delicious snack in Turkey.
Gozleme is mostly seen as a snack since it is simple and prepared quickly, but it was traditionally served as a meal. The dough for its bread is made by hand and is filled with meat and vegetables, along with cheese and vegetables. It must be cooked over a griddle to taste even better. You can buy several of them to be eaten as a meal or try a few of them as a small snack. Some people even use it as Meze, but in any case, it is a healthy thing to eat in Turkey.
If you enjoyed the Kebab and the Doner, then you will love Durum. Sometimes, it is the same meat used in Doner and Kebab or slow-cooked chicken or beef wrapped like a burrito. Most people consider it a street-side snack, but this mix of baked potatoes, onions, and tomato added to the meat can be served as a restaurant meal. It does not matter where you try Durum; what matters is that you give it a try while in Turkey.
A national food that you must try near the waters of Turkey is Balik Ekmek. The name of the food translated to ‘fish bread,’ which used to be very simple and cheap food among the locals. While simple and cheap, it tastes great with fresh fish and vegetables and the bread baked in Turkey.
Kunefe is the Arabs’ invention in Asia, but it was perfected as a dessert in Turkey. It is something to fall in love with, especially when served hot and with cheese. Kunefe is mostly famous on Turkey’s Asian side, but popularity aside, you have to try it while in Turkey.
Many believe that Baklava originated in the Ottoman era and was perfected by the imperial bakers’ hands. Where ever it was invented or by whom, it is a delicious and favorite dessert in most of Asia, the Balkans, the South Caucasus, and especially The Middle East. This fantastic pastry is filled with nuts and syrup that is wrapped in several thin layers of dough. Simply put, it is rich and tastes like heaven. Do not miss this dessert in Turkey!
If you ever see the delicious and famous Turkish Delight, you cannot just pass them up. Turkish Delight is known as Lokum by the locals and is a specialty of Turkey. They look like jellies that are filled with nuts and dusted with powdered sugar. Some of the things in this delicious mix are rosewater, lemon, mastic, pistachios, or other types of nuts. They have different ingredients and various tastes, which are all worth the try.
Local Drinks and Beverages of Turkey
If your food or street-side snacks make you thirsty, here are a few local drinks to quench your thirst. We only recommend three drinks here, which are the best and must be tried in your visit, but it is also recommendable to try their tea and other beverages.
It can be described as water added to yogurt and salt that is served cold with your meal. It indeed sounds simple but waits until you try a cold Ayran with your Kebab. It is a popular drink in the middle east that comes with other names, but do not think they all taste the same.
Turk kahvesi (Turkish Coffee)
It is like a Turkish version of espresso in this country, but you will feel the difference if you are a coffee lover. This kind of Coffee in Turkey is a part of their culture, which is usually eaten with the incredible Turkish Delight. Even if you are not a coffee lover, you might want to try this part of Turkey’s culture.
You may have heard about the world-famous Raki of Turkey, but now it is time to give them a try. It is the local and traditional alcoholic beverage of Turkey that most locals drink with their food. Just go easy on Raki as it may be too much for most people.
Mobile & Internet
Prepaid SIM cards in Turkey are not cheap; however, their coverage is good, and data speed is adequate.
The best company
There are four companies, including Turkcell, Vodafone, and Türk Telekom in Turkey.
Turkcell seems to be the best company as it offers the greatest coverage around the country.
Vodafone is the second-largest company in Turkey. This company’s SIM cards are smart choices if you need a vast amount of data since it offers large prepaid data packages.
Türk Telekom has the smallest coverage in Turkey. It’s not recommended for visitors and tourists to use this SIM card.
How to buy it?
All three companies have stores in major airports in Turkey. However, the operators offer much higher prices in the airports. In airports, companies offer tourist SIM cards, which are much more pricy than other packages.
Outside the airports is the same story! Many vendors don’t prefer to sell regular SIM cards unless you speak Turkish.
Options offered by Turkcell ranges from 8GB (with plenty of local calls and texts) to 50 GB (data-only) for 30 days. 8GB plan costs 185 TRY (~$28), and it’s the least price.
Vodafone offers more packages, but they are much more expensive than Turkcell. 8GB package in Vodafone costs 380 TRY! The largest data package is 66GB, which will be 610 TRY (~$91), unfortunately!
Holidays & Festivals
Some of Turkey’s holidays, like Ramazan Bayramı, are based on the lunar Islamic calendar, and other holidays are based on the Gregorian calendar.
|New Year’s Day||1-Jan||1-Jan||1-Jan|
|National Sovereignty and Children’s Day||23-Apr||23-Apr||23-Apr|
|Labour and Solidarity Day||1-May||1-May||1-May|
|Ramazan Bayramı Holiday||14-May||4-May||23-Apr|
|Ramazan Bayramı Holiday||15-May||5-May||24-Apr|
|Ramazan Bayramı Holiday||16-May||6-May||25-Apr|
|Youth and Sports Day||19-May||19-May||19-May|
|Democracy and National Solidarity Day||15-Jul||15-Jul||15-Jul|
|Kurban Bayramı Holiday||21-Jul||11-Jul||30-Jul|
|Kurban Bayramı Holiday||22-Jul||12-Jul||1-Jul|
|Kurban Bayramı Holiday||23-Jul||13-Jul||2-Jul|
|Ataturk Memorial Day||10-Nov||10-Nov||10-Nov|
Shopping in Turkey
Turkey is a real heaven for shopaholics since the country is sitting between Asia and Europe. You can have traditional Asian specialties and, at the same time, buy European products in turkey. From the oldest grand bazaar in the world to some of the most luxurious malls in Europe, you can enjoy your shopping in one of the best shopping destinations around the world.
What to buy in Turkey
Hand-Painted Iznik Ceramics
If you have visited imperial mosques in Turkey, you have definitely noticed the beautiful dark red and turquoise hues Iznik tiles. Although there are not so many stores selling these artworks, you can find them in the Grand Bazaar.
Turkish Delights can be found almost everywhere in Turkey with different tastes. They are usually cheap and delicious, and you can buy them from souvenir shops around the country.
Baklava is a famous dessert in middle-eastern countries; however, the famous Bilgeoğlu Baklava is Turkey’s specialty, which should not be missed by any visitor. This renowned dessert can be found on the Asian side of Istanbul.
Turkish teas are something special. They are usually black and sweetened, drank from tulip-shaped glasses. These glasses and their design have always been of interest to tourists.
Nargile Pipes are Turkish smoking pipes, which are popular in all middle-eastern countries. Different kinds of tobacco, such as apple, raspberry, and banana flavors, are used in Nargile Pipes.
Turkish Coffee has a strong taste, so if you want to pack some for your home, try it first and then buy it. If you liked the taste, make sure to buy the special pots called cezve pots as well. If you want to experience just like what you have tried in the country, buy the special cups as well.
Blue Evil Eye
If you pay attention to Turkish people’s stores and homes, you can see the specific objects called Blue Evil Eye, also known as Nazar Boncuk. Different kinds of this souvenir like amulets, keyrings, bookmarks, jewelry, ceramic items, and lapel badges are sold in Turkey’s souvenir shops.
The Spice Bazaar of Istanbul is heaven for Spice lovers. A wide range of spices are sold here, and you can easily pack them for your home. They last for a long time and make your meals mouth-watering. Turkish saffrons are very expensive; therefore, be aware of the shopkeepers if they tried to scam you.
The best shopping centers in turkey
The Grand Bazaar
The Grand Bazaar in Istanbul is the largest covered market and the oldest bazaar in the world. It’s lovely! You will find 3,000 shops in this bazaar, which are lined exceptionally. Pottery, spices, jewelry, lanterns, and eye-popping colorful ceramics are the main products you can find here.
The spice market is located near the Grand Bazar selling a wide range of spices from Egypt, Africa, and India. You can also buy dry fruits, nuts, olives, and delicious Turkish delights in this old market. If you are a souvenir lover, don’t miss this bazaar.
Sahaflar Bazaar is the paradise for bookworms! You can also buy exquisite paintings, miniatures, artworks, etc. Shopkeepers in this Bazaar are knowledgeable about their products, and you can get consultations from them.
Bagdat Street is located on Turkey’s Asian side, offering fashion, sculptures, paintings, glassware, etc. Here, you can find a mixture of local and international brands.
Mall of Istanbul
Mall of Istanbul is one of Turkey’s largest shopping centers with 270 fashion and clothing stores from world-class brands. It also has a great theme park for youngsters to have a fun time.
Nisantasi Shopping Centre
Nisantasi Shopping Centre is the best place to have a luxury shopping; from fantastic fashion stores to high-end perfume shops. Prada, Gucci, Louis Vitton, Marks and Spencer, H&M, etc. are among the famous brands working in this area.