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How to Plan a Trip to Turkey: Frequently Asked Questions

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Ölüdeniz lagoon on the southwest coat of Ölüdeniz, Turkey

Ölüdeniz, Turkey

Explore Turkey’s rich culture and heritage using these insights and answers to the most common questions travelers ask about the country.

Whether interested in the opulence of the Hagia Sophia or the sparkling colonnades of ancient Ephesus, the glistening waters of the Turquoise Coast, or the whirling dervishes’ unique displays of devotion, Turkey celebrates its treasures with equal wonder.

Embrace a historical adventure or indulge in traditional flavors of daily life using our recommendations for the best time to visit, top things to do, and more advice to answer your questions regarding a trip to Turkey.

Overview

  1. Can I travel to Turkey?
  2. Where is Turkey?
  3. When is the best time to visit Turkey?
  4. How many days should I spend in Turkey?
  5. Why is Turkey popular?
  6. What are the most popular destinations in Turkey?
  7. What should I do on my trip to Turkey?
  8. What are the most popular islands to visit in Turkey?
  9. Does Turkey have good beaches?
  10. How do I travel around Turkey?
  11. Is Turkey a good destination for families?
  12. Is Turkey suitable for senior travelers?
  13. Is Turkey suitable for couples or honeymooners?
  14. What food should I try in Turkey?
  15. Is Turkey safe to visit?
  16. What language do they speak in Turkey?
  17. What vaccinations do I need to travel to Turkey?
  18. Which airports should I plan for?
  19. Do I need a visa for Turkey?
  20. What currency does Turkey use?
  21. How can Zicasso help me plan my trip to Turkey?
  22. Where can I find recommended itineraries for my trip?

Can I travel to Turkey?

Turkey is open to American travelers.

International travelers can enter Turkey following the country’s entry requirements. Any changes to these will be shared with you by your Zicasso travel specialist, helping you plan a stress-free trip to the cultural treasure trove.

More of the Middle East and Europe is open to American travelers and you can discover all the entry requirements for the countries we serve in our guide on Where Americans Can Travel Right Now.

Learn more: Plan Your Trip to Turkey

Where is Turkey?

Turkey is a transcontinental Middle Eastern country that spans southeastern Europe and southwestern Asia. Its peninsula bridges Europe and Asia, and is surrounded by the Black, Mediterranean, and Aegean seas.

Because of Turkey’s proximity to popular European destinations like Greece, it often features on multi-country European Tours & Vacations or Greece & Turkey Vacation Packages.

When is the best time to visit Turkey?

The best time to visit Turkey is from mid-April to late June and mid-September to early November. These months represent the best overall weather, with warm temperatures and clear skies across the country, and authentic cultural experiences are open to travelers.

These months coincide with Turkey’s spring and fall seasons, allowing travelers to avoid the swelling crowds and sweltering heat that comes with summer in the country. That said, July and August are excellent times for a summer vacation if you are comfortable in hot conditions and navigating the influx of tourists. Note that there is less availability and rates are higher in the summer season.

You can also visit Turkey in the winter months of October, November, and December should you wish to visit alpine regions for skiing and customary thermal baths.

Learn more: Best Time to Visit Turkey

How many days should I spend in Turkey?

You should spend around 10 days in Turkey to experience the highlights of Istanbul, Cappadocia, and Izmir.

Turkey has incredible layers and many visitors underestimate how much there is to see and do in these cities until they delve deeper into the culture, history, and landscapes. Therefore, we also recommend trips for 14 days or longer to enjoy the depth of Turkey’s charm, from the coastline and countryside to fascinating cities.

If you have limited time, spend seven to eight days exploring the main tourist spots, such as visiting the Hagia Sophia in Istanbul or the ruins of Ephesus. Your trip duration ultimately depends on where you would like to go, how many tours you plan to take, and if you want to spend days at leisure.

Why is Turkey popular?

Turkey is famous for its distinct Western and Eastern influences as it lies in Europe and Asia. These influences come to life in the architecture of Istanbul and the beaches along Turkey’s Mediterranean and Aegean coastlines, where blended cultures mingle in Middle Eastern life.

What are the most popular destinations in Turkey?

From the cultural neighborhoods of Istanbul to the historic rock homes of Cappadocia, the best places to visit in Turkey are a pleasure to discover. Below, we highlight the most popular:

  • Istanbul
  • Cappadocia
  • Ephesus
  • The Turquoise Coast
  • Ankara
  • Edirne
  • Mount Nemrut
  • Izmir
  • Konya
  • Bursa

You can learn more about these iconic Turkish destinations and what to expect when visiting them, as well as ideas on how to spend your days exploring the history, culture, and highlights, in our guide on the 10 Best Places to Visit in Turkey.

What should I do on my trip to Turkey?

Alongside our Turkey travel specialists, we have compiled a list of things to do when on a trip to Turkey. Let the following ideas inspire your custom itinerary, whether you wish to visit famous beaches or view iconic heritage sites:

  • Discover the remarkable colors, lively ambiance, and Turkish shopping in Istanbul’s famous bazaars
  • Float over Cappadocia’s ancient hill-carved homes in a hot-air balloon and explore the underground city
  • Wander beneath the stunning domes and grand architecture of the Hagia Sophia
  • Traverse the ancient open-air museum of Ephesus to view the marble columns and colonnaded streets that represent the classical era
  • Witness a bygone era of Turkish culture and heritage in traditional villages in and around the countryside
  • Visit the shrine of legendary poet Rumi in Konya and explore more cultural masterpieces in Turkish museums and galleries
  • Sample Turkish cuisine on regional culinary tours and at cooking demonstrations
  • Cruise along the Turkish coastline on day trips, with snorkeling, swimming, and diving to see the underwater world

For more inspiration, explore our Top 9 Things to Do in Turkey and discover its many possibilities as you spend your vacation immersing yourself in the culture, heritage, gastronomy, and breathtaking scenery.

What are the most popular islands to visit in Turkey?

For something a little different than Greek Island Hopping Itineraries, spend your vacation on the picturesque islands of Turkey. The Turkish islands in the Mediterranean and Aegean seas are just as beautiful as Europe’s, with history to discover and cobbled lanes to wander between time on sun-washed shores. Below are some of the most popular islands:

  • Tenedos, or Bozcaada
  • Imbros, or Gökçeada
  • Cunda, or Alibey Island
  • Princes’ Islands
  • Kızkalesi
  • Gemiler Island

Does Turkey have good beaches?

Turkish beaches are an excellent alternative to those in Europe. They are beautiful, with fewer crowds to navigate on warm, sunny days. Overlooking the sparkling Mediterranean or Aegean waters, with towering cliffs, forested plains, or vibrant village backdrops, the best beaches in Turkey are worth a visit. The following list includes some of those you should visit:

  • Iztuzu Beach
  • Oludeniz Beach
  • Patara Beach
  • Bodrum Beach
  • Kaputaş Beach
  • Çıralı Beach
  • Ilıca Plajı Beach
  • Butterfly Valley Beach

How do I travel around Turkey?

Planes, buses, private transfers, rental cars, trains, boats, and bicycles are some of the best ways to travel around Turkey. With a reliable public transportation system in major cities like Istanbul and plenty of cruise ships crossing the seas, your choices depend on how you would like to explore.

Planes are the fastest way to travel from one main city to another, while trains are excellent options for scenic trips. You could also hire a car for a road trip along the Turquoise Coast. Private transfers make city tours comfortable, while public transportation is a fun way to get around Istanbul. You could also hire a bicycle for city tours at your pace.

To reach Turkey’s islands or explore the Mediterranean and Aegean seas, you can take ferries, yachts, or speedboats, depending on your daily activity. Ferries are ideal for reaching an island, yachts are lavish options for daily voyages, and speedboats are the fastest ways to reach secluded beaches and far-flung bays.

Is Turkey a good destination for families?

With Mediterranean and Aegean beaches that rival the best in Europe and historical sites that are cultural playgrounds for all ages, Turkey is an excellent choice for a family vacation.

You and your young children or older teens can cruise the Turquoise Coast to diving and snorkeling spots that teem with underwater creatures or wander in and out of ancient homes carved into the cliffs of Cappadocia. You can discover the culinary culture as you fold pide, Turkish pizzas, peer inside underground cisterns steeped in Turkish mythology, and explore the kid-friendly theme parks, museums, and exhibits.

Turkey’s sun, sand, and cultural cities provide the perfect mix of adventure and relaxation for all ages to enjoy.

Learn more: Top 7 Places in Turkey for Families with Teens

Is Turkey suitable for senior travelers?

Escape Europe’s busy beaches and explore Turkey’s transcontinental culture with afternoons spent on sun-washed shores.

Uncover Turkish history as you step back in time in the meticulously decorated Hagia Sophia, enjoy Turkish cuisine and wines as you glide past secluded bays along the riviera, or discover the Byzantine wonders of Istanbul at your leisure.

The opportunities for active adventures and relaxing tours are endless for seniors visiting Turkey.

Is Turkey suitable for couples or honeymooners?

Turkey is a sensational destination for couples or honeymooners. Romance abounds along the Turkish coastline, with Mediterranean and Aegean charm far from the crowds that flock to Europe’s more popular destinations.

Choosing to spend your time together in Turkey, you will treat yourselves to private experiences in cultural cities and on sun-kissed beaches. You can navigate old neighborhoods of Istanbul and follow the aromas of Turkish cuisine to gourmet restaurants, toast a milestone occasion with your partner during a cruise along the Turquoise Coast, or float above ancient homes in the hills of Cappadocia in a hot-air balloon.

Sharing exceptional Turkey Honeymoon Packages for couples celebrating their new life together and excellent for any type of couples’ trip, we can show you the pleasures of exploring Turkey with your partner.

Learn more: 6 Most Romantic Places in Turkey for Couples7 Most Romantic Things to Do in Turkey for Couples

What food should I try in Turkey?

Turkish cuisine takes inspiration from western and eastern regions, crossing Europe and Asia, and with a Middle Eastern spin on classic dishes. The flavors are robust and you can introduce your taste buds to these authentic dishes:

  • Köfte, Turkish meatballs
  • Turkish meze, an assortment of bite-sized Turkish delicacies
  • Yaprak Dolma, Turkish stuffed-grape leaves
  • Döner Kebab, sliced slow-roasted chicken, lamb, or beef typically served in pita bread
  • Pide, Turkish pizza
  • Manti, Turkish dumplings
  • Gözleme, Turkish stuffed turnover
  • Turkish coffee

Is Turkey safe to visit?

Turkey is generally safe to visit.

Tourism is essential to Turkey and the places you visit will be completely free of the conflict near Turkey’s border with Syria. When touring its main tourist cities, like Istanbul, you will meet friendly locals and enjoy the country’s welcoming nature. You should, however, take care of your personal belongings in crowded areas as pickpocketing and petty theft, although rare, can occur in tourist destinations worldwide.

The safest places to visit in Turkey are Istanbul, Bodrum, Izmir, and Cappadocia, to name a few. You should not experience any safety risks when visiting these destinations. That said, you should always follow the instructions of your tour guides.

When visiting Turkey in the summer, apply plenty of sunscreen outdoors, drink plenty of water, and carry mosquito repellent. You should also dress appropriately, your legs and shoulders covered, when visiting mosques and heritage sites.

What language do they speak in Turkey?

The official language of Turkey is Turkish.

Some communities in Turkey speak Kurdish, Arabic, Aramaic, Greek, Armenian, and more, while English is widely spoken in Turkey’s main tourist cities like Istanbul. For the most part, you should be able to communicate in English and your guide will be able to translate should you visit areas or establishments where English is not spoken.

What vaccinations do I need to travel to Turkey?

You can find the complete list of vaccination recommendations through the CDC Turkey Vaccination Information, though vaccinations are not mandatory to visit Turkey. However, you should consult your travel nurse or doctor for peace of mind before your trip.

Which airports should I plan for?

The most convenient route for most travelers is to fly in and out of Istanbul via the Istanbul Airport (IST). Arriving in the country’s largest city offers you the most extensive selection of international flights, including non-stop options from various cities across the United States. Below, we provide a complete list of the best airports in Turkey:

  • Istanbul Airport (IST), Istanbul
  • Antalya Airport (AYT), Antalya
  • Atatürk Airport (ISL), Istanbul
  • Ankara Esenboğa Airport (ESB), Ankara
  • Milas-Bodrum Airport (BJV), Bodrum

Do I need a visa for Turkey?

You will need to obtain a visa to visit Turkey on vacation. You can apply for a one-month single-entry e-visa online for tourism purposes before arriving in the country.

Your Zicasso travel specialist can provide you with more information regarding Turkey visa requirements and the application process.

What currency does Turkey use?

The official currency of Turkey is the Turkish lira (₺).

You should ensure you travel with Turkish lira as the US dollar is not widely accepted. ATMs are available in all of Turkey’s major tourist destinations, though you should carry cash if you visit outlying areas. Some establishments accept Visa, Mastercard, and American Express, though this is not a guarantee and you should have the appropriate currency when you travel.

How can Zicasso help me plan my trip to Turkey?

Zicasso Turkey travel specialists can help you plan your vacation and you can browse sample trips from our collection of Turkey Tours & Vacations to explore itineraries around your interests. These customizable trips are perfect for visiting the highlights, traveling as a family, or planning a couples’ vacation.

When you have an idea of how you would like to arrange your itinerary, you can complete a Trip Request where you can share your thoughts, trip duration, travel style, and rough budget. Our Travel Care team will then contact you to discuss your notes in more detail before matching you with a top Turkey travel specialist.

Your travel specialist will make your bookings and organize your itinerary, catering to any suggestions you would like to add. They are also available for the duration of your trip, helping you make potential itinerary changes or in the rare case of an emergency.

Learn more: How to Plan Your Zicasso Trip in 4 Easy StepsHow to Plan Your Zicasso Trip Budget in 3 Easy Steps

Where can I find recommended itineraries for my trip?

Hagia Sophia in Istanbul, Turkey

Hagia Sophia in Istanbul, Turkey

From Turkish legends to mouthwatering cuisine, Byzantine art to classical ruins, you can embrace the splendors of authentic culture and grand designs at your pace with our Turkey Tours & Vacations.

Turkey can immerse you in the wonders of history and preserved architecture as art, the Mediterranean coastline, and fairytale landscapes expand to the horizon. To learn more about these pleasures, explore our Turkey Travel Guide.

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