General Information

Turkey is a fascinating and beautiful country with a magnificent past with a land full of historic treasures covering thirteen successive civilizations. Roman temples, Seljuk Caravanserais, ancient Hittite sites, Ottoman mosques and palaces and the famous Grand Bazaar in Istanbul with its maze of over 4000 shops. And, ancient cities like Ephesus, UNESCO World Heritage sites such as Safranbolu with its traditional Ottoman houses, the stupendous colossal statues, lions and eagles on top of Mt. Nemrut (2150 metres / 7054 feet).  Also, the magnificent Holy City complex in Sanliurfa with its Pool of Abraham full of sacred carp and surrounded by exquisite 17th century architecture. Cappadochia, with its capped pinnacles known as ‘fairy chimneys’ in a variety of colours, where dwellings are known to have been hewn from rock as far back as 4,000 B.C., and the spectacular Mediterranean coastline.

Passport and Visa Requirements

All ordinary and official passport holders require a visa for travel to Turkey. Visas can be obtained online from www.evisa.gov.tr/en and are valid for stays of up to 90 days on a multiple entry basis. The fee is US$20.


Turkish is the national language. However, English is widely spoken in the main cities and tourist areas. German is also widely spoken in the tourist areas along the Mediterranean Sea.


The Turkish Lira, US dollar and Euro are the preferred currencies for travel. ATM’s are widespread and with the presence of broadband internet in the country, money transfers can be done using the online banking services of many banks in the country.  Also, most major credit cards are accepted in tourist hotels, restaurants and major stores. But, please note that American Express cards are rarely honoured.


The voltage is mainly 220 AC. Plugs are usually the two-pronged cylindrical European style.

Business and Banking Hours

For banks and state offices: Monday-Friday, 09.00 a.m.– 12:30 and 13.30 p.m.–17.00 p.m.

For shops and the private sector: Monday-Friday, 09.00 a.m. – 12:30 and 13.30 p.m.–18.00 p.m. Saturday,  09.00 a.m.–13.00 p.m.

Shopping malls in the big cities and some tourist shops: Monday-Sunday, 10.00 a.m. – 22.00 p.m.                                                                                        Please note that shops often stay open later in tourist areas.

Time Difference

Turkey has one uniform time zone, 2 hours ahead of the UK and 1 hour ahead of continental Europe. Turkey is 7 hours ahead of US Eastern Standard Time.

Health Regulations

No vaccinations are required unless arriving from an infected area. Turkey has the same health standards as European countries.

Phone Services

Phone cards are used for calls from public phones. Mobile phone Sim Cards are available for short stays from local phone companies, Turkcell, Vodaphone  and Avea. Wifi is widely available in most restaurants, coffee shops and hotels. 

Medical Services

Most hospitals and clinics in Istanbul, Ankara, Izmir and Antalya are up to JCI, European standards. All services are available. Please check out our website for more information on medical tourism. www.medical-tur.com


The climate in Turkey varies depending on which region you are visiting. However, the best time to travel in Turkey is from April to October, with temperatures ranging from an average of around 20°C (68°F) in the early and later months, to around 32°C (90°F) in the summer months (June-August). Note that temperatures can reach up to 40°C (104°F) in July and August. Coastal Turkey has hot summers with little rain and mild winters. Inland areas have longer and harsher winters.

What to Wear

There is no dress code in Turkey. However, a headscarf and modest dress is recommended for women when visiting mosques. When visiting Mt. Nemrut (2150 metres)t, take warm clothing because when the sun sets the temperature drops rapidly. It is also very windy and cold on top of the mountain even on hot summer days. Eastern Turkey is still very traditional in its ways and beliefs. Religion plays a very important part in people’s lives and the area is still not as well travelled by tourists as the rest of Turkey. So, you will need to dress appropriately.

Transport and Communication

Most of the major airlines have direct flights to Turkey. The principal airports for international scheduled flights are in Istanbul (two airports), Ankara. And Antalya. There are rail and road connections to Asia and Europe and hydrofoil or ferry services to several Greek islands. For local travel, there are excellent bus services, trains and domestic flights to inland cities and coastal areas.

Taxis, buses, tramways, metros, dolmus (shared taxis), and ferries (in Istanbul) provide public transport.

The infrastructure In major urban areas is excellent however in rural areas it is adequate      but not always well maintained. The communication system is excellent, although telecommunication services (both domestic and international) are best in urban areas. Both international and local television channels are available as well as radio stations. There is a wide selection of international and local daily newspapers in English, such as the Hurriyet Daily News and Todays Zaman.


Driving is on the right hand side of the road with excellent signage in English script  and a well-maintained road network. A driving license from your home country is acceptable for driving in Turkey. 

Food and Drink

Turkish cuisine is rich and diverse and is one of the world’s best and healthiest. Food is prepared using the freshest ingredients.

Breakfast is usually light, consisting of tomatoes, cucumbers, cheese, olives, bread, butter, jam or honey and tea or coffee. The main meal of the day is eaten in the evening and may consist of several courses.

Traditional Turkish cuisine includes meze, a tray or table of small dishes, including stuffed vine leaves, salads, prawns, and a variety of other items, as well as shish kebab (cubes of lamb grilled on a skewer). Meat is often grilled. Fish is fairly plentiful along the Bosphorus and the coast, but tends to be expensive. Vegetables are usually prepared in olive oil, and rice pilaf is common. Soups are an important part of the diet. Turkish desserts are excellent and include baklava (a dessert of syrup and pastry) and milk pudding (muhallebi).

Turkish coffee (kahve), a thick brew served in small cups, is served with nearly every meal. Turkish people also enjoy locally made beer, wine, and spirits. The national drink is raki, an aniseed-flavoured clear grape brandy, similar to Greek ouzo or French pastis that clouds when water is added.


Traditional crafts include carpets and kilims, leather, copper and bronze ware, gold and silver jewellery, embroidery and ceramics. Istanbul boasts great shopping with its famous historic Grand Bazaar containing over 4000 shops, and the fascinating Spice Bazaar. There are many modern shopping malls in Istanbul, Ankara, Izmir, Antalya and Bursa carrying the latest fashions and goods. There are also modern shops and traditional bazaars throughout Turkey.


Holidays and Celebrations

Islamic holidays are calculated according to the lunar calendar and vary from year to year.

Secular holidays in Turkey are calculated according to the Western calendar. Other official holidays include New Year’s Day (1 January), National Sovereignty Day (23 April coinciding with Children’s Day), Atatürk’s Memorial Day and Youth Day (19 May), Victory Day (30 August), and Republic Day (29 October). July and August are when most people take their annual holiday.


Turkey is located in southeast Europe. It is bordered on the northwest by Bulgaria and Greece, on the north by the Black Sea, on the northeast by Georgia and Armenia, on the east by Iran, southeast by Iraq and Syria, in the south by the Mediterranean Sea and on the west by the Aegean Sea. The total area is 780.000 square meter (301.159 square miles)


Population 78+ million

Ethnicity: Turkish 80%, other 20%

Religion: Muslim 85%, other (Christians and Jews) 15%