How to Plan a Trip to Turkey – A Complete Guide

Estimated reading time: 11 minutes

Turkey Travel At It’s Finest

Whether you’re captivated by Istanbul’s storied past, enchanted by Cappadocia’s surreal landscapes, or seeking solace on the sun-drenched shores of the Turquoise Coast, Turkey promises an adventure tailored to your desires.

Are you longing for bustling markets, ancient marvels, and the mouthwatering scents of Turkish spices? It’s time to dust off your suitcase because we’re about to unveil the ultimate roadmap for your journey to Turkey! Gather your gear and join us as we chart a course for an unforgettable Turkish escapade.

Here are the six things to consider as you plan a trip to Turkey:

1. Choose Your Favorite Destinations


Let’s ge to know the most popular destinations in Turkey so you can decide which ones you wish to visit. Consider creating a bucket list of must-see destinations and experiences to tailor your Turkey holiday to your interests and preferences.

1. Istanbul: Where East Meets West

  • Step into the enchanting city of Istanbul, where the ancient and modern seamlessly intertwine. As the only city in the world spanning two continents, Istanbul boasts a rich tapestry of history, culture, and architecture. Wander through the bustling streets of the historic Sultanahmet district, where iconic landmarks such as the Hagia Sophia, Blue Mosque, and Topkapi Palace transport you back in time to the glory days of the Byzantine and Ottoman Empires.
  • Istanbul’s culinary scene is equally enticing, with mouthwatering delights waiting to be savored at every turn, from savory kebabs to delectable baklava.

2. Cappadocia: A Land of Fairy Chimneys

  • Prepare to be mesmerized by the surreal landscapes of Cappadocia, a region unlike any other on earth. Famous for its fairy chimneys, ancient cave dwellings, and otherworldly rock formations, Cappadocia offers a glimpse into a fantastical realm straight out of a storybook. Rise before dawn to embark on a once-in-a-lifetime hot air balloon ride over the lunar-like landscapes.
  • Whether you’re gazing at the stars from a cave hotel or sipping tea in a traditional Turkish carpet shop, Cappadocia promises an experience that is nothing short of enchanting.

3. Pamukkale: The Cotton Castle of Turkey

  • Formed over thousands of years by mineral-rich thermal waters, Pamukkale’s terraces are not only a natural wonder but also home to the ancient city of Hierapolis, a UNESCO World Heritage Site.
  • Explore the ruins of Hierapolis, including its well-preserved theater, necropolis, and ancient thermal baths, which offer insights into the daily life of the city’s inhabitants centuries ago.

Other choices you may want to include as you plan a trip to Turkey are:

  • Troy, an archaeological site in Turkey that preserves the ruins of the legendary city,
  • The Turquoise Coast, inviting travelers to relax, explore ancient ruins, and indulge in seaside adventures,
  • Gallipoli, known for its significance in World War I.

2. Plan Your Turkey Itinerary


Now that you’ve chosen your destinations, it’s time to plan your itinerary. Will you spend your days exploring ancient ruins, cruising along the coastline, or sampling Turkish delicacies in local markets? Whether you’re interested in history, adventure, or relaxation, Turkey offers a wealth of experiences to suit every taste.

Consider joining a guided Turkey tour to make the most of your time and gain insights from knowledgeable local guides.

3. Dive into Turkish Culture


No trip to Turkey would be complete without immersing yourself in its rich culture and traditions, which have been shaped by centuries of history and diverse influences from East and West. Marvel at the dazzling architecture of Ottoman mosques, where intricate tile work and soaring minarets create a breathtaking backdrop for spiritual reflection.

  • Be sure to visit iconic landmarks such as the Hagia Sophia, a marvel of Byzantine architecture that has served as a church, mosque, and museum throughout its storied history.
  • Embark on a journey through Turkey’s vibrant music scene, where the rhythmic beats of traditional instruments such as the oud and darbuka transport you to another world.
  • Don’t miss the chance to experience a traditional Turkish bath, or hamam, for the ultimate relaxation.
  • Indulge in a steamy sauna, followed by a invigorating scrub and soothing massage, leaving you feeling rejuvenated and refreshed.
  • And of course, no visit to Turkey would be complete without savoring a cup of traditional Turkish coffee, brewed to perfection and served in ornate cups alongside sweet Turkish delight.

4. Indulge in Turkish Cuisine


Before embarking on a trip to Turkey, it’s essential that you know about these Turkish culinary hacks and eating habits to fully immerse yourself in the epic Turkish food culture. Here are some key things to know:

  1. Turkish Cuisine: Turkish cuisine is renowned for its bold flavors, fresh ingredients, and diverse influences from the Mediterranean, Middle East, and Central Asia. From hearty kebabs and savory mezes to sweet pastries and aromatic spices, Turkish cuisine offers a culinary adventure for every palate.
  2. Meze Culture: One of the highlights of Turkish dining is the tradition of mezes, small dishes served as appetizers or alongside main courses. Mezes can include a variety of salads, dips, and grilled vegetables, often accompanied by freshly baked bread.
  3. Hospitality: Turkish hospitality, known as “misafirperverlik,” is an integral part of the dining experience. Guests are treated with warmth and generosity, and it’s common for hosts to insist on serving multiple courses and refilling glasses throughout the meal.
  4. Tea Culture: Tea, or “çay,” holds a special place in Turkish culture and is consumed throughout the day. It’s customary to offer guests tea as a sign of hospitality, and tea houses, or “çay bahçesi,” are popular gathering places for socializing and relaxation.
  5. Turkish Coffee: Turkish coffee, or “TĂŒrk kahvesi,” is a traditional method of brewing coffee that dates back centuries. Served in small cups, Turkish coffee is strong, rich, and often sweetened to taste. It’s customary to enjoy Turkish coffee slowly, savoring each sip and reading the fortune left in the coffee grounds.
  6. Street Food: Turkish street food offers a convenient and delicious way to sample local flavors on the go. Don’t miss the opportunity to try favorites such as simit (sesame seed bread rings), döner kebabs, and gözleme (stuffed flatbread) from street vendors and bustling markets.
  7. Eating Habits: Turkish meals are typically enjoyed slowly and leisurely, with an emphasis on savoring each bite and engaging in conversation with dining companions. It’s common for meals to consist of multiple courses, starting with mezes and salads before moving on to main dishes and desserts.

5. Embrace Adventure


Whether you’re trekking through the fairy chimneys of Cappadocia, hot air ballooning over the surreal landscapes of Göreme, or cruising along the Turquoise Coast on a traditional gulet, Turkey offers endless opportunities for adventure. Step out of your comfort zone safely and embrace new experiences – you never know what amazing memories you’ll create along the way!

6. Staying Safe in Turkey


Here are some safety tips, advice, and hacks as you plan a trip to Turkey:

  • Research Local Customs and Cultural Norms: Before traveling to Turkey, familiarize yourself with local customs, traditions, and cultural norms, especially regarding dress codes, greetings, and appropriate behavior in public spaces.
  • Respect Local Laws and Regulations: Be aware of Turkish laws and regulations, particularly those related to personal safety, alcohol consumption, and public behavior. Avoid engaging in activities that may be considered disrespectful or offensive to local customs and traditions.
  • Dress Modestly and Appropriately: While Turkey is a relatively liberal country, particularly in urban areas, it’s advisable for female solo travelers and LGBTQ+ travelers to dress modestly and respectfully, especially when visiting religious sites or conservative areas. Consider packing clothing that covers shoulders, knees, and dĂ©colletage to blend in and show respect for local customs.
  • Use Caution When Socializing: Exercise caution when socializing with strangers, especially in nightlife areas or tourist hotspots. Be wary of overly persistent or aggressive behavior and trust your instincts if a situation feels uncomfortable or unsafe.
stay safe in turkey
  • Stay Connected: Stay connected with friends, family, or fellow travelers by sharing your itinerary and checking in regularly. Consider using mobile apps or devices with GPS tracking capabilities for added peace of mind.
  • Choose Accommodations Wisely: Opt for reputable accommodations with good reviews and safety features, such as secure locks, well-lit entrances, and 24-hour reception. Consider staying in centrally located areas with easy access to public transportation and amenities.
  • Avoid Public Displays of Affection: While attitudes towards LGBTQ+ travelers vary across Turkey, it’s advisable to avoid public displays of affection to minimize unwanted attention or potential harassment. Exercise discretion and respect local customs regarding public behavior.
  • Be Mindful of Your Surroundings: Stay aware of your surroundings at all times and trust your instincts if something feels off. Avoid walking alone in poorly lit or deserted areas, particularly at night, and consider using reputable transportation services or taxis when traveling after dark.
  • Seek Support Networks: Connect with local LGBTQ+ organizations or online communities for support, resources, and advice on navigating Turkey as an LGBTQ+ traveler. These networks can provide valuable insights and assistance during your travels.
  • Stay Informed: Stay informed about current events, safety advisories, and travel warnings issued by your government or reputable sources. Be prepared to adjust your plans accordingly and prioritize your safety above all else.


FAQ about Planning a Trip to Turkey

How much will a trip to Turkey cost?

The cost of a trip to Turkey can vary depending on factors such as travel style, accommodation preferences, activities, and duration of stay. On average, a mid-range traveler can expect to spend between $50 to $100 per day for accommodation, meals, transportation, and sightseeing expenses. However, luxury travelers may spend significantly more, while budget travelers can find affordable options to suit their needs.

Why is Turkey so cheap for tourists?

Turkey is often considered affordable for tourists due to its lower cost of living compared to many Western European countries. The favorable exchange rate, particularly for currencies such as the US dollar and Euro, makes Turkey an attractive destination for international travelers. Additionally, competition among tourism businesses helps keep prices competitive for accommodations, dining, and activities, making it possible to enjoy a fulfilling travel experience without breaking the bank.

What is the best time to visit Turkey?

The best time to visit Turkey depends on personal preferences and interests. Generally, the spring (April to June) and autumn (September to November) months are considered the best times to visit, as the weather is mild and pleasant, and tourist crowds are thinner compared to the peak summer months. However, summer (June to August) is ideal for beach vacations along the Turquoise Coast, while winter (December to February) offers opportunities for skiing and exploring cultural sites without the crowds.

Can you tour Turkey on your own?

Yes, it is possible to tour Turkey on your own, as the country offers a well-developed tourism infrastructure with reliable transportation options, accommodations, and tourist attractions. Independent travelers can plan their own itineraries, book accommodations and transportation, and explore Turkey at their own pace. However, joining guided tours or hiring local guides can enhance the experience by providing insights into the history, culture, and hidden gems of each destination.

Do you need a visa for Turkey?

Yes, most travelers need a visa to enter Turkey. However, the visa requirements vary depending on your nationality and the purpose and duration of your visit. Many nationalities, including citizens of the United States, European Union countries, and Canada, are eligible for an e-Visa, which can be easily obtained online before traveling to Turkey. The e-Visa allows for stays of up to 90 days within a 180-day period for tourism or business purposes.

Here is your complete guide about all things to know as you plan a trip to Turkey. Now is the time to make the necessary arrangements and take on the journey!

Open until midnight

+44 20 809 995 96
[email protected]

Monday - Friday: 09:00 AM - 6:00 PM
Saturday: 10:00 AM - 5:00 PM
Sunday: Closed
W. Europe