Traveling to Turkey is the dream of many people, whether to contemplate the great mosques of Istanbul, fly in a balloon over Cappadocia , see landscapes as unreal as those of Pamukkale or travel back in time between the ruins of Ephesus , Pergamum or any other another city of antiquity. To make it a little easier for you to fulfill that dream, in this post I am going to tell you what preparations you need to visit Turkey.
Best time to travel to Turkey
Sorry to disappoint you in the first paragraph, but there is no magic formula to say when is the best time to travel to Turkey. Everything will depend on what you are looking for. For example, if you like snow and skiing, it is clear that you should go in winter, but if you are on the beach, then you better go in summer to enjoy the Aegean coast. To visit the most popular places (Istanbul, Cappadocia, Ephesus, Pamukkale) it is best to go between season and season, that is, spring or autumn, since it is neither very cold nor very hot and it is better to walk for hours or Having to visit monuments outdoors, although if you want to ensure the balloon flight in Cappadocia, it is better that you go in the summer months since the weather is more stable (if there is wind, rain or any other adverse situation they are canceled).
Beyond the seasons, there are some factors to analyze, since it is not the same to visit Turkey in low season than in high season . From May to September it is considered high season (for some activities even April, as the good weather begins), which means that the accommodations will be more expensive and there will be many more people visiting the monuments and taking tours. During the low season, on the other hand, everything will be much cheaper and you will be almost alone in many destinations, but it is also true that the frequency of public transport is less, that there will be tours that you will not be able to do because they are not available yet and that there are places that you will not be able to enjoy 100% because of the weather (such as the beaches).
Turkey is the paradise of activities. Flying over Cappadocia in a balloon , visiting Hagia Sophia or getting lost in the ruins of Ephesus is sure on your list , right? Many of these visits can be booked in advance and avoid headaches once there, or if you prefer to have several options, you can always visit several agencies on the ground and see what they offer.
If you have limited time for your trip to Turkey, my recommendation is that you already take everything so as not to lose one of your precious minutes, but if time is not a problem, then take a tour of several agencies because in many destinations they offer more options and places to visit. Of course, if you go to Istanbul, the best thing you can do is take a free tour on the first day to learn more about the history of the city and find your way. Here is a post with everything to see in Istanbul in case you want more information.
Luggage to travel to Turkey
When it comes time to pack your suitcase or backpack, what you put in it will be closely related to the time you have chosen to travel to Turkey. If it’s winter, pack all warm clothes, from a hat and gloves to polar shirts. If you go in summer and especially to the beach area, then don’t forget your bikini, sunglasses or sunscreen.
In case of traveling in an intermediate season, things are somewhat complicated, because hot days or days of rain, wind and cold can leave you. In general you should put a little of each. Don’t forget long pants and sweaters or sweatshirts for cool moments or short-sleeved T-shirts for the central moments of the day. Also bring gloves and a hat if you are thinking of doing the balloon flight (it’s cold) and a hat, sunglasses and sunscreen for sunny days, because the sun is very hot and in open-air museums (such as Ephesus or Pamukkale) there are no shadows.
Do not forget to bring a small first-aid kit with medicines for headaches or small wounds that you can do, and if you are a woman and you have your period, take what you use with you, since you will find compresses in supermarkets, but tampons are not so easy to find. I also recommend solid soaps and shampoos, more respectful with the environment and without the risk of them breaking in your suitcase and soaking everything. In any case, you can find practically anything in Turkey at a very low price, so don’t worry too much if you forget something. Ah! And leave room for souvenirs, because you will love everything.
Take out travel insurance
Very important whenever you leave Spain is that you carry travel insurance. Thus, in case something happens to you, you will be covered and you will not have to pay anything for, for example, a hospitalization. I always recommend Mondo for its good value for money , because you can easily contact them by WhatsApp and because they have coverage of up to 500,000 euros. In addition, you can hire it from anywhere in the world and at any time, even if your trip has already started.
As for the prices, for a week it costs 17 euros in its Tranquility coverage and 31 euros in the Premium, although if you travel a lot you can take out annual multi-trip insurance and not worry about it on each trip. Also, if you take out your insurance with them, you get a 5% discount for reading Travel and ideas in any insurance. Sounds good right? Well, to finish convincing you I leave you here a post with more information about Mondo travel insurance.
How to get around Turkey
Turkey is a very large country and the distances are long. Depending on the places you want to visit and the time you have, it will be preferable to move by one means of transport or another.
If you have little time and want to see places far from each other (for example, Istanbul and Cappadocia), it is best to take internal flights which, as I said before, are very cheap. If, on the other hand, the weather is not very problematic and you want to see a lot of places, you can take a bus route.
There is also the train, which is generally the cheapest, but it is also much slower, and finally you can choose to rent a car and move on your own terms and reach places that with public transport can be complicated. If you decide on this, the roads are quite good and the cities are connected by motorways, plus everything is well signposted, so there are no problems driving in Turkey. Gasoline is more or less priced in Spain. The landscapes are amazing, so we highly recommend traveling by road, either by car or bus.
When it comes to moving by bus, the most relevant companies nationwide are Metro, Pamukkale or KamilKoç . You can check their websites for their schedules, but you will not be able to book, since you need a Turkish identity document for this. You will have to go yes or yes to the bus station or to the offices they have in the city center to buy it directly. You should also know that the seats are sold by sex (they put women with women and men with men), although some seats are mixed for couples. The best thing about buses is undoubtedly the service, since they always offer drinks and snacks on trips and have Wi-Fi.
It is also very common to move around in dolmus , minibusses that operate locally and that will help you move between towns. They are very cheap and it is a curious experience since they are mainly taken by locals.
What to eat in Turkey
Beyond the popular kebab, in Turkey you eat very well. In general you will find grilled meat everywhere and many other specialties. Do not forget to eat Pide (Turkish pizza), Tavuk Sis (chicken skewer), kebabs in all their forms, which in a restaurant are on a plate, such as Adana Kebab , Gozleme (dough stuffed in general with cheese, meat or spinach) or the Baklavas for dessert. If you like sweets you are in luck because there are pastry shops everywhere with many cakes and sweets.
As for the drink, in Turkey, you will not find alcohol in restaurants near the mosques because it is prohibited and it is also usually expensive because it has high taxes. A beer can cost you 5 euros in Istanbul, although it is normal to find a third at about 15 lira (2.5 euros). There is more tea culture there than coffee, so it is cheaper to drink tea (and you will see them drink tea at all hours), although Turkish coffee is typical, very strong. Also typical are Salep, a hot drink made from milk and orchid flour, and Ayran , which is like liquid yogurt.