Travel Tips for Turkey: Your Guide to Navigating Istanbul Airport and Beyond
When visiting Turkey, you'll realize that your trip is much more than a trip, it will be an ultimate experience. Turkey has a rich culture with cities steeped in history. From Turkey's illustrious beaches to the beautiful quaint countryside, Turkey will guarantee you a majestical vacation.
Turkey is home to some of the most gorgeous landscapes with high mountains, breathtaking power-sand beaches, and gorgeous cyan blue seascapes. Your Turkey trip will bring you a delightful merge of European and Middle Eastern Cultures.
Here are top traveling to Turkey tips!
Obtaining A Turkey Visa
You'll certainly need to find out if your country’s Visa options are suspended before you travel to Turkey. If you are from a country that can travel to Turkey on a Visa you'll need to know how to obtain a Visa. Ordinary passport holders are required to have a visa or Turkey eVisa, which travelers can obtain through applying online.
Turkish Currency & Currency Exchange
The currency in Turkey is the Turkish lira, TL. Once you land in Turkey you can exchange your money at one of the currency exchange booths at Istanbul airport. However, you might want to hold onto most of your cash and exchange money only as much as you need in the meantime as you can get more competitive rates in more central and touristic locations. Banks and gold jewelers are also other locations where you can exchange foreign currency.
Also, you can use your credit or debit card at most venues where payment by EFTPOS is available. Using ATMs is another safer and easier option to withdraw cash throughout the country. However, make sure you inform your bank that you will be traveling so that your account is not blocked for suspicious activity, inconveniencing you. Something else to keep in mind though is the commission rates the bank might charge you for using a foreign ATM. Contact your bank for details on charges for withdrawing money from ATMs abroad.
Transport to and from Airport
Istanbul Airport has taxis and busses to reach the city center and Taksim, which is the main area of interest for tourists in the city. If you wish to take an Istanbul airport taxi, the journey will be around 1 hour (in normal traffic) and will cost around 30€. If you wish to take public transport, the bus is available for 3€ (70 TL). The bus takes approximately 100 minutes, traffic dependent.
Prices in Turkey
Although Turkey is an incredibly popular tourist destination, cities like Istanbul have remained pretty cheap for the average traveler. Snacks from street vendors can normally be purchased for just a few dollars while a meal in a restaurant with a drink won’t amount to much more than USD $6. Mid-range accommodation will usually cost around USD $50 per night. Public transport within cities is very reasonable and won’t come to more than a few dollars per journey. Taxis tend to have a base fare of USD $2 (10TL) and then cost 0,50 dollars per kilometer.
Drinking tap water in Turkey
The tap water in Turkey is generally considered safe to drink, but as a precaution against stomach upsets, you may want to drink bottled mineral water, which is readily available from shops, hotels, and restaurants.
Turkish food is famous throughout the world. Look forward to meze comprising houmous and other dips, dolma (stuffed vine leaves), cheese cigars, the ubiquitous doner kebab, and pide - a kind of pizza. Exotic freshly squeezed juices, nuts, and fruit are available everywhere. If you feel like a java jolt, try Turkish coffee - rich, dark, and often laced with cardamom.
Breakfast in Turkey usually consists of a range of different cheeses along with olives, bread, different jams, and honey and, occasionally, a special kind of spicy sausage called sucuk, which is eaten with eggs. Menemen is also a popular morning dish and is made up of scrambled eggs cooked up with sautéed vegetables.
Turkish food caters perfectly to meat lovers with dishes like kofte (Turkish meatballs) and kuzu tandir (slow-cooked lamb with rice) making regular appearances. Lahmacun, a flatbread topped with minced meat, lemon, and yogurt, is a popular snack and can be found at street food stalls throughout the country. For dessert, sink your teeth into the sticky, nutty, syrupy delight that is baklava or feast on a cube or two of Turkish delight.
Turkish is the primary language spoken in Turkey, but it's common to also hear Kurdish and Arabic. However, this should not be a concern for communication as many locals in tourist areas are also proficient in other languages such as English, French, and Spanish.
Essential phrases to know include:
Hello – Merhaba! (MARE-HA-BA)
Good-bye – Hoşçakal! (HOSH-CHA-KAL)
How are you? – Nasılsın? (NA-SEL-SIN)
I am fine, and you? – İyiyim, sen nasılsın? (EE-em, SEN NA-SEL-SIN)
Thank you – Teşekkür ederim (TE-SH-QU-ERR ED-ERR-IM)
You’re welcome – Birşey değil (BEER-SHEY DEY-EEL)
Please – Lütfen (LUT-FEN)
Do you speak English? – İngilizce konuşur musunuz?
İngilizce biliyor musunuz?
I don’t speak Turkish – Türkçe bilmiyorum (TURK-JEH BILL-MI-YOR-UM)
I don’t understand – Sizi anlamıyorum (SI-ZI ANN-LA-MA-YOR-UM)
How much does it cost? – Ne kadar? (NAY KAD-AR)
Excuse me – Afedersiniz (AFF-ED-DAR-SAN-IZ)
Yes – Evet (EV-ET)
No – Hayır (HI-EAR)
Shopping & Tax Refund
The prices of goods sold in Turkey include an 18 percent tax. If you are a non-resident of Turkey and stay in the country for less than six months, you can get a tax refund on all purchases over 108.TL. So keep your receipts and claim the refund at the airport when leaving Turkey.
Visiting Museums & Istanbul Tourist Pass
Previously offered to residents only, now, foreigners can also benefit from the Museum Pass that gives free entrance to museums in the city you are visiting for 90 Euro and you can use it for five days.
In Istanbul, the Istanbul Tourist Pass will get you into :
- Topkapı Palace Museum and Harem Apartments
- Istanbul Archaeological Museums
- Istanbul Mosaic Museum
- Museum of Turkish and Islamic Arts
- Museum for the History of Science and Technology in Islam
- Chora Museum
- Galata Mevlevi House Museum
- Yıldız Palace
- Rumeli Hisar Museum and Fethiye Museum
Without having to pay any extra fee.
The validity period begins with your first museum visit, allowing each card to be used at each museum once only.