Turkey is a large peninsula located between southeastern Europe and west Asia, which bridges the two continents. It is bounded on the north by the Black Sea, on the northeast by Armenia and Georgia, on the east by Iran and Azerbaijan, on the southeast by Syria and Iraq, on the southwest and west by the Mediterranean Sea and the Aegean Sea, and on the northwest by Greece and Bulgaria. The capital is Ankara, and its largest city and seaport is Istanbul.
The European section of Turkey, also known as East Thrace (or locally known as Trakya) is located at the easternmost edge the Balkan Peninsula. It forms the border between Turkey and its neighbors Greece and Bulgaria. The Asian part of the country mostly consists of the peninsula of Anatolia, which consists of a high central plateau with narrow coastal plains, between the Köroğlu and Pontic Mountain ranges to the north and the Taurus Mountains to the south. Eastern Turkey has a more mountainous landscape and is home to the sources of rivers such as the Euphrates, Tigris and Aras. The western portion of the Armenian highland is located in eastern Turkey; this region contains Mount Ararat, Turkey's highest point at 5,137 meters (16,854 feet) and Lake Van, the largest lake in the country. Southeastern Turkey is located within the northern plains of Upper Mesopotamia.
Turkey is one of the most earthquake prone areas on Earth and has suffered from 13 earthquakes in the past 70 years. The North Anatolian Fault extends hundreds of miles from the Sea of Marmara in the western part of the country to the Eastern Anatolian Highlands. The fault moves back and forth about 8 inches (20 centimeters) a year.
The current population of Turkey is 84.3 million (as of July 2020). Approximately 70 to 80 percent of the country's citizens identify as Turkish while Kurds are the largest minority, at between 15 to 20 percent of the population. The official language is Turkish and it is spoken by around 85 percent of the population. Turkey is a secular state. In 1928 a constitutional amendment, Islam was removed as the official state religion. There are about 80 percent of the population are Sunni Muslim. A small population of Christian and Jews. Christian denominations are divided between Greek Orthodox, Armenian Orthodox, Roman Catholic and Protestant and others.
Best Time to Visit
The best time to visit Turkey is during spring and autumn time, between the months of April-May and September-October, as the weather is warm and pleasant. Trekking and exploring some archaeological sites are the best outdoor venture.
The months between June-August can be very humid and are considered high season. Island hopping and beaches are the must do activities.
If you want to tour Turkey on a budget, the low season is from November-March, the best places to visit during these times are the beautiful ski resorts.
When travelling to Turkey the way dress code depends where you are travelling and what are the activities you will be doing. During winter and colder months, it is best to wear warm clothing and bring with you some rain gears. On warmer or hotter months, light and casual clothing is more suitable.
Although Turkey is a Muslim country dressing up can be fairly liberal especially when visiting the big cities like Istanbul. Short dresses and shorts, bikinis, flip flops, and tank tops are all okay when visiting coastal areas, where the hot weather allows for plenty of exposed skin. When eating or going to a nice or upscale restaurant and bars, dress up smart casual or fashionably.
When visiting mosques and rural towns in Turkey, modest dressing (sleeved tops and knee length skirt or dresses) is an appropriate option.
In general, it’s a good idea to dress modestly at all times so you can move around comfortably.
Health & Safety
There is no mandatory vaccinations before travelling to Turkey.
Availing a travel insurance is recommended when travelling to Turkey, this is to ensure a carefree holiday when travelling. Make sure your insurance policy covers your trip cancellation/interruptions for any reason travel/baggage delay or loss of baggage and medical expenses.
Travelling to Turkey is generally safe, but safety precautions must be practice at all times. When visiting major tourist areas, like Istanbul and Ankara be aware of the risk of street robbery and pick-pocketing which is very common. Avoid travelling to destinations near the Syrian and Iraqi border due to the military action and the threat of terrorism.
The official currency in Turkey is Turkish Lira (TL/ ₺). Currently there are 5, 10, 20, 50, 100 and 200 lira banknotes and 1, 5, 10, 25 and 50 kurus coins (100 kurus make up one lira) and 1 lira coins.
ATMs are widely available and debit/credit card can be used in major cities and tourist areas such as Ankara, Istanbul, Marmaris, Antalya and Bodrum.
When in Turkey, tipping is discretionary but expected, mostly in hotels and restaurants. You may tip in dollars or Euro but tipping in Turkish lira is more appreciated.
For hotel it is customary to tip everyone who gives you service. For porters, 4-5 Lira per bag, for the concierge or reception it is appreciated to give more or less 20 Lira.
For restaurants or cafe, it is customary to tip between 5-10 percent of the bill, depending on the service given. If you dine in a luxury restaurant you may tip 10-15 percent. At times a service charge is already added to your bill. At bars, you should directly give tip to the bartender.
For taxi, it is not expected to tip the drivers. You may just round up your fare. When the driver helps you with your luggage tip will be appreciated but still not expected.
For Hamam or Turkish bath, you may give 10-20 percent tip from the bill.
For tours guides, they usually don’t work for tips, as it is already considered that you paid for their service. But they will still hope to receive a tip as a token of appreciation for their service. 15-20 Turkish Lira, if you feel they you have given an excellent service. If travelling as a group you may tip between 20-30 Turkish Lira per day and a little less for the driver.
Photographers will enjoy their visit in Turkey as this is offer a lot of possible to take beautiful images from its amazing natural landscapes and beaches and historical sites. There are some sites or museums that will not allow you to take photos so make sure to ask for permission first.
Do not take photos or video of military bases, buildings, vehicles, aircraft or soldiers on duty as these are punishable by law.
Wi-Fi access is common in Turkey and is usually free. All hotels, bars, restaurants and cafeterias have it and are free as well, though the connection and speed of internet may vary at some areas.
Travelling as a tourist in Turkey will have no problem with drinking alcohol as it is legal in the country. Alcohol is part of the Turkish culture and cuisine, but there is still a large population who do not consume alcohol for religious reasons. Alcohol can be bought in tourist areas and big cities like Ankara, Istanbul or Izmir. The legal age drinking is 18 years old and there is a strict selling time regulation of buying alcoholic beverages. You can no longer buy such drinks from 10 pm to 6 am, though it can still be sold in bars or hotels 24 hours a day.
Turkey has seven distinct geographic weather and climate region. But in general, Turkey has a Mediterranean climate with plenty of sunshine, mild temperatures and limited amount of rainfall.
The coastal areas around the Sea of Marmara, have a transitional climate between Mediterranean climate and a temperate oceanic climate with warm to hot, moderately dry summers and cool to cold, wet winters.
Aegean have a Mediterranean climate. Average temperature in winter in 7-8°C (45-47°F) and in summer 25-30°C (77-86°F). Snow is rare in this region.
Mediterranean has a similar characteristic to Aegean, but in a more intense form. Snow is very rare also in this region.
Central and East Anatolia has a semi-continental climate. The average temperature during winter is -2°C and 23°C in summer. Rain is low in this region and there’s more snow.
Black Sea Coast are the wettest region, with rain throughout the year and a maximum winter. Summer can be warmer with about 20°C (68°F).
Southeastern Anatolia is dry and hot during the summer and winter, during the month of January, are cold and can be freezing. July is on average 30°C (86°F).
Turkey operates on 220 volts, 50 Hz, with round-prong European-style plugs or type C, which fit into recessed wall sockets /points. Some hotels may provide adapters for their guests free of charge. Adaptors are available in airport shops and in most hardware stores.
-Sight-seeing tours are operated and led by a local guide and/or local drivers. These benefit the tourists as they get a more intimate knowledge of the attractions/sites, get to eat at best local restaurant and shop at local shops that offer high-quality products. On the other hand, it is also beneficial to the local community.
-We encourage clients to buy handmade artifacts from the local producers like Turkish carpets, clay pottery, local spices, gold jewelries, Nazar Boncugu or the Evil Eye and mosaic or gourd lamps.
-Limit the usage of plastic bottles when travelling to Turkey, you may bring your own insulated water bottle while going on a trip.
-Be respectful with local customs, if in case you travel the country during the period of Ramadan/Ramazan, do not eat, drink or smoke in public places during daylight hours and dress sensibly.