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  • Overview

    Turkey links Europe and the Middle East, a genuineamalgamation of west and east. Suspended between the modern and theancient, it burst with life. City boutiques and exotic bazaarsclamour for attention, while the weekly tolling of church bellsinterrupt the daily call of the muezzin. Roman ruins, earlyChristian histories, and the presence of the Ottoman Empire allenjoy significance in the country.

    The different regions of Turkey offer an assortmentof landscapes and activities. There's something for everybody, withenough cultural delights, urban treats, and beach comforts tosatisfy the pickiest of travellers.

    With one part in Europe and the other in Asia, thecity of Istanbul is a fascinating metropolis of frenziedmarketplaces, imperial residences, and climbing minarets. This isall set against a lively ambience of contemporary art and musicalentertainment.

    Out of the city, Cappadocia in Central Turkey offersan astounding landscape of eroded volcanic rock cones and fairychimneys, remarkable subterranean cities and rock-hewn houses thatmerge harmoniously with the ochre-coloured landscape.

    Further south, the Turquoise Coast is a haven forboat cruises. Here, visitors can enjoy a variety of water sports,sunbathe on golden sands, or explore the wonderful ancient citiesof Troy and Ephesus along the shores of the Aegean Sea.

    Most visitors concentrate on Western Turkey, with itspicturesque seaside resorts along the Aegean and Mediterraneancoasts, scenic and recreational attractions, well-preservedarchaeological sites, and fascinating museums that bring its richhistory to life. Wherever one ventures in Turkey there is certainto be a warm welcome and traditional hospitality, making this adeeply satisfying corner of the world in which to travel.

    Turkey is a varied destination with plenty to see anddo for adventurous travellers. The largest city of Istanbulfeatures some unique and world-class sights such as the Blue Mosqueand Topkapi Palace, not to mention the shopping paradise of theGrand Bazaar, the largest and oldest covered market in theworld.

    Further afield you can find the ancient attractionsof Ephesus, Troy, and Augustus' Temple. Turkey is a year-rounddestination although it's at its hottest during the peak summermonths of July and August. Getting around the country is a simplematter of hopping on a short-haul flight or scheduled bus service,while in Istanbul you can negotiate the services of a taxidriver.

    Hagia Sophia (Aya Sofya)

    The massive Hagia Sophia is one of Istanbul's most popularattractions, famous for its impressive size, remarkablearchitecture, and beautiful mosaics and frescoes. It wascommissioned as a cathedral in the 6th century and remained themost important church in Christianity for over 900 years. In the15th century Mehmet II conquered the city and converted it into amosque, adding the minarets and fountains. It functioned as suchfor the next 481 years until the founding of the secular TurkishRepublic in 1934 when it was declared a museum. Hagia Sophia is oneof the greatest Byzantine buildings in the world, and the vastinterior, with its huge, soaring dome, is extraordinary. Theinterior contains different features from its time as a cathedraland then as a mosque, including incredible Byzantine mosaics,icons, and marble columns, a mihrab (niche indicating the directionof Mecca), and Islamic calligraphy inscriptions on the dome fromthe Ottoman period.

    Address: Sultan Ahmet Mahallesi, Ayasofya Meydanı, Fatih/İstanbul,Turkey.
    Transport: Travellers should disembark at the Sultanahmet tramstop.
    Opening time: Open daily: 9am-7pm.
    Hagia Sophia Hagia Sophia Dennis Jarvis
    Blue Mosque (Sultan Ahmet Camii)

    Commonly known as the Blue Mosque, the Sultan AhmetCamii is one of the most striking structures on the Istanbulskyline. Constructed as an Islamic rival to the Hagia Sophia in1609, its tiers of magnificent domes and six graceful minarets areimmediately distinguishable. It is one of the finest examples ofOttoman architecture and is still used by hundreds of worshippers.The interior is splendidly decorated with thousands of blue andwhite Iznik tiles embellished with traditional Ottoman flowerpatterns, and it is this special feature that gives the mosque itsname. Its design of successively descending smaller domes, soaringcolumns, and 260 stained glass windows leaves a lasting impressionof graceful accord and open space. At the back of the mosque is aCarpet and Kilim Museum exhibiting antiques from all overTurkey.

    Address: Sultan Ahmet Mahallesi, Atmeydanı Cd. No:7,Fatih/İstanbul, Turkey.
    Transport: Disembark at the Sultanahmet tram stop.
    Opening time: Open daily, access restricted during prayer times,especially at midday on Fridays. The museum is open from Tuesday toSaturday between 9am and 4pm.
    Blue Mosque Blue Mosque Dennis Jarvis
    Topkapi Palace Museum

    Built by Mehmet the Conqueror as a sultan's palace,the Topkapi Sarayi consists of a collection of buildings arrangedaround several interconnecting courtyards. Situated on one of theseven hills of Istanbul with uninterrupted views over the BosphorusRiver and the Golden Horn, it was the seat of the Ottoman Empirefor almost four centuries. Home to nearly 3000 people, it served asa royal residence, harem, administration building, and militarybarracks. One of the most popular sections is the harem, once thequarters of about 300 women who were the sultans' wives andconcubines, and their children. Visitors can view the apartments,halls, and terraces of the harem, and see the lavish royalbedchamber and imperial hall. No expense was spared in decoratingthe palace and its exquisitely designed rooms, intricately detailedfountains, and splendid treasury housing one of the greatestcollections of treasure in the world. It affords insight into theopulent lifestyle of the sultans of the Ottoman Empire.

    Address: Topkapi Sarayi, Sultanahmet
    Opening time: Open daily except Tuesdays from9am-5pm
    Topkapi Palace Museum Topkapi Palace Museum L.C. Nottaasen
    Turkish and Islamic Art Museum

    The grand 16th century palace of the sultan's GrandVizier, Ibrahim Pasa, today houses the Turkish and Islamic ArtMuseum, containing what many consider to be the greatest collectionof Islamic artefacts in the world. The palace itself was the finestprivate residence ever built in the Ottoman Empire. From itssupreme position overlooking the Hippodrome, the sultan could enjoyexcellent views of the celebrations in the square below. The museumis well laid out and contains more than 40,000 examples of Selçuk,Mamluk, and Ottoman Turkish art, including ceramics, Koran cases,calligraphy, textiles, metalwork, and illuminated manuscripts. Itsantique carpet exhibit is renowned, with the carpets, kilims, andprayer rugs forming one of the richest and oldest collections inthe world.

    Address: Ibrahim Pasa Sarayi, Atmeydani 46, Hippodrome,Sultanahmet
    Transport: Sultanahmet tram stop
    Opening time: Open daily except Mondays from9.30am-5.30pm
    Turkish and Islamic Arts Museum Turkish and Islamic Arts Museum Patrick
    Grand Bazaar (Kapalicarsi)

    The oldest and biggest enclosed bazaar in the world,Kapalicarsi is one of the most enticing and mesmerizing attractionsin Istanbul. Also known as the Grand Bazaar, it consists of a vastlabyrinth of twisting streets crammed with more than 4,000 shops,teahouses, Turkish baths, mosques, storehouses, and fountains. It'sa fascinating experience to wander around the alleyways, looking atand bargaining for an array of goods and services. Here you canfind almost anything, from meerschaum pipes, carpets, jewellery,and Turkish delight, to textiles, spices, clothing, andhand-painted ceramics. Protracted bargaining over a cup of tea isan important institution. Built during the rule of Sultan Mehmetthe Conqueror in 1461, the bazaar grew by covering an increasinglylarge area of shops and streets with roofs, arches, and domes.Eventually it became the centre of trading during the OttomanEmpire. Caravans of silk traders traditionally stayed here andrested their camels while selling their merchandise, and many ofthese caravanserais still exist as storehouses today.

    Address: Kapali Çarsi, Beyazit to Eminönü Harbour.
    Transport: Tram to Beyazit, Üniversite or Sirkeci.
    Opening time: Open daily except Sundays from 8.30am to7pm.
    The Covered Bazaar The Covered Bazaar michael_swan

    Ephesus is the biggest and best-preserved ancientcity in Turkey and is one of the world's most spectacularhistorical sites. The city and its harbour were established on themouth of the Cayster River and, in the 2nd century BC, became themost important port and commercial trading centre in Anatolia.Alexander the Great ruled over it during the Hellenistic period andit was once capital of Roman Asia under Augustus in 133 BC. Ephesusdeclined during the Byzantine Era and by 527 AD it was deserted.Ephesus is also important as the early seat of Christianity,visited by Saint Paul, whose letters to the Ephesians are recordedin the New Testament. Guides are available and can offer a richinsight into the history and architecture of the ruins.Chariot-worn streets contain amphitheatres, murals, and mosaics, aswell as baths, fountains, and columns. Highlights include theenormous Library of Celsus, the Temple of Hadrian, and the GrandTheatre where Paul preached to the Ephesians. The city wasoriginally dedicated to the goddess Artemis and heronce-magnificent temple is considered one of the Seven Wonders ofthe Ancient World.

    Address: Efes Örenyeri, Selçuk/İzmir.
    Transport: Ephesus is a nine hour bus ride from Istanbul.Travellers should fly to Izmir Airport and take a shuttle from theairport to Selcuk - from there Ephesus is easilyaccessible.
    Opening time: Daily: 8am-6.30pm (in winter the site closes at5pm)
    Ephesus Library Ephesus Library Adrienne Bassett

    Calcium-rich mineral springs have surged over theedges of this mountain plateau edges for thousands of years,resulting in an intriguing natural masterpiece. Meaning 'CottonCastle', the rock formations of Pamukkale are a series of naturalshelves, ridges, and terraces turned white from the solidifiedchalky calcium deposits of the thermal waters. From a distance itappears to be a dazzling white fairytale castle, with a formationof tiers rising from the ground containing warm water pools. Thehot springs have been used since Roman times and are believed tocure certain ailments. Additionally, visitors should not miss thebubbling Sacred Pool of the Ancients, the main source of thesprings which created the white terraces. Fortunately, its mineralwaters are open for public bathing. Pamukkale is also the site ofthe ancient Roman spa-city of Hierapolis, and there are severalruins scattered about the area, including an impressive Romantheatre. It was considered a sacred site for its magic healingwaters and was the holiday destination of kings and emperors of thePergamum and Roman Empires.

    Transport: Pamukkale is a five-hour bus journey fromBodrum.
    Pamukkale Pamukkale josep salvia i bote
    Olympos and the Fires of the Chimaera

    The ancient site of Olympos dates back to Hellenistictimes when it was an important Lycian city, becoming famous as aplace for worship honouring Hephaestos, the God of Fire. Located ona beautiful sandy bay, the ruins are spread out on either side ofthe Ulupinar River and include a Byzantine bathhouse with mosaicfloors, a marble temple entrance, a theatre, and some excavatedtombs. The shoreline is also a major protected nesting site for seaturtles. On the rocky slopes above the ancient city are a series ofeternal flames issuing from cracks in the rock, caused by thecombustion of natural gas seeping out of the mountain. It ispossible to extinguish them briefly, but they will always reigniteand are most impressive in the dark when at their most visible. Thefire that comes out of the ground is said to be coming from themouth of the Chimera, a mythical fire-breathing monster with thehead of a lion, the body of a goat, and a snake's tail, who wasslain by the Lydian hero, Bellerophon, on his winged horsePegasus.

    Address: Çirali.
    Transport: The bus from Antalya to Olympos takes 1.5 hours. Inseason minibuses travel to Çirali: from here the eternal flames areless than a miles (1.5km) walk away.
    Ruins of Olympos Ruins of Olympos ekke
    Goreme Open-Air Museum

    The Goreme Open-Air Museum is the most visited of the monasticcommunities in Cappadocia and is one of the most famous sites incentral Turkey. It is a complex comprising more than 30 rock-hewnchurches and chapels which contain some superb frescoes, datingfrom the 9th to the 11th centuries. Inconspicuous from the outside,the interiors are characteristically Byzantine with a central domeand a floor plan in the shape of a cross.

    The three columned churches, the Elmali, Karanlik, and Cariklichurches are the best known, and are superbly painted. The largestand best preserved is the Tokali Church, its interior walls coveredin some of the richest frescoes in the region, depicting scenesfrom the New Testament.

    Address: Göreme Belediyesi/Nevşehir Merkez/Nevşehir,Turkey.
    Goreme Open Air Museum Goreme Open Air Museum Qudsiya
    Underground Cities of Cappadocia

    Cappadocia was overlooked by most as a dusty andbarren landscape, making it a perfect refuge for the Christians whoestablished the first communities here. They carved chambers,vaults, and labyrinthine tunnels into the soft volcanic rock foruse as churches, stables, and homes. Of the 40 undergroundsettlements, Derinkuyu and Kaymakli are the biggest and mostinteresting, inhabited by Christians fleeing persecution in the 7thcentury from Arab invasions. These cities were well-hiddencomplexes, a safe and self-sufficient environment that couldaccommodate up to 30,000 people. The most thoroughly excavated isDerinkuyu, consisting of eight floors with stables, a school roomand dining hall, churches, kitchens, living quarters, wine cellars,store rooms, and a dungeon. Original airshafts still function andthe maze of tunnels and rooms are well lit.

    Transport: The best way to see the cities is on a day tour or byrenting a car, but dolmuses (minibuses) go from Goreme to Nevsehir,and from there to the cities.
    Underground City in Cappadocia Underground City in Cappadocia Helen Cook
    Ancient Troy

    For about 3,000 years the legendary battle of Troy pervadedWestern culture. The story, told by Homer in the Iliad, wasregarded as just a myth, until the ruins of the city were found atHisarlik, in western Turkey, in the mid-19th century. Today theromantic story draws tourists and archaeologists alike to the site,where not a great deal remains to be seen beyond the ancient wallsand a replica of the famed Trojan horse which enabled the finalconquering of the city by the ancient Greeks. The setting is alsospectacular, offering views of the Dardanelles and the hills ofGallipoli.

    Address: 340 km (211 miles) west of Istanbul on the highway toIzmir.
    Transport: Troy is best accessed from the town of Çanakkale on thewestern bank of the Dardanelles. Çanakkale can be reached by busfrom Istanbul, and taxis are available for transport to the remainsof Troy.
    Trojan Horse Trojan Horse Chris

    The small town of Goreme is situated in the middle ofthe Valley of Fairy Chimneys, surrounded by the eerie shapes andfantastic rock formations that have made the region famous. It isone of the few remaining villages where fairy chimneys androck-hewn houses are still inhabited, and several restaurants andcafes are carved into the rock. Its biggest attraction is theGoreme Open-Air Museum with over 30 beautifully frescoed Byzantinerock churches. The town makes an excellent base from which toexplore the surrounding rock formations, villages, and vineyards.For shoppers, carpets and kilims are plentiful.

    Goreme Goreme Mr Hick 46

    A revered monument in the city accessed by a wideavenue lined with lion statues, Anitkabir is the mausoleum of thefounder of the Turkish Republic, Ataturk. It draws Turks from allover the country who come to pay their respects to their hero. Itis also a fascinating attraction for visitors to Ankara, its starkbut imposing colonnaded aspect giving onto a courtyard whichcontains a museum. The ceiling of the main hall is decorated withbeautiful gold leaf mosaics, and there are plenty of reliefs andstatues to be admired.

    Address: Mebusevleri Mh., Çankaya/Ankara, Turkey.
    Anitkabir Anitkabir Jean & Nathalie
    Museum of Anatolian Civilizations

    The museum which charts the history of Asia Minor ishoused in a lovely 15th-century restored building close to thecentre of Ankara. Originally a market and caravanserai close to thecentre of Ankara, it's the ideal place to visit for anyoneintending to travel through Turkey and delve into the past. It isfilled with fascinating collections of archaeological finds, frommonolithic statues to delicate jewellery, including some from CatalHuyuk, believed to be the earliest known human social community inthe world. From the Palaeolithic and Neolithic, and through all thegreat civilizations since, this museum is like a time machine forancient history buffs.

    Address: Kale Mh., Gözcü Sk. No:2, Ulus/Altındağ/Ankara,Turkey.
    Opening time: Daily from 8.30am to 4pm.
    Anatolian Museum of Civilization Anatolian Museum of Civilization J Brew
    Temple of Augustus

    The Roman Temple of Augustus was built by the Romans in the 2ndcentury AD, and contains the best-preserved copy of EmperorAugustus' last will and testament, inscribed on the vestibulewalls. After the death of Augustus in 14 AD, a copy of the text ofthe Res Gestae Divi Augusti was inscribed in Latin on both wallsinside the pronaos, with a Greek translation on an exterior wall ofthe cella. The inscriptions are the primary surviving source of thetext, since the original inscription on bronze pillars in front ofthe Mausoleum of Augustus in Rome has long been lost, and two othersurviving inscriptions of the text are incomplete. The templeitself is in ruins and not open to the public, but together withother Roman ruins in the vicinity (including the Roman baths andthe column of Julian) it is an exciting port of call for classicalhistory addicts.

    Address: Hacı Bayram Mahallesi, Altındağ/Ankara, Turkey.
    Opening time: Daily, 6am-11pm.
    Temple of Augustus Temple of Augustus Ori~
    Ethnographic Museum

    When the founder of the Turkish Republic, Ataturk, died in 1938,he was buried in the courtyard of the building which now houses theEthnographic Museum. Although he was moved to his final restingplace at the imposing Mausoleum in Ankara, the museum is still wellworth the visit. Guarded by an imposing bronze statue of thenational hero astride his horse, inside is contained a vastcollection of historical artefacts that include costumes, arts, andcrafts.

    Address: Talat Paşa Bulvarı,Türkocağı, Sokak, No:4 Opera, Sıhhiye,Ankara.
    Opening time: Daily except Monday 8:30am-12:30pm, and1:30pm-5:30pm
    Mustafa Kemal Ataturk Mustafa Kemal Ataturk Rateslines
    Natural History Museum

    Anyone with an interest in the natural world will enjoy Ankara'sNatural History Museum, which contains some fascinating exhibitsand dioramas detailing the (often extinct) wildlife of Anatolia, aswell as a large collection of fossils and minerals. Mostinteresting are the fossilized footprints of humans who walked theAnatolian steppes 25,000 years ago, and the skeleton of a Maraselephant which lived in the area 193 million years ago.

    Address: Eskişehir Yolu Balgat, Ankara.
    Opening time: Weekdays 9.30am-5.30pm.
    Purple Jade from Turkey Purple Jade from Turkey James St. John
    Sunken Palace

    Also known as the Underground Cistern or YerebatanSaray, this eerie cavern was built by Constantine the Great around532 AD and is supported by 336 columns below ground. Once as alocation for the James Bond film, , today the cavern sees touristscrossing over 2 acres of 12 inch deep water on wooden walkways,taking in the occasional art exhibit or intricate designs on thecolumns themselves. There is a pleasant little cafe above where theeyes can adjust over some tea.

    Address: Alemdar Mh., Yerebatan Cd. 1/3, Fatih/İstanbul,Turkey.
    Opening time: 9am-5.30pm daily.
    Underground Cistern Underground Cistern Brian Jeffery Beggerly
    Galata Tower

    The Galata Tower is a medieval stone tower in theGalata/Karakoy quarter of Istanbul, sitting north of the GoldenHorn inlet to the Bosphorus. Called Galata Kulesi in Turkish, itwas erected as a bastion for the walls of the 14th century colonyof Galata. One of the city's most striking landmarks, the highcone-capped cylinder dominates the skyline and offers panoramicvistas of Istanbul's historic peninsula and old town. Today it is asought-after conference venue, offering fine dining at itsrestaurant and belly dancing displays in its very own nightclub.

    Address: Bereketzade Mahallesi, Galata Kulesi, Beyoğlu/İstanbul,Turkey.
    Transport: Centrally located, the Galata Tower is within easy reachusing Istanbuls public transport systems.
    Opening time: 9am-8.30pm, Monday to Sunday.
    Galata Tower Galata Tower cristic
    Dolmabahce Palace

    The Dolmabahce Palace was home to six Sultans from1856, when it was first inhabited, up until the abolition of theCaliphate in 1924. The last royal to live here was CaliphAbdulmecid Efendi, before a law in 1924 transferred the ownershipof the palace to the national heritage of the new Turkish Republic.Mustafa Kemal Ataturk, the founder and first President of theRepublic of Turkey, used the palace as a presidential residenceduring the summers and enacted some of his most important workshere. Ataturk spent the last days of his medical treatment in thispalace, where he died in 1938. The palace has an ostentatiousinterior of crystal chandeliers, while the exterior of the palacehas a vast and beautiful garden.

    Address: Vişnezade Mahallesi, Dolmabahçe Cd., Beşiktaş/İstanbul,Turkey.
    Opening time: Tuesday, Wednesday 9am-4pm. Friday to Sunday,9am-4pm. Closed on Mondays and Thursdays.
    Dolmabahce Palace Dolmabahce Palace DavidConFran
    Istanbul Dolphinarium

    Kids on holiday in Istanbul will jump at a chance to visit thedolphinarium. Its six pools are home to a collection of dolphinsand seals, as well as white whales and walruses. Children will havethe opportunity of a lifetime to swim with the dolphins and learnabout sea life while they're there. The restaurant and cafe aregreat places for a snack or lunch break and there is also a giftstore to buy a souvenir for your visit.

    Address: Silahtaraga Mahallesi, Silahtarağa Caddesi No: 2/4,Eyüp/İstanbul, Turkey.
    Transport: Disembark at the Çeltik or Sakarya Mahallesi busstop.
    Opening time: Shows: Tuesday to Sunday, 1pm and 5pm; closedMondays.
    Playful dolphins Playful dolphins dmytrok
    Museum of the History of Science and Technology

    The Museum of the History of Science andTechnology is located in the Gulhane Park, one of the mostbeautiful areas of Istanbul. It extends over 3500 square metersalong the old palace wall, on the former stables of the Sultan'sHas Ahirlar. In front of the entrance, the visitor encounters alarge globe, which is a reconstruction of one of the most importantachievements of the Islamic scientific tradition. Decades ofintensive research in the history of Arabic-Islamic manuscriptswere necessary as a preparation for the creation of the wealth ofobjects in the museum. Visitors to the museum can obtain uniqueinsight into the Islamic scientific tradition by looking at thedetails of the exact replicas of the scientific and technicalachievements from the ninth through the seventeenth centuries.

    Address: Cankurtaran Mh., Taya Hatun Cd. 8a, Fatih/İstanbul,Turkey.
    Opening time: Daily from 9am-7pm.
    Scientific Kids Scientific Kids lorda

    The ancient Hippodrome of Constantinople was builtbetween 200 and 300 as a stadium for horse racing, chariot racing,and other amusements. Seating up to 100,000 people, there isn'tmuch remaining of the structure today. Now the site of theHippodrome in Istanbul is a beautiful public park with a fewremaining columns hinting at its grand past. The Obelisk ofTutmosis III, the Basilica Cistern, the Fountain of Wilhelm II, andthe Serpentine and Constantine Columns are popular landmarks withinthe park, which also offers free wireless internet.

    Address: Binbirdirek Mh., Sultan Ahmet Parkı No:2, Fatih/İstanbul,Turkey.
    Transport: Sultanahmet tram.
    Opening time: Open 24 hours a day, seven days aweek.
    Hippodrome Hippodrome Arch2all
    Mount Ararat

    In the far east of Turkey lies Mount Ararat, the twinpeaks of this dormant volcano boast the highest summit in thecountry and legend has it that the remains of Noah's Ark lie on thesnow-capped slopes. Many tours are available to climb or even skiMount Ararat, with solo climbing without a guide and permit notpermitted. The climb to the top is relatively easy and requires abasic level of fitness, but is suitable for non-professionalclimbers. For those not wishing to climb Mount Ararat, the localKurdish villages situated on the foot of the mountain can be agreat cultural experience while the nearby town of Dogubayazitprovides stunning views of the mountain and is home to the secondlargest meteor crater in the world. Noah's Ark National Park atMount Ararat is home to a museum dedicated to what is believed tobe the fossilised remains of the ark.

    Mount Ararat Mount Ararat Lockalbot

    Turkish Phrase Book

    Turkish English Pronounciation
    Merhaba Hello Mare-haba
    Gule gule Goodbye Goolie goolie
    Lutfen Please Loot-fen
    Tesekkurler Thank you Teshe-kur-la
    Evet Yes Evet
    Hayir No Higher
    Benim adim... My name is... Benim adem...
    Ne kadar? How much? Nay kadar?
    ...Nerede? Where is...? ...Ner-ede?
    Inglizche biliyor-musun? Do you speak English? In-glizche biliyor-musun?
    Anlam�yorum I don�t understand An-la-m�yo-rum
    Bir, iki, uc, dort, bes One, two, three, four, five Beer, iqui, ooch, dort, besh
    Ben Isteyorum bir doktor I need a doctor Ben is-tee-orum ber dok-tor

    The Aegean and Mediterranean coasts of Turkey have very hot anddry summers. Winters, between October and April, are mild and wet,and Turkey's coastal towns more or less shut down. Winter inIstanbul and Cappadocia can be very cold, sometimes with light snowcover.

    The peak tourist season is during high summer, roughly betweenJuly and September, and this is the ideal time for a beach holidayin Turkey. The spring and autumn months are also a good time to tovisit, with warm days, cool evenings, and no mosquitos. EasternTurkey should be visited during summer as roads and mountain passesmay close due to winter ice and snow.


    An aptly named restaurant, 360istanbul is situated on a rooftopterrace with beautiful views and a sleek concrete and glass design.The menu offers fusion cuisine featuring Turkish, Mediterranean,and Oriental ingredients. There's a variety of options, with dishesincluding lamb rack confit, saffron risotto, and a popular rocklobster arrabiatta. Open for lunch and dinner Monday to Friday, anddinner only on weekends. Reservations required.

    Address: Tomtom Mahallesi, Istiklal Cd No:8 D:163,Beyoğlu/Tepebaşı/Beyoğlu/İstanbul, Turkey

    Cezayir serves Turkish cuisine with an international influence.Indian spices are used in a Turkish samosa, and other menufavourites include the salmon carpaccio and the borek (grilledspinach and cheese pastry). With wicker chairs and pale yellowwalls, the mood in this restaurant is very calm and relaxed. Opendaily for breakfast, lunch, and dinner. Reservations essential.

    Address: Kuloğlu Mh., Hayriye Cd. No:12, Beyoğlu/İstanbul,Turkey

    Set in a 19th century mansion overlooking the Golden Horn,Asitane serves authentic Ottoman cuisine. Featuring Central Asian,Anatolian, Middle Eastern, and Balkan influences, some recipes spansome 500 years. Veal in apple sauce and cinnamon flavoured chickenkebabs are just two of the delicious menu options. Open daily forlunch and dinner, and brunch on Sundays. Reservationsrecommended.

    Address: Edirnekapı Mahallesi, Kariye Cami Sk. No:6,Fatih/İstanbul, Turkey.
    The House Cafe (Ortakoy)

    Boasting two terraces on the Ortakoy's waterfront, this trendyrestaurant's decor blends beautifully with its seaside location.While the menu features excellent seafood dishes, the pizza withpears, honey, and Roquefort is also sublime. Open daily,reservations required.

    Address: Yıldız Mh., Salhane Sk. No:1, Beşiktaş/İstanbul,Turkey.

    The Korfez lies nestled in a cove on the Asian side of theBosphorus Straight, with tables set on a deck right over the waterand a view of the bridge. Korfez is often purported to be the bestseafood restaurant in Istanbul. Start the meal with Turkishvegetable starters or from a selection of seafood appetisers. Fishmeals are salted lightly and grilled to perfection. The restaurantprovides a ferry for customers coming to dine there from theEuropean side of the straight. Open daily except Mondays.Reservations essential.

    Address: Anadolu Hisarı Mh., Körfez Cd. No:78, Beykoz/İstanbul,Turkey.
    Feriye Lokantasi

    The Feriye Lokantasi is a multi-purpose venue with its own bar,cafe, conference hall, and two separate seasonal venues for the onerestaurant. The best way to enjoy this facility is on the outdoorterrace on a balmy summer evening. The menu, like the venue, isflexible and based on what is seasonal, offering Turkish cuisinecooked in the Ottoman tradition. The menu offers delicious mealssuch as grilled turbot, with saffron and courgette balls, inraspberry puree. Open daily for lunch and dinner, reservationsrequired.

    Address: Yıldız Mh., Çırağan Cd. No:40, Beşiktaş/İstanbul,Turkey.

    Located on the top two floors of the 18 storey Marmara PeraHotel, this gourmet restaurant offers glorious 360 degree vistas ofthe lights of Old Town. Chef-owner Mehmet Gurs prepares Turkish andScandinavian meals such as sauteed scallops with vegetable risotto,and Ragu beef cheeks with porcini mushroom soup. An absolutefavourite is the lamb escargot for mains, followed by a tachio andtahini ice-cream dessert. Reservations are essential.

    Address: The Marmara Pera Meşrutiyet Caddesi 15, Beyoğlu, İstanbul,Turkey.
    Istanbul Airport
    Location: The airport is situated 25 miles (40km) northwest ofIstanbul.
    Time: GMT +3
    Transfer Between Terminals There is one large, modern terminal at the airport, consistingof seven entrances. Gates 1 and 2 serve domestic flights, while therest serve international flights.
    Getting to the city: While there are plans to connect the railway, shuttles arecurrently the only form of public transport serving the airport.Havaist and IETT offer shuttle services and tickets/smartcards canbe purchased at the airport. Taxis are also readily available.
    Car Rental: Car rental companies include Europcar, Comet, Enterprise,Garenta, Hertz, Budget, Avis, and Dokay.
    Airport Taxis: Istanbul Airport is northwest of Istanbul and it takes around 45minutes to an hour to reach the city centre by taxi. There arethree main taxis: yellow economy taxis, blue comfort taxis, andblack premium taxis.
    Fascilities: There are shops, banks, bureaux de change, prayer rooms, a largerange of food and beverage outlets, bars, a duty free, andpassenger lounges. There is also an airport hotel as well astourism information centres.
    Parking Istanbul Airport boasts one of the largest multi-storey carparksin the world, consisting of five blocks with low-cost to premiumoptions.
    Antalya International Airport
    Location: The airport is situated six miles (10km) fromAntalya.
    Time: GMT +2 (GMT +3 from the last Sunday in March tothe last Sunday in October).
    Getting to the city: Taxis are available from outside Arrivals for around TL 12 andthere is a bus service to Antalya from the Domestic andInternational terminals for TL 3.
    Car Rental: Car rental companies include Hertz, Avis, Europcar, andBudget.
    Fascilities: Bureaux de change and ATMs are available in Arrivals andDepartures. Cafes, a variety of take-away joints, and a pub offersnacks, meals, and drinks. Other facilities include duty-freeshopping, a business lounge, public telephones, baby carefacilities, medical facilities, travel agencies, and a post office.There are also good facilities available for those with specialneeds.
    Parking There are two parking lots near the terminals with long andshort-term parking options. Visitors can park at the DomesticTerminal free of charge up to 15 minutes.
    Izmir Adnan Menderes International Airport
    Location: The airport is located 11 miles (18km) fromIzmir.
    Time: GMT +2 (GMT +3 from the last Sunday in March tothe last Sunday in October).
    Getting to the city: The Havas airport shuttle bus to the centre of Izmir can becaught from the domestic terminal. Travel time is 50 minutes.Trains also service the airport and leave from the Internationalterminal to the Basmane train station in the city, but these areusually only in the afternoons. Taxis are also available for aroundTL 20-30.
    Car Rental: Car rental companies include Avis, Hertz, National, Europcar,and Sixt, as well as some local car hire companies.
    Fascilities: Foreign exchange can be found in both Arrivals and Departures.Shops are available, including duty free, and cafes, restaurants,and bars exist throughout the terminal building. Other facilitiesinclude public telephones, a post office, ATM, hairdresser, touristinformation, and hotel reservations. Facilities for those withspecial needs are good.
    Parking Parking at Izmir Adnan Menderes Airport is charged at TL 7.50for the first hour, TL 10.50 for up to three hours, and TL 25.50for 12-24 hours. Long-term parking rates are TL 55 for up to fourdays and TL 86 for a week.
    ATM Dalaman Airport
    Location: The airport is situated about four miles (6km) fromDalaman.
    Time: GMT +2 (GMT +3 from the last Sunday in March tothe last Sunday in October).
    Getting to the city: Taxis are available outside the terminal, and there are busservices to Dalaman via Marmaris and Fethiye, which leave from thedomestic terminal. Dalaman airport taxis connect passengers to theOtogar bus terminal.
    Car Rental: Avis, Hertz, and Europcar have rental companies at theairport.
    Fascilities: Banks and exchange bureaux are available. There is a variety ofduty-free shops in arrivals and departures, as well as a foodcourt, which offers a variety of takeaways, restaurants, and bars.Other facilities include places of worship, baby care rooms, a postoffice, internet access, and public telephones.
    Parking Parking fees at Dalaman Airport start at TL7.50 for the firsthour up to TL25 for 24 hours and TL142.50 for a month. There areadditional charges for minibuses, buses, and trucks. Short-termparking is within walking distance of the terminal.
    Esenboga International Airport
    Location: The airport is located northeast of Ankara, 17 miles(28km) from the city centre.
    Time: GMT +2 (GMT +3 from March toOctober).
    Getting to the city: The Havas bus service operates between the airport and a centralcity terminal, stopping at various points en route. The fare for aone-way journey is TL9.50. Metered taxis are also available, andvarious private companies run shuttles.
    Car Rental: Several car rental companies are represented at the airport,including Budget, Hertz, Europcar, Sixt, Thrifty, Avis, andAlamo.
    Fascilities: There are banks with exchange facilities in both arrivals anddepartures, three duty free shops, pubs, restaurants, cafes, andsnack kiosks. In addition there is a hairdresser, shoe-shine kiosk,a florist, and bookstores. Wifi is freely available and the airportis accessible for the disabled.
    Bodrum Airport (Milas-Bodrum Airport)
    Location: The airport is situated 22 miles (36km) northeast ofBodrum, and 10 miles (16km) south of Milas.
    Time: Local time is GMT +2 (GMT +3 from the last Sundayin March to the last Sunday in October).
    Transfer Between Terminals The new international terminal and the old terminal, now usedonly for domestic flights, are just over half a mile away from oneanother, a 15 minute walk across a field.
    Getting to the city: There is an airport shuttle bus which travels to and from Bodrumcity centre, stopping at various points en route. The trip to thecentral bus station in Bodrum costs about TL10. Havas coachesoperating from the domestic terminal are timed with TurkishAirlines flights to and from Istanbul. There are plenty of airporttaxis available and their rates are fixed and generally quitefair.
    Car Rental: Hertz, Avis, and Europcar have rental desks at the airport.
    Airport Taxis: There is a rate board at the terminals which shows current faresto 44 cities and towns in the region. The fare to Bodrum is aroundTL100 and roughly TL235 to Kusadasi, a 2-hour journey away.
    Fascilities: Parking, currency exchange, cafeteria, shops, car rental, taxiservice, ATM, and an information desk.
    Parking Ample short-term and long-term bays are available outside themain terminal.
    Sabiha Gökçen International Airport
    Location: The airport is 22 miles (35km) south-east ofIstanbul.
    Time: GMT +2 (GMT +3 from the last Sunday in March tothe last Sunday in October).
    Transfer Between Terminals Terminals are within one building.
    Getting to the city: Buses connect the airport to various parts of Istanbul. Ticketsare TL 1.65 and the journey into Istanbul takes between 30 and 45minutes. Shuttles to the historical centre of Istanbul run everyhalf hour between 5am and midnight. Tickets are TL 18 for the 40minute trip.
    Car Rental: Rental companies operating at the airport include NationalAlamo, Sixt, Payless, Central, Hertz, Europcar, Nord Travel,Budget, Avis, and Bostanci.
    Airport Taxis: Taxis can be found outside the arrivals section of the airport.Fares into Istanbul cost approximately TL 90, passengers have topay highway and bridge tolls as well.
    Fascilities: The airport has ATMs, shops, restaurants, a first aid centre,pharmacies, a prayer room, hair salon, shoeshine stand, and meetingfacilities. Currency exchange facilities and a post office are alsoavailable and there is a left-luggage desk.
    Parking Parking rates start at TL 8 for the first hour, TL 10 for 1-3hours, TL 16 for 3-6 hours, and TL 35 for the day. Long-termreduced rates are also available.

    The official currency is the Turkish Lira (TRY), which isdivided into 100 kurus. Currency can be exchanged at banks,exchange booths, post offices, airports, and ferry ports. Note thatbanks have the worst rates but will exchange lesser known foreigncurrencies. Banks open mainly Monday to Friday, but some are opendaily in tourist areas.

    ATMs are widely available in major cities and tourist areas, butTurkish ATM keypads usually do not have letters of the Englishalphabet on their keys. Major credit cards are widely accepted; themost popular are Visa or MasterCard, but American Express is alsoaccepted in some areas. Some hotels in the most populardestinations accept US dollars as payment.


    Turkish is the official language, but English is widelyunderstood in the main tourist areas.


    220 volts AC, 50Hz. The European two-pin plug isstandard.

    Entry Requirements:

    US passport holders must have a passport that is valid for sixmonths beyond date of entry. A visa is required.

    Passports should be valid for at least 6 months from the entrydate. British nationals need a visa to enter Turkey.

    Passports must be valid for at least 60 days beyond the durationof stay. Canadian nationals require visas to enter Turkey.

    Australian passport holders must have a valid visa. Passportsmust be valid for at least 60 days beyond the expiry date of theirvisa.

    South African passports must be valid for at least six monthsfrom the intended date of arrival. South African nationals requirea visa to enter Turkey.

    Irish nationals require a visa to enter Turkey. Passports mustbe valid for at least six months longer than the expiry date on therequested visa.

    US passport holders must have a passport that is valid for sixmonths beyond date of entry. A visa is required.

    New Zealand nationals require a visa to enter Turkey.Passports must be valid for at least six months longer than theexpiry date on the requested visa. Visas are required for stayslonger than 90 days.

    Passport/Visa Note:Visa:

    All passports must be valid for at least the period of stay. Alltravellers to Turkey are required to hold return or onward tickets,documents for the next destination and sufficient funds for theperiod of their stay. It is highly recommended that passports haveat least six months validity remaining after your intended date ofdeparture from your travel destination. Immigration officials oftenapply different rules to those stated by travel agents and officialsources.

    Travel Health:

    There are no vaccination requirements for travelling to Turkey.Mosquitoes can be an irritation in mid-summer but malaria is notconsidered a risk in the main tourist areas of the west andsouth-west. Most tap water in the larger towns and cities has beenchlorinated, but bottled water is still recommended fordrinking.

    Food from street vendors should be treated with caution unlessit is obviously fresh or hot. The standard of healthcare is nothigh in state hospitals but the private health sector iswell-regarded and modern facilities exist in private hospitals inAnkara and Istanbul. Travel insurance is recommended.


    Tipping is a way of life in Turkey and it is customary to givesome small change for most services, or a small percent of thebill. In bigger hotels and restaurants if a service charge is notadded to the bill, it is customary to tip between 10 and 15percent. For taxi fares it is enough to round up the bill.Attendants at Turkish baths expect to share between 10 to 20percent of the total bill if service has been good.

    Safety Information:

    As in many Western countries, there is a threat from terrorismin Turkey and there have been a number of incidents, includingexplosions in Istanbul, the capital Ankara, and in the coastaltourist resorts. The Istanbul Ataturk International Airport hasbeen the most recent target. There are also continuing incidents oflocal terrorism in eastern Turkey, particularly the southeast.

    Visitors should avoid any public demonstrations. Street crime isrelatively low although visitors should guard their valuables atall times. Many parts of Turkey lie on a major seismic fault lineand are subject to earthquakes and tremors: several fairly recentearthquakes have shaken eastern Turkey, the southwest, andsoutheast.

    Local Customs:

    While it is difficult to make sweeping statements about acountry that runs from Armenia to Greece, the Turkish people aregenerally welcoming and hospitable. Most visitors will stay inmodern Istanbul or in one of the popular holiday resorts wherelocals are likely to be fairly open-minded; however, touristsshould respect religious customs, particularly during the month ofRamadan. Dress modestly when visiting mosques or religious shrines.There is a smoking ban on all forms of public transport and inoutdoor venues.


    In Turkey, business associates are addressed by their firstnames. If the associate is male, then his name is followed by'bey', and 'hanim' is used for females. A formal, conservativedress code is observed in Turkey, and women should be careful todress particularly conservatively. Gifts are common and are usuallysomething the associate would use in business such as a pen orother office stationary. Business hours throughout Turkey aregenerally 9am to 5pm Monday to Friday with an hour taken overlunch.


    The international country dialling code for Turkey is +90.Mobile phone coverage is good with networks covering most of thecountry. Internet cafes are available in the main towns andresorts, and wifi is increasingly easily available.

    Duty Free:

    Travellers to Turkey do not have to pay duty on the followingitems: 200 cigarettes, or 50 cigars, or 200g tobacco. Alcoholallowance includes 1 litre or 700ml bottle of wine or spirits.Other allowances include 5 bottles of perfume up to 120ml each;gifts to the value of TRY 500, tea and coffee for personalconsumption, jewellery and guns for sporting purposes. Taperecorders, record players and transistor radios have to be declaredon arrival. Restricted items include playing cards, which arelimited to one pack.

    Useful Contacts:

    Turkish Tourist Office: +90 212 573 4136 (Istanbul)

    Turkey Embassies:

    Turkish Embassy, Washington DC, United States: +1 202 6126700.

    Turkish Consulate, London, United Kingdom: +44 20 7391 6900.

    Turkish Embassy, Ottawa, Canada: +1 613 789 4044.

    Turkish Embassy, Pretoria, South Africa: +27 12 342 6055.

    Turkish Embassy, Canberra, Australia: +61 2 6234 0000.

    Turkish Embassy, Dublin, Ireland: +353 1 668 5240.

    Turkish Embassy, Wellington, New Zealand: +64 4 472 1290.

    Foreign Embassies in Turkey :

    United States Consulate General, Istanbul: +90 212 335 9000.

    British Embassy, Ankara: +90 312 455 3344.

    Canadian Embassy, Ankara: +90 312 409 2700.

    South African Embassy, Ankara: +90 312 405 6861.

    Australian Embassy, Ankara: +90 312 459 9500.

    Irish Embassy, Ankara: +90 312 459 1000.

    New Zealand Embassy, Ankara: +90 312 446 3333.

    Turkey Emergency Numbers : 112 (Medical Emergency), 155 (Police).