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Dicas para planear uma viagem à Turquia Aspendos

30 things to know about Turkey to help you plan your trip

30 things to know about Turkey to help you plan your trip

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Turkey is an incredible and diverse country. It’s a destination for every type of traveller due to its amazing beaches, beautiful cities and natural gems. Given the diversity and size of the country, there are some things to know about Turkey before planning a trip there to get the most out of it.

Things to know about Turkey Cappadocia

Looking at the map of Turkey, one can quickly be overwhelmed with what to visit: ttiphere are many choices and, as a general rule, the time available for a trip to Turkey is not that long. Do you kntips ow the best time to visit each region of Turkey? Do you know if it’s safe to visit every part of the country? How to travel between cities? Is it cheap to travel in Turkey? There are a lot of things to know about Turkey, especially for those visiting Turkey for the first time!

Things to know about Turkey Istanbul

These are all very valid questions and, throughout this post, my main aim is to answer many questions that will provide more insights about how to plan a trip to Turkey. So keep reading to discover all the tips for travelling to Turkey.

01 | Turkey is a huge country

Turkey is huge and covers 783,000 square metres. So, unless you have unlimited days to see all of Turkey’s main attractions, you’ll probably focus on one area of Turkey and come back later to see other regions.

When I visited Turkey, I spent 12 days in the country and managed to visit many different places, including some of the best-known places in Turkey, such as Cappadocia, Istanbul and the Turkish Riviera. In 12-15 days you can visit some of the most iconic places in the country. Most travellers end up doing an itinerary similar to mine, more focused on the western part of Turkey.

A trip to Turkey can be anything you want it to be, depending on various factors such as the time you have available, the time of year you’re visiting, and the type of sightseeing you like to do, among others.

If you have 10 to 15 days for your trip to Turkey, I suggest you have a look at my detailed Turkey travel guide. There you’ll find the itinerary I did in 12 days, but also other suggestions for other trip lengths. This Turkey itinerary is more focused on the most popular areas in the country.

02 | There are incredible places in the country besides Istanbul and Cappadocia

When someone mentions Turkey, probably the first two places people think of are Istanbul and Cappadocia. I know that many tourists end up focusing on these two places for lack of time.

However, if you have more time on your hands, my recommendation is that you extend your trip to Turkey to include other interesting places. These are some of my recommendations:

  • Ephesus
  • Şirince
  • Pamukkale and Hierapolis
  • Fethiye
  • Saklikent National Park
  • Kaş
Things to know about Turkey Aspendos

03 | Inflation in Turkey is very high

It’s impossible to write about tips for travelling in Turkey and not mention the inflation that has taken place in recent years in the country. The Turkish currency is the Turkish lira (TRY) and it has suffered historic levels of inflation.

Turquia Qual a moeda

On the one hand, this could be good news for tourists with other currencies, as the other currencies will have higher value. On the other hand, to keep up with inflation, most places in Turkey have significantly increased their prices.

So one of the things you really need to know before you go to Turkey is that the prices you see online for a restaurant, activity, etc. are likely to have risen quite a lot in the meantime. When I visited, this was especially noticeable in restaurants where the online menus from 3/4 months ago already had higher prices.

04 | Is Turkey cheap? It depends!

My perception before travelling to Turkey was that the country was quite cheap. And, truth be told, it is cheap compared to most countries in Europe and many countries around the world.

However, with inflation in the country and subsequent price rises, Turkey has become more expensive. For example, on the trip I took in October 2023, I spent an average of 25€/night on accommodation per day and 12.6€/meal per person.

Accommodation, for example, I found to be good value for money. Meals, however, were where I was most surprised by the prices. I must warn you, of course, that these meal prices are mostly in restaurants that are considered to have “normal” prices. You can always find cheaper options, it all depends on your travelling style.

The truth is that, after seeing some feedback online, I went with the expectation that I would almost always be able to have meals for 5€-6€ and it didn’t turn out to be that easy to stick to that budget.

05 | Paying with a card is easier than you think

I expected to have some difficulty paying by card, especially in less urban areas. However, I was pleasantly surprised to discover that most places accept cards as a form of payment. For example, even in the car parks in Cappadocia where the parking fee was less than 1€, they accepted card payments several times.

Things to know about Turkey Istanbul
Blue Mosque in Istanbul

For card payments, I used the Revolut card, which has several advantages. One of the biggest advantages of using a Revolut card when travelling is that it doesn’t charge fees for transactions in different currencies.

If you still don’t know all the advantages of having a Revolut card, you can find out more here.

Even so, I recommend withdrawing some cash and always having Turkish liras available, as in some places they may only accept cash. I’d also like to point out that this was the reality I found in the most touristy parts of the country (e.g. Cappadocia, the Turkish Riviera and Istanbul), and I have no idea what it’s like in more remote areas of Turkey.

06 | Some countries require a visa to enter Turkey

The rules for entering Turkey depend very much on the visitor’s country of origin. I therefore strongly recommend that you check the conditions of entry to Turkey on the official website of the Turkish Ministry of Foreign Affairs. Most visas can be obtained online and are valid for 90 days.

In my case, as a Portuguese citizen, I only needed a valid passport to enter Turkey (ideally with 6 months validity from the date of arrival in the country). As you don’t need a visa, you can stay for a maximum of 90 days every 6 months.

07 | Turkish food is delicious

After researching Turkish cuisine, I had a (rather large!) list of delicacies that I wanted to try on my trip to Turkey. Most travellers praised Turkish food highly, so I was very curious to try it.

And the truth is that Turkish food didn’t disappoint at all. I travelled around the country for 12 days and I think it was the trip I’ve been on so far in which I’ve eaten local food the most times in a row, because it was extremely tasty, without being spicy, for example.

I liked Turkish gastronomy so much that I wrote a blog post with 22 Turkish foods and drinks you can’t miss! SPOILER ALERT: don’t miss Pide (a kind of pizza, but in a different format), Testi kebab (a meat-based dish cooked in a clay pot), Lahmacun (a kind of very thin, spicier pizza) and Künefe (string pastry with a cheese filling) for dessert 🤤.

08 | You’ll find cats everywhere

This is no longer a piece of advice, but a curiosity that I found very funny during my visit to Turkey. The country is full of cats! I’d say it’s a real challenge to spend a day in Turkey without seeing a cat. You meet them on the beach, in metro stations, in restaurants, in hotels, on the street and the list could go on and on.

If you’re like me, get ready to come home with dozens (if not hundreds 😆) of pictures of cats. Most of them are very used to people, so they don’t run away when you approach them.

09 | Is it safe to visit Turkey?

Turkey is not always perceived as a safe country. There have already been a few attacks in Istanbul or Ankara, for example. However, I must remind you that, unfortunately, this is a reality not far removed from some of Europe’s major cities, such as London or Paris, which have also been the target of several attacks.

Despite all this, I felt safe travelling in Turkey. The place where I felt the least comfortable was İzmir and some parts of Istanbul where I found myself in more “dodgy” looking places. However, I think it was more a question of perspective than anything else. I always take some time to get used to new places and environments and this was one of those cases.

I must warn you that this safety advice is limited to “western” Turkey, where the most touristy spots are located and there is more police on the street.

However, authorities don’t recommend visiting areas located near the borders of countries such as Syria, Iraq or Iran. In any case, I’d like to remind you that I haven’t visited this part of the country, so I can’t speak from personal experience and I’m just referring to some comments I’ve read online.

In terms of muggings and pickpocketing, I think you should be as careful as usual, especially in busy cities like Istanbul. This is Turkey’s most populous city and you quickly find yourself in crowded places, so you need to be careful to avoid unnecessary robberies.

Things to see in Istanbul in 3 days Galata Tower
View from Galata Tower in Istanbul

Among all the things to know before going to Turkey, you should also take into account the possibility of an earthquake. It is one of the countries with the highest probability of earthquakes and you only have to do a little research into the history of seismology in the country to realise that this is an event that happens more often than we expect (at least I was surprised!).

That said, you should definitely still visit Turkey. Be aware of what to do in the event of an earthquake. This advice can be crucial when travelling to Turkey and beyond. After all, this knowledge can be valuable anywhere in the world 😉.

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TRAVEL insurance with -5% discount

10 | It’s not always warm in Turkey

I think that when people talk about Turkey, they think of warm weather. However, it’s not always hot in Turkey. In fact, Turkey is a huge country with a wide variety of weather conditions, which vary from one to another and also throughout the year.

Although it’s possible to visit Turkey at any time of year, choosing the best time to visit depends on the type of trip you’re planning. For example, if you aim to go to the beach on the south coast of Turkey, I strongly suggest that you look for the months with the most pleasant temperatures. Although it is possible to go to the beach outside the summer months (e.g. April or October), in some months it really is too cold to enjoy the beach.

On the other hand, if you’re also planning to visit the Cappadocia region or even Istanbul, I would warn you that the snowfall in winter can affect your visit a bit.

So, I’d say that the best months to visit Turkey are probably April to October. I would just warn you that in July and August, it can even be too hot, especially in the southern regions (e.g. Antalya), making it a bit unpleasant to visit some parts of the country at this time of year.

My trip to Turkey took place in the first two weeks of October, which I consider to be an ideal time to visit Turkey. Just to give you an idea, I managed to do some beach time on the Turkish Riviera, found mild temperatures in Cappadocia during the day (and cold nights) and reasonable temperatures in Istanbul.

11 | Save some room for souvenirs and don’t forget to bargain

Turkey has a lot of local shops, with some nice things made by local artisans. If you like this kind of products, then you’d better be mentally prepared to control your shopping. You’ll find jewellery, lamps, rugs, towels, … And the prices are often very attractive.

One of the most popular places for shopping is the Grand Bazaar in Istanbul. This covered market has more than 60 streets and 4000 shops. It’s a real maze! In fact, it’s one of the oldest and largest covered markets in the world. To visit Istanbul’s Grand Bazaar, you have to be willing to get lost looking at the thousands of shop windows.

However, I recommend that you always haggle over the initial prices you are quoted in the markets. Generally, sellers will try to push the price up for tourists, but it is possible to find a price that suits both parties. Note: don’t be too demanding when bargaining. Don’t forget that this is a business and often the seller’s only source of income.

12 | Some websites are banned in Turkey

I know it may seem like a strange thing to know about Turkey, but it’s not. The truth is that some websites many people use almost daily don’t work in Turkey and some of them can have an impact on a trip there:

  • – this is undoubtedly the site you’ll need most on a trip to Turkey, especially if you’re the kind of traveller who only books accommodation while on the trip. However, you can book your accommodation through Booking as long as you do so before you arrive in the country (this is exactly what I did).
  • Paypal
  • Wikipedia

13 | Use Museum Pass to save some money

Many of the attractions in Turkey are paid for (and some are quite expensive!). Depending on the places you want to visit in the country, it might make sense to buy the Turkey Museum Pass.

This card costs 4000 TRY (~118€) and can be purchased at the first place you visit in Turkey where they accept this card. It is valid for 15 days after first use. The Museum Pass Türkiye includes free entry to some of the best tourist attractions in Turkey, such as the Galata Tower in Istanbul or the Göreme Open Air Museum in Cappadocia, for example.

Museum Pass Turkey

In my case, I can confirm that buying this card saved me a few euros (note: in October, the card was slightly cheaper and cost 3500 TRY). However, the decision of whether the Türkiye Museum Pass is worth it depends a lot on what you want to visit. So I suggest you add up the cost of all the tickets to see if it’s worth it in your case. In my case, I ended up saving around 50€.

💡 EXTRA TIP: There are alternative (and cheaper!) versions of this card for more specific sites (e.g. Cappadocia, Istanbul). Depending on the route you choose, it may make sense to choose another of the passes available.

14 | What to wear as a woman travelling in Turkey

Another thing to know before visiting Turkey is that you’ll see a bit of everything on your trip there when it comes to clothing: women with only their eyes visible, and women in tops and shorts, for example.

As a woman travelling through the westernmost part of Turkey (i.e. the Turkish Riviera, Istanbul and Cappadocia), I felt quite comfortable in the clothes I wore. As it was hot, I often wore shorts/skirts and T-shirts/tops. However, not all regions in Turkey are the same. Some areas are more conservative than others (e.g. Konya) and, as such, I think it’s always best to try to adapt your clothes to the region you’re in to avoid unwanted attention.

For example, in my case, of all the places I visited in Turkey, it was in Istanbul that I found the most conservatively dressed women. However, as the city is very touristy, you can see a bit of everything and I think the Turks are used to that. In any case, I think it’s important to adapt to each situation! Especially as it’s probably in Istanbul that you’ll visit the most mosques, so it’s best to go with more appropriate clothing in this particular city.

Things to know about Turkey Istanbul
Hagia Sofia in Istanbul

15 | Learn about the rules for entering mosques

As Turkey is a Muslim-majority country, you will probably visit many mosques. So, do some homework and learn the main rules for entering mosques:

  • Women should enter with their heads, legs and shoulders covered. I suggest always carrying a scarf for your hair. In some of the mosques, they do lend scarves.
  • Men should also enter with their shoulders and legs covered.
  • You can enter the inner courtyards of mosques with shoes on, but you must take your shoes off before entering the mosque itself. If you plan to wear sandals, I recommend carrying a pair of socks and putting them on when you enter the mosque.
  • Some mosques have their shoe storage area, otherwise, you can leave your shoes with the rest of the footwear you’ll see at the entrance.

In addition, I must warn you that it is only possible to visit most mosques outside of prayer times, so I suggest that you check these times before your visit.

16 | Best way of getting around Turkey

If you only have a few days to visit Turkey, then I recommend that you rent a car or travel by plane between the main locations, as there are several airports throughout the country.

In my case, I started my road trip through Turkey in Izmir and finished in Istanbul, using a car between Izmir and Cappadocia and then flying to Istanbul. Flights are often relatively cheap and are therefore an excellent option. For example, my flight between Cappadocia and Istanbul cost just 28€ on Turkish Airlines.

No doubt having a car gives you more freedom to define your route around Turkey and also gives you the chance to visit more unusual places. What’s more, most of the roads in Turkey are in excellent condition and are very easy to drive on.

However, there is also the option of using trains and buses (some night buses) to travel around the country. This is a cheaper option, but more time-consuming and uncomfortable. I suggest using Rome2Rio to find out more about the best way to get to a particular place in Turkey.

17 | Driving in Turkey is easy (with exceptions)

Turks are quite daring when it comes to driving and are very careless with traffic rules. What’s more, traffic can be chaotic in larger cities, especially in Istanbul. However, there is no need to drive in this particular city, so you should be fine.

Outside the cities, driving is relatively simple and even pleasant (e.g. roads along the coast on the Turkish Riviera). The roads are in good condition and are well-marked. So even if you’re not the most experienced of drivers, as long as you stay away from the big cities, driving in Turkey should be a smooth experience.

18 | It’s a must to try a Turkish breakfast

Breakfast is one of the most popular meals for Turks and, in fact, Turkish breakfast (known as kahvalti) is a whole experience.

A typical kahvalti includes various foods, but the most popular are olives, sauces, scrambled eggs, tomatoes, bread, jam, honey, cured meat, cucumber and cheese. Kahvalti is usually accompanied by Turkish tea.

19 | Don’t underestimate the size of Istanbul

Istanbul is a huge city! You can spend days on end there without getting bored. After all, it’s a city with thousands of years of history and one of the richest in terms of history in the world. While most travellers dedicate one to two days to visiting Turkey’s best-known city, I suggest dedicating a little more time to it.

It’s a city full of life and, in addition to all the incredible places it has to offer, it’s worth taking a stroll without much of a destination in mind, exploring its streets.

What’s more, given the size of Istanbul, it can often take a while to get from one place to another. Always allow some time for travelling between places!

💡 EXTRA TIP: Find out what to see in Istanbul and several tips for planning a visit to this city in my 3-day itinerary in Istanbul.

20 | Use public transport, especially in Istanbul

Istanbul is as beautiful as it is chaotic. And that’s why renting a car in Istanbul would be a bad idea. There is a lot of traffic in Istanbul, which sometimes makes travelling between A and B in the city an absolute nightmare.

So whenever you get the chance, I suggest walking around the city or using public transport, especially the metro, as buses are also often late due to traffic.

To use public transport in Istanbul, you can buy İstanbulkart – a rechargeable card with money to use on the city’s public transport. Journeys are very cheap and top-ups have to be made in cash.

21 | There’s more to Cappadocia than hot air ballooning

Cappadocia has gained enormous popularity in recent years, largely due to the hot air balloon rides that are so popular on social media. Is it true that this is a memorable experience? Yes, it is! And you can read all about my hot air balloon experience in Cappadocia.

Things you should know about Cappadocia Red valley
Red Valley in Cappadocia

Nevertheless, there is much more to visit in the region. As well as unbelievable viewpoints over the special rock formations, there are several trails to explore the region’s valleys, hidden underground cities, pottery classes and much more.

My recommendation is that you set aside at least 2 days in your Turkey itinerary to visit Cappadocia. The region has a lot to offer and this is the minimum amount of time recommended for first-time visitors. I suggest you also read my other post with a complete 2-day itinerary in Cappadocia.

22 | It’s impossible to visit Cappadocia on a day trip

Given the long distance from Cappadocia to the most visited places in Turkey (such as Istanbul, for example), it is impossible to visit Cappadocia in one day (including the return journey).

Things to know about Turkey Cappadocia
Sunrise in Cappadocia

Even if you’re planning to leave from one of the nearest cities (e.g. Konya), travelling back and forth on the same day doesn’t make much sense, as it would only allow you to spend a few hours in Cappadocia. This would be totally unfair given that the region has so many incredible things to visit.

What’s more, it would also mean missing out on one of Cappadocia’s best shows – watching hundreds of hot air balloons in the sky at sunrise.

23 | Book the hot air balloon ride in advance

Given the popularity of hot air balloon rides in Cappadocia, one of the best recommendations I can give is to book the hot air balloon flight as soon as you’re sure you’re going to visit Cappadocia.

Although there are hundreds of balloons in the air every day, there is a limited number of balloons in the air and, especially in high season, this activity can be very popular. I booked my experience with Royal Balloon, which is one of the best hot air balloon companies in Cappadocia.

💡 EXTRA TIP:  If you’d like to know more about hot air ballooning in Cappadocia, I suggest you read all about my hot air balloon experience.

24 | Hot air balloons don’t always take off

To ensure safety, the balloons only take off if authorized by the Turkish Civil Aviation Authority. Therefore, if the weather conditions are not favourable, the balloons will not take off. This is one of the most important things to know before visiting Cappadocia to avoid disappointment and make sure you manage your expectations.

Things to know about Turkey Cappadocia
Hot air balloon ride

The weather is a completely unpredictable factor. However, the good news is that there are around 260 days a year when balloons are authorized to fly 🥰.

25 | Cappadocia is extremely touristy, but worth it

Cappadocia is one of the most visited places in Turkey and is on many people’s bucket lists. So, it’s no surprise that Cappadocia has taken advantage of this and is now a very tourist-orientated place.

Although there is a low season and a high season, it’s hard to find this Turkish region without tourists. The good thing is that you only have to travel a bit outside the most popular places (e.g. taking one of the trails in the valleys) and you’ll find fewer people, as most tourists tend to stay in the most easily accessible places.

26 | The Turkish Riviera is extremely touristy, but it’s worth it

Many people travel to the coastal area in the south of Turkey (commonly known as the Turkish Riviera) in search of sun, warm temperatures and the beach. And this is undoubtedly an excellent destination for beach holidays in Turkey!

Things to know about Turkey Markets Turkish Riviera
Blue Lagoon

However, try not to limit yourself to just visiting this part of Turkey, and especially don’t stick to a resort by the beach during all of your stay. There is so much more to see in the country and, even if you don’t leave the Turkish Riviera, there are a few places in the region that are worth seeing. I suggest, for example, taking a trip to these places:

  • Ephesus
  • Saklikent National Park
  • Abandoned village of Kayaköy
  • Kaş historical centre
  • Aspendos

What’s more, many of these resorts try to “westernise” the experience for tourists. So, what people experience in the resort may not correspond to the reality in the rest of the country.

27 | Tea is a huge part of Turkish culture

Turkish tea is another of the most popular drinks in Turkey. Tea plays a very important role in Turkish culture and one of the cutest parts of Turkish tea is the glass in which it is served – a kind of tulip-shaped glass.

And if you’re offered tea, don’t turn it down, as it might seem rude to do so.

Popular dishes in Turkey Turkish Tea
Turkish tea

28 | Beware of scams, especially in Istanbul

Unfortunately, there are more than a few scams in Turkey, especially in Istanbul. One of the most popular involves a person dropping something on the ground, the tourist picking it up and then the person who dropped it trying to sell something.

This is just one example of many! I recommend that before you visit the country, you read more about possible scams in Turkey so that you’re prepared 😉.

29 | Prepare for the toilets

It’s very common to find bathrooms in Turkey where the toilet is just a “hole in the ground”. However, most accommodations have a toilet just like the ones we’re used to in Europe/USA.

Although it’s not the ideal solution (especially for those who aren’t used to it), it’s not the end of the world and often there’s even a “normal version” toilet in the bathroom next door 😄.

30 | Research the country’s history and discover Mustafa Ataturk

Turkey has a very rich and diverse history. And you only have to spend one or two days in the country to wonder who is the man you often see in statues, flags, etc. is. Most likely, it’s Mustafa Ataturk.

This man is one of Turkey’s most important symbols. He is the founder of the Republic of Turkey and the country’s first president after the fall of the Ottoman Empire. I don’t think there’s been a day when I haven’t seen Mustafa Ataturk’s face printed on a piece of fabric or a statue.

Dicas para planear uma viagem à Turquia Hierapolis

I hope you find this advice for travelling to Turkey useful 😄. To complete your reading and better prepare for your trip, I’d like to remind you of the articles about Turkey available on the blog:

Disclaimer: this post may contain some affiliate links, which means I get a small commission if you buy something through my links. This doesn’t represent any additional cost to you and you’ll be supporting my work here on the blog😊

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about me

A Ticket To Take Off About Me

I am Mariana from Porto, Portugal. I am truly passionate about traveling and all things travel related. And that’s exactly what led me to create this page: so I can inspire others to travel and help plan all those trips with my tips and itineraries.





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