Turkey Tours & Holidays
Overflowing with Mediterranean energy and Middle Eastern hospitality, Turkey feels like a continent unto itself.
With Greco-Roman ruins, sun-drenched Turquoise Coast, tiny hillside villages, delicately decorated minarets, and the world’s most spectacular historic mosques – Turkey is impossible to pigeonhole. If you know where to look among the shifting mountain backdrops, you’ll find one-of-a-kind sights and experiences that set up camp in your heart. Break bread (and the fast) with new friends during Ramazan in the courtyard of the 17th century Blue Mosque. Explore the hand-forged cave churches of Cappadocia in a landscape of towering wind-carved fairy chimneys. Sink your teeth into a gozleme filled with vegies you pulled from the dirt yourself. Discover Turkey with a local who is passionate about the land they call home.
Our Turkey trips
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Turkey at a glance
Ankara (5.6 million)
(GMT+02:00) Athens, Bucharest, Istanbul
Type C (European 2-pin) Type F (German 2-pin, side clip earth)
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Culture and customs
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Turkey travel highlights
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Turkey travel FAQs
Trips from 1 January 2023 onwards
From 1 January 2023, Intrepid will no longer require travellers to provide proof of vaccination against COVID-19 (excluding all Polar trips and select adventure cruises).
However, we continue to strongly recommend that all Intrepid travellers and leaders get vaccinated to protect themselves and others.
You may need a visa to enter Turkey depending on where you’re from. Foreign nationals from several countries will need an e-visa that allows stays of up to 90 days within a 180-day period, including:
- South Africa
Travellers from many countries – including New Zealand, the United Kingdom, Denmark, Finland, France, Germany, Japan, Norway, Sweden and Switzerland – don’t require a visa for stays of less than three months if the trip is for tourism or business purposes.
The best time to visit Turkey is typically during the shoulder seasons of March to May or September to October when the temperatures are still warm and there aren't yet large summer crowds.
For the best beach weather, the hottest time of year is June and July, however, this collides with the summer holidays, so it will be busy.
The cooler months are quieter and accommodation (when still open) is cheaper.
If you are planning to travel to the eastern reaches of Turkey during Ramadan/Ramazan, it’s important to consider that many restaurants and shops will either be closed or operating at reduced hours. However, the carnival atmosphere that erupts when the fast breaks in the evening is magical, so travellers who enjoy immersive cultural experiences might prefer to travel during the holy month.
The weather in Turkey depends on the time of year and region you're visiting. The southern coastlines typically experience a Mediterranean climate with hot summers and wet winters, while the interior regions can experience drastic temperature changes and even snow.
If you're planning on swimming, the water is generally still warm up until the start of November and October is great as it's much quieter.
Weather in Istanbul is fairly temperate, sheltered from severe weather by its proximity to the coastlines.
While tipping isn't mandatory in Turkey, a cash tip that equals a small percentage of the total bill is very much appreciated in restaurants.
It's also customary to tip staff while visiting hammams (bathhouses). It's not necessary to tip taxi drivers, although rounding up the fare for convenience is commonplace.
Free wi-fi is common in Turkey’s cities, but the quality of connection varies. Alternatively, Turkey has an abundance of internet cafes in large cities, and most of them serve coffee and snacks so you can refuel while you catch up with folks back home.
Internet access can be spotty or non-existent in rural areas, so it’s best to treat travel in these regions as an opportunity for a digital detox.
Mobile phone coverage is good in Turkey, especially in large cities. Coverage may not be available in more remote areas. Ensure you have global roaming activated with your mobile carrier before you leave home if you wish to use your mobile.
Turkey has a mix of Western-style and squat-style toilets, sometimes with a jug of water for manual flushing. The latter becomes more common the more remote the region, however, there's typically a Western-style toilet in every bathroom.
Toilets are known as WCs (short for water closets) in Turkey.
Many public toilets require a small payment of roughly 2-10 TRY for use, so make sure you carry change when out and about.
You may find the standards of hygiene and sanitation in Turkey are laxer than you are used to so it's a good idea to carry toilet paper and hand sanitiser if you are concerned.
Turkey's unit of currency is the lira (TRY). Here's what you can expect to pay for a:
- Half-litre of beer = 50-60 TRY
- Simit (local bread roll) = 10 TRY
- Casual restaurant meal = 300 TRY
- Mid-range restaurant meal = 600 TRY
- Basic hammam visit = 1000 + TRY/50 EURO
Drinking tap water isn't recommended in Turkey. For environmental reasons, try to avoid buying bottled water. Fill a reusable water bottle or canteen with filtered water or carry water purification tablets with you. It's also advisable to avoid ice in drinks and to peel fruit and vegetables rather than eating washed or unwashed produce.
Major credit cards are widely accepted in tourist shopping areas and large hotels in Turkey, but are less commonly accepted by smaller vendors, in remote towns and rural areas. We recommend carrying cash for purchases to avoid being caught out.
ATMs are available in large cities in Turkey but are not common in rural areas and smaller towns. Be prepared for this by having enough cash before travelling out of the city.
Turkey can get quite warm in summer and during the shoulder seasons but it’s important to remember that clothing that covers you from elbows to below the knee is appropriate in (or even around) mosques. Think linen pants, lightweight tops/shirts and long dresses. Female travellers should also carry a scarf on them to wear when visiting mosques.
Absolutely. All passengers travelling with Intrepid are required to purchase travel insurance before the start of their trip. Your travel insurance details will be recorded by your leader on the first day of the trip. Due to the varying nature, availability and cost of health care around the world, travel insurance is very much an essential and necessary part of every journey.
For more information on insurance, please go to: Travel Insurance
- 1 January New Year's Day
- 23 April National Sovereignty and Children's Day
- 1 May Labour Day
- 19 May Youth & Sports Day
- 15 July Democracy and National Unity Day
- 30 August Victory Day
- 29 October Republic Day
The 30-day Islamic holy month of Ramazan (Ramadan) is widely observed in Turkey. The exact dates change every year, so it’s important you check when Ramazan will take place in the year you plan to travel. As a general rule, there are five consecutive public holidays observed at the beginning of the month and a few observed at the end.
The level of celebration varies considerably depending on what part of Turkey you are in. The east has a larger Muslim population and therefore a more devoutly observed Ramazan, whereas the southern and western coasts will be less affected.
Kurban (Eid al-Adha)
A four to five-day public holiday is observed during Kurban (Eid al-Adha), though like Ramazan the exact dates of this observation change every year.
LGBTQIA+ travellers should be aware that while Turkey is nominally secular it can also be very conservative. As such, negative attitudes towards LGBTQIA+ individuals are common, particularly outside major cities.
While same-sex relationships and non-normative gender presentation are not against the law in Turkey, LGBTQIA+ people have no legally enshrined protection from discrimination. Legal prohibitions against ‘offences against public morality’ can and have been used to persecute LGBTQIA+ folks, though the likelihood of this being used to target travellers is low.
Transgender travellers, in particular, should be aware that trans people in Turkey report being the targets of violence and overt discrimination.
Istanbul and Ankara have established queer scenes, both of which are primarily oriented around cisgender gay men and to a lesser extent cisgender gay women. However, same-sex couples are still unlikely to engage in public displays of affection in these cities.
If you are travelling solo on an Intrepid group tour, you will share accommodation with a passenger of the same gender as per your passport information. If you don’t identify with the gender assigned on your passport, please let us know at the time of booking and we’ll arrange the rooming configuration accordingly. A single supplement is available on some tours for travellers who do not wish to share a room.
Intrepid is committed to making travel widely accessible, regardless of ability or disability. That’s why we do our best to help as many people see the world as possible, regardless of any physical or mental limitations they might have. We’re always happy to talk to travellers with disabilities and see if we can help guide them towards the most suitable itinerary for their needs and, where possible, make reasonable adjustments to our itineraries.
While infrastructure is improving, much of Turkey remains difficult to navigate for wheelchair users and people with mobility concerns. Many cities in Turkey have been occupied for thousands of years and their design reflects that, with little regard given to making streets and attractions accessible. Travellers with impaired mobility will find that while tourist locales in Istanbul, such as hotels and mosques, are fitted with ramps and connected by an accessible tram, getting around the rest of the city can be challenging. Rural regions like Cappadocia will be difficult for travellers with mobility impairment to navigate independently.
Squat toilets remain the norm in many parts of Turkey, which can pose problems for travellers with certain disabilities.
Traffic in Turkey can be chaotic, and even when traffic lights and pedestrian crossings exist drivers do not always obey them. Taxis are, for the most part, not wheelchair-friendly.
Travellers who use battery-operated hearing aids should consider bringing a stash of extra batteries, as they can be difficult to locate in Turkey.
If you do live with a visual, hearing or other impairment, let your booking agent or group leader know early on so they’re aware and suitable arrangements can be made. As a general rule, knowing some common words in the local language, carrying a written itinerary with you and taking to the streets in a group, rather than solo, can help make your travel experience the best it can be.
Travelling with Intrepid is a little bit different. We endeavour to provide travellers with an authentic experience to remember, so we try to keep accommodation as unique and traditional as possible.
When travelling with us in Turkey you may find yourself staying in a:
These locally run guesthouses are the perfect blend of a comfortable homestay and a hotel, combining well-situated and authentic Turkish accommodation with modern conveniences.
Immerse yourself in local village life and enjoy Turkish hospitality (and food) during a homestay. Share a home-cooked meal with your hosts and embrace the slow life.
Yes, all Intrepid trips support the Intrepid Foundation. In fact, we make a donation on behalf of every traveller. Trips to Turkey directly support our foundation partner, Contemporary Life Support Association (CYDD).
Contemporary Life Support Association (CYDD) provide scholarships and educational programs for economically disadvantaged youth in Turkey. Donations from our trips fund a program where young scholarship awardees undertake outreach workshops with marginalised children in regional villages. Workshops include information sessions on gender equality, health, law, culture, and other human rights topics.
Intrepid takes the health and safety of its travellers seriously and takes every measure to ensure that trips are safe, fun and enjoyable for everyone. We recommend that all travellers check with their government or national travel advisory organisation for the latest information before departure:
Go to: https://travel.gc.ca/
From the UK?
From New Zealand?
From the US?
The World Health Organisation also provides useful health information.
Intrepid believes half the fun of experiencing a new country is getting there, and getting around once there! Where possible, Intrepid uses local transport options and traditional modes of transport – which usually have less of an environmental impact, support small local operators and are heaps more fun.
Depending what trip you're on while in Turkey, you may find yourself travelling by:
Explore the rugged beauty of Turkey’s coast on a traditional Turkish sailing gulet. Spend days exploring submerged ruins and nights cosied up on deck under the stars.
Whether you’re a seasoned traveller or you’re about to embark on your first trip, travelling can be as intimidating as it is exciting. That's the beauty of a small group tour. From handling the logistics and organising amazing cultural activities to local leaders who know each destination like the back of their hand (like which street has the best markets and where to get the most authentic food), travelling on a small group tour with Intrepid will give you unforgettable travel experiences without the hassle that comes with exploring a new place. Plus, you'll have ready-made friends to share the journey with. All you have to do is turn up with a healthy sense of adventure and we’ll take care of the rest.