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.
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.
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:
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.
Large land mass and diverse topography mean Turkey has quite a variable climate, so be sure to check the weather FAQ below for a full breakdown of expected temperatures for each season.
In general, Mediterranean southern and western Turkey, already the most popular regions with tourists, tend to be (understandably) busy during the warmer months between May and August.
The cooler months are quieter and accommodation (when still open) is cheaper. Depending on where you are and what you’re used to, the weather can be pleasantly crisp instead of freezing, though travel in December and January isn’t recommended unless you’re a fan of snow and ice.
October and March are good options for travellers who prefer to share the streets with locals rather than tourists and don’t mind cool weather, though keep in mind accommodation can be trickier to find on the coast and in resort towns.
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 on 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 travel during the holy month.
Most nationalities require a visa to enter Turkey. Travellers from Australia, Belgium, Canada, Ireland, Netherlands, South Africa, United Kingdom and the USA can apply for a 90-day e-visa online at evisa.gov.tr
Allow at least two weeks before you arrive in Turkey for the e-visa to be issued. Please note, visa costs can change at any time and with little notice depending on the political climate of the region.
Travellers from some countries do not require a visa if staying for less than three months. This includes passport holders from New Zealand, Argentina, Denmark, Finland, France, Germany, Japan, Norway, Sweden, Switzerland. We recommend all nationalities check with their local consulate or embassy as this information can change.
Foreigners entering Turkey must carry a passport with at least 60 days' validity beyond the expiry date of their visa.
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 hamams (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.
Many public toilets require a small payment 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.
Turkey's unit of currency is the lira. Prices here are approximate and shown in US dollars for ease of comparison.
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.
Absolutely. All passengers travelling with Intrepid are required to purchase travel insurance before the start of their tour. 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
For a current list of public holidays in Turkey, including the movable dates noted below, go to worldtravelguide.net
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.
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 ‘offenses 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 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.
Intrepid is committed to travelling in a way that is respectful of local people, their culture, local economies and the environment. It's important to remember that what may be acceptable behaviour, dress and language in your own country may not be appropriate in another. Please keep this in mind while travelling.
In Turkey, we stay in locally run accommodation including guesthouses, smaller-scale hotels and homestays in an effort to support the local economies. We also visit locally run restaurants and markets where travellers will have opportunities to support community businesses and purchase handicrafts created by local artisans. Our Responsible Travel Policy outlines our commitment to being the best travel company for the world.
The Intrepid Foundation supports Small Projects Istanbul, a social enterprise where refugee women can access education and training in a variety of areas like computer literacy, leadership development and jewellery design. As part of our Women's Expedition in Turkey, female travellers can visit and share a Syrian meal with volunteers at the Small Projects community centre.