The best time to visit Turkey depends on the kind of experiences you’re looking for, your budget, and the number of days you wish to spend experiencing Turkey tourism.
Peak season: For example, if you like beaches, May to October is the best time. However, if you wish to enjoy trekking and hiking in Turkey, you should visit from April to June. But visiting Turkey during peak season means dealing with hoardes of other tourists, as it’s not just you who wants to enjoy all that Turkey tourism has to offer. Beaches, historical sites, famous activities such as hot-air ballooning in Cappadocia; you are going to find more tourists thronging these sites and queuing up for these activities. And given the high popularity of Turkey tourism, services such as taxis, hotels, restaurants may just be a little on the expensive side. This is where you can tweak your Turkey holiday plan a little and visit a month before or after the peak season.
Shoulder season: Autumn occurs during May and September and the weather is slightly warm during these months.
Off-season: During October to April, the tourist crowd thins out. October ushers in autumn and April sees the arrival of spring in the country. And these months are best for those who wish to witness the wonders of Turkey tourism at economical prices.
For Indians who wish to visit Turkey, there are different rules and procedures. Diplomatic passport holders are exempt from obtaining a visa for up to 90 days of travel. If you have an Ordinary, Special, and Service passport, you have to get a valid visa to enter Turkey. However, if the passport holders of Ordinary, Special and Service category have a valid Schengen, US, UK or Ireland visa, they can avail the newly-launched visa on arrival, or get their single entry e-visas valid for a month from the official website after fulfilment of all necessary conditions.
If Turkey tourism is your purpose of visit and you have an Ordinary passport, you can apply for an e-visa which will be valid for 180 days after paying the visa fee of ₹3,000. Please note that your stay in Turkey cannot exceed 30 days during one visit. Also, you should be able to prove that you have a return ticket, hotel reservations, and at least $50 per day for all the days of your holidays in Turkey.
As part of the visa application procedure, from 1 July, 2019, all applicants are required to book an appointment to submit their visa application at the Turkey Visa Application Center in Mumbai, Pune, Ahmedabad, Goa, Bangalore, Chennai, Cochin, Trivandrum, and Puducherry.
If you’re one of those travellers who wants to experience something different from what the popular Southeast Asian destinations such as Thailand, Vietnam and Bali offer, then there’s hardly a better holiday option than exploring the wonders of Turkey tourism. There are places of historical significance which have rarely been mentioned on the internet, beaches that do not see many tourists, and several places of interest that promise a great holiday experience. And just in case you still regret not taking that trip to Europe, relax. Turkey tourism will help you feel better about your choice of vacation.
Let’s delve into the details with this Turkey travel guide and know more about the best places to visit in Turkey.
Being the largest city in Turkey that stretches from Asia to Europe across the Bosphorus Strait, Istanbul is one of the most important places in Turkey tourism. Even though it’s a haven for nightlife lovers and shoppers from all around the world, the cultural influences of ancient empires are clearly manifested in various historical structures of the city. And that’s why this city is a blessing for Turkey tourism.
The Sultanahmet district is famous for the open-air theatre, Hippodrome of Constantinople which belonged to the then Roman rulers. The historically diverse Hagia Sophia museum is home to an iconic 6th-century dome and some rare Christian artifacts. If you are in Istanbul, you can’t miss out on visiting the Ottoman-era Blue Mosque which derived its name from its blue interiors. Also, accentuate your Turkey tourism experience by indulging in fishing at Galata Bridge and explore the nearby area which is known for its ancient period towers. Enjoy shopping around in the bustling Grand Bazaar and spice up your walk by strolling through the spice market.
The crisp white cliffs with natural pools, overlooking the spectacular town of Pamukkale is just the kind of place that can sum up your experience with Turkey tourism. No wonder these travertines are a UNESCO World Heritage Site.
Besides the 12,000-seat Roman amphitheater of Hierapolis, the little crowded Laodikya, which is also mentioned in the Bible as one of the seven Churches of Revelation, and the underground Kaklik caves are some other must-visit places in and around Pamukkale that continue to attract travellers towards Turkey tourism.
Located in the heart of Turkey and Central Anatolia is the capital city, Ankara, This ultra-modern city has left a remarkable impact on Turkey tourism; it is not only a hub for shoppers but also a great place to be for history lovers. Some of the most prominent historical landmarks in Ankara include the Temple of Augustus and Rome, the 15th-century Hacı Bayram Camii mosque, the much-popular Ankara Castle, Anıtkabir the mausoleum of the founder of the Republic of Turkey, Mustafa Kemal Atatürk, and the State Art and Sculpture Museum.
It’s another beautiful resort city which is rich in art and history. Pristine beaches with clear blue waters, towering cliffs, and the ancient ruins of the Roman era are some of the many reasons why this Turkish city on the Mediterranean coast is one of the top destinations as per Turkey tourism. Known as ‘turquoise coast’ for its blue waters, Antalya is also famous for Hadrian’s Gate, a structure that was built to honour the Roman emperor, and the second-century Hidirlik Tower that offers unparalleled views of the harbour.
Yivli Minare, a 38m-high brick minaret, at the clifftop fortress near Kaleiçiand is another highlight of Turkey tourism in the city. If you love beaches, you just can’t miss out Lara beach and Konyaaltı beach.
No Turkey tourism guide would be complete without mentioning Cappadocia. This stunning town in Central Anatolia is famous for its rare moon-like landscape, a bit similar to Spiti in India. There are churches, houses, and long cave systems carved out of rocks, which were once inhabited by people to escape the summer heat.
Kaymaklı and Derinkuyu are other gems of Turkey tourism where you can find multi-level underground cities with some of them having around eight storeys of underground construction. Besides the ancient Greek houses in Sinasos, the open-air museum and the Dark Church in Göreme, Ihlara canyon are some of the must-see places in Cappadocia. Last but not the least, hot-air ballooning is the hottest and most sought after activity in the city.
No other archaeological site in the world is as intriguingly and spectacularly maintained as Ephesus, which is another jewel of Turkey tourism. This historic city that was once dominated by Greeks and Romans, is popular amongst tourists for the Temple of Artemis, which was one of the seven wonders of the ancient world. It is also known as Temple of Diana. Though it was destroyed in the 5th century, the ruins of Greek architecture are enough to make you fall in love with Turkey tourism.
Temple of Hadrian, Hercules Gates, East Gymnasium at the foot of Panayir Mountain, the Ephesus Museum and the Artemis statues, and the Avenue of the Curates are some other great places to visit in the city of Ephesus.
This town is home to the Mausoleum of Halicarnassus, which is one of the seven wonders of the ancient world. Even though the monument was damaged by earthquakes in the medieval period, it still attracts a huge number of tourists from all across the globe. If you are in Bodrum, the top tourist attractions you must visit are Bodrum Castle, the Roman-era Bodrum Amphitheatre, Myndos Gates, and the 300-year-old Karakaya village with 18th-century windmills.
With so much to offer, it’s not a surprise that Bodrum is considered as a major reason behind the recent surge of interest shown by travellers for Turkey tourism.
This city on Turkey’s Aegean coast is not only one of the best in terms of transport but also the third largest city by population in the country. Now adding a great deal of vibrance to Turkey tourism, the city of Izmir has witnessed a great deal of history, for it was founded by Greeks, then ruled by Romans and Alexander the Great, before finally becoming a territory of Ottomans.
It is famous amongst tourists for various historical sites including the Velvet Castle built during Alexander’s era and the Roman Agora of Smyrna. The clock tower at Konak Square, the beaches of Dikili, Foça, Urla, Çeşme, and the busy markets of Karsiyaka are some other great places to visit in Izmir.
If we go back around 15 years in history, Turkey tourism was nowhere in the picture. But you look at it now, half of the world wants to experience all that Turkey tourist attractions have to offer. Such is the grandeur of the country that it is now a benchmark for many other tourist destinations in the world. Its historical monuments, beaches, adventure sports, culture, food and modern facilities allow tourists ample exciting things to do in Turkey. With the host of experiences on offer, it won’t be an overstatement to say that Turkey tourism has made its way into the lists and hearts of many travellers all over the world. Here’s your Turkey travel guide listing all must-experience activities and things to do in Turkey.
It’s always a great experience to witness the world from up top. So, how about enjoying the same from a hot air balloon in Cappadocia? This town is known all over the world as one of the best places to enjoy hot air ballooning and has now become an epitome of Turkey tourism. This activity gives you a chance to take in the spectacular and surreal moon-like landscape and admire the unique rock formations, high plateaus, orchards, vineyards and breathtaking ravines from the best seat in the city. No wonder it’s a city where the most number of hot air balloon trips take place.
Shopping is one of the best things to do in Istanbul. Once you are here, visit the Grand Bazaar which is located inside the walled city of Istanbul, and take home some of the best souvenirs for your near and dear ones. Spread over 30 square kilometres, with over 60 streets and 4,000 shops, you can find Turkish carpets, spices, antiques, finest works of hand embroidery, and gold silk thread at the Grand Bazaar.
Natural hot-water spa
Taking a dip in hot-water pools is a popular activity to do as part of Turkey tourism. No matter how tired you are or how your Turkey holiday has been, the time you spend at Pamukkale travertines is something you will never forget. You can simply take a walk down the little falls while enjoying the scenic beauty around you. Also, visiting the ancient remains of the ancient city of Aphrodisias, one of the best preserved Roman archaeological sites in southeastern Aegean, is worth all the effort as it shows you the worn and torn side of Turkey tourism.
Boating and beach activities
It’s not just historical sites, bazaars, and the arts that make up Turkey tourism. This Eurasian nation is blessed with some of the most gifted coastal places on earth when it comes to natural beauty. So, the next time you are in Turkey, go sailing, sea-kayaling, and surfing at the gorgeous Turkish beaches, including that of the Turquoise Coast, Bodrum, Kaz, Alcati, Izmir.
Hiking and trekking
Turkey and it’s natural wonders never cease to surprise, whether it’s the pristine beaches, natural hot pools or trails in the hills. With a number of valleys, Turkey tourism always allows the adventurous travellers a chance to enjoy hiking and trekking of various levels of difficulty. You’ll find hiking trails that last from an hour to several hours around Göreme and Ihlara Valley. Serious trekkers can attempt to climb Mt Ararat, the highest peak in Turkey, which can take up to six to seven days to scale.
Adventure water sports
Home to many gorgeous coastal regions, Turkey tourism also offers the best in water sports. Alacati, Izmir, Antalya, Kas, and Cappadocia; all offer various activities including the likes of scuba diving, snorkelling, paragliding, white water rafting, mountain biking and more. No matter the season, adventure sports should be included in your Turkey itinerary.
Food and nightlife
A holiday without partying is a holiday lesser enjoyed! And Turkey tourism makes sure you have the best of holidays, thanks to the variety of cuisines it offers and the entrancing Turkey nightlife. Enjoy pub crawling in Istanbul, witness Turkish night shows organised by cave restaurants in Cappadocia, or take it to a whole new level by booking yourself an evening on the Bosphorus Cruise. If Turkey tourism can’t satiate the party animal in you, nothing can.
With its high altitude mountains covered with snow round the year, Turkey tourism hasn’t wasted any time in establishing itself as one of the most important centres in the world for winter sports offering activities such as skiing, heli-skiing, snowboarding and more.
If you are experiencing Turkey tourism for the first time, be assured that the food is as diverse and famous as its attractions. Foods from all cultures and influences make for some of the best culinary delights in Turkey. Although restaurants and hotels in Turkey are known to offer great international cuisines, popular street food culture and abundant use of fresh spices in the food lets you witness an even flavoured side of Turkey tourism.
Must-try dishes in Turkey
A sumptuous Turkish omelette prepared by boiling roasted onions and peppers along with tomatoes, which is eventually blended with eggs, herbs, parsley, and ground red pepper. A breakfast dish, menemen is an easy-to-prepare and delicious food that is very popular in Turkey tourism.
Influenced heavily by the traditional Arab cheese pastry, künefe is another delicious cusine every Turkey tourism fan must have with unsalted cheese in layers. Basically, it’s thin fibers of dough, mixed with water and flour, which is tastes best when its freshly baked and soaked in syrup.
Quite like a bagel or a pretzel, this chewy, circular Turkish bread, layered with sesame seeds, is one of the most popular street food snacks in Istanbul and you’ll find a streetside carts sellling it at every nook and corner.
Heard this name before, right? Well, Turkish tourism is no different from tourism in India, especially when it's about food. The only difference between Turkish kofte and its Indian counterpart is that the former are meatballs prepared with beef, lamb, and sometimes a combination of both, and served hot with spicy sausage, grilled peppers and bread. It is an incredibly popular food amongst locals too. So, whether you are fond of dining at finest hotels in Turkey or a fan of streetside carts, you won’t have slightest of troubles finding köfte.
Döner kebabs are arguably one the top export products for Turkey tourism. Its major ingredient, meat, is cooked on large, vertical rotisseries and is eventually shaved off. The end result is a delicious treat for foodies.
Kumpir is more or less an extremely baked potato sliced in half and mixed with huge amounts of cheese. This mixture is then topped with meat shreds, olives, pickles, corn and many more.
Must-visit restaurants in Turkey
Turkey tourism depends a lot on its food, and the finest restaurants that bring it your table are the backbone of its success. So, here we list some of the must-visit restaurants in Turkey.
Turkey tourism economy grew at an astounding rate of 15% in 2018. Travellers are now looking beyond typical tourist destinations in Europe and Asia, which makes Turkey an automatic choice. And why not, almost all of Turkey destinations have so much for each kind of traveller – budget, mid-range, and luxury seekers. Average costs per day in Turkey majorly depend upon where you are in the country, your choice of accommodation, and experiences you have. However, we have prepared an estimated daily cost detail for the three main kinds of travellers in Turkey.
For budget travellers: ₹600 to ₹2000 a day
For mid-range travellers: ₹2500 to ₹4000 a day
For luxury travellers: ₹7000 and upwards
Why should I visit Turkey?
Turkey is a lesser-known destination with a rare combination of historical wonders, rich heritage, mesmerising natural beauty, and classic modern culture. If you love any of these, you must definitely experience Turkey tourism.
How much does a typical Turkey tourism package cost?
A typical Turkey tourism package can cost anywhere between ₹50,000 to ₹1,00,000. However, you can always get your customised to suit your budget.
Are there any direct flights to Turkey from India?
Yes, with the recent boost to Turkey tourism sector, multiple direct flights have been made available from major Indian cities like Delhi and Mumbai.
What are some necessary items travellers need to bring along for a Turkey trip?
Necessary items to pack while travelling to Turkey completely depend on your personal choice and the kind of experience you are looking to have in Turkey. However, sunscreen, hat, portable power banks, universal charger, documents of personal identity, first aid kit, beachwear, enough cash (just not too much) and good quality shoes are some items that one must pack to experience Turkey tourism at its best.
What is the climate like in Turkey?
Turkey is a big country and its different regions have distinct climates. And just like any other destination, the climate plays a major role in shaping Turkey tourism. The Aegean and Mediterranean coasts have cool, rainy winters and hot, moderately dry summers. The Black Sea coast receives the greatest amount of rainfall. The eastern part of that coast averages 1,400 millimeters annually and is the only region of Turkey that receives rainfall throughout the year. Usually, it remains on the extreme side in the interiors of Turkey and milder in the coastal regions.
What are some of the travel locations that most people have not heard of?
Although the boom in Turkey tourism has made almost every place popular in this country, Eskisehir, Denizle, Faralya, Kayseri, and Karsiyaka are some of the lesser known destinations where you won’t find a lot of crowd.
What’s the one meal I shouldn’t miss in Turkey?
When it comes to food, Turkey tourism has many surprises. There is a huge variety of food and it’s very difficult to pick just one dish. However, our recommendations would be köfte for non-vegetarians and kumpir for vegetarians.
Is it safe to travel solo in Turkey?
It’s absolutely safe to travel solo in Turkey, both for males and females. You can read the personal accounts of people who travelled solo and saw the best of Turkey tourism.
Does Turkey tourism offer nightlife?
Absolutely. Turkey nightlife thrives profoundly in cities like Istanbul, Cappadocia, Izmir and Aydın. You can go pub crawling, enjoy late night shows, or book yourself a seat aboard the Bosphorus cruise.
Any advice for first time travellers in Turkey?
Stay away from touts, learn a few Turkish words, respect the local culture, customs, be humble, polite, and responsible. It’s like any other country in the world.
Written by Anshul Sharma, an in-house Tripoto writer. Besides writing, Anshul loves to travel, read dramas, watch sports news, and try his hand at photography. Follow him to ignite your wanderlust.