Turkey Travel Guide for 2023: Visa Info & Trip Essentials

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By Visaly

Embarking on a trip to Turkey ? Our comprehensive Turkey travel guide is your go-to resource, tailored to provide you with the latest visa information, safety precautions and essential travel tips. Whether you're wondering about the bustling streets of Istanbul, the beautiful beaches of Antalya or the historical wonders of Ephesus, we've got you covered.

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What Can You Expect When Visiting Turkey ?

Turkey, a land where East meets West ! It is a mosaic of cultures, landscapes and experiences. Delve into the best Turkey travel guide and let you be charmed by this nation. From its rich history to its street life, Turkey promises an adventure like no other ! Here, we'll give you a snapshot of what awaits you. Trust us, by the end of this section, you'll be itching to pack your bags ! And remember, every detail in this Turkey travel guide is important for your journey. So bookmark this page for a comprehensive revisit before you leave.


Turkey's culture is a blend of Ottoman, Persian, Arab and Byzantine influences. Expect bustling bazaars, soulful Sufi music and amazing cuisine.


Thanks to its Mediterranean climate, Turkey offers hot summers and mild winters along its coast, while its interiors will be more chilly. Ideal for both sun-seekers and snow enthusiasts !

Is Turkey Dangerous

Turkey has faced challenges, it’s true, but it’s actually pretty safe for tourists. Always stay informed, use common sense and you'll find the Turkish people warm and welcoming.

Do I Need A Visa For Turkey

Many travelers won’t require a visa for short stays. For longer stays and for non-exempt nationalities, the process is straightforward, and many nationalities can obtain an e-visa online.

How Long Can I Stay In Turkey

Visa exemption nationalities can stay in Turkey for 90 days. Tourist visas also allow a 90-day stay within a 180-day period. But the length of your stay will mainly depend on your nationality.

Can You Drink In Turkey

Yes, you’ll find alcohol in all tourist areas. But we recommend you to always drink responsibly and be aware of local customs, especially during the holy month of Ramadan.

Seeing It All Isn't Possible

Turkey's vastness is its beauty. From the azure beaches to the ancient ruins, you can't experience it all in one trip. That's why visit Turkey multiple times ! Use this best travel guide for Turkey to prioritize and plan. And remember, every corner of this nation has a story waiting to be discovered.

Key Advice From Locals Before You Go

To truly appreciate what is Turkey like and ensure your trip is both enjoyable and respectful, you’ll have to heed advice from those who know the country best, the locals. Here are some insider tips to help you prepare your trip : 

  • Be respectful : Turkey is a melting pot of cultures and religions. Always show respect to people, nature and religious practices.
  • Currency : the official currency is the Turkish Lira (TRY). We recommend you to have some cash on hand, especially when you visit local markets or remote areas.
  • Credit Cards and ATMs : major credit cards are widely accepted, especially in cities. You’ll find a lot of ATMs but always be cautious of skimming devices.
  • Time zone : Turkey operates on Turkey Standard Time (TRT), which is 3 hours ahead of Coordinated Universal Time (UTC+3).
  • Sockets : Turkey uses European-style two-pin sockets with a standard voltage of 220V. If you travel from other regions, you might need an adapter.
  • Budget : depending on your travel style, you can budget around $50 to $100 per day to cover basic expenses.
  • Traffic : Turkish roads may be bustling. Always be vigilant, especially when you cross the streets in busy areas. Traffic drives on the right.
  • Scams : Turkey is quite safe, but remain wary of scams like fake taxis. It may be better to arrange airport transfers in advance.
  • Street food : Turkish cuisine is an absolute delight. Don't miss out on street foods like “simit” (sesame bread rings) and “kumpir” (stuffed baked potatoes).
  • Learn a few words : Pick up basic Turkish phrases to enhance your experience. Learn words like "Merhaba" (Hello) or "Teşekkür ederim" (Thank you) to immerse you better.
  • Dress modestly : especially when you visit religious sites. Women might consider carrying a scarf for such occasions.
  • Stay hydrated : Turkish summers can be hot so drink plenty of water.

So, is Turkey a good place to visit ? Absolutely ! With its warm hospitality, beautiful landscapes and rich history, it's a complete destination.

Requirements To Enter Turkey

In this section, we'll guide you through everything you need to know to ensure a smooth entry into Turkey. Whether you're wondering "can I travel to Turkey ?" or "what do I need to travel to Turkey ?", we've got you covered !

List Of Documents You Need to Enter Turkey

Before you leave for Turkey, make you have the following documents ready to show :

  • Valid passport : must be valid for at least 60 days beyond the duration of your stay.
  • Visa : depending on your nationality, you might require a visa.
  • Proof of Onward Travel : an onward ticket, return ticket or a ticket to another destination.
  • Accommodation details : hotel reservation or an invitation from a host.
  • Travel insurance : this isn’t an obligation but it remains highly recommended.
  • Proof of sufficient funds : to cover your stay without working.

Types Of Visas for Turkey

Turkey offers different visa types based on the purpose of your visit :

  • Tourist visa : for leisure trips, sightseeing and short visits.
  • Business visa : for business-related activities, meetings or conferences.
  • Student visa : if you pursue education in Turkey.
  • Work visa : if you have a job offer from a Turkish employer.
  • Transit visa : for travelers passing through Turkey en route to another destination.

Can Americans visit Turkey ? Yes, U.S. citizens can apply for an e-visa online or obtain a visa on arrival.

How To Get Turkish Visa (Step By Step Application Process)

Here’s a step by step guide on how to apply for a Turkish visa :

  • Make sure you’re eligible : check if you need a visa based on your nationality and the purpose of your visit.
  • E-Visa application : if eligible, apply for an e-visa through the official Turkish e-visa website. Fill out the application, pay the fee and receive your e-visa via email.
  • Visa on arrival : some nationalities can obtain a visa upon landing in Turkey. In this case, you’ll have to queue at the immigration office at the airport.
  • Consulate / Embassy application : if not eligible for an e-visa or visa on arrival, apply at a Turkish consulate or embassy in your country. Submit the required documents, attend an interview if necessary and pay the visa fee.
  • Receive your visa : once approved, you'll receive a visa sticker to affix to your passport or an electronic visa.

Overstaying And Penalties

Overstaying your visa in Turkey is a serious offense. Penalties range from fines to deportation and even bans from re-entering Turkey. The duration of the ban depends on the length of the overstay.

When Is The Best Time To Visit Turkey

Good news, Turkey is a year-round destination thanks to its size and diverse climates. But the best time to visit will depend on your preferences. Spring and fall offer mild temperatures and fewer crowds. It’s an ideal period for sightseeing and exploring. Summer is the peak season, especially along the Mediterranean and Aegean coasts. Beach resorts buzz with activity. The weather is warm and sunny, but it's also the busiest time. As for winter, it is perfect for snow sports in mountainous regions !

How To Plan A Trip To Turkey

This section of our Turkey country travel guide will walk you through the essentials and ensure your trip, regardless of its duration, is memorable.

Decide On Your Itinerary

Turkey is as big as diverse. Prioritize based on interests : historical sites in Istanbul, beaches in Antalya or beautiful landscapes of Cappadocia.

Budget To Plan

Turkey offers experiences for all budgets. For a mid-range traveler, budget around $50 to $100 per day and per person. Our Turkey budget travel guide will help you plan your finances accordingly.

How To Get To Turkey

Wondering how to travel to Turkey ? Major airlines service Turkey's airports, especially Istanbul’s one. There are frequent direct flights from Europe, Asia and the Americas.

Transport Around Turkey

Good news if you don’t know how to visit Turkey, the country boasts an efficient transport system. Buses are reliable for long distances and trains and domestic flights connect major cities. For local commutes, metros and dolmuş (shared taxis) are also great choices.

Cost Of Living

Turkey is affordable compared to Western Europe. In our Turkey travel guide cheapest destinations, you’ll find out that urban areas like Istanbul are pricier than rural regions.

Packing Things

Pack according to the season you leave. Summers require light clothing and winters, especially in the east, will require warm attire. Always carry a scarf for religious sites, especially if you’re a woman !

Research Visa And Entry Requirements

Ensure you meet the visa and entry requirements. Don’t hesitate to refer to our detailed section above for a comprehensive overview.

Get Travel Insurance

Never underestimate the importance of travel insurance. Opt for a policy that covers medical emergencies, trip cancellations and lost belongings. It's a small investment for peace of mind. Read our Turkey travel insurance guide to choose the best policy.

Where To Stay

Turkey offers a wide range of accommodations. You’ll have to choose between the comfort of a hotel, the economy of a hostel and the authenticity of a guesthouse. What you can also do is mix all of them so you enjoy all their aspects !

Safety Tips from Locals Often Overlooked by Tourists in Turkey

Is it safe to fly to Turkey ? Mostly yes, but here are some safety tips that locals recommend visitors: 

  • Avoid excessive Raki consumption : consume this local drink in moderation to avoid unexpected intoxication.
  • Respect nature and culture : offend or break any rule : protect Turkey's natural beauty and respect its rich cultural heritage.
  • Wear a helmet : given the hectic traffic, especially in cities, always wear a helmet when on two-wheelers.
  • Ask before photographing : some locals might find it intrusive. Always seek permission before you capture moments.
  • Avoid driving : if you are unfamiliar with the traffic norms, it's best to rely on public transport or taxis.
  • Learn basic phrases : a great way to immerse yourself and make new friends !

Many insight travel guides Turkey provide generic advice, this is why we rely on these local insights not only for safety, but also for a richer travel experience. So, wondering, is it safe to fly to Turkey or is it safe for Americans to travel to Turkey ? The answer is yes, with a touch of local wisdom. And while some might ask why is Turkey so dangerous ? Remember that every country has its nuances.

Most Amazing Destinations In Turkey & Things To Do

Let’s introduce you to some of the country's top urban destinations, followed by lesser-visited places that promise unique experiences away from the crowds !

Turkish Top Urban Destinations

From bustling metropolises to coastal cities, Turkey's urban centers are a blend of history, culture and modernity. Let’s have a look at our top 5 must-visit cities :


It’s the city that bridges two continents. Have a look at Istanbul Turkey travel guide and you’ll  have plenty of inspiration to enjoy its Byzantine and Ottoman landmarks. Don't miss the iconic Hagia Sophia and bustling Grand Bazaar !


A must-see in many Southern Turkey travel guides ! On the Turkish Riviera, Antalya offers pristine beaches and ancient ruins. Kaleiçi, the old city, is a wonderful maze of historic buildings and narrow streets !


Overlooking the Aegean Sea, Izmir is known for its seafront promenade, historic sites and noisy bazaars. The ancient city of Ephesus is a short drive away and a top destination in all Izmir turkey travel guides.


Turkey's capital boasts many places to absolutely visit. We absolutely recommend to read an Ankara Turkey travel guide to avoid missing important sites. The Atatürk Mausoleum and the Museum of Anatolian Civilizations, for example, are must-visits.


Any Bodrum Turkey travel guide will define Bodrum as a coastal town with a vibrant nightlife. You’ll fall in love with its turquoise waters, ancient ruins and the imposing Bodrum Castle.

Turkish Lesser-Visited Places

Beyond the urban hustle, Turkey hides quieter destinations that will allow you to relax. Here are five lesser-known spots that deserve a place on your itinerary.


Known for its terraces of carbonate minerals, Pamukkale, or "Cotton Castle", offers thermal waters with healing properties amidst stunning white landscapes. Don’t forget your Pamukkale Turkey travel guide to fully enjoy your visit.


Welcome to this quaint town on the Lycian coast. Kas is a diving paradise with crystal-clear waters, ancient ruins and a laid-back vibe. One of the best places to dive and snorkel in Turkey !


Nestled in the Black Sea region, Rize is a haven for tea plantations. The lush green landscapes and traditional wooden houses are a sight to behold. The Rize Turkey travel guide also recommends some additional visits.


Check Oludeniz Turkey travel guide and you’ll realize it’s the home to the famous Blue Lagoon. It’s also a relaxed beach destination with paragliding opportunities over its stunning turquoise waters.


Known for its traditional ceramic tiles and pottery, Kutahya offers a glimpse into Turkey's rich artisanal heritage. A great place to immerse yourself !

Important Dates In Turkey

In this section of our guide to Turkey travel, we'll highlight some world-famous events and the most important holidays in the country.

World Famous Events In Turkey

  • Istanbul Film Festival (April) : a prestigious event that showcases international and Turkish films. It’s followed by cinephiles from around the world.
  • Troy Festival (August) : it celebrates the ancient city of Troy and features performances, workshops and exhibitions.
  • Cappadox (June or July) : held in Cappadocia, it's a unique festival blending music, art and nature amidst this region's surreal landscapes.
  • Antalya Golden Orange Film Festival (September or October) : Turkey's oldest film festival ! It highlights the best of Turkish cinema.
  • Istanbul Biennial (September- November) : one of the world's leading contemporary art events, held every two years.

Most Important Holidays In Turkey

  • New Year's Day (January 1st) : celebrated with fireworks, parties and special events across the country.
  • National Sovereignty and Children's Day (April 23rd) : a unique holiday dedicated to children. You’ll see parades and performances.
  • Ramadan Feast Day (variable) : it marks the end of Ramadan and is a time for family gatherings and feasting.
  • Victory Day (August 30th) : it commemorates the Turkish victory in the Battle of Dumlupınar with military parades and ceremonies.
  • Republic Day (October 29th) : it celebrates the founding of the Turkish Republic in 1923 with nationwide festivities and events.

Things You Simply Must Experience in Turkey

In this part of our travel guide Istanbul Turkey, let’s delve into some simple yet unforgettable experiences that won't break the bank but will surely enrich your trip.

3 Foods You Must Try

Begin with the savory Manti - tiny dumplings filled with minced meat, served with yogurt and spices. Next, indulge in İskender Kebap, a delicious dish made of thinly sliced lamb or beef topped with tomato sauce, yogurt and melted butter. And for dessert, the flaky and sweet Baklava layered with honey and nuts is a must !

3 Things You Should Do

Wake up early to catch a mesmerizing sunrise over the rock formations of Cappadocia. Spend a night in a traditional wooden house in the Black Sea region and immerse yourself in the serene surroundings. Finally, take an evening stroll in Istanbul's Sultanahmet Square and enjoy the ambiance of the illuminated Hagia Sophia and Blue Mosque.

Top 3 Souvenirs To Bring Home

No trip to Turkey is complete without bringing back a piece of its artistry ! Consider purchasing a handcrafted Turkish lamp, you’ll love this colorful glasswork. You can also bring back home some Turkish delight (Lokum), a sweet treat flavored with rosewater, lemon or pomegranate. A delightful gift ! One last idea : a Turkish rug or kilim. It’s a real piece of the country's heritage !

Few Useful Tips For Solo Travelers In Turkey

Most travel guides Turkey will confirm this : Turkey is a great place to travel solo ! Always keep a copy of your travel documents and a list of emergency contacts handy. Dress modestly, especially when you visit religious sites. Remember that Turkish people are known for their hospitality, but you don’t want to share too much personal information with strangers. Opt for reputable transportation services, especially at night, and always inform someone about your whereabouts !

14 Etiquette Tips for Your Turkey Trip

When in Turkey, be aware of some etiquettes that are deeply rooted in the country’s traditions and customs. Here are the most important ones :

  • Greeting : a handshake is common, but close friends and family might greet with a kiss on both cheeks.
  • Shoes off : when you someone's home, you generally have to remove your shoes.
  • Dress modestly : especially in religious sites. Women may consider wearing headscarves in mosques.
  • Gift giving : if invited to a home, bring a small gift as a token of appreciation.
  • Tipping : it's customary to leave a 10% tip in restaurants.
  • Avoid public displays of affection : especially in rural areas and during Ramadan.
  • Use your right hand : to eat and give or receive items, as the left hand is considered unclean.
  • Respect the call to prayer : five times a day, activities might pause for a few minutes.
  • Wait to be seated : in someone's home, the host will indicate where you should sit.
  • Avoid discussing politics : especially the topics related to the Armenian Genocide and Kurdish issues.
  • Tea time : if offered tea (çay), it's polite to accept.
  • Bargaining : it's common in bazaars, but always remain polite and jovial.
  • Respect elders : Turkish culture values age and experience. Always greet older individuals first in a group.
  • Avoid pointing your feet : pointing your feet at someone, especially the soles, is considered disrespectful.

Are Digital Nomads Welcome In Turkey?

Absolutely ! The Turkey digital nomad visa will be of great help to live and work remotely in this country. This visa allows digital professionals to live and work in Turkey and enjoy its rich culture, affordable living and scenic landscapes. It's a win-win for modern travelers and the country !

Can I Travel To Turkey Without Vaccine

Yes ! Turkey used to recommend travelers to be vaccinated against COVID-19, but it isn't a strict requirement for entry. As for the other vaccines, none is mandatory except if you come from special areas.


How long can you stay in Turkey without a visa ?

Some nationalities can stay in Turkey for up to 90 days without a visa, but always check specific requirements for your country.

Is it safe to drink tap water in Turkey ?

As a tourist, it's better to drink bottled water in Turkey to avoid potential stomach upsets.

What's the best time of year to visit Turkey in terms of weather ?

Spring (April to June) and autumn (September to November) offer pleasant temperatures and fewer crowds.

Are credit cards widely accepted in Turkey ?

Yes, major credit cards are accepted in most urban areas, but always carry some cash in rural regions.

Are there any specific clothing or dress code requirements for visiting religious sites in Turkey ?

Yes, stay simple. Women will have to cover their heads in mosques, and both genders should wear clothing that covers the knees and shoulders.

What is the tipping culture in Turkey, and when is it appropriate to tip ?

Tipping is pretty customary in restaurants, cafes and for services. A tip of 5-10% is appreciated.

Can Americans travel to Turkey ?

Yes, Americans can travel to Turkey, but they have to ask for a visa in advance.

How safe is Turkey for American tourists ?

Turkey is quite safe for American tourists, but always follow travel advisories and stay cautious.

Is it safe to fly to Turkey ?

Yes, international standards are maintained at major airports.

How safe is Istanbul ?

Istanbul is quite safe for tourists, but we would advise you to stay cautious in crowded areas.

Are Turkish people friendly ?

Yes, Turkish people are known for their warmth and hospitality towards visitors.

How far is Turkey from the United States ?

Flight durations vary from around 10 to 15 hours. A direct flight from New York to Istanbul will approximately take 10 hours.

How much money to bring to Turkey for a week ?

On average, you can budget around $50 to $100 per day to cover most expenses, but this will mainly depend on activities and preferences.

How safe is Bodrum Turkey ?

Bodrum is a popular tourist destination and is quite safe for visitors.

Is Istanbul airport safe ?

Yes, Istanbul Airport follows international safety standards and is equipped with modern security measures.

Is Istanbul safe for Americans ?

Yes, Istanbul is safe for Americans, but like any major city, you’ll have to remain vigilant.

Is it safe to travel to Turkey as a woman ?

Yes, many women travel solo in Turkey !

Is Istanbul safe for tourists ?

Yes, Istanbul is safe for tourists, but you’ll have to remain cautious in crowded are and if you’re driving.

Wrap up

Turkey offers a unique experience for every traveler. You will absolutely love walking on the streets of Istanbul and trying the authentic Anatolian cuisine. Remember to respect local customs, stay updated on visa requirements and always prioritize safety. This Turkey travel guide aims to ensure your journey is both memorable and seamless !

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