When to go
Spring (April to June) and autumn (September to November)
are best. The climate is perfect on the Aegean and Mediterranean
coasts then, as well as in Istanbul. In high summer the coastal
resorts are stinking hot: your body may like to do as the
locals do and take a siesta during the heat of the day.
From late October to early April, the beach scene more or
less shuts down. There's little rain between May and October
except along the Black Sea coast, but from about mid-June,
the mosquitoes come out in plague proportions in some areas.
Eastern Turkey should really be visited from late June to
September, as snow may close roads and mountain passes in
the colder months.
There are plenty of ways to get into and out of Turkey by
air, sea, rail and bus, across the borders of seven countries.
There are international airports at Istanbul, Ankara, Izmir
and some of the Mediterranean resorts. Turkish Airlines has
direct flights from Istanbul to two dozen European cities
and New York, as well as the Middle East, North Africa, Bangkok,
Karachi, Singapore and Tokyo. Departure tax is about US$12.
By train, the daily Istanbul Express links Munich, Slovenia,
Croatia, Yugoslavia and Bulgaria to Istanbul. Major European
cities such as Frankfurt and Vienna are also well serviced
by Turkish bus lines. There are daily train and bus connections
between Athens and Istanbul via Thessaloniki. The bus is much
faster than the train. You can also travel by bus to Syria,
Georgia and Iran, and by train to Armenia. Turkish Maritime
Lines runs car ferries from Antalya, Marmaris and Izmir to
Venice weekly from May to mid-October. Private ferries run
between Turkey's Aegean coast and the Greek islands.
The currency is in Turkish Lira (TL). Notes are in denominations
of TL5,000,000, 1,000,000, 500,000 and 250,000. Coins are
in denominations of TL250,000, 100,000, 50,000, 25,000, 10,000,
5000, 2500, 1000 and 500.
American Express, Diners Club, MasterCard and Visa are accepted.
Check with your credit card company for details of merchant
acceptability and other services which may be available.
Travelers cheques & Eurocheques
Cheques can be cashed immediately upon proof of identity.
However, it may take several days to cash cheques from private
accounts. To avoid additional exchange rate charges, travellers
are advised to take travellers cheques in Pounds Sterling.
There are no restrictions on the import of local or foreign
currency, though visitors bringing in a large amount of foreign
currency should obtain a written declaration from the Turkish
authorities. No more than the equivalent of US$5000 in local
currency may be exported. Foreign currency may be exported
up to US$5000, but no more than the amount imported and declared.
Hours are from 0830-1200 and 1330-1700 Monday to Friday.
Passport valid for at least 6 months (if visa is issued on
arrival) and at least 1 year (if visa is issued by the Turkish
Consulate) required by all, except nationals of 1. Belgium,
France, Germany, Greece, Italy, Liechtenstein, Luxembourg,
The Netherlands, Portugal, Spain and Switzerland who can enter
with a national ID card.
Required by all except the following:
(a)Nationals of EU countries for stays of up to 3 months (except
nationals of Austria, Belgium, Ireland, Italy, The Netherlands,
Portugal, Spain and the UK who do need visas, but can obtain
them at point of entry for a fee).
(b)Nationals of Argentina, Bahamas, Bahrain, Barbados, Belize,
Chile, Ecuador, Fiji, Grenada, Iceland, Iran, Israel, Jamaica,
Kenya, Korea (Rep. of), Kuwait, Liechtenstein, Malaysia, Maldives,
Malta, Mauritius, Monaco, Morocco, New Zealand, Norway, Oman,
Qatar, St Lucia, San Marino, Saudi Arabia, Seychelles, Singapore,
Switzerland, Trinidad & Tobago, Tunisia, United Arab Emirates,
Uruguay and Vatican City for stays of up to 3 months.
(c)Nationals of Bosnia-Herzegovina, Croatia, Former Yugoslav
Republic of Macedonia, Indonesia, Romania and Slovenia for
stays of up to 2 months.
(d)Nationals of Bolivia, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan and South
Africa for stays of up to 1 month.
The following goods may be imported into Turkey without incurring
(a)200 cigarettes or 50 cigars or 200g of tobacco and 200
cigarette papers or 50g of chewing tobacco or 200g of pipe
tobacco or 200g of snuff tobacco.
(b)5 bottles (1 liter) or 7 bottles (700ml) of wine or spirits,
reasonable amounts of coffee and tea.
(c)5 bottles (up to 120ml) of perfume.
(d)And gifts up to a value of DM500.
More than two sets of playing cards, narcotics, sharp implements
(a)The export of souvenirs such as carpets is subject to customs
regulations regarding age and value.
(b)The export of antiques is forbidden, according to a list
available from the Turkish Embassy, Financial and Customs
(c)Minerals may only be exported under licence from the General
Directorate of Mining Exploration and Research.
Shaking hands is the normal form of greeting. Hospitality
is very important and visitors should respect Islamic customs.
Informal wear is acceptable, but beachwear should be confined
to the beach or poolside. Smoking is widely acceptable but
prohibited in cinemas, theatres, city buses and dolmuses (collective
A service charge is included in hotel and restaurant bills.