Turkey changed their name to the Republic of Türkiye or shorter Türkiye. It is a unique country that is located on the two continents Europe and Asia. This country has much to offer from history to nature and culture. There are many magical places to discover in this beautiful country. Besides all the amazing things you can visit in Türkiye it’s important to know some things before you go so you are prepared.
There is much to know about this country. That’s why in this blog I wrote about the following:
Emergency number: 112
Police: 155 in Istanbul
Tip: wear appropriate clothing even though Türkiye is laid back it is still a Muslim country, and you should respect their culture by wearing appropriate clothing. Definitely when you go outside the touristic areas. Make sure you bring a scarf in case you need to cover up more.
Most tourists need a Visa to enter Türkiye. Check if you need a Visa to enter Türkiye on the website of Ministry of Foreign Affairs.
Information that you must know about Türkiye
There is a lot of tourism in Türkiye and there is a reason why. It’s one of the most visited countries in the whole world. The country offers something for everybody from big cities to beach resorts to hiking in nature, or even skiing in the mountains.
Some general information that you need to know:
- Capital: Ankara
- Currency: Turkish Lira (TL)
- Official languages: Turkish
- Largest religion: Islam
- Surface: 783,562 km2
- Inhabitants: 84,780,000 (2021)
- Republic day: 29th October 1923
Besides the general information there are some important things you should know before you go:
- Make sure you always have cash with you.
- When you want to buy something make sure you first ask prices in different places because it can vary a lot. You also need to bargain, never pay the full price. You first ask how much it costs and most of the time you can try to ask for half the price. Then you can discuss to pay a bit more but still less than the ‘original’ price.
- It’s best not to drink tap water in Türkiye.
- Check if you need a travel adapter. It’s C- and F-type voltage 220V which is the most common European outlet.
- Don’t take a taxi unless the price is agreed in front. The taxis are known to defraud tourists. You can take a taxi if you want to, but you need to watch out because they will take a longer route etc. It’s best to take an Uber if you want to take a taxi, but they can still try to deceive you. So be aware of this.
- There are some websites banned which means you can not access certain websites like Wikipedia and Booking.com.
- The toilets are squat toilets. Make sure you bring toilet paper or tissues with you because it’s not always available. Also, bringing sanitizer can be a good idea.
- Always take off your shoes before you enter a house and never refuse food or tea when you visit somebody. Offering tea is a sign of hospitality.
- You need to be covered up when you visit a mosque. Women need to be fully covered and need to cover their head. The men need to wear long pants and keep their shoulders covered.
- Ask for permission if you want to take a picture of somebody!
- Don’t show too much of public affection.
Get used to Türkiye Time, which means later than the scheduled time.
Some basic Turkish that is handy to know:
- Hello = Merhaba
- Thank you = Teşekkürler
- Goodbye = Güle güle
- Yes = evet ; no = hayir
Weather and landscape in Türkiye
Türkiye is a big country which means it has different climates, there are four climates in this country. There is the Mediterranean climate which means the summers are dry and hot and the winters are rainy and mild. The Black Sea climate which means the summers are cool and winters are not too cold at the coast area but cold and snowy in the higher places. Terrestrial climate where during the summer and winter the day and night temperatures differences are large. The last climate you can find is the Marmara climate that has the characteristics of all the climates mentioned above.
Rainfall is mostly in spring and winter. The best time to visit Türkiye is from April until the end of May because the temperature is good then. It’s not too hot and not too cold. September to October is also a pleasant time to visit Türkiye with good temperatures.
The landscape of Türkiye is unbelievable. There are mountains, beaches, lowland and more. It’s best to visit multiple places in Türkiye and discover the landscapes. Some places with impressive landscapes are:
- The Kure national park has some amazing landscape.
- In the Denizli Province there are natural hot springs that are stunning. You will find this unique landscape at Pamukkale which means ‘cotton castle’ in Turkish. Enjoy some beautiful, special, natural springs.
- For beautiful coastal views visit the area Fethiye which is the butterfly valley. You should also go to the town Ölüdeniz that lies more to the south. It has a beautiful landscape, and the Blue Lagoon is a unique scenic place. If you go more South, you can visit the little fishing village Kaş with stunning scenic views over the sea.
- Cappadocia is a unique landscape with rock pinnacles. Caves and cliffs made by subsequent erosion. Visit the town of Göreme and the national park.
- The mountain Nemrut in the Kahta district of Adiyaman.
- Lake Van the largest lake of Türkiye.
- The Büyük Ağrı Dağı also called Great Ararat is the highest peak in Türkiye. It’s 5,165 meters high.
Transport in Türkiye
It is possible to get around with public transport and it’s best to avoid taxis because they will try to scam you. If you want to take a taxi, I recommend you take an Uber and check the reviews. Make sure you know what you should pay for the ride because some taxi drivers like to ask for extra money or like to drive a longer route, so you need to pay more.
The public transport is good, and you can take buses, domestic flights, ferries, trains, and minibuses. Read more about getting around in Türkiye on the Rough Guides.
Another way to get around is by car. It’s important to know that you need to pay attention when you drive a car in Türkiye. The roads are quite good, and signs are clear but still drive carefully. Also know that Türkiye is a very big country so it’s almost impossible to see everything. Make some choices and visit a part of the country.
Food in Türkiye
Türkiye is known for their kebabs but besides the meat-dishes there are many vegetarian-friendly dishes in the Turkish cuisine. Turkish food is delicious and there are many things you need to try out.
Some dishes you should try are the following:
- Turkish breakfast with scrambled eggs, peppers, tomatoes, and spices is called menemen.
- Katmer is sweet pastry that they eat for breakfast or desert. It’s made with phyllo dough, butter, pistachios, and cream.
- Turkish bread is delicious, and you must try this. There are many different kinds like Simit, Acma, Bazlama,etc.
- Roasted chickpeas are eaten as a snack and are called Leblebi.
- A Meze platter is perfect to try out different dishes. It’s an assortment of dishes like spreads, salads, seafood, beans, etc. that are placed all on the table served with bread. Most of the time it’s served at the start of a meal like an appetizer.
- Turkish bulgur salad is called kisir and it’s a vegetarian dish.
- Manti is the Turkish ravioli usually made with beef or lamb.
- A Turkish baked potato filled with cheese, butter and topping like veggies, meat, etc. is called Kumpir. Most of the time you can choose your toppings on the potato.
- The boat type Turkish pizza made with flatbread is called Pide. It’s like a long pizza shaped like a boat. There are many ingredients they put on it and it’s baked in a stone oven.
- The thin Turkish pizza without cheese is also called Lahmacun and it’s different than the Italian pizza. The crust is crispy and thin, and they top it with many different ingredients. An ingredient that they don’t use is cheese.
- Börek are stuffed pastries made with phyllo dough filled with different ingredients like vegetables, meat, cheese, etc.
- The meat food in Türkiye that most of the people know is Kebab. There are different kinds of kebab, like the İskender kebap or Alexander kebab which is made from finely sliced grilled lamb. Most of the time it is served with sauce, pita bread, vegetables, etc. There is also the şiş kebap which is served on wooden or metal skewers.
- A Turkish wrap with lavash or yufka bread filled with most of the time doner meat is called Dürüm. There are also vegetarian options available.
- For the fish lovers there is the fish sandwich called Balık Ekmek.
- Hamsili Pivlav is an oven dish made with rice, nuts, raisins, lemon, herbs, and wrapped in anchovies.
- A special dish in Türkiye is mussels stuffed with rice, currants, pine nuts, and spices called midye dolmas.
- Gözleme is a dough filled with different ingredients like vegetables, cheese, meat, etc.
- Baklava is a delicious, sweet dessert pastry made with nuts and syrup.
- The Turkish Delight is a traditional sweet in Türkiye that you must try. It consists of dates, nuts, orange, mastic, rosewater, and icing sugar.
Tip: the tap water is not drinkable, so I recommend you buy bottled water or bring water purification tablets to add to your bottle. You can also bring a bottle with a filter.
There are much more dishes you can try out, this is just a selection. If you are planning to visit Istanbul, read our blog 20 things to do in the Istanbul.