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  • Danieka Strathdee

Turkey Travel Tips

I recently had the opportunity to travel to Istanbul, Turkey and let me tell you, it was an unforgettable experience. Istanbul is a city that truly embodies the essence of East meets West and is a perfect blend of modern and traditional. From the moment I stepped foot in this city, I was mesmerised by its rich history, vibrant culture, and breathtaking architecture. Here are some Turkey travel tips.

When is the best time to visit?

Istanbul is a bustling city that is best visited in the shoulder seasons of spring and fall, specifically April to June and September to November. During these months, the weather is mild and pleasant, allowing visitors to comfortably explore the city's famous landmarks and outdoor markets. Additionally, the crowds are smaller than the peak tourist season, making it easier to navigate and experience the city's rich culture and history. Whether you're looking to stroll through the iconic Sultanahmet neighbourhood or wander through the colourful bazaars of the Grand Bazaar, a visit to Istanbul during the shoulder seasons is sure to leave a lasting impression.

10 of Istanbul's top sights:

  1. The Hagia Sophia - This magnificent architectural wonder is a former cathedral, mosque, and now a museum that showcases the rich history of Istanbul.

  2. The Blue Mosque - Known for its stunning blue tiles and intricate details, the Blue Mosque is a must-visit for anyone interested in Islamic architecture.

  3. The Topkapi Palace - Once the residence of the Ottoman sultans, this palace is now a museum showcasing the opulent lifestyle of the imperial court.

  4. The Grand Bazaar - With its maze-like alleyways and over 4,000 shops, the Grand Bazaar is one of the largest and oldest covered markets in the world.

  5. The Basilica Cistern - This ancient underground water storage facility is a unique and fascinating site to explore.

  6. The Galata Tower - Standing at over 60 meters tall, this tower offers stunning views of the city and the Bosphorus.

  7. The Dolmabahçe Palace - This 19th-century palace was the last residence of the Ottoman sultans and is now a museum showcasing its luxurious interiors.

  8. The Chora Museum - This former Byzantine church is now a museum that houses some of the most beautiful examples of Byzantine art and mosaics.

  9. The Spice Bazaar - This bustling market is filled with the sights and smells of exotic spices, Turkish sweets, and other local delicacies.

  10. The Bosphorus Strait - Take a boat tour along this iconic waterway that separates Europe and Asia and offers stunning views of the city's skyline.

Coastal escape from Turkey?

Tip: If you are looking for a more coastal experience like us go to Cesme. We caught a cheap flight from Istanbul to the nearby Adnan Menderes Airport, which is just a few minutes from the city center.

Food and culture in Turkey

As a traveler, I can attest to the fact that food and culture are integral parts of any destination. Turkey is no exception, and its unique blend of Eastern and Western influences creates a rich and diverse culinary landscape.

  1. Rich and flavourful cuisine - Turkish cuisine is known for its rich, bold flavors and diverse range of dishes. From succulent kebabs and juicy grilled meats to savory stews and fresh salads, there's something for everyone in Turkish cuisine.

  2. Street food culture - In Turkey, street food is a way of life. Whether you're grabbing a quick bite on the go or sitting down for a leisurely meal, you'll find plenty of delicious and affordable options on the streets of Turkey. Don't be afraid to haggle here!

  3. Fresh and local ingredients - Turkish cuisine is all about fresh, seasonal ingredients, and local markets are a great place to experience the best of what the country has to offer. From juicy tomatoes and crisp cucumbers to sweet melons and fragrant herbs, the flavours of Turkish cuisine are always at their peak.

  4. Traditional dishes - From savory manti (Turkish dumplings) to sweet baklava, there are plenty of traditional dishes to try in Turkey. Don't miss out on the famous Turkish breakfast, a spread of fresh bread, cheeses, olives, and eggs that will start your day off right.

  5. Cultural influence - Turkey's unique blend of Eastern and Western influences is reflected in its food culture. From the spicy seasonings and slow-cooked stews of the east to the fresh salads and grilled meats of the west, Turkish cuisine is a true reflection of the country's rich cultural heritage.

  6. Tea culture - Tea is an integral part of Turkish culture, and it's not uncommon to see people sipping on glasses of steaming tea throughout the day. Whether you're grabbing a quick cup on the street or sitting down for a more leisurely tea ceremony, it's a great way to experience the local culture.

  7. Dining etiquette - In Turkey, dining is a communal and social experience. When eating out, it's common to share dishes and enjoy a relaxed and leisurely meal with friends and family.

Whether you're a foodie or just looking to experience the local culture, Turkish cuisine is a must-try. From its rich flavors and diverse range of dishes to its street food culture and traditional specialties, Turkish food is an essential part of any trip to the country.

Budgeting for Turkey: Travel Tips

As a budget-conscious traveller, I was pleasantly surprised by how affordable a trip to Turkey can be. Depending on your travel style and the time of year you visit, you can easily find ways to stretch your budget and get the most out of your trip.

  1. Accommodation - There is a wide range of accommodation options in Turkey, from budget-friendly hostels to luxury hotels. You can expect to pay anywhere from $10 to $100 or more per night for a place to stay, depending on your budget and preferences.

  2. Food - One of the great things about travelling in Turkey is the affordability of food. Whether you're grabbing a quick bite on the street or sitting down for a more leisurely meal, you can expect to pay anywhere from $2 to $20 or more for a meal.

  3. Transportation - Turkey has a well-developed public transportation system, and it's easy to get around the country by bus, train, or taxi. Expect to pay anywhere from a few cents to a few dollars for a ride, depending on the distance and mode of transportation.

  4. Activities - There are plenty of free or low-cost activities to enjoy in Turkey, from exploring ancient ruins and historical sites to relaxing on the beach or shopping in local markets. You can also choose to splurge on more expensive activities, such as hot air balloon rides or boat tours, if you're looking for a more luxurious experience.

  5. Visas and entry fees - Depending on your nationality, you may need to purchase a visa in advance of your trip to Turkey. The cost of a visa will vary depending on your country of origin and the length of your stay, but you can expect to pay anywhere from $20 to $100 or more.

Dress considerations: What to wear in Turkey?

  1. Modest attire - In general, it's best to dress modestly in Turkey, especially when visiting mosques or other religious sites. This means covering your arms and legs and avoiding overly revealing clothing.

  2. Light, breathable fabrics - Turkey can get quite warm, especially in the summer months, so it's important to wear lightweight, breathable fabrics like cotton or linen.

  3. Comfortable shoes - With so much to see and do in Turkey, you'll be doing a lot of walking, so make sure to pack a pair of comfortable shoes.

  4. Sun protection - Whether you're exploring the bustling streets of Istanbul or relaxing on the beach, it's important to protect yourself from the sun. Pack a hat, sunglasses, and sunscreen to stay protected.

  5. Respectful clothing - When visiting religious sites or other cultural landmarks in Turkey, it's important to dress respectfully and avoid clothing with offensive graphics or logos.

  6. Layering - The temperature in Turkey can vary greatly, especially in the evenings, so it's a good idea to pack layers that you can easily add or remove as needed.

  7. Casual and comfortable - Turkey is a relaxed and casual country, so there's no need to pack anything too fancy or formal. Instead, focus on comfortable and practical clothing that you can wear while exploring the city.


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