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Turkey

Straddling Europe and Asia, Turkey provides a bridge between cultures and continents. Secular and Westernised, it's still possible to get a flavour of traditional Turkey by stopping for tea at a street market or being scrubbed and massaged in a hamam steam bath. [See Turkey itinerary ideas]

Istanbul is the exotic hub where East meets West and ancient collides with modern. Formerly called Constantinople, this vibrant, evolving city straddles the Bosphorus and is Turkey's modern face. Yet it is also home to architectural wonders such as Aya Sofia, a cathedral built by the Romans and converted into a mosque by the conquering Ottomans. It features an enormous dome and some stunning Byzantine mosaics. Make sure to also see the Topkapi Palace, admire the minarets of the Blue Mosque and browse the intoxicating Grand Bazaar.

Go in search of archaeological sites and ruins at Ephesus, the best-preserved ancient city in the region, travel to Pergamum to see the Acropolis and Asclepion or watch sunrise over the enormous sculpted heads lying on the mountain top at Nemrut Dagi. Tour the Gallipoli Peninsula to see the poignant Anzac battlefields, trek into the Kackar Mountains to see Sumela monastery clinging to a rockface or explore the ruins of the Ishak Pasa Palace as the sunsets over Mt Ararat.

Elsewhere, Cappadocia has an unusual landscape of surreal rock formations. Capped pinnacles and jutting ravines hide dwellings hewn from the rock and are the remains of a semi-troglodyte population, which can best be appreciated from a hot air balloon. Elsewhere, in East Anatolia, the landscape is a mixture of red ochre plateaux, forests, waterfalls and green pastures whilst the peak of Mount Agri is permanently snow-capped.

The Turquoise Coast is a beautiful stretch of shore; drift along it and explore the archipelago of islands that lie close by on board a gullet or traditional sailing craft. Weigh anchor in secluded bays to explore historic sites or snorkel in clear waters. Ports such as Fethiye are perfect places to pick up a boat. Alternatively, walk sections of the Lycian Way to appreciate the rugged beauty of this region.

WEXAS Travel brochure for Turkey

Europe

Our in depth guide packed with background information, sample itineraries designed by our experts and hand-picked suggestions for what to see and do, where to stay and when best to go.


When to go

The climate in Turkey depends on the proximity to the coast. The coastal regions experience mild winters and warm, dry summers, whereas inland temperatures vary wildly, especially towards the eastern end of the country, where winters see heavy snowfall and sub-zero temperatures and summers bring oven-like conditions, with temperatures reaching the mid-40s.

The pleasant summer temperatures along the coast attract big holiday crowds. Spring and autumn can be the best seasons for visiting Turkey, when temperatures don't make sightseeing quite so exhausting (or, during periods of heavy snowfall and intense cold, near-impossible) and coastal resorts are a little quieter.

JANUARY FEBRUARY MARCH APRIL MAY JUNE JULY AUGUST SEPTEMBER OCTOBER NOVEMBER DECEMBER
 BEST TIME
 GOOD TIME
 SOME LIMITATIONS

Essential Experiences

We’ve rounded up our list of recommended sites and things to do. Click on the map to enlarge it and see what we suggest or follow the links in the list to discover how to get the best out of your holiday.


Practical Information

Capital - Ankara

Size - 783,562 sq km

Language - Turkish (official), Kurdish, other minority languages

Population - 80 million

Religion - Muslim (>99%)

Currency - Turkish lira

Time zone - GMT +2

Flight time from the UK - 4hrs

Festivals

January - Camel wrestling festival, Selçuk

April - Istanbul film festival

JuneAspendos international opera and ballet festival

June - Kirkpinar, annual Turkish oil-wrestling tournament, held since the 1300s.

July - Istanbul international music festival

August - Taskopru culture and garlic festival

October - Büyükçekmece international culture and art festival

December - Mevlâna festival, festival of whirling dervishes in Konya

Visas

Please note that entry requirements and visa regulations can change often and at short notice. We can provide general information about the passport and visa requirements for your trip and this information may be included after the itinerary section of your quotation. Your specific passport and visa requirements and other immigration requirements are your responsibility and you should confirm these with the relevant Embassies and/or Consulates. Neither we nor the principal(s) or supplier(s) accept any responsibility if you cannot travel because you have not complied with any passport, visa or immigration requirements. Please call your WEXAS specialist if you wish to discuss entry requirements.

Passport requirements

Passports must be valid for a minimum of six months and have at least three months validity from the date you leave Turkey.

Money

The Turkish lira is the official currency of Turkey. Coins come in denominations of 5kr (kurus), 10kr, 25kr, 50kr and 1-lira; notes in denominations of 5, 10, 20, 50, 100 and 200-lira.

The most widely accepted credit cards are Visa and Mastercard. A surcharge is sometimes added to the cost of a purchase. This can be 5% or 10% of the overall price. There are ATMs throughout Turkey, many with instructions in English. There's likely to be a small charge for foreign transactions, though exchange rates at ATMs are generally as good as you'll find anywhere else.

Be sure to notify your bank of your travels to avoid them from blocking your card when an international transaction is made.

Regions [7]

Click on a place name below to find out more. Alternatively, to start planning where to go in Turkey, talk to one of our destination specialists on 020 7590 0621.


Itinerary ideas [12]

The itinerary ideas listed below are designed to give you a flavour of the things to do in Turkey. We can adjust any element and tailor-make your trip though, to suit your individual needs and available time. To start planning your trip, talk to one of our destination specialists on 020 7590 0621.

The Golden Eagle Balkan Explorer

From £6195 pp
Rail journey History & culture City

Enjoy the highest standards of luxury accommodation, cuisine and service as you travel from Istanbul to Venice aboard the Golden Eagle Danube Express, passing …

Marvels of Turkey

From £1995 pp incl. flights
History & culture Food & wine City

Turkey, where east meets west, is renowned for its vibrant culture and as the home of some of Mediterranean Europe's most impressive historical sites, such as …

Best of Istanbul and Bodrum

From £1785 pp incl. flights
History & culture Beach City

Straddling the deep blue waters of the Bosphorus, at the crossroads of Europe and Asia, the ancient city of Istanbul is one of the world's truly great travel …

Ancient Turkey and the Cotton Castle

History & culture City Natural world

Discover Turkey's most important ancient sites on this enthralling nine-day guided tour, staying in four-star accommodation throughout. Along with your …

Istanbul, Cappadocia & Old Antalya

Small group History & culture City

Discover the mesmerising sights and sounds of Istanbul, the dramatic landscape and rich history of Cappadocia and the gorgeous beaches of Antalya on Turkey's …

Gulf of Hisaronu luxury gulet cruise

Cruise Beach

It's hard to imagine a more relaxing ways to travel than by luxury gulet - the traditional wooden yachts found along Turkey's beautiful southern coast. Spend …

Danube Express

The Danube Express is a luxurious private train offering a unique and relaxing way to travel to some of central Europe's most iconic destinations. On board …

Places to stay [12]

The places to stay listed below only represent a handful of the accommodation options available in Turkey. We can also recommend and arrange accommodation to suit your personal tastes and budget. To start planning where to stay in Turkey, talk to one of our destination specialists on 020 7590 0621.

Gloria Golf Resort, Turkey

Special offer Deluxe

What does Deluxe mean

?
x

WEXAS accommodation rating

  • EXCEPTIONAL: Ultra-luxury hotels that look to redefine the boundaries of experience, service and facilities (typically higher than 5 stars)
  • DELUXE: Outstanding accommodation with top-of-the-range facilities and excellent service, usually in a fantastic location (typically 5 stars)
  • SUPERIOR: A higher standard of accommodation with a better range and quality of facilities, often in a good location (typically 4 stars)
  • STANDARD: A good standard of clean and comfortable accommodation with a reasonable range of facilities (typically 3 stars)
  • BASIC: Simple accommodation with limited facilities that can be in remote areas where accommodation is extremely limited (typically 1 or 2 stars).
£££££

What does this price mean

?
x

WEXAS price guide

£££££ typically more than £400 per room per night

£££££ typically up to £400 per room per night

£££££ typically up to £300 per room per night

£££££ typically up to £200 per room per night

£££££ typically up to £100 per room per night

Note that hotel rates can vary widely depending on factors such as season

Sports & activities Golf Relaxation

Located near the small town of Belek on Turkey's spectacular Mediterranean coast and set between two 18-hole championship golf courses and a nine-hole academy …

Kempinski Hotel Barbaros Bay, Bodrum

Deluxe

What does Deluxe mean

?
x

WEXAS accommodation rating

  • EXCEPTIONAL: Ultra-luxury hotels that look to redefine the boundaries of experience, service and facilities (typically higher than 5 stars)
  • DELUXE: Outstanding accommodation with top-of-the-range facilities and excellent service, usually in a fantastic location (typically 5 stars)
  • SUPERIOR: A higher standard of accommodation with a better range and quality of facilities, often in a good location (typically 4 stars)
  • STANDARD: A good standard of clean and comfortable accommodation with a reasonable range of facilities (typically 3 stars)
  • BASIC: Simple accommodation with limited facilities that can be in remote areas where accommodation is extremely limited (typically 1 or 2 stars).
£££££

What does this price mean

?
x

WEXAS price guide

£££££ typically more than £400 per room per night

£££££ typically up to £400 per room per night

£££££ typically up to £300 per room per night

£££££ typically up to £200 per room per night

£££££ typically up to £100 per room per night

Note that hotel rates can vary widely depending on factors such as season

Beach Spa Relaxation

Overlooking pristine Barbaros Bay, the Kempinski Hotel Barbaros Bay is within easy reach of central Bodrum and its vibrant nightlife and an easy journey from …

Hilton Bodrum Turkbuku Resort and Spa, Turkey

Deluxe

What does Deluxe mean

?
x

WEXAS accommodation rating

  • EXCEPTIONAL: Ultra-luxury hotels that look to redefine the boundaries of experience, service and facilities (typically higher than 5 stars)
  • DELUXE: Outstanding accommodation with top-of-the-range facilities and excellent service, usually in a fantastic location (typically 5 stars)
  • SUPERIOR: A higher standard of accommodation with a better range and quality of facilities, often in a good location (typically 4 stars)
  • STANDARD: A good standard of clean and comfortable accommodation with a reasonable range of facilities (typically 3 stars)
  • BASIC: Simple accommodation with limited facilities that can be in remote areas where accommodation is extremely limited (typically 1 or 2 stars).
£££££

What does this price mean

?
x

WEXAS price guide

£££££ typically more than £400 per room per night

£££££ typically up to £400 per room per night

£££££ typically up to £300 per room per night

£££££ typically up to £200 per room per night

£££££ typically up to £100 per room per night

Note that hotel rates can vary widely depending on factors such as season

Beach Family Relaxation

Located on the northern tip of the beautiful Bodrum Peninsula with views of the Aegean Sea, Hilton Bodrum Turkbuku Resort & Spa offers luxury beachfront …

D-Hotel Maris, Turkey

Beach Spa

Set high up on a hillside on Turkey's stunning Datça Peninsula where the Mediterranean meets the Aegean Sea, D-Hotel Maris offers exclusive accommodation in …

Likya Residence Hotel & Spa, Kalkan

Superior

What does Superior mean

?
x

WEXAS accommodation rating

  • EXCEPTIONAL: Ultra-luxury hotels that look to redefine the boundaries of experience, service and facilities (typically higher than 5 stars)
  • DELUXE: Outstanding accommodation with top-of-the-range facilities and excellent service, usually in a fantastic location (typically 5 stars)
  • SUPERIOR: A higher standard of accommodation with a better range and quality of facilities, often in a good location (typically 4 stars)
  • STANDARD: A good standard of clean and comfortable accommodation with a reasonable range of facilities (typically 3 stars)
  • BASIC: Simple accommodation with limited facilities that can be in remote areas where accommodation is extremely limited (typically 1 or 2 stars).

Likya Residence Hotel and Spa is a boutique adults-only hotel. Sitting with its toes in the Mediterranean, Boasting some of the largest rooms in Kalkan the …

The Yacht Classic Hotel, Fethiye, Turkey

Deluxe

What does Deluxe mean

?
x

WEXAS accommodation rating

  • EXCEPTIONAL: Ultra-luxury hotels that look to redefine the boundaries of experience, service and facilities (typically higher than 5 stars)
  • DELUXE: Outstanding accommodation with top-of-the-range facilities and excellent service, usually in a fantastic location (typically 5 stars)
  • SUPERIOR: A higher standard of accommodation with a better range and quality of facilities, often in a good location (typically 4 stars)
  • STANDARD: A good standard of clean and comfortable accommodation with a reasonable range of facilities (typically 3 stars)
  • BASIC: Simple accommodation with limited facilities that can be in remote areas where accommodation is extremely limited (typically 1 or 2 stars).

The Yacht Classic Hotel is a contemporary boutique hotel located next to the marina in Fethiye, just a short walk from the many shops, bars and restaurants.

Neorion Hotel, Istanbul, Turkey

This property only opened in October 2011 but it’s already taken the top slot on Tripadvisor for it’s attention to personal service and it’s warm …

Mediterranean Offers

Holidaying in the sun-drenched Mediterranean has never been more appealing, with an incredible diversity of destinations, cultures and cuisine, along with a …

Hotel Levni, Istanbul

Location is the key to this modern property, just a five-minute stroll from the walls of Istanbul's old town as well as being well positioned for the nearby …

Hilton Dalaman, Turkey

Occupying a prime position on Sarigerme beach, this new ultra modern all-inclusive beachside resort enjoys splendid views of the Mediterranean, the mountains …

Ottoman Residence, Akyaka, Turkey

A charming and rustic hotel situated in an idyllic riverfront setting. This traditional Mugla style property has just 39 rooms and is perfect for those seeking …

Rhapsody Hotel, Kalkan, Turkey

With stunning views over Kalkan, this is a unique property set in a hillside location, close to the resort centre. The Rhapsody Hotel is perfect for couples …

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