On Entry / Visa:
While planning your trip to Turkey do not forget to check your passport if it is valid for at least 90 days. Depending on your nationality, most probably your stay as a tourist is limited up to 3 months (for one entrance). For tourist visas, there is no need to apply in advance or to fill in any forms. If you are flying to Turkey, you will buy your visa at the Turkish airport on arrival. You will see the visa desk, situated just before passport control. You must buy your visa, which will be stamped on your passaport by the official, before you join the queue for passport control. The visa for UK passport holders currently costs £10 and must be paid for with a Sterling note. The visa for other EU state-passport holders currently costs € 10 and must be paid for with a Euro note. Visas are multiple entries and are valid for three months. Each passport-holder, including infants, must purchase a visa. With tourist visas you will not have the right to take up paid or unpaid employment or to reside, or to study (including student exchange program) or to establish yourself in business in Turkey.
For more detailed information click here.
It is permitted to bring the following items into Turkey as duty free goods: Wines, Tobacco & Other Luxury Items. The following allowances apply to the import of both domestic and foreign goods: 200 cigarettes (1 Box) and 50 cigars. Plus: 200 grams tobacco and 200 cigarette papers or 200 grams pipe tobacco or 200 grams chewing tobacco or 200 grams tobacco for argyle or 50 grams snuff. In addition to the above allowances, it is also possible to purchase 200 cigarettes, 100 cigars and 500 grams pipe tobacco in the Turkish Duty Free Shops when entering the country.
The following may also be imported: 1.5 kg coffee; 1.5 kg instant coffee; 500 go teas; 1 kg Chocolate; 1 kg Confectionery; 1 (100 cl) or 2 (75cl or 70 cl) bottles of wine and/or spirits; cologne, lavender water, perfume, essence and lotion (120 ml maximum of each).
In order to avoid any problems when leaving the country it is recommended that you register valuable items at the customs office on entry to Turkey. All personal belongings and articles made of precious stones or metals (with no commercial purposes) worth under USDS 15,000 may be brought into and taken out of the country. Jewellery worth more than this amount may only be taken out of the country providing it has been registered on entry or that you can prove that it was purchased in Turkey with legally exchanged currency.
Other Customs Regulations:
Please note that the information provided above is intended to cover items usually carried by tourists visiting Turkey. If you are planning a longer stay or are carrying anything unusual into or out of the country, it is best to check the regulations in more detail.
One black-and-white television; one colour TV (up to 55cm screen); one pocket colour TV up to 16cm screen; one black-and-white television-radio-tape (combination); one video recording camera and 5 video tape cassettes (blank); camera with eight mm (with ten blank films); one slide machine; pocket PC (Up to 128MB Ram); compact disc player; one portable radio and radio-tape (the properties of the radio-tape will be determined by the undersecretary.); one walkman or small tape-recorder; Game Boys without cassettes and cartridge; record, cassette or compact disc maximum of 5 for each; GSM-Pocket phone (With SIM cards) will be permitted to pass through Customs.
Two partitioned camping tent; one diving suit for underwater diving sports (The quality and efficiency of the suit to be determined by the undersecretary.); glider (a pair); one boat; one surfboard with sailing equipment for water sports; flippers (one pair); other personal belongings one apiece (except for sea motorcycle and sledge); chess set; draughts set; five packs of playing cards will be permitted to pass through Customs.
You Can Receive a Tax Refund for the Goods You Purchased In Turkey! Refunds will be made to travellers who do not reside in Turkey. All goods (including food and drinks) are included in the refunds with the exclusion of services rendered. The minimum amount of purchase that qualifies for refund is 5.000.000 TL.
Retailers that qualify for tax refunds must be authorised for refund. These retailers must display a permit received from their respective tax office. The retailer will make four copies of the receipt for your refund, three of which will be received by the purchaser. If photocopies of the receipt are received the retailer must sign and stamp the copies to validate them. If you prefer the refund to be made by check, a Tax-Free Shopping Check for the amount to be refunded to the customer must be given along with the receipt. For the purchaser to benefit from this exemption he must leave the country within three months with the goods purchased showing them to Turkish customs officials along with the appropriate receipts and/or check.
There are four ways to receive your refund:
- If the retailer gives you a check it can he cashed at a bank in the customs area at the airport
- If it is not possible to cash the check upon departure or if you do not wish to cash it then, the customer must, within one month, send a copy of the receipt showing that the goods have left the country to the retailer who will, within ten days upon receiving the receipt, send a bank transfer to the purchaser’s hank or address
- If the certified receipt and check are brought back to the retailer on a subsequent visit within one-month of the date of customs certification, the refund can be made directly to the purchaser
- Retailers may directly refund the amount to trustworthy customers upon purchase. The refund may be made by the organisation of those companies that are authorised to make tax refunds.
Beds belonging to the ill passengers; motorised and non-motorised wheelchairs; drugs for personal treatment; gas mask and similar protective clothing (maximum 2 pieces) will be permitted to pass through Customs.
One portable typewriter; one camera (plus maximum 5 films); one pram for each child passenger; one bicycle for each child passenger; toys for child passengers (maximum 10); pocket calculator with battery; one iron (with or without steam diffusion); 1 x 1.5 metre seccade (prayer rug) made from wool, cotton or synthetic fabric); one pair binoculars (except night binoculars); one table clock; one gas stove will also be permitted to pass through Customs.
Those who wish to enter the country with their vans, minibuses, automobiles, station wagons, bicycles, motorcycles, motorbikes, sidecars, buses, motor coaches, trailers, caravans or other transport vehicles, will have to provide the following documentations:- Passport - International driving license - The Identification Card - Car license - International green card (Insurance card) - The TR sign should be visible - Transit book Carnet de passage (for those who want to proceed to the Middle East) - Car license Document, where all details related to the car and the owner’s name are registered, are to be used. If it is a vehicle of someone else, a power of attorney should be provided. Period: the vehicle can be brought into Turkey for up to 6 Months. The owner should declare on the opposite form, the date of departure at the border gate and should absolutely leave the country at the date declared. If for any important reason the staying period has to be ended, it is necessary to apply to the below addresses before the end of the period declared.
In Case of Accident:
the accident should be reported to the police or gendarme. That report has to be certified by the nearest local authority. The owner should apply to the customs authority with his passport and report.If the vehicle can be repaired, it is necessary to inform the customs authority first and take the vehicle to a garage. If the vehicle is not repairable and if the owner wishes to leave the country without his vehicle, he has to deliver it to the nearest customs office, and the registration of his vehicle on his passport will be cancelled. (Only after the cancellation can the owner of the vehicle leave the country.) Following an accident, you can telephone: Trafik Polisi (Traffic Police), Tel 154; Jandarma (Gendarme), Tel 156For more information, contact the Touring and Automobile Association of Turkey.
Formalities for Private Yacht owners:
Yachts require a Transit Log and may remain in Turkish waters for up to two years maintenance or for wintering. For further information and regulations contact the marina concerned.Upon arriving in Turkish waters, yachts should immediately go for control of the ship to the nearest port of entry which are as follows: Iskenderun, Botas (Adana), Mersin, Tasucu, Anamur, Alanya, Antalya, Kemer, Finike, Kas, Fethiye, Marmaris, Datça, Bodrum, Güllük Didim, Kusadasi, Çesme, Izmir, Dikili, Ayvalik, Akçay, Çanakkale, Bandirma, Tekirdag, Istanbul, Zonguldak, Sinop, Samsun, Ordu, Giresun, Trabzon, Rize, Hopa.Port Formalities: All the required information concerning the yacht, yachtsmen, members, intended route, passports, customs declarations, health clearance, and any obligatory matters must be entered in the Transit Log.The Transit Log is to be completed by the captain of a yacht. Generally, it is necessary to contact the Harbour Authority before leaving. For information on tax-free fuel, contact the Marina Harbour Office.
Note: Provided you possess an official marina license, you may take petrol at no charge.
Currency & foreign exchange:
Turkish Lira is available in the following denominations: Banknotes: 1, 5,10,20,50 &100 TL Coins: 1, 5, 10, 25 & 50 kuruş and 1 TL . Usually, cash can be exchanged without charging commission in exchange offices, banks or hotels. (Travellers from UK should remember that Scottish notes are not accepted in Turkey)
Cash point machines (ATM) are available in most areas, which accept major European credit and cards and give instructions in English. It may be a good idea to inform your bank in advance that you are travelling to Turkey as some will automatically put a stop on cards after the first usage in an attempt to combat fraud.
Exchange rates are published daily in Turkish newspapers. If you are planning to exchange currency back from TL before leaving the country, or are making a major purchase, which may need to be declared to customs, you will need to keep your transaction receipts in order to show that the currency has been legally exchanged.
The official language is Turkish. English and German are widely spoken in major cities and tourist resorts, and you will find that most Turks welcome the opportunity to practise their language skills and will go out of their way to be helpful. Foreign visitors who attempt to speak even a few words of Turkish, however, will definitely be rewarded with even warmer smiles.
Some useful words and phrases:
Hello··· Merhaba (mare-hah-bah)
Good Morning··· Günaydin (goon-eye-din) (said on meeting)
Good Day··· iyi günler (ee-yee goo -n-ler) (said on meeting or parting)
Good evening··· iyi akşamlar (ee-yee ak-sham-lar) (said on meeting or parting)
Good night·· iyi geceler (ee-yee gedge -e-ler) (said on meeting or parting)
Please··· Lutfen (lute-fen)
Thanks·· Tesekkürler (tesh-e-kiir- ler)
Yes·· Evet (e-vet)
No··· Hayir (higher)
I want··· istiyorum (ist-ee-your-um)
When?··· Ne zaman? (nay za-man)
Today·· Bugün (boo-goon)
Tomorrow·· Yarın (yah-run)
Where?·· Nerede (ne’re-de)
My name is.......·· ismim......(is-mim)
Water·· su (sue)
Milk·· slit (suit)
Beer··· bira (beer-a)
Wine··· Şarap (shar-ap)
Tea·· cay (ch-eye)
Coffee·· kahve (car-vay)
Food··· yemek (ye-meck)
Be careful!·· Dikkat!
1· birr (beer)
2· icy (icky)
3· üç (ouch)
4· dört (dirt)
6· altı (al-ter)
8· sekiz (seck-is)
9· dokuz (dock-uz) 10· on (on)
Days of the Week:
Sunday·· Pazar. There are a number of phrase books and language guides, some with audio cassettes or CD’s, which are widely available.
Please note that bringing into or out of the country, together with consumption of, marijuana and other narcotics is strictly forbidden and is subject to heavy punishment. If you have prescribed medication, which you need to take on holiday with you, you will need a doctor’s note and/ or a copy of your prescription..
ID Cards and Passports:
Turks have compulsory ID cards, which they must carry with them at all times. Foreigners are also expected to carry such ID with them, which means that you should keep your passport with you at all times. In case you loose your passport, you should immediately contact your country’s embassy or consulate in Turkey.
There are two types of police in Turkey - civil police and military police, gendarme. In many areas you will see that there is the one or the other, and that both fulfil the same function. In some places, there are also specialist tourist police. If you need to report a crime you should go to the nearest police station to where the crime occurred. In touristic areas there will usually be someone available, who speaks English or you can always request a translator. You will usually be asked to submit and sign a statement. It is advisable to request a copy of any relative document in case you need it at a later stage.
To dial abroad from Turkey, dial the international code 00 followed by the country code, and then the number including the local area code, but removing the first 0. For example, a London number with an area code of 0207 would be dialed from Turkey as 00 44 207 followed by the number. To dial Turkey from abroad dial the international code 00 followed by the country code, 90 and then the number including the local area code, but removing the first 0. For example, a Fethiye number with an area code of 0252 would be dialled from abroad as 00 90 252 followed by the number.
There are public phone booths which accept cards or tokens (jeton) which can be bought from post offices (PTT) or local shops. Network coverage is extremely good and it is very rare to be in an area where your mobile does not work.
Mobile Phone: A mobile (cell) phone is very useful in Turkey. As foreigner, it is probably impossible to use a mobile phone in Turkey, even a new SIM-card is purchased from a Turkish mobile phone company. Several years ago, the Turkish government passed a law requiring all mobile phones used in Turkey to be registered with the government. Not just the SIM card, but the handset itself. Registration helps prevent terrorist acts. Turkish and foreign visitors are entitled to bring one mobile phone into Turkey each calendar year for use during their stay in Turkey. A personal mobile phone brought into Turkey in this manner is exempt from tax and duty. However, it is necessary to register the mobile phone in order to use it with a SIM card bought from a Turkish network operator. Unregistered phones will be blocked and unable to receive or make calls. There is no charge levied for this registration, and no customs documents are required. Take your mobile phone and your passport to a shop of a Turkish Network Operator (Avea, Turkcell or Telsim). Buy a SIM card, and the clerk will register the SIM card’s mobile phone number with your handset’s IMEI number, and with your personal information.
International Operator 115
Directory Assistance 118
Reversed Charge Calls 131
Fire Department 110
You can drive in Turkey with an international driving licence. You should have a copy of this, together with your passport and insurance documents with you in the car at all times, as you will need it if you are involved in an accident. All of the major international car rental companies, as well as a number of local ones, have offices at airports and all major centres. Driving in Turkey is on the right, as in continental Europe.
Turkish road signs conform to the International Protocol on Road Signs and archaeological and historic sites are indicated by yellow signs. Turkey has a good network of well-maintained roads. There is a 50 km per hour speed limit within urban centres and 90 km outside urban centres. Petrol stations are fairly easy to rind and on main highways, they are often open 24hrs and have restaurants and other facilities attached. Unleaded (kurşunsuz) petrol is easily available. If you are planning on driving to Turkey, as well as your passport, you will need to take your international driving licence, car registration documents and international green card (insurance card) with the TR sign clearly visible (NB: This can be purchased on arrival at the border). You can bring your own car into the country for up to six months. If you wish to keep your car in Turkey for more than six months, you are liable to pay import tax.
The preferred means of transport in Turkey is by coach and the air-conditioned intercity coach services are comfortable, fast and inexpensive. Each town has a bus station (otogar), where each bus company has its own office, where you can make reservations and buy tickets. Alternatively, you can buy tickets from local travel agencies.
If you have any queries relating to any-special needs for your holiday, it is best to check direct with us and/ or your tour operator before booking your holiday. The resorts which are located in relatively flat areas and are therefore, better suited to wheelchair users are: Marmaris, Icmeler, Dalyan, Fethiye/ Kaş Beach, Side. Anyone who has difficulty in walking should certainly avoid resorts on steep hills such as Kalkan and Tuning. Obviously, hotel locations vary so do check before booking. Some of the newer and larger hotels have rooms specifically designed for wheelchair users, however, even where hotels do not have specific facilities they will usually try their best to be helpful by, for example, allocating a ground floor room. Many Turkish resorts and cities are not planned for wheelchair access, which can make life difficult, however, you will find that Turks always try their best to be helpful and will gladly improvise to find a solution.
You will need to pay for any medical treatment which you receive in Turkey. For this reason it is advisable to take out medical insurance before travelling. It is not difficult to find English-speaking doctors in all but the most remote areas. There are also foreign run hospitals in many of the larger towns and resorts. You can find a list of hospitals on the British Consulate in Turkey website:http://www.embassy-worldwide.com/country/united-kingdom/ . There are pharmacies in most places with trained pharmacists who are able to offer advice on minor illnesses. Many more medicines are available over the counter.
Post Office Services:
Turkish post offices are easily recognizable by the yellow and black ’PTT’ signs in front of them. Major post offices are open from 08.30-17.30 Monday to Friday. In addition to selling stamps and telephone tokens and cards, some post offices will also exchange cash as well as international postal orders and travellers’ cheques. There is also an express postal service (APS) operating to 90 countries for letters, documents and small packages. A wide variety of special stamps are available in all PTT centers for philatelists.
Official Holidays/Working Hours:
Working Hours: Offices and banks are generally open from 9:00 AM to 5:00 PM from Monday to Friday, with a break between 12:00 to 1:30 PM
National / Official Holidays in Turkey: Apr 23 National Sovereignty and Children’s Day (anniversary of the establishment of Turkish Grand National Assembly)
May 19 Atatürk Commemoration and Youth & Sports Day (the arrival of Atatürk in Samsun, and the beginning of the War of Independence)
Aug 30 Victory Day (victory over invading forces in 1922)
Oct 29 Republic Day (anniversary of the declaration of the Turkish Republic)
Ramazan Bayramı / Sugar Feast : Three-day festival when sweets are eaten to celebrate the end of the fast of Ramazan. (A Moslem moveable feast) (The dates of these religious festivals change according to the Muslim lunar calendar and thus occur 12 days earlier each year.)
Kurban Bayramı / Sacrifies Feast : (A Moslem moveable feast) Four-day festival when sacrificial sheep are slaughtered and their meat distributed amongst the poor, neighbors and within the family
Family is very important to Turkish people, and you will find that children are welcomed everywhere, which makes for a very relaxing and enjoyable holiday. It is perfectly normal for even very young children to eat out in the evening with their parents. Many restaurants do provide high chairs, and those that don’t seem to be very good at improvising. Formula milk and nappies are easily available, although if you want a specific brand, then it is probably best to take it with you. It is not always easy to find baby food in jars, but restaurants and hotels are very accommodating and will usually be pleased to puree food for you. Again, if your child is used to a specific brand it may be better to take it with you. UHT milk is widely available in small cartons, with a straw, which is useful for toddlers and older children. Most hotels will provide cots if these are requested in advance. These can vary quite widely in standard, however, so it is a good idea to check in advance what type of cot is being provided and whether or not it is suitable for your child, some have lower sides than those common in the UK, for example, so are fine for a baby but not suitable for a more mobile toddler. Children’s car seats are still seen as a luxury item in Turkey but most tour operators and car hire companies will be able to provide them for you on request. You should not, however, assume that this will automatically be the case. Most of the large hotels have children’s clubs and are able to arrange babysitting services. There are also some tour operators who provide these services. In general, Turks and Turkey have a welcoming, relaxed approach to children and will go out of their way to be accommodating and helpful. As long as you are flexible you should have no problems.
Most museums and palaces are open every day of the week except Mondays. There are a few notable exceptions: Topkapı Palace is closed on Tuesdays instead of Mondays; Dolmabahçe Palace is closed Mondays and Thursdays and the Chora Church is closed on Wednesdays. For further information on museums visit: www.kulturturizm.gov.tr
Please note that it is strictly forbidden to export antiquities or antiques from Turkey and there are severe penalties for those who attempt to do so. In order to export such items legally it is necessary to obtain a certificate from a directorate of a museum. For further information visit:www.kulturturizm.gov.tr
The Marmara, Aegean and Mediterranean coasts display a typical Mediterranean climate of hot summers and mild winters. July and August are the hottest months with temperatures around 29°C. The humidity is a little high during summer in these regions. Temperatures increase a few degrees when traveling to the south and water temperatures also become warmer. The swimming season is from June to September along the Marmara and North Aegean coasts, while it is from April to October on the South Aegean and Mediterranean coasts.The Black Sea Region has a moderate climate; the summers are warm and winters are mild. In this region the rainfalls are heavier than in any other region. The swimming season in the Black Sea Region is from June to early September and the weather is not so dependable. There is quite a difference between the coastal regions and the inland regions which are at higher altitudes. The climate reaches its extremes in central and eastern Anatolia with hot, dry summers when the temperatures may reach 42°C, and cold, snowy winters. Spring and autumn are best for sightseeing and traveling.
Those who use 110 V or any other than 220 V at home need a converter as Turkey has 220 V power system. Please check your electric appliances before you use them in your hotel room. Only the five stars deluxe properties would have converters so it is advised to bring one with you in case it is needed.
Although tap water is chlorinated and, therefore, safe to drink, it is recommended that you consume bottled water, which is readily and cheaply available.
Food matters in Turkey:
Sanitation is taken seriously and strictly controlled in general by the authorities. Those who are vegetarian will be able to find vegetable food or at least omelet which is very popular in Turkey, almost in every town. The Turkish and Ottoman Kitchen is one of the world leading kitchens (Supposed to be the third after the Chinese and French). Dishes are mainly cooked with meat (lamb, chicken and cow -please note that in Turkey pork is not eaten-) and vegetables (Beans, Eggplant, Peppers, Onion, Garlic, Potatoes, Courgette). Rice, macaroni , local specialties made from flour (Pide, Manti, Gozleme, Borek...), sweets (Baklava, Kadayıf, Burma, Sobiyet ...) are all widely eaten. Most of the restaurants display their food in windows, or waiters can bring the samples if you request.
Weights and Measures
1 inch = 2.54 centimeters
1 centimeter = 0.3937 inches
1 yard = 0,9144 meters
1 meter = 1.0936 yards
1 mile = 1,6093 kilometers
1 kilometer = 0.6214 miles
1 pound = 0,4536 kilograms
1 kilogram = 2.2046 pounds
At various establishments like hotels, restaurants, Turkish baths, barbers and hairdressers, tipping at a rate of 5% - 15% of the total is common. Taxi and ’dolmus’ drivers on the other hand, do not expect tips or even rounded fares. Visiting a mosque:
Five times a day, the ’müezzin’ calls the faithful to prayer in this mosque. Before entering a mosque, Muslims wash themselves and remove their shoes. Foreign visitors should also remove their shoes and show the respect they would have to any other house of worship and avoid visiting the mosque during prayer time. Women should cover their heads and arms, and not wear miniskirts. Men should not wear shorts. (In certain famous mosques, overalls are provided for those not suitably dressed.)
For valuable gifts and souvenirs, such as a carpet, proof of purchase is necessary, together with receipts showing that any currency used in its purchase has been legally exchanged. Please note that it is strictly forbidden to export antiques from Turkey. Minerals can only be exported with a special document. There is no limit to the amount of foreign and Turkish currency to be brought into Turkey. Up to US$5000 worth of Turkish or foreign currency can be taken out of the country, providing that it can be shown that the currency has been obtained from authorised banks. Larger amount of foreign or Turkish currency must be transferred abroad through banks.