Merhaba intrepid explorers and welcome to our Turkey travel guide - the best place to find everything you need to know before you travel.
From east meeting west in the magical capital of Istanbul to a lazy week on a deckchair on Turkey's warm southern coast, adventures at the bazaar or a drive through the fairy-chimneys of Cappadocia - Turkey has something for everyone.
What you will find in this guide:
Getting to Turkey
Getting around Turkey
Top Things To Do
For LGBTQ+ Travellers
Turkish Lira TRY
Type C & F
Avg 4 hrs
Getting to Turkey
Turkey is a large country but most tourists will fly into one of the main airports in western Turkey as this is where most of the resorts are. The main airports are in Istanbul, Dalaman, Bodrum and Antalya.
The average flight time is around 4 hours and the cost of flights is roughly the same no matter which airport you choose to fly into. The choice will mostly come down to where you plan on spending your time once you get to Turkey.
The easiest way to get from the airport to your hotel or resort is to book an airport transfer. Prices vary depending on how far it is to your destination and whether you choose a shared or private transfer. If you don't book a transfer you can either hop in a taxi, airport shuttle or public bus - prices of these will vary depending on which airport you fly into.
Getting to your accommodation
These prices are a guide and correct at time of writing - make sure you check online before you travel for the most up to date information.
Bodrum International Airport
By taxi - A taxi to the city centre takes around 40 minutes and will cost around €14.
By public transport - Havas runs shuttle buses to the city centre (with hotel stops on the way) which take around 45 minutes and cost around €2.60.
Dalaman International Airport
By taxi - A taxi to Fethiye will set you back around €35 and to Marmaris around €50.
By public transport - Havas runs shuttle buses to Marmaris and Fethiye which take around 60 minutes to Fethiye (€2.60) or 90 minutes to Marmaris (€2.80).
Istanbul Sabiha Gokcen International Airport
By taxi - A taxi to the city centre takes around 45 minutes and costs around €30 during the day or €35 at night.
By public transport - There are three companies that run buses from the airport - Seyahat (intercity transportation), Havaist and IETT. The services run 24/7 and take around 60-110 minutes to reach the city centre. It's very affordable at only €3 per person, but may not take you all the way to your hotel.
Antalya International Airport
By taxi - A taxi to Lara beach will take around 13 minutes and cost around €8.
By public transport - Havas runs shuttle buses to to the city centre (with hotel stops on the way) which take around 35 minutes and cost €1.70. You can also get a public bus number 600 which runs every 30 minutes between Antalya Airport and Antalya Bus Terminal or number 800 runs every 2 hours between Antalya Airport and Antalya Lara district for €1 per person.
Getting around Turkey
As we've said before Turkey is a large country, but travelling around is relatively easy - virtually all of it is covered by public transport. If you're travelling within a city most of them have an underground metro system or an overground tram - an easy and affordable way to get around the cities.
There's an excellent rail system in Turkey, and some incredible scenic rail journeys you can take. Try the Eastern Express from Ankara to Kars - you'll see how the geography changes as you travel from west to east.
If you're planning a multi-city trip, or getting out to more rural areas then we highly recommend hiring a car for your trip. It gives you the ultimate freedom and flexibility for getting around.
Turkey Airport Transfers
Make the trip from airport to hotel pain free! Pre-book an airport transfer, with prices starting from just £5.80 with FREE cancellations*
Turkey Car Hire
Pre-book your Dalaman car hire, with prices starting from just £18.78 per day with FREE cancellations*
Top things to do
From a sunset cruise on a luxury yacht to a culinary tour of Istanbul, there's a wide variety of activities to experience on your holiday. You can make the most of your next trip and pre-book exciting activities and top things to do in Turkey in advance.
From history to architecture, Turkey has it in abundance. Let's take a look at our favourite things to do in Turkey.
Built in 537 AD it was the largest Christian church of the Roman Empire until the fall of Constantinople in 1453 when it was converted to a mosque. Though there has been some recent controversy around its reopening as a mosque (after being a museum until July 2020) this won't stop you visiting. As you would with any place of worship, make sure you respect religious customs when you visit.
One of the world's largest and oldest covered markets. It's one of the world's most visited tourist destinations, so be prepared for it to be busy, but it's well worth it. Even if you're not in the market to buy, it's an experience itself simply wandering the stalls and taking in all the sights and smells.
Ephesus is not only the best-preserved classical city in the eastern Mediterranean but one of the most wonderful places in the world to embrace the atmosphere of Roman times. Once a thriving Greek city and part of the Ionian League, here you'll find the Library of Celsus, the world's first road sign, the Ephesus theatre and the House of the Virgin Mary.
Turkey For Families
Turkey is a wonderful destination for families which is one of the main reasons us Brits love holidaying here! Whether you like a cultural experience to take in the history or simply relaxing in an amazing resort, there are plenty of options. Our top choices for a family holiday in Turkey are Bodrum or Antalya.
Both Bodrum and Antalya have their own airports, and have short transfer times to resorts (both under an hour) - this means no long painful bus or car rides with kids in tow!
Bodrum sits on the Mediterranean and boasts the beautiful turquoise beaches Turkey is known for. We recommend Gümbet beach for families with plenty of amenities to keep everyone fed and watered. The water here is calm and there are opportunties for fun water activities for slightly older kids.
In all honesty, you might not even need to hit the beach - there are a number of all-inclusive resorts with themed pools and entertainment that will keep the little ones entertained. All within minutes of your room. It really is the most stress free holiday we can think of!
If we had to pick one location though Antalya would be our choice for families. There are two excellent beaches - Lara and Konyaalti, and again an excellent array of resort hotels. What sets Antalya apart is the other activities on offer - like the Antalya Aquarium which features the world's longest aquarium tunnel. For a more quirky day out make sure to check out Sandland as well - for some amazing sand sculptures. If theme parks are more your thing then head to Land of Legends - Turkey's answer to Disneyland! You can even book your tickets with Holiday Extras.
Ölüdeniz is by far Turkey's most famous beach and when you see it you'll see why. There's plenty of white sand to sink your toes into, and the waters here are calm thanks to the shape of the lagoon and the spit of land surrounding it. Behind the beach is Babadag Mountain, and if you tire of sitting on the beach you can head up the mountain for an amazing opportunity to paraglide over the lagoon.
Olympos and Cirali
If you want to combine culture and relaxation then this is the spot for you. At the end of Cirali beach is Olympos, where you can walk among anicent ruins nestled in the trees. Once you've visited the ruins, head up the Olympos mountain and visit Yanartas and the Eternal Flames of the Chimaera - naturally occurring fires that have been burning for over 2500 years!
Once you've had your culture fix the beach below awaits. Cirali is a peaceful village and an excellent choice for families - the beach here is beautiful and unspoilt.
This beautiful, remote beach can only be reached through the ruins of the anicent city of Patara. The beach itself is 18km long, and is the nesting ground for loggerhead turtles. This means the beach is protected ground, and makes it an excellent undeveloped stretch of coast.
Turkey For LGBTQ+ Travellers
As you'll have seen in this guide, Turkey is a beautiful country and one any person should visit. Homosexuality is not a criminal offence in Turkey, but there may be some areas where prejudice remains (this is also the case in many other countries that may be thought of as more progressive). Istanbul in particular has an excellent gay scene - with many bars and clubs to visit.
We recommend researching before you travel, or booking with a gay-friendly travel agent. Many parts of Turkey are socially conservative so public displays of affection may lead to unwelcome attention. Our advice is as always, do your research and be safe.
Accessibility In Turkey
Depending on where in Turkey you're travelling, you may face different challenges when it comes to accessibility. Istanbul is an incredibly old city, founded in around 660 BC, which means that a lot of the roads or paths are cobbled, hilly, narrow and not overly accessible. That being said the tram line is accessible (though crowded) and will give you the opportunity to explore the Old Town and reach some of the most popular sites. However, we highy recommend using accessible taxis during your time there.
Of those, the two most famous attractions are accessible - but not necessarily through the 'main' entrance. The Hagia Sophia has wheelchair ramps at the entrance, but there are some single steps to navigate once you're inside. The Blue Mosque does have an entrance ramp on the northwest side - not the main entrance. The main attractions in Istanbul are also near each other so you can travel between them.
Elsewhere in Turkey you'll find better accessibility at some of the more modern westernised resorts on the coast. The paths and roads here are generally wider and flatter making them much easier to navigate. Turkey also has amazing all-inclusive beach resorts, and these are an excellent option.