Horseback riding in Turkey

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Equestrian tours in Turkey

 Turkey Mini Guide
    Source: World Travel Guide

Overview

Turkey is the only country in the world to sit astride two continents: a unique position that has given rise to a culture that reflects both East and West. It is a country where European aspirations sit comfortably alongside Asian traditions and the volatile atmosphere of the Middle East morphs seamlessly into the relaxed outlook of the Mediterranean world.

Turks have only lived here since medieval times when they arrived as land-hungry nomads from Central Asia. Before that it was Byzantine territory and Istanbul - then Constantinople - was the political centre of a vast Christian empire. Romans, Persians, Lycians and Phrygians were former occupants of the same territory, and earlier still, Hittite tribes had built an Anatolian empire before collapsing around the time of the Trojan Wars.

Such a rich history has left an indelible mark and Turkey abounds with historic sites and archaeological wonders set in a varied and beautiful landscape. The Mediterranean coastline is punctuated with well-preserved Greco-Roman cities such as Pergamom and Ephesus, while the austere and rugged Anatolian plateau has cave churches hidden away in the improbable fairytale landscape of Cappadocia. Istanbul, still very much the pulse of the nation, has even more to offer, with Roman aqueducts, Byzantine churches and Ottoman mosques and palaces.

With history at every turn, it is tempting to portray Turkey as a quaint, time-locked country that adheres to tradition but this is far from the truth. The modern republic's first leader, Kemal Atatürk, saw to it that Turkey was reinvented as a modern secular state following the demise of the Ottoman Empire. What you see today, thanks to Atatürk's comprehensive modernisation, is a healthy combination of ancient tradition and contemporary outlook. This outlook sees little contradiction in having modern European ways tempered by Islam and time-honoured traditions of hospitality.

 

Passport/Visa

Passport Required?

British

Yes

Australian

Yes

Canadian

Yes

USA

Yes

Other EU

Yes

Visa Required?

British

Yes

Australian

Yes

Canadian

Yes

USA

Unavailable

Other EU

Yes/1/2

Return Ticket Required?

British

Yes

Australian

Yes

Canadian

Yes

USA

Yes

Other EU

Yes

 

Passports

Passports must be valid for at least 60 days beyond the expiry date of the traveler's visa or the end of the traveler's visa exemption period.

Visas

Visas are required by all nationals referred to in the chart above except:
1. Nationals of Bulgaria, Czech Republic, Denmark,  Estonia, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Italy, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Romania, Slovakia, Slovenia and Sweden, who can enter Turkey without a visa for 90 days within a 180-day period.
2. Nationals of Lativa, who may visit visa-free for 30 days.

Turkey has introduced an e-Visa scheme allowing nationals of over 90 countries to apply for their visa in advance. The sticker visa previously available at ports of entry is being phased out in 2014, and nationals in the chart who do require a visa must apply for an e-Visa in advance online at www.evisa.gov.tr/en. Kiosks where you can buy visas on arrival are currently still available at Turkish airports if you forget to apply for your e-Visa in advance, but fees are higher, and this option is likely to be phased out soon and it can cause delays with your immigration process.

Visa Note

If you wish to climb Mount Ararat, you will need to apply for a permit for your expedition, in addition to any other types of visa which may be necessary.

Nationals not referred to in the chart are advised to contact the embassy to check visa requirements for Turkey.

Types of Visa and Cost

e-Visa in advance: free (Maltese nationals); US$20 (other EU and US nationals); US$60 (Australian and Canadian nationals).
e-Visa on arrival at Turkish airports: free (Maltese nationals); US$30 (EU and US nationals); US$70 (Australian and Canadian nationals).

Validity

e-Visa: 90 days within a 180-day period.
For longer stays or frequent visits, you can obtain single- or multiple-entry visas valid for six months, one year or five years from your nearest Turkish embassy.

Applications to:

Apply online at www.evisa.gov.tr, at least 48 hours before departure. For long-term visas, apply to the nearest consulate/embassy. For all visas issued by the Turkish Consulate in the UK, you need to apply online at www.visa.gov.tr.

Working Days Required

At the final stage of the application, you are given a link to the e-Visa.


Money

Currency

New Turkish Lira (TRY; symbol YTL) = 100 New Kurus (Ykr). Notes are in denominations of YTL200, 100, 50, 20, 10, and 5. Coins are in denominations of YTL1 and 50, 25, 10, 5 and 1 New Kurus. 

Currency Exchange

Cash can usually be exchanged commission free in currency exchange offices (döviz bürosu). Banks usually charge commission. Traveller's cheques can only be exchanged in banks with a passport. Travellers planning to exchange currency back before leaving Turkey, or making a major purchase which may need to be declared to customs, must retain transaction receipts to prove that the currency was legally exchanged.

Credit/Debit Cards and ATMs

Visa is the most popular, closely followed by MasterCard. American Express is accepted in top-flight hotels, restaurants and some gift shops. ATMs are widely found in most areas. In all smaller restaurants, bars, guesthouses, and shops cash is preferred. Many establishments in resort areas will accept Euros. As with all transactions, be careful with your card, taking care to keep it in sight, and be discreet with cash.

Traveller's Cheques

Traveller's cheques can only be exchanged in banks. To avoid additional exchange rate charges, travellers are advised to take traveller's cheques in Pounds Sterling or US Dollars. Credit cards are far more convenient.

Banking Hours

Mon-Fri 0830-1200 and 1330-1700. Some banks in tourist areas and large cities are open daily.

Exchange Rate Indicators

Date

April 2018

£1.00=

YTL5.71

$1.00=

YTL4.09

€1.00= YTL4.99

Health

Vaccinations

 

Special Precautions

Diphtheria

Yes

Hepatitis A

Yes

Malaria

Sometimes

Rabies

Sometimes

Tetanus

Yes

Typhoid

Sometimes

Yellow Fever

No

Inoculation regulations can change at short notice. Please take medical advice in the case of doubt. Where 'Sometimes' appears in the table above, precautions may be required, depending on the season and region visited.

 

Food and Drink

Mains water is chlorinated in towns and cities, but it is advisable to drink the widely available bottled mineral water. If a water source bears the words içilmez, it is not potable; sources labelled içilir or içme suyu are safe to drink. Milk is pasteurised. Eat only well-cooked meat and fish. When it comes to street food, common sense is advised; eat food that is freshly cooked and ideally, has been prepared in front of you. During the summer Turkey can experience temperatures up to 40°C (104°F) so carry a bottle of water to avoid dehydration.

Other Risks

Vaccinations against tuberculosis and hepatitis B are sometimes recommended. It is recommended that travelers visiting rural areas, get a rabies vaccination as this may be found in dogs, cats and other animals throughout the countryside. Turkey has very low risk of malaria, with the risk increasing towards the Syrian border in the south east of the country, but keen trekkers may want to stock up on supplies of insect-repellent.

Health Care

Turkey’s healthcare system is in the midst of reform and has greatly improved over past decades, but the country has only basic public hospital medical facilities and has no state-funded general practitioner system. There is however an extensive private health care sector, including private emergency care hospitals, surgeons, dentists and other specialists. Inside the major urban centres such as Istanbul and Ankara, the quality of care in these clinics will match standards in Western Europe, but without private health insurance, getting treated in this environment can result in a hefty bill. Travel insurance which covers medical aid is essential. In the case of a medical emergency call 112.

 

Getting There

Getting There by Air

The national airline is Turkish Airlines (www.turkishairlines.com), which flies to multiple destinations across the globe, including the UK and the USA. Other airlines offering direct flights to Turkey from the UK include Atlas Global (www.atlasglb.com), British Airways (www.ba.com), and Pegasus Airlines (www.flypgs.com).

Approximate Flight Times

From London to Istanbul is 3 hours 40 minutes and from New York is 9 hours 50 minutes.

Main Airports

Ankara (ESB) (Esenboga) (website: www.esenbogaairport.com) is 33km (21 miles) northeast of the city. To/from the airport: Havas buses (website: www.havas.net) travel every 30 minutes between the airport and the city centre from 0430 to 2400 (journey time - 50 minutes). Taxis are also available. Facilities: Duty-free shops, bank/bureau de change, restaurants and bars.

Istanbul (IST) (Atatürk, formerly Yeşilköy) (website: www.ataturkairport.com) is 24km (15 miles) west of the city (journey time - 30 to 50 minutes). To/from the airport: Havas runs a regular bus service between the airport and the city centre. Taxis are available. Facilities: Duty-free shops, bank/bureau de change, bar, restaurant and car hire.

Sabiha Gökçen (SAW) (website: www.sgairport.com) is 40km (25 miles) from Istanbul, on the Asian side. To/from the airport: There are shuttle bus services to Taksim Square in the city (journey time - 45 minutes) and to Atatürk International Airport (journey time - 60 to 70 minutes). Taxis are available 24 hours. Facilities: Duty-free shops, bank, ATMs, business centre and restaurants/cafes.

Izmir (IZM) (Adnan Menderes) (website: www.adnanmenderesairport.com) is 18km (11 miles) south of the city. To/from the airport: Havas buses meet domestic flights and travel hourly from the city centre (journey time - 50 to 60 minutes). Facilities: Bank/bureau de change, ATMs, duty-free shops, bar, restaurant and car hire.

There are other international airports at Adana, Antalya, Bodrum, Dalaman and Trabzon.

Air passes:

The Europe Airpass from Star Alliance (www.staralliance.com) allows travel to Turkey with member airlines, as well as 40 other countries within Europe.

Departure Tax

None


Getting There by Water

It's possible to travel to Turkey by water, depending on where you are coming from. Hopping from the Greek islands over to Istanbul is a popular route. All ships, including private yachts, arriving in Turkish waters must go through one of the following ports of entry: Akçay, Alanya, Anamur, Antalya, Ayvalik, Bandirma, Bodrum, Botas (Adana), Çanakkale, Çeşme, Datça, Derince, Didim, Dikili, Fethiye, Finike, Giresun, Güllük, Hopa (Artvin), Iskenderun, Istanbul, Izmir, Kaş, Kemer, Kuşadasi, Marmaris, Mersin, Ordu, Rize, Samsun, Sinop, Söke, Tasucu (Silifke), Tekirdağ, Trabzon and Zonguldak.

Frequent direct ferries run from Greece, Cyprus, and Ukraine to Turkey. Thee are a whole host of privately operated ferry lines. You can book journeys through Aegean Tours (www.ferries-turkey.com). Ukrferry (www.ukrferry.com) operates ferries between Ukraine and Turkey. There are currently no direct ferries between Italy and Turkey, with ferries instead traveling via Greece.

Getting There by Rail

Train journeys can be made to Istanbul via some of the major European cities. The journey from London takes three nights via Belgrade and Sofia or four nights via Budapest. Turkish Railways (TCDD) in Istanbul (tel: 444 8823, in Turkey only; www.tcdd.gov.tr) runs the rail network within Turkey. As of 2015, the Trans-Asia service between Ankara and Tehran has been suspended.

Rail Passes

InterRail: offers unlimited first- or second-class travel in up to 29 European countries for European residents of over six months with two pass options. The Global Pass allows travel for 22 days, 15 days, one month, five days in 10 days, or 10 days in 22 days across all countries. The One-Country Pass offers travel for three, four, six or eight days in one month in any of the countries except Bosnia-Herzegovina and Montenegro. Travel is not allowed in the passenger's country of residence. Reductions are available for travelers under 26. Children under 12 are free when traveling with an adult using an Adult Pass. Supplements are required fro some high-speed services, seat reservations, and couchettes. Discounts are offered on Eurostar and some ferry routes. Available from Voyages-sncf.com (tel: +44 844 848 5848, in the UK; www.voyages-sncf.com).

Eurailpass: Offers unlimited train travel in up to 28 countries. Tickets are valid for 15 days, 21 days, one month, two months, three months, five days in 10 days, 10 days in two months, or 15 days in two months. The Global Pass allows travel across all participating countries. The Regional Pass lets you travel in two bordering countries. The One Country Pass offers travel on one of 27 countries.

Adult passes are valid for first-class travel, while youth passes (under 26) are valid for second-class travel. Children under 12 are free when traveling with an adult using an Adult Pass. The passes cannot be sold to EU citizens or residents. Available from Eurail (www.eurail.com).

Getting There by Road

Driving overland to Turkey from the UK takes around three days straight driving, traveling through Germany, Austria, down through the Balkan countries of Croatia and Serbia, and finally over the Greek or Bulgarian border.

Note: The Eurasia tunnel for car travel between the Kazlicesme and Goztepe areas of Istanbul will be ready in late 2016, cutting journey time from 100 minutes to 15 minutes.

 

Climate

Turkey is a huge country and its climate varies widely from region to region as well as seasonally. For sightseeing holidays to Istanbul and the most important ancient and medieval sights, and for active walking holidays, the best time to visit are spring (April-May) and autumn (October- early November) when days are generally warm and sunny but not uncomfortably hot. Rainy spells and cloudy days are possible, however, in spring and autumn, so the best months for a sun-and-sea holiday on the Aegean or Mediterranean coast are June to end September. Resort areas are most crowded from June until the end of August.

In developing ski areas such as Uludag near Bursa and Palandoken near Ezurum, the best time to visit is between December and April. Temperatures in and around Istanbul can carry from well below freezing in mid winter to above 40 degrees Celsius (104F) in summer. The Aegean and Mediterranean coasts experience the hottest summers, with high of 45C (113F), but midwinter temperatures can be as low as -5C (23F).

Mountainous  Eastern Turkey has the most extreme climate of all, with winter temperatures as low as -43C (-45F) and highs up to 38C (100F). The climate of the central Anatolia is also extreme with summer highs of 40C (104F) and winter lows of -25C (-13F). The Turkish State Meteorological Office (www.mgm.gov.tr) provides a day to day, region by region online weather forecast.

Required Clothing

Depending on where you are, appropriate clothing will vary widely. If visiting during the summer take light cotton layers and a hat, as temperatures can reach scorching, particularly in the cities. During the winter months pack heavier layers and waterproofs. Sturdy shoes and equipment are advisable for anyone who will be trekking in the mountainous areas. 

 

Contacts

Embassy of the Republic of Turkey in the UK

43 Belgrave Square, London SW1X 8PA, UK
Tel: (020) 7393 0202.
Website: http://london.emb.mfa.gov.tr
Opening Hours: Mon-Fri 0900-1730 (appointment only).

Turkish Consulate General in the UK

Rutland Lodge, Rutland Gardens, London SW7 1BW, UK
Tel: (020) 7591 6900 or 09068 347 348 (recorded visa information; calls cost 60p per minute).
Website: www.turkishconsulate.org.uk/en  
Opening hours: Mon-Fri 0900-1230 (visas).

Embassy of the Republic of Turkey in the USA

2525 Massachusetts Avenue, NW, Washington, DC 20008, USA
Tel: (202) 612 6700 or 6740 (consular section).
Website: http://www.washington.emb.mfa.gov.tr
Opening times: Mon-Fri 0900-1800.

 

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