Turkey is a huge and diverse country with so many interesting places to visit that planning a holiday here can seem a little overwhelming. Save yourself some stress with these tips to whether you’re visiting for a few days, a few weeks, or even longer.
Start in the Southwest
The southwest region of Turkey is by far the most popular among international travelers. There is an excellent tourist infrastructure and finding an English speaker shouldn’t be a challenge. Upmarket resorts and lively harbour towns with guesthouses and hotels, local markets and shopping malls, are spread along the Turquoise coast between the Bodrum and Antalya. Famous multi-day Blue Cruises in classic wooden gulet boats depart from many of these places and sail along the stunning coast line. If you prefer, make day trips from any of the coastal towns to Greek and Turkish islands or head inland to visit canyons, ruins and rural villages along the Mediterranean and Aegean coastline.
Major towns are well connected by bus and there are several Turkey tours starting Fethiye, which is centrally located in this region and offers plenty of adventure activities, beautiful beaches and ancient sites to visit. The southwest is also served by Dalaman International Airport with direct flights to the UK and other European countries.
Book a Transfer
Figuring out public transport can be pretty tough, especially when most transport websites are not translated into English. If you don’t want to lose a day of your vacation making trips to the bus station and porting about heavy suitcases in the steaming summer season, then you might consider booking a direct door-to-door transfer. This can be booked online through Turkish travel agencies so you will know exact times and prices in advance and for groups this can be a more economical option.
Research Your Ancient Ruins
If you’re an independent traveler and don’t like the idea of traveling with a guide then it’s a good idea to do a little research before visiting Turkey’s many archeological sites. While the most famous sites like the 2,000 year old Ephesus and the ruined spa city of Hierapolis will have information plaques in Turkish, English, and possibly German, more ‘off the beaten track’ sites like Didima, Leodikya and Pergamon have little or no extra information.
Learn Some Turkish Words
English is widely spoken across most of Turkey’s tourist destinations, so you won’t have any troubles getting answers to your questions when visiting Cappadocia, Istanbul, or the much loved Turquoise Coast. That being said, locals love it when you can offer up a few simple words in their native language. A quick ‘Gunaydin’ (good morning) or ‘tesekkurler’ (thank you) is sure to earn you a smile and maybe even an invite to drink Cay (black tea). Turkish hospitality is renowned throughout the world and showing a little respect for local culture can go a long way.
What to Pack
Most people come to Turkey in the summer so packing is fairly simple because the thermostat will be set to ‘hot’ across most of the country with the humidity varying depending on the altitude. In more mountainous regions like Cappadocia, Selcuk and Pamukkale, the heat is fairly dry whereas on the Mediterranean you may feel like you’re swimming through the air on certain days. Shorts or light skirts/dressed, flip flops, a sun hat and sumwear is a must from May through to September. Don’t forget sunscreen. Mosquito repellent can also be useful. If you would like to visit a mosque, then you will need clothes that cover you from wrist to ankle and women will need to cover their hair. At the Blue Mosque in Istanbul, scarfs and skirts are supplied free of charge, but at less touristic locations you will need to bring your own. In the spring and autumn, you will also need to bring a light jacket for the evenings and maybe an umbrella too.
Consider a Package Tour
Whether you’re pushed for time or looking for an deep understanding of some of Turkey’s many historical sights and diverse cities, a package tour can be an excellent option for your summer vacation in Turkey. This would save you time as the planning will be almost completely done for you by experiences tour operators. All you would need to do is select your route.
For a mix of ancient history and modern Turkish culture you could tour Ephesus and Istanbul but if you’re looking for a combination of stunning landscapes and adventure, a package tour from the Fethiye to Cappadocia including a gulet cruise might be for you. The bonus of booking a package tour is that you will be able to see a large amount of the country in a short space of time. However, if your travel style is more relaxed and spontaneous, then individual day tours might be a better option.