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Practical information Turkey

By Amy Adejokun Amy Adejokun Section editor

Turkey : Travel Information before you go!

Area

302535.0

Flights

Istanbul is approximately 1,550 miles from London, roughly a four hour flight

Jet Lag

GMT+2

Population

In 2011, Turkey had an estimated 74 724 270 inhabitants

Airports

Ataturk International Airport in Istanbul serves the European side of the city and is located about 15 miles to the west. Sabiha Gokcen International Airport serves the Asian side of the city and is 22 miles south east of central Istanbul. There are shuttle services available at a reasonable price, as well as taxis. Depending on traffic, the ride can take anywhere between 30 minutes and 1 hour. The Milas-Bodrum International Airport is 22 miles from the centre of Bodrum and the journey takes about 45 minutes. Taxis from the airport to Bodrum are especially expensive, about £40.

Security

Turkey has witnessed numerous terrorist attacks over the past years but as a tourist, all that is really needed is some common sense. According to the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, travellers ought to be vigilant during their stay, both in the large cities and in seaside resorts.

The borders with Iraq remain closed until further notice. It is important to remain cautious when visiting the areas in the south-east of Turkey, and avoid travelling in the evening and in remote areas. Traffic restrictions may occur in the areas bordering Iraq, especially in the regions of Sirnak and Hakkari.

The more remote Eastern lands are, nonetheless, more volatile due to the Kurdish issue. Prior to any movement in this area, seek advice from the British embassy or consulate, and keep them informed of your plans. Try to use the main highways (where it is not possible to fly) and avoid stopping in isolated areas.

Languages

Turkish is the official language. English is widely understood in tourist areas.

Required travel documents for

A valid passport is required for travel to Turkey. Ensure that younger children in the travelling party have a passport or identity card (a family certificate is not enough). Passengers on cruise ships entering Turkey for 1 day only do not need a visa, provided they return to the ship the same day. However, a visa is required to enter Turkey for British nationals. This multiple entry visa is valid for 90 days and should be obtained from the official e-Visa website before travelling. As of 1 February 2012, the Turkish immigration authorities will enforce rules that stipulate a maximum stay in the country of 90 days in a 180 day period.

Religion

99.8% of the population is Muslim. However, the country is also has a Christian minority and a small Jewish community.

Currency

The Turkish lira (TL) has been in circulation since 1st January 2009: 1TL = approximately 0.35 GBP. You can exchange currency in foreign exchange offices, banks and hotels all over the country. All international credit cards are accepted. Cash machines are present in all cities and in tourist areas (given the continuous inflation, it is best to withdraw money as and when you need it rather than in one lump sum at the beginning of your stay). Whenever possible, avoid credit card payments processed using old manual machines as the carbon copies can be used for fraudulent purposes. Banks are open from Monday to Friday from 8:30am to 12:00pm and from 1:00pm to 5:00pm. Some shops also accept euros, but not pounds, in the cities and tourist areas in particular.

Local transportation

Domestic flights serve most regional tourist cities from Istanbul and Izmir. However it's very practical to travel by car, as the local trains and buses can be slow. Our preferred car rental company, Budget, is present in all of the major Turkish towns and cities. It also offers regular car hire offers, such as special deals for passengers of Pegasus airlines, so keep an eye on their website.

Turkish drivers are not always the most considerate, or slow, so always be careful and vigilant, as you would be anywhere! For short distances, taxis are extremely affordable, and 'dolmus,' (small cheap buses that stop and pick up on request) even more so. The Istanbul subway is equally comfortable and efficient, but not particularly expansive due to the risk of earthquakes.

One of the more economical and highly practical ways of getting around within Turkey is with the local low cost airline Pegasus. From Istanbul's Sabiha Gokcen airport, fly to Ankara, Antalya, Bodrum, Izmir and many other domestic destinations. Pegasus also links UK cities such as Birmingham, Manchester and London (Gatwick and Stansted airports) with various towns and cities in Turkey.

Health

No particular vaccine is required. However, it is recommended that you are vaccinated against typhoid and hepatitises A and B. Avoid drinking tap water.

Electricity

220 V. Electric plugs are compatible.

Tourist numbers

According to the Turkish Ministry of Culture and Tourism, the country received 31,456,076 visitors in 2011

Taxes and tips

Tipping is much less common in Turkey than in other Middle-Eastern countries, but luggage carriers, taxi drivers (round up to the nearest whole number) and restaurant staff (where service is not included in the bill) usually receive tips of between 5% and 20% of the total bill.

Telephone

To call Turkey from the UK: Dial 00 + 90 (country code) + local code (212 for Istanbul, 242 for Antalya, 232 for Izmir) + number you are calling.
From Turkey to the UK: Dial 00 + 44 + the number you are calling without the initial 0.

Turkey : Useful addresses in the country

Before leaving

Turkish Culture & Tourism Office 4th Floor
29-30 St. James's Street
London
SW1A 1HB
Telephone: 020 7839 7778
Fax: 020 7925 1388
Website: http://gototurkey.co.uk/index.html

Turkish Embassy in London 43 Belgrave Square
London
SW1X 8PA
Telephone: 020 7393 0202
Fax: 020 7393 0066
Website: http://turkey.embassyhomepage.com

At the destination

British Embassy in Turkey
Sehit Ersan Caddesi 46/A
Çankaya
Telephone: 0312 455 3344
Fax: 0312 455 33 52
Website: http://ukinturkey.fco.gov.uk/en

British Consulate General in Istanbul
Mesrutiyet Caddesi No 34
Tepebasi Beyoglu 34435
Istanbul
Telephone: +90 (212) 334 6400
Fax: (90) (212) 315 6401
Email: istanbul-ppa.istanbul@fco.gov.uk