Essential Tips for Visiting Turkey in 2021
Turkey is one of the most popular tourist destinations in the world, with more than 51 million people visiting the country in 2019. Turkey is a place that seems to have it all; sun, sea, sand, culture, nightlife, history, and unforgettable food. However, depending on where you are coming from, you might find your first visit to Turkey somewhat daunting.
Turkey is a very unique country with its own unique history and way of doing things. It is very hospitable to tourists and there is a well-developed tourist infrastructure designed to make your stay as pleasant as possible. That being said, if you want to ensure that your first trip to Turkey goes off without a hitch, there are some important things that you should know before you go.
1. You Might Need a Visa
For people from most countries around the world, a visa is absolutely necessary in order to gain entry into Turkey. However, Turkey has been liberalizing its visa laws significantly in recent years in order to boost tourism revenues, with the result being that visitors from virtually all European countries, including non-EU countries like the UK, Switzerland, and Norway, do not require a visa for stays of up to 90 days.
Virtually all non-European countries, including the US, Canada, Australia, and China require a visa that must be applied to from a Turkish embassy or consulate. However, many countries can take advantage of the e-visa scheme and apply online. Remember, you should book accommodation before applying for a visa, as this is an essential requirement for approval.
2. Pack for Cold Weather
When we think of Turkey, our minds often conjure up images of sun-kissed beaches and eternal heatwaves. However, this is not the case. No matter when you go in Turkey, you should pack as if you were going to Western Europe.
Temperatures in places like Istanbul and Cappadocia often fall below freezing in the evening, while spring and autumn can be cold, wet, and dark. Granted, there is no shortage of places in Turkey to soak up the rays, but as in much of Europe, the weather is unpredictable at best.
3. Know What’s Allowed
The local laws in Istanbul may well differ from those in your home country, so always do your research so that you know what is permissible and what is not. For example, it is legally required that all foreign visitors carry photo ID on their persons 100% of the time, or risk a fine and even a jail sentence. The consumption of alcohol, while widely permitted, is strictly controlled in certain neighborhoods and parts of the country.
Also, if you wish to gamble in Turkey it is important to read up on the local situation. For example, all sports betting there is controlled by the state, meaning sports betting is only available through their approved providers. And while online casinos do not operate within Turkey, it is possible to access international online casinos that offer services to Turkish players from within the country.
4. Follow Local Customs
There are many local laws and customs that it is recommended to follow if you want to live like a local and attract the legendary hospitality of the Turkish people. All public displays of affection are frowned upon, so avoid this wherever possible. However, the customary greeting is a friendly kiss on both cheeks, so don’t shy away from this fun Turkish habit.
If you are ever invited into a Turkish person’s home, you should bring along some tea, as this is considered good manners. You should always carry cash in Turkey, as the vast majority of businesses will not accept international credit or debit cards. Although Turkey is a fairly liberal country, it is considered polite to cover up for both men and women, particularly if you are visiting a holy site or a place of strong historical importance. Follow these simple tips if you want to fit in and make some friends.
These are the important things you definitely need to know if you are planning on visiting Turkey next year. The adventure of a lifetime awaits you in this fascinating country.
By Stephen Adam