Turkey is an exceptional country to visit. It is a very mixed country that lies at the confluence of the East and the West. One will find the country in the west to be intertwined with that of ancient Greece (the home of places like Troy and Ephesus), while the east stretches all the way to the ancient lands of Mesopotamia - the "Cradle of Civilization".
The mixed nature of Turkey (being neither Europe nor the Middle East) often leads it to be called the Near East. It is a land of deep history and rich culture (and famously delicious cuisine). Turkey is one of those destinations that one risks just keep going back to.
Is Turkey Safe?
Most of Turkey is very safe. Turks are very friendly and welcoming and will typically go out of their way to help tourists and foreigners. The Kurdish majority areas in the southeastern part of the country have been the site of an ongoing insurgency that at times has blown up into a civil war - particularly from 2015-17.
- Is Turkey Safe?: Yes - But Check the Current Situation In the Southeast
Today the insurgency is still ongoing but has calmed down a lot and the main cities in the southeast are safe to visit. If one is planning to visit this part of Turkey, one should check with the current security situation as it can change.
- Insurgency: There is an Ongoing Insurgency in The Southeast
Outside of the southeastern part of the country, Turkey is very safe and welcoming (all parts are welcoming).
What is there To See In Turkey?
There are so many things to see and do in Turkey - so many that it just isn't possible to list them all out. Turkey has some of the oldest histories in the world - one can visit the (currently) known oldest sites of Gobekli Tepe - predating agriculture and dating from around 12,000 years ago. One can see the ancient ruins of Troy and its accompanying museum not far out of Istanbul.
Istanbul was the ancient capital of the Eastern Roman Empire/Byzantine Empire and the Ottoman Empire. There are limitless things to see and do there. Visit the famous Hagia Sophia, the Ottoman Sultan's palace, and the harem, try Turkish food, shop at the Grand Bazaar, and so much more.
Other Musts Include:
- Cappadocia: Go Hot Air Ballooning and Explore the Underground Cities
- Cats: Feed The Many Millions of Kitties in Istanbul
- Antalya: Relax On The Beach At Turkey's Mediterranean Coastal City
- Çatalhöyük: A 9,000 Year Old City
- Mardin: An Ancient City So Beautiful, It Is Considered An Outdoor Museum
How Much Time Do I Need In Turkey?
There is so much to see and do in Turkey that one could not hope to see and do everything. If one has limited time (a couple of days) then go to either Cappadocia or Istanbul. If one has a week, then go to both. If one has a couple of weeks, then one can visit these and places in the west like Troy and Ephesus.
- 3 Days: Just Visit Istanbul or Cappadocia
- 5 Days: Visit Istanbul and Cappadocia
- 14 Days: Visit Much of The West
- More Than 14 Days: Visit Parts of The East As Well
If one has longer, then consider visiting parts of the east like Gobekli Tepe and Mardin.
What is The Visa Policy of Turkey?
All European countries, most Latin American countries, and New Zealand are visa-free for 90 days. Passport holders of American, Canadian, and Australian passports need a very simple e-visa - valid for 90 days multiple entries. Most other nationalities in the world can also apply for some form of e-visa.
Can I Speak English In Turkey?
If one is in tourist or metropolitan places (like Cappadocia and Istanbul) many people will speak English. Obviously, guides will speak English. If one is going outside of tourist areas, English proficiency is very low - but everyone will try to help anyway.
What Is The Best Time Of Year To Visit?
Not the winter. That's the short answer. Summer, spring, and autumn are great times to visit, winter is not very nice in Turkey - unless one is planning on going for winter sports like skiing (skiing is also very cheap in Turkey).
Is Turkey Expensive?
Turkey is a very affordable and even cheap country to visit. As of the time of writing the Turkish Lira is plummeting in value making the (already low prices) even cheaper. That being said there is also high inflation in Turkey.
Turkey is one of the most affordable countries in the world to visit.