If Singapore is the gateway for first-time tourists to Asia, Turkey is the gateway to the Arab world. Located partly in Europe and partly in Asia, this sensational country is a good first choice for anyone who has never had contact with Muslim and/or Arab nations. This is because Turkey is not seeking to join the European Union because of its location, but also because it is a country that is much more similar to the culture that is familiar to us in the West than to its neighbors in the East. At the same time, they are Muslims, they bargain down to the last penny, they delight us with their typical Arab cuisine and they never miss that warm cup of tea. For these and many other peculiarities of being a country shared between two continents, it is good to check some 10 tips about Turkey before boarding.
⇒ WHERE TO STAY IN TURKEY and pay cheap
⇒ TURKEY TRAVEL GUIDE: Everything you need to know!
There’s no need to go too far, because here you’ll only hear good things about Turkey. In 18 days traveling there, Escolha Viajar fell in love with the country. Not only is there an endless number of tourist attractions to visit, but it is a place with a mild climate most of the year, cheap, diverse, which welcomes travelers very well and offers them a good tourism infrastructure, no matter how little you spend. be willing to spend. And, drum roll, it does not require a visa for Brazilians on tourist trips! Check out these and other Turkey tips you need to know before traveling.
Turkey Tips 1 – An amazing trip
Turkey is an amazing country to visit, no other words. In addition to being affordable and friendly to tourists, it still has breathtaking attractions. Who has never dreamed of meeting a real harem, like the ones we see in old movies or that we imagine in the tales of ‘One Thousand and One Nights’? It is possible to visit one of them in Turkey. How about combining the harem with the greatest temple in Christianity for over a thousand years? It sounds a bit blasphemous, but in Turkey it is possible to do this too. What if, afterwards, you visit one of the most beautiful mosques in the world? And a Greco-Roman city? And a ‘cotton castle’? And breathtaking beaches???
In Turkey there is, there is, there is and there is even more. To say that this country divided between two continents brings together the best of both worlds would not only be a cliché, but would not do justice to the truth. It brings together the best of many worlds, religions and eras, at least in terms of tourism. Some of the most incredible landscapes on the planet are found in Turkish territory, including Pamukkale and Cappadocia. After having become a rage among Brazilians for his appearances in the telenovela ‘Salve Jorge’, the surreal landscape of Cappadocia needs no introduction. Located in the heart of Turkey, this region of uncertain geographical boundaries is located around the city of Goreme, more than 700 kilometers and 10 hours by bus from Istanbul.
The area, formed by volcanic rock that is porous on the surface and hard on the base, has been sculpted over thousands of years by the action of wind and rain. The result is the incredible stone formations that characterize Cappadocia, including the so-called ‘fairy chimneys’ (which appear to have a hat on top) and those that resemble human phalluses. It was the latter that gave the name to one of the most visited places by tourists: the Valley of Love. Other popular attractions are the underground villas, the sunrise balloon flight and the churches and chapels carved into the rock during the Byzantine period, many of which display beautiful frescoes.
No less amazing is Pamukkale, the most visited place among all attractions in Turkey. Its name means ‘Cotton Castle’ and it couldn’t be more fitting. Although it looks like a snowy mountain, Pamukkale is actually a large formation of limestone rock that is located in the city of the same name, 650 kilometers south of Istanbul. The ‘castle’ was formed from a rare geological event – there is another much smaller example in Mexico, called ‘Hierve el Agua’ -, in which the heat in the subsoil causes the release of water with calcium bicarbonate, which then solidifies in the form of ‘swimming pools’. As they fill up, the water falls from one to the other, thus building a series of terraces where the blue liquid contrasts with the white limestone.
Turkey Tips 2 – Don’t Stay Short
For all these unbelievable attractions that we have described above, do not go to Turkey if you are only going to stay for a short time. Plan to stay at least 12 days if you want to see the main tourist attractions (Istanbul, Cappadocia, Pamukkale and Ephesus) and a few more if you still want to go to the beach (like Bodrum or Oludeniz). Plan not only for the tours, but also for the trips, as this is not a small country and you will have to travel considerable distances to see the best attractions in the country. Just from Istanbul to Cappadocia, it’s another 700 kilometers, and from there to Pamukkale, another 615. Check out our suggested itinerary for Turkey here .
Turkey Tips 3 – A cheap trip
Turkey is one of the cheapest countries to visit in the world. If you are a traveler willing to give up unnecessary luxuries, such as plane trips and star hotels, your calculation of how much it costs to travel to Turkey will not exceed a measly US$ 40 per day! What makes how much it costs to travel to Turkey such a low number? First, the local currency, the Turkish lira, is not Brastemp, having a value more or less equivalent to the real (R$ 1 = 1.15 TRY in July 2017 quotation). Second, because it is a country that receives a flood of tourists a year, having been the sixth most visited country in the world in 2015 according to the World Tourism Organization.
With so much demand, there is also a wide range of tourism services, which makes the market competitive and prices very attractive. Unlike countries like Egypt and Australia , which inflate the prices of almost everything related to tourism, almost nothing is expensive for the traveler in Turkey. Not to say that everything is 100% accessible, balloon flights over the Cappadocia region are expensive. You won’t spend less than 110 euros per person for the half-hour flight. But this is one of those attractions that is not worth giving up if you’ve traveled so far! All other entrances to attractions, as well as accommodation, food and transportation, are very affordable for your pocket. Check here the full account of how much it costs to travel to Turkey🇧🇷
Turkey Tips 4 – Enjoy the beach
Few people hear about Turkey as a beach destination, but the country has a beautiful coastline bathed by the waters of the Aegean Sea, the same as famous Greek islands like Rhodes. And at much more attractive prices than in the trendy European resorts. There are from cities with great infrastructure, like Antalya, to almost quiet villages, like Oludeniz. There is no shortage of beautiful landscapes and water in those colors that we never get tired of looking at, like deep blue or emerald green. White sands are another 500, hehe. As in Europe, most Turkish beaches are pebble or even pebble, the kind that hurt your back and require renting a lounger to spend the day by the sea. But for sure, it will be days to remember!
Turkey Tips 5 – Enjoy the food
Eating is part of tourism in Turkey. You’ll drool over Turkish cuisine, which, not for nothing, is one of the favorites and most popular in the world. To improve, meals are usually cheap in the country, unless you choose a restaurant overlooking the Hagia Sofia, for example. Savor a lot of kebab (grilled meat), shish kebab (grilled meat skewer), kofte (Turkish meatball), doner (that roast meat that keeps cooking slowly on a revolving spit), durum (the same revolving meat inside the bread) and the very touristy testi kebab or ‘pottery kebab’ – which is meat cooked in a clay pot that is broken in front of you at the table.
Just be careful with the ayran, which is the drink most consumed by the Turks and which can cause some strangeness in the sweet taste of Brazilians. That’s because ayran is a more liquid type of yogurt seasoned with salt. That’s right, it’s a salty drink! Particularly, we got along better with Efes, the excellent Turkish beer that you can find for cheap in any market, hehe. And don’t forget to top it all off with the ‘Turkish delights’, typical Turkish sweets, for dessert. There’s honey, pistachio, chestnut, chocolate, strawberry etc etc etc.
Turkey Tips 6 – ‘Light’ Muslims
Turks are Muslims in the light style. You will hardly see women with covered hair or people kneeling towards Mecca in Islam’s five daily prayer times. Furthermore, mosques do not call for prayers through loudspeakers, as in Egypt or Jordan . There are also no restrictions on the production or consumption of alcohol, as in other countries that practice the religion – Muslims do not drink. But it is always good to be respectful and observe the visitation rules of any religious site, such as the popular Blue Mosque.
Visiting the mosque is free, but it cannot be done during the Muslim five daily prayers. At the entrance to the temple there is a sign that indicates when the prayers take place each day (the time changes according to the position of the sun), and the building closes for tourism from half an hour before to half an hour after. You also need to dress appropriately for the venue. Women cannot wear tight, short, low-cut or sleeveless clothing and must cover their heads. Men, on the other hand, should be careful with outside shoulders or shorts that do not cover the knees.
Turkey Tips 7 – Travel by bus
Turkey is a country of great distances – although never as much as Brazil, of course –, so many travelers go straight to the train or plane booking sites when it comes to putting together a travel itinerary there. But this is an absolutely unnecessary expenditure of money. Turkey has an excellent bus transport system, especially on tourist routes. And it’s very, very cheap, especially compared to a train or plane. And you can still travel at night, which means saving on accommodation.
The buses intended for travelers are comfortable, safe, semi-sleeping and some offer extra comforts, such as individual televisions and coffee or tea served on board. Of course, if you leave the traditional tourist destinations, the colectivos will be simpler, or even replaced by vans, and the trips will not be direct, but with a few stops. Even in this mode, everything works very well and the cost-benefit continues to be excellent. The only really annoying thing about traveling by bus in Turkey is that you can’t buy tickets online.
Either you go to the bus station in person – which is easy in small cities -, or you pay someone from your hotel/agency to go there and buy – which can come in handy in Istanbul, for example, where the terminal is quite far from the airport. center. The costs and duration of some of the most sought-after routes by tourists are Istanbul-Goreme (Cappadocia), which costs US$ 20 for a 10-hour journey; Goreme (Cappadocia)-Pamukkale, which starts at US$ 15 for a 10.30 hour journey and Pamukkale-Selçuk (Ephesus), which starts at US$ 10 for a 3.5 hour journey.
Turkey Tips 8 – Book your balloon
Ten out of 10 tourists who visit Turkey dream of flying in a hot air balloon over the Cappadocia region, whose natural beauty is unique in the world and which we have already discussed above. But anyone who wants to ensure that this dream comes true on their trip to the country should plan ahead, especially if you are traveling in the high summer season (June-August) or if you are only going to spend a night in Cappadocia. There is a limited number of companies that are authorized to do the tour for security reasons.
It is a providential measure to prevent balloons from colliding and falling, as happened in May 2013. Three Brazilians died in the accident. Therefore, only 100 balloons can take off per day, which seems like a lot but is little for the number of tourists wanting to do this, believe me! Most of the time, just send an email and your hotel will book the tour. As a last resort, contact one of the many tourist agencies that operate in the region. Check here everything you need to know about ballooning in Cappadocia .
Turkey Tips 9 – When to travel (weather)
Turkey is a large country and therefore has many climatic variations throughout its territory. Therefore, let’s talk about the climate and the best time to travel only to the regions where the country’s tourist attractions are concentrated. Starting with Istanbul, the largest city and gateway for most travelers who land there. Summers (June-August) are relatively hot and dry, with average minimum and maximum temperatures ranging between 16°C and 26°C. Winters (December-February) are rainy and very cold, with the possibility of snowfall, with average temperatures between 3°C and 11°C.
Therefore, the best months to visit the city are the driest and hottest: from April to September. On the Aegean coast, where popular resorts such as Oludeniz and Bodrum are located, as well as the ruins of the Greco-Roman city of Ephesus (in Selçuk), winters are mild and rainy, and summers are hot and dry. In Fethiye, where Oludeniz is located, the average minimum and maximum temperatures vary between 5°C and 17°C in the coldest season of the year. And in the hottest, from 17°C to 34°C. As we are talking about beaches, of course the best months to visit this part of Turkey are those with more sunny days and less rain: from May to September.
If in the rest of the tourist part of the country summer is a good choice, the same cannot be said of the Anatolia region, where the famous Cappadocia is located, and which has a semi-desert climate. Over there, not only the winters are very rigorous, but also the summers and the temperature differences between day and night are great. In the coldest season of the year, there are many days of snow and negative temperatures, with an average of -2ºC. Summer can be extremely dry and hot, with averages around 23°C. Therefore, the best months to visit the region are from April to June and from September to October, when it is not unbearably cold or hot.
Turkey tips 10 – Brazilians do not need a visa
To wrap up the Turkey tips, celebrate the fact that Brazilians do not need a visa for tourist trips, for up to 90 days. When entering the country, you must present a passport valid for up to six months.