Turkey travel advice

Tips from our friends in Turkey

Meet the locals!

Julie Vural from our supplier Alternatif Outdoor reveals the pleasures of getting close to both nature and local people in her Turkey travel advice:
“We see all sorts of wildlife on our hikes - turtles, flying fish, kingfishers while sea kayaking; storks, colourful lizards, birds of prey. We experience untamed nature on all our trips – craggy limestone mountains, tumbling streams, fragrant pine forests, peaceful deep blue lakes, hidden coves, impressive sea cliffs. Guests also love meeting local village people and getting an insight into their lives during our hiking and mountain-biking trips - drinking strong black Turkish tea in a cafe or freshly squeezed orange or pomegranate juice on a villager's porch, or eating gozleme (Turkish savoury pancakes) in a village eatery.”

An unbeatable sail

Heinrich Hall from our supplier Peter Sommer explains why exploring the country from the sea is sound Turkey travel advice:
“Travelling along the Turkish shores by gulet is a unique experience, perhaps the most appropriate way to approach these lovely coasts as people have travelled and communicated by sea for aeons. A gulet cruise offers vistas and perspectives that are very different from what the land traveller sees. There are many special moments: swimming in the blue water of Loryma Bay, overlooked by a vast fortification built around 300 BC and reachable only by boat; admiring sunset panoramas in coves far away from the hustle and bustle of mass tourism; or looking out at sea and realising you are being followed by a group of dolphins or a lone sea turtle.”

Cool seasoning

Ornella Giordano from our supplier Exodus has Turkey travel advice covering the diversity of experiences available to visitors – including some unexpected seasonal suggestions:
“From walking through Cappadocia’s eerie landscape to kayaking over sunken cities, mountain biking through forests, jumping into pools of fresh mountain water or swimming with turtles in quiet bays, Turkey has something to capture the heart of every traveller! While summer is the classic time of year to go, winter offers snow inland – and you can snowshoe through the fairy chimneys of Cappadocia or the wintry wilderness of the Taurus Mountains.”

The road less travelled

Serkan Cetin from our supplier Journey Anatolia explains the rewards of heading way off the beaten track in his Turkey travel advice:
“One of the highlights of our trips is gaining a true insight into local culture, especially fascinating in the villages of north-eastern Turkey where dramatic mountain ranges rise up from the Black Sea coast and reach peaks of around 4,000m. Here, local villages are so remote that barely any tourists make it there, and the nomadic people continue a way of life that has been practised for centuries.”

Health & safety in Turkey

Travel safely in Turkey

FCO advice for Turkey

Most visits are trouble free, however terrorism is sadly a reality of travelling in these times. Turkey has suffered at the hands of terrorists’ activities, such on a nightclub in Istanbul in January 2017, for which the organisation Daesh (formerly referred to as ISIL), claimed responsibility. Two people also died in an attack outside a courthouse in Izmir in January 2017, and Kurdistan Freedom Hawks (TAK) claimed responsibility for this. This group also claimed responsibility for bombings and fatalities at Besiktas football stadium in Istanbul in December 2016.

Always get up to date information at the Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO) travel advisory department before travelling to Turkey and also ensure that your travel insurance covers your trip, given that it is a destination affected by terrorism in certain regions. Read more details on FCO and insurance here.


  • Though hospitals in major cities like Istanbul can be world-class, many others may not match standards elsewhere in Europe – but simple preventative action will go a long way to making sure you don't have to put them to the test. For help with basic care you can visit a health centre (sagulik ocagul), while pharmacists can provide advice and medicines that may be prescription only in the UK. Turkish doctors generally expect to be paid in cash, so check your travel insurance will make payments direct to providers or reimburse you for any expenditure.
  • Take a note of the emergency number: 112
  • It is not advisable to drink tap water in Turkey – stick to bottled, boil tap water for 10 minutes or use purification tablets or filters. Do not drink lake or river water – it may well contain viruses or bacteria.
  • The far southeast of Turkey may have a low risk of malaria. Consult your GP or travel clinic if you are not sure whether to take antimalarial medication; it’s not required in most tourist regions. Rabies is also present – rural areas are most risky. Thoroughly clean any bite from a warm-blooded animal immediately.
  • Turkey's small white scorpions can give a painful sting, though pain should pass after a day.
  • There is a risk of snake bite in rural areas, so do not walk barefoot or stick your hands into holes or cracks when exploring wilderness or at ancient ruins. If bitten, bandage the wound tightly and seek medical help quickly.


Turks can have a more laissez-faire attitude to safety than other European countries, so don't expect to find barriers by holes and steep drops or lifeguards on beaches. Drivers can also show what seems a hair-raising take on four-wheeled progress. If crossing a road, be aware that the idea of 'right of way' may not be acknowledged, even if you are on a crossing with a little green man. Always react to approaching cars and don't assume they will stop.

As well as the terrorism issues mentioned above, be wary of getting caught up in protest marches – mainly in Istanbul but also some other cities – which can turn violent, and have seen tourists accidentally being tear-gassed or otherwise hurt. Keep abreast of the latest situation via the FCO travel advice website and local news sources.

Travellers – especially solo travellers – should be aware that sexual assaults in hotel rooms – against both sexes – have taken place in central and eastern Anatolia.

Do not insult or make any comment that could be taken as derogatory about revered Turkish figures such as Ataturk, or the Turkish flag, government or people. Even if you claim you spoke in jest or during a friendly argument, you can be reported to the police and heavily fined or even imprisoned.

Most people in Turkey are genuinely friendly and keen to help visitors see the best of their country. However, there are always a few people who wish to take advantage of tourists, so always use your judgement. Be particularly careful if a stranger offers you a drink, particularly in big cities, resorts or on overnight trains – scams do happen.

Do not buy supposedly ancient coins or artefacts you may be offered by touts at ancient sites such as Ephesus. It is a serious crime, punishable by prison.
If you'd like to chat about Turkey or need help finding a holiday to suit you we're very happy to help.
Rosy & team.
01273 823 700

Turkey tips from our travellers

Recommendations from those who have been there

At Responsible Travel, we think the best people to advise our travellers are often... other travellers. They always return from our tours with packing tips, weather reports, ideas about what to do - and opinions about what not to.

We have selected some of the most useful Turkey travel tips that our guests have provided over the years to help you make the very most of your holiday - and the space inside your suitcase.
It is an amazing experience and you will emerge feeling absolutely incredible and really refreshed! Be prepared to be living in quite close quarters with your group on the boat and embrace the shipwrecked feeling of being completely out of touch with the outside world for a few days. - Fran Armitage

If you go in summer - as we did - temperatures can be in the mid thirties and walking and mountain biking can be HOT! - Alan MacDonald

Be honest about your needs/wishes- they catered superbly for us and we changed our holiday from the more usual one they do. - Sarah Gabbott

[On gulets] be aware there is very limited space in cabins - and they get very hot in summer months so most people sleep on deck. Take ear plugs and high factor suncream. - Sarah Wheatly

We could have done with at least 3 if not 4 days in Istanbul. Make sure you visit Chimaera at night fall. And there were no ATMs in Cirali, so get Turkish Lira in Istanbul. - Jean Tallis

Make sure you have suggestions or questions for the guide. We made sure to ask questions but in retrospect we should've asked more! - Johanna Novales

Come with an open mind and heart. Sit, watch and smile. Being a lone traveller is quite safe and fun here. - Ann Brown
Photo credits: [Meet the locals: Klearchos Kapoutsis] [Cool seasoning: Atsuhiko Takagi] [Review 1 - Martin Short: Kusadasi-Guy] [Review 2 - Karren Probyn: Warren Talbot]
Written by Norman Miller
Small group tour of Turkey

Small group tour of Turkey

The perfect introduction to cosmopolitan and memorial Turkey

From £479 8 days ex flights
Turkey small group tour

Turkey small group tour

Discover the wonders of Turkey on this 10 day tour

From £655 10 days ex flights
Lycian activity holiday

Lycian activity holiday

High adventure under the Mediterranean sun

From £1019 8 Days inc UK flights
Cappadocia walking holiday in Turkey

Cappadocia walking holiday in Turkey

Trek the unique and fairytale landscape of Cappadocia

From £899 8 Days inc UK flights
Turkey small group holiday, a food adventure

Turkey small group holiday, a food adventure

Exotic 2 week culinary and cultural tour of Turkey.

From £1030 10 Days ex flights
Eastern Europe cultural tour

Eastern Europe cultural tour

Descend to the dark ages on this tour of Dracula's country.

From £1119 15 days ex flights
Beach holiday in Cirali, Turkey

Beach holiday in Cirali, Turkey

Boutique beach bungalows with lots of rustic charm

From £320 7 Days per person per week
Self guided walking holiday in Turkey

Self guided walking holiday in Turkey

Enjoy walking the Lycian Way

From £300 7 Days ex flights
Turkey photography holiday

Turkey photography holiday

Photograph dramatic landscapes and endearing local cultures.

From £2500 14 Days ex flights
Walking holiday in Turkey, along the Lycian Way

Walking holiday in Turkey, along the Lycian Way

Ancient coastal trail through foothills of Taurus mountains

From £695 8 Days ex flights
Turquoise coast walking holiday, Turkey

Turquoise coast walking holiday, Turkey

Day treks from Kalkan explore ancient sites and rural life

From £995 8 Days ex flights
Taurus Mountains walking holiday, Turkey

Taurus Mountains walking holiday, Turkey

Explore ancient sites on this walk in the Taurus Mountains

From £795 8 Days ex flights
Photo credits: [Page banner: Christine McIntosh]
Convert currencies