Introduction

It takes time to see even a fraction of what Turkey has to offer to travelers, so I opted to just (re-)visit Istanbul. I have some basic information on some of the places that I’d like to visit outside of Istanbul, and so this page will be a work in progress until I’ve at least visited those other places.

General Tips

Turkey requires visas for most countries, including the US, Canada, and the UK. Options for obtaining a visa include sending in your passport to the Turkish embassy or consulate office, an e-Visa, or a voa (visa on arrival).

The cost of the visa is USD 20, and a service fee of USD 0.70 for the e-Visa.

Note that visas are not required if you enter Istanbul by port (e.g. cruise) and if your stay is limited to Istanbul for 72 hours.
Because I’ve only visited Istanbul so far, the Accommodations section under Istanbul is the best place to see information on this.
There are several ways of arriving into Turkey. Most tourists arrive through Istanbul, either via cruise or flying in.

For international flights coming in from outside of the region, IST is used, while flights within the region use SAW.

Note that Turkish Airlines has an option to sightsee Istanbul if you’re flying on them and transiting through Istanbul. Usually, they recommend 6 hours between flights to sightsee, but be mindful that the 6 hours includes 3-4 hours for immigration + visa, the 45-60-minute ride into Istanbul (from Attaturk Airport), and the returning back to the airport and going through security. I think within the 2 hours that you’ll have, you might be able to only see the Blue Mosque and blitz through Hagia Sophia.
I currently don’t have detailed information on this, since I haven’t traveled outside of Istanbul. However, I have heard that to travel to most of Turkey, tourists can take buses or arrange for small propeller planes to some of the places outside of Istanbul. The buses are supposed to be cheaper but take considerably longer to get to places because of the distance and also the roads not being in great condition.
I currently don’t have information on this, since I haven’t traveled outside of Istanbul.
I currently don’t have information on this, since I haven’t traveled outside of Istanbul.
The official currency in Turkey is the Turkish Lira. In spite of this, private businesses are usually happy to take Euros and US Dollars in cash, and encourage this by giving nice discounts (at least in Istanbul, I'm not sure about outside of Istanbul).
I currently don’t have too much information on this, since I haven’t traveled outside of Istanbul. That being said, I recommend staying away from protests, though these are now rarer due to the country's political climate. I would also highly caution to stay away from the southern border areas and also volatile places, which currently includes Ankara.

Places to Visit

Approximately 2-3 days to see:

  • Blue Mosque
  • Hagia Sophia
  • Topkapi Palace
  • Dolmabaçhe Palace
  • Basilica Cistern
  • Obelisk of Theodosius, Serpent Column, and the Walled Obelisk in the Hippodrome
  • Grand Bazaar
  • Spice Market
  • Bosphorus Day Cruise
  • Bosphorus Night Cruise with Dinner and Belly Dancing
  • Maiden’s Tower
Add an extra day to see or do the following:

  • Chora Church
  • Turkish Bath
  • Carpet Buying
I'm including a few destinations in Turkey that I haven't been to yet, but would like to visit in the future.

  • Epheseus
  • Cappadocia
  • Pamukkale
  • Troy
  • Izmir
Note: I'm not including Ankara in this list, the city tends to be volatile enough that it frequently has travel advisories against tourism. Additionally, any place towards the south of the country (especially the closer one gets to the Syrian border) has been deemed and continues to be too perilous for travel.

 

Gallery

(Trip to Istanbul made in May 2012 and November 2016)

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