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turkiye travel guide

A British Mate’s Guide to Travelling in Türkiye 🇹🇷

Discover the exclusive Türkiye Travel Guide that will help you plan an unforgettable trip to Turkey, with insider tips and recommendations.


Searching for a Türkiye Travel Guide? (formerly Turkey) Look no further. In this article, I will lay out absolutely everything you need to know about your vacation and stay in the country. From the best places to stay, to the most delicious food to try, to the cultural attractions that you won’t want to miss, I’ll provide you with all the information you need to make your trip to Türkiye an unforgettable experience.

Whether you want to relax on the beach, explore ancient ruins, or take part in exciting nightlife – Türkiye has it all! With the right knowledge and guidance, you can make the most of your trip and create memories that will last a lifetime.

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The beauty of the country is that it’s a desirable destination all year round. Therefore, the stuff you read in this Türkiye Travel Guide content is relevant whether it’s January or April. So any questions like “Which is the best month to visit Turkey?” are actually flawed. After all, Turkey is always a smart idea, no matter what the calendar says.

Planning a trip?

Find everything you need for your next adventure. Explore Deals & Discounts on Flights, Activities & Essentials on BudgetFitter.

There are lots of other questions about travelling in the country, such as, What should you avoid in Türkiye? Is it safe to travel to Türkiye? Which places are a must-see in Türkiye? Well, it’s time to relax. In this Türkiye Travel Guide article, I will be covering all of your burning questions whilst also rolling out a special piece on Istanbul and other fascinating tourist areas.

A brief overview of Türkiye 🇹🇷

First, let’s discuss Türkiye itself. Despite popular belief, Türkiye is actually a secular country, meaning that it is not under Sharia Law (Law of Islam). Therefore, the government is able to create its own laws based on democratic, liberal values. This is part of the reason why Türkiye has been able to maintain a strong economy 💰 and stable government over the years. It is also why it has been able to attract foreign investment and establish strong diplomatic relationships with other countries.

Istanbul Maiden's Tower (Kiz Kulesi), Türkiye
Istanbul Maiden’s Tower (Kiz Kulesi), Türkiye – © Photo Credit: Mehmet Cetin / Shutterstock

A major part of Turkish culture is Islam. Istanbul is home to a huge number of quaint mosques and many people who still believe in the faith. It has been reported by the government that 99 percent of Turkish people are Muslims 🕌 . Despite the country being mostly secular, the presence of Islam is still very noticeable in Turkey today. In recent years, Islam has gained popularity among democracies. For now, let’s not get too political about it.

Istanbul Taksim Istiklal Street
Istanbul Taksim Istiklal Street – © Photo Credit: Bondart / Getty Images

The UK currency is extremely advantageous over the Turkish Lira ₺ in terms of foreign exchange. This is due to the fact that food and drink are actually very cheap in comparison to the Turkish Lira. An example is a meal consisting of a main course and non-alcoholic drink in a mid-range restaurant, which can cost around £10-£15, whereas in Turkey, the same meal would cost about £5-£7. It is swell news for those of you who enjoy eating, but bad news for those of you who enjoy drinking.

This is due to the fact that in Turkey, taxes on alcohol are much higher than in other countries, so it is more expensive to buy alcoholic beverages than non-alcoholic ones. This means that the cost of a meal in Turkey that includes an alcoholic beverage is significantly higher than a meal with just a non-alcoholic beverage.

Istanbul Basilica Cistern, Türkiye
Istanbul Basilica Cistern, Türkiye

There are many places to find great cheap food and street food in Istanbul, so you can get two Durum wraps, Turkish tea, and rice pudding for under the equivalent of £7 a day. In addition, the food is incredibly delicious, which makes it even more appealing. The city has a wide variety of street food and cheap eats available, so finding a good meal without breaking the bank is easy.

Rent may be expensive for locals, and flights may be expensive at peak times, but the cost of living out in the city is actually quite reasonable. Since the local delicacies can be enjoyed by both tourists and locals without paying top prices, it makes the city even more appealing to tourists as a whole. In addition to making it a popular backpacker and young people destination, it also offers a number of other activities.

Trabzon Sumela Monastery, Türkiye
Trabzon Sumela Monastery, Türkiye – © Photo Credit: Fatih Ozdemir / Wirestock

Mysterious Note: In addition to this Turkey Travel Guide, to find local city discounts and brand discounts in Turkey, visit BudgetFitter’s Turkish website. The content on this website is in Turkish, but Google Translate can make your holiday even more affordable.

What you need to know about Istanbul

Let’s start with Istanbul which has caught Sydney syndrome. Meaning that despite not being the capital of its country, it attracts a ginormous tourist industry, as well as is trendy and alive with the culture. People often make the mistake of visiting the capital Ankara, which despite its beautiful name, is actually quite dull. 

In my opinion, one of the coolest features of Istanbul is that it actually sits on the border of east and west. There is a European side of the city, as well as an Asian side of the city, divided by a natural Bosphorus. I stayed in both parts and loved them equally. Together they make up a beautiful location that sets a precedent for how two continents with multi-culturalism can co-exist. 

Istanbul Hagia Sophia, Türkiye
Istanbul Hagia Sophia, Türkiye – © Photo Credit: Aquila chrysaetos / Shutterstock

The fact that it sits on the border made Istanbul a key area in History. He who conquered the city would have their foot in both Europe and Asia. Therefore, it became a desirable city for ancient civilisations and empires to fight for. The city was previously known as Constantinople under the Byzantine Empire, where it stood strong for many generations.

However, after 200 odd years of war between the Byzantines ✝️ and the Ottomans ☪️ , eventually, it became seized by the Ottoman Empire and was named its capital. It’s also worth noting that the area has been occupied by the Romans 🏛️, as well as other civilisations in B.C.

Istanbul Beyazit Grand Bazaar, Türkiye
Istanbul Beyazit Grand Bazaar, Türkiye –  Photo Credit: Tekkol / Shutterstock

Therefore, the city has some great architecture that has existed for thousands of years. This includes the Grand Bazaar 🛍️, which is the world’s first market complex, antique mosques, and Roman churches. I personally enjoyed a Hamam 🧽, which is effectively a Turkish bathing room, which was built in the fifteenth century, and returned for more scrub downs on three occasions! 

Flipping back to the future, Istanbul can be credited with its modern features. This includes over 100 modern shopping mall complexes, where you can purchase the latest designer gear. There is also great nightlife in Istanbul 💃, with Taksim leading the way for clubs and bars 🍻. This is where I personally stayed in my break and I can vouch that you could be in for a pretty crazy night out.

However, with all great clubbing scenes, it does often lead to an increase in tackiness and has a knock-on effect on the surrounding area. People have begun to turn their interests towards Kadikoy for their celebrations 🎉. 

Istanbul Topkapı Palace Museum, Türkiye
Istanbul Topkapı Palace Museum, Türkiye – © Photo Credit: Tatiana Popova / Shutterstock

In terms of daytime activities, Istanbul is perfect for tourism 📸, with places such as Maiden’s Tower, Hagia Sophia, Topkapi Palace, Galata Tower, Blue Mosque, Princes Islands, Dolmabahce Palace, Istiklal Street, and Basilica Cistern providing you with the cultural knowledge you need to become an expert.

When you picture romance, there is always sunset 🌅 in the backdrop, the best places for this are Camlica Hill, Pierre Loti Hill, Uskudar-Salacak Coasts, Anadolu Kavagi, Florya and Bostanci Coasts.

On the whole, it’s a safe city, but like anywhere else there are always a couple of areas that are best avoided. A bit like Birmingham ⚠️ ! In Istanbul it is Tarlabasi (near to Taksim Square), Aksaray, Sirinevler, Bagcilar, Kasimpasa, Esenyurt, Kucukcekmece, Zeytinburnu, Sultangazi, Kagithane, Kocamustafapasa and Sultanbeyli.

Overall, the best places to visit are Taksim, Beyoglu, Sisli, Nisantasi, Uskudar, Kadikoy, Balat, Florya, Emirgan, Bebek, Besiktas and Eyup Sultan allowing the city to hit the bar set by both Europe and Asia ❤️. 

Istanbul Galata Tower, Türkiye
Istanbul Galata Tower, Türkiye –  Photo Credit: Ruslan Kalnitsky / Shutterstock

Navigating the city is really easy. First stop…. The airport. You have two options here. Firstly, Sabiha Gokcen Airport (SAW) ✈️ on the Asian side, I personally flew into this one, having stopped off in Budapest previously. It had everything I needed, with easy directions to the city, following some great customer service offered by travel guides.

The other brand-new city airport is Istanbul Airport (IST), which is the busiest airport in Europe 🇪🇺 as well as the main airport of the city. Fear not, the high-tech and well-staffed operations have enabled them to deal with demand and the airport runs smoothly 🛃. 

Istanbul Ortakoy (Buyuk Mecidiye) Mosque, Türkiye
Istanbul Ortakoy (Buyuk Mecidiye) Mosque, Türkiye – © Photo Credit: Rudy Balasko / Shutterstock

Once you’re in the city moving around is pretty easy. Taxis are cheap 🚕, and there are a couple of good application options such as Uber and Bitaksi. If you’re willing to drive on the opposite side of the road, then you can also get a good minutely car rental with Zipcar, Moov or Tiktak 🚘.

However, if you’re trying to avoid using cars and too much fuel, then the scooter apps such as Marti, Bin Bin, HOP or Fenix are also great options 🛴. There is also a bike-sharing app called isbike which is managed by the municipality 🚲.

Istanbul Princes Islands, Türkiye
Istanbul Princes Islands, Türkiye – © Photo Credit: Oleggg / Shutterstock

The Istanbul Tourist Pass I got was perfect 🎟️, as I and my 4 mates could all use the same one to access the ferries to the Asian side, or the underground. Tourists in the UK, don’t get the same treatment!

Other Cities of Türkiye

Enough of Istanbul for now I think! It’s the main city, but that doesn’t take away from the rest of what Türkiye travel guide has to offer. If you are looking for a sunny holiday at the beach then head to Izmir, Antalya, or Bodrum. Bodrum is the best heard of in the UK and it truly is a good crack of a holiday. ☀️

Fethiye Oludeniz, Türkiye
Fethiye Oludeniz, Türkiye– © Photo Credit: Artem Bryzgalov / Unsplash

If you’re looking for culture and good foods then your best bet is to head straight to the Black Sea Region with areas like Ordu, Giresun, Trabzon, Rize and Artvin 🌿. As well as the Southeast Region with Mardin, Gaziantep, Sanliurfa, and Hatay 🏜️.

Giresun Kuzalan Waterfall and Blue Lake Natural Park, Türkiye
Giresun Kuzalan Waterfall and Blue Lake Natural Park, Türkiye – © Photo Credit: Mehmet Ali Turan / Unsplash

Apart from all these, I’m sure I don’t need to mention to you how magical Cappadocia is 🪄.

Cappadocia, Türkiye
Cappadocia, Türkiye – © Photo Credit: Timur Garifov / Unsplash

On the other side, the Gallipoli Peninsula 💣, which has historical significance, also contains Turkish, Anzac, British and French monuments that commemorate the victims of past wars with evidence that shows the bad side of wars…

Canakkale Gallipoli Quinn's Post Cemetery, Türkiye
Canakkale Gallipoli Quinn’s Post Cemetery, Türkiye – © Photo Credit: Nejdet Duzen / Shutterstock

The hidden gems however are only for my favourite readers. i.e. those who have read thus far. These are Gobekli Tepe (The world’s first temple), Troya Ancient City, Lake Salda (It has similarities with the planet Mars – refer to NASA), Pamukkale and Ihlara Valley 💚

Where to stay in Turkey?

Gobeklitepe, Sanliurfa, Türkiye
Gobeklitepe, Sanliurfa, Türkiye – Photo by Frank Samol / Unsplash

It’s hard to go wrong with any of these options, to be honest. But it is important to know where to stay. For this, I recommend checking the Accommodation section.

How to get to Türkiye?

Izmir Ephesus Ancient City, Türkiye
Izmir Ephesus Ancient City, Türkiye – © Photo Credit: Mert Kahveci / Unsplash

Getting to Türkiye is pretty easy, and affordable if you book in good time. You shouldn’t concern too much about visa requirements, this wasn’t a problem, especially if you have a UK Passport 🇬🇧. Your political views on the Vaccine no longer matter as we didn’t need to mention that we had taken vaccines, or even show any QR codes.

Pamukkale, Denizli, Türkiye
Pamukkale, Denizli, Türkiye – Photo by Oleksandr Kurchev / Unsplash

Flights are the best way, I would only recommend the train if you were planning on doing some interrailing around Europe or Asia as well. To get the best flights, look at Flights page on BudgetFitter. Similarly, if you are looking to drive whilst in the country, refer to Getting There. %%

Bursa Cumalikizik UNESCO Village, Türkiye
Bursa Cumalikizik UNESCO Village, Türkiye – Photo by Fatih Ozdemir / Adobe Stock

With sim cards and roaming, I personally was given a pretty good deal by my current provider (EE), but my friends just used the Airalo e-Sim, which is super easy 🤙. You can download it before you even travel to Türkiye and set it up in less than 15 minutes, without any physical cards. Otherwise, look at local providers such as Turkcell, Vodafone or Turk Telekom for the best deals. Lastly, with travel insurance and other travel gear, head to Travel Essentials.

What to eat in Türkiye

Traditional Turkish Breakfast
Traditional Turkish Breakfast – © Photo Credit: Ömer Haktan Bulut / Unsplash

Back to the juice of this Türkiye Travel Guide article. Turkish food is delightful. Pardon the cringe pun! We’re big fans of Doner Kebabs in the UK. It was actually in our top 10 most bought fast foods! 🌯

However, Türkiye has so much more to offer with other main dishes such as Lahmacun, Urfa or Adana Kebabs, Iskender, Manti, Kumpir, Traditional Turkish Breakfast, Meze Platters, Menemen, Gozleme, Fish and Bread, Borek, Cacik, Imam Bayildi, Simit, Pide, Wet Burger (Islak Hamburger), Kofte, and Cigkofte. 🤤

Turkish Baklava
Turkish Baklava – © Photo Credit: Ömer Haktan Bulut / Unsplash

Desserts include Baklava, Turkish Delight, Sutlac (Rice Pudding), Kunefe (Cheese Desert), Katmer, and Maras Ice Cream 🥮. Alongside the best drinks are Ayran, Raki (National Alcohol), Salgam (Beetroot Juice), Turkish Coffee, and Black Turkish Tea ☕️.

My favourite meal would be Durum wraps, which were affordable and delicious, alongside hummus (I know NOT TURKISH), and a Turkish Coffee before I went out in Taksim to keep me awake! 

How much does a holiday to Türkiye cost?

Burdur Salda Lake, Türkiye
Burdur Salda Lake, Türkiye – Photo by Aydin Hassan / Shutterstock

Ahhh, the million-dollar question. Well not really. Operating in Türkiye is actually very cheap, especially in Taksim, Istanbul, where I spent most of my time. On average I would spend around £30 a day. This included trips across to the Asian side, or the Princess Island, as well as three meals a day, and some drinks in the evening. 🏝️

You really can have a cheap holiday in Türkiye, with all the benefits that you get in Western Europe. The hostels in Taksim were very cheap, being less than £10 a night, with great service and very interesting people. The reality is, if you have a decent job in the UK, around or just above the average salary, you are seen as rich in Türkiye. So make the most of it!

Mardin, Türkiye
Mardin, Türkiye – Photo by Nejdet Duzen / Shutterstock

Overall, I absolutely loved my holiday in Istanbul. The people there are so friendly, the city is so beautiful, and I will never forget it. I made some fantastic memories with my friends for life, which were shaped by the opportunities we had to experience everything in the country. I will definitely return one day.

Besides this Türkiye Travel Guide; also, be sure to check out our Travel deals page when making travel plans.

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Alfie King

Alfie King

Alfie King is a writer, freelancer, and entrepreneur. He grew up in London and enjoys writing about business, finance, travel, lifestyle, and politics. He’s a student at the University of Bath and is invested in several different business ventures.

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