Turkey is a mystical land, both swathed in ancient myth and modern misconceptions. From the crumbling ruins of Constantinople to the lingering charms of the Persian empire and the blossoming republic that arose with Ataturk from the Ottoman era. Turkey is vast, diverse, charming and also quite different to what people first imagine. With the failed coup, vicinity to Syria and Iraq as well as a somewhat erratic leader it is often perceived as a dangerous and difficult country to visit. Nothing could be further from the truth! In fact, the visa process is a breeze, the trouble is isolated to the very far east of the country and the culture, scenery and history is completely enchanting. Here is our practical guide to visiting Turkey, covering all you need to know before your visit as well as the best website for Turkish visa and asking Is Turkey safe?
Getting in: What you need to know about visas
In the past when we have visited it was as simple as turning up with a £10 note in your hand, queuing up for a little while and then receiving your visa and stamp right there and then! Things have changed a little since my first visit 12 years ago but the process means that the queues aren’t have as long! However, as with all things in life, the price has gone up and you also have to be sure to use the best website for Turkish visa as there are also many scams.
One thing you need to be aware of is that from the end of October 2018 you can no longer get a visa on arrival, in the past this was the norm and for years since the introduction of the e-visa there has always been both options available. However this is now not the case since the removal of e-visa kiosk in the airport. If you are travelling by air you should always have your visa as you could be refused boarding.
Visa on arrival/ e-visa work around!
Though in extreme circumstances there is a possible work around which we don’t recommend but you could very well we sat at the Turkish border right now wondering what to do. We got stuck travelling from Plovdiv, Bulgaria to Turkey unaware of the new rules. So we applied online for the e-visa from the check point terminal (it’s pretty big and have duty free!) on our phones. This was a little sketchy as we only just got access to Wifi, it was 3:00am and thankfully the visas went through straight away!! However even the best website for Turkish visa can’t guarantee it to be processed in such a short time!
Applying for the visa online: best website for Turkish visa
Applying online is easy and although the price has gone up, it is also now in USD rather than GBP meaning the rise isn’t quite so steep. A multi entry visa for a UK passport holder costs 20 USD and allows you to spend a total of 90 days within 180 in the country where you can come and go as you please. Essentially you can spend 3 out of 6 months in Turkey. The visa runs out 180 days after it is issued or you use up your 90 days. You can then apply for another. There are a lot of scams out there too selling visas for vastly inflated prices. The best website for Turkish visa is the official website for the Turkish government is: www.evisa.gov.tr
However, many people are quite wary of applying for their own visa as for many UK visitors on the usual two week holidays it isn’t often a consideration. Using a visa company will take the stress out of applying for yourself and leave you to concentrate on enjoying your holiday instead. For this we recommend e-visums as a great value and reliable alternative to doing it yourself, it is the best website for Turkish visa if you want to use a third party.
Is Turkey safe to visit?
As with anywhere in the world, we can’t promise you are 100% safe. Just last year 22 people were killed in a terrorist attack in our very own home city of Manchester. There have also been attacks in our adopted home of Melbourne and all across the western world. Turkey lies in a turbulent region to its far east, but most of the troubles here are not directed towards tourists but are much more insular than attacks that target western countries. Here the police and the state are the targets of violence so in many ways I consider it to be safer than the streets of Paris and especially the gun hungry USA. In todays world nowhere is 100% safe and we can’t allow some isolated incidents to stop us from travelling, especially to such a special part of the world. Is Turkey safe? we can’t promise anything but we have never had any worries here visiting over the last 20 years since being children!
The country is vast too, in fact if it were to be considered European it would be by far the largest country after Russia. This means that not only are you likely to be very far away from the far east of the country which is home to most of the trouble, but it is also an incredibly diverse country to visit. Road tripping around Turkey is incredible, it’s sapphire blue oceans to the south are a million miles away from being targets and offer a wealth of options, from secluded hikes and camping in local villages to resorts and hotel chains, whatever takes your fancy! The middle of the country is another matter, from deep forests and imposing lush mountains to the Mars like landscape of Cappadocia, there is wealth of places to see that are so isolated from the wider politics of the region. When most people ask, Is Turkey safe? I often tell them just how far away from the troubled regions you really are!
Do I have to act differently in Turkey?
The short answer is no! Turkey is built on being a secular nation, Ataturk transformed it into the modern country we see today. Most Turks are very easy going, friendly and incredibly welcoming! Drinking Raki (an aniseed flavoured spirit) is just as much a part of daily life as visiting the Mosque and in Turkey alcohol isn’t frowned upon one bit! As well as Raki, the local beer is EFes which locals and visitors alike love!
Of course, Turkey is a vast and diverse land with a large split in believe and conviction in that believe. But at its very core and the reason is is secular is all about choice! Visiting Turkey is all about reading your surroundings and being respectful. You wouldn’t walk around any city centre in a bikini or shirtless (I would hope!) but around the beaches is fine. Pretty much anything you would normally wear, shorts, skirts, vests, dresses are all perfectly fine. If you decide to visit a Mosque then of course, you must cover up, but most have robes and headwear to lend for visitors and are very welcoming. Some areas are more conservative than others, but as long as you are respectful then it’s never an issue! Generally speaking you are likely to see a good mixture of people, from those in modern western clothing to those in very conservative muslim dress.
Turkey might just surprise you and by the end you’ll never ask, “Is Turkey safe?” again!
Getting around this huge country!
Turkey is huge! Did we mention that!! However, car rental is cheap and it is the perfect way to get around the country. We rented a car for around £15 a day from Fethiye to do some trips up to Cappadocia, Antalya and the surrounding coastal regions. Road tripping in Turkey is the absolute best way to take in the amazing and ever changing landscapes as well as allowing you to visit some of the more off the beaten track places along the way. The people of Turkey really are so warm and welcoming that stopping in the little villages along the way is such an enriching experience.
However, that isn’t always an option for many. Turkey isn’t well equipped for long rail journeys and instead buses travel all over the country. It’s a long and arduous way to tour this incredible country but as far as night buses go the ones in Turkey are some of the best we’ve used. Most come with your own TV, catering service and regular stops, they are also pretty reasonably priced given the distance covered. In each city it is easy to book a bus and often many leave throughout the day to popular destinations and big cities.
Turkey also has a great network of low cost domestic flights from the likes of Turkish Airways and Pegasus. From Dalaman on the south coast to Istanbul is takes only 1 hour. Cappadocia is also served by several regional airports too as is the country as a whole making flying an easy, fast and cheap way to get around Turkey.
Why we love Turkey so much!
Turkey is a country we keep going back to! We have family living there and life long friends made over years and years of visits. It’s a country that seems to have everything, incredible cities, beautiful coastlines, mysterious mountains, unbelievable history and unsurpassable culture!
There is a Turkey for everyone, from those wanting the adventure of a lifetime, to delve deep and get lost in the sights, smells and sounds of this ancient land. To those wanting to sit back relax and take in the warm azure ocean and jaw dropping beaches. Not to get lost in asking “Is Turkey safe?”! It’s authenticity remains to this day amongst the commercialisation of the world, plus you can paraglide right over this amazing beach!
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Hey, you’ve got your Travel Insurance sorted haven’t you?
Travelling and especially backpacking is a wild adventure, but make sure you are covered just incase something goes wrong, which if you’re living it up to the fullest it’s always a possibility! Is Turkey safe? Yeah, but you still need insurance!
Check travel insurance prices with World Nomads here!